Can Anyone Help With Suggestions For Comp Titles For A Query Letter?

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Hello to all the writers and readers out there! I am currently working on a query letter for my YA Dark Fantasy novel, The War Of The Sidhe. In this novel, In 1968, in small town PA, three bullied teens, Dancer, James, and Micah, find refuge in their kind English teacher’s class. When he is missing, to save him, they must defeat a supernatural creature and its followers or die trying. One of the issues I have learned is that the writer who is doing the query letter should include comps, or comparable titles, of books to suggest to the literary agent, to whom the author is submitting the letter, where the book would belong on a bookstore’s bookshelves. The comps preferably should be no more than about from 3 years ago. That presents a problem for me, because I suggest Stephen King’s It and Stranger Things, which is not a book. If any of you can make any suggestions about possible comps, I would certainly appreciate the help!

March Self-Promotion Party!

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Hello to everyone! We are now in Spring, and I thought it would be a good time to share what you have been writing and what you have written. I want once again to offer an opportunity for all writers who follow this blog to share information on their books. It can be very difficult to generate publicity for our writing, so I thought this little effort might help. All books may be mentioned, and there is no restriction on genre. This includes poetry and non-fiction.

To participate, simply give your name, your book, information about it, and where to purchase it in the comments section. Then please be willing to reblog and/or tweet this post. The more people that see it, the more publicity we can generate for everyone’s books.

Thank you for participating!

Keep on writing!

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Celebrate and promote your writing! Shout it out to the world! Let everyone know about your work!

Feel free to promote a new or an older book!

I hope this idea is successful, and I hope many people share information on their books!

I will continue to have this party every few weeks.

Available on Amazon

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

A Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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Elizabeth Gauffreau

Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2022

Charles F. French’s debut novel, Maledicus, is the first in The Investigative Paranormal Society series. The Society is comprised of three long-time friends, who couldn’t be more different from one another: Sam, a retired police officer, Jeremy, a retired antiques dealer, and Roosevelt, a retired history professor. Their common bond is a compelling interest in life after death. Each man has lost a loved one before his or her time, so their interest in the paranormal is not idle or academic curiosity. The stakes are high, and they’re very personal.

Before we meet Sam, Jeremy, and Roosevelt, the novel opens in ancient Rome with the introduction of one Lucius Antony Caius, a trusted advisor and procuror for the Emperor Caligula. For his own treachery, debauchery, and torture of innocents, he is known as Maledicus. He will become the evil entity with whom the Investigative Paranormal Society must do battle. And an evil one he is!

My favorite parts of the novel were the scenes set in ancient Rome with Maledicus. Anyone who thinks he could be a match for the evil (and insane) Emperor Caligula immediately has my attention. In addition, these scenes were well-researched and executed (pardon the pun).

I was surprised that Caligula dispatched Maledicus so quickly–although I probably shouldn’t have been, given Caligula’s reputation. However, I would like to have spent a bit more time with Maledicus in his earthly incarnation before he was sent howling into the netherworld.

The Investigative Paranormal Society are brought in when Maledicus sets his sights on the five-year-old niece of a local teacher. He proves an intractable enemy for Sam, Jeremy, and Roosevelt, as well as the people they enlist in their fight. In fact, there were several times I was genuinely shocked by what Maledicus did, which for me was one of the biggest strengths of the novel. Although shocking, the horror was not gratuitous or stomach-churning.

I would recommend Maledicus to readers who enjoy horror, the paranormal, and the question of the difference between an evil person and an evil spirit–which I found a fascinating one as I read the novel. If a person can be truly evil, how can this evil outlive its corporeal existence?

Thank you to Elizabeth Gauffreau!

Please be sure to visit her site: lizgauffreau.com

Available on Amazon

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

An Interview With The Poet Robert Fillman

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It is my honor and pleasure to interview the extraordinary poet and my friend, Robert Fillman. Robb is not only an excellent poet, but he is also a deeply talented teacher, a devoted family man, and an honorable human being.

Robb has his debut full-length collection of poetry, House Bird, available now on Amazon for preorder.  Like his other fine work, I am sure this will be an excellent book, and I am very excited to get my copies!

Fillman, headshot

CF (Charles French): Robb, welcome to my blog, and congratulations on your new collection! How does it feel to have your first full-length book of poetry published?

RF (Robert Fillman): Thank you for the kind words– and for inviting me to speak about my work, Chuck. I’m extremely excited to bring the poems of House Bird into the world. I set a goal for myself
some years back: to publish my first full-length collection of poetry by the time I was forty,
and I’ve managed to reach that goal with a few months to spare, so I couldn’t be happier
about its release!

Cf: Do you have a particular approach to writing poetry?  For example, do you focus first on an image and go from there? Or is your approach varied?

RF: I do have a basic approach. I tend to write each poem-draft in a single sitting. When I’m trying to write a poem, I can start with almost anything– an image, a word, a musical phrase that has been repeating in my mind, some fact or piece of trivia I’ve come across, a stray comment I may have overheard. I just need something to get the poem started. After that, I write my poems one word at a time, building phrases, and then lines, and then stanzas (if the poem calls for those), letting the narrative or the idea or the emotion (or the you-name-it) carry me forward. I never know where the poem is going, or where it will eventually end. It is as much a surprise to me as it is to the reader, and that’s the real joy of writing a poem. Every poem I’ve written has emerged in that fashion.

CF: How often do you write?

RF: These days I try to write poetry a few times a week. When I was younger, I maintained an almost-daily writing regimen, which, in hindsight, was probably self-defeating and unhealthy. I found myself growing restless and frustrated when I wasn’t meeting my self-imposed deadlines and writing goals, and looking back, even though I was publishing quite a lot, I wasn’t as happy. Over the years, I’ve learned that poetry needs space to breathe. I need to give myself the mental and emotional freedom to let the ideas simmer and bubble to the surface more naturally. During the semester especially, when I am teaching four or five courses, it is sometimes difficult even to find the time to write. So in committing myself to a few hours per week, where I am deliberately setting aside time for the craft, and not over-committing myself–I find that I come back to the work fresher and more energized.

CF: Can you talk about how you decided on the title for your book? Does it have special significance?

RF: That’s a great question. House Bird derives its name from a poem in the collection. It’s an ekphrastic poem based on the painting “Bird in the House” by the American realist painter Andrew Wyeth. When I wrote that poem I was trying to put into words all the subtlety and calm and sadness and muted tones that spring from Wyeth’s palette. I was trying to pull from thin air the unsayable narratives latent in that visual medium. I’m not sure if I accomplished the goal successfully, but I had fun trying, and I was proud of the end result. “House Bird,” I think, is emblematic of the type of poetry I try to write: understated, quiet, shrouded in what’s-not-said, things always left a little up in the air. I think a bird-in-the-house also works as a metaphor for my poems, which are often about exploring the beautiful ordinariness of domestic life. The same way that a bird may inadvertently venture into a domicile and, simultaneously, feel at-home and out-of-place in its surroundings, this is the unsettling tension that the speakers navigate in so many of my poems.

CF: How can readers find your book?

RF: The book has been published by Terrapin Books, and it is available for purchase from their website. Readers can also find House Bird on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online. Locally, it is being sold by Firefly Bookstore, in Kutztown, PA, which is probably my favorite book shop in the area. They have a wonderful, friendly staff, and they are really committed to supporting regional writers. I’m honored to have my work on display in their local authors section. If anyone is in the Kutztown area on the evening of Monday, March 7th at 6 p.m., they should stop by for my book launch. I’ll be reading from House Bird and signing copies.

House Bird is available at the following locations/sites:

terrapinbooks.com

amazon.com

barnesandnoble.com

fireflybookstore.com

CF: You are also the author of a chapbook, November Weather Spell, which I will add is excellent, and I recommend it to anyone reading this interview. Can you speak a bit about this chapbook?

RF: Thanks for the kind words about the chapbook, Chuck. In many ways, my debut collection, House Bird, is an extension of the themes I began exploring in November Weather Spell—what it means to be a son, a husband, a father; how memory is fluid; the way in which the events of our past are always present, their meanings changing along with us as we age. The seeds of House Bird began with November Weather Spell. There are even a few poems in the 2019 chapbook which have made their way into the full-length book, almost as a way of showing how old wounds brought into a new light can alter how we see them, allowing them the space to reverberate in new ways.

Robb has given us one poem to read from his new book!

Blessing

Leaving the old place for the last

time. Got the trash out, a couple

boxes in the car, the final

walk-through over. It’s amazing

to see the place empty. I hope

the new owners will find as much

happiness as we did. As I’m

about to lock away the years,

abandon the memories of

dancing in the dark and my wife’s

full pregnant belly warm against

my ear while I listen for our

daughter’s first thoughts, I wonder if

the energy we leave behind

from living well is a blessing.

Just in case I rub hands across

plaster, squeeze every brass doorknob,

make my way outside, where I raise

my arms beneath the full moon, cast

a spell at the point of the roof

aiming to protect every brick,

every shingle of crumbling slate.

(This poem first appeared in Third Wednesday (Volume XIV, No. 3, Summer 2021). 

Once again, thank you to Robert Fillman for this interview! Please be sure to find a copy of his book. I am sure you will enjoy it.

What Gives You Happiness In Writing?

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Writers have many aspects to what they do, and creating a book is a large and arduous task. It often requires research, numerous drafts, editing, and proofreading to name some of the components.

And this is hard work.

But why do writers do this work if they do not enjoy what they do? I think most writers do take joy from their efforts, and I think they find reward in it. I would like to hear from you what you enjoy in the act of writing.

It would be completely legitimate, as I tell my students when posing a question to them, to ask me: what do I enjoy about writing?

Well, many aspects occur to me, but what I enjoy the most is the act of story-telling, of creating characters and seeing what happens to them.

So, I ask: what do you enjoy about writing?

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What Are Your Writing Goals For 2022?

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I am not a huge fan of declaring resolutions for the New Year, because they often set people up for failure. Too often, large changes are declared, and they may or may not be possible immediately.

I prefer to think in terms of goals, both long-term and short term and to set up situations in which, with discipline, you can achieve these ends. 

My immediate goal is to finish a revision of my YA horror novel; additionally, I want to do two more first drafts this years–one of a novel, and one of a nonfiction book on revision, and I want to revise at least one more novel. My first goal should be done by the end of January, but we will see. The important thing is to keep working and to keep writing.

My question for all of you is this: what are your writing goals for this year?

 

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(Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels)

A New Poem by Robert Fillman

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I am very honored and pleased to announce that my friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman has a new poem out. He will also have a new book of poetry, House Bird, out in 2022.

The poem appears in Sheila-Na-Gig online.

CONFIDENCE MAN

I am very honored and pleased to announce that my friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman has a new poem out.

After tossing my duffel bag
on the bench, I cinch the drawstring
to my sweatpants. And that is when
I remember the locker room
at the college: the sting of bleach,
the rhythm of slamming metal
doors, guys stepping out of showers
in towels, that long wall of white
urinals, each man evenly
spaced, holding himself, head down, not
saying a word, the loud whooshing
spray from a flush, my big brother
stretching beside me in his loose
tank-top and knee-length tennis shorts.
I hear him snickering as he
elbows me in the ribs while I
bend at the hips, Hey, here he comes,
‘Naked Guy,’ and I look to see
his thick head of white hair, still wet,
that seemed to brag to us younger
guys, his whole body glistening
as he strides out from the shower
like some minor god. How I’d kill
to have such courage, every inch
exposed, my eyes trying not to
linger on his shape, the brown age-
spots, trying not to think about
how those wrinkles and slack skin lines
are more vivid, more distinctive
with every tense step, every slap
of foot against ceramic tile—

Robert Fillman

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review,and others. His criticism has appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, The College Language Association Journal, and The Explicator. He currently teaches at Kutztown University, where he is a member of the English and Professional Writing departments. His debut full-length collection, House Bird, will be published by Terrapin Books in 2022. www.robertfillman.com

Here is the cover of his upcoming book:

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A Reminder For Help on #PitMad

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Hello to everyone! This is a quick reminder that I am asking for help on my #PitMad pitch today.

If you have Twitter, please RT my pinned pitch, and this is extremely important — DO NOT LIKE THE PITCH. Liking is for agents to show they are interested in the book.

Thank you in advance for your help.

My pitch follows:

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 #SF

Again, thank you!

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!!!

How Are You Doing With Your Writing?

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November is coming to an end, and some of you have been doing NaNoWriMo, and others have continued with a somewhat less frenzied pace.

I am one of the people who tries to write on a regular basis and avoids binge writing. I  I am also continuing to work on what I am calling an historical fiction/romance–imagine that coming from this writer of horror! If I can maintain my current pace, I should be able to finish the first draft soon.

I will also begin revising one of the other first drafts I have completed. By the way, if you are wondering how I manage to do this, check out my book Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft — how’s that for a bit of shameless self-promotion!

So, I ask all of you: how is your writing going?

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Available on Amazon

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

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

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

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Available on Amazon