The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) is Available for Pre-order!

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I recommend this book by a very strong author.

Kate M. Colby

Daughter -C2You read it right — The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) is now available for the special pre-order price of $0.99. After the official release on October 15th, the price will triple (to a whopping $2.99), so snag your cheap copy while you can!

Currently, The Cogsmith’s Daughter is only available in ebook format. Long story short, I’m waiting for my printing company to approve the final paperback files. When it does, the paperback will be available as well. Don’t worry paperback lovers, I’ll let you know when you can grab your print copy!

Here are all the places you can pre-order the ebook. More retailers will be available after the official release.

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, etc.

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

After you pre-order your copy, make sure you shelve it on Goodreads! Once you’ve blazed through it, don’t forget to leave a review on…

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Favorite Horror Movies of the 1930s: Dracula: a Reposting

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

When I first considered doing an examination of my favorite horror movies, I thought that going decade by decade would be sufficient, but I realized that some periods have far more excellent films than others.  A simple examination of 2-4 movies from the 1930s will not work, so I am going to look at one film at a time for that decade. I will begin with Dracula, a film I love, and which I have taught in college classes such as Literature and Film and Gothic and Horror.  I also hold the novel to be an excellent and very important book.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Dracula, made in 1931, and released for Valentine’s Day–a nice touch–was a huge success and established Bela Lugosi as a top box office star. This production was itself based on the very successful theatrical play Dracula by Hamilton Deane and James Balderston. Stoker’s novel did not see great success during his life, but after his death and the success of the play, it became one of the best selling novels of the 20th Century–worldwide.

Carl Laemmle Jr, capitalized on the story’s growing popularity and produced the movie.  Tod Browning, who had directed Lon Chaney Sr. in several movies, directed this piece. This film is highly atmospheric with a Gothic set and influenced by German Expressionism. Lugosi was brilliant with his authentic Hungarian accent and menacing presence. His performance and voice set the standard for the image of Dracula and vampires for decades to come. Dracula was a sensation and terrified people; today’s audience would probably find it slow and not at all frightening, but that reflects our jaded views that have been glutted with gore as the staple ingredient of contemporary horror.  This film depended on story telling, atmosphere, and acting. The film’s success created an era of classic horror films through the 1930s and part of the 1940s with Universal studios leading the way.

Additionally, Dracula is generally accepted by most film critics as one of the best horror films made.  I certainly consider it to be one of the best and most important.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

It is an interesting and little known detail of film history that in addition to the English language version, Universal also made a Spanish language film at the same time.  The  two films shared the same sets, and the same basic scripts, but with different actors and a different director: George Melford directed, and Carlos Villarías stared as Dracula.  While not as well known, an argument can be made that this is a better film than the more established English language version.  If you ever have the opportunity to see it, I recommend that you do.

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Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I by Charles F. French is available for purchase on Amazon either as an ebook or a print book!

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

10 Reasons Why People Who #Read #Books Are More Successful…

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This is an excellent post on the value of reading!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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In a world dominated by gadgets and social media, Americans don’t read nearly as much as they should. In fact, statistics cite that 33 percent of high school graduates never read another book after finishing school, and a whopping 42 percent of college graduates join them four years down the road.

That means those who do read have an immediate advantage over nearly half the population. Influencing skills can make or break just about any business dealings and reading is the most popular way people learn to influence others. No matter your plans in life, reading is going to help you get there directly or indirectly.

Here are 10 reasons why people who read are more successful:

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1. Reading improves mental dexterity.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Researchers have found that stimulating the brain in the way that reading does can actually…

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Favorite Horror Movies: 1920s

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I have been a fan of horror movies since I was a child. I grew up watching Universal movies from the 1930s and 1940s being shown on various themed TV shows with horror hosts. As an adult, my love for these films has not waned; in fact, it has grown and helped to feed my scholarly interest in film. I use these films in some of the classes I teach in college.

For this series, I will try to limit my choices of film to 2-4 representative examples.  Two films, in particular, stand out to me from the 1920s.  They both starred Lon Chaney Sr., the Man of a Thousand Faces, and were made by Universal Studios.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

The first film is The Hunchback of Notre Dame, (1923) based on the Victor Hugo novel, and it is an extraordinary piece of cinema that stands up today. It was a very expensive production at the time.  Estimates range in the $1,250,000 to $1,500,000 range.  Given the year, that is a huge sum of money. The movie accurately reflects Hugo’s examination of the capacity of human beings to be intensely cruel to each other and of the abuse of power by those in positions of authority.  Wallace Worsley directed the film, and Lon Chaney Sr. gave a magnificent performance as Quasimodo.  It is also important to remember that Mr. Chaney created all of his own makeups.  If all you know of this story is the Disney version, you need to see this production.  I would consider it one of the best and most important films ever made.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) starring Lon Chaney Sr. is based on Gaston Leroux’s novel and was a huge success. Chaney played the deformed writer who falls in love with a singer and who becomes her kidnapper. This tale of horror and love has been redone numerous times, including the well known stage musical, but none of those productions have reached the sterling height of this extraordinary film.  As with the Hunchback, Chaney created this makeup, and his performance is sublime.  Again, if you have not seen this film,  I recommend it highly.

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https://pixabay.com

Dining With Characters: Part II

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https://pixabay.com/en/shakespeare-poet-writer-author-67698/

For the next installment of this series, I wanted to focus on a few characters out of Shakespeare with whom I would like to spend a couple of hours eating, drinking, and talking. I have loved Shakespeare’s plays and poetry for much of my life. I have acted in and directed some of his work, and I have studied and taught his writing, so I would be thrilled to be able to speak to some of his characters.

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http://coursphilosophie.free.fr/illustrations/mort.php

I would have Hamlet, Henry V, and Macbeth as my guests. I imagine we would meet in an English tavern and have a basic meal and beer.  I hope that my royal attendees would not mind not having a grand meal; I am reasonably sure that Henry V and Hamlet spent a fair amount of time in such modest places before their respective plays begin, and as a Scot and a warrior, Macbeth probably was used to basic accommodations while in the field.

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http://www.pinterest.com/pin/502503270894234224/

I would ask them about their views of leadership and the responsibilities of a leader and about their portrayals in the plays.  Henry V and Macbeth are both based on historical persons, while Hamlet is perhaps based on a real person–that is a debate for another day, so I wonder what they might have to say.

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https://pixabay.com/en/william-shakespeare-macbeth-poster-67764/

I think this would be a lively and deeply fascinating discussion.  Who from the world of drama, not necessarily Shakespeare, would you choose to invite to speak with?

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https://pixabay.com/en/table-cover-gedeckter-table-seat-182928/

Best TV Shows of the 1950s and 1960s: Part V, The Addams Family

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

For my next installment in this series, I will talk about a show that I find fascinating on many levels: The Addams Family. Seemingly a sit-com about a group of misfits, based loosely on figures from horror films, whose adventures are fodder for laughter, it was actually a demonstration of a completely loving and functional family.

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(https://pixabay.com)

This unusual family, given to behavior that was not indicative of the so-called normal American clan, has had numerous incarnations since the late 1930s. Created by cartoonist Charles Addams, this family first was seen in The New Yorker and continued appearing there for several decades. Then, from 1964-1966, the family was featured in the sit-com on Television, complete with the catchy finger-snapping tune that so many people know. Several feature movies and a musical followed, so the characters continue on in new variations to this day.

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(https://pixabay.com)

As a child, I loved the silliness of the show as well as the Gothic atmosphere. I loved the classic horror films of the 1930s and 1940s (which will become a later blog series I will write), and this show was evocative of those movies.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Today, I see a series with a far deeper meaning that what I perceived when I was very young. This family is not one of which people should be frightened. Rather, they could be held as an exemplar of a loving and in love couple, who after many years of marriage, still carry great chemistry in their relationship. They love their children and their extended family.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Additionally, this show interrogates the need that America seems to have for normalcy. We are taught that everyone should behave according to set standards, or we are somehow wrong. Certainly the members of the Addams clan do not abide by such behavioral proscriptions. They are able to define their own lives and live decently without harming other people. But they are different from others.

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(https://pixabay.com)

This point clearly speaks to the issue of bigotry and tolerance. While it does so metaphorically, it still make the necessary and vital stand that we, as a society, must embrace other people, no matter their differences: of gender, sexuality, race, class, religion, nationality, neuro-diversity, intelligence, and many other so-called divisions that are often applied to humanity. While always funny, The Addams Family is ultimately a show about understanding and inclusion, a theme that should resonate today.

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(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Congratulations to Stephen King!

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inment.verizon.com/news/read/category/entertainment/article/the_associated_press-obama_honors_arts_luminaries_including_sally_field-ap

Stephen King, one of the most important and best American writers, continued to receive acknowledgement of his work on extremely visible and important stages.  On September 10, 2015 President Obama presented Mr. King with a National Medal in the Arts.

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https://pixabay.com/en/library-books-education-literature-869061/

I am both a beginning novelist and an experienced educator, with a Ph.D. in English Literature. I am not saying that to be egoist; rather, I want to show that there are those in the academic world who consider Mr. King to be an extraordinary writer.

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Mr. King has, for many years, demonstrated his talent for telling deeply powerful stories with moving themes and unforgettable characters.  Some of his work stands as among the best novels written.  Hearts In Atlantis and The Stand are, in my opinion, masterpieces of literature.

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http://img.neoseeker.com

the-stand book

http://wandafulworldofbooks.blogspot.com/2012/06/stand-by-stephen-king.html

Now, in addition to his 2003 lifetime achievement award from the National Book Awards, he has earned another important accolade.  I hope that those in the academic world who have simply dismissed his writing without bothering to read it will now realize that he is a master writer.

stking

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/stephen-king-defends-the-popular/

Scott Timberg reports, “‘One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature,’ President Obama read. ‘For decades, his works of horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy have terrified and delighted audiences around the world'” (Salon.com).

Congratulations to the great writer!  And thank you to Stephen King for all the writing you have given to us!

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Works Cited

Timberg, Scott. http://http://www.salon.com/2015/09/11/stephen_king_goes_to_the_white_house_with_his_national_medal_of_arts_the_master_of_horror_plants_both_feet_firmly_in_the_literary_canon/