Live by the Sword

Himura Kenshin

Himura Kenshin (Photo credit: bibliomom)

I watched a movie today.  One I had wanted to see back in September, but alas I do not live in Japan and it was not released outside the country.  Mores the pity.  Its an excellent movie with an engaging cast and a powerful story line.  And it happens to be based on one of my favorite anime.

It follows the story of a wandering samurai, known as a ruroni, ten years after the war that ushered in the Meiji era.  Japan is showing many signs of becoming westernized from the dress to the guns and a very pervasive opium trade with the west.  Into this new era comes Kenshin Himura, a ruroni in a time when swords are outlawed and samurai are nothing more than thugs or beggars.  He meets a young woman, Kaoru who lives at a dojo as she tries to keep alive her father’s sword style.  Unknown to Kenshin there have been recent killings in the area attributed to a wartime specter called Hittokiri Battosai after his sword technique.   He soon finds himself embroiled in a plot that involves the local police, an opium magnate and Kaoru’s dojo.  Along the way his vow never to kill again is put to a severe and near fatal test.

The movie and the casting was very faithful to the anime.

Takeru Sato as Kenshin Himura

While the movie has its share of violence it never feels gratuitous.  Its a violent time and the depiction of the war is heart wrenching instead of stomach turning.

What I found most fascinating about the end, even though I knew from the anime how it ended, was how un-Hollywood-esque it was.  I won’t spoil it for you, I’d rather you watch it for yourself.  What makes it even more poignant was that things like this actually happened, the war, the opium trade, the oppression of a former elite class.  All in the name of progress.

If you would like to watch this show it is available for free at along with a host of other amazing dramas and movies we will never see aired here in the States other than on special satellite channels, if then.  We are severely deprived.

Tomorrow I will discuss this imbalance in access further.  Now go watch the movie. Just click here.

Waking up with a migraine doesn’t help get the creativity flowing.  Were my muses beating me in my sleep?  I wouldn’t put it passed them.

This is one of those days where I know my writing is going to be abysmal, so I may as well just get it over with and move on.  Or I could go do some laundry.

Hmm, that’s pretty sad when I’d rather do housework than write.  Maybe I’ll just leave you with an excerpt from a novel I’ve had on the back burner for a while.

The setting is rural Missouri, incidentally where I grew up.

Burn Out

I dragged my eyes open.  The side of my face was still smarting from where I’d whacked into the wall as I’d tried to roll over.  The first pale rays of sun light were struggling to penetrate the frosted glass of the window overhead.  A tan arm smacked me across the bridge of my nose before thumping the wall.  I lay there blinking tears out of my eyes for a moment.

“Jeeze, Tabby.”  Shoving the limb off my head I struggled to sit up.  No wonder I had been trying to climb the wall in my sleep.

Tabby slept sprawled across the rest of the twin bed, her short blonde hair rumpled.  One muscular leg flung over mine.  A faded band t-shirt was hiked up around her midriff.  To top it off she was wearing a pair of my boxers.  Sighing I bit back the desire to yell at her.  She’d either beat the crap out of me or laugh if I made too big a deal of it.  Shaking her shoulder, I tried to wake her.  She’d made a habit of climbing into bed with me the week her dad moved in with my mom and me, almost ten years ago.  She’d been eight and I was six at the time.  I hadn’t liked it then, and I still didn’t like it even if she didn’t do it every night now.  Something must have happened last night or she would’ve slept in her own bed.  Hoping it didn’t have anything to do with what I thought it did, I tried to wake her.

“Tabby, hey Tabitha wake up.  Go get in your own bed.  Come on.”  Shoving had little effect and just when I’d decided to forget it and go to her room she opened one eye.

Stretching so that the t-shirt threatened to reveal way too much she grinned at me mumbling, “Mornin’ sleepin’ beauty.”

“Get the hell out of my bed you freaking weirdo.”

“That’s not how you say good morning to your loving sister.”  She yawned through half the sentence, rubbing mascara nearly to her temples.

“Step-sister and since when have you been loving?  And why in the freaking hell are you wearing my boxers.”

“They’re comfy.” The pout lasted all of two seconds.

“Ooof.” I shoved at her shoulder as she flopped over on me.  She was entirely too warm and heavy, not that I would tell her that.  Her weight made it difficult to breathe.

“Besides you are so cute and cuddly when you are sleeping.”  She mumbled into my ear sending chills down my neck.

“You are creeping me out Tab.  We need to get up.”  I didn’t need to tell her why.  She sighed and I tried to ignore the feel of her against me.  Step-sister or not, she had a nice body.

“Creeps you out, huh?  You never used to mind.  Besides, it’s not like we are related or anything.”  Hugging me to her she snuggled closer.

Pushing her away I propped myself up on an elbow. “Do you have any idea how crazy you sound right now?”

“What?  I can’t think my step-brother is cute?”

“No!  No you can’t.”  That pissed her off.  Shifting around she sat up, pulling the shirt down.  She glanced at me over her shoulder.

“You know for being a football player, you sure are a wimp.”  Shoving my head down into the pillow she got up.  “I get dibbs on the shower.  Unless you want to share?”

“Get out you sicko.”

She disappeared in the direction of the bathroom and I buried my head in the pillow.  Soon the sound of running water could be heard.  She was getting weirder by the day, used to be she was disgusted by me like any proper sister.  She needs boyfriend, was my next thought, her and Jasper split six months ago.  The last thing I needed was Gunner thinking I’d hooked up with his precious daughter.  Grossed out by the thought I decided I was going to have to get a lock for my door, as soon as I got a door.  Gunner had broken it last year in one of his drunken rages, or rather had used me to break it.  We didn’t have the money to replace it, so I went without.  Shoving that thought to the dark reaches of my mind with the rest of the painful memories, I made myself get up.

The carpet, matted into a nondescript brown was cold, must be pretty chilly outside then.   Trailers aren’t exactly known for being well insulated.  Without Tabby’s body heat the room was decidedly nippy.  Best to get dressed.  Stripping off the pajama pants I found a pair of jeans that were still decent, no holes in improper places at least.  Socks were another matter.  After a ten minute search I found a mismatched pair and threw a t-shirt and hoodie on.

Avoiding piles of clothes, clean and dirty piled in the narrow hall, I headed for the kitchen.  The living room had been relatively clean yesterday, until Gunner came home.  Now the coffee table, end tables and the floor were covered with beer bottles and cans and the occasional liquor bottle.  The ashtray was overflowing onto the table and there were three empty packs of Camel’s mixed in among the bottles.  At least the alcohol and cigarette smoke smell kind of covered the lingering cold greasy smell of last night’s dinner.  My mom, Alicia wasn’t known for her cooking ability.  Not cooking food anyway.

I stopped in the living room watching her through the pass-through window as she got her breakfast in the kitchen.  Her personal cupboard was padlocked so we couldn’t raid it when she was gone.  As always she looked completely out of place in our dump of a single-wide.  Long blonde hair swung from a ponytail down to the middle of her back.  Anytime she showed up for a football game all the guys would stare at her.  She was pretty if not downright beautiful and she knew it.  Why she’d ever hooked up with Gunner was beyond me.  Maybe it had been desperation or something else, I didn’t pretend to understand it.  She glanced up and I felt my pulse quicken.  Please let her be in a good mood this morning, I begged whatever god cared to listen.

“Mornin’,” I ventured.

“Good morning Corentin.  Make sure you fix Gunner’s breakfast before you leave for school.  I’ll be gone all day, there is a realtor’s meeting in Springfield that I’m going to attend.  Don’t expect me home before ten tonight.  You and Tabitha are in charge of getting dinner on and make sure you clean the kitchen this time.”

I nodded as I headed to the refrigerator hoping there was something edible in it.  As usual she was lying.  I knew her real reason for going to Springfield.  It hadn’t been much of a shock to find out the realtor bit was a cover for her drug running for Gunner.  It was just really disappointing.  I guess it had stopped being a shock when Gunner had made me help him at a couple of his meth labs.  I hated it with a passion; it was hard, dangerous and smelly work.  I’d rather do something legal and safe.  My refusal to help often started many of our fights.  They normally ended with me bleeding on the floor.  Distracting myself with the task at hand I opened the fridge, almost welcoming the stench of rotting food.  Half a dozen eggs and a nearly empty gallon of milk meant breakfast wasn’t going to be much.  I’d have to see if we had enough money to go by the Save-A-Lot after school.

“Morning Alicia,” Tabby’s voice was muffled, probably by a towel.  Grabbing the eggs and milk I shut the door with my foot.  Sure enough Tabby was toweling her hair dry as she stood in the living room.  I rolled my eyes and set the food down on the counter.  She always pretended to be so polite, but I knew what she really thought of Alicia.  I agreed with her too.

“Good morning Tabitha.  Mrs. Coontz said they have a job opening at the Pizza Hut in Camdenton.  You should go apply today.”  Today was stressed in a tone that meant you did it or you suffered major consequences.

Tabby’s smile was as fake as they come, “I’ll check it out after I drive Ren to school since he missed the bus.”

“I was going to take my bike.”

“No,” They chorused glaring at me.

“It’s getting too late in the year and I don’t like you riding it anyway.”  I almost snorted, she didn’t like me riding it ‘cause it meant I had wheels faster than hers.

“It’s a lot cheaper on gas than the Dodge.” I countered.

The Dodge was a 1978 Ram Charger more suited to off-roading or mudding than driving down the road.  At least it was it better shape than the Chevy Gunner drove.  He’d nearly totaled it last year running from the cops.   Alicia drove a new Beamer that none of us were allowed to even look at much less touch.  If she really cared why didn’t she use some of that drug money to make our lives a little easier?  I knew the answer even as I thought the question.  She don’t care ‘bout us, not any more than me and Tabby are tax deductions.

“Tabitha has to go into town anyway.  No more discussion Corentin.”

I flinched at the tone.  Cringing as she walked behind me I was not spared the smack to the back of my head.  She was the only person who ever used my full name and I hated it.

“Tabitha, I want him home immediately after football practice.  You are not to go anywhere else.”

“Okay.”  Tabitha’s false meekness wouldn’t have worked on anyone else, but Alicia never seemed to notice.

One last check in the mirror by the door and she was gone.  Rubbing the back of my head I set about making breakfast for the rest of us.  Scrambled eggs and toast just isn’t filling especially when we had to leave half of it for Gunner.  Tabby came up behind me ruffling my hair.

“You know you shouldn’t argue with her.  Now she’ll think about it all day and be totally pissed by the time she gets home.”

I shifted away from her, cracking the eggs into the skillet.  “Doesn’t matter.  She’ll come home in a bad mood anyway, like she always does.”

“So you shouldn’t make it worse, shorty.”

“Hey, it’s too early for name calling.”

Tabby and I were cleaning up the mess when there were several thumps from the back of the trailer where the master bedroom was.

“We’d better hurry.”  Her voice was low and shook a bit.  “He had to move another lab yesterday.”

Swearing under my breath I hurried to put the dishes away.  Tabby, white lipped and silent wiped the counters clean with swift economical movements.  Moving a meth lab was always risky especially with the local highway patrol already watching Gunner like a hawk on a snake.


Well, it’s a start anyway.


The Age of the Anti-Hero has been long.   Some credit George Lucas and Han Solo for popularizing the trend that had started first in literature.  Some literary anti-heroes are Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein;  Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby;  Gollum from J. R. R. Tolkein‘s Lord of the Rings series;  Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger; Dexter Morgan from Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter (also popularized as a tv series).

Basically an anti-hero is a hero who sees morals as more of a guideline than an absolute.  They are not averse to breaking laws and bending rules to reach their stated goal.

So what lead to the downfall of the traditional hero?

People wanted someone they felt they could relate more closely too, not some moral ideal.  They wanted a hero that was gritty and as morally corrupt, or at least questionable, as they feel themselves to be.  This trend has spawned a great number of vigilante types in fiction and movies.  While they (usually) make for interesting characters, the type has grown stale and overused due to ceaseless repetition of the same tropes.

As any of you who follow this blog know, I’m a huge fan of villains.  Anti-heroes amuse me because they are pseudo-villains.  Now this is not to say that there aren’t some that I don’t genuinely like.  While they are a grittier, more true to life hero than say, Superman, they still have their issues.

So it was with much surprise and a little chagrin that I realized I had found a true hero that I’m completely in love with.  Let me explain what I mean by true hero and then I will discuss my adoration of this character.

A hero is morally upright, places great importance on doing what is right and just, does everything in their power to help those who are weaker or in maligned condition, they have integrity, honor, are trustworthy and true to their word.  Their sense of right and wrong guides all they do.

I’m getting bored just explaining the term.

But I understand that this is something all of us wish we were and few of us will ever fully accomplish.  So now on to how I fell in love with a hero.

I tend to watch cartoons with my children.  My son had found a newer cartoon on Netflix that I didn’t really pay attention to until he was several episodes in.  I sat through one episode and was hooked.  At first I was more interested in the villains, but then in one episode the hero did something I found shocking.  He made a mistake, an error in judgement that resulted in people getting hurt.  And it hurt him.  He was mortified and humble in is apology.  Something sparked in my mind and I began to watch him more closely.  By the end of the second season I am not ashamed to say that I was an emotional wreck.  I won’t spoil the ending for you but it was not a typical one for a children’s cartoon.

You are probably wondering who I’m talking about.  So please allow me to introduce him:

Optimus Prime in the new Hub series Transformers Prime

Meet Optimus Prime.  At least his newest iteration.  I grew up watching Beast Wars and later Transformers Animated (which I gladly will forget, even when it first was out I got irritated with it) then along came the Bay movies.  But it wasn’t until this most recent aligned continuity (which includes 2 novels, 2 video games, comics and the cartoon) that I feel Optimus really came into his own.  His backstory is much richer and more involved than ever before with two novels explaining where he came from and how he met Megatron.  Previously, we were shown little of how Optimus became leader of the Autobots and came to wage war on the Decepticons.  In the Bay movies he’s not given much characterization other than being a warrior and the leader of the Autobots.  Transformers Prime (TFP) goes way beyond this and even allows us to see him not just as a Prime but as a person.  He has fears, hopes, makes mistakes, gets embarrassed and enraged, but through it all he is still Optimus Prime.

His first self imposed priority is to keep his team safe.  Next he does his best to protect humanity.  Life, all life, is precious to him and he even hesitates to deliver the final blow to his enemies.  He states several times that it is his desire not to kill the Decepticons but  to change their minds.  Being an Autobot or a Decepticon is a choice and one that  carries with it grave consequences.

Optimus might be humble and willing to listen to his team, but that doesn’t mean he is a push over either.  He is not above admitting his mistakes either.  In the final episodes of season one he faces one of his greatest challenges in the form of a god reborn.  Even when facing a figure out of Cybertron’s distant past he displays great courage, honor and humility in addressing Unicron.  If you do not wish to have the show spoiled for you, do not click play.

I’m sure you are wondering just which episode turned my head, so to speak.  Honestly, it was late in season two and the Autobots had just suffered a resounding defeat.  Optimus returned to base wounded and went right back to work trying to decode the Iacon database in the hopes of finding some way to defeat the Decepticons.  It was at this moment I realized just how selfless and self sacrificing he is.  Going back and re-watching the entire series I gained a much greater understanding of him and of his determination.  I gained an all new respect for him as a character once I read the novels. He’s suffered through some horrific things and had immense responsibility thrust on him.  Yet, he hasn’t given up or wavered in his beliefs.

Most heroes seem two dimensional at best.  They seem to be self-righteous do gooders, incapable of true humility even if they are self sacrificing.  Altruism while an admirable quality is often seen as a weakness by most.  Being willing to sacrifice oneself is one thing, knowing the appropriate time is another.  In the novel Transformers: Exodus by Alex Irvine, Optimus makes a very valid point about honor and sacrifice, one that I have never seen put so plainly or even addressed.  He asked a fellow Autobot what the worth of honor was if that honor led to a senseless death that could have been avoided?  It is this attitude that endears him to me.  He sees the bigger picture, he understands that having honor and pride is not enough, it must be tempered with humility and meekness.  Realizing that one cannot always win just because they think they are in the right.  Sometimes losing is just as effective, you allow your enemy to misjudge, miscalculate and overreach.

This does not mean that Optimus has not made errors in judgement or simple mistakes.  He is not infallible and he’s not make out to be.  But he accepts these failures, learns from them and becomes more determined.  He’s not afraid to apologize and admit he is wrong, to his own team or to their human allies.

There are many other reasons why I find him so appealing, but I feel that it is best to discover them on your own.  I’m still getting used to the fact that I adore the big bot.  It’s a testament to the skill of the new writers that they’ve made a hero even I can love.

Beginnings Always End Something

Or why character backstory is vital to your story.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
Maya Angelou

In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I read numerous blogs about plot and structure and how to do both.  What I’ve not seen many writers mention is the need for well thought out characters.  Plot is after all character driven.  Without meaningful characters there will be no plot.

So how do you go about creating a character that is compelling?

My advice; start at the beginning.  No wait, let me explain.  Start with where you see your character now.  Their beginning in your story.  Now go back.  What lead them up to this point?  What decisions did they make?  What people influenced them?  What outside actions took their toll?  How does their upbringing influence their current thinking and actions?

That’s a lot to think about.

Maybe you aren’t sure how your character’s history has influenced them, or maybe you aren’t convinced it matters.   Let’s explore a couple of examples to see how this could work.  (A note before we continue:  writing a character’s backstory is for your information, when writing the actual story you want to keep as much of it as possible hidden from the reader, only revealing what is absolutely necessary.  We’ll discuss why later in the post.)

Once Upon a Time . . .

There was a young gladiator.  He risked his life for the amusement of others on a regular basis.  He trained, he grew and became mighty, fearless and feared.  His ambitions did not stop at the arena walls.  He wanted to foment change, to start a revolution.

There was a young scholar.  He read, cataloged and reported on the goings on of the empire.  He learned and within him grew a sense of what is just, what is right and respect for the sanctity of life.  He dreamed of a world without corruption, without oppression of the weak and less fortunate.

And one day they met.

“From the greatest love comes the most vicious hate.”

This meeting took place quietly, no grand fanfare, no one really took much notice till later when events started to happen and the revolution was well under way.  They fought for the same ideals yet their methods were as different as night and day.  Understandably the gladiator turned to force, using his great charisma to sway the masses to his side, and using his sword when words failed.  The scholar knowing little to nothing of fighting opened the debate with their ruling council, using his intellect and many years of study to try and persuade them.  The gladiator was impatient and took matters into his own hands much to the horror of the scholar.  Their friendship shattered as the council bestowed the scholar with the most important title their civilization had to offer.  The gladiator, frustrated and feeling impotent now turned his attention from overthrowing the caste system to destroying his onetime friend.

In their current iteration we rarely hear anything about how these two met or why.  We only know that they were once friends and are now bitter enemies.  Yet their back story is critical to where they are now.

Some of you may recognize the characters I’m speaking of here.  I have not named them because I want the focus to be on their back story, not on who they are.

In my novel Sorrow’s Fall little is said of my protagonist’s upbringing outside of a few comments on his training and a random memory or two that is relevant to what is currently happening.  He does not dwell on it, yet is shapes his actions, defines him.  Without his past he would be a radically different person.

There are many times when a character seems to just appear out of a fog with no back history or explanation of why or how they came to where they are.  Sometimes the reader is willing to put aside this in favor of learning about the character.  Wolverine comes to mind.  He himself did not know his past and it haunted him.  His lack of a past drove him forward, dictated his actions and even his friendships and alliances.  He was unwilling to trust anyone.

Then there are characters who we are introduced to just as they reach a defining moment in their lives.  Peter Parker/Spider Man for example.

In each of these examples, the writer knows exactly where these characters are coming from.  Or should.  Knowing where your character has been makes determining where they are going much easier.  Why is that so?

We are the sum of our experiences.  Your character should be too.  This might take some in depth research and hard soul searching.  But, that is what writing is about, finding those hidden truths about ourselves that others can relate to, those hidden gems are what make outstanding characters.

Happily Ever After . . .

So even though pretty much 98% of your character’s back story won’t end up in your actual prose, it is still a huge part of the story.  Without it the characters have nowhere to go and no drive to get there.

Lets look back at my first example of the gladiator and the scholar.  Without their past they would have no reason to fight each other now.  There would be no sense of betrayal on either side.  No one but the two of them truly know the depth of their emotion over what happened, except their writer.  You should know these types of details about your character as well.  Knowing when to use them in your story is a different beast altogether.

The Battle is Joined

If you would like more help with creating a character check out these helpful books:

Guest Post: Going Pro with Your Writing

This week I am super excited to have Pauline Jones as a guest poster.


Going Pro with your Writing

by Pauline Baird Jones


Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead

~Gene Fowler


This is an exciting time to be a writer. It is hard to miss the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, or not feel why not me? Digital publishing has forever changed the landscape for writers, opening up a direct conduit from author to reader. Now fan fiction authors have been talking direct to their readers for years, so they have an important edge—as evidenced by Fifty Shades—when taking their writing from fun hobby to professional business.

But there are some important differences that can trip the unwary and turn going pro into an exercise in miserable.


I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork

~Peter De Vries


Because there are so many options, it has become even more important for the savvy writer to understand the various options, the upside and downside of each, and what’s best for your work. That means you need a basic understanding of intellectual property rights before you sign anything. If you don’t know what IP is, then that’s a good place to start doing your research.


Here are a couple of good places to start:


The Business Rusch (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

Dean Wesley Smith (her husband)

The Passive Voice (an intellectual property lawyer)

Joe Konrath (writer and voice for indie authors)


Most of these blogs will open you up to more resources and information. Information is power. Don’t fear knowledge. One of the biggest problems writers have is mixing fiction with their reality. They hear or believe what they want to hear, what feels comfortable, or what will let them continue in happy ignorance.

Happy ignorance will not last if you get published. Truth will slap you around. It can cost you time and sometimes control of your intellectual property.

Be in charge of your own business.

Yes, you are, or will become, a small business if you decide to begin selling your work. How much responsibility you take on will depend, in some part, on which form of publishing you choose to pursue. But even if you choose to use a publisher, you will sign legal contracts that will affect your rights to control your work.

And no matter who publishes your work, ultimately you will be responsible for your author brand. Your author brand is your name, or the name that will be on the cover of your published work.

Your published work is your product. Each book is a package that you hope to sell to readers. When you are writing for friends and/or family, story telling is king. And friends and family tend to love you, so they love what you write. They read it without a critical eye. They can overlook typos and badly constructed sentences and meandering plots.

When you are asking readers to pay money for your writing, storytelling is still king—but craft is the queen. If you don’t believe me, just peruse some reader reviews on Amazon, paying particular attention to the 1-2 star reviews.

Whenever I see comments like, “This could have been so much better with the help of a good editor,” you know the author didn’t respect their story or their reader enough to do the hard work of learning the craft. Authors who know they are running a business will hire the best people for their business, so that they protect their brand.

The first law of protecting your brand is to make sure your story is the best it can be before money changes hands.


When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing

~Enrique Jardiel Poncela


Let me repeat that: when you are asking readers to exchange money for your story, you need to deliver the best story possible.

Once a reader pays for your product, they have a right to comment on their experience with it. Reviews are hard. Rejection is really hard. But understand that readers who aren’t related to us, or who aren’t our friends, aren’t going to love us unless we do our job.

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn, as a beginning-going-professional writer, was how important it was to be patient, to take the time to get the story right. For many readers, you only get one shot at making a good impression. You fail with them, they are gone.


Doing it right the first time is part of protecting your brand.

~Almost Every Successful Author


Our job is to deliver a well-written, satisfying story. There is too much competition to drive off readers who wanted to like your book. Because there will be readers who don’t engage with your story no matter what you do. “This just didn’t work for me” is very different from “needs a better editor,” or “an editor.”

When you collect reviews like that you ready to face the second rule of protecting your brand: don’t go bat crap crazy on people who don’t like what you write. Even if they are wrong, don’t engage. Take the long view, drive the high road, bite your tongue, step away from the computer—whatever it takes. There are people out there who like to see authors melt down, lose control, whatever. It’s reality Internet for them. Don’t let them play you.

Who you are, what you did, what you wrote, what you didn’t do, will follow you around like a whining dog/child/reader. If you can’t handle bad reviews, don’t read them. For some authors, bad reviews don’t just hit their ego. They stomp on their Muse. Which brings me back to: protect your brand. Yes, your Muse is part of your brand. Writing more books is the most important part of your business.

Let me repeat that: writing books is the most important part of your business. It is the reason you have a business. If readers love your books, the first thing they will do after “the end,” is to go looking for more.

I promise you there will be times when it is harder to write for money than it was to write for nothing. If that seems counterintuitive, welcome to the publishing business.


So, to recap: 


  1. Quantity of words does not equal quality. Writing is rewriting and rewriting some more.
  2. If you want to be a professional writer, find where professional writers hang out and talk to them, learn from them, pick their brains, read their blogs, learn.
  3. Protect your brand. Put your best writing foot forward in your books and your best self forward when you promote. Learn from others how to do this. (See a pattern emerging here?)
  4. Be nice. (I don’t have to explain this, do I?)
  5. Learn the business of writing. Craft, contracts, rights management, promotion and publicity–all of it. If you don’t manage it, it will manage you. If you’re not savvy, you risk losing time, money and control of your intellectual property.
  6. Grow a thick skin. You’ll need it when the first rejections and/or reviews start coming in. Realize that not everyone likes chocolate and not everyone will like what you write. When you go pro, that means putting on the big girl/boy pants.
  7. Keep writing. If you write a book that readers like, they will look for the next one and the next one and the one after that.
  8. Don’t take your readers for granted.  Don’t disappoint them or yourself by being less than your best.
  9. Love the process, love the writing, love the story telling.


Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no demand on those who wrote them.

~Charles Caleb Colton


Every business, from widgets to frozen waffles, is in it for the money, but they start with a passion to provide a service or product that people are willing to pay for. People who make widgets love making them. I know, seems crazy, but to people who don’t write, we’re the crazies and widgets are normal.

If you are only in it for the money, it will show in your writing and readers will know. Books aren’t widgets. They are a deeply personal experience to readers. You know when a book isn’t quite right, don’t you? And your job is to convince a reader to pick your story over the millions and millions of books out there.

We all know the stories of the overnight success, the authors who cut corners and struck gold their first time out of the gate. It happens. Lightning strikes sometimes. And if you don’t get out there, it sure won’t strike.

But the authors who endure, who build a readership that comes back for more, are the authors who respect themselves and those readers. They are in it for the long haul. They are in it because they love telling stories. They are the ones who bring their passion for great storytelling to the process and not just a longing to strike it rich. These writers create fans, not cash cows.

I’ve been in this business a long time. I delighted over my first sale and I still get a thrill when I release a new novel. But the deep satisfaction, and the will to keep going, does not come from the money. I am amazed and delighted when a reader takes the time to write to me, or to write a review about how much they liked something I wrote. When I realize they get what I was trying to do with the story, knowing they took the journey into my imaginary world and had a great time—well, there’s nothing quite like that glow. It feeds my Muse and keeps me going through recalcitrant characters, tricky plots and even the not-so-nice reviews.

Is it hard? Absolutely.

Is it worth it? In my humble opinion, without a doubt.

But then, I don’t want to make widgets. I want to write books.



Pauline Baird Jones had a tough time with reality from the get-go. After “schooling” from four, yes FOUR brothers, she knew that some people needed love and others needed killing. Pauline figured she could do both. Romantic suspense was the logical starting point, but there were more worlds to explore, more rules to break and minds to bend. She grabbed her pocket watch and time travel device and dove through the wormhole into the world of science fiction and even some Steampunk.

Now she wanders among the genres, trying a little of this and a lot of that, rampaging through her characters’ lives like Godzilla because she does love her peril (when it’s not happening to her). Never fear, she gives her characters happy endings. Well, the good characters. The bad ones get justice. 

She is currently at work on her fourteenth novel and has twelve audio books in production. Her publisher will release three collections of her short stories in the upcoming months: Project Enterprise: The short stories, The Romances and The Mysteries. For more information about Pauline, her books and to check out her blog, visit:


Writing. For real.

I love to read.  Almost as much as I like to write.  I read everything that comes within eyesight. This is not always a good thing, but meh, can’t help it.

As someone who loves to read, I read a lot of fan fiction.  Don’t judge me.  I’m impatient.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been putting together a writer’s conference just for fan fiction writers.  I knew fanficcers where considered fringe writers at best and social pariahs at worst.  I was not prepared for the amount of vitrol directed at these amatuer writers.  They are not just social outcasts of the writing world, they are viewed as the demon hellspawn of the internet by many a pro-writer and avid reader alike.

And along came Fifty Shades of Grey, the oh-so-famous porn version of Twilight-er no wait, that version is an ‘original’ work.  Now fan fiction is in the public eye like never before and the debate continues.  Is it legal?  No.  Is it fun?  Often.  Is it terribly written?  Mostly.  Should authors sue and demand their works be banned from  Their call.  George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame wrote in his Not A Blog on Livejournal about his views on the phenomenon.  You can read his post here:

The issue has been debated to death and will rise as a zombie issue to be debated over and over.  I’m not here to debate the legality or the ethics of fan fiction.  Others have and much more eloquently than I ever could.

For the record, I never planned on writing fan fiction.  I don’t like messing with someone else’s characters.  My characters are as dear and real to me as my flesh and blood children.  So I completely understand other author’s stance on fan fiction.  Have I written fan fiction?  Yes.  I am currently writing an Avengers peice all from Loki‘s pov.  Why?  For one Loki is fascintating to me.  (In case you hadn’t read any of my other posts, I adore the manipulative bastard.)  He’s very hard for me to write.  He’s a huge challenge, which I relish.  He’s an incredibly complex character with an rich back story and that’s just Marvel’s version.

But, I digress.

I’m of the opinion that young writers need somewhere to start.  They need mentors, someone who will offer them sound advice and helpful critiques.  They get this, and more, by writing and posting their fan fiction to the various sites available for it.  Of course this means there is a ton and I mean a ton, of horrible writing out there to sift through.  Yet, often these amateurs feel they are not  ‘creative’ enough to spawn their own universe and characters, so they decide to use someone elses.  Or they find a certain character in  fandom that they identify so closely with that they just have to write about them.  Or there are the ones who insist they can do better than the original creator.  And then you have the people who only care about writing por-er smut about their favorite pairing.

Writing is writing is writing.  Whatever you want to call it.  Fan fiction.  Dirivitive works.  Copyright infringement.

The point is, these young writers want to write and do so with a verbosity and passion that I’m sure a lot of us more experienced writers wish we could muster at times.  They love their characters just as fiercely as we love ours.  Yet, I know deep down the majority of them want to be original they just don’t know how.  I cite the plethora of original characters (OCs) in any fandom as proof of that.

Of course it has been pointed out that one of the major failings of fanfic, legality aside, is the quality.  We are all learning the hard way that digital publishing has it’s downside-quality control.  This is something that any regular to or other fanfic site could have told you years ago.  The number of barely readable works far outnumbers the truly well written ones.  Trying to find a well written fic in a fandom can be worse than trying to find a normie at ComicCon.  They are there, but they can be hard to spot.

Cathy Young speaks about this in her post at  (  “The good news about the Internet is that, in a world without gatekeepers, anyone can get published. The bad news, of course, is the same. Much fanfic is hosted on sites such as, where authors can get their work online in minutes—which means that professional-quality stories coexist with barely literate fluff, and reader reviews will sometimes congratulate an author on good grammar and spelling. Even sites that prescreen fanfic and encourage authors to use beta readers and a spell checker tend to be quite lax with quality control, and only a few fan fiction archives are genuinely selective.”

This is only more true today five years later and not only about fan fiction.  So with the new public eye on fan fiction what’s a writer to do?  Where can the amatuer turn to for advice and education on the craft when all they’ve ever written is fan fiction?  Some are too intimidated to even admit to their writing addiction.  Others would never take a writing class because they don’t consider themselves ‘real’ writers.

The sites on writing that welcome or even encourage fan fiction writers are few and far between outside of forums. is the preeminent site for writers of the genre offering writing advice and encouragement specifically for fan fiction writers.  That’s why I decided to have a writer’s conference just for fan fiction writers. ( These authors write out of love, as we all do.  Love for the character, love of writing, love of recognition and acclaim for our works.   When it comes right down to it, the amateur and the so-called professional aren’t so different.  We both love to write and should be more interested in helping each other learn the craft.

We are all writers after all.

Enemy Mine

For the first time in my life I completed a video game.  As in roll the credits we are outta here.  Don’t snicker.  It’s true, I’ve never played a game where no matter how many times I died or how complicated things seem to get I couldn’t get enough of it.  Well played High Moon Studio’s, well played.  I hope Deadpool‘s take over won’t affect the quality of the games.  Though I doubt he gives much input.   Oh . . . you didn’t know he took over?  He announced it in person at ComicCon 2012.  No seriously.

Anyway, this isn’t about Deadpool.  Really.  No.  It’s about Transformers.  Specifically this game:


I can count on one hand the times I’ve paid full price for a game.  I paid full price for this game and it was worth every sandwich I slapped together at Subway.  The game play was nearly seamless, the graphics incredible even on my ancient CRT TV.  Technical things aside, what made this game so much fun was the fact that you sometimes played as an Autobot and sometimes as a Decepticon.  I enjoyed both honestly.  But what struck me the most was the dicotomy between Megatron and Optimus.  Oh sure I’d always known it existed but usually it was just:  Autobots=GOOD, Decepticons=BAD.

Yet the lines, while clearly drawn, were sometimes a bit fuzzy and grayer than I’d remembered.  At one point Megatron taunts Optimus saying that he was the reason Cybertron was uninhabitable because he’d drug out the war by not surrendering.  That Optimus was at fault for allowing the war to continue when he could have ended it and the suffering and ultimate decimation of their home world.

Optimus counters that freedom is worth the price.  Freedom from Megatron’s tyranny is worth the sacrifice.  And it’s a huge sacrifice.  Their home planet is incapable of supporting life any longer.  Optimus makes the difficult and not uncontested decision to leave their planet behind.  The war is a stalemate.  Both sides have lost.  There isn’t enough energon to fuel the planet and even the Well of Allsparks has gone dry.  There are no new transformers.  Their world is dead.

Was it worth it?

Their civilization is gone and with it nearly all their advancements in culture, art, science and technology.   Was Optimus right to make that decision for the whole race?  Was he right to fight Megatron until literally every last resource had been depleted?  Should he have tried to find another way to end the war and save their planet?  Should he have conceded defeat to Megatron to save their world from destruction?

Sometimes, waiting for a tyranny to erode from the inside only brings more pain and suffering and you still end up in the same place you would have if you had opposed it.

So what was Megatron’s impetus for continuing the war?  Obviously he believed himself and his ideals to be right.  Right enough to fight for hundreds of years to ensure they were implemented.  Megatron wanted to end the caste system that had been in place for millenia on Cybertron.  He wanted freedom to determine his own status as a Cybertronian.  So where did things go so wrong?

His methods.  He was impatient, ruthless, driven and unwilling to negotiate.  While his ideals might have been lofty and well intended.  His means of getting there decried any possibility of his rule being a just one.  He became obsessed with power which lead to his use of the Dark Energon and his exposure to its corruptive influence.   He refused the advice of his lieutenants to leave Dark Energon alone and went ahead with his plan.  This was extreme hubris on his part.

His background as a gladiator did him no favors when it came time to lead.  He was too accustomed to crushing anything that stood in his way.  This just one area where he and Optimus differed.

Before he became a Prime, Optimus had been Orion Pax, a data clerk.  His approach to things was academic, with careful research and weighing of all sides.  Sometimes, during the civil war his close friends and advisers felt he was too cautious, too reserved and unwilling to take necessary risks.  Where Megatron would rush in headlong guns blazing, Optimus was more likely to observe and debate the necessity of action.

They are polar opposites and yet they are both passionate about their ideals.  Both of them have lofty aims that are not in themselves wrong.  At one time they agreed and were even friends, but their difference of opinion in the method to reach those goals lead to their current animosity.

Their story is a tragedy of epic proportions that spanned eons and millions of light years.  There are lessons to be learned from it.  Both from a societal viewpoint and a personal one.

Yup, all that from a  video game.

Kill Me Softly

This is how I remember first meeting Boba Fett.  He was mysterious, dangerous and didn’t back down from one of the meanest villains in any genre.  It was love at first sight.  Then came the prequels.  The utter horror and dismay on my part as one of my all time favorite characters was reduced to a mere clone has stuck with me for years now.  I used to collect anything and everything Fett.  No longer.  His image and his very essence had been tainted.  By the  man who created him.  And why?  To satisfy fans.

I’m a fan and I did not ask for this travesty.  Yet over and over I see characters get slaughtered by their own writers.   The comic book industry is rife with examples.  (Deadpool being one of the foremost, more on that in a few.) Literature doesn’t escape it either.  I recently finished the Hunger Games series.  I was severely disappointed by how Katniss changed over the three books.  She went from being a total badass to basically reinstating the very regime she’d fought to take down.  How is that character progression?  Is it meant to be an ironic statement by the author?

Then there is the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  I loved the first book.  Anita was a total kick ass woman who knew who she was and who she didn’t want to be.  I was appalled and disgusted by the end of the series.   Anita was no longer kick ass and amazing, she was a whore.  She had gone from untouchable to just another bimbo sleeping with vampires.  Is it no wonder I rarely read books with a female protagonist?

So what happened?  Fans.  Fans happened.  Fans are awesome.  I wish I had fans.  But just like the electric kind they can be refreshing or they can blow shit all over the place.  Letting your character get caught by fans reduces them to a bloody splatter on the wall, unrecognizable as the person you brought into existence.  I’m a fan myself.  I’m a huge fan of certain series and characters as you’ve probably noticed.  I’m also a writer.  (Another fact that I hope hasn’t escaped your notice.)  As a writer watching another writer as they let fans dictate how a character evolves puzzles me.

I’m all for fan input, commentary, discussion and whathaveyou, but when it starts to affect how I view my own character it’s time to step back.  I know my characters more intimately than I probably know myself.  Does that mean I need to let you, my dear, dear reader know all those facts?  No.  Does that mean I don’t listen when people remark on certain attributes of my characters?  No.  Does that mean I write to please my readers?  No.  I write to please myself.  If you like it awesome, great, fantastic we’ve got something in common.  If not, no big.

So why do some writers get caught up in trying to please fans?  Maybe they are afraid of what people will say if they don’t.  Maybe they think that appealing to the lowest common denominator will gain them more sales.  Which, while sometimes true, I think betrays the core reason for writing.  Writers write to entertain, to educate and illuminate.  Few single works do all three.  Some can barely manage one.

It is my firm belief that writers have a duty to their story and their characters first, readers second.  If the story and characters are sound, well crafted and compelling the readers will come.  Being consistent when writing a character is paramount.  And that point brings me to Deadpool.

Sure there are other comic book characters who have been rewritten by various writers.  Each writer for a run has their own take on the character and the universe.  A lot like fanfiction really.  Look at Batman or Spider-Man.  Though they essentially stay the same type of character, their core personalities don’t change.  Deadpool aka Wade Wilson has no such luck.  In his first appearance nothing is known about him, his actions and his verbage speak for themselves.  We didn’t need to know his background at that point.  We got it.  He was a killer who enjoyed his job very much and also loved to talk.  He was quite menacing and very obviously a bad guy.

Deadpool’s first appearance in New Mutants #98 published Feb 1991.

After his first appearance he cropped up a few months later in X-Force #1 but only as a character profile.  Slowly but surely he built a fandom and starting getting more appearances.   Finally in 1993 he got to be a headliner in his own one-shot series Deadpool: The Circle Chase.   That series ended and he was back to making short appearances until 1997 when he got his own title.  This started off the Joe Kelly era of Deadpool which is considered by most fans to be the definitive version of the character.  Then we come down to 2008 and a new writer by the name of Daniel Way.  He’d worked on Wolverine: Origins and Ghost Rider, he’s legit.  So why has his take on Deadpool has seen the most virulent derision from the loyal fans who have followed Deadpool from the early 90’s?

Deadpool began as a wise cracking mercenary who shot first and never thought to ask questions and acted as if the fourth wall was merely a suggestion.  By the end of the Secret Invasion arc things are very clearly leaning in a different direction.   Then came Dark Reign and Monkey Business.  The wise cracking is still there but the wise is slipping.  Instead of real humor there are inane refrences to (then) current entertainment news/gossip.  And Deadpool has lost a whole bucket full of IQ points.  He seems to have traded in his quirky talent for being painfully obvious yet obscure for being painfully dimwitted and trite.  He’s still mouthy, but instead of being funny it comes across more as though a fourteen year old sat in his room dreaming up one liners and who then creates situations in which to use them.

The progression of Wade as a character has stalled.  There is no internal conflict that was present in the earlier series and all the external conflict feels contrived.  There is a fixation on being  a ‘hero,’ but no real motive for this fixation other than wanting to be liked and this isn’t even explored or exploited as well as it could be.  He tries to join the X-Men, of course that fails miserably, he’s not a ‘true’ mutant.  So he tries to follow Spider-Man around to learn how to be a hero.  He’s been a hero, multiple times in earlier incarnations, albeit never acknowledged by the Mavel Universe as one.  Current issues are episodic and have more of a sitcom feel to them with little or no character development.

Sure some issues are funny, most are juvenile and not suited to the more mature audience that Deadpool has garnered over the years.  While I am not a Way-nah-sayer, I do find his run to have been more puerile and much less fun than anticipated.

My main issue with him as the writer of Deadpool is that while he did introduce some interesting elements they were not used to their full advantage.  He chose flash over bang.  It looks like something happened but when the smoke clears, its just that.  Smoke.  Nothing really happened.

So what can we take from this example?  When writing a character, any character you have to fully understand where they come from and their motivations.  Once the action really gets going it can be easy to lose those motivations.  That’s why it helps to step back every now and then and look objectively at what you’ve written.  Is it really working?  Is your character staying true to themselves or are you dictating things to make the story work?  Author intrusion is going to be noticed by the reader and even those fans who have been begging for something to happen will know that you faked it.  Don’t be afraid to write your character as they truly are and definitely don’t listen to fans who blow shit.

Yes, my boy.  You are good.

This Pool is a Little Crowded Part 2

Deadpool (by ReillyBrown on DeviantArt) never seems to take bodily injury or even death seriously.

So last time I was talking about why Deadpool is NOT a hero.  No where does he fit the description of a typical action hero.  So does this mean he’s an anti-hero.  Lets look at that definition.


an·ti·he·ro [an-tee-heer-oh] noun, plural an·ti·he·roes.

a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure,as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like.

Encyclopedia Britannica  Encyclopedia


a protagonist of a drama or narrative who is notably lacking in heroic qualities. This type of character has appeared in literature since the time of the Greek dramatists and can be found in the literary works of all nations. Examples include the title charactersof Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote (Part I, 1605; Part II, 1615) and Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749). Some examples of the modern, postwar antihero, as defined by the Angry Young Men,include Joe Lampton, in John Braine’s Room at the Top (1957),and Arthur Seaton, in Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958).

From the beginning of his series, its been established that Deadpool’s first priority in anything is himself.  He joined the military, not out of a sense of duty or patriotism, but simply for the money.  He later volunteers for the Weapon X program simply to try and save himself from cancer.  (As he notes himself in one of the later issues of Cable & Deadpool all origin continuity depends on which writer you prefer, this is the version I think makes the most sense.)  Like a lot of us, he’s made bad decisions compounded by worse decisions.  He has a hard time figuring out what the ‘right’ thing is and then doing it.  Sometimes, his reactions to events are simply that, reactionary and while on the surface seem heroic, it was never his intention to be heroic.  Then other times he’s desperately trying to be what he thinks of as heroic, which rarely works out well for anyone involved.

Cable tries repeatedly to help him rise above his self-inflicted mediocrity.  It has rather mixed and questionable results. After a very public and very messy break up with Cable, Deadpool kidnaps Taskmaster who is a renowned mercenary in order to prove that he’s still a kick ass merc.  After their fight and the failure of Deadpool’s plan this is what Taskmaster says to him:

Excerpted from Deadpool & Cable #36 originally published Jan 17, 2007.

Deadpool can’t win for losing.

Ouch, buuuurn.  But therein lines the crux of the problem.  Deadpool has no idea what he’s doing.  He’s highly trained and extremely dangerous but completely unfocused.  He basically just does whatever strikes his fancy.  So . . . that leads us to the next topic.  Is he a villain?

Definition of VILLAIN

2: an uncouth person : boor
3: a deliberate scoundrel or criminal
4: a character in a story or play who opposes the hero
5: one blamed for a particular evil or difficulty <automation as the villain in job … displacement — M. H. Goldberg>

Examples of VILLAIN

  1. He plays the villain in most of his movies.
  2. She describes her first husband as a villain who treated her terribly.
  3. Don’t try to make me the villain. It’s your own fault that you’re having these problems.

Origin of VILLAIN

Middle English vilain, vilein, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin villanus, from Latin villa

First Known Use: 14th century

Related to VILLAIN

While most everyone who knows Deadpool say’s he’s an idiot most understand that he’s not a complete reprobate.  He doesn’t like killing innocents or causing undo mischief without reason(reason being money).  At one point he lost his hired gun job with King Pin because he chose to save innocent bystanders rather than taking the opportunity to kill Bullseye.  So does that mean he’s an anti-villain? has this to say about anti-villains.  “The Anti-Villain is a villain with heroic goals, personality traits, and virtues. Their desired ends are good, but their means of getting there are evil. Alternatively, their desired ends are evil, but they are far more ethical or moral than most villains and they thus use fairly benign means to achieve it, and can be downright heroic on occasion. They reach a kind of critical mass that makes them more good than normal villains but not quite heroes, blurring the line between hero and villain the same way an Anti-Hero does.

Anti-Villain is an attempt to humanize, to lighten up, a villain as opposed to Anti-Hero, which has a tendency to darken the hero. Side by side, it can become hard to tell them apart. The only reason some would even be considered evil at all is because they’re the Designated Villain. Despite this humanizing characterization, they are rarely less dangerous; heroes won’t know what to expect when their enemy offers cookies and then attacks their reputation, without giving them an excuse to rationalize killing them.

They are probably well aware that what they’re doing is “evil”, unlike the blinded Knight Templar, but strive to maintain a facade of good PR. They’ll see it as a viable means to a (possibly) good end.” (

So what do you think? Which camp does Deadpool fall into, if any?  Are there any other notable anti villains you can think of?

This Pool is a Little Crowded

So, by now most you understand my fandoms, n’est pas?  Well, along with revisiting my Tron love, I happened to find a box of my old comics.  (I’d boarded and bagged all of them prior to storage of course, I’m a true fangirl after all.)  I still miss my Spawn comics.  Cannot forget that #6 Todd McFarlane cover.  Relatives should never be allowed to go through your things when you move.  Ever.  Sigh.

But I did find my full series run of Dark Horse’s Boba Fett comics that came out before those dreaded prequels.  You know, back when Fett was bad ass and sounded it.

Gorgeous, isn’t it.  Mine is in near mint condition too.  I also have the entire run the Ultimate Spider-Man series.  I had a subscription as any good fan does.  What I realized I am missing though are my Deadpool comics.  I only had a few and none of his series, mostly just random times when he’d show up in other titles.

So, I decided to start re-reading them from #1, online since my local comic book store is woefully short of the titles.  The early runs starting in 1994 (The four book outing with the main series starting up again in ’97) are remarkably different from the ‘Pool we see in comics today.  Oh, don’t get me wrong he’s always been ‘the merc with a mouth.’   The earlier runs had him struggling to become a ‘hero’ and questioning if he could ever live up to that title then there were the times he vehemently denied even wanting to be one.  Good stuff.  He’s quite the poster boy for internal conflict and conflicting motivations.  He can be incredibly violent and nearly sadistic and then turn around and do something totally unexpected and borderline heroic and make you agree with Al that somewhere under all that filth there is a good soul.  By the way, Al or Alfred is the elderly woman Deadpool kept prisoner in his house.  Needless to say their relationship is ultra complicated.

I can hear you mumbling, yes I’m getting to the point okay.  I don’t ramble like Deadpool.  Usually.  Though I do talk to myself or rather to my other selves.  That’s a whole’nother blog though.  I’m getting distracted again.  I blame this yummy rotisserie chicken and The Fray.

So, can someone like Deadpool who has been a killer/murderer for hire for years, be a hero.  Short answer.  No.  Long answer forthcoming:

First, what is a hero?

Webster’s Free Online Dic says:

Definition of HERO

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descentendowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one who shows great courage
a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
plural usually he·ros : submarine 2
4: an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol
Examples of HERO
  1. He returned from the war a national hero.
  2. the hero of a rescue
  3. She was a hero for standing up to the government.
  4. His father has always been his hero.
  5. He has always been a hero to his son.
  6. A motto of his hero, Thomas Edison, is inscribed on a favorite sweatshirt : “To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” —Britt Robson, Mother Jones, May/June 2008
  7. [+]more
Origin of HERO
Latin heros, from Greek hērōs
First Known Use: 14th century
Related to HERO
Synonyms: godidolicon (also ikon)


Other Mythology and Folklore Terms
Rhymes with HERO

Feel enlightened yet.  Yeah, me neither.  By definition #4 anyone can be a hero to someone.  So what makes someone a hero.  Selflessness?  Compassion?  Willingness to act when other’s won’t?  Standing up for what is right?  Sure those are all good things.  Maybe even heroic things.  But where is motivation?  If the motivation is wrong is the action still heroic?  What makes an action heroic?  It’s like the age old question.  Are you brave or stupid?

I’ve always been a bit against the classical archetype of the hero.  I like to see people get beaten down by life and struggle to find a way to rise above it.  I guess that’s why I like our dear old Deadpool so much.  He’s had the snot kicked out of him more times than most Marvel heroes and villains.  Yet, he’s only ever once really gotten to the point he wanted to end it all.  Not that he can all that easily.  Healing factor and all.  But still, you gotta like a guy who loses limbs, gets decapitated and suffers all kind of bodily harm yet never shut’s the hell up.  Well only when he gets ‘really serious’ then its game over. A quiet Deadpool is an oxymoron.

DP is also unique in a few other ways.  He’s not afraid to address his reader directly. Yup, he is notorious for breaking the fourth wall and spouting his own observations about what’s happening in the comic.  In fact, he’s so excited about the upcoming Deadpool video game that he wrote the press release himself.  It’s quite epic and I use it in my class about how to write press releases.  Yup, it’s that good.  Here is the link.  Link.

Another unique thing about our red spandex clad anti-hero, he’s crazy.  Certifiable.  As in hears voices and has full blown hallucinations.  Quite like myself, but that’s my other blog.  I have to admit I find it quite endearing.  He’s so cute when he’s talking to his selves.

The 'Pool is Full

Is it dissociate identity disorder or schizophrenia? My vote is on the later.

When you’ve been through all the stuff DP has then you’d get your sanity link severed too.  It’s really too bad that this character doesn’t get the attention he deserves.  In fact just yesterday/today the artists who’ve worked on DP over the years were called D-listers as in Marvel wouldn’t put A-list talent on a crappy title like Deadpool.  And this by DP’s creator to add insult to injury.

Helloooo . . . waitagoshdarnminute.  Crappy?  Deadpool?  As DP might exclaim: “Exsqueeze me?”   Oh wait, here’s the explanation and honestly, can’t argue with the man on this point.  Linkage.  Rob is right Deadpool is amazing even in spite of, or maybe  because of the fact that he never gets A-list talent.  A-listers have images to uphold.  They can’t be seen slogging through DP’s filthy mind.  D-listers on the other hand have no such inhibitions.  Anything goes as long as they get to work.  And I think that’s one of the reasons Deadpool works.  He’s crazy, violent, chaotic and not afraid to call the reader out on shit.  And that’s why I love him.


End of line.  (Crap wrong fandom.)  (Who cares just post it already.)