The Walking Dead & Why I Like It

If you are a fan (like me) of The Walking Dead, you have been mulling over what happened in the latest episode this past Sunday *NO Spoilers Here*.  During my ritual that my husband (aka Handsome) started off watching this show, I had that question – Why do you like watching this show?  If you know me well, you know I’m not a fan of horror or gore.  I’m such a scaredy-cat.  Guess what, I like this show!

There are a few reasons that I like this show, the world of the zombie apocalypse is a strong character that moves the various stories forward, and there is no easy way out of it, only to survive and live.  It struggles to define right, wrong and somewhere in the middle.  Humanity lost and found.  The pressures of character evolution and how they are affected by the world and those around them.  It’s the basis of sociology that lead to some interesting discussions around my peeps who watch it too.  The best is with Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick right after the new episodes.  The struggle of characters, plot and comparison of the comics adds to all discussions on the show such as: Are people ultimately good? Does humanity crave society? What is the difference between consciousness and sentience?

Some argue that the stories are not well written, I disagree.  There is a lack of constant verbal communication, but the actors portray their characters and evolution so well, I know what they are thinking and going through.  I don’t need a continuous narrative and remember, the world is a character that must be seen, heard and felt.  It’s similar to books I enjoy, give me the nuggets and let me make my conclusions and assumptions.  Let me drive that entertainment – you pave the road.  The ambiguity of plot doesn’t concern me (Lost, Alais, How to Get Away with Murder – anyone?).

The actors are great, and the characters are well developed among the primary group.  I have enjoyed past seasons getting the glimpse of backgrounds that drive the character arcs.  Personally I’ve learned a lot about storytelling for my personal writing.  I certainly turn away from the gore of the show; dang the special effects too real!  However, the character of the ‘world’ would lose something if that gore wasn’t there.  It provides the realism and the authenticity of that character.  As a woman, I am glad to have strong female characters on the show and my two favorites; Michonne and Carol.

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Michonne – The Walking Dead (Actress – Danai Jakesai Gurira)
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Carol – The Walking Dead (Actress – Melissa McBride)

Also, characters are not safe in this world, even the fan favorites.  I think that is brave of a television network, to be honest, drive the story as it was meant to be and envisioned, not by the almighty market machine.  The fans will have an uproar, but we’ll get it as long as it wasn’t completely superficial.  This world is a royal bitch, and she doesn’t discriminate.  Not all stories have the Disney happy ending, and this one is a rich story if you dig in and watch/absorb.

This is why I like The Walking Dead, my small testimony for those who question how it’s possible that I would.  Thanks to Handsome for pushing to watch this every Sunday.  I’m still a scaredy-cat but, I’m wiser on story development and have an appreciation for this genre (and Depends underwear).  Also, should in the unlikely event the zombie apocalypse does happen, I have TV knowledge and life skills all prepped and ready :).

Tips for Making Training Courses Worth Wild for Indie Authors

I attended a free WebEx training several days ago in the hopes of learning something about book launches. I was dismayed at all the generalities of the training that was presented. No major bits of training nuggets that I haven’t read or seen before.

I’ve seen a lot of this lately with author entrepreneurs who are out there providing a course and sharing knowledge that in turn the

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call to action is Buy-Buy-Buy the package of additional course content. I don’t mind this happy to support, but in order for me to buy, make the training worth wild and not just your advertising marketing show.  It’s a fine balance and there are a few out there that do a great job at this.

Here are three tips that I’ve noticed in training’s I really enjoy that make training course content better for attendees like me:

1. Present a Case Study.

It may not be to all audience members, however, it’s all relatable and it’s important to those who don’t know you yet it showcases your expertise. Let us see behind the curtain if we buy into your course.

2. Give the Goods.

Okay, you don’t want to give all the training knowledge away then pick a point of the course and take a deep dive and showcase all that specific content. Peak-a-boo training all the way through to get me to buy your course kit, gets annoying. Show attendees that yes, it’s worth their time. Got to give, to get.

3. Give Aways.

Pick an attendee and give away something on the spot in the Live WebEx. Keep your audience in attendance. It’s great when it a high-value item, but the premium of your training is just as great too! Your attendees may think that iPad is awesome, but we were sold to attend the training on the topic you’re presenting.

I realize this blog post is specific to those who attend and present indie author course content, however, I think it’s relatable to most training.

What are other tips that you would recommend and want to see from training courses your attending?

Monica Lewinsky The First to Experience CyberBullying

During my morning tea time just prior to starting my work day, I do my usual perusing of social media and such to see what is going on for the day etc… I came across a blog regarding Monica Lewinsky.  I read it and watched Monica’s speech at TED.  Wow! The video and the blog had me thinking quite a bit this morning.  I just saw on the local news last night how a teen ended their life due to cyber bullying, and here you see how it began and Monica as she states, was patient zero just before the social media machine took flight.

I worry for my young girls in this day in age about social media and such.  It’s difficult as a parent to protect your kids without suffocating them, while allowing them controlled freedoms to be the ‘typical’ kid that is now defined by society.  I’m thankful to have not made a mistake that was captured by video or picture that was seen around the world.

What I do think is that the news, or better yet, infotainment as coined by Boston Legal’s-Alan Shore, has perpetuated what we’ve come to accept as reality.  I don’t have the answer for any of this, by I do feel that just because you have open access to communicate, connect and share doesn’t mean you always should.  There is a responsibility to it, although most kids and a few adults if still reading, I assume are rolling their eyes at me.  Compassion is what Monica speaks to, have we lost it as a nation? Do we give it as freely as we should? Judgment with gavels passed off as innocent opinions seem more available now days in the social media machine.  How do we change that?

Below is the link to the blog I read, by the fabulous Diane Lee, and the TED Video.

Monica Lewsinsky’s mistake was not that she slept with Bill Clinton, but that she trusted him. I would’ve made the same mistake.

via Monica Lewinsky: I would’ve made the same mistake too….

Top 10 Favorite Screen Characters Tag

I’m joining in the fun to list out my top ten favourite screen characters. It’s an interesting challenge to take on when you realize you enjoy so many characters.  As I started this challenge, I first decided to go to some of my favorite movies and then go from there.  If I took in all entertainment from the screen, i.e., television, I think I would have been miserable over the task.  So here goes, wonder what this says about me?

#1 – Han Solo (Star Wars)

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Yes I’m a big Star Wars fan. Love pretty much all the characters but the swashbuckling, thieving, anti-hero Han Solo is my all time favorite! I can’t wait for his return in the new movie coming out this Christmas!  So what is it that I love about Han, his evolution of character that starts self-serving although loyal friendship to Chewie that expands to a greater calling.  The bonus is the sarcastic male dominated wit, oh yea it totally works!

#2 Ellen Ripley (Alien)

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This movie, really mapped out the strong female character.  Ellen Ripley or just Ripley if your nasty, is a heroine of great proportions from the “Company” and stylized from a male dominated team of grunt muscle, she’s the common sense, warrior and leader.  Sorry Katniss Everdeen, she was here first! She’s the protagonist and pushes the boundaries of generalized female role.  Ripley takes on the role of right over wrong in an interesting way and her character evolves further through the movie series.

#3 The Joker (The Dark Knight)

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This is the antagonist character of all time and so well played by the late Heath Ledger.  I marvel at the complexities of this character and the drive of his goal and evolution, so clear in moment to moment.  As another character, Alfred said, “Sometimes there is no reason, some people like to watch the world burn.”  If ever there was a devil to admire character wise, he is certainly it.

#4 Tony Stark / Iron Man

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The unlikely self absorbed super hero, Tony Stark (aka Iron Man).  I love this character and his wit, intelligence and drive.  I wasn’t a huge fan of movies 2 & 3, but still the character and evolution of his mortality, right and wrong, and his role in how the world is now (weapons builder) – fantastic! His lifestyle as the mask he hides behind as his life is thrown onto a path to survive.  Great arch building.

#5 Olive (Easy A)

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The future day, Scarlet Letter character Olive.  Yes, its a light hearted young adult comedy that had me rolling with laughter.  I love Olive, she reminds me a little of myself, although I didn’t have the pressures of youtube, tweets and such to capture me, THANK GOD! It’s one little rumor taken out of context for the character who then uses it to help the less fortune, because damn be the labels of society.  Of course no lie ends well so there you go, Olive your fun wit is in my top five as a favorite character 🙂  “I’ve got a pocket full of sunshine…”

#6 Professor Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter Series)

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Surprised I didn’t pick one of the main 3 characters? Professor Dumbledore is the wise flawed leader and headmaster at Hogwarts, who many feel pull the strings and keep them safe.  The evolution of his character and guidance to his students (specifically Harry, Ron and Hermonie) is brilliant where he further develops his own path.  In my opinion both actors, the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon played Dumbledore brilliantly.  He represents that fairy god motherly role for me, but in a new, realistic, flawed and exciting way. No one is perfect.

#7 Tris (Divergent)

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Tris, what a strong female character who is vulnerable and quite innocent.  I love seeing her character growth to a strong independent heroine.  She goes against what was expected of her and defying the labels.  She is more than one personality trait and the evolution of her is great.

#8 Miles (The Holiday)

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I adore this movie and love Miles, the good guy character.  Many times characters are flawed, but I love his positivity and good nature.  He’s a supportive role that’s played by Jack Black, so well and surprising that I can’t help but smile.  Got to have a character who is the white knight with a sense of humor.

#9 Victoria (Red)

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What a fiery mature woman for once! She basically throws agism out the window of what a woman can do as she ages.  Stereotypes be damned.  This picture I’m sharing just makes me grin; her fine designer dress as the expert in weaponry while aiming the machine gun.  Victoria, is a complex character that represents an interesting point of view as you retire.  She still has it and is the calm, the reasonable one among the retired CIA RED friends and associates.  Love she’s still kicking butt!!

#10 Uncle Hub (Secondhand Lions)

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Uncle Hub is played by both Christian Kane (Younger Hub) and Robert Duvall (Older Hub) in the most fantastic story.  What I loved about Hub’s character was his strong sense of what a man is and who he should protect, including his one true love.  The right and wrong pieces of justice is there, along with the brotherly love he has for Garth, played by Michael Cain.  Fully developed character that is wonderful and complex.

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What are your top 10 favorite screen characters? Take part in the fun with your own blog or via comments below.  Do you agree with my top 10?