Saturday, January 28, 2012

Instinctive Body Reactions

Instinctive body reactions [IBR's]- you know what they are. It's when you instinctively react to a situation without an apparent thought about what you're doing.

They just happen.
[Point Peron by William Ophius]
The other day I had a typical instinctive body reation to what I will politely call a 'bug attack'. I have the unfortunate ability to attract bugs... I'm not talking about mosquitoes or flies - they seem to leave me mostly alone, but big flying insects... they aim for my head. It's weird. Anyway, the other day we were walking at Point Peron - and a bug landed on my head. At its approach, without thinking, I screamed and freaked out. Then it landed on me. At that moment, I had no thought about anything other than getting the bug off my head. So with flailing arms, I began smacking at my head to remove the bug - with little consideration as for what kind of bug it may be. Suffice to say, I struck the bug off my head, but not before whacking it into my head first. Then I hysterically asked my husband "Is it gone?!" Yes, it had gone, but it had left a nasty little present.... a BIG STINK. The bug I had squashed onto my head was indeed a STINK BUG.
[Stink Bug courtesy Monash Uni]
Pondering this horribly stinky and somewhat distressing event has got me thinking about what makes a realistic instinctive body responses in writing.

There are few things to note about IBR's.
- They are done instinctively, and the movements are unconscious. They are not premeditated.
-They are easy to do, based on pure gross motor skills.
-They are easy to perform under stressful situations and require little need for recall.
-Individuals do not need any form of training to be able to perform them.
-With small modifications and preparation, IBR's can be very effective as self-defense in real life events. For example, my flailing arms (with slightly more control), could have been affective to protect against the bug landing on my head. However in this instance it was a complete over-reaction and ultimately caused more trouble than good. A gentle shake of my head would probably have dislodged the bug when it landed, and sent it on its own merry way. 

So it worth noting in your own writing, how and what would be a realistic when an instinctive reaction is required from your character.
For example,  when shocked or surprised, the most common reaction is usually a strangled gasp.You know, the sharp inhalation of breath into a tight chest, that makes a high pitched "herrrrr!" sound? I'm sure you do. I have the unfortunate habit of doing this whenever there is a bird on the road and I think we may hit it (we never do) and my gasp nearly gives everyone in the car a heart attack. Its a bad reaction in this situation because everyone is instinctively responds to it as if imminent danger is approaching - and in this case, we are in no danger at all. The same could not be said for the bird.
Another obvious IBR is the jerk forward or backward. When startled, we instinctively jerk away from the object/person/thing causing alarm. It's a sharp gesture that can sometimes result in a pulled neck muscle and is often combined with the strangled gasp.  However, if you are alarmed and can forsee something bad about to happen (ie: a baby about to touch the hot oven window) we usually jerk forward - hands outstretched to prevent the forseen event from occurring. The startled gasp is also usually present in this scenario. These reactions are all instinctive. Almost all functioning adults do them.

Anyway, "Magical Redemption" is waiting so I'll leave you with this final scholarly thought;
Watching and noting your own (and others) impulsive reactions to things and applying them to your characters will ensure your readers will relate immediately to the scenario and therefore engage with a deeper level of understanding to your work.... and ultimately, what more could an author ask for?

Have a super week!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My other great passion....

I have two enduring passions, obviously first is writing and the second is art.

I am a completely untrained drawer/artist, but I love and I do mean LOVE to draw comics and paint - when I have the time (which unfortunately is less and less).

 As a teen, I was one of those kids who was always drawing things. Dragons, centaurs, fairies, vampires, the walls around my study desk were covered in them. It's ironic that the wall around my writing desk now seems to be slowly acquiring similar sketches. :D

Sketches on my pinboard above my writing desk.
 My first foray into painted art occurred when I was pregnant with my son and from there I got into cubism in a pretty big way. Most of my cubist paintings are scattered in homes around Perth and one in England!

This one was inspired by Franz Marc's painting "Tiger", it's still my favourite and one I'll never sell or give away!

This one is one of my own called unsurprisingly, "snake in long grass" [oil on canvas] which is one of a three part Australian Reptile cubist something-or-rather series :) I have never denied the fact I am a nerd :)

My version, inspired by Franz Marc's 'foxes' [acrylic on canvas]

Then I got re-inspired by Franz Marc again, and if you don't know his work (he died in WW1) you should really check it out, it's so marvellous. He died far too young.

Then I got into PopArt - this was loads of fun, but it's remarkably time-consuming!
"Oh My" by me [acrylic].

"I never told him!" [acrylic] by me.


"Uh oh" [acrylic] by me.

After my PopArt Phase - I moved on to religious iconography!

"Our Lady of Perpetual Succor" [oil/acrylic on canvas] by me.

Then I had a brief stint in "realism" - not so much fun but worth the attempt!

"Red robin in the snow" [oil on canvas] by me.

And now I'm into comic drawing! :))

"Antigone & the Hunter" pen and pastel - you'll recognise this one from the "Magical Creations" book trailer.

"Bo & Mimosa" for an up-coming book trailer :D

"Mimosa" sketch for the upcoming trailer.

Anyway, I hoped you liked a glimpse of my other great passion.

Have a magical week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teaser - WIP

As you will know, "Magical Redemption" is my WIP (work in progress) and the final in my "Magic Series". So I thought I'd give you a wee teaser and an update on progress.

Current Word Count: 60,000 words
Locations: Perth, Kuala Lumpur, London
Quote of the day: "How did a woman as good as you ever get stuck with a devil like me?"

Lucian let out a roar of fury and barrelled up to Farid, gripping his shirt collar in one massive hand - pulling the man onto his toes. “Don’t you dare speak about her like that.” He snarled, looking more feral and terrifying than Jinx had ever imagined he could. “She’s a better woman, Genie or not, than you’ll ever be a man.”

Hope you liked it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Eurymanthian boar

Image courtesy:

 I was flicking through my trusty "Mythical Creatures Bible" by Brenda Rosen and remembered the story of the Eurymanthian Boar.

The Eurymanthian boar is a great wild boar that roamed the lands around Mount Eurymanthus an area that was sacred to the Goddess Artemis. Artemis would send the Boar to ravage the fields of the highlands when displeased.

The Boar was an enormous animal with razor sharp tusks, and quite obviously feared by everyone.

 In the 'Twelve Labours of Hercules', Hercules is ordered by King Eurystheus to bring the Boar back alive. Under advice ,Hercules drives the Boar up the mountain into deep snow where he subdues it and brings it back to the King. The King is so terrified by the giant beast that he hides and orders Hercules to get rid of it. According to the legend Hercules then threw it into the sea where it swam to Italy!

I think I find this beast particularly intriguing because some enormous wild boars have been found in Australia (if you're squeamish don't scroll down). They are not native here, and are considered a feral animal. Wild pigs are often killed on sight due to the damage they cause to the bush and farmland.

I first came across this picture in an email after a trip up to the Pilbara, someone sent it to me saying this one was killed at Roy Hill Station (not to far from where we were camping!). I'm not sure if that is true, but I'm mightily glad I didn't come across anything as massive as this. However, you can really see how some natural animals take on mythological proportions when specimens like this are found. Who knew an Eurymanthian boar could be found lurking in the Aussie Bush?! Wonders will never cease... Enjoy your week.


Welcome back followers and friends! I hope your Christmas and New Year break was a pleasant one. Mine was exceptionally lovely.

2012 is shaping up to be an interesting year already.

I'm back at University, full time, so it is going to be a very hectic schedule! None the less I'm planning on continuing writing and am hoping to get "Magical Redemption" released this year, hopefully in the later half - publisher permitting!

As you know, "Magical Redemption" is the last in the 'Magic series', but don't fear, I have several books in the pipeline. They will all be set in the same world as the Magic Series though, I'm unlikely to be using Genies... but you never know, one might pop in...
I've got story lines with Satyrs, Magicians, Chameleons and Warlords, as well as Sworn Virgins... I'm not sure which I'm going to run with yet, so watch this space - and let me know what you'd like to see!

Anyway, wishing everyone the best for 2012!