Happy Birthday to Mr. Charles Dickens!

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Today is Charles Dickens’ 208th birthday, and I celebrate this extraordinary writer who gave the world a plethora of books, filled with dynamic and lasting characters, an attention to life, concern with the condition of the poor and suffering, and joy. In Dickens’ works is a celebration of humanity as well as a condemnation of the capacity of human beings to be inhumane to each other.

I have had the good fortune of not only reading many of his excellent books, but also I have taught them in various courses. Among his novels that I have used in my classes are A Christmas Carol, Hard Times, and A Tale Of Two Cities.

Dickens was not only an exceptional writer but also beloved by humanity. His was not work aimed at solely literary critics. Like Shakespeare, Dickens was loved and is loved by the mass of people, and I celebrate that love.

Happy Birthday to you, and I wish that your writings continue to be read and loved, Charles Dickens!

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Biography Sheets For Characters?

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This is a question for all the writers of fiction who follow my blog or who might read it: do you use biography sheets for characters when you are writing a novel? Using such a sheet, and filling it in with minute detail is something that I do, and something that I learned first from being an actor, when I did this exercise to help to build a character, and then as a director, when I assigned the task to actors.

I realize that I create details that I will probably never use in the actual writing of the novel, but the more I know about the characters, the more easily and effectively I can write about them and help to bring them to life.

When I mention minute detail, such an example would be answering this kind of question: does the character prefer coffee or tea, and how do they take it? Or, do they eat eggs for breakfast, and if so, what is their preferred way–perhaps over easy, scrambled, or poached.

So, I ask you–do you use character biography sheets when you build a character?

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Presidential Quotations On Leadership

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

                                                                      Abraham Lincoln

 

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“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

                                                                     John F. Kennedy

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

                                                                    Barack Obama

February Promote Your Book Party!

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It is the beginning of a new month, of February, so let’s self-promote!  It is time to stand up and shout for your books! Come and join this party, and celebrate your writing. Do not be shy–you must be your own biggest promoter!

So, regardless of the genre, tell about your book.  Include where it can be found, and be proud of your writing! Then, so as many as possible can see this promotion for all, please reblog and tweet this post! Let us all help each other as much as possible!

And remember, always, keep writing!

 

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

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

Who Is Your Favorite Fictional Father?

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In continuing with my series on favorite fictional characters, I was thinking about one in particular, so I decided on this question about your favorite fictional father. This man is, in many ways, the image of honor, decency, and courage. He is Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.  The novel has won the Pulitzer Prize and adapted into both a magnificent movie and a currently running drama on Broadway. In the above photograph, Atticus Finch is portrayed by the excellent actor Gregory Peck.

Here are a few quotations from Atticus Finch:

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

“When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness’ sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles ‘em.”

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

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

 

Please Retweet!

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Hello to all my readers. This is going to sound like a plea, because it is! I am entering the agent pitch contest on Twitter that is called #SFFpit, and I need your help. I am attempting to find an agent for my YA, Cli-fi novel The Ameriad: The Monastery of Knowledge. For those of you who have Twitter, please retweet–but DO NOT LIKE because that is for agent responses– my pinned tweet, which is my pitch.

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The Joy Of Reading

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I have spent the majority of my time on this blog writing about writing, so I thought I would address the most fundamental and most important part of this experience with books: reading.

I have been reading my entire life; in fact, I cannot remember a time when I did not read. And reading has informed my life in many ways, not only in terms of career but also in the joys of life itself.

I read books, I teach them, and I write about them, but mostly, I enjoy them. I remember my mother telling me when I was very little that you can go many places that you might not ever have a chance to visit, real and made up, if you read. And I have visited and continue to journey to real and fantastic lands.

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I am not a reading snob. While I teach college English Literature, I read in a very wide range, from adventure and horror to drama and so-called high literature, although I am not so certain that this distinction is accurate. Both Shakespeare and Dickens were considered popular writers in their time. Hemingway straddled the mythical fence of literature and genre writing. Today, I happily read authors in a multitude of genres, including Stephen King and John Connolly, among many others. So, I read whatever I choose, in any area. And I get great pleasure from the reading.

I am currently reading, as I often do, several books: Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres; Death In A Strange Country by Donna Leon; and Pale Hecate’s Team by K. M. Briggs.

I hope that all people can experience this pleasure of reading. I realize not everyone will, but I can keep hoping they do.

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Happy Reading!

And a quick question: what is a book you are currently reading?

 

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

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon