Happy Independence Day!

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I wish all a happy and safe 4th of July.  Please celebrate safely, have fun, and take a moment to remember all those who sacrificed to bring freedom.

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Let us also remember that freedom includes everyone of all races, religions, ethnicities, backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, creeds, and neurodiversities–and any others I may have forgotten.  Freedom demands inclusion, not exclusion. Let us remember that freedom for all is the basis and the promise, if not always the reality, of the United States of America.

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Let us keep The United States of America a shining light to the oppressed of the world. Let us remember the words on the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Emma Lazarus

 

Let us remember that we, as human beings, are connected, that we all have a place in the world. Let us remember the value of freedom and democracy. The fourth of July is more than a day of fireworks–it is a day of the celebration of freedom. Let us never lose that freedom.

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We must always remember that. We are all connected. We, all of us, are the people.

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Thank You to Readers!

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I have thanked writers before, and I will again, but it is also important to recognize the other crucial element in a writing relationship, and that is the readers.  Without readers, books are simply words on a page, without being seen, known, imagined, or interpreted.

I love reading as much as I love writing, and I hope that readers continue to indulge in whatever kind of writing they enjoy.

To me, reading is one of the most important joys in life, along with romance and food.  I read every day, and I often have as many as five books going at one time. I teach English Literature, so reading is also part of my work, but I always have at least one book around that I consider my dessert reading. And since I love desserts, I am not, in any way, diminishing those books.  They simply serve a different purpose from the literature I teach.

My mother instilled the love of reading in me when I was very young, and I cannot remember not being able to read. It is a joy that will stay with me the rest of my life.

I am, therefore, on both sides of this creative relationship: writer and reader.

So once again, to those without whom writers are nothing, thank you! And please keep reading.

Thank you to all readers!

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Promote Your Writing!

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Hello to everyone! 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 include 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.

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Celebrate and promote your writing! Shout it out to the world!

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!

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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

Two Poems by a Friend

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Hello to all! Please take the time to look at these excellent poems by my friend Robert Fillman. He is a Ph.D. student at Lehigh University and a very talented poet.

Robert Fillman’s Poems at Gravel

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Interview (part 1) with K.D. Dowdall, author of The Stone Arch Secret

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It is my honor to interview K. D. Dowdall, the author of the new romance mystery novel The Stone Arch Secret. This is a wonderful book, and I will soon post my review of her novel, but I can say that I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

First, I want to thank K. D. Dowdall for agreeing to the interview. So, let us begin.

Some writers have very particular schedules and places for their writing. Do you have a particular approach?

I have a writing/library room where I read, takes notes, develop ideas for writing the next novel and then I write.  I usually have most of the story, the beginning and the end in my mind before writing, very much like a synopsis and then the characters take over. 

 

When you think of your readers, what do you hope they get from your novel?

A book that is well-written, interesting, authentic, heart-felt, and honest. And, maybe come away with a new perspective of the world around them.

 

How would you describe your writing style?

I write with a poetic touch, generally, inasmuch, as I love to write very descriptive scenes  for emotional responses to different backgrounds, whether it is a church, a country road, a forest,  or a river running swiftly under a bridge. Often, I do this so that the reader can visualize a past memory or experience about what they are reading in my story.

 

Do you have a particular genre that you enjoy reading?

I like most genres, but I suppose I favor Historical Fiction.

 

Who are some of your favorite writers?

Some of my favorites are: Stephen King, Umberto Eco, James Joyce, Jack London, Joseph Conrad, Harper Lee, Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Anderson, Libby Hawker.

 

What books are you currently reading?

I am currently reading, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown, and Catling’s Bane by D. Wallace Peach.

 

What books and/or writers have inspired you?

On Writing by Stephen King, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Dubliners by James Joyce, The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Tidewater by Libby Hawker, Far From the Maddening Crowd, by Thomas Hardy, The Wolf and The Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and poets like John Keats, E. E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Sara Teasdale, and of course, William Shakespeare.

Once again, I want to thank K. D. Dowdall for agreeing to this interview. Part 2 will be posted soon.

You can find more information about Karen’s writing at these sites, and please treat yourself by getting a copy of her novel, The Stone Arch Secret.

The Stone Arch Secret is available on Amazon

https://karendowdall.com/

https://www.facebook.com/karenddowdall

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Beautiful Writing: Part 3, Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman is one of the most important American, if not world, poets. His work changed poetry, and he has been called the Poet of Democracy. His collection Leaves of Grass, is one of the books of poetry that I recommend everyone read sometime in his or her life.

I want to offer two examples of his work: this first is a brief excerpt from his preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass as a representation of beautiful writing. This is from the preface that Whitman wrote to his work, and it is in prose, but it reads like poetry.

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and

the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that

asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your

income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not

concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward

the people, take off your hat to nothing known or

unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely

with powerful uneducated persons and with the young

and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in

the open air every season of every year of your life, re-

examine all you have been told at school or church or

in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul,

and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the

richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent

lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your

eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

 

My second Whitman offering is perhaps his most famous poem and is about the death of Abraham Lincoln: “O Captain! My Captain!”

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

                         But O heart! heart! heart!

                            O the bleeding drops of red,

                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,

                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

                         Here Captain! dear father!

                            This arm beneath your head!

                               It is some dream that on the deck,

                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

                            But I with mournful tread,

                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,

                                  Fallen cold and dead.

 

Beautiful Writing: Part I: Ray Bradbury

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One of the reasons that I love to read, in addition to experiencing other worlds, walking in the path of other characters, learning about the world around us, and escaping from reality for a short time, is to enjoy the beauty of words. Some writers are able to elevate their writing to a level of poetry and beauty that is exhilarating and joyful to read.

One writer, whose use of words, reaches poetic levels is Ray Bradbury. He is a writer not easily confined to one genre and whose work is defined by love of story. I have taught his work in several college classes in both Muhlenberg College and Lehigh University, and his writing has been an influence on me as a novelist.

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I will offer two passages from his brilliant novel Dandelion Wine, a BildungsRoman or coming-of-age story, set in late 1920s in Green Town, Illinois. These passages are from the perspective of a boy who is beginning to see possibilities in life, both the external world and in himself.

The first passage is the opening of the novel:

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed.

Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing

of the world was long and warm and slow. You only had to rise, lean from your

window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living,

this was the first morning of summer.

Douglas Spaulding, twelve, freshly wakened, let summer idle him on its

early-morning stream. Lying in his third-story cupola bedroom, he felt the tall

power it gave him, riding high in the June wind, the grandest tower in town. At

night, when the trees washed together, he flashed his gaze like a beacon from

this lighthouse in all directions over swarming seas of elm and oak and maple.

Now . . . (1)

That is an extraordinary opening to a novel. It pulls the reader into the story with a seemingly simplistic prose, but within that simplicity is beauty and the poetry of the world being seen through young eyes.

Another passage shows Douglas at night time:

Douglas sprawled back on  the dry porch planks, completely  contented

and reassured by these voices, which would speak on through eternity, flow

in a stream of murmurings over his body, over his closed eyelids, into his

drowsy ears, for all time. The rocking chairs sounded like crickets, the crickets

sounded like rocking chairs, and the moss-covered rain barrel by  the

dining-room window produced another generation of mosquitoes to provide

a topic of conversation through endless summers ahead. (33)

 

Both excerpts, in my view, are beautiful, compelling, and poetic. All writers should read and study Ray Bradbury.

Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Dandelion Wine. New York. Avon Books. 1999.