Thursday, May 24, 2018

Character Interview with Wilhelm VanLipsig The Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes

What is your story?
What makes you think there is one?

Who are you?
Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, Galactic Marines, retired

Where do you live?
On my ship, the Loup Garou.

Are you the hero of your own story?
I'm the hero of every story.

What is your problem in the story?
Some pscyho son-of-a-bitch wants me dead and then he wants to take over the universe. The usual.

Do you have a problem the wasn’t mentioned in the story?
Yeah, I'm 86 years old, look like I'm 26 and I've been changed so much by the Marine doctors, I don't think I'm even quite human anymore.

Do you embrace conflict?
I embrace and make love to conflict. Or I face it, look it in the eye and roar until it backs the hell down.

How do you see yourself?
I am death, pure and simple. If you see me coming, then you've got about 10 seconds to say your prayers.

How do your friends see you?
I don't really have any friends.

How do your enemies see you?
My enemies don't see me. I kill them before they know I'm there.

How does the author see you? Do you think she portrayed you accurately?
The author thinks I'm dead sexy, smoking hot, jacked and dangerously seductive. She's not wrong.
What do you think of yourself?
I'm the coldest hearted asshole this side of the galaxy.

Do you have a goal?
Get the other bastards before they get me.

What are your achievements?
I'm not really allowed to talk about that. It's classified.

Do you talk about your achievements?
Never. First thing you learn in the Corps—loose lips get you killed. The only people who know what I've done are the others who were there with me—most of them are dead.

Do you have any special strengths?
My battle plans have made the textbooks. One general said, "VanLipsig's battle plans are a Symphony of Destruction with each movement bathed in the blood of the enemy.

Do you have any special weaknesses?
I can't carry a tune.

Do you have any special skills?
That's classified.

What do you want to be?
I am what I am, what more is there?

What do you believe?
I believe in honor and I adhere to it.

What do you regret?
I regret the fact that I wasn't there for the people who needed me.

What, if anything, haunts you?
The faces of everyone I've ever had to kill.

Are you lucky?
For now. Eventually that luck will play out.

Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Yeah. And I killed her for it.

Have you ever betrayed anyone?
Never. That would be dishonorable.

Do you keep your promises?
I don't make promises.

Are you honorable?
It's the core of who I am.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?
My left eye is a cyber eye and I have a deep scar on my left cheek. I also wear an eye patch.

What was your childhood like?
My father was a sadistic bastard who beat me for every possible infringement of his authority. Eventually, I opposed him in everything, because I refused to believe he could ever be right.

Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?
According to my old man, hell opened its doors and spit me forth. When I was young, that hurt me. Now, I suspect it was true.

Did you get along with your parents?
I cared about my mother, she was a great lady. I hope I see my old man in hell. I have every belief that neither of us will make it to heaven.

What is the most important thing that ever happened to you?
That's a tough one. Probably the most important thing was when the Marine doctors did their enhancements. I haven't been the same ever since. It certainly changed my entire life forever.

Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
Meeting Matilda. She has made me become the man I wanted to be and couldn't seem to find on my own.

What is your most closely guarded secret?
If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret now, would it? Telling secrets gets you killed.

Do you have any hobbies?
Does sex count?

What is your favorite color?
I don't have one. It never seemed very important.

What is your favorite food?
I'll eat anything but Mango Macaroni Surprise. The surprise is that it's completely inedible.

What is your favorite beverage?
Morwellian Brandy because it's the only thing that can give me a buzz.

What is your favorite music?
The 1812 Overture because it reminds me of a simpler time.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
I don't really care what I wear as long as it doesn't bind in the crotch or itch. But I always have my gunbelt, even if I'm naked.

Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.
Pocket humidor full of cheroots, lighter and my gun. I don't carry anything else. Too much stuff slows you down and can identify you when you're dead.

If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
What the hell good would another man on an island be? A woman, preferably a brunette with lots of stamina and a killer figure. It would be nice if she was intelligent too, but that's not a requirement.

How do you envision your future?
I try not to. Life is the here and now.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I Love Dialogue from Alton and Velda by Dellani Oakes

Alton is a Wood Sprite, his fiancee Velda is a River Nymph. Their friends, Revanth and Astrid have a problem—he has been turned into a horse by an evil witch. The four stay the night at an inn. In the morning, Revanth is mysteriously gone from the stable.

"Where's my horse?" Alton demanded. "I left him here, in your care, last night. Where is he?"
"What sort of horse, good sir?" The groom appeared somewhat touched in the head. His speech was slow and deliberate.
Alton wasn't sure the man understood him, but he described Revanth in detail.
The groom shook his head. "Warn't narry sech horse here when I come to work dis mornin'. I check 'em all. I'd o' remembered a horse that sleek—all black, you say? And a stallion? Rare, that is."
"Very rare, hence my irritation that my—horse—is—gone! See here, this is his bridle and saddle."
"Likely run off," the groom said, scratching his stubbly chin.
"He wouldn't do that."
"Why not? All animals like freedom like us folk."
"Not Revanth. Who's the law around here?"
"You don't need the law, young master. . . ."
"The name is Sir Alton of Lyndon Mead. Not young master. I want the sheriff or constable—whoever the authority is here."
"You be wanting Tom Joyce, t' Magistrate."
"That will do. Where is he?"
"Out back. He owns the tavern."
Alton barely thanked him. He went behind the tavern and found a stout, balding man. His pants and shirt were homespun and grubby from hard work. He was trying to fix a wagon wheel without much success.
When Alton approached the tavern keeper turned toward him, touching his forehead in respect. "What can I do for ye, milord?"
"My horse is missing from your stable. I saw him put up last evening. My traveling companion curried him before bed. His tack is where I left it, but my horse is not."
Tom Joyce pulled on his forelock. "Well, then. It appears we've a problem."
"Do you think so?" Alton said, surprise in his voice.
The chubby man had enough intelligence to know he was being chastised. He frowned. "No need to be like that."
"There is, I'm afraid. I have places to go. I need my horse."
"He's worth a lot of money, is he?" The older man's expression changed subtly.
Alton frowned, leaning over the much shorter man. "He's worth more than your scurvy life, old man. He's the war horse for a knight of the realm. The mud in his hooves is ten times the cost of this flea ridden tavern. If you know where he is, I'll have him back. If by your ineptitude, you're hoping that the thieves will spirit him away, let me assure you." He took a step closer. "There's no place he can go where I can't find him. And when I do, I'll make it my business to come back here, lay you open from groin to gorge—nice and slow. Am I clear?"
"As crystal." The taverner gulped, his flabby chins bobbing nervously. "Some lads may have took him," he mumbled. "Early this morning. They might have walked in and led him out, like."
"And what direction might they have gone?" Alton played with the hilt of his sword.
"They might—might be taking him to the horse market. Down to West Farland."
"And how does one get to West Farland?"
"Follow the road for two days—or the faster way is by river, about a day."
Alton stepped forward, touching the man's shirt with his fingertips. "You had best hope I find him swiftly and without hurt, or I will be back and I'll do what I promised." He stepped back. "Out of curiosity, how often do horses go missing from your stable?"
"Fairly often, my Lord," the man replied with a leer.
"Then you'll accustomed to guests who don't pay," Alton replied. He turned away once more.
"Now see here!" Tom bellowed, coming hastily after the Wood Sprite.
Putting a hand on Alton's shoulder, he intended to stop him. He found himself looking at the business end of the Wood Sprite's dagger mere inches from his eye.
"My horse is worth more than your house and land. It's only fair that you not only gift us with our night and meals, but guarantee our safe passage. And if my horse or friends come to harm, no place on this Earth will be safe for you—neither land nor water. Are we clear on that?"
The man blinked nervously, not daring to nod for fear he impale himself on Alton's blade.
They made a hasty departure on foot, following the road to where it crossed the river. Alton knew either he or Velda could pick up Revanth's trail.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How to Get Inside the Head of a Pesky Character by Dellani Oakes

Sometimes, it's not easy getting into the mind of a character. That can be problematic, because you need to know them inside and out, to properly depict them on paper.
To that end, some authors like to use a character interview, answering as the character. There are some where the questions are directed at the author, about the character. I don't like these as well, because it doesn't force me to think like that other person, I project my interpretation of them onto the questions—if that makes any sense?
An author friend of mine, Pat Bertram, kindly shared the list that she uses. I have added, subtracted and fiddle about to suit me, but the majority of this list is hers. Thank you, Pat! It has been very helpful over the years. Sometimes, you will be surprised at what the characters say!
Answer the questions which are most applicable, and don't use the ones that make no sense. For example, if a character lives far in the past, he's not going to have a lighter and cellphone. If he's in the future, he might not have car keys.
Next week, I will share an interview of one of my characters, using these questions. I was stunned (and somewhat alarmed) at how he answered them.

Below is the list of questions. Feel free to borrow it and modify it to your own needs. Happy Writing!

Who are you?
What is your story?
Where do you live?
Are you the hero of your own story?
What is your problem in the story?
Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?
Do you embrace conflict?
Do you run from conflict?
How do you see yourself?
How do your friends see you?
How do your enemies see you?
How does the author see you?
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
What do you think of yourself?
Do you have a hero?
Do you have a goal?
What are your achievements?
Do you talk about your achievements?
Do you keep your achievements to yourself?
Do you have any special strengths?
Do you have any special weaknesses?
Do you have any skills?
Do you have money troubles?
What do you want?
What do you need?
What do you want to be?
What do you believe?
What makes you happy?
What are you afraid of?
What makes you angry?
What makes you sad?
What do you regret?
What is your biggest disappointment?
What, if anything, haunts you?
Are you lucky?
Have you ever failed at anything?
Has anyone ever failed you?
Has anyone ever betrayed you?
Have you ever failed anyone?
Have you ever betrayed anyone?
Do you keep your promises?
Are you honorable?
Are you healthy?
Do you have any handicaps?
Do you have any distinguishing marks?
What was your childhood like?
Do you like remembering your childhood?
Did anything newsworthy happen on the day you were born?
Did you get along with your parents?
What in your past had the most profound effect on you?
What in your past would you like to forget?
What in your past would you like others to forget?
Who was your first love?
Who is your true love?
Have you ever had an adventure?
What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?
Was there a major turning point in your life?
Was there ever a defining moment of your life?
Is there anything else about your background you’d like to discuss?
What is your most closely guarded secret?
What is your most prized possession? Why?
Do you have any hobbies?
What is your favorite scent? Why?
What is your favorite color? Why?
What is your favorite food? Why?
What is your favorite beverage? Why?
What is your favorite music? Why?”
What is your favorite item of clothing? Why?
Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.
What are the last five entries in your check registry?
What are the last three books you read?
If you were at a store now, what ten items would be in your shopping cart?
If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?
What makes you think that change would be for the better?
If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?
How do you envision your future?

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tear Jerker from He Needed Killin' by Dellani Oakes

Dill Hamilton lost his parents when he was very young. Raised in the foster system, he's never known if he had family or not. If so, why didn't they take him in? Now in his twenties, he's found them, quite by accident.

"I have grandparents?" Dill gasped. "Why didn't they take me in? Should I contact them? I don't even know them. Why wouldn't they take me?" Angry and disappointed, he wanted to throw something.
"We don't know the reason," Joy said. "But does it do any damage to ask? You didn't have them in your life before. If you don't afterward, it's no big thing. But if they are happy to see you, then you have something you didn't—family."
"What if they don't want to see me? What if they don't believe me?"
"You look just like your dad," Sid pointed out. "And you look a lot like Gramps there. I don't think that's an issue. But you should pursue this."
"I know if it was me, I would want to meet my grandson," Flynn replied quietly. "I hope when my daughter finally marries, she finds a man just like you."
Andi walked in about that time, clearing her throat. "I couldn't help but overhear.... And I took the liberty." She handed the phone to Dill. "Press the green button to connect."
He didn't react right away, so Haylee took the phone and pressed the green button, handing it to him.
"Hello?" an older man's voice said. "Hello? Is there something wrong with this phone, Martha?"
"Hello?" Dill said shyly. His voice sounded high and childish. He cleared his throat, speaking again. "Is this Nigel Hamilton?"
"Yes. Who's this?"
"I think—I think I'm your grandson. My name is Dillon Hamilton. My mother was Caroline...."
"Dill?" A tortured sob ripped from the man's throat. "It's really you, Sonny? We've been looking for you for years! Honey, get on the extension. It's Dillon's boy."
"Sonny?" a woman sobbed into the phone. "My little sunshine? Where have you been all this time?"
"Yes! Yes, he remembers. Nona a Papi. Where are you? How did you get the number? We have to meet. Honey!"
"Slow down, Mother. Where are you, Sonny? Are you all right?"
"It's such a long story. Can we meet up for dinner?"
"Absolutely. You come to the house."
"I've got some friends with me. I thought we should go out."
"Whatever you want. Where would you like to meet?"
Dill named a nice restaurant not far from their home. He'd often eaten there when he worked for RJ. It didn't require a reservation.
"We'll meet you there in an hour. I can't believe it's you!"
The older couple hung up. Exhaling slowly, Dill wiped tears. "I have grandparents," he whispered.
They pulled up at the restaurant, once again in the limo, and Ray found a place to park on the far side of the lot. As they walked toward the restaurant, a Lincoln Town Car pulled up in a handicap spot and an older man got out. He was so like Dill in appearance, it was like looking in an aging mirror. He walked to the other side and set up a walker before helping a woman out. The group approached as he closed the door behind her.
"Nona? Papi?" Dill said, dashing forward.
"Sonny!" the woman called, holding out her arms.
He hugged her gently, not wanting to hurt her or knock her down. His other arm went around his grandfather.
"You're the image of your daddy," Martha Hamilton said. "But I see your mama's face in there, too. You have her eyes, that dark, mysterious green." She patted his cheek fondly.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Oscar Friedman's Freakish Occurrence - Part 11 by Dellani

Oscar intends to return the car to the rental company, but it has other ideas. Trapping him inside, the car takes off, evading police and leaving chaos in its wake. Oscar gets a call from Don, but has a hard time making him believe that the car really is possessed. He manages to free himself enough to get to the trunk.

"What are you doing, Oscar?"
"Nothing. Ignore me."
"You're doing something naughty, aren't you? Like you did with Jasmine last night?"
"How's that any of your business, honey? You don't even like me."
"You broke my heart," the GPS said plaintively.
"How did I do that?"
"You wanted to trade me in."
"You went nuts on me!"
"I didn't want to be ignored! Then you took up with her!"
"Jealousy is an ugly emotion," Oscar said casually. "Especially in a woman your size."
"Are you saying I'm fat?"
"I'm saying you're a beast, a behemoth! You are the Mount Everest of fat! You make beached whales look small. In fact," he continued, warming to his subject as his hands closed around the tire iron. "You make wooly mammoths look like cats."
Grunting, he sat up with the tire iron behind his back. Scooting forward, he raised the seat once more, positioning himself so he had the best leverage possible.
"I might go so far as to say, that they could put you on Mount Rushmore, but you'd dwarf the presidents with your ass!" He swung the tire iron at the GPS control panel. The glass cracked but didn't break.
"What are you doing?" Did he detect a note of panic?
"Something I should have done the first day when you took an hour to get to my hotel."
Whack! The glass cracked more, spider webbing across the panel.
"I did that because I love you!"
"We just met. How can you love me?"
Whack! Pieces of the console scattered on the carpet.
"Stop that right now, Oscar." The GPS spoke sternly, her voice warbling slightly as he continued slamming the tire iron into the panel.
With a satisfying crunch, it broke and the lights on the GPS dimmed. The car continued down the deserted two lane road. Oscar hit another portion of the computerized panel, hoping to do enough damage to stop the car. It shuddered, but continued at the same breakneck speed.
Flying down the road, he passed a deputy sheriff who was writing out a ticket for an old farm truck. Tossing his pad aside, the deputy ran to his car, hitting the lights and siren as he pursued Oscar's Prius.
"Why are you doing this, Oscar?" The voice was warped, slurring its speech.
His only answer was to hit the gear shift with the tire iron as he slammed on the brakes. Next, he grabbed the emergency brake, yanking sharply at it. This time, the car slowed, swinging in a crazy arc, sliding across the road and into the ditch on the side. Shuddering to halt, the motor still running, the car released the locks, flinging the door open.
Oscar knew it was the unspoken command to get out. On shaking legs, his left ankle threatening to drop him, he got out, still clutching the tire iron. Holding it in front of him like a shield, he hobbled away from the car.
The deputy pulled up in the middle of the road, jumping out with his gun drawn. "Put the weapon down," he commanded loudly.
"It's just the tire iron," Oscar explained, his hands held high. "I'm putting it down."
Once the metal bar hit the ground, the car slammed the door shut. Lights flickered, motor growled. Like an angry bull, the car snorted and smoked. Revving the engine, it sought a purchase on the damp grass. Tires spun, exhaust belched.
"What the hell?" The deputy stood beside Oscar, mouth hanging open.
"Shoot it!" Oscar yelled. "Shoot it now or it'll kill us both!"
"Who's driving?"
"The car. Dammit, give me that!"
Oscar grabbed the deputy's gun, shoving the other man aside as the Prius leaped forward. Squeezing the trigger, he prayed he killed the car before it hit him. He fired rapidly, emptying the clip into the car's grill. With a screaming howl, the hood burst open, smoke and steam spraying upward as the car shuddered and died. Dropping the weapon, Oscar collapsed against the squad car. The trooper grabbed his gun and walked over to the Prius.
"There's no one in here!"
Oscar nodded, shrugging. "Told you. The car.... Something went wrong...." The pain and stress caught up to him and he passed out.

Oscar woke up sometime later, the most delicious feeling of calm and comfort surrounding him. He felt as if he floated on a cloud. His eyes fluttered open slowly, one at a time.
"He's awake," he heard Jasmine's soft voice.
"Oscar?" It was Patrick.
The two of them hovered over him as he levitated. Pressure on his hand made him look down. Jasmine's fingers twined with his.
"Are you all right?" Her pretty face, lined with worry, made its way into his limited line of vision.
"Yeah." His throat was so dry, he could hardly speak.
A straw pressed against his lips and he drank water so cold it made him shiver.
"Thanks." He felt better after a few more sips. "Where...?" He was too groggy to finish the sentence.
"The deputy called for an ambulance," Jasmine said. "You're in the hospital. You broke your ankle."
"Irreparably damaged," Patrick told him gruffly. "Dammit, Oscar. What were you thinking?"
"Car—tried to kill me...."
"Nonsense, cars don't try to kill people."
"Ever see...." Oscar struggled to find the right word. "That Stephen King—about the car?"
"Christine?" Jasmine supplied.
"Yeah. Damn car was possessed. This was—another Christine."
"I've about heard everything," Patrick grumbled. "Try to talk some sense into him. I'm getting coffee." He left, slinging the door open.
"You believe me?"
Jasmine smiled. "I believe you. Sleep now, Oscar. It's over."
"Okay." His eyes drifted shut. "Hey," his eyes flickered. "Is it okay if I fall in love with you now?"
Jasmine smiled, kissing his forehead. "Yes," she giggled. "It's all right."
"Good," he mumbled. "Good."

A white Prius sat in the police impound, hood smudged, bullet holes in the bumper and grill. The moonlight glittered on the twisted chrome. Water from the radiator dripped on the ground mingling with the cool night air.
Suddenly, it seemed to shiver. Lights flickered on across the damaged control panel. The GPS cycled on once more and a red destination blip appeared. With a heavy sigh, the engine started and the white Prius rolled into the night.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Character Interview with Wilhelm VanLipsig The Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes

What is your story? What makes you think there is one? Who are you? Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, Galactic Marines, retired ...