Category Archives: A-Z Blog Challenge

Dystopian city

Dystopian – A Worse Society Than Before

D for dystopianWhat causes a dysptopian society? Usually the stories and movies that feature a dystopia have societies that rebuilt after an apocalyptic event. Something caused the end of the world and the new society is trying to bring back that world. Usually they try to make it better but it’s usually worse. The dystopian society pretends to be a utopia and on the surface it might look like everything is happy and good. But underneath there are the secrets, the conspiracies, the erosion of freedoms that cause the citizens (at least some of them) to eventually fight back. It’s usually one person or a small group who fight to make a change.

Even though I’m writing a dystopian trilogy and I have another dystopian stand alone book in the works I haven’t read a lot in the genre. But I do love dystopian movies. The what if questions get my mind thinking about how the world turned out the way it did in those movies. Before I started focusing on the genre I didn’t realize that a few of my favourite movies were dystopian. I thought they were just science fiction but upon looking into the dysopian genre I realized a lot of them fell into that category.

When I do a Google search for dystopian movies a list comes up, most of which I’ve seen. Among those listed is Serenity, my absolute favourite movie of all time so far. But it looks like I have a few other movies to watch.

Dystopian Elements in Standpoint

Futuristic girl

Copyright outsiderzone available on DepositPhotos.

The idea of Standpoint came to me on the way to work. At first I didn’t realize it was going to be a dystopian story or a trilogy yet. Originally it was going to be one book but there was too much story to tell. It has the oppressive government masquerading as a benevolent political system. There was a plague like event centuries earlier and the government rebuilt.

At the start of the story my main character is eager to do her duty. The propaganda bombarding them tells her she owes her country four years. But it’s not a one sided deal. She gets something out of it too like an education and a job. She wonders why people want to live differently than the way the government has provided for them. When she learns more about what the government is doing she has to make a choice. But if she goes against them she could put herself and her family in danger.

What’s your favourite dystopian story?

Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list. Just for signing up you get a copy of my horror short story Reflections for free.

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Until next time…

Cindy

*Feature image copyright kwest available on DepositPhotos.

Campus picture

Campus – It’s Not All Fun and Games

C is for campusWhen I think of campus I always think of higher learning. I also think about what I missed out on when I went to university. At the time I didn’t care that I lived with my parents and drove to the university every day for class. There were some things I didn’t miss out on. University is where I met my second boyfriend.

Looking back at my university years there are things I regret. I didn’t get to know many of my fellow classmates while I was there except the guy I would start dating. My best friend went to the university with me and I pretty much talked to her and that’s it. Maybe it was because university was so much bigger than high school and I was overwhelmed by the people. I was a little shy back then, liked to blend in, didn’t speak up in class.

Copyright Wavebreak Media Ltd. available at BigStock

Copyright Wavebreak Media Ltd. available at BigStock

I met one guy who was in third year and I can’t remember his name at all. I met a girl and actually went to her house to get something but I can’t remember her name either. There was a guy named Mark in one of my creative writing classes who was super cute but I didn’t do a lot of talking with him because I was seeing someone. The guy I met in the one math class we both thought we needed to take for our chosen major but it turns out he didn’t need to take it. And I changed my major second year and didn’t need the class either.

I regret not living on campus. I think I missed out on a lot by living with my parents and commuting to school. Before class started every day there would be a handful of those students who lived on campus and talked about the parties, the pub nights, the library. In the four years I went to the university I didn’t set foot in the library. My friends an I ventured into a pub once right after class but didn’t even stay for a drink.

Campus in Standpoint

My Standpoint trilogy is a new adult dystopian story with most of the first book taking place at Campus. Certain citizens get free education and a guaranteed job for “serving” their country and part of that requires them to attend Campus for four years. My main character is at first excited to be going away to school. She’s never left the small city where she grew up except for the occasional vacation when things were good financially. At the start of the story she’s excited about doing her civic duty.

Things change quickly once she gets to Campus and finds out it isn’t all just fun and games. It’s not the studying, work, essays, tests that she objects to. It’s the stuff they didn’t tell her about Campus. When she finds out what happens to students who disobey she has to make a choice. Fit in, keep her nose down and not make waves. Or rile the place up and help those who can’t help themselves.

What’s your fondest memory about school? Any school – University, college, high school, grade school.

Get behind the scenes information about the Standpoint trilogy by joining Campus. Some areas of Campus are open to everyone but you need to be a member to get the whole scoop.

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Until next time…

 

Cindy

*Feature photo copyright kzlobastov available on DepositPhotos.

Bunker

Bunker – An Apocalypse Must Have

B is for BunkerI was a teenager in the 80s so I wasn’t around when there was a threat of nuclear war every day and everyone wanted a bunker. Though they’re scary when you think of why you need one I always wanted one because I liked the idea of a safe place with everything in it you might need to survive. When I was a teenager my introduction to nuclear issues was The Day After. It was the first time I realized the world I was living in could be destroyed and destroyed so quickly. The budding writing in me always remembered that and over the years I thought about various ways the world could end.

Bunker in Movies

I still remember the bomb shelter scene in Grease 2 when Louis was trying to convince Sharon to “do it for our country”. And the use bunkers has appeared in other movies that have nothing to do with an apocalypse. But I’m more interested in when bunkers are used to protect the characters from a virus, invasion, zombies. They’re waiting out some crisis hoping the earth will be able to sustain them again some day.

Copyright ronniechua and available at BigStock

Copyright ronniechua and available at BigStock

Recently my husband and I saw a movie called Hidden. It’s a slow build movie with tension, suspense and a hint of horror. It pulls you in slowly but once you’re hooked there’s nothing you can do but root for the characters who don’t know how long they’ll have to survive in the bunker. The flashbacks were woven in perfectly. The reveal, I thought, happened at just the right time. I would watch it again to see if I can pick up all the clues to the twist. If you plan on watching it don’t read any spoilers.

Bunker in Standpoint

There’s a small part for a bunker in the first book in my trilogy. Small but recurring part actually. It’s important to the story but they aren’t using it to protect themselves from an outbreak. The outbreak part is long over and the province has rebuilt. There’s some semblance of order again. The bunker in the story will feature prominently in the prequel trilogy to the Standpoint trilogy though.

There’s no telling what secrets the characters will find in the bunker. Where it will lead to. How it changes them and the way they view Campus after they find it.

What’s your favourite movie or story that features a bunker?

Don’t stay in a virtual bunker. Sign up for my mailing list to be kept in the loop. Get insider information and sneak peeks. Click the button below to sign up.

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Until next time…

Cindy

*Feature photo of bunker copyright sssccc and available at DepositPhotos.

Dictionary definition of the word Addiction.

Addicted to Sugar – The Struggle Is Real

A badgeWhen most people think of addiction they think of someone being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Those are the two biggies that probably get the most attention. But there are a lot of other types of addiction based on the dictionary definition of addiction which is in part: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. By that definition and knowing what sugar can do to the body sugar is a substance you can become addicted to.

Are you addicted to sugar?

There are lots of different online quizzes you can take to find out if you’re addicted to sugar. Do I really need one to tell me I should cut back on my sugar intake? Probably not. While I don’t think I’m actually addicted to sugar I might be getting close. I do like my sweets but I love my savoury snacks too.
There are hundreds of books about combatting sugar addiction. And don’t get me started on the online articles. It could take forever to read through everything on the subject but none of it matters if you don’t do anything about your sugar intake.

So are you addicted? Do you eat when you’re not hungry due to cravings? Do you have a sweet tooth that won’t go away. Does cutting back on sugar make you uncomfortable? Too much sugar can be dangerous so you should try to cut back as much as you can. Check out this article and this one for more information. But there are thousands of hits so you can also Google sugar addiction.

I don’t always eat due to cravings. Sometimes it’s because I’m bored. Or anxious. Or stressed. Because I’m pre-diabetic I’m trying to reduce my sugar intake. That means I gave up pop. I try to keep junk food out of the house because if it’s here I’ll eat it. I will start keeping healthy snacks in the house and make sure I eat healthy food.

Addiction in the Standpoint Trilogy

Addicted to sugar

Copyright lunamarina available at DepositPhotos

While there is more than one addiction in my trilogy my main character Undine is addicted to sugar. At the beginning of the story she works in a candy store which helps feed her addiction. When she goes off to Campus she smuggles candy in, knowing she won’t be able to get a lot of it while at school. Part of the stress for her at Campus is hiding the candy but that turns out to be the least of her worries when she learns the secrets of Campus.
Since one of the major themes in my trilogy is addiction there are a number of characters who are addicted to various things. It’s not just sugar. There are other things characters are addicted to. Drugs. Alcohol. Food. Shopping.

Keep up to date with my new releases and Undine’s experiences at Campus. Get behind the scenes information about the Standpoint Trilogy by joining Campus.

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Until next time…

Cindy

*Addiction definition photo copyright Devon from DepositPhotos

A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme

A2Z-BADGE [2016]This year I decided to jump into the blogging challenge late and with topics figured out only up to J. But I’m determined to do this. I decided so late that it was after the theme reveal posts for March 21. Since I missed that I decided to do a very late reveal so my followers know I’ll be doing this. So for 2016 my theme is going to be dystopian/post apocalyptic. Some of the letters will deal with themes common to those types of stories. And some of the letters will be directly related to my dystopian trilogy. So far I only have the first book written but I will be writing book two during the challenge. Maybe that will help me figure out the rest of the topics. If I can’t figure out letters that suit the theme I might stretch into the suspense/crime arena for things to talk about. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that but you never know. With the ghostwriting project plus book two in the trilogy on the go my creativity might be tapped out.

My goals for the challenge (besides finishing it) are to increase my Twitter followers, increase blog followers, and hopefully pique interest enough in my trilogy that I get some mailing list sign ups.

I’ll try to keep the posts short and sweet and entertaining. The trick to writing twenty-six blog posts in a month will be organization and brevity. I also plan to use my credits at DepositPhotos a lot this month so each post will have at least one picture.

I hope you’ll follow along, read some of the other blogs taking part in the challenge and have a great time. I’ve already downloaded the badges for every letter so I’m determined to finish the challenge this year. Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list. Just for signing up you get a copy of my horror short story Reflections for free.

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Until next time…

Cindy

A is for Arson

It’s the A to Z Blog Challenge again! How far will I get this time? Who knows. I’m trying to do this for two other blogs as well as teach an online class this month. Plus get my own writing done.

Today’s post is about arson. Deliberately setting fire to property for malicious or fraudulent purposes. The range of motives for arson are just as broad as they are for murder. They range from greed of the insurance swindler to the psychopathic frenzy of the pyromaniac.

Some motives for arson are:

 

 

 

1. Insurance fraud – burning a property to collect on the insurance money
2. Destroy business records – could be before an audit that would have revealed discrepancies
3. To eliminate the competition
4. Revenge – maybe by a disgruntled employee, customer
5. To conceal another crime – like burglary or murder
6. Vandalism for the rush of it
7. A psychotic need – the sometimes sexual gratification of a pyromaniac

Of course I could go on for pages about arson. But that would take up too much time. For more information about arson you can check out the following links:

Canadian Association of Fire Investigators

Inter Fire Online

International Association of Fire Investigators

Until next time…

Cindy

H is for…Homicide

Homicide. The act of a human killing another human. So murder is a type of homicide. But not all homicide is punishable.

There is justifiable homicide. A homicide committed without evil or criminal intent, for which there is no blame. This could be self-defense to protect oneself or someone else.

There is also criminal homicide which takes several forms and includes certain unintentional killings. When it comes to homicide the state of mind of the defendant is taken into account. Murder is usually intentional. Certain types of murders automatically qualify for capital punishment in the U.S. Canada doesn’t have the death penalty anymore. And homicide that occurs during the commission of other felonies may constitute murder no matter what the perpetrator’s intent to kill or not to kill was at the time.

Until tomorrow…

Cindy

G is for…Graphology

Graphology is the study of handwriting and how it relates to personality. It’s not an exact science. Is it reliable at all in telling you anything about the person who wrote it? I don’t know. From the examples on one of the websites I found it says I’m broad minded and procrastinate. At least they got those right.

So why would anyone want to study someone’s handwriting? Some businesses use it for potential candidates in order to do a personality profile. They can then see what job be right based on the candidate’s personality. Handwriting analysis has also been used as psychological analysis. Some of the more interesting and areas that don’t make sense to me are the marital compatibility and medical diagnosis. Unless there is a medical condition that makes you write a certain way I just don’t get the medical diagnosis. It’s also been used in jury screening.

The only one that makes sense to me is the use of handwriting analysis to determine the authenticity of documents. Forensic document examination. But because this is actually determining if the person thought to have written the document actually wrote it, it isn’t part of graphology.

Some interesting sites to check out for graphology:

Graphology on Wikipedia

Handwriting Pro

MD Consulting

Until tomorrow…

Cindy

F is for…Fingerprints

They say no two fingerprints are the same. Even identical twins (who have the same DNA) will have different fingerprints. Fingerprints make it easy to identify a person, if prints have been left at a scene. And if the police have anything to compare it to.

As far back as 1686 an anatomy professor at the University of Bologna, Marcello Malpighi, noted the spirals, ridges and loops in fingerprints. He did not mention anything about their value in identifying people. Jump ahead to 1823 and another anatomy professor, John Evangelist Purkinje, from the University of Breslau, discussed nine fingerprint patterns in his thesis. He too did not mention their use in identifying individuals. However in the later 1850s people used their fingerprints as signatures or part of their signature. Finally, in 1888 Sir Francis Galton put ridge and loop together and thought fingerprints could be used as a means to identify people. Then in 1892 Juan Vucetich made the first criminal identification of a suspect. A bloody print was left at a crime scene and he was able to identify Francis Rojas as the murderer.

Now of course we use fingerprints all the time. They can even get partial matches. They use powder and a dusting brush to collect visible fingerprints left on soft surface. But they can also use superglue fuming for prints on non-absorbent surfaces. Fingerprints are kept in a database that law enforcement can use to compare prints found at crime scenes.

History of Fingerprinting

Fingerprinting Analysis

Until tomorrow…

Cindy

E is for…Evidence

We all know that for someone to be found guilty there has to be evidence of their guilt. Something that convinces a jury that the person committed the crime they are being accused of committing. But what kinds of evidence might there be in a trial?

There are four types of evidence. A Canadian website and a U.S. website provided different names for them but they appear to be the same.

Direct Evidence
Circumstantial Evidence
Character Evidence
Hearsay or Second-Hand Evidence

OR

Real Evidence
Demonstrative Evidence
Documentary Evidence
Testimonial Evidence

I won’t go into all the rules of evidence or the definitions of each. I’ll provide a link for that. But there are very strict rules of what can be evidence, not to mention the hearsay rule. Years ago (2004?) I was on a jury. There was no direct (real) evidence in that case. It was all circumstantial. The Crown explained circumstantial evidence to us as being able to conclude that it was raining outside if someone walked into the room with an umbrella with water droplets dripping from it. Or something like that.

Though all we had was circumstantial evidence we found the guy guilty of second degree murder. Looking at it now it’s kind of scary that someone can be convicted of anything with no direct (real), tangible evidence.

Summary of Rules of Evidence

Kinds of Evidence Offered in Court

Until tomorrow…

Cindy