Quotations on Writing

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“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

                                                                                 Ray Bradbury

 

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“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”

                                                                                 Tim O’Brien

 

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

                                                                                Stephen King

 

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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.

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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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Sam’s Hot Chili–Revisited! A recipe from a character from Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2 by Charles F. French

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In my horror novels Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I,  and Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2, one of the main characters is Sam, a retired homicide detective.  In his spare time, he fancies himself a good cook of basic foods, and one of his favorites to cook and eat is spicy chili.

I was thinking about what some of my characters like to eat and cook, not necessarily because this information appears in the novel, but because the more I know about the idiosyncrasies of the characters I write, the better I can show them. This idea is similar to actors creating biography sheets for roles they are playing.

So, what is this recipe?

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Sam’s Fiery Bowl of Red Goodness

Ingredients:

One pound chuck roast,
One 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes,
One Spanish onion,
One sweet green pepper,
One poblano pepper,
Four habanero peppers,
Two chipotle peppers,
Two jalapeno peppers,
One can dark red kidney beans,
One can black beans,
Ground black pepper,
Twp. cumin seed

(Because this is chili, substitute more or fewer peppers according to taste and heat preference.)

The process:

*Cube the chuck roast, then sear completely in a hot, slightly oiled pan,
*Place in Dutch oven (Sam uses a well-seasoned cast iron pot) with crushed tomatoes,
*Slice the onion and green pepper and add to tomatoes,
*use a hand mortar and pestle to crush the cumin seed, and add to Dutch oven,
*add black pepper,
*de-vein and remove seeds from chilies—BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO TOUCH THESE WITH YOUR HANDS!!!!! If you do, wash your hands thoroughly and do not touch your eyes. Yes, I am speaking from bad experience. Use a small food processor and make the chilies into a mash. Add to the Dutch oven,
*bring to boil, and then reduce immediately to a simmer.
*With about one hour left in the simmering time, drain and add the two cans of beans.

This is very important—do not cover during the simmering. Check the chili every 20 minutes or so, and if needed add a little water, and stir. The chili cooks best if done very slowly and uncovered.

Give it about 10 hours to become fully tender and mixed.

Sam also likes to add cheddar cheese or sour cream to the bowl when serving. Good Italian or French bread also works.

But be warned, with the chilies Sam uses, this should become a hot bowl of goodness. If you want it milder, go to one or two habanero peppers.

Enjoy!

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

The Shadow of The Wind: A Review

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of my favorite books! I discovered it several years ago, and I instantly loved it! The first time I read it I was moved deeply, and nothing has changed about my reaction to it, except I continue to discover more and more in the book to love.
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The Shadow Of The Wind is many things: a Gothic novel, a mystery, a romance, a thriller, a young adult novel, a bildungsroman, and a book about books! Among other charming and engaging aspects of this extraordinary novel is the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books.” Any book with a place like that certainly has my attention!
Zafon’s characters are well-drawn, and his complex plot pulled me in immediately. Zafon’s love for books is compelling. As the protagonist, Daniel, is introduced to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, his father says, “This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” (5-6)
I have used and continue to use this novel in some of my classes at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College at Allentown, PA. This semester we are covering it in my European Novel in Translation course.
If you are a lover of books, then this book is for you. I have reread it several times, and I will continue to read it over the years. I recommend it to everyone!

 

More Reviews of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1

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 I wanted to share a few more reviews of my horror novel: Maledicus: The Paranormal Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1.

“If you only read one book this year make sure it’s this one! A marvelous story with captivating characters that drive the plot forward. The evil that lives within these pages threatens the very soul of its victims. In a gripping narrative the protagonists face the ultimate test of fight or flight. I’m eager to read part II of this story.” Heather.

“This book was very interesting. The story reminds me of a Christopher Nolan movie; it is non-linear and the convergence of the stories is a complete mystery. It is part ghost story, but it has an abstract approach to horror, evil, and the afterlife.” Amazon Customer

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author does a great job of making the characters relatable, and there are some great cliffhangers. Cannot wait for the other books in this series to come out. I strongly recommend this book!”  Sara

“An amazing novel! I love how it is from an adult perspective, it shows how life can take you up and down. An amazing read!”  Mariel

 

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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

Roosevelt Franklin–Book Lover–From Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

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This is a revisiting of several posts I wrote about the characters from Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. Book 2, Gallows Hill, will be out in January or February.

This entry is one of several posts I will write about some of the characters in my first novel. I hope you enjoy it.

The protagonist of my supernatural horror thriller Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I is a retired History professor, living in Bethberg, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. He is a deeply complex man, influenced by, among other things, his service in the Vietnam War and the profound and loving marriage with his now deceased wife.

Roosevelt has several deep enjoyments in life—eating, drinking good whisky, especially single malt Scotch, and smoking high level cigars, but his primary passion in life is books. A visitor to his home would notice, more than anything else, the enormous number of bookcases lining many of the walls in his house. Roosevelt’s home is an old Victorian home that he and his wife Sarah had purchased and renovated shortly after their marriage.

While she did have a large room dedicated to being her art studio, an avocation she loved, even while being a surgeon, and Roosevelt had a large room that was his studio, smoking room and library, other rooms also were filled with books of many kinds and conditions. Roosevelt, although a man of financial means, is not a book collector. He believes that books should be read and not simply owned to be put on display. He thinks that the words in a piece are what make the book important, not a fine leather cover or being a first edition. He places worth on the ideas, the stories, the tales, the histories, and the communications in books and not their potential monetary value.

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At one point, he tried to make a calculated estimate of how many books he owned, but he decided it was an almost impossible task, so he stopped the tally when he reached 4000. And no matter how many books he owns, he seems to always find more to buy. Again, he is not a snob when it comes to the owning of books. His snobbery emerges when it comes to whiskey and cigars.

More on that later.

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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

Books That Have Influenced Me: Part One

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I have ready many books over the course of my life, and books have become a central part of who I am. I read books for pleasure, for study, and for examination. I teach books in my literature classes at Lehigh University and Muhlenberg College, I write about them in scholarly work, and I write novels. As I was considering the topic for this post, I started to think about what books have influenced me the most in my life.

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I do not mean that I want to explore what books are the most meaningful or the most important literature. That is a completely different discussion. Certainly there can be crossover in my choices, because I will not eliminate a text on its literary value, but I am interested now in which books had a part to play in my development as a human being and which ones helped to form me into the person I now am.

So many come to mind and are possibilities for discussion, especially when I think of some of the books I read as a youngster in high school. Among these novels are Dracula, The War of the Worlds, A Tale of Two Cities, Frankenstein, The Lord of the Rings and Fahrenheit 451.  Certainly, there were many more books that I read at that time, and I have always been a voracious reader, but these books, in a variety of ways help to shape my interests and some of my directions in life.

Today, I will focus on Dracula and what its influence on me was and is. This was one of the first Gothic novels I had read, and its power caught me immediately. I was drawn to the images of dark castles, terrible villains, and the supernatural. That I love Gothic is still clear, because not only do I teach Gothic literature, but also I write it.

Dracula, however, had a much deeper impact on me that simply the horror aspect; I was drawn to the idea of the need for good people to oppose evil.  It is a theme that, on the surface, might seem simplistic, but a person need only look at the history of the 20th Century into our contemporary time to see that evil does exist, especially in the form of people who would oppress, torment, exclude, and bully others. Of course, I am not making an argument that the supernatural evil in this novel exists, but that human evil certainly does.  The Nazis demonstrated that human horror in its full capacity.

In this book, a fellowship of human beings is created, and they decide to fight a creature that is far more powerful than anything they could have imagined, and they do so at the risk of their lives.  This act of defending others, even if the people do the battle are put at risk, became a central part of my ethos.  There will always be those who would bully and oppress others, and they must always be opposed.  While in early high school, Dracula helped to form that idea in my mind.

In the next entry in this series, I will discuss a book in which the idea of fellowship is a central theme.

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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