Meet Your Happy Chemicals by Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD

chemicals in the brainI ordered this book, Meet Your Happy Chemicals by Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD. The following is a summary of what the back book cover states about four brain chemicals. I thought learning about the chemicals would be useful in showing how our POV character or the antagonist could be deficient in

one or more of the chemicals, which could explain some of their behaviors.

Dopamine makes us jump for joy. Dopamine feels great so we try to get more. It rewarded our ancestors’ will to explore.

Endorphin helps us to mask pain. Our ancestors survived from predator attack because endorphin caused them to feel good. Exercise triggers endorphin so we can safely reach home. Laughing or crying triggers it too.

Serotonin is stimulated by the status aspect…the pride of associating with a person of a certain stature. It triggers our need for respect.

Oxytocin is stimulated by touch and by social trust. It flows when we stick with the herd and create social bonds. Herds protected our ancestors from harm.

In my WIP, Norman in the Painting, my protagonist, Jill, has a need for more dopamine and endorphin. Her inner fears cause her to love running. Her goal is to run three miles every day. The endorphin rush makes her feel safe. Her lack of dopamine causes her to have no desire to explore. She spent most of her years close to her hometown and has no interest in travel. I’ll make sure she will produce more dopamine that will help her grow in her character arc.

The antagonist has a severe deficiency in oxytocin and serotonin.

Does your character have a chemical deficiency?

The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield

Sophie LittlefieldOn Monday afternoon, our reading group will discuss Sophie Littlefield’s book, The Missing Place. It was my turn to choose a book. I had met Sophie during our Women’s National Book Association event in San Francisco a few months ago, and we met again at Town Center Books in Pleasanton for her book signing.

The book is available on Amazon, Kindle, and audio. Here is how it is described on Amazon:

Set against the backdrop of North Dakota’s oil boom, two very different mothers form an uneasy alliance to find their missing sons in this heartrending and suspenseful novel from the Edgar Award–nominated author of Garden of Stones.

The booming North Dakota oil business is spawning “man camps,” shantytowns full of men hired to work on the rigs, in towns without enough housing to accommodate them. In such twilight spaces, it’s easy for a person to vanish. And when two young men in their first year on the job disappear without a trace, only their mothers believe there’s hope of finding them. Despite reassurances that the police are on the case, the two women think the oil company is covering up the disappearances—and maybe something more.

Colleen, used to her decorous life in a wealthy Massachusetts suburb, is determined to find her son. And hard-bitten Shay, from the wrong side of the California tracks, is the only person in town even willing to deal with her—because she’s on the same mission. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, these two unlikely partners question each other’s methods and motivations, but must work together against the town of strangers if they want any chance of finding their lost boys. But what they uncover could destroy them both…

Sure to please fans of Sandra Brown and Gillian Flynn, The Missing Place is a moving chronicle of survival, determination, and powerful bonds forged in the face of adversity.

The Missing Place

Wanted – Dead or Alive

Violet's Vibes

Should I have created a more genteel title? Okay, how about “Looking for class of 1945-1946?” Misleading because it sounds like a graduating class.  Maybe, “Looking for Stephens Elementary first-grade classmates?” There were nearly one hundred first graders back then and only 39 in Mrs. Buffington’s class of 1945-46. (Did I say only 39? That was a huge class with no teacher’s assistant.)

How about this title?

Wanted Dead or Alive

Mrs. Buffington’s first grade class of 1945-46

While my twin, Vi Parsons, and I prepared for our March 10th book launch of Double Take, our stories of growing up in Chowchilla, California, we dug out childhood photos and memorabilia to display at two hometown authors events. Well, not exactly our hometown since we were born hundreds of miles southeast of Highway 99, but the town where life unfolded for us like purple morning glories on a spring…

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A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

A Wolf called Romeo by Nick JansNational Geographic has an interesting article about a friendly wolf in Alaska.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150322-romeo-wolf-dog-animals-wildlife-alaska-ngbooktalk/

Romeo appeared in the Alaskan community near Juneau, and “was a bit of a flirt, and like Shakespeare’s Romeo seemed to fall in love with”…Juliet, a yellow Labrador. Normally wolves fight with canines or eat them, but Romeo wanted to play and had his favorite humans and dogs. He would keep his distance from people but came within touching range of the author, however, Nick Jans didn’t try to pet him. He respected the wolf’s wild behavior. Romeo “would run into the middle of a game of fetch and steal the tennis ball, run off with it, throw it up in the air, and bat it with his paws.” He had his own toys that he’d bring to Jans and his friend, Harry Robinson. Romeo would pick up one of his toys, knowing how to fetch, and bring it to Harry to throw, .

The average life span of a wolf is three years and he was full grown when he came to the community. He visited them often for six more years, so he was at least eight years old at the time of his death. They didn’t feed him. He would leave for several days, apparently finding his own food.

To read more, go to the link above, or order it from you local bookstore, or go to http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Called-Romeo-Nick-Jans/dp/054422809X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427668462&sr=8-1&keywords=A+dog+called+Romeo

Pitch-O-Rama: Meet the Agents and Editors March 28

WNBA small badgeWomen’s National Book Association’s 12th Annual Pitch-O-Rama: Meet the Agents and Editors is set for tomorrow morning.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
    For men and women
    Women’s Building, Auditorium,
    3543 18th Street (b/t Guerrero & Valencia Streets) San Francisco CA 94110
    Continental Breakfast
  • Free pre-pitch coaching and ongoing mentoring
    Two one-hour pitch sessions and more!
    After the sessions, a panel presentation explores “Steps to Publishing: Editing”

    Cost: $65 WNBA members, $75 non-members, $90 walk-ins, if space available.

  • A rare opportunity to pitch to literary agents and acquisition editors in a private, supportive setting and receive feedback from some of the best publishing professionals in the Bay Area.

The list of some of the agents:

Andy Ross, previous owner of Berkeley’s legendary Cody’s Bookstore, now owns his own literary agency.

Georgia Hughes, editorial director at New World Library.

Brenda Knight, presenter at the SF Writers Conference, worked at Harper Collins.

Donna Galassi, VP Associate Publisher for Avalon Travel and Seal Press.

Daniel Harmon, Publishing Director, previous pop culture editor.

Amy Cloughley, agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

Chelsea Lindman, literary agent at Sanford J. Greenburger, Associates.

Laurie McLean, Founding Partner of Fuse Literary Agency, previously with Larsen Pomada Literary Agents.

Gayle Wattawa, of Heyday, an independent, nonprofit publisher.

Carlie Webber, founder of CK Webber Associates Literary Agency.

And several more.

See you there.  Womens Building in SF

Writer's Digest Boot Camp

writers digest universityWriter’s Digest University’s “How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent Boot Camp” is half-way finished for this week. I’ve learned a lot about query letters. We’ve viewed two videos, had two days of two hour discussions, and tomorrow we submit our query letter, first five pages, and synopsis for our agent’s critique. I choose Jill Marr from the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. The agents’ critiqued materials are due to attendees by April 9th. I’ve connected on social media with several people from Jill’s group discussions. It’s been an inspiring few days.

The boot camps are different from the tutorials that Writer’s Digest offers. I haven’t taken a tutorial, but I’m impressed with this boot camp.

More later. I have to do my Norman in the Painting synopsis.