Friday, May 18, 2018

SAY HELLO TO CARLA HOCH!




We’re excited to announce a new addition to the Suspense Sisters! Say hello to Carla Hoch! Carla runs a unique site called: FightWrite. Carla teaches authors how to write fight scenes! You’ll love getting to know this interesting, funny and amazing woman. The following bio (written by Carla) will give you a glimpse into her fun personality. Leave a comment after her interview and welcome her to the Suspense Sisters. Please give us your contact information. You could win a $25.00 Amazon gift card!

Carla Hoch

Moments before the destruction of her home planet, Carla's parents jettisoned her and her twin brother to earth. He was taken in by a kindly farmer in Kansas while she was embraced by a rather liberal clowder of feral cats in Houston, Texas.

While still a toddler, she bid farewell to her feline family and headed to Pace, Florida, a small hamlet just outside Pensacola. There she raised herself in a hollowed out tree trunk and taught herself to speak fluent Southern, ride out a hurricane like a pro and tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi by fizz alone.

As an adult, she fulfilled the dream of all feral cats and became a Spanish teacher and track coach. After nearly a decade in the classroom, she met a military cyborg who promptly married her and whisked her away to such exotic locations as Virginia and New Mexico. Now, a mother of twins herself, she and her husband have returned to the People's Holy Republic of Texas and reside not far from where her pod originally landed.

Unlike her twin, Clark, Carla found her powers late in life. She was first introduced to them through a Hapkido based self defense class. From there she went on to train in MMA, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, street defense, Sayoc and is currently a student of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. She has also assisted her coach Eddie Avelar (not altogether human himself) in the teaching of self defense. With him she continues the study of *street defense - or whatever he happens to throw at her. Literally. Sometimes he literally throws things at her.

Carla published more than 50 articles as both a color and ghost writer in her three years working for a local magazine. She is traditionally and independently published in book form as well. Carla is a professional fight scene editor, consultant, and FightWriting teacher. She is the host of The Geek Block podcast on the Along Came a Writer network and, as far as you know, not working with cats in their evil plot to overtake the world.

 
INTERVIEW

Tell us about FightWrite. What do you do?

FightWrite.net is a fighting resource for writers. There writers can learn about fighting technique, common injuries, psychological effects, weaponry and, of course, the craft of fight writing itself. I am also a professional fight scene editor. Folks send me their fight scenes to check for errors. I also mentor writers in the writing of fight scenes.

How did you get involved in something like this?

Wooh, it’s been quite a journey. About eight years ago, I found myself wanting to write a fight scene for a book and realized that I
didn’t know the first thing about fighting. I enrolled in a hapkido based self defense class hoping it would give me some tools. It scared me to death. I left the first class, got into my mom’s van, put my head on the steering wheel and ugly cried. I couldn’t go back. Absolutely not. No way.

So, I went back and now at the young age of 45 I have training in taekwondo, MMA style fighting, Muay Thai style kickboxing, street defense with weaponry, Filipino martial arts (blades), kung fu, judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu in which I still train five times a week. I also train privately with a fight coach. He teaches me all manner of weaponry and fighting. I have assisted him in the teaching of self defense and I teach self defense both privately and to groups.

As far as fight writing, a couple years ago a fellow writer reached out to me about some of my training. He found it interesting and managed to get me on a panel at a writer’s conference. The panel was designed to field questions about writing fight scenes. More than not, the questions were about actual fighting and I was the one who could answer them which the audience found funny. Again, I’m not short in the tooth plus I’m the size of a strapping 6th grade boy.

That same writer’s conference, Realm Makers, had me back the next year and gave me a time slot all my own. With that fellow writer, who got me on the fight panel, I demoed all manner of punchy kicky things and critiqued work in front of crowd of about two hundred. I was asked back again the next year and am once again on the schedule for this year.

After the second appearance at the conference I was approached by the folks at Quill Pen Editorial. They wanted to contract me as a fight scene editor. I loved the work and thought, hmmm, how can I do this more often? Thus, the blog began.

How often do writers get fight scenes wrong? Can you give us some examples?

Well, pretty often and that is to be expected. Fighting is a skill. You are born with ability, you acquire skill. I don’t know how to quilt. It’s a skill that no one has taught me. And, in that way, quilting and fighting are exactly the same.

I find that writers struggle with movements and what realistically follows. For example, I edited a fight scene where a female character was attacked from behind and knocked down to the floor in a surprise attack. Her attacker immediately descended up on her and she found herself clawing and scratching in a fight for her life.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, there’s actually a problem there. When you are knocked down, you fall flat on your belly and chest. You are facing the floor. In order to fight your attacker, you have to turn over which is difficult for one when you are surprised and two when your attacker immediately follows up with subsequent strikes. The writer had to tweak that scene.
 
Do you write?

I do write. I am by nature a speculative fiction nerd. You know, aliens, elves, beasties and the ilk. I’ve had things published in the genre. I am also a writer for a martial arts company that will be starting up in June of this year. For them I’ve written a character education curriculum for kids and I will be their full time blogger. In the past I wrote for a local magazine and was published about fifty times but not always under my name. I wrote adverts and did a fair amount of ghost writing. I still write advertisements for folks. I have a book that is currently being considered by a publisher, stay tuned for more info on that and am agented by the Steve Laube agency.

What are your goals for the future?

I am first and foremost a wife and mom. So, my daily goals are to keep all the mammals in my house loved, fed and clothed with mostly clean clothes. My training goals are to acquire my black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and gain some proficiency in kung fu. I also want to be better with a sword and bull whip. Yes, really. Bull whips are scary! My writing goals are to do a follow up book to the one I’ve just finished, keep my blog going, and enjoy the whole of it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Self defense means a great deal to me. I encourage everyone to enroll in a course. And, not just for one day. Make it a habit. If you think you aren’t healthy enough for it, that’s even more reason to do it. The more compromised you are physically the more likely you are to be a target.

But, life being what it is, not everyone can find a course or afford one. So, here are some pointers:

Violent offenders choose their targets in an average of seven seconds or less. They do so based on how people walk. Know where you are going. Keep your head up, look around confidently and make eye contact with people you pass. Put away your phone and don’t be distracted. Walk around with the thought, “You don’t want to mess with me.” Yes, you can smile, but do so like a lion, not a gazelle.

Also, do not ever entertain conversation with a stranger in an isolated or unsafe environment such as a parking garage. If they ask you the time, hold your hand up and say, “Sorry, have to go,” and keep going. These conversations can actually be “interviews” by a potential attacker who is deciding if you are a good target.

If you find yourself needing help while out and about and you are a woman, ask a woman for help. If there is not a woman, then ask a man. That is not sexist. It’s statistics. Also, the odds of you asking an attacker for help is low. The odds of one offering help to you is higher. If someone offers help and you tell them no, they shouldn’t keep pressing you. No is sufficient. It is a complete sentence. Stand your ground and tell them to back away. Worse case scenario, they are offended. Best case, you save your own life.

You need no permission to keep yourself safe. It is your right. Exercising that right is not rude. It is the acme of civility.

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"You need no permission to keep yourself safe." Visit The Suspense Sisters to see what else Carla Hoch has to say about self-defense and about writing fight scenes. 

28 comments:

  1. Such a fun bio.

    I love how you not only went back you excelled. It's great that you share your expertise.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Mary, it took a good six years for me to get over the anxiety. It's ok to be scared, it's ok to be anxious. Just do whatever it is anyway! :)

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  2. Hi Carla! Just looked on Amazon and your book sounds great!

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    1. Oh Becky, I wrote that loooong ago before I knew there were classes for writers. Just bear that in mind. But, I'm thankful that I wrote it. It plunged me headlong into the world of writing.

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  3. Welcome to Suspense Sisters! Your work sounds fascinating and unique. U also like your advice about self defense. As I get older, I am feeling more vulnerable and don't like it. I may have to look for a senior citizen self defense class.

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    1. Linda, truly, so much of it is how you carry yourself and being aware of your surroundings. Walk like a predator, keep watch like prey! Would be attackers do not want the people that are on their guard, people who walk confident because those are the people that will fight back! If a person or situation makes you least bit uncomfortable, leave or walk the other way. You owe nobody an explanation.

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  4. Oh, WOW! I wish I lived near you so I could take a class! I'll become a regular reader of your blog, too.

    OH! WELCOME to Suspense Sisters!

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    1. Well, thank you! I've always known that mystery types would find the info useful. I just didn't know how to squeeze politely yet uncomfortably aggressively through the creaking door! I appreciate so much having this opportunity. :)

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  5. What a fun and interesting bio and interview! I even forwarded it to my middle daughter. I will be heading to your blog next! Welcome to Suspense Sisters!

    kelly @ dkcountryarts dot com

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    1. Kelly, a long time ago I decided to be true to my goofy self and choose funny over formal. It doesn't work with some people. But, really, those folks give me indigestion anyway so do I really want to be around them? Nah. Life is too short and so am I!

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  6. Thank you so much, Suspense Sisters, for this opportunity. Here is an "extra punch" for those kind enough to pilfer through all the comments.
    Fighting and self defense means a great deal to me because I grew up in an unsafe household. My world was a constantly shifting surface of fight, flight and "I'm ok. You ok?"
    So, when I went into a self defense class and had a man so muscled he looked like a balloon animal fly at me, I crumbled. And, it wasn't until then that I realized that at thirty...whatever I was...38? that I was still a scared kid. I literally went back to my van and cried and continued crying after class for about a month.
    Somewhere in there I realized that the Lord was telling me to deal with what I went through. God's pretty good at tailoring lessons to the person and I needed to fight to get the fear out of my system.
    About 3 years ago, after I had trained MMA for three years and was in kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, my coach walked up behind me and didn't mean to but scared me. I recoiled and immediately took a "defenseless" posture. He said, "Is that what you do? Oh, no, we have to fix that." And, we did. Now, if anyone startles me, and I am easily startled, again, I grew up scared, I turn and push away and keep my hands up. It's a decisive yet non threatening response.
    We all have a right to be safe. Nobody has the right to make us feel differently. We have a right to hold our heads up and shoulders back. God didn't make us for "wimp-hood." Own your skin and fill it completely. If someone threatens you, get the heck away from them if possible. If you can't, then take a fighting stance: whatever hand you write with, step that same foot back a bit and put your hands up. With your chin down, look them in the eye and tell them you don't want any trouble. If they then proceed to put their hands on you, you have one job: injure them. Don't hurt them. Injure them. Go for their eyes, pull their ears, tear at them, bite them and in all ways lay into them like a bobcat. My feeling is, I might not win, but they won't forget the fight! Plus, all of that leaves their DNA on your body. You all will appreciate that as mystery writers. The more I claw, the more evidence I have under my fingernails. Every mark is something they will have to hide to conceal their guilt.
    Everyone of y'all can do this. I'm not any different than anyone else except that I'm too obnoxious to quit. Stand tall, fill your skin and own your space.

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  7. WOW! WOW!! WOW!!! Fascinating interview from someone living an absolutely fascinating life. I think I just found another favorite author. Thank you so much for sharing. I will, too. :)

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  8. informative interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  9. Great interview! Would love to learn more about Carla. The book sounds fascinating! Thanks for a chance to win!
    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

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  10. Welcome to the blog...you are in great company here. Loved the interview.
    debsbunch777atgmaildotcom

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  11. Wow, Carla! What a unique and fascinating bio and idea for a blog! I will definitely be checking out your blog. I've tried some martial arts classes myself, but didn't get past that initial scared/uncomfortable stage. I'd love to hear how you did that! I'll look forward to seeing your posts here! jerusha(at)JerushaAgen(dot)com

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    1. You just keep going until that panic goes away. It took me years. During Brazilian jiu-jitsu class I would have panic attacks and have to sit out. Everybody understood. No biggie. And, even if they didn't, it's ok. :) You just have to stay at it until it's not an issue.

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  12. Great blog post. I enjoyed reading the bio.
    CherylB1987 @ hotmail. Com

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  13. Wow! What a great bio and interview! Thanks for sharing your life and work with us! I’ll never read a fight scene the same way again ;)

    mindyhoungATmsnDOTcom

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  14. What an interesting bio! I look forward to reading your books!

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  15. Fascinating.I will be paying more attention when I read a fight scene.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  16. Wow! I don't know if I could have gone the first time, never mind returning and excelling at all of them. I never really considered the fight scenes you read about it see on TV. I will have to look at them with a more discerning eye now. Thanks!
    bettimaceATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Woah, woah, woah, nobody said I "excelled!" I just didn't quit! If you keep doing something long enough, you can't help but get some proficiency. :)

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  17. Thanks for the very interesting interview/article. When out and about alone, I try to walk confidently and quickly but avoid eye contact so I will keep that in mind.

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    1. Gloria, lady, look people in the eye. It is uncomfortable. I struggle with it. But I do and I smile. You know how when you go into Best Buy or Lowe's there is a greeter? That person isn't there to make you feel good. They make eye contact with you to let you know that they see you and can identify you if you steal anything. It's true. Eye contact even keeps merchandise safer!

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  18. Welcome to Suspense Sisters! It's a pleasure meeting you!
    psalm103and138atgmaildotcom

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