Author Peggy Holloway

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Historical Facts in Fiction

Posted by peggyholloway62 on May 7, 2016 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)


 

     As an avid reader, I have read many fiction books that took place during the Civil War. Of course the best of those was Margret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. I have yet to read one where the south won.

     I’ve thought about writing a time travel where someone went back in the past and maybe found the gold that was supposed to help save the south. As a southerner, that appeals to me. That would be a science fiction, of course.

     In my book, Out of Phase, Ashley goes back in time to save Charles Manson from becoming the monster he became. Some of the folks in my critique group had a problem with making Charlie become a good caring person. Maybe I pushed the envelope a bit on that one, but it sure was fun to write.

     When I sat down to write Double Shock, I had a vague idea of writing a novel about an abused wife killing her husband and making it look like an accident. Then, while going through his things, she finds papers she doesn’t understand. I wanted the town of Addison, Georgia to have a secret and for Ramona to have to figure out what was going on. That was what was in back of my mind.

     Like all of my books, the general idea for Double Shock turned into something huge. There was something going on in the peach factory in Addison. At first I thought maybe they were using the peach seeds to make some kind of poison to sell on the black market, maybe something that would help win the Vietnam War, the war that was going on at the time the book takes place. I really don’t know how it happened, but, while I was researching peach seeds, I ended up on a site talking about the German Bund, a group of Germans who came to the United States just after WWI and tried to start a Neo Nazi group. They held a big rally in Madison Square Gardens where they displayed the Swastika alongside the American flag and called the president Franklin Rosenfelt.

     One of the women in my writer’s group was old enough to remember this, and she lived New York where it happened. I was amazed that I had never heard of it before.

     By this time, I had made a good start on the novel and didn’t understand how this was going to play out. The book starts in the 1960s. But then, when Ramona finds diaries after her mama commits suicide it is discovered that her mama was living in Pearl Harbor when Japan attacked. Well, that was interesting, but how did that tie in to what was happening in Addison, Georgia in the sixties?

     Things have a way of working out in most of my novels, but I felt like I had truly backed myself into a corner this time. Then I found another article that made my heart start pumping. What it said was that, after Hitler declared war on the United States in 1941, the German Bund was then in enemy territory. Many were arrested, but a small group fled to the south and joined the KKK. I had found the link I was looking for. I love it when that happens.

     I’ve had good reviews on this novel, but I’ve also had some very bad ones: "The premise of the book is stupid, don’t waste your time reading this one, the story is very unrealistic." That was the worst one.

     As an avid reader, I read for pleasure. It takes me away from any worries and gives me a break from writing. Even though I don’t think I would enjoy reading a book where the south won the Civil War, unless it was a science fiction, I like historical novels from time to time. I can learn some history while enjoying a good book.

     So, I’m still left with the question I started with. How far can you go, how much creative license can you take, when writing a fiction novel, novelette, novella, or short story? For me, if the story contradicts what I know as fact, it turns me off.

     A couple of year ago, I read a book that took place in the south in the sixties about white girl and black man who fell in love. The story was good, but would have been better if it had been written by a southerner. The first thing that made me feel like I was running my fingernails across a blackboard was that the author seemed to think that by taking the g off all ing words it became southern. Then she kept calling a demonstration, a boycott. The thing that bothered me the most was the fact that the couple went to New York and didn’t have money to ride the streetcar. When I think of streetcars, I think of San Francisco. I spent some time in New York in the sixties. You could ride the subway all day long for a dime. The book did well and I’m happy for the author. It’s interesting to see which books do well.

     I think my pet peeve is when someone writes what’s supposed to be a psychological thriller and doesn’t know the difference between a psychopath and sociopath. In one novel, the author used them interchangeably and said they were both the same and that they were personality disorders. That book did well, too.

     I will continue to write my novels and have fun writing them. I’ll try not to offend anyone but you can’t please everyone, right?

     Please send your thoughts on this subject. How much can you stretch the truth as we know it while writing fiction?

 

 

 

EXCERP FROM DOUBLE SHOCK

Posted by peggyholloway62 on May 27, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

CHAPTER 13

December 7, 1941:

     At first I thought it was the end of the world. All three daddies were with me, and the baby. We were having a good time drinking wine, talking and laughing when, all of a sudden, there were loud noises like about a million guns being shot at the same time. I had heard the guns from the rifle range near my house, but this wasn’t that. We ran outside, and looked in the sky, and there were planes shooting at us. Cole and Adam picked me up, and Daniel picked up the baby, and ran with us to an underground bunker I never knew existed.

     On the way there, I saw several people falling down, covered in blood. People were screaming and running in all directions. I’ve never been so scared in my life. When we got underground, the three men left. People were screaming and making so much noise, the baby started screaming too. She’s maybe cried twice in her life. She’s such a good baby. She turned two this year and toddles around on her short little legs like she is in a hurry. I got her quieted down by rocking her in my lap. She put her thumb in her mouth and went to sleep in spite of the noise.

     It was killing me not knowing what was going on above us and I asked another lady to look after Ramona and climbed out of the bunker.I saw a GI and asked who was shooting at us. He said it was Japanese planes, and that they weren't shooting, they were bombing. If he had said German planes I wouldn’t have been confused. But Japanese planes? They weren’t in the war were they?

     I was wandering around, and found that I had wandered to an area I had never been in before. I was on a road made of white sand and I could see no one. I heard someone say, “Psst,” and turned toward the sound. It was a Japanese soldier. He was about my age. He was laying in a ditch beside the road, and he was wounded. It was very confusing. Why was one of them down here? I looked around, and behind a tree I spotted a parachute. I looked back at him, and he looked terrified. “I’m not going to hurt you,” I said, but could see he didn’t know what I was saying. I came back over to where he was, and looked down at him. He had his hand on his chest, and I took it in my own. It was covered in blood. I unbuttoned his uniform. He had landed on a branch, and a splinter of it had gone through his chest. I pulled out the stick. He bit his fist to keep from screaming, and blood started pouring from his chest.

     I didn’t know what to do, but by some miracle I thought about taking off my blouse, and holding it against the wound. It seemed to take a long time to get the bleeding to stop, and by then he was really weak. I ran back to where the parachute was and tore off strips and tied them around his chest. I buried the rest of the parachute. When I got back to him he was sleeping. I didn’t know what to do with him. I was also without a blouse. The only thing I saw left to do was to put the bloody blouse back on. I would have to make up a story about why it was bloody. I didn’t think I should tell anyone he was here, and I looked around for a place to hide him. I was afraid to move him, and ended up unburying the parachute and putting it over him. I knew I should at least get him some water.

     I took his helmet, walked around the area, and found a small stream and filled it. I raised him up, and helped him to drink. It was frustrating to try to communicate with him. I must have been gone for hours, and they would all wonder if I was still alive. I tried to tell him I would be back, using sign language. I don’t know if he understood. The guns had quieted down some, as I started back toward the bunker, and I was thinking about how I was going to explain all this blood on my blouse.

     I could see the shocked look on everyone’s face when they saw me.

     “I’m not hurt,” I said. “I was trying to help a wounded sailor but he died anyway. It’s a mess out there. I don’t understand. Why have they attacked us?”

     No one knew the answer to this. Later that night, Cole came, got me and the baby, and walked us home. He told me that all three of them had to ship out that night. I understood, but was afraid. When he left, he gave me a wad of money.

     “From all three of us,” he said, “it should be enough to get you back to Addison Georgia.”

     But I knew I couldn’t go. I needed to look after the Japanese soldier. For some reason, I felt responsible for him.

 

BASIC PSYCHOLOGY FOR WRITERS

Posted by peggyholloway62 on January 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

BASIC PSYCHOLOGY FOR WRITERS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS

 

Before you write that psychological thriller, be sure to get the facts right. I recently read a very good mystery with a good plot, but I found myself cringing when the detectives were gathering information on the serial killer suspect. They said he had been diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder and was taking medication for that plus medication for depression.


Antisocial personality disorder is a personality disorder that was originally called sociopathic personality disorder. Basically they are people without a conscience. They are not prescribed medication. They would not take a medication, even if they were. They think they are the only person who is sane. In fact there is no medication for most personality disorders. They may cause others to get depressed but they do not get depressed and would not take medication.


A personality disorder develops when the personality is being formed, around two or three years old. It is a very ingrained disorder because it is that person’s personality. Some of the other personality disorders are: Borderline personality disorder, (The movie Fatal Attraction is a perfect example of this), Narcissistic personality disorder, (Betty Broderick, the woman who murdered her husband and his new trophy wife, is a textbook example), Histrionic personality disorder, (recognizable right away, the person’s life is like a soap opera). These are just a few and many people have mixed personality disorders, having components of several. Changing someone’s personality takes years of deep level psychotherapy. But most people with personalitie disorders don’t want to change, so you won’t find many of them in therapy. If they are court ordered into therapy, they usually treat therapy as a game, and try to con the therapist. There is a character in a couple of my books called Jupiter that cons my main character, Judith McCain, who is a psychologist for the FBI. A serial killer can have one or a combination of personality disorders.


Another disorder that would make a good serial killer would be any of the delusional disorders. These people may, for example, think they have a special calling from God to rid the world of all Jews or all black people or all people with red hair, etc. They may hear voices telling them to commit a crime. Schizophrenia is one of the delusional disorders and is not the same thing as multiple personality disorder, now called dissociative identity disorder, no matter what Hollywood would have you believe.


Multiple personality disorder is not a personality disorder which is probably why the DSM renamed it dissociative identity disorder. It is a dissociative disorder. Other dissociative disorders are amnesia, fugue, and depersonalization, where the person has a feeling of leaving his or her body. Dissociative disorders are really symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. These people can make very good serial killers for your novel. If you’ve read my book, Terror on the Beach you will see a good example of this.


If you want more information about all the wonderful disorders that you can use for your novels, I would suggest you get a copy of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.). It is a very thick book and gets thicker with every revision, so you might find some rare disorder you can use in your wonderful novels that I’m enjoying reading so much. By the way, keep those novels coming!


 

What my friend and basketball coach taught me

Posted by peggyholloway62 on December 2, 2012 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (3)

What my friend and basketball coach taught me about writing:

 

For the first time since I started writing, I had become unmotivated. My friend, Kenneth Sanders, had been talking about the psychological aspects of a football game he was watching. I had made the comment, “It seems like when a team gets behind, they sometimes give up.”


He thought for a moment and then said, “Not always. Sometimes they become more determined than ever.” He went on to tell me some of the things he used to tell his basketball team. I didn’t remember most of what he said at the time


It wasn’t until a few days later that I decided to ask him about how he motivated his team and asked him if he thought some of the techniques would help motivate me in my writing.

I got the shock of my life when he told me I needed to take a break from my writing. That was just opposite of what I thought I would hear. I was expecting all kind of things like setting goals etc. That didn’t happen.

After questioning me about the different books I had written, my feelings about those books, and my feelings during the actual process of writing those books, he made a comment that blew my mind.

He said, “It sound to me like somewhere, between the fourth and fifth book, you lost your focus. It’s sound like you were no longer having fun. Your focus became more on your book sales and the money. You told me you decided to write after retiring because it was something fun to do. But you don’t seem to be having fun anymore.


“I’ve been watching you during this whole process and you seem to be putting pressure on yourself. You keep saying, ‘I’ve got to get 1500 words written today.’ Why? Why do you have to get any words written today or tomorrow? You said that your characters wrote your books and you just followed along, but lately it seems like you’re putting pressure on your characters to perform. Let me tell you a story about LeBron James.”

“Who?” I asked.

“He’s a basketball player for Miami,” he said.  This is the story he told.

 

"LeBron James was a star basketball player with Cleveland until Miami offered him more money. Once he got to Miami, he began to feel a lot of pressure and his game became cumbersome. Miami didn’t win the championship that year. During the off season, he had a “Come to Jesus meeting,” and realized he wasn’t having fun anymore. He took some time off, came back and they won the championship that next year. When asked what had changed, he told reporters that the game became fun again."

 

My friend, Kenneth said he could tell the difference by watching the expression on LeBron James’ face from that first season to the next. He said that, in the second season, LeBron James played with a smile on his face, but before, he had looked sad and unhappy.

This was a very important lesson for me to learn and, looking back, I can see all the times I have put pressure on myself, and have become less productive. It’s a lesson I hope I never forget.

 

IS THERE A RIGHT DECISION?

Posted by peggyholloway62 on November 8, 2012 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

DECISIONS AND MISTAKES

I used to be so afraid of making mistakes, that it was almost impossible for me to make any decisions. It wasn’t until I started seeing mistakes as growing experiences, that I started seeing decisions as neither right nor wrong. Some people make a list of pros and cons, of each decision, before deciding to do anything. I don’t even do that. What it’s about for me is more of a feeling of trusting myself and my own instincts.


Some decisions I’ve made appeared at first to be a disaster. Sometimes these have resulted in learning experiences I used later. One example is this. When I first got my masters degree in psychology, I got a job with county mental health, where I had to do Psychological Evaluations for street people, and find placement for them. I hated the job, and was attacked twice. I only lasted about eight months.

The good thing that came out of having this job, was that it gave me the experience I needed to qualify me for a job as top evaluator of adolescents. As it turned out, I loved working with adolescents. Part of the job was also doing group therapy, and I really loved that.  I saw many adolescents turn their lives around.  It was probably the most rewarding job I've ever had.


For me, the thing I know about making decisions is that there are no right or wrong decisions. There are advantages and disadvantages of every decision.  In every decision you will lose something and gain something.  So decision making is not a black and white issue.  

 

PERCEPTION

Posted by peggyholloway62 on October 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

One day my sister asked me if I would watch a preacher on TV with her.  There on TV was this thin dark haired man, on a stage, surrounded by literally thousands of people. He was smiling showing all his teeth, and his eyes were blinking about a hundred miles an hour. He looked so nervous, it made me nervous watching him.

I turned to my sister and asked, “What’s wrong with him?”

 She looked at me and said, “What do you mean? You don’t think he’s fabulous?”

 Now this is where perception comes into the picture. My sister and I were watching the same TV show but were seeing two different things. Isn’t that amazing?  


To my way of thinking, which may or may not be yours, perception is about 99.999…% of everything.  That’s why there are so many different religions using the same book, The Bible. Personally I think more people have messed themselves up using the Bible than any other way.  

 

Think about something if you will. I’m standing on the NW corner of Vine Street and Rhubarb Avenue. You’re standing on the SW corner. There’s an automobile accident involving a truck and a car right in the middle of that intersection. Is our perception of this accident going to be the same?


My life experiences are different from yours. We had different parents, different teachers, different illnesses, different accomplishments, and different friends. We have been to different places. Even if we have been to some of the same places, we were there at different times, or if we were there in the exact same hotel at the very exact time, we probably ate different things, saw different things at different times, and had different dreams while sleeping while we were there.


Someone recently mentioned something about the truth. When I asked whose truth, they looked at me like I had lost my mind. To my way of thinking, my perception is my truth. Does that change from time to time? Of course! As I grow, I see things differently.  None of us is going to see things the same way, ever.  It doesn’t take any studies or so called research to see that, even if all babies were born the same, which we know they’re not, there are no two people alike. It’s common sense, right?


If no two people are alike, then how can any two people have the same perceptions? Then how can anyone else have any answers for you? NO ONE ELSE HAS ANSWERS FOR YOU. LOOK INSIDE.

 

GROWING PAINS

Posted by peggyholloway62 on October 19, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)


I can honestly say that my biggest growth experiences were deep level gut wrenching and very painful. In fact I thought I would die sometimes. These were the lowest of the lows, the deepest and longest valleys. I believe that everyone is capable of growth, but some will turn to their drug of choice (alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, sick relationships, etc.) to try to make the pain go away. If they only knew what they would eventually gain by going through this valley, I don’t think anyone would try to numb this pain out.


 I’m not talking about choosing to stay in a situation where you’re in constant pain. I’ve never known anyone to grow from this.  An  example would be to stay in an unhealthy relationship, where you’re criticized and even hit. Some people call this “love.” I call it addiction. I don’t believe love is supposed to hurt.


Another example would be someone who has finally gotten in touch with the pain suppressed since childhood, and staying in this pain and not moving beyond it. I had a client once who got hung up in her childhood pain and blamed any bad behavior on the fact that she had a rough childhood. Criminals sometimes do this, to try to escape prosecution.


As an author, I have experienced many growing pains.  I hope I have learned what I'm supposed to learn from this writing experience.   I know I have learned a lot more about myself.



 

THE MAGICAL "IT"

Posted by peggyholloway62 on October 13, 2012 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

In the 1970s there were bumper stickers proclaiming “I Found It.” I knew several people who had this on their car but I never did understand what this “It” was, but “it” must not have worked because “it” went away after awhile.


There have been many “its” over the years and I have tried many of them. I admit I was one of those people who would go around quoting things I read in books or heard someone say on TV. At one time, I was reading 3-6 “self-help” books every week. It took me years to finally think to myself, “None of these people have answers for me. How could they? They aren’t me.”


I’ve also seen people use the magical “It” as an excuse to not take responsibility for themselves.   I’ve heard people say, “I tried group therapy. 'It' didn’t work. I tried AA, 'it' didn’t work. I tried religion, 'it' didn’t work."


After I completed my master’s degree in psychology, I started doing an internship with a psychologist who believed she had found a magical "it."   It was her discovery and she was going to write a book on this technique.  She claimed that none of the other approaches really worked before she invented this technique. She drove me crazy with all these rigid rules about following her techniques. She had patients who had been seeing her for five years and longer and appeared to still be stuck. I finally told her I couldn’t complete my internship with her.  Her enormous ego didn’t take it too well and she tried to tell me I needed help or I wouldn’t feel threatened by her technique.


I’ve seen therapists have their patients do some really weird stuff and the patients blindly follow. I’m talking about adults.


There is no magical “It.” The answers are inside. Look!!!

 

Island of the Blind

Posted by peggyholloway62 on September 25, 2012 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

 

ISLAND OF THE BLIND

One of the very few enlightened people I met, a supervisor, when working on my internship, told me a story that had such a profound effect on me, I just have to share it. I don’t know where he got it, but here it is:


A man crashed his plane on an island inhabited by blind people, who nursed him back to health. The island was very beautiful and, as the pilot was healing, he walked around the island talking about the beauty. There were many varieties of flowers, waterfalls and pools of blue-green water, and white sandy beaches with crystal clear gentle waves coming up on the beach.


The people on the island, who had nursed him back to health, began to believe something was wrong with him. They took him to see ministers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and every kind of counselor and therapist. Finally, he took their hands and put them on his eyes and said, "this is what I see with.”


The “wise” men and women had a meeting and decided that the patient’s eyes were the cause of his delusions. They decided that in order to cure him of these hallucinations and delusions, they would have to cut out his eyes, and so they did.


I think it is important to have tolerance for those who are less enlightened or insightful but just don't let them put your eyes out.

 

TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS, AND EMOTIONAL GROWTH

Posted by peggyholloway62 on September 22, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

One day while painting a landscape, I decided to put in one of those really high mountains like you see in the Rockies, the ones with snow on top. It was one of those spring days, perfect for painting outside. I was working on the patio, and Confederate Jasmine covered the fence surrounding the patio. While I was putting on the snow with a knife, like icing a cake, I began to think about mountains and mountain hiking. I had hiked up mountains all over the United States when I was in my twenties and thirties.

 

One thing I always noticed while hiking up a mountain was that the higher you hike, the less growth there is. When you reach tree line, there is no growth at all, just solid rock with maybe some snow on top. As you hike back down you will notice that there is more growth the lower you go. The most growth is in the valley. As soon as the word “growth” entered my mind, it set my thinking off in another direction, that of inner personal growth.

 

Being on top of the mountain is nice. You can see for miles and miles. You can look down and see where you came from. You can get perspective. In the valley, you can’t see much of anything. Your view is blocked out by the trees. I can remember the times I have been in the valley while going through life’s trials and tribulations and not knowing which way to turn. After going through this valley, when I was able to climb up that mountain, I was always able to look back down and get perspective. I could see where I took the wrong path and I was able to grow from the experience.

 

I once shared this with a psychologist I was in private practice with, and he said, “What about the journey itself, up and down the mountains? Don’t you think that is as important as being on top or in the valley?” I agreed with him, the journey is the important thing.

 

We all know that no one has a smooth journey. We have hills and valleys, highs and lows, and it’s the journey itself that is important.

 

I believe if we keep in mind, that this up and downhill journey we are on is for the purpose of growth, we can be at peace within ourselves and have no need to use any of the distractions invented by man.

 


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