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Showing posts from December, 2010

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!

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…