Perhaps you’ve seen someone about to get into a fight stand a little taller, puff out his chest, stick out his chin, shout, swear, or flat out take a fighting guard. This is posturing. And it could help you in a self-defense situation. Cobras make themselves larger by rising up and spreading their hoods to intimidate prey and prepare for a swift attack. Mongooses rise up and make their fur stand on end to appear larger. Both animals show their fangs/teeth and make noise. Silverback gorillas hoot and pound their chests as they threaten their opponent to back down. Many animals, including your house cat, posture instinctively. People, however, need to train for it. Posturing is making yourself appear confident, strong, and intimidating to your attacker so they lose their will to fight. It is both a fighting position and an attitude. No, you don’t need to pound your chest,


Improvised Weapons

In a fight, anything can be used as a weapon. If you’ve seen a Jackie Chan movie, you’ve seen many unique improvised weapons from ladders to bicycles to jacket sleeves. Why not make your fight scene unique too? Adding a little razzle-dazzle with an improvised weapon can make an ordinary fight scene exciting and memorable. First, think about the setting of your fight scene. Make a list of what might be available in the scene to use as a weapon and then choose something interesting, something that hasn’t been done a hundred times before. If your scene is in someone’s yard, rocks and sticks can be easily found. But why not make it more interesting by having your character defend herself by smashing a clay garden gnome over the bad guy’s head? Let’s use the standard bar brawl as an example. What’s available to use as a weapon in a


Describing Fight Scenes

Authors often ask me how specific they should be when describing fight scenes. My advice is to avoid getting too technical or the fight scene will read like a training manual. Too many details can slow down the pacing. Fights are fast and you want your action to read quickly so you can elicit an emotional response in the reader. You want readers to feel the excitement of the fight, not confusion over the words used to describe it. The terms you use will also depend on your audience. If you don’t write books filled with action-packed fight sequences, then it may be best to keep to more general fighting terms. What if you want to showcase a particular awesome move or technique in the climax, but it’s too technical to explain at that moment? Describing in detail what’s happening in a fast-paced action scene will slow down the excitement.


Would You Fight Back? And Renegade’s Release!

I remember reading a comment from a woman about self-defense and how she felt that if attacked, she could never fight back, as she could never hurt another mother’s son. Wow. That’s a pretty noble statement. Now, she didn’t state her reasons for this. It could be her religious belief, or her moral code, or perhaps she’d recently given birth and couldn’t imagine hurting another mother’s child. I don’t know. But it did make me think. And my conclusion? Yeah…no, I could never be that noble. While I’d like to believe I have good moral principles, I know absolutely, without a doubt that if I were attacked or threatened, I’d fight back. There is no turning the other cheek for this girl. I’d punch, kick, claw, bite, poke out eyes…anything to get away. No, I’m not normally a violent person (ahem…I just write violent books) but if the situation comes


What’s In A (Character’s) Name?

When choosing character names, I try using names that represent the characters. In RENEGADE (Survival Race book 3), the hero is called Griffin. A griffin is part lion (king of the beasts) and part eagle (king of the skys). The name works for my hero on two levels. First, he was a prince, so giving him a name that meant king of all creatures was fitting. Second, gentleman Griffin must become a survival race gladiator in order to win a spaceship to bring his people to freedom. Griffin must slay all the “beasts” (the last man alive wins this blood sport) to take to the sky. The heroine’s name is Katana. I thought the name of a Japanese sword was perfect for my female gladiator. As Griffin explains to Katana, “Names reveal something about us. Take yours, for instance. A katana is a single-edge bladed weapon. It’s unique. It’s curved.


Fight Back – All Bottles Are Good

While giving a women’s self defense seminar at my dojo one night, a student asked me which technique was the best to stop an attacker. I said, “Whichever works!” That may not have been the answer she (or you) expected, but think about it. You’re attacked. You react. Your reaction either stops the assailant or doesn’t. If it stops your attacker, excellent!  But it doesn’t, what then? Do you coil into the fetal position and fall to the ground? Hell, no! You try another technique. And another one. And another one after that. And you keep fighting until you’ve succeeded, or until you’ve breathed your last breath. The point is, no matter what techniques you use, fighting back doubles your chances of an assailant breaking off their attack. Remember, your assailant fears two things: getting caught and getting hurt. Be sure to use your voice as well as your might.


Codes of Character

Codes are all around us: computer codes, genetic codes, zip codes, and bar codes. The military has codes, professionals have codes, even pirates have codes (though I hear they’re more like guidelines than actual rules.) Our code of honor, code of ethics, and code of conduct makes up our conscience. It gives us a moral compass to guide our way though life. Right or wrong, we all have a philosophy by which we live. And so should the characters we read or write about. We love stories with heroes with a strong moral code like Yoda (Star Wars), Mr. Myiagi (The Karate Kid), William Wallace (Braveheart). We also love stories with heroes whose moral codes rivals the rules of society. Who doesn’t love a wronged hero who takes matters into his own hands? He’s redeemable in our eyes as long as he is true to his own moral philosophy, and


Scream, Shout, and be Heard – Kiai

Self-defense is more than blocking and striking. It’s using our brains—common sense is the first step to self-defense—and heeding the warning when your intuition feels something is off. Is also about using VOICE. Voice is such an important weapon in self-defense that there is a name for it: Kiai (Kee-eye). You might recognize a kiai as the “hiya” from karate movies. However, it can be any word or sound that you want to make. Swearing a string of profanities counts. Same goes for shouting “Fire!” or a child yelling “Stranger, stranger, 911!” It doesn’t matter what sound you make. Just make some noise. Kiai is a spirit shout, and it has a few purposes. 1) It helps draw attention to our situation. If someone hears you scream or shout, they can intervene or call the police. Remember, an attacker doesn’t want to get caught. Drawing attention is the last thing


May the Fourth (be with you)! Yes, I know it’s May 6th.

Let’s take a break from the real world and play some games for a chance to WIN A FREE eBOOK of Captive or Fearless (Books 1 & 2 in The Survival Race series)! This week on the Sci-fi and Fantasy Romance Facebook Page, we celebrated May the Fourth (Be With You) and our 2000+ member milestone! I had such a great time posting games and awarding books, that I brought the fun over to Spacefreighter’s Lounge today. Join me there through Saturday, May 9th to play games for entries into a random drawing for a book. There are 4 games, and you can choose to play one, two, three, or all four. READY TO PLAY? Great! Click over to Spacefreighter’s Lounge and let’s have some fun!


Make It Work! & RENEGADE Cover Reveal

Three little words my karate Sensei A.J. Advincula says is Make it work! This means that sometimes the student must adjust a technique, principle, or concept in order to execute a technique based on individual needs. For example, someone shorter than their attacker (like me) may be better off countering an attack with groin strike rather than a strike to the throat. Why would I reach up when my target of opportunity, the groin, is closer? Adjusting, adapting, and overcoming—AKA making it work—applies in the martial arts, in life (as we’ve all been experiencing in the Covid-19 era), and in writing. One time, when Sensei Advincula stayed at our house for a long weekend of karate training, he taught us knife-fighting techniques with the Flesheater, the combat knife he designed. This awesome knife, custom made by knife maker Jim Hammond, is featured in each book in the Survival Race series

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