Friday, November 30, 2012

Curiosity Quills and the IWSG, Ninja News, Just the Right Time, Personal Values in Writing, and the December Movie Preview

I have the greatest honor of a guest post at Curiosity Quills today. Sharon Bayliss asked me to write a piece on the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Those of you familiar with Curiosity Quills know this is a big thing, so stop by there today for some history and to learn more about the IWSG.
It's up now!

And thanks for all the cheers for CassaStorm's acceptance by my publisher and schedulded release next September. You guys rock!

Ninja News

Jeremy Bates is holding a Christmas giveaway – twenty eBook copies of The Taste of Fear

Visit Roland Yeomans’ SITE to find out how you can win an autographed Ray Bradbury book! He also has this CONTEST going on with so much cool, signed stuff, it will blow your mind!

Sean McLachlan is giving away two copies of his book, A Fine Likeness. Sign up to win one at Goodreads.

Next Wednesday, December 5, is the next posting for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Livia and Tasha are helping with co-host duties that day. Thank you ladies! If you’re a writer and you’ve not yet joined the IWSG, I recommend joining us – it’s the most supportive, encouraging group you will ever find.

Just the Right Time

I am very stoked to announce that my dear blogger buddy, Robyn Alana Engel at Life by Chocolate, has a book out!

“It's Just the Right Time: a magical mixture of poetry and paintings for folks of all ages. It's not too late It's not too soon To watch the stars dance towards the moon. So begins this little jewel, featuring Robyn Engel's poetry and Robin Mead's artwork. "Just the Right Time is a blessing, a loving embrace with colorful, whimsical pictures and words. I can't wait to read these poems to my grandson and show him the beautiful, twinkly illustrations. You'll want to visit these pages again and again." -Susan Wooldridge, author of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words.

Buy it now at Amazon.

Robyn, congratulations!!! I am very excited for you.

Does Your Writing Reflect Your Morals and Values?

I don’t talk writing often (and with good reason) but a few posts lately got me to thinking about this one.

Does your writing reflect your morals and values?

Now, I’ll watch movies and read books with all sorts of vile characters in them. If the character redeems himself at the end, I’m good with it. But as far as my own writing, I can’t write characters like that. My moral compass won’t let me.

For example:

In CassaStar, Bassa comments that the women of Spaceport 89 are “pretty fast.” Let’s be real – thousands of men on a flagship get a day to relax on a spaceport. Think wild west – of course there are brothels! However, I was not about to show Bassa and Byron visiting one.

In CassaFire, you learn more about “bonding.” Cassan and Tgren women have the ability to “bond,” which means a permanent mental connection to their mate. Once a man and woman are bonded as mates, they are in effect “married.”

So yes, my own moral compass appears in my work, as I place great value on the sanctity of marriage.

(And I'd like to note that Byron does do things I would never do, and there are some immoral secondary characters. It isn't all pure!)

How about you?

December Movie Releases

Here are the upcoming movies for December! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

7 -

A thriller that follows two siblings who decide to fend for themselves in the wake of a botched casino heist, and their unlikely reunion during another family's Thanksgiving celebration.
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Stars: Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek
Could be intense and Olivia Wilde is a bonus.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis
Are you kidding? I’m hitting the first showing! 

21 -

Jack Reacher
A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall
I’ve never read the books, but the preview was funny.

28 -

Django Unchained
With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Don Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington
Tarantino can do no wrong… And it’s a Western!

Any contests entice you? Ready for the IWSG next week? Do your values wind up in your work? And what movies look good to you?

Don’t forget to visit the awesome Curiosity Quills website!


Kyra Lennon said...

That is a fantastic question. Personally, I don't always let my own moral compass guide me. Part of the fun of writing is having characters do things I would never do. Leah in Game On, for example, had quite a colourful youth and Madison in If I Let You Go had a "friends with benefits" arrangement with a guy. I am neither of those girls but I'm okay with having my characters do that because, well, that's who THEY are. :D

Sean McLachlan said...

Hmmm. I wonder how much Django is inspired by the 1960s series of Westerns of the same name? I guess I'll just have to watch and see!

Sean McLachlan said...

I like exploring different moralities in my fiction. Sometimes people may act and feel very differently than I do, but have good reasons for it. Since I write historical fiction, I have to get in the heads of people from different times. Hopefully my readers don't think I agree with all my characters!


Great post Alex, so pleased about your new book.
When I write a poem most are about morals and values of life.....unless
it's a comedy poem. I try and reflect what I think is important in life for example I would prefer health than wealth any day and of course about respect for others, A very good question you asked,


Anonymous said...

I love Tarantino and I'd like to watch Deadfall.

That's awesome about book 3.

I'll check out Curiosity Quills.

mooderino said...

There's certain things I don't write about, but not because of morals, but because I'm squeamish.

Moody Writing

Anonymous said...

The Hobbit - tickets for the first showing as well. Awesome!

Unknown said...

Good people can do bad things and vise verse. I think my characters reflect the morals of society on a whole. Having rounded characters that reflect both good and bad is somethimes a challenge. I think the most important thing is not to preach.

So looking forward to the hobbit as well!

Off to check out your interview...Is it almost time already for a new IWSG?

Old Kitty said...

The Hobbit!!!! But Deadfall sounds intriguing! You don't get many brother-sister sibling combo related thriller type stuff - although it's too close to Skyfall as a title!! LOL!

Take care

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

I think everything I write reflects my own moral values, or at least shines a light on things I consider immoral. Morals are all tied up in who you are, what lives in your heart, so if you're writing from your heart (which I believe everyone should, otherwise what's the point), your morals will automatically show up in some shape or form.

Our own personal take on values is what gives all of us unique writing voices. And that, as Mizz Stewart used to say, is a good thing.

Unknown said...

Looking forward to The Hobbit!

My writing goes outside the boundaries of my moral compass, but hey its Fantasy!

VikLit said...

I think exploring the morality in your work and how this reflects your own is an interesting question. My characters may do things I wouldn't, and I may wish to explore the reasons for why they do. Would I wish to appear to 'ok' values or behaviour I don't agree with? I don't know. A character could get away with murder and the novel still be an interesting piece on the result of that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kyra, believe me, most of what Byron does I would never do!

Sean, with your writing, you pretty much have to write outside of your moralities.

Yvonne, that's why I like your poetry.

Moody, that made me chuckle.

Donna, and congratulations on your book's release!

Siv, next week!

Cathy, well said!!!

Brinda said...

I want to see all those movies!

Ciara said...

There are certain things I'll never write about especially in my YA books. Congrats to Robyn Alana Engel! I'll check out the contests and guest posts. My kids are begging to see The Hobbit.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Hmm. Haven't thought about it. I think my values *may* show up in my work. I don't murder people (! :) ), but I do like justice done to the murderers.

Looking forward to the Hobbit!

Laura Eno said...

Congrats to Robyn and lots of cool giveaways happening right now!
I'm ready for the IWSG - bring it on.
Morals - well, sometimes I write horror and kill people...sometimes I write dark humor and kill people. I suppose my writing reflects my values though. In the end, some kind of justice prevails, even if it wasn't what the reader expected.
Off to Curiosity Quills now. :)

Laura Pauling said...

Yes, inevitable my morals enter into my writing...but not always. That's hard when writing about assassins. :)

Can't wait for Deadfall and the jack Reacher movie!

Rachna Chhabria said...

My moral compass tends to define my writing. My character often echo my thoughts and sentiments.

Congrats on CassaStorm's acceptance.

Anonymous said...

That's a really interesting question. It depends on what I'm writing, but it's fun to make characters do stuff that I wouldn't do myself!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I don't moralize but I I think our morals have to kind of show in some things we write. It is fun to have the main characters do some stuff I wouldn't, but there's a pretty big line I would never cross.

Leigh Caron said...

My first book was dark supernatural thriller (or something like that) One of my characters background came out in a chapter (I have no idea where the stuff came from). When I went back and read what I wrote, I was appalled, but kept the chapter. I haven't written anything dark since. I don't like tapping into dark 'whatever' stuff. Now I write humorous women's fiction. I can deal with that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Still waiting for the article to go up at Curiosity Quills - sorry guys!

Ciara, you have to take them to see The Hobbit.

Laura, I imagine it is!

Donna, there are lines I won't cross either.

Leigh, good for you!

Gossip_Grl said...

You always have great news to share on your blog! Definitely will come back to check out Curiosity Quills. Interesting info on Character Morals and Values. Some interesting movies also coming out this month!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

My husband won't even watch the trailers for the Jack Reacher movie. A lot of fans of the book are/were very unhappy that Cruise is playing Reacher. So, I don't think we'll be seeing that movie (not that I care - wasn't on my list anyway.)

Tonja said...

I hope that at the end of the last story I wrote, people will have an 'oh no' moment in the last chapter and will feel compelled to recommit themselves to being better people (unlike my MC and the supporting characters). So in a roudabout way, yes, my writing does support my values - the behavior of my characters doesn't. :)

kjmckendry said...

I can't wait for the Hobbit! I'm also really looking forward to the new Les Miserable movie with Ann Hathaway.

My moral compass definitely guides my writing, but hopefully in a subtle way. said...

Thanks so much, Alex.I'm wishing there were synonyms for "thank you". It doesn't quite say it, but I keep saying it. You're a wonderful friend!

My writing reflects my morals on a good day. I generally write as the person I like to think I am.


Unknown said...

I'm going to have something for ISWG next month. I'm trying to get back on track but it's slow. Some awesome movies ahead!

Luanne G. Smith said...

I'm so freaking excited for The Hobbit, and I saw the trailer for Django and it looked kind of good.

Also, I do think my personal values come out in my writing, though I lean a lot more liberal. But I notice a theme of loyalty and heroism recur in my writing all the time.

randi lee said...

I was a pretty selfish kid, I'll admit, but slowly became more and more giving as time went on. A lot of my characters start out as the "all about me" type...but slowly become, like me, more and more giving. So I'd say, yes, my moral compass does appear in my writing.

jaybird said...

I've been waiting for The Hobbit for what seems like forever! I'm so excited it's a little embarrassing...

And I have some characters that are seedy and completely go against my grain, but those are the ones that either suffer an enormous beat down, or a major life/attitude change in the end. :)

Melissa said...

I write some steamy scenes - my WIPs are NOT 'Christian Fiction' - but a conservative moral thread runs through the story. My characters may make mistakes, but their attitudes often reflect wholesome values. So, yes, my moral compass affects my work very much. -Probably why my stories contain historical elements - even the ones that aren't straight up HF. :)

PS: Been married to dh 17 years and counting... ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Madeline, I'll still wait for reviews before seeing it.

Tonja, that's cool!

Robyn, you are welcome!

Clarissa, hope you can because we've missed you.

LG, just as friendship runs strong in mine.

Randi, my main character was definitely like that.

Jaybird, good for you.

Melissa, that's good, and congratulations!

Bryan Russell said...

The Hobbit and Tarantino? Grand. Now I'm just waiting for the Hobbit by Tarantino. Slaying goblins to the funkiest music...

Also, I can see The Dark Knight Rises for the first time, and maybe the Bourne movie. And still have to see Bond in the theatre. A veritable cornucopia of films.

Unknown said...

Gosh, my comment never appeared and I can't recall all the cool stuff I said! Sheesh. Oh well, I'm with ya on the infusing our own morals / beliefs into our writing. I think it's natural to do so. Even with my bad characters, I try to give them at least one tiny nugget of decency. Sometimes, it's merely a split second of regret, but it's there.

Off to see your post at Curiosity Quills.

Michelle Wallace said...

Great question.
I'm almost sure that it's impossible to avoid your morals/values from reflecting in your writing... they probably creep in somewhere...
Off to Curiosity Quills...

LynnRush said...

Een though i'm not a huge fan of Tom Cruise. I''m interested in his movie. Thanks for the Wednesday reminder. I forgot last month!!!!

Have a super day!

Louise said...

I can't help but write things as biased by my world view. Which isn't quite the same as writing based on my values, but related. I do sometimes let my characters do things that I consider personally abhorrent, but I can't bring myself to ever show those things as objectively good (even if said characters think they are ok!).

Awesome question! Definitely something all writers need to think about from time to time.

I am so, so excited for the Hobbit. Even if I am annoyed it's turned into three movies!

Unspoken said...

Omg, I like the idea of your second book a lot with the bonding.

As for me, NO! My own morals are not reflected in my writing :). My characters do all kinds of things I would NEVER and have NEVER done :). That is the pleasure of writing.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

All my characters do stuff I would never do. They're much braver and stranger than I am. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher... interesting. But I'll wait to see. Altho I thought Cruise was outstanding in Collaterial and Minority Report.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! to Robyn and best wishes for her new release!

I've read the Jack reacher books and am dumfounded they choose Tom Cruise, who is about half the real character's size, to play the role. I won't watch it.

ANd my moral compass is on, at least to an extent. I never use God's name in vain, no F-bombs in my books, and no exploiting children allowed. Other than that, anything goes.

Elise Fallson said...

I write both kinds of characters, ones that reflect my values and view points and others that are totally insane, oh wait...that may actually be the same thing...:P

Matthew MacNish said...

Are you going to catch the Hobbit in HFR (High Frame Rate)? I don't normally care for 3D or other such digital cinema gimmicks, but this is one thing I think might be worth it. Let me know if you need me to look up what theaters have the HFR capability in your area.

Mina Burrows said...

Alex you're such an inspiration. I love the morals part of your post. Its great food for though. I try and often ask myself which is good.

Looking forward to seeing the Hobbit and of course Tom Cruise.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Unfortunately I'm missing IWSG this month. But it's for a good reason! I'm hosting Kyra that day. :)

Liesel K. Hill said...

Congrats on CassaStorm's acceptance and on the Curiosity Quills post. Sharon and I are buds as well. She's awesome! I really liked your post on values. I'm the same way. I do sometimes write questionable characters, but my trade-up is that I always make sure to portray them and their actions as bad/wrong. My heroes/heroines, though flawed, tend to be pretty honorable, stand-up people. Great insight! I'm way excited for The Hobbit and Django. Not sure what to think about the Cruise one, but you never know. :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Karen.

Bryan, that would be an awesome movie!

Thank you, Candilynn.

Lynn, don't want you to forget!

Louise, that's a good way to handle it.

Thanks, She Writes.

Stephen, you have to have your standards. And are you saying Cruise is short? Funny!

Elise, that made me laugh.

Matthew, I will do a search and find out!

Thanks, Mina!

Rachel, she could be insecure for you.

Good for you, Liesel!

Carrie-Anne, that's a good plan.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

Go Team Bilbo... and shhhh on Roland's post, how can I possibly win with too many people entering? you are in the running for the godzilla... blu-ray too, should make a announcement soon...

have a grand day!!

Jennie Bennett said...

Can't wait for the hobbit! Headed over to Curiosity Quills :)

Juliana Haygert said...

Oh, congrats on the guest post for Curiosity Quills!

I think my writing does reflect my morals, but I know I want to write things that challenge me to, like, I have an idea of a novel about a girl who suffered abuse. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to write cause I don't know if I can stand the subject ... we'll see.

Man, I need to find a babysitter so I can go see The Hobbit!!

Cate Masters said...

Oh rats, can't do IWSG next week because of the 12 Days of Christmas event, sorry.
I love to incorporate the theme of empowerment in my stories, especially for women. :) Characters sometimes will do what they will do.
Didn't know about the Tarantino movie. Looks great. And yeah, The Hobbit's a must.

Gwen Gardner said...

Congrats to Robyn and Robin!

My ms does reflect my morals. My mc finds it nearly impossible to lie - that's me. It would just go against the grain to have my characters lie and cheat. That's part of the reason I bill it as a "cozy" mystery. It's tame, but they do have adventures but they're not perfect by any means, lol.

Leovi said...

With my photos I try to express feelings. I myself am not very sure of my moral level, but I'm sure I'm not damaging.

Carol Kilgore said...

I've written short stories from the point of view of a serial killer, a gun-for-hire, a con man, a prostitute, and a few other unsavory characters. None of them are me. I like exploring what makes the other side tick.

The best thing is we're all different and our stories are all different. So it's all good :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I can't wait for The Hobbit and plan to actually do another big screen viewing of that one.

Reacher, however, is not funny, and Tom Cruise is not and can never be Jack Reacher. I think I'm going to skip that one and stick to the books. Do I sound annoyed? Yep.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great question! I would have to say yes, definitely. Champion in the Darkness follows characters whose faith, or lack of it, determines their ability to work together, to fight battles, etc. - I had to work on not being over the top obvious with my values.
In The Identity of Captain Wrath . . .Doug may be Captain Wrath, he may be arrogant, and a little hot tempered, but he makes some good choices, and I doubt he'd visit a brothel at a spaceport either.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Oh, and The Hobbit, midnight showing, is already written on our calendar and my kids have friends ready to go with us . . .

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I am looking forward to THE HOBBIT and to DEADFAll. tHANKS for the nod to my contests -- I am also offering a signed Stephen King novel that goes for $400! I'm off to your guest post.

Steven said...

Everything I write comes with a little piece of me, so it would be impossible to not implant some of my own values and ideals into my work. Sometimes those values and ideals might not be so obvious, but they're always there.

Hart Johnson said...

I think it would be impossible NOT to have our own morals and values come through in our stories. And I would also probably have a tough time with a main character who was really rotten. Though I think I am quite a bit more flexible on flaws 'good guys' can have. In fact some of them (rule breaking for instance) I actually see as GOOD qualities... part of my value system is 'thinking for oneself' and 'questioning authority'

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Still working on the article at Curiosity Quills, folks! Sorry.

Jeremy, very cool!

Juliana, only one way to find out.

That's all right, Cate.

Gwen, I like that!

Leovi, you express them well.

Carol, it is!

Patricia, I've never read them, so no idea.

Tyrean, I had no doubt your work would reflect your morals!

David P. King said...

Fancy that. I just submitted to Curiosity Quills. "Curious" to see what they have to say about it. :)

Susan Oloier said...

Lots of giveaways! Nice.
My own moral compass is sometimes quite different from what I write. My characters develop organically over time. I think if I pushed them down my own moral path, their choices would seem unrealistic. If that makes sense...

~Sia McKye~ said...

THE HOBBIT caught my eye too. :-)I'm curious about Jack Reacher but will probably wait til it comes to CD.

writing and morals...To a certain extent it does. I do have characters who have less than stellar morals and may stories do. My main characters always have a code they live by. My happy ever after is marriage or whatever the equivalent is in their world, and they don't stray or cheat. That's also my code. But a lot can happen along the way to the HEA.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

My writing is pretty different from who I am as a person. That is a very interesting question about the moral compass though. I definitely think that squeaky clean is the way to go if you want to have as many book sales as possible. It's that way with movies too. G-rated and PG are always going to sell more tickets than R. I just enjoy writing R-rated stuff as the G-rated and PG-rated stuff tends to bore me.

M.J. Fifield said...

What?? No mention of Les Miserables?? That and The Hobbit are the movies I'm most looking forward to seeing.

Johanna Garth said...

I think the fun thing about writing is you can explore all kinds of values. It doesn't have to be value driven.

And YES! We're going to see The Hobbit too!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

My moral compass only impacts on my writing in that I believe if I create a character it's only fair to fully write and reveal him or her as they are. While some characters I've created go against my personal moral fibre I feel that it's good to explore outside your comfort zone. Also if I can't write about such a character, I simply leave that one out.

So many new books and giveaways. If I were an 18th Century lady I'd be fanning myself to keep from fainting. And congrats on getting such recognition from Curiosity Quills.

Jay Noel said...

I take on a different persona while writing, but I'm pretty sure my own moral compass does show up here and there.

I think Jack Reacher looks kinda dumb, but Django Unchained is getting a lot of buzz. Of course, The Hobbit is my top pick!!!!

Nancy Thompson said...

My writing covers the gamut from good to bad characters so there's no doubt I'm in there, especially my personal experiences. It's how I've chosen to deal with some horrific events. But I'm not sure it's represents my own personal moral compass. As for the IWSG, I have a topic but haven't written anything yet. It's been a roller coaster week so I'm not sure which direction to tackle it from. All those movies sound great, really, but Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher? I don't know. Running on over to check out your guest post. Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I love hearing about authors' successes-- thanks for sharing a few. I think moral compasses come out whether we are touting our own particular brand of morality or maybe even exploring our anti-morality. Good question.

Andrew Leon said...

I think I'm more invested in projecting the struggle to do what's right rather than have everyone just doing what's right. In that context, sometimes there must be failure.

Christine Rains said...

I'm really curious what a western by Tarantino will be like! I recently watched Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer and was disappointed. I have Brave arriving today from Netflix. That promises to be a lot better. Lots of great contests. My values do usually end up in my writing. Write what you know, eh!

D.G. Hudson said...

My writing may reflect some of my values, or those I admire. It's part of our experience.

I'm looking forward to The Hobbit, it was my introduction to the Fantasy realm. I think the casting of Bilbo is near perfect.

So many contests, and books. So little time.

Author A.O. Peart said...

I want to see Jack Reacher and Django Unchained for sure!

Robyn's book sounds fantastic. I need to check it out :-) I'm off to visit Sharon's blog, and then Jeremy's and Roland's giveaways.

Have a fantastic weekend, Alex. And yes, the moral compass is what the author should employ in his/her writing, instead of following the industry "standards".

Julie Flanders said...

Oh wow, congratulations to Robyn!! She has such a funny blog and I've no doubt the book is also fantastic.
Heading over to Curiosity Quills now. Have a great weekend, Alex!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hart, you're true to you!

Sia, I like your code!!

Michael, I think my favorite movies are split evenly between R and PG13.

MJ, I've seen the original production in London - no movie can compare.

Jay, it's probably most people's top pick.

Nancy, no one is happy with Cruise as Reacher.

Andrew, you said it perfect.

Christine, exactly.

Angela - what you said!

Samantha May said...

The girls in my "Gun Club" WIP are basically vigilantes...not really anything like me, but it fits their personality.

I'm not terribly excited for Jack Reacher, mostly because Reacher is supposed to be like 6'5 and 200 or so pounds. Tom Cruise...

Hildie McQueen said...

What a great question to ponder upon. It really makes me think about my writing in correlation with my values. I stick to what I believe in and have a hard time redeeming a character who hurts others without regard. But then I reflect that I do believe in the ultimate redeemer, so we are all worthy of forgiveness. Yeah I know I just went in a big circle.

Nicole said...

Great comments about a writer's moral compass. I do tend to apply my own morals in my novels for a lot of the same reasons you talk about.

Ink in the Book said...

I think my writing reflects my morals and values in a big way. I can't write about anything I don't believe in. But I do have characters who commit acts I am against. You've got to have bad guys. The world isn't a perfect place...the thing is, I don't gloss it up. It's stated, and the reader is aware of it, but I don't glamorize it.

~Sia McKye~ said...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The article at Curiosity Quills is up now!!!!!!!

Samantha, he doesn't fit the bill, does he?

Hildie, what's scary is I understood that.

Ink, well said.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Great points Alex. I might see Jack Reacher if I can get over my revulsion for Tom Cruise. Maybe if he gets punched in the face a few times.

Budd said...

A moral compass is fine as long as you don't use it to hit your reader over the head with. This is regardless of which direction your compass points. Show me your character's moral choices (not going into a brothel) instead of telling me your characters moral standpoints (outrage over the brothel for 5 pages). You handled it well.

Mark Koopmans said...

Oh boy...

My moral compass was a *bit* banged up in my twenties, (pre-Internet - *thank you, Jesus*) so I've been repairing that ever since I "grew up" (about ten years ago.)

Now it's all about the future... everything I say (and write) is seen by my three boys. Through prayer and the support of my wife, I'm always striving to be the best Papa I can.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats to Robyn.

My values are in my YA books. I show the characters doing dumb and immoral things sometimes, but there are always consequences.

Carrie Butler said...

I was just contemplating this moral compass issue, Alex! I'm coming up on what I would call a crossroads scene, and I can't decide which way to go. Maybe I'll take the advice most seem to be offering and focus on the struggle. Hmm...

Have a great weekend! :)

Sharon Bayliss said...

So sorry everyone! I made a severe AM/PM error and didn't get Alex's awesome guest post up in time on the CQ blog. I'm so embarrassed! Anyway, it is up now:

Thanks for checking it out!

Empty Nest Insider said...

I am so excited about Robyn's new book! I like that you have such a strong moral compass Alex. I also try to instill that in my boys, but I agree that it's necessary to incorporate some questionable characters in your writing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maurice, it could happen!

Thanks, Budd.

Mark, and I'm sure you are an excellent example.

Diane, good plan.

Carrie, I'm sure you'll make the right choice.

Sharon, no worries!

Julie, good for you.

Jennifer Hillier said...

I would like to say that my writing does not reflect my personal values and morals (since I write about serial killers, who always take center stage in my books), but I don't think that's true. I think some of my beliefs do seep into my characters from time to time, but not necessarily intentionally, and hopefully not in any preachy way. (I strongly dislike novels that preach.)

L.G. Keltner said...

Congrats on CassaStorm, and good luck the the ladies co-hosting IWSG this month! As for morals, I sometimes write things that I find morally reprehensible. I've had to take a break mid-scene before because it was hard to get through it. I may be a masochist this way, but I like to challenge myself to examine aspects of humanity that disturb me. Even so, I find my own feelings seeping into the story through other characters who respond to the terrible things happening. I think we all find our own sense of morality making its way onto the page in one way or another, even when we're writing about abhorrent things. As writers, we choose which things to show for our own reasons, and that's okay. Also, like Jennifer, I don't like books that are overtly preachy, but moral lessons are okay as long as they are organic to the story and aren't stated in a way that hit you over the head.

SC Author said...

THE HOBBIT!!!!! So excited :) And yes, without a doubt, my own life events impact my books -- I write partially BECAUSE of the events. Writing is a journey for me and probably everyone else. I try to answer hard questions in my writing, questions that trouble me and questions that I just can't find a good answer to.

Tamara said...

Excellent post and as soon as I leave here I will go check out the IWSG post at Curiosity Quills. :)

I guess my morals are probably reflected in my writing now that I'm thinking about it.

I'm currently working on a new project (a book with my son) and, because of his input, it feels much more raw than anything else I've written. It's very real.

Like...My feelings about drugs and alcohol have come into play in previous books since, up until now, none of my characters drink/do drugs. Even the few characters that are the type have a reason to stay away from it. But my new character is a borderline alcoholic and his love interest is addicted to meth. Sooo...bit of a departure for me there. haha

But I like the feeling of stark reality that the new book has. I think the others have it as well--but maybe not to the same degree.

But yeah, I think writing is intensely personal and it's almost impossible to write something without some of ours beliefs seeping into the pages.

Natasha Hanova said...

I'm so looking forward to watching The Hobbit! Jack Reacher also sounds interesting.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jennifer, I'd be worried if you were secretly a serial killer!

LG, that's a tough place to write from, but sounds like you found your balance. (And know when to step away for a breather.)

SC, and I bet that really adds to your writing.

Tamara, you have challenged yourself!

Patsy said...

My characters sometimes behave in ways I wouldn't, but generally I'd say my work does largely reflect my morals and beliefs. said...

Thanks for the congrats, all.

Have a great weekend, Alex.


Marta Szemik said...

I can't wait for The Hobbit. It's gonna be the next best thing after LOTR!

Anonymous said...

"Does your writing reflect your morals and values?"

Yes. When I wrote my first manuscript, I listened to my beta readers and wrote "outside" my own value system. I let a close friend read the manuscript, with beta-input changes, and he responded that he was surprised. He said, "This doesn't sound like you at all." I went back and rewrote the manuscript, giving my bad characters redeemable values like I had originally intended. It's not that I'm aiming to write goody-two-shoes characters, but readers do tend to think that your characters are a reflection of who you are as a person. So, thanks for the reinforcement. :)

Unknown said...

Yay for Robyn, I'll have to stop by and congratulate her. I also need to pick up a copy.

Can't wait for these movies, they all look awesome.

My morals don't always end up in my work. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Just because I don't do it, doesn't mean I won't write about it. LOL

Unknown said...

I loved your post on Curiosity Quills and left a comment. Robyn's new book is gorgeous!
My own values and morals absolutely make it into my books. Sometimes more of me than I want slips in there, too. 0.o
Great post! :-)

M Pax said...

My characters are often more scandalous than I. I needed help writing the thieving scene in Backworlds, because my brain doesn't work that way. lol I still ask for help with that sort of thing. But I enjoy exploring the gray. My characters usually make the 'right' choices in the end [for them] but how they get there is often convoluted. And I've written very naughty characters [nothing like me], which I think is quite fun. Anyway, I do enjoy exploring what morality and culture are and trying to step outside my own confines of perception.

Congrats to Robyn.

M Pax said...

I can't get on the Curiosity Quills website. Darn. I'll try again later.

mshatch said...

Django would be my top choice to see - I do like Quentin :)

Livia Peterson said...

So much good news going around the blogosphere! Congratulations!

I'm looking forward to IWSG, but I'm nervous that I won't able to comment on 25 blogs all in one day. It may take me like five days because I like to visit my regular blogging buddies. I hope you won't mind me taking a FEW days to comment on blogs.

I'm looking forward to Silver Linings Playbook, The Hobbit and this year's Les Mis! Les Mis looks so incredible! Can't wait to see it! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Marta, that's right!

Linda, that's how I feel. I can't write way off center of who I am when it comes to the main character.

Lexa, thanks and good for you!

Mary, I'd need a lot of help!

Helena said...

Robyn - Since I like poetry and the cover of your book is lovely (and 'cause I have a thing for birds), I'll be checking it out.

For me, one of the liberating aspects of writing is to go beyond my own moral compass and create characters who do things I wouldn't or couldn't do. But that said, I want the protagonists to be basically decent and kind, so even at their baddest there are things they would never do, or they are ashamed of actions they have taken.

Example: In my historical novel (now in the editing stage), my lead/narrator is a lot of things I'm not, including young, beautiful, vain, avaricious, impulsive, reckless, and conniving. But she's also generous, idealistic, funny, daring, and risk-taking. And it is so much FUN to write through the voice of a character like this!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Alex - I am always amazed at how much important information you can pack into a post!

As for morals in my writing, I have no issues writing characters with different morals than mine. It's fiction!

See you next week.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Livia, just do what you can in the first two days. If I can visit 150, I know you can do twenty-five.

Helena, sounds like they are still a little close to home. And I hope you pick up Robyn's book.

Heather, I'm all about the bang for your buck.

Jeff Hargett said...

Congrats on the Curiosity Quills gig, Alex! Cheers to Jeremy, Roland and Sean for the giveaways, and congrats to Robyn too.

I'm not sure I can answer your question accurately without giving it more thought. Thanks for making me think on a Friday night! LOL

Chuck said...

I'm gonna enter me some book give aways!! I am so proud of Robyn's book and I am sure it will be a success. I always wish her the best.

I am in for all the movies! Thanks Alex.

Karen Lange said...

Good question. I think my writing reflects my convictions; I don't think I could be comfortable putting it out there if it didn't. Heading over to Quills now!

Happy weekend!

Libby said...

Everyone is different, but I'm less interested in my characters operating from my own moral compass and more interested in exploring different ways of seeing things. Both have equal value, just a different approach.

Intangible Hearts said...

Life by Chocolate sure could get my attention. What a great title. Oh and I I'm sure I'll love The Hobbit!

Allison said...

Though my characters do things I wouldn't do, I think my morals and values still come across in my writing. Can't wait for The Hobbit.

SpacerGuy said...

I hide in the corner of the galaxy and worship the stars when they twinkle at me. Truth be known I'm a terrible failed writer, been faking it all these years, just kidding. Thanks for the goodies, Alex.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex .. certainly my comments and postings are me - no point in being otherwise .. I couldn't be two people. Wonderful about your book that's great news.

Once again you'll be first in line for the Hobbit .. it does sound amazing - I expect I'll see it in the New Year.

Great post - thanks for all the info and shout outs .. cheers Hilary

Kittie Howard said...

I also believe characters should do what characters need to do. Chaplains and shrinks can take care of all that jazz that stirs people up. Not my problem.

Many thanks, Alex, for offering a shout-out. I'll get back to you when Rings hits Amazon/Nook. Rings flew to South Africa (first class!) last night for Rachel to work her magic. BTW, Rachel Morgan has Morgan Media, a new enterprise she's founded. I'm one of her first customers and highly recommend her work. She's got decent rates and goes the extra miles -- or miles in my case.

Hope that Bugatti's in your stocking. Hey, are you taking us for a virtual ride if so?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeff, thinking on a Friday night is sometimes impossible.

Hey Chuck! Good to hear from you!

Karen, I know I wouldn't.

Allison, I'm sure they do.

Kitti, if you don't mind doing 200 mph, no problem!

Leovi said...

Delicious rhymes of Robyn Alana Engel. Greetings.

Jack said...

It is nice to know some authors value marriage and put such values in their books. It makes me even more eager to start yours.
My values always show up in my books. Not all my characters are good and do the right things, but I draw a line between certain things, one which I won't cross.

The only movie on the December list I plan on seeing is The Hobbit - and since I plan on trying to see it as many times as possible I doubt I would see any of the others. Though that one about the investiagor sounded rather interesting.

DMS said...

I love the cover of Just the Right Time and the book sounds great! Looks like there are some awesome contests and good movies right now.

I do think my morals end up in my work. I don't like bullies- and there are bullies in my book, but the MCs deal with them in a way that empowers them.

DMS said...

I should clarify- the MCs are empowered- not the bullies. :)

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats to Robyn!

I just wrote up my IWSG post, so it's all scheduled to go live on Wednesday.

That's a good question about writing reflecting morals/values. For me, I try to write realistically from my characters' POV. They don't always have my morals/values. But I do have quite a few vegetarian characters, since I'm a vegetarian. Hmm...maybe I insert my morals/values a little bit. Heh.

Can't wait to see The Hobbit!

Sherry Ellis said...

I don't think I could ever have immoral characters in my stories. I guess that's why I'm a children's writer - I like keeping things sweet and simple!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Visited Quills and tweeted!

The moral dilemma...ugh. I was the most red faced because my story had the obligatory sex scene in it. The older ladies at my church laughed at me for my worry. I want to write mainstream, so the stories are for a general audience. And I often worry, am I wrong, am I betraying my beliefs? I pray on it an get the same thought...stay mainstream...others are called to preach to the choir.

Yolanda Renée said...

I write about characters that murder and commit other horrible acts, but while I cover the most heinous, I also try to give the other characters the kind of values I admire and hope I emulate.
I like to explore both sides of the morality code, but that's what good and evil is all about.

Congrat's on your new contract, and for all your success! It's truly wonderful to see, as it gives hope all the way around!
Happy December!

Kelley Lynn said...

Checking out CQ now! Can't wait to see The Hobbit :)

Mina Lobo said...

As regards morals in my writing, I think I do see them in my protagonists, though the opposite's in the antagonists. Maybe that's a little cliched, huh? :-) Hey, that'd be a fun exercise, eh? Writing a protagonist whose morals vastly differ from yours?
Some Dark Romantic

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Will get my post for IWSG ready tomorrow. I'll see The Hobbit in the first week or so but not the first night. My values show up like yours, and I don't intend to change it.
Don't care for the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher but I'll probably see it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jack, thank you so much! And seeing it multiple times sounds like a plan to me.

DMS, I knew what you meant!

Cherie, I didn't know you were a vegetarian!

Sherry, I like that.

Elizabeth, thank you! And if you've prayed on it and that's your answer, you know what to do.

Yolanda, very true. And thank you.

Mina, it would be challenging.

Susan, good for you!

Ella said...

Hobbit n Reacher look good o me
I like and respect your moral compass.
I think, for me it would be hard not to include it.

Wow so much news
Off to make the rounds
Happy weekend to you n yours said...

Your Ninja Army is pretty darn great, Alex. But you already know that. Thanks for all the cheer on my behalf, folks.


Cynthia said...

Does my writing show my values? It depends.... I try to avoid being preachy in my writing and at the same time, I depend on my readers to have the good sense to read between the lines when there is a universal value I'm trying to convey. To add to that, though there might be occasionally similarities between me and one of my characters, I am NOT my characters. My characters, even my main protagonists, don't always do the right thing....and wouldn't they be sort of dull if they always did?

I hope that makes sense. I'm kind of rambling here. I can write a lot more about this topic, so this is a good question that you raised. Thanks, Alex.

Unknown said...

Good question about personal values... Although I let my characters do things I think are "wrong" (because we can't have perfect characters, and they all need to make mistakes!), my values definitely do find their way into my writing.

Really looking forward to The Hobbit, but since it's 2 days before the wedding, I think it may have to wait!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Going over to Curiosity Quills.

Anonymous said...

Way to go on Book#3, Alex! My moral compass always steers me toward beating evil with good (or lesser evil) in all of my stories. Saw the Django preview just yesterday before Skyfall and it looks real good. So does The Hobbit!

ediFanoB said...

Feel a lot better today. Antibiotics worked well.

I look forward to your impressions of The Hobbit.

Jai Joshi said...

Interesting thoughts on how our writing reflects our values.

I can't wait to see The Hobbit!


Tami Von Zalez said...

Hobbitt is on my list of must-see movies!

Come celebrate December with my Countdown to Kitschmas

Unknown said...

This is an interesting discussion Alex. There are certainly things I stay away from in my writing, but I do often find that the violence level in my books are out of my typical comfort zone. For the most part I let it be written naturally because it feels the most authentic for me.

As far as upcoming movies... I've been getting very excited about The Hobbit!!! Can't wait =)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ella, thank you.

Robyn, hope you sold some books!

Cynthia, it does. There are things my main character does that I'd never do, but certain things I would never allow him to do.

Rachel, made it part of your bridal party!

Milo, that's how I operate as well.

Edi, I will let you know and glad you're feeling better.

Emilyann, I think it's more that I stay away from things as well.

Tina said...

Congrats on the next step in publishing your last in the trilogy! I liked CassaFire even better than CassaStar. Probably the romance... ;-)
Heading over to check out your guest post.
Tina @ Life is Good

Morgan said...

Oh, my morals totally appear in my work... I think it's because I can't write anything that isn't true to *me* ... Not sure if it would resonate across the page. Of course my characters do things I wouldn't, but I couldn't bring something across that I don't believe in.

And I've decided I need to start watching movies... ;-)

klahanie said...

Hi Alex,

I would think that my writing is a direct reflection on my morals and the value I place on an all different, all equal world.

As per usual, plenty of links and your altruism is greatly admired. You will have to forgive me, but this is a lot of info overload for my stressed out brain. Yes, my last two brain cells are most perplexed.

With respect to you and those who interact here, Gary

Unknown said...

My writing definitely reflects my values. Not to say that all my characters are good. There wouldn't be a story if they were all perfect people. But I do try to write what I believe. I don't feel right when I try to write anything else.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm excited about The Hobbit. I've had my fingers crossed since the first LOTR came out. I enjoy the Reacher books, but I'm still not sure how I feel about Cruise being cast as Reacher; we'll see. And, hey, a western! I have to be in the mood for Tarantino these days.

Are my values reflected in my writing? To a point. I'm willing to stray across those lines in my fiction, though.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tina, hope you like the father-son relationship in the third one then.

Morgan, that's how I feel!

Gary, I know - I need to work on shorter posts...

Imogen, exactly!

Lisa Regan said...

I would like to think that my "good guy" protags reflect some of my own moral values but since fiction is where I explore, I would not necessarily say that my work always reflects it. A lot of things happen in my books that I'd have no part in.

Angela Ackerman said...

I find I can write characters who don't reflect my moral values, but they have to be secondary characters. My main characters are too much an extension of myself, and my values.

What I find interesting about analyzing my writing is how certain themes crop up again and again. Clearly these are areas that I feel strongly about and which affected me greatly over my lifetime. Therapy, perhaps?

Charmaine Clancy said...

I like what you said about writing with a moral compass (without preaching). When authors do that, there's a certain truth to their work. I don't mind writing vile characters though, even if they don't redeem themselves. I find a kind of beauty in the flawed - but that probably comes back to the idea of truth.

PK HREZO said...

Love Tarantino. These all look great, except I don't really care for Tom Cruise anymore. His roles just leave me feeling blah.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Angela, that's how I write. And a theme cropped up in my series I wasn't expecting. Might be my IWSG post.

Thanks, Charmaine.

Cherie Colyer said...

That's an interesting question, and while I never really thought about it until now, my books do follow my moral compass for the most part. To keep with a certain level of truth, some of my characters do things I wouldn't.

Congrats on book 3!