Quotations on Fantasy and Imagination

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“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

                                                                        Albert Einstein

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(By Source: Scan of photograph by Arthur Strong, Wikipedia)

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”

                                                                        C. S. Lewis

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(www.wikipedia.com)

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? . . . If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

                                                                      J. R. R. Tolkien

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“Tales of imagination and fantasy do not only distract us from the world; rather, they also offer an opportunity to critique our lives, our politics, and our planet as a whole. Such tales are not merely fun; they are essential.”

                                                                     Charles F. French

A Reminder and A Call For Help

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Hello everyone!

I will participate today in an event on Twitter called #SFFpit, in which authors pitch their books in a tweet in the hopes of attracting an agent or publisher.

For those of you who have Twitter, please consider helping me with a RT and/or comment on Thursday from 8 am. to 6 pm. Please DO NOT LIKE the pitch; liking is how agents show they are interested.

My pitch will look something like this:

Thank you again for your help!

Best always,

Charles F. French

Please Help Me with #SFFpit

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Hello everyone!

On Thursday 2/24/2022, I will participate in an event on Twitter called #SFFpit, in which authors pitch their books in a tweet in the hopes of attracting an agent or publisher.

For those of you who have Twitter, please consider helping me with a RT and/or comment on Thursday from 8 am. to 8 pm. Please DO NOT LIKE the pitch; liking is how agents show they are interested.

My pitch will look something like this:

Thank you again for your help!

Best always,

Charles F. French

Please Help Me at #PitMad on 12/2/2021

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Please!

Hello everyone! This may sound like an odd request, but tomorrow, December 2, 2021, I am participating in #PitMad on Twitter, a day long event in which authors tweet a pitch for a book to agents.

If any of you have Twitter, please consider retweeting my pinned tweet, which I will put up tomorrow morning around 8 a.m. EST.

My Twitter handle is @French_C1955

This is also important– DO NOT LIKE THE PITCH–that is for agents to let writers know they are interested in your work.

My pitch will look something like this:

THE FIFTH SEASON X PARABLE OF THE SOWER In a world decimated by climate change, now like the dark ages, 16-yr-old Lignne wants to be the first female graduate in the only school in the kingdom, but treachery from a psychopath threaten her success and life. #A #PitMad #F

Thank you!!!

Help for #SFFpit on Wednesday 7/28/2021

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Please!

Hello everyone! This may sound like an odd request, but tomorrow I am participating in #SFFpit on Twitter, on Wednesday 7/28/2021, a day long event in which authors tweet a pitch for a book to agents.

If any of you have Twitter, please consider RETWEETING my pinned tweet, which I will put up tomorrow morning around 8 a.m. EST.

My Twitter handle is @French_C1955

This is also important– DO NOT LIKE THE PITCH–that is for agents to let writers know they are interested in your work.

The tweet will be for my Dark Fantasy novel The Curse Of The Demon Mine. 

It will look something like this:

It x Stranger Things

In 1957 South Dakota, 13-year-olds, Dancer, Micah, and James fight an ancient creature threatening their beloved teacher. To save him and live, they face homicidal bullies and supernatural threats, all controlled by the creature.  #SFFpit #YA #DF #ND #IRMC

Again, thank you to all!

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What Are You Reading?

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We are well into the month of June, and I was wondering what everyone was reading. Reading is one of the great pleasures in life, one in which I constantly indulge.

The spring semester is over, but the summer sessions of classes have already begun at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and I am excited that I am teaching a course called Science Fiction & Fantasy. In that course, we have already covered Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling, and we are now doing American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

In addition to rereading those books, I am also reading Next To last Stand by Craig Johnson, While The Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle & Elsie Hancy Eaton, and Celtic Myth and Religion by Sharon Paice MacLeod.

So, I ask everyone out there: what are you reading now?

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(Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com)

Please Help Me on #PitMad On Thursday 6/3/2021

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Please!

Hello everyone! This may sound like an odd request, but tomorrow I am participating in #PitMad on Twitter, a day long event in which authors tweet a pitch for a book to agents.

If any of you have Twitter, please consider retweeting my pinned tweet, which I will put up tomorrow morning around 8 a.m. EST.

My Twitter handle is @French_C1955

This is also important– DO NOT LIKE THE PITCH–that is for agents to let writers know they are interested in your work.

The tweet will be for my horror novel The Curse Of The Demon Mine. 

It will look something like this:

It x Stranger Things x The Magicians

In 1957 S. Dakota teens Dancer, Micah, and James fight a monster threatening their beloved teacher. To save him, and the magical realm, they must defeat homicidal bullies and supernatural threats, controlled by the creature. #PitMad #YA #DF

Again, thank you to all!

person writing on brown printer paper

Welcome Alexis Cunningham to the U. L. S. The Underground Library Society

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I want to welcome the newest member of the U. L. S. — the Underground Library Society — Alexis Cunningham!

The U. L. S. is an unofficial organization dedicated to preserving books and to opposing censorship.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge called poetry “the best words in the best order” or so the blurb on the inner cover of Best Words poetry anthology tells me. Issued to my English literature class as we prepared for our G.C.S.E exams (the equivalent to High School leavers exams) many years ago, I could not have imagined how big an impact one single poem inside could have on me.

Thing is, I’m not generally a fan of poetry. I’m staunchly a prose kind of girl. I think it. I write it. I want to expound at length, not distil language into something symbolic, or constrain it with iambic pentameter, or any of those other fiercely rigid structures that transform the written word into a composition and not an essay.

But when I thought about what book I’d want to become for the Underground Library Society my mind went blank…until they came. Snatches of words, rising from the conquered regions of my mind.

“Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.”

These words form the final line of the first stanza of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem the War Photographer, a work of literature I’ve never been able to forget.

When I was sixteen I didn’t know where Beirut was. I’d never heard of Phnom Penh. Yet it didn’t matter. The specific conflicts didn’t matter –I understood. In war, all flesh is grass.

In four unpretentious stanzas, Duffy asks her reader to consider not just war, and the privilege of peace, but also the culpability of a world where the safe can witness horrors from a TV or PC screen, a smartphone video, or, as she puts it “the Sunday supplement” where “reader’s eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers.”

This was heavy stuff for a sixteen year old who could barely stay awake when asked to wander lonely as a cloud, or compare thee to a summer’s day, and it’s heavy stuff now –and I suppose I must like that, because poor old Keats and Browning, Byron and Billy Shakespeare have never done a thing for me.

Like the eponymous war photography himself, who “stares impassively at where he earns his living and they do not care” reading the War Photography left me feeling bereft and guilty, shaken out of my complacency and introduced to a new world of vivid imagery that made me look at the everyday through a different lens.

There is one place that links me, Duffy and her War Photography. England. The place I call home and Duffy describes as a land of “ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel”.

Yet England is irrevocably connected to foreign fields that explode “beneath the feet of running children in a nightmare heat,” through the War Photography himself. Forever jaded by all he has seen, he brings the war home to sleepy England with its baths and Sunday luncheons.

That juxtaposition of ordinary pain and nightmare heat, and of grass and flesh, is one that has captivated my imagination ever since.

It’s no real surprise that in my first published work, The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear, I chose to write ten short stories of an England where monsters roam in plain clothes and innocents live with their eyes wide-shut, creating a suburban world where horror lives hand-in-hand with absurdity.

Sometimes, we don’t choose to become our words, they choose us, and there are ideas that are much bigger than the pages that contain them.

About me: I am a fantasy fiction writer and life-long n00b working on a book series –The Seraphim Chronicles–focused on a group of dysfunction gods and their human avatars, set in the world of Aldlis where souls fuel magic and the dead can’t pass on.  I am also learning to run my blog Aldlis Chronicles, while knowing nothing and doing it all backwards. It’s going great!

My first published work, The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear and Other Stories of Chilling Modern Horror Fantasy is available on Amazon and a follow up, The Innocent Need Not Apply is in development.

Links to me:

Book:
The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear: and Other Stories of Chilling
Modern Horror Fantasy eBook: Cunningham, Alexis: Available: Amazon
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Once again, thanks to Alexis Cunningham for joining the U. L. S.!

Suggest a Book, Part 3

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In this third segment of Suggest a Book, I want to offer another favorite of mine–The Lord Of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.  Yes, I am referring to this as one book, not as a trilogy, which was only published as three separate books on the insistence of his publisher.

I have read this book about once every ten years, and I am due to read it again. I first discovered it as a teenager, and I have enjoyed it ever since.

This extraordinary book is both the mythology of Britain, and the best, in my opinion, fantasy ever written. Among the various themes are life and death, good and evil, the capacity for people of all kinds to coexist and to become heroes, mysticism, magic, the nature of leadership, and the constant need of good people to oppose tyranny.

If you have never read this book, then I recommend it highly. It is a book you should read at least once!

What is a book you suggest for others to read?

 

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Who Is Your Favorite Fictional Mother?

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(Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

In continuing this series about favorite characters, I wanted to turn to fictional mothers.  Obviously mothers are one of the most crucial parts of most families, and that is not different in literature, television, and film.

When thinking about this question, I considered many possible choices, but I decided that my favorite fictional mother is also from a book series that I love — Lily Potter from the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling.

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While we often see or read about Lily Potter in terms of what she did instead of directly, her actions to save the infant Harry Potter from Voldemort’s attacks reaches the level of heroism. She sacrifices her life in order to save her child. This action sets in motion much of the rest of the books in the series.

She is, indeed, a loving, powerful, and heroic mother.  Without her actions, Harry Potter would not have lived to become a student at Hogwart’s School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry.

So, I ask all of you: who is your favorite fictional mother?