Harvest of Ideas at Lehigh University’s Linderman Library

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Last month the Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries hosted the Sixth Annual Harvest of Ideas at Lehigh University’s Linderman Library, in which faculty who published books over the previous year were showcased. I was deeply honored to have been one of the authors in attendance for my novel Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1.

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This was a lovely and genial event, and I am proud to have been a part of it. Congratulations to all the authors involved, and thank you to the Friends of the Lehigh University Libraries, to Linderman Library, and to Heather Simoneau, Humanities Librarian.

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Again, to all involved, thank you!

 

 

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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

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More Reviews of Maledicus: The Paranormal Investigative Society Book 1

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“I loved this book and could NOT put it down! Written by an English professor, it is an absorbing, addictive story that left me continually wondering what would happen next. (Even while I WAS reading, I had to keep myself from glancing ahead to find out!)
I was once told the earmark of a successful novel is that the author has created characters the reader really cares about, and this certainly was the case for me. I worried about them. Putting the book down made me feel I was abandoning them to their suffering and keeping them in limbo.

Maledicus is clearly a thriller filled with the stark and chilling reality of evil — but, in its delicate balance, I found that it also reassures us of the enduring power of love.”

                                                                                                          Vivien L. Steele

“This is a layered, entertaining tale. Opening the action in ancient Rome gives depth and mystery to the present-day plot. Unlike the protagonists, the reader knows how inhumanly evil Maledicus is from the beginning, which boosts the suspense. And as a Boomer, it was a kick to see three retired gentlemen of varied backgrounds work together, all bound by the losses of loved ones. That adds a touching and sad dimension to interesting characters.”

                                                                                                         Mike Tuggle

 

“This book was recommended to me. Initially, I downloaded the digital sample to my IPad from Amazon. Other people I spoke to who had read it were impressed and one Sunday afternoon this past Fall I decided to check it out. The book is realistic, engrossing and fits well in the horror genre. Before I knew it, I got to the end of the sample and looked up to a totally dark apartment. OMG! The combination of the scariness of the book and my environment caused me to shiver. I was so freaked I had to turn on all the lights in my place.


I have since bought the paperback and reread the whole thing. It’s great escapism and I recommend it if you’re looking for a good scare.”

                                                                                             Amazon Customer

 

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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

Beautiful Writing, Part 4: Charles Dickens

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Charles Dickens was one of the most prolific and important British writers of the 1800s. His works have been read by millions, and most people have been influenced by his writing, even if they have not read him. How many people are unaware of A Christmas Carol? This is just one of his many books and novellas. I will offer as an example of his beautiful writing part of the first page of A Tale of Two Cities, which I believe to be one of the best openings of a novel.

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it

was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it

was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light, it was the season of

Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of

despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing

before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were

all going direct the other way–in short, the period was

so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest

authorities insisted on its being received, for good or

for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

 

 

Beautiful Writing: Part 2: William Shakespeare

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I would certainly be avoiding the truth and not doing duty to writing if I did not include in this series the man who is certainly the best and most important writer in English Drama and Literature: William Shakespeare.

In full disclosure, I am a Shakespearean. I have made the study of his work one of my areas of my Ph.D. in English, I have taught Shakespeare many times, I have presented papers on Shakespeare, and I have directed and acted in his plays. So, I do come with a particular bias, but I maintain that his work is the core of English Literature.

You certainly do not have to agree with me.

I will offer a few examples:

Sonnet 116

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

Henry V (Act 4. Scene 3. Lines 21-70)

“What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,

Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;

It yearns me not if men my garments wear;

Such outward things dwell not in my desires:

But if it be a sin to covet honour,

I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:

God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour

As one man more, methinks, would share from me

For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart; his passport shall be made

And crowns for convoy put into his purse:

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.

And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember with advantages

What feats he did that day: then shall our names.

Familiar in his mouth as household words

Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,

Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember’d;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

 

Hamlet (Act 5. Scene 2. Lines 206-211)

“Not a whit, we defy augury: there’s a special

 providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,

 ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be

 now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the

 readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he

 leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?”

J.K. Rowling on Writing

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“Read as much as you possibly can. Nothing will help you as much as reading.”

 

“There’s no formula.”

 

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”

Beautiful Writing: Part I: Ray Bradbury

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One of the reasons that I love to read, in addition to experiencing other worlds, walking in the path of other characters, learning about the world around us, and escaping from reality for a short time, is to enjoy the beauty of words. Some writers are able to elevate their writing to a level of poetry and beauty that is exhilarating and joyful to read.

One writer, whose use of words, reaches poetic levels is Ray Bradbury. He is a writer not easily confined to one genre and whose work is defined by love of story. I have taught his work in several college classes in both Muhlenberg College and Lehigh University, and his writing has been an influence on me as a novelist.

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I will offer two passages from his brilliant novel Dandelion Wine, a BildungsRoman or coming-of-age story, set in late 1920s in Green Town, Illinois. These passages are from the perspective of a boy who is beginning to see possibilities in life, both the external world and in himself.

The first passage is the opening of the novel:

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed.

Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing

of the world was long and warm and slow. You only had to rise, lean from your

window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living,

this was the first morning of summer.

Douglas Spaulding, twelve, freshly wakened, let summer idle him on its

early-morning stream. Lying in his third-story cupola bedroom, he felt the tall

power it gave him, riding high in the June wind, the grandest tower in town. At

night, when the trees washed together, he flashed his gaze like a beacon from

this lighthouse in all directions over swarming seas of elm and oak and maple.

Now . . . (1)

That is an extraordinary opening to a novel. It pulls the reader into the story with a seemingly simplistic prose, but within that simplicity is beauty and the poetry of the world being seen through young eyes.

Another passage shows Douglas at night time:

Douglas sprawled back on  the dry porch planks, completely  contented

and reassured by these voices, which would speak on through eternity, flow

in a stream of murmurings over his body, over his closed eyelids, into his

drowsy ears, for all time. The rocking chairs sounded like crickets, the crickets

sounded like rocking chairs, and the moss-covered rain barrel by  the

dining-room window produced another generation of mosquitoes to provide

a topic of conversation through endless summers ahead. (33)

 

Both excerpts, in my view, are beautiful, compelling, and poetic. All writers should read and study Ray Bradbury.

Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Dandelion Wine. New York. Avon Books. 1999.

Stephen King on Revision

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“To write is human, to edit is divine.”

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”

 

“Your job during or just after the first draft is to decide what something or somethings yours is about. Your job in the second draft— one of them, anyway—is to make that something even more clear. This may necessitate some big changes and revisions. The benefits to you and your reader will be clearer focus and a more unified story. It hardly ever fails.”

 

All quotations are from

Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft