Quotations on Stories

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“We owe it to each other to tell stories.”

                                                                         Neil Gaiman

 

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“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

                                                                         Stephen King

 

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“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those last hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”

                                                                         Tim O’Brien      

 

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“In stories, we find the connection of all humanity.” 

                                                                          Charles F. French               

The Bright Side of Darkness by J. E. Pinto

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I want to thank Jo Elizabeth Pinto for her post about her book The Bright Side of Darkness.

I recently came across an intriguing prompt for authors interested in sharing their books. The prompt was, “Write a diary entry from the point of view of a character in your novel.”

As Alice Mills bends over the table in her cheery kitchen with the flowered wallpaper, intent on filling a page in her journal, the early morning sun falls across her graying hair. She wears a faded cotton nightgown, and a neglected cup of coffee has turned cold beside her.

September 8, 1986

This morning began like any other Saturday, except I must have been real tired because I didn’t hear Walter get up and go out to the pool. So he’d already come in from swimming laps and started the coffee before I made it to the kitchen. He was flipping through the local newspaper the way he always does. I was about to get him a lemon bar or two I’d brought home from the ladies’ tea at church yesterday, and then he saw something at the back of the paper that put him on a tear!

I couldn’t piece it all together, but it had to do with Rick Myers, the orphan Walter sent to the reformatory a few weeks ago. He came home awful broken up about it that night. The poor kid’s folks had died in a car wreck a few months back, and then to tragically lose his girlfriend while he was trying his best to keep her safe … it really was too much. But there had been alcohol in his blood, and he’d been driving recklessly, even if his reasons were justified. Sometimes being a judge is a heartbreaking job. Walter can’t bring home all the lost boys who need us, So he did what needed doing.

But something must have gone as wrong as it could go at the reform school, because all at once, my unflappable husband jumped up from the kitchen table like he’d been sitting on a mound of fire ants. He bolted for the bedroom, dialing up the head of the reformatory as he went, and the way he lit into that man, Alvin Kingston, well, I was glad to be safe in my own kitchen and not on the other end of the phone line.

Quick like a bunny, Walter came out of the bedroom in a white shirt and dress slacks instead of his bathrobe, still spitting nails about Alvin Kingston. He told me he was going to the hospital to deal with the Myers boy, so I know something awful must have happened. I made sure to settle him down–he needed to forget about Alvin Kingston and focus his attention where it really mattered.

Speaking of focusing, I better put aside this silly diary and get busy. We’ll probably have a new boy living with us again. The bedroom where my baby Arthur grew up never stays empty too long.

What is a family? For Rick Myers, a despondent seventeen-year-old who has just lost his parents in a car wreck, it’s the four teenage buddies he’s grown up with in a run-down apartment building. Fast with their fists, flip with their mouths, and loyal to a fault, the “crew” is all he has.

At least, he thinks so until he meets Daisy, an intelligent, independent, self-assured blind girl. Her guts in a world where she’s often painfully vulnerable intrigue Rick, and her hopeful outlook inspires him to begin believing in himself.

But when the dark side of Daisy’s past catches up with her, tragedy scatters the crew and severely tests Rick’s resolve to build his promising future. Fortunately, his life is touched by a couple with a pay-it-forward attitude, forged out of their personal struggle with grief and loss. Their support makes all the difference to Rick and eventually, through him, to the ones he holds most dear as they face their own challenges. The Bright Side of Darkness is a story of redemption and the ultimate victory that comes from the determination of the human spirit.

I was among the first blind students to integrate the public schools in the 1970s. In 1992, I received a degree in Human Services from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching students how to use adaptive technology, I earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Management. These days, I freelance as an editor and a braille proofreader.

As an author, I entertain my readers while giving them food for thought. In my fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, I draw on personal experience to illustrate that hope is always an action away.

I live in Colorado with my husband, my preteen daughter, and our pets.

To find out more about my books and me, please visit my Website at https://www.brightsideauthor.com.

Twitter: @BrightSideAU

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjepinto/

You can purchase her books on Amazon

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Thank you again to Jo Elizabeth Pinto!

If any authors would like to publicize their books on my blog, please reach me by email: frenchc1955@yahoo.com

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)

A Writing Workshop: Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft With Charles F. French

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I am very pleased to announce that I will be giving a 3 hour writing event, focusing on my book Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft on June 13th from 1:30-4:30 p.m. This event will be an interactive workshop specifically designed to give assistance to writers who have difficulties finishing their first drafts of their WIP.

It is sponsored by The Writers’ Community of York Region, and a link can be found here: Get The Draft Done! Workshop with Charles F. French

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If you are a writer who has difficulty with drafting, then consider attending this event, so I can help you with applicable and actionable ideas and exercises.

Remember, the most important draft of a work is the first draft; without that one, no revision can occur.

Available on Amazon

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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.

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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

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

 

A New Addition To The U.L.S., The Underground Library Society: Ashley Clayton and her book of choice, Jane Eyre

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I want to welcome Ashley Clayton as the newest member of the U. L. S., The Underground Library Society. This is an unofficial organization dedicated to the preservation of books, and it was created in one of my First Year College Composition Classes at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.  It is based on the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrentheit 451.  To join, a writer creates a post about a book he/she would become if they needed to in order to save it. They do not actually have to memorize it though.

When I first watched Jane Eyre[1] by Charlotte Brontë several years ago, I felt I had stumbled upon a pearl necklace left on a tree branch. I had never heard of the novel before, surprisingly—and I still wonder why it wasn’t included on my school reading lists, alongside The Scarlet Letter and Crime and Punishment. Jane is a protagonist I closely relate to, while still finding her differences complex and intriguing. We’re both introverts and artists, we tend to observe humans from afar and would prefer our own company over most people. Jane is also compassionate and does not let her circumstances overcome her fortitude—qualities I greatly admire in other people.

Jane is orphaned as an infant and grows up in an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive home. Her Aunt Reed is jealous of the girl and tends to overlook her plights while doting on her three spoiled and vindictive children. After Jane is struck by her older cousin John and she defends herself, she is sent to the red-room in the mansion—a scene which introduces the supernatural theme found throughout the novel. This is the room reportedly haunted by Jane’s dead uncle, and she begs to be released. Abandoned and injured, she falls ill and faints from her panic.

An apothecary is called to the home to see to Jane. Actual physicians, you see, were reserved only for the immediate family—Jane and the servants only saw the apothecary. The man recommends Mrs. Reed to send Jane away to Lowood Institute—an act disguised as charity while tidily securing the girl’s education and ongoing care, and thus eventual livelihood. This is the turning point of Jane’s young life.

Lowood was a harsh and cold place, the food poor and scant, but here Jane is given a chance to learn and develop her talents and abilities. Jane would adapt well and excel in her studies, while learning to survive within the austere school. Jane was already a resilient child from living with her aunt and cousins, and this trait became sharper at Lowood. After her classmate (and only friend) Helen dies, Jane is left alone to navigate the rest of her years at the school.

After Jane finishes her education and teaches at Lowood, she advertises for outside employment and is accepted to work at Thornfield Hall as a governess— “a fine old hall, rather neglected of late years perhaps” as Jane is told. Here she meets the estate’s proprietor, her master—a Mr. Edward Rochester. His life parallels in some ways to Jane’s: he lost a parent (his mother) early in life, his now deceased father was distant and neglectful, and he only inherited the estate after his elder brother’s untimely death. He is also the ward of a Ms. Adèle, a young French child who becomes Jane’s pupil—the third central orphan of the story.[2]

Jane Eyre is a story of injustices, sorrows and resiliency—a story filled with complex moral decisions and vulnerabilities. It is a story of characters struggling along in unfortunate circumstances, trying to find an existence where some sliver of hope and light might be found. Mr. Rochester and Jane find this hope in each other, but only after fire, tragic death and mutual forgiveness. The ending of Jane Eyre is not perfect—the author does not allow for a perfect ending. But the reader is left with a glimpse of a hopeful future and a sense of redemption for mostly everyone involved. And Jane considers herself “supremely blest” at the close of her story.

Jane Eyre is often categorized as a romance novel. While romance is a central theme of the story, I do not believe that is all Jane Eyre should be considered as. And perhaps that is why the novel was not included on my school reading lists. No, Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is, I believe, one story about what it means to be human and to find yourself in imprisoning circumstances, and ultimately how to live through continued suffering, albeit imperfectly. Charlotte knew these things well herself—her mother, too, died when she was a child and two of her elder sisters died from tuberculosis contracted at school, just as Helen did at Lowood. Jane Eyre is a story of one woman’s strength as she discovers what love, grace and forgiveness truly entail. It is a novel I want alongside me in my life, preserved always for future generations. It is, by no exaggeration, one of the greatest works of literature ever written, and greatly appreciated by myself.

Thank you for reading.

[1] Specifically, the 2006 BBC miniseries starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens.

[2] It is unclear who Adèle’s father is and whether he may still be alive. Her father may be Mr. Rochester, or more likely, another man who Adèle’s mother was involved with during (or shortly after) she was Mr. Rochester’s mistress. Either way, I still consider Adèle an orphan, if not legally, then spiritually.

Thank you to Ashley Clayton for joining the U. L. S.

Please be sure to visit her website A. R. Clayton.

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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!

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Please Honor Memorial Day

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I hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend, but I also hope you remember why this holiday, Memorial Day, exists.  The word “holiday” comes from “holy day,” and the remembrance of this day and its purpose should be sacred. It was originally known as Decoration Day after the end of the Civil War, and it was designated Memorial Day in the 20th Century.

This day is intended to honor, give thanks, and remember those who have sacrificed their lives for The United States of America.  Please honor the fallen and the wounded on this day.  I realize the day was meant originally for the dead, but I extend my wishes and  thanks to the wounded also. Regardless of political beliefs or stands on a war, these are the men and women who fought to keep us safe, and they deserve our remembrance.

They deserve our thanks and our honor.

Please keep in mind that this day is not merely the beginning of the summer season, nor is it intended to be the time of a special sale. This should be a sacred and somber time. There will be plenty of opportunity for shopping and vacationing afterwards. Please remember those who sacrificed.

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A Review of The Investigative Paranormal Society Cookbook by Charles F. French

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Available on Amazon

 

Thank you to Robbie Cheadle for this lovely review of my little cookbook! Please be sure to visit her wonderful websites: Robbie Cheadle Books/Poems/Reviews and Robbie’s inspiration

I have read all three books in The Investigative Paranormal Society series and the cookbook is an added bonus. Each recipe is contributed by a specific character from the series and is introduced with an overview of that character’s contribution to a specific book and the series as a whole.

I enjoyed reading a little more about my favourite characters in the more relaxed and culinary setting provided by this cookbook.

The cookbook offers a wide range of recipes, all of which are reasonably simple to make and cover the full spectrum of appetizers, main course and side dishes, desserts, and even drinks. The drinks was rather a fun addition for me, and I was pleased to find some great recipes for cocktails including Helen’s Bethberg Iced Tea and Jeremy’s Mint Julep Mocktail (non alcoholic).

From the appetizers, Helen’s Grape and Walnut Side Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing grabbed my attention. I love walnuts and anything involving blue cheese. This salad is certainly a bit different and slightly sophisticated, and would certainly add to any dinner party.

The main course and side dishes range from the fun Roosevelt’s Cheeseburgers and Panfried Vegetables to the more unusual Sam’s Chicken Paprikash to Roosevelt’s Baked Beans. I am pleased to have this last recipe as homemade Baked Beans often come up in American literature and I’ve never tasted them. Now I will be able to try this dish.

The desserts all sound delicious and I am keen to try Roosevelt’s Bread Pudding and Whiskey Sauce and Sarah’s Irish Stout Brownies.

Overall, this book is a great introduction to the memorable characters in this terrific series and is also a useful recipe book with some delicious sounding recipes.

Available on Amazon

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

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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.

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

French On English

Available on Amazon

Kubrick’s Monolith: The Art and Mystery of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Joe R. Frinzi: A Review

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I am pleased to be able to offer a review of this extraordinary book by film scholar Mr. Joe R. Frinzi.

Joe R. Frinzi’s work, Kubrick’s Monolith: The Art and Mystery of 2001: A Space Odyssey, is an excellent book of film criticism, and it should establish Mr. Frinzi as a top level scholar on Stanley Kubrick and his seminal film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In this masterful treatment, Mr. Frinzi details the creation of the film and the social and cinematic importance of this work by the auteur, Stanley Kubrick. It is deeply researched, demonstrates a masterful understanding of cinema, and confirms Mr. Frinzi as a top film scholar.

If you are interested in film, if you love science-fiction, and if you appreciate Stanley Kubrick, then this is a book you must have.

Mr. Frinzi’s work is on the level of a Ph.D. thesis.

I recommend this book to all lovers of cinema, and I give it 5 stars!

Mr. Frinzi’s book is available here: Amazon

and here: McFarland

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May Self-Promotion Party!

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Hello everyone! It’s past mid-May, the weather is turning warmer, and it’s time for a self-promotion party!

Be proud of your writing!

Share your book(s) with the world!

Be your own best publicist!

To help as many as possible see your work, reblog, like, and follow others.

Available on Amazon

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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

French On English

Available on Amazon