June Self-Promotion Party!

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

Don’t be shy; tell us about your books!

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

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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

My radio interview:

interview

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Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

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!

More Reviews of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book I by Charles F. French

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“I am not typically a reader; yet, upon picking up French’s Maledicus, I was hardly able to put it down. The story is told beautifully, and the way that French weaves together two seemingly unrelated storylines and settings into one creates an especially interesting and thrilling read. In particular, Maledicus’ actions from the “In-Between” and the men’s actions in the present to counteract them are well described, with the author frequently moving from one place to the other in successive chapters in order to see the two perspectives, seemingly in real-time. The chapter length contributes to how well the story flows–the chapters are broken up frequently to naturally allow for this kind of time-hopping. Furthermore, as someone who grew up in the Lehigh Valley, I enjoyed seeing many details of my hometown in the fictional town of Bethburg. Overall, the novel is a thrilling read that is thoroughly enjoyable not only because of the plot itself but also the manner in which the story is told. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!”

“Loved this book. It moved a bit slow at the beginning but it led up to one hell of an ending. I truly enjoyed it. The character development was on point and the plot kept me interested the whole way through. Definitely recommend.”

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

Favorite Science-Fiction Films: 2: Metropolis

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Metropolis is a brilliant science-fiction film (1927) directed by Fritz Lang. This movie, recently restored to its entirety, is a disturbing look at the world of the future through  the eyes of visionaries in the 1920s. It is based on the novel of the same name by Thea von Harbou (1925). The book deals with a city created on the backs of exploited workers and run by the capitalist upper-class. It is also a love story, and it is set in the year 2026.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Metropolis offers a powerful and damning social commentary on the effects of the ruling class, the capitalist industrialists who rule the world by using and crushing the ordinary people who build and fuel their wonderland. While the workers live underground in squalor and destitution, the upper-class live literally in palaces high above the ground. There they explore and indulge in numerous amusements including those sexual and athletic. This film is not a simple polemic but drives its message through a compelling story that shows the love between the Master of Metropolis’ son Freder and Maria, who lives in the underworld and serves as a kind of saint to the oppressed.

Frankenstein, 1931, owes a cinematic debt to the mad scientist in Metropolis, Rotwang, and his equipment. There he creates a robot woman, using the life force of Maria. Clearly the novelist, Mary Shelley and her book, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, first influenced this movie.

Lang’s cinematic vision is exquisite and deeply influential to filmmakers who followed him in exploring the idea of future cites. His soaring towers and buildings, high bridges with fast cars, and aircraft flying near the buildings are based on the designs of the modernists and futurists, and this concept is a clear model for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Certainly an argument can be made that Metropolis is a foundation for many other science-fiction movies.

This film is extraordinary, and the full version is now available on DVD/BlueRay. It is an important piece of cinematic history, and I give it my highest recommendation.

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Dante’s Divine Comedy–A Post For The U.L.S., The Underground Library Society, by Robbie Cheadle

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Thank you to Robbie Cheadle, a long time member of the U. L. S. The Underground Library Society!

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Dante’s Divine Comedy

Background

Divine Comedy is a narrative poem, written in Italian and translated to English. Dante Alighieri spent twelve years writing this poem which was completed in 1320. The poem is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

The poem starts with Dante, the protagonist of the poem, finding himself in a dark and wild forest at night. The road towards the sunshine on the other side of a hill is guarded by three beasts which Dante cannot pass. He is in despair when Virgil, a pagan soul from the first circle of Hell, appears and tells him that the beautiful and good Beatrice, a woman who died young and was an object of admiration and desire by Dante, had arrange for him to journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven in an attempt to redeem his soul and return him to the path of virtue.

The first part of the poem, comprising of 33 cantos, depicts Dante’s journey through the nine circles of Hell which is structured like an upside-down cone. Each circle is smaller and contains more depraved souls and more suffering.  Each circle is devoted to a different kind of sin and the sins are in order of their seriousness according to Dante’s hierarchy. The first circle holds the unbaptised and the pagans who were born before the coming of Christ. The order of the other circles and sins is as follows: lust (circle 2), gluttony (circle 3), greed (circle 4), wrath and depression (circle 5), heresy (circle 6), violence (circle 7), deception (circle 8), and betrayal (circle 9). A three-faced Satan, trapped in the middle of a frozen lake, pays for his sins in the deepest region of circle 9 and chews on the worst betrayers in history, Judas, who betrayed Christ, and Brutus and Cassius, who betrayed Julius Caesar.

The second part of Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, tells the tale of Dante and Virgil’s journey through Purgatory. This is the place where penitent souls endure punishments to cleanse themselves of their former sins before entering Heaven. It is also a place where souls reflect on their sins.

Purgatory is described as a mountain with seven layers aligning with the seven deadly sins of pride, envy, wrath, slovenliness, covetousness, gluttony, and lust. The souls in Purgatory embrace their punishments, unlike the souls in Hell who continuously fight against theirs, as the purging fire is making them holy and readying them to ascend to Heaven.

When Dante and Virgil reach the top of the mountain, Virgil disappears and is replaced as Dante’s guide by Beatrice.

Paradiso is the third and final part of Divine Comedy. The first level of Heaven is the sphere of the Moon and houses souls who broke their vows. Beatrice explains vows in terms of absolute and contingent human will. The second phase is Mercury which contains souls who were just but motivated by fame. Venus (3rd phase) teaches Dante how and why sons end up different to their fathers. Sun (4th phase) explains to Dante the source of the blessed souls’ light. Jupiter (6th phase) explains to Dante the concept of Divine Justice and God’s Mind. In Saturn (7th sphere) Dante sees the golden ladder and meets St. Benedict. The fixed stars (8th phase) is where Dante is examined on faith, hope and charity and Dante goes blind. In the Emphyrean (10th phase), Dante sees the illusion and the real Celestial Rose. Beatrice disappears and is replaced by St. Bernard.

Finally, Dante investigates the Eternal Light and sees the image of the Holy Trinity. God bestows the answer to the mystery of the Incarnation on Dante and his soul is finally at one with God’s.

How did Dante influence the modern world?

Dante played a significant role in developing humanism, the use of language as spoken by ordinary in people in literature, and challenged the dominant role played by the church in society and politics. His ideas helped to generate the cultural and intellectual changes known as the Renaissance, which changed the world.

Dante’s poem also remains an important piece of literature in exploring the implications of human life choices regarding good and evil and makes it clear there are consequences for these choices.

Finally, the Divine Comedy has influenced writing, music, and art for 700 years.

Here is a YouTube video about why people should read Dante’s Divine Comedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbCEWSip9pQ

Quotes from Divine Comedy

“All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”

“O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?”

“If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.”

“What is it then? Why do you hesitate?

Why do you relish living like a coward?

Why cannot you be bold and keen to start?”

“They had their faces twisted toward their haunches and found it necessary to walk backward, because they could not see ahead of them. …And since he wanted so to see ahead, he looks behind and walks a backward path.”

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Thank you to Robbie Cheadle!

Please be sure to visit Robbie Cheadle’s wonderful sites:

Robbie Cheadle Books/Poems/Reviews

Robbie’s inspiration

More Quotations On Reading!

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“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

                                                                           Confucius

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Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879. George K. Warren. (National Archives Gift Collection)

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Frederick Douglass

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“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
Jacqueline Kennedy

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“Reading is the essential nourishment to the imagination and the soul.”

                                                                               Charles F. French

Remember to keep reading!

Quotations on Dictatorships

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“Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.”

                                                                     John F. Kennedy

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“Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.”

                                                                     Jorge Luis Borges

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“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”

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“Dictators are cowards and bullies. They control others through abuse, weapons, and fear, but they are the ones who are truly afraid, as they should be. They should be terrified of those who oppose them, who are willing to stand up against them, and are willing to fight them.”

                                                                              Charles F. French

Beautiful Writing: Part 2: Shakespeare

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I am happy to return to this series about writing that has beauty in it. 

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?”

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

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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!

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

A Review Of House Bird By Robert Fillman

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Robert Fillman’s new book House Bird is an excellent collection of his poetry, and it clearly positions him as one of the best poets in the U. S. A. Mr. Fillman has previously published a chapbook, November Weather Spell, and between both books, he is clearly a top-level poet. His work combines honesty, observation, powerful images, and reflections on life.

Mr. Fillman explores what exists on the surface of life and what goes below it also. This is a powerful confluence that illuminates his experiences as well as how we, the readers, view the world. His poetry explores the ordinary in life and transforms it into the extraordinary.

It is difficult to choose my favorite poems from this collection, because they are all excellent. Still, I would offer “House Bird” which gives the title of the book and “Blessing” as my two favorites, but I emphasize that they are all excellent poems!

If you love poetry, please do yourself a favor, and get this book. You will see that Robert Fillman is an extraordinary poet.

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