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This Week’s Guest – Monday, December 18, 2017


Maxine Thompson

Dr. Maxine Thompson,
Publisher, Literary Agent, Author, Host of Internet Show is cross-referenced to her other businesses

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Dr. Maxine invites you to join her this week on her various shows where she will be speaking with some interesting people.


December 18, 2017


9:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

This Week’s Guest Below- Monday, December 18, 2017

Email dj@artistfirst.com with questions for the host or Dr. Maxine Thompson


December 18, 2017


December 18, 2017


Patricia Anne Phillips
Author of

Two-Sided Heart, et. al.



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January 4, 2010

Dr. Maxine Thompson

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Blog: Ten Tips for Creating Multi-Faceted Characters


By Dr. Maxine Thompson
http://www.maxinethompson.com
http://www.maxinethompsonbooks.com

Taken From The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sells
by Dr. Maxine Thompson (2002)

When I was sixteen, during the Civil Rights era, as part of a one-way student exchange program (from the inner city of Detroit to a northern suburban, Traverse City, Michigan), I lived with a white family. This was part of an integration initiative. (For me, it was an escape from the drugs taking over my neighborhood and some other demons in my life, but that’s another story.) Anyhow, the mother of the family I lived with was an artist, a sculptress, who encouraged me to write when she saw my love of the written word. Her name is: Verna Bartnick, (http://oldmissiontavern.com/verna-bartnick-studio/). To this day, she continues to create works of art in the form of sculptures.

When she prophesied that she saw a writing talent in me, I wasn’t so sure.

After all, if, at the time, I had told my family I wanted to be a writer, they would’ve laughed and said, “Go get you a good job.”

Well, as life rolled around, I went to college, then became a social worker for the next twenty-three years, while raising 3 children. All the while, I used to wonder, when was my literary destiny going to begin? In 1989, I won money in Ebony’s first writing contest for a short story, “Valley of the Shadow,” then had a few short stories published in a college quarterly, called “Obsidian.” I was happy, but something was still missing.

Ironically, by the time my novel writing did emerge, I had buried my mother and become a grandmother, two milestones, which forced me to take action.

I realized how transient this life is.

From living, I gleaned many things about my journey, but this is one thing I can’t say enough about now—everything I learned about building multi-faceted characters I learned as a social worker.

These are ten tips for building multi-faceted characters.

1. I learned that babies will die from maternal deprivation if a process called bonding does not take place. From that, I’d like to make an analogy. I learned that, as a writer, you must make your reader bond or emotionally connect to your character or your characters will die from reader deprivation. You do this through reader identification, emotions and loyalty. The reader will then begin to root for your main character(s.)

2. Even a “crackhead” has redeemable qualities and a motivation for what led to him or her becoming a substance abuser. Give your villains (or antagonist) a motivation, a past, and some good traits. Also, I learned, just like in life, that in fiction the best lines can come from bums and what I call “street corner psychologists.”

In my novel, Hostage of Lies, these are gems spoken from my character Poor Boy, an alcoholic derelict. “When you don’t love someone, you just don’t love them. They can be ever so nice to you, but you can’t make yourself love them. And vice-versa.

“I been in love both ways. The kind where I didn’t love someone back, and the kind where the other party was just using me. I know this is sad to say, but graveyard love done killed a many people. Got more people in the cemetery than cancer.”

3. Also, just like in life, in fiction, being good is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s easier to do the wrong thing. The person, such as a do-gooder social worker, who tries to do the right thing, has the hardest struggle.

Show this in your characters, particularly in your protagonist or main character. Fiction is about struggle and the fight to do good in a world filled with evil. Good intentions are generally what lead to conflicts in books.

For example, a good mother, with well-meaning intentions, can overprotect her children, creating followers and people who make bad choices. (So if your main character is a goody-two shoe, give her a critical flaw.)

On the other hand, sometimes you can use the bad guy as the lead character. They seem to inspire a lot of admiration from ordinary, law abiding citizens. Remember how in The Godfather, more people loved the Godfather than they did Fredo, his wimpy son, who was not a murderer? So don’t rule out using anti-heroes as your lead character.

4. Things happen to people that can either build their character early in life or destroy them. One teenage mother can go on to become a lawyer; another will drop out of high school, become a welfare queen or a substance abuser. One child can grow up with a schizophrenic parent and go on to become a successful adult; another child can grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth and become a serial killer.

Remember. A character’s back-story is important, but it doesn’t always determine what kind of person he or she will become. The best early life experience does not always produce resilient, tenacious people, nor does the worst early life experience always produce bad people. That’s why it’s often said that hardship builds character.

5. Life is often about compromise. Don’t give your books neat little happy endings. In my novel, Hostage of Lies, Nefertiti reunites with her birth daughter she’d had as a teen and placed for adoption at birth, but she pays the price of always wondering what would have happened had she opted to raise her child at a time when society was merciless to “unwed mothers.”

6. People generally grow during downward spirals. The worse life experience can sometimes turn out be the best thing that can happen. The grandmothers who had to take in crack grandbabies often looked younger than their crack daughters and were really better mothers the second time around.

Hitting rock bottom is often where people grow (or become discombobulated by life’s mishaps.) Put this in your fiction.

7. Show the dark side of your characters; this adds to complexity. How about a man who works with children, then goes home and batters his wife? People are full of contradictions. Or, the flaw could be more subtle. Perhaps look at how people get stuck in bad relationships and refuse to move on—that is, until something happens (the death of a child) such as in Anne Tyler’s novel, The Accidental Tourist, which forces the characters into action.

8. In the capacity of a social worker, I buried an AIDS baby and a Down Syndrome’s baby. I witnessed the after results of murder—a man had killed his wife—(which I revisit in my novel, LA Blues), and I had to place the surviving children in the middle of the night.

From this I learned: the line between life and death is tenuous.

Capture this dichotomy between life and death in your fiction.

9. Life is full of stories. The caseload’s foster mothers used to tell me stories. My clients told me stories. My clients’ families related all the family skeletons as they pointed to the “black sheep” of the family as the fault-line.

From this, I learned that everyone has a story. Everyone has a secret. Show me the inner life of your characters.

10. The Ten Commandments were written because man is essentially in need of God. How different men find their spirituality and their salvation can be a rocky road such as Paul on the road to Damascus. Take me, as the reader, on this journey. Walter Mosley does this in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, as we travel with Socrates, as he redeems himself for the murders that he committed earlier in life.

In summary, show how your flawed characters try to redeem themselves.

Try some of these tips and see how your readers will fall in love with your characters.

About the blogger:

Dr. Maxine Thompson is a novelist, poet, columnist, short story writer, book reviewer, an editor, ghostwriter, Internet Radio Show Host, and a Literary Agent. She is the author of Novels, The Ebony Tree, Hostage of Lies, LA Blues, LA Blues 2, and LA Blues 3, A Place Called Home (A Short Story Collection), The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sell, a contributor to bestselling anthologies Secret Lovers, (A Black Expression Bestseller) All in The Family, and Never Knew Love Like This Before, (Also a Black Expression Book Club, and Kindle Bestseller).

She is also an ebook author of The Hush Hush Secrets of Writing Fiction That Sell 1, 2, The Hush Hush Secrets of Making Money as a Writer, The Hush Hush Secrets of Creating a Life You Love, Novellas, The Katrina Blues, Capri’s Second Chance, and Summer of Salvation, contributor to Proverbs for the People, and Editor/Contributor to anthology, Saturday Morning.

Her novels, The Ebony Tree, (Won a Pen Award in 1997), Hostage of Lies, (Voted a Best Book of 2009), LA Blues, (2011), and LA Blues II, (2012), which were featured in Black Expressions’ Catalog in August 2012. LA Blues 3 was published in August 2013.

Never let your life stand in the way of your success. Never feel that where you live or the hand life dealt you would hamper your success. Meet Zipporah “Z” Soldano, a young, tenacious, bright young lady who gets caught in the middle of a difficult situation that could have cost her more than just her life. Approached by a gang who had anything but good intensions, she is rescued and saved by Romero, a student in community college, studying criminal law, and from then on, things seem to appear to change for the better. But, will they?
From the author of Hostage of Lies and The Ebony Tree comes a brand new novel, LA Blues, where hope and survival are paramount and one young woman will learn many hard lessons in life before realizing you can be anything you want and much more if you grab for success and never let others bring you down. Once again, author Maxine Thompson, pens a novel so profound, poignant and significant that reviewers and authors will be talking about this novel for a very long time.

As Zipporah succeeds in becoming a cop, she learns the true meaning of partnership and respect. But, a domestic violence incident would change her world as she goes to the scene not fully aware of what she is doing and the end result is tragic. Her partner goes down, the children that are involved cannot be placed as the end result. Hard on herself and blaming herself for her partner’s death, she turns to alcohol as her solace. But, how far can she go as an officer if her senses are dulled and her mind is not clear? What will happen to all that she attained and will she turn to her foster mother once again for help or will she like so many others give up on herself? The scene plays out and the end result is tragic as our leading lady, Z, loses more than just a friend. What happens to the children should never happen to any. Placing them in the system is where you don’t want kids to wind up.
But, things got even worse as she winds up in the hospital, the review board terminates her and she ends up doing the one thing that got her in trouble to start with: Drinking herself into oblivion until she literally sank to the bottom of the ocean and now it is time to rise above, stand tall and get it together? But, will she finally see past the liquor bottle and look into the mirror and see who and what she really is and that is not what she is looking at now?

Sometimes you have to sink below sea level in order to rise about the ocean waves. As Z enters rehab and faces her own demons, she meets Haviland, a former movie star, and their friendship begins but in a guarded way. Haviland needs and wanted Z to find her birth mother and understand why her adopted mother bad mouthed her and why her adopted father said she was cut out of the will. With Z’s help, things changed, she finds her real mother, inherits quite a bit but does not get the will revoked, but there is still much more. As Z gets becomes a Private Investigator, Shirley takes her in and she tries to once again to save Shirley and Daddy Chill from a divorce. Friends resurface and old wounds come alive as Z tries to patch up her life, deal with her friend’s marriage, stay sober and find her own place in this world.

Tragedy hits and one young NBA hopeful pays the price. Racial tensions rise. Fear is instilled in many kids. Walking the streets and going to school proves dangerous. The pieces of her family seem to be falling apart. Z needs to find her inner strength to fight against her own personal demons and keep the bottle out of reach. Joining AA was a start and listening to the words of the Pastor during the funeral services telling those present to fight back and take control of their community and not be victims. As the words of the Pastor fills the church another voice is heard loud and clear that of Dr. Maxine Thompson who shares a special poem with the congregation and the words I would like to share with her readers:
“To acts of senseless violence and rage?
When will we learn to love and not hate
To cherish and not exterminate
Let’s wake up before it’s too late
And we lose our entire future Black race.”

Then Z reconnects with her birth mother, locates Mayhem, her older brother, and the pieces seem to fall into place. But, who can she trust as someone is following her and wants her out of the way? But why? Hooking up with Romero and allowing herself to open up leads to other fears and doubts at the end. Remembering her past in order to move ahead with the present, Z needs to come full circle with the truth about her father’s death ad the memories flood back and she remembers the event that changes everything and caused her family to fall apart. What really happened when a man named Strange was beating her mother? How did this man and her father wind up dead? Who was really to blame and who covered up the crime?

Remembering the safety deposit key her partner gave her before he was killed, she locates the bank and what she finds would rock the inner core of her family, the police department and other officials too. What are they trying to hide? Just how far does this corruption go? Who would be the next victim when the information on the CD he left her is revealed?

As the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place and the death tolls still rising, can she stop this before another member of her family is killed? Mexicans pitted against Latinos and Blacks. Racial strife instigated just to keep everyone off track. Corruption everywhere: Whom can she trust? What about Romero? What is his real agenda?

An ending jam packed with the unexpected, twists and definitely loose ends that will keep you on edge until the very end and knowing that the story has more to go and that Z’s work has just begun. Once again author Maxine Thompson hands the reader a plot so filled with real life characters, true to life situations faced by kids dealing with Crips, Bloods, gang violence, racial tensions, street wars, child and spousal abuse and much more. One family that just wants to rise above and not be beaten down but stand tall and unite to find a better way. Z’s faith was drawn from her foster mother, Shirley, and her love for her family never giving up on them.
Meet Z, Shirley, the unpredictable Chica, Haviland, Romero, and the rest of her family as you hear their voices, listen to their words, and follow their stories in this outstanding novel. One woman named Shirley who impacted so many lives. Will they stay above the waves in the ocean? Will Z come out on top or will those following her silence her once and for all? LA Blues: read the novel, take the journey along with Z as she tells you her story.

This book gets FIVE WHITE BALLOONS: Dedicated to those who have lost children in these senseless wars: Mothers for Murdered Children.” Let’s stop the Pain!

Hostage of Lies by Maxine Thompson

Book Review by Leigh McKnight

Suspenseful, Educational, Enjoyable, Powerful—All that and more
Returning home after seven year, Nefertiti is faced with a number of unresolved issues with the men in her life, including her father who did the unthinkable—forcing her to give up her daughter at birth. Though she returned home seeking answers, she also knew she owed some answers as well—her husband from whom she had kept a secret that could have ruined her marriage.

Hostage of Lies is a powerful portrayal of African-American lives with all the ingredients for a best seller. Maxine Thompson engages you from page one to page 310 with a rich mixture of love, lies, secrets, believable characters, rich African-American history, skeletons, betrayal, pain, racial issues, status, humor, lost loves, infidelity, mental illness, black sheep in the family and many other family issues that leave you wanting more—much more.

Titi’s quest to find her daughter after decades is very real and moving. It lets one know that very often when love is involved, time stands still. I was deeply touched by the warm spirit, perhaps the forgiving or just moving forward and live attitude of Zora Desiree Fairchild, Nefertiti’s daughter.

The structure of this story was brilliantly and flawlessly executed by Thompson, the voices of the characters were strong and believable and I love all the back story that brought me to where Nefertiti’s journey ended. Hostage of Lies is so rich in African-American history that it wouldn’t surprise me if it becomes a required reading piece in schools. This story crosses all kinds of lines. Any and everyone will enjoy.
Fantastic Maxine Thompson—–5 *****

Review by J.D. Smith:

We Ain’t the Brontes is a good read. I enjoyed the characters Chairty, and Lynzee, and their over the top sibling rivalry. Since I’m a male, I enjoyed reading about the character, Jett. He seemed true to life. I understood his position about his daughter. I wouldn’t want to be lied to either. The love scenes were tastefully done. The airplane ride and crash were a surprise as was Herman’s character. Overall, it was a well-rounded book that held my interest from beginning to end.

http://www.audioacrobat.com/note/C4X7sBVQ

Reviewed by Author, Leigh McKnight

Returning home after seven year, Nefertiti is faced with a number of unresolved issues with the men in her life, including her father who did the unthinkable—forcing her to give up her daughter at birth. Though she returned home seeking answers, she also knew she owed some answers as well—her husband from whom she had kept a secret that could have ruined her marriage.

Hostage of Lies is a powerful portrayal of African-American lives with all the ingredients for a best seller. Maxine Thompson engages you from page one to page 310 with a rich mixture of love, lies, secrets, believable characters, rich African-American history, skeletons, betrayal, pain, racial issues, status, humor, lost loves, infidelity, mental illness, black sheep in the family and many other family issues that leave you wanting more—much more.

Titi’s quest to find her daughter after decades is very real and moving. It lets one know that very often when love is involved, time stands still. I was deeply touched by the warm spirit, perhaps the forgiving or just moving forward and live attitude of Zora Desiree Fairchild, Nefertiti’s daughter.
The structure of this story was brilliantly and flawlessly executed by Thompson, the voices of the characters were strong and believable and I love all the back story that brought me to where Nefertiti’s journey ended. Hostage of Lies is so rich in African-American history that it wouldn’t surprise me if it becomes a required reading piece in schools. This story crosses all kinds of lines. Any and everyone will enjoy.

Fantastic Maxine Thompson—–5 *****

  
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