by S. B. Redstone
Lance Forrester is a dreamer. After a celebrated career as an astronaut and engineer, he and a friend build a secret spacecraft to seek their destinies in the stars. But his friend dies and Lance is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Desperate not to succumb to his fate, he convinces an acquaintance, ailing actress Sage Saint Claire, whom he hasn’t seen since high school, to join him on his quest to reach an advanced alien civilization which can heal them both.
Unfortunately, true life is not a Hollywood movie, as much as Sage might want it to be, and problems abound. Mistakes in the past have turned Sage into a bitter old woman, and she turns out to be a less-than-perfect traveling companion which no amount of optimism, youth, or good health can cure. Can these two intrepid octogenarians-turned-immortals overcome the emotional scars of their pasts and achieve true happiness, or are they doomed to suffer for their mistakes, no matter how far from Earth they go?
Lance visits Sage in Hospice Care. He is dying at well. Inspire her! “Your sympathy is appreciated, but I have no immediate plans of kicking the bucket here on Earth.” Hear goes. “On New Year’s Day, I’m traveling into the galaxy in my private spacecraft with the hope of reaching an advanced alien civilization that will extend my life. I would be honored if you would join me.”
First, Sage gave me a look as if she’d just bitten into the foulest tasting food, then a burst of anxious laughter erupted from her unenthusiastic face. “That’s your hope?” She tried to hold back her mocking smirk, but couldn’t. Her defiant nature hardened to ice. “Now, why would I want to do that?”
Lance and Sage awaken on an alien world. “Hi, Sage,” I said calmly. “It’s safe. You can come out. No monsters. Just friends. He doesn’t bite.”
Despite my attempt to relieve her mounting worries, she was still wary and stepped cautiously out on the patio, her head nervously jerking about. She was wearing blue jeans and a pink blouse. “We’re on Earth---right? We’re back home?”
My laugh was kind. “No Sage. We’re on the friendly planet of Pirodinos, some eight thousand light years from Earth.”
“Bullshit! I know Earth when I see it,” she said nastily, apparently thinking I was deceiving her.
“Then, you better take a good look. Look at the tree bark. The sky. I don’t believe the last time you were on Earth that it had more than one moon.”
Topic choice: How To Make Your Characters Believable.
In my estimation, believable standout characters are created from an accurate understanding of human nature. As a school psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, post graduate trained psychotherapist in private practice, and the author of a psychology book Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning, my expertise in understanding human nature and relationships has been a great benefit to character development. In those careers diagnosing human character was my passion. But understanding human nature isn’t enough to make unique, complex, and memorable characters that are so believable they leap off the pages. An untrained psychiatrist, posing as an expert, in a social agency I worked at diagnosed a patient with having a psychosis and neurosis. That’s like saying an apple is an apple/orange. They can’t exist in the same human. In the meeting, I poked fun with a chuckle. Consistency is extremely important in terms of a character’s behavior and thinking. Characters come alive by their having a full range of emotions: happy, sad, angry, jealous, and loving as well as snappy, dynamic dialogue. I stay focused on a character’s main traits. Great and sometimes unique attributes are essential. Many characters come from pieces of past patients. I don’t add character traits that have no relevance to the story or that are trite or hackneyed. I don’t feel attributing an overdose of history or behaviors makes a character more believable either. Outstanding characters in books and then in film: Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights were so believable through their powerful struggles they had to overcome. They’re never forgotten. Along with accurately designed character traits, their unique histories enhance realism. But their histories must reflect their personalities. Marilyn Monroe, a depressed and suicidal actress didn’t grow up in a lovely family. She had a violent psychotic mother, no known father, and she grew up in many foster homes without love or empathy. A character’s motivation for his or her quest of good or evil adds to the realism. I feel readers need to hear a character’s inner voice directing actions. My evil characters in A Sinister Obsession are so engaged in causing mayhem and misery that readers feel the pain and suffer. They not only know what caused their evil natures, they know why they hold on to their evil. In a romance like Stardust Dreams believable characters must struggle with trying to achieve their dreams, true love, and happiness, which a reader can identify with. I would never suggest making characters bigger than life as a reader will quickly know when a character is unrealistic and acting foolish. And it doesn’t matter if you create Superman, Peter Pan, Harry Potter, or Tarzan with extraordinary abilities as long as they don’t go out of character. Some authors with weak characters spend twenty pages on character description, hoping they can make something out of nothing. For me, I don’t get to know the character better, I get bored. Tell me I’m wrong, but the bestseller The Da Vinci Code had a great story, but the main character had no personality at all and his solving of the mystery far too unrealistic. I don’t even remember his name. Whereas, no one forgets Hannibal Lechter in The Silence Of The Lambs, Miss Marple, or Sherlock Holmes.
S. B. Redstone will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Click HERE to enter - ends 23rd November
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Steven Rosenstein, pen name S. B. Redstone, had a career as a school psychologist and private practice Licensed Clinical Social Worker on Long Island. Always seeking the truths of human nature, he wrote a personal improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning, published by New Horizon Press Books. He has written articles on human nature and relationships, given lectures, and appeared on radio shows. Always having a vivid imagination, he first became a successful writer of short stories. His mystery thriller, A Sinister Obsession, was published by Black Opal Books. As an expert in the field of human psychology, he has an exceptional ability to develop realistic and exciting characters in his novels. Many of my characters have been taken from his clinical experiences. Stardust Dreams is his first romance novel, although romantic relationships stand out in his other works. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Org and Romance Writers of America. He resides with his wife in New York and Florida.
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