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Psychoanalyze Your Characters 4: PTSD

Onto our fourth installment of Psychoanalyze Your Characters, my attempt to share some psychological knowledge to help you flesh out your characters' psyches. Today I'll shift from Axis II to Axis I, focusing on the clinical syndrome of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. It's an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through a threatening event. Most experience a "fight or flight" syndrome in response to a dangerous situation, but in PTSD this reaction is damaged and individuals feel threatened long after the danger subsides. Potential traumas include:
* Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) * Sudden, unexpected death * Natural or human-caused disasters * Personal assaults * Military combat * Accidents
I've seen PTSD develop after individuals have experienced sexual abuse, motor vehicle accidents, childhood bullying, domestic violence, and suicide of a loved one, to name a few. What&#…

Psychoanalyze Your Characters 3

Thank you for joining me for our prior discussions about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Today I'll cover the lesser-known Schizotypal Personality Disorder, which can be summed up in one word: odd.

People with Schizotypal Personality Disorder have bizarre mannersims and beliefs, and have trouble forming relationships. Unlike Schizoid Personality Disorder, individuals with Schizotypal PD want to connect with others, but their oddness and high social anxiety make that difficult. You might notice the similarity to the word Schizophrenia, but the perceptual disturbances and magical thinking of Schizotypal PD are not as intense or debilitating as in Schizophrenia.

Here are the criteria for Schizotypal Personality Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association. At least 5 must be met for the diagnosis:

* Incorrect interpretations of events, including a feeling that s…

Interview with Author Belinda Kroll

It's a pleasure to interview Belinda Kroll, author of Haunting Miss Trentwood (see my review below).

Jennifer Lane (JL): How did you get hooked on historical novels?

Belinda Kroll (BK): First, thanks for having me! Now to answer your question... My mother had the Little House books and A Lantern in Her Hand in her small library... I picked them up when I was about six or seven and I never looked back. Those books emphasized the importance of honesty, integrity, loving people because they were good. I liked that.

JL: What are your biggest influences as a writer?

BK: Well, I grew up reading Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, and L.M. Montgomery, so they have forever influenced me and my penchant for historical fiction. However, I also read outside of the genre I write, which is why I'm a "quirky" historical fiction writer. I never know what genre I'll mash up with historical fiction next. I love Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Jo Putney, Amanda Qu…

Review: Haunting Miss Trentwood by Belinda Kroll

Haunting Miss Trentwood by Belinda Kroll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though I adored the movie Sense and Sensibility, I can’t proclaim to be a voracious reader of Jane Austen type books. However, I LOVED this Victorian ghost story!

Taking place in 1887 in the English countryside, the story begins when 26 year-old Mary Trentwood watches her father’s ghost climb out of his freshly dug grave and begin to boss her around like he did in his living form. Not only is Mary dealing with this frightening predicament, but also the only family member she has to help her with the failing estate is her cold aunt Mrs. Durham.

Soon after Mr. Trentwood’s death, Alexander Hartwell, a mysterious man with a scarred face and brusque personality, visits the estate. At first Mary believes he is her father’s dreaded solicitor but then it leaks out that Alexander is on a hunt for his sister’s blackmailer who is threatening the life of his young nephew. Might the blackmailer be living at the manor? Complicating fa…

Psychoanalyze Your Characters 2

Thank you for your great comments on the first post of this series about understanding psychopathology as a means of providing more depth for your characters. Today the focus is on Borderline Personality Disorder. I wanted to cover this diagnosis not only because Joanna St. James asked me to but also because I can sum up Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in one word: DRAMA! What better traits can you achieve for your character?

The term "borderline" refers to the time in the early 1900's when individuals were diagnosed as either neurotic or psychotic, yet some patients seemed to be right in between: teetering on the borderline between neurotic and psychotic.

Which famous character is the poster child for BPD?

Bunnies boiling on the stove, anyone? (Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction likely has Antisocial PD--criminal behavior--too).
For a discussion about BPD I must reference the brilliant work of Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., the creator of Dialectical Behavior T…

2011 Romantic Suspense Challenge

One of my favorite genres is Romantic Suspense, so I'm excited to participate in this challenge!

Jamie from Nitty Gritty Romance and Erotica Reviews is hosting the 2011 Romantic Suspense Challenge.
The Rules:

1. Create a post for the challenge using the image above and link back to this post.
--Non-Bloggers: You are welcome to join too. Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post.
2. Sign up with the Mr. Linky.
--Link to your challenge post when you sign up please.
3. The goal of this challenge is to read AT LEAST 12 novels that are Romantic Suspense between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Books read before January 1, 2011 do NOT count towards the challenge.
4. Audio, eBooks, paper all count. Re-reads are ok but try to keep them to a minimum. Cross overs from other challenges are ok.
5. There is no need to create your list now. Please feel free to use your challenge post to keep track of your titles if you so desire.

Here's a helpful list on Goodr…

Psychoanalyze Your Characters

As a psychologist/author (or psycho author), I'm starting a series of posts today about using psychological diagnosis to assist the development of your characters. The typical layperson is probably more familiar with diagnoses like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc. -- what mental health professionals refer to as "Axis I" disorders. However, I'll focus on personality disorders, known as "Axis II".

Personality disorders are clinical syndromes with enduring patterns of inner experience and interactions with the world, with a typical age of onset in late adolescence or adulthood. Because these patterns are inflexible and interwoven into an individual's personality, they are more difficult to treat. The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition) lists ten personality disorders. I plan to cover a few of my favorites, starting with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders defines Narcissi…

Holiday Sale at Omnific Publishing!

Through the month of December, Omnific Publishing is having a holiday sale. Buy a print copy of With Good Behavior or any Omnific title, and get the e-book FREE!
http://omnificpublishing.com

Interview with Author Lisa Sanchez!

Well, I woke up to the first SNOW of the winter this morning in Ohio--a perfect time to cuddle up on my sofa and post my interview with Lisa Sanchez, author of paranormal romance Eve of Samhain (see my review below).

Jennifer Lane (JL): How did you start writing novels?

Lisa Sanchez (LS): I've always enjoyed telling stories. When I was younger, if I wasn't playing outside, I was in my room at my desk imagining goofy stories. I enjoy a good laugh, and have always tried to incorporate humor in whatever I write, even at a young age.

JL: What's been the most difficult part of your journey to publication?

LS: This question made me laugh. The answer is easy: patience. I've had to learn how to be patient, and it's been quite difficult. I'm an instant gratification girl, and with publishing the motto is "hurry up and wait." I'm not sure if there is anything easy about getting your manuscript published. The writing, the editing, submitting ... all of tha…

Review: Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez

Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SNARKY MODERN FAERIE TALE

Eve of Samhain is a paranormal romance featuring Ryann Pierce, a college student by day and club waitress by night. Losing her parents at a young age has turned Ryann into a feisty, stubborn, independent young woman, and woe to the club patron who tries to grab a piece of her alluring backside--he’s sure to receive a harsh word or quick smack in return . . .

Until Quinn Donegan enters. He’s a tall, muscular, blue-eyed hunk with a sexy Irish brogue and a spirited argumentativeness of his own. Oh, and did I mention he’s a 500 year-old faerie? Ryann’s too disheveled by his tantalizing effect on her to respond with her typical cheek, but that doesn’t stop Quinn from continuing to throw out barbs and insults . . . surely a sign of his affection? Quinn is determined to keep Ryann safe from a nefarious shape-shifter that stalks her and says creepy things like “Mine” while threatening her.

I love how Quinn and Rya…

Men in Uniform Reading Challenge

I have a thing for men in uniforms, particularly military uniforms.

The closely cropped hair, freshly shaved skin, sharply pressed tunic, chiseled jaw, integrity to fight for his principles . . . *fans self*

Even though Tom Cruise is kind of a tool now, I think I saw Top Gun about 25 times in 1986.

"Son, your ego's writing checks your body can't cash!" (or CAN it?)
And then some brilliant person made this manipulated image of my favorite actor, Wentworth Miller:
*jaw drops* "Oh, officer! Let me unbutton that for you."
So naturally I want to embrace the challenge of reading books with men in uniform.

The Book Vixen is hosting Men in Uniform Reading Challenge!
Men in Uniform Reading Challenge Details:
•Runs January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011(books read prior to 1/1/11 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime – Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.

•The goal is to read as many novels that involve men in inform as you’d like. It can be a p…

Review: Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell

Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love stories about dysfunctional families, and this was one of the best I've read in a long time.

Fragile Beasts opens with the narration of Kyle Hayes, a 15 year-old boy who admires his older brother, Pennsylvania high-school baseball standout Klint, as well as his younger sister, Krystal. Kyle's attended every one of Klint's baseball games, and has drawn countless pictures for Krystal. Problem is, Krystal now lives far away in Arizona after their mom scooped her up and left their father for another man. An even bigger problem is that their father just inadvertently killed himself in a drunk-driving accident.

It's quite a dilemma about where Kyle and Klint will live after their father's funeral. Their dad was a blue-collar drunk, but he looks like "Parent of the Year" compared to their cruel, cold mother. Enter the wealthy, childless Candace Jack. Miss Jack agrees to take in the boys, mostly to…

Book Club Selections

This month it's my turn to host book club, meaning that I'll be providing dessert for our discussion of Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell (my 5 star review will be forthcoming on this blog), as well as selecting our book for the next two months. Check out the "Book Club" tab above to see a photo of my lovely book club!

I have several possibilities running around my mind for my selection, and wanted to ask your opinion. I usually like to preview books before I select them but of the ones mentioned below, the only one I've read is The Hunger Games. What do you think of each book?

The Hunger Games trilogy. Overall I loved this series and want to share it with my friends, but I have a couple of hestitations: 1) if they end up reading the trilogy, I wasn't happy with the ending of Mockingjay, and 2) we don't typically read Young Adult books.

Let the Great World Spin by by Colum McCann. I haven't read this but it was recommended to me by another book club. I…

Review: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho


My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was a very interesting take on a romance novel. It was probably more of a spiritual and philosophical guide, but romance did figure prominently. I read it for my book club at work.

From the back of the book: "Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her deovted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader... Now, they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties..."

What I liked most in this story was Pilar's battle between her head and her heart. She'd grown weary of dreams and possibilities, and had settled into a life of mundane details, dominated by concerns like paying the bills and taking out the trash. But then she was faced with the prospect of reuniting with a childhoo…

Envisioning the Future

Hard to believe that 2010 isn't much longer for this world. As Americans turn our clocks back (an extra hour of sleep, yeah!), we can all look back at the past year and marvel at how quickly it's gone. And as we gear up for holiday celebrations and weather changes, we look ahead to the murky future.

Did you set New Year's goals last year? How's your progress coming along? Do you plan to set goals for 2011? In my psychology practice, I've worked with many clients to set SMART goals:

S  = Specific
M = Measurable
A  = Action-oriented (what's your plan or process to the outcome?)
R  = Realistic yet challenging
T  = Time-oriented (short and long term goals)

For example, after finishing reading a book for one of my book clubs, a SMART goal might be something like "I will post my review of By the River Piedro, I Sat Down and Wept on goodreads.com by 1:30 p.m. today, by noting my favorite quotes and passages and by searching for other reviews online so that I can try t…

With Good Behavior Giveaway!

I'm giving away two print copies of With Good Behavior at goodreads.com.


Goodreads Book Giveaway!!!




With Good Behavior




by Jennifer Lane
Giveaway ends December 18, 2010.See the giveaway details at Goodreads.Enter to win

Naming and Promoting a Series

In the midst of editing the sequel to With Good Behavior, titled Bad Behavior, I got to thinking that this would be a good time to name the series. Omnific Publishing will release Bad Behavior in 2011.

I haven't decided if I'll write a third novel in the series, but if I do it will likely be titled On Best Behavior. I have lots of plot bunnies hopping around in my head for the third installment.

If you haven't read With Good Behavior, here's a brief synopsis:

How would you recover from being unjustly imprisoned? Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen are finding out just what it takes. Freshly paroled in Chicago, Sophie and Grant meet on their parole officer's doorstep. The former psychologist and Navy lieutenant help each other navigate life on the outside, failing to realize the hidden mafia connection that will threaten both their love and their lives.

Would you help me brainstorm some series titles? Here are some potential titles:

The Behavior Series (snore)

The Naught…

Haunting Miss Trentwood Book Launch!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Belinda Kroll, author of Haunting Miss Trentwood. It's so cool to meet another author in Columbus, Ohio! Belinda's hosting a Tea-Tasting book launch tonight, 10/27/10 from 6:30-8:30 at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. If you're in the area, please stop by.

With Halloween approaching, it's a perfectly ghoulish time for a Victorian ghost story.
The tea and cupcakes for the event provided by Sugar Incsound absolutely delicious! There will be a pairing of a particular tea with each main character.

I love the idea of a book launch that showcases the themes of the novel. I hosted my first book signing at a wine shop, but maybe it would've been more appropriate to host it at a bar where we could've done tequila body-shots, like my characters Grant and Sophie. :-)

I'm quite impressed that Belinda's only in her mid twenties (I'm, er, a bit older than that) and Haunting Miss Trentwood is her second published novel!…

Interview with Author Jennifer DeLucy

Today I'm interviewing author and sweetheart Jen DeLucy, whose second book in The Light Series is being released today by Omnific Publishing!

JL (Jennifer Lane): How did you get interested in writing paranormal romance?

JD (Jennifer DeLucy): Well, I'm a lover of all things supernatural and inexplicable, and I believe in otherworldy phenomena quite firmly. I also think that this life is filled with more mystery and magic than we realize, so, why not explore every idea? Plus, we all need a place to escape to that can inspire us and leave us feeling alive. Books do that for me, and I'm grateful for the chance to share the experience with others.

JL: The sequel to Seers of Light, Whisper of Light, launches TODAY 10/26/10!

Tell us about Whisper.

JD: Whisper of Light pretty much picks up where Seers left off. Notice I say "pretty much", because the book utlizes a minor time overlap in order to connect both stories and show how these lives are all linked together.

The n…

Seers of Light Review

Seers of Light by Jennifer DeLucy


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When I read the first chapter of Seers of Light on http://omnificpublishing.com/ right away I knew I wanted to read the whole book! I instantly loved the heroine of the story, Lily Hunt, for her warmth and spunk. (And she even has big feet like I do). Because she's a character I cared about deeply, her frightening first encounter with a paranormal creature in her bedroom really FREAKED me out.

But not all of the supernatural beings in this fic are creepy. Some *coughs* William/Christian *coughs* are quite the opposite--yummy and huggable! I'm a newcomer to the paranormal romance genre, and I thoroughly enjoyed the foray into the battle between sentients and vampires. The "soul merge" was so damn cool. And the sex scenes were quite "touching" hee hee.

My favorite part of the novel was the well-written dialogue, which often had me chuckling and really brought the characters to life. Here's one exam…

Passion Fish Author Alison Oburia

Will you be in the Orlando, Florida area this weekend? (I wish I would be!) Alison Oburia, co-author of Passion Fish, will be at the Florida Writers Association Conference October 22-24. This is a great time to get a signed copy of her contemporary romance novel.

Alison was the managing editor for my novel, and a really great writer!

Here's the book trailer for Passion Fish.

E-Readers for Excellent-Readers

Happy Monday! Please check out our Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop at the end of this post.

The time has come. I've waited long enough to purchase an e-reader, and I wanted to pick your brain about which e-reader you like the best. The big three that I'm aware of are the Kindle, the Nook, and the Sony E-Reader. Any more I should know about? What are the pros and cons of each one?

You'd have to be living in a cave not to know about Amazon's Kindle. The library of e-books is extensive, and my novel With Good Behavior has been available on Kindle since its release date HERE

However, I don't think Kindle is for me since you can't read PDF's or library books on it.

Barnes & Noble's Nook is more appealing to me. From what I understand, there may be fewer e-books available but they seem to be less pricey and you can read non-proprietary books in PDF formats. And, I'm very excited that Omnific Publishing just made With Good Behavior available for the Noo…

Choosing Character Names

It's a tricky business, choosing names for your protagonists and other characters in your novel. I'm guessing it might be akin to choosing a name for your child. After all, our characters sort of feel like our children, don't they? And just like with baby names, people have wildly varying reactions based on personal preferences and knowing individuals with that name in their lives.

Personally I'm not a big fan of naming one's son after the father since I believe it might interfere with the son's identity development. And when my sister named her middle son Dylan James, I blanched when she told me that they'd call him "D.J.", thinking that name sounded straight out of the TV show Roseanne! (Now that I know and love my nephew Dylan, I'd be fine with the name D.J., by the way).

How did you go about choosing your character names? Did you base it on your favorite names--names you'd like to use for your children someday? (George Costanza wantin…

Interview with Nicki Elson, Author of Three Daves

Today I interviewed Nicki Elson, author of the college love-romp Three Daves. See my 4 star review below!

Jennifer Lane (JL): How much did you enjoy your college experience? How did real life translate into fiction?

Nicki Elson (NE): Let's see...a lot! College is not like any other time of life. It's that perfect combination of freedom without total responsibility. I think a part of me will always yearn for those days, and that's what got me to sit down and write this story.

I attended Eastern Illinois University, and anyone who went there, particularly in the 80s, will recognize the campus, the bars, Jimmy Johns. Most buildings and businesses were given fictional names in my story, but the physical descriptions are heavily influenced by my alma mater. The overall story line is original and not in any way autobiographical, buuut there are most definitely bits and pieces of reality scattered throughout---for example, I saw Wang Chung in Daytona in '87 and once invented…

Three Daves Review

Three Daves by Nicki Elson


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Fun and Insightful 80's Romance!


Omnific Publishing released Three Daves in February of 2010, and I recently had the pleasure of reading the novel. Three Daves features Jen, a college student at Central Illinois University, and her travails with three men named Dave. The first sentence draws the reader right in: "Jennifer Whitney was the last American virgin."

Wow, I really identified with Jen. Not only does she share my name (and doesn't like to be called Jenny), but she has the same self-doubts I had in college: wanting more experience in bed while feeling nervous about getting said experience, being known as a good girl (Gigi) but drinking too much on occasion, relying on friends and frantically trying to figure out how to resolve conflicts when there are spats, working hard at school, and taking an eternity to realize that this guy is "the one".

I really thought that Nicki Elson showed a realistic portr…

Fall Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to K_Sunshine_1977!!!
She is the big winner of the Fall Giveaway, winning two vampire books:
and
Enjoy Edward and Bill, K Sunshine!  Thank you to the 60 entrants--I hope you won books and swag at the other blogs partipating in the Fall Giveaway. I look forward to chatting about books with you on your blog or at goodreads.com! And if you happen to read my novel With Good Behavior, please stop by and tell me what you thought.

Welcoming the Fall Giveaway

It's time, book aficianados. Welcoming the Fall Giveaway!

For the next week (9/22/10 through 9/29/10), I'm joining an awesome group of book bloggers for a giveaway. In honor of Halloween approaching, I'll be giving away two vampire books: The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas and Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (the first book in the series that inspired True Blood). Bloodsuckers abound!  Before Edward Cullen, there was Edward Weygand...so NOT vegetarian.
And then there was vampire Bill. Really? The vampire is named Bill?
To enter (U.S. residents only), leave a comment with the following information:
* Your name and email address (if your email address is private then send me a message at jenniferlanebooks@gmail.com and leave a comment here)
* Your point total (between one and four). One point each if you:    * Follow this blog, Jennifer Lane Books (+1)    * Follow JenLanebooks on twitter (click on the birdie, top right) (+1)    * Friend Jennifer Lane on goodreads.com …