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.
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. I will have the tweet up at 8 A. M. EST.
It will look something like this:
It x Stranger Things
#PitMad #H #A In 1957 South Dakota, 13-year-olds, Dancer, Micah, and James band together to fight an ancient creature that threatens their beloved teacher. To save him and stay alive, they must face bullies and supernatural threats, all controlled by the creature.
Again, thank you to all!
I want to thank TA Sullivan for becoming a member of the U. L. S. The Underground Library Society! TA Sullivan is an author of fiction and nonfiction; TA’s excellent website can be found here: TAS Through the Looking Glass. Please be sure to visit this wonderful site!
TA Sullivan’s post:
If I were to choose a book to memorize, I believe it would be Bag of Bones by Stephen King.
While this book is categorized as horror, to me it is first and foremost a book about relationships and loss. The protagonist is a young author, Mike Noonan, whose wife unexpectedly dies. With no close family, we struggle along with Mr. Noonan as his despair and depression result in his inability to write.
At first, he moves through his days following a sort of hazy routine, but eventually, he recognizes what he’s doing, and he strives to find more purpose to his life that no longer contains the love of his life or his life’s work (writing).
The insight and care with which Mr. King has approached this subject of loss is so complete that you can’t but help hurt along with Mr. Noonan as he works his way through this story of love, loss, and the idea that you never really know anyone, not even the person you’re married to.
It’s this book and Mr. King’s insights that helped me understand just what my father was going through when my mother died. I saw him try to follow the same routines that he and my mom had forged during their long years of being together. But I also saw how hollow those motions were because my mother was no longer there to share the routines with him. Because of Mr. King’s book, I was able to help my father move away from those shared routines and find a new purpose to his life.
It wasn’t easy for my father, but then losing someone you love and have lived with for over 50 years never is. However, letting go of those old patterns of behavior can sometimes make it a little easier, and that’s what Mr. King’s story showed me. Therefore, if I were to choose a book to memorize, it would be Bag of Bones, so that others could also benefit from Mr. King’s insights while enjoying a good spooky story in the bargain.
Once again, thank you to TA Sullivan for joining this little society!
Hello to everyone!
This may sound odd, but I am putting out a request for reviews of my books on Amazon. I have 89 for Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1, and I would really like to get to 100. I will soon have my author website up, and that would be a great detail to feature. So, if this sounds a bit like a writer begging, then I will show that I have no shame!
I also wouldn’t mind reviews of my other books also!
To everyone–thank you for listening to this unusual request.
Available on Amazon
Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com
Please follow the following links to find my novel:
The book trailer:
My radio interview:
Roberta Eaton Cheadle, or Robbie, is an esteemed member of the U. L. S. — the Underground Library Society — and she is offering her thoughts on another book! Robbie, thank you so much!
Thoughts about All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
This book is a first-hand account of the life of Paul Bäumer, who belongs to a squad of German soldiers on the Western Front during World War I. Paul and his classmates enlisted in the army at the end of their high school career as a result of the impassioned patriotism and relentless coaxing of their teacher, Kantorek.
All Quiet on the Western Front tells the story of Paul and his friends experiences in the trenches. There is a lot of fighting, death, and destruction in this book, but there are also scenes of comradery, friendship, and bravery that break up the ‘heaviness’ of this read and give the reader some short periods of lighter relief.
Among these lighter scenes is one when Paul and his friend ‘Kat’ decide to poach a goose from a local farm. They roast the bird and enjoy a midnight feast, even venturing to share some of their spoil with friends who are in prison for insubordination towards a senior officer.
There are also some interesting insights into life for the French civilians trying to survive amid the disruption and decimation of the war. Russian prisoners of war also feature in this story and their pitiful plight is almost too much to bear.
Why do young men volunteer for war?
I look at my two sons, and I wonder why young men hurl themselves into the teeth of the storm through voluntary subscription to the army. I read about this in The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, and I read about it again in this great, but disturbing, novel, All Quiet on the Western Front.
I have decided there are a few reasons that lead to this rash action. The first, is the expectation of parents and other older members of society that their sons throw down the gauntlet and risk all for “king and country”. Secondly, I believe there has historically been a terrible ignorance about the reality of war. War is glamourized and young men enter the fray with no concept of its harsh conditions or the horror of death.
I wonder if the young men of today would be as eager to take up the role of ‘cannon fodder’ with their greater knowledge of the world through internet access and better educational opportunities.
Leaders and war mongers pray on the passionate fervor of the young to achieve their ill-gotten ends when it comes to war. Wars are all fought either for purposes of greed and power or over religion. More recently, greed and power have trumped the possibly purer intentions of religion. Have recently explored in great depth the reasons behind the Anglo Zulu War and both Anglo Boer Wars in South Africa, as well as the First and Second World War, power and the gain of wealth have been the overarching reasons for placing young men in the line of fire and, often, ending their lives before they have even started.
All Quiet on the Western Front is a book that is written in a war setting and exposes with a sharp and unerringly accurate pen, the absolute horror of the First World War. The book is not, however, about the war, but rather about the loss of innocence the young soldiers experience and their inability to ever adapt back to civilian life afterwards. This is quite clear by the manner in which the story is told. Battles are not named and have so little relevance to the story that whether they are won or lost is not even revealed. Battles feature as a regular feature of the lives of Paul and his comrades; one during which death is a high possibility and survival is the only goal.
The obvious themes of war and patriotism that present in this novel are not the ones that resonated with me.
Given my status as the mother of two teenage boys, not much younger than the boys featured in this novel, it is understandable that the following themes are the ones that have stayed in my mind. I am sharing select quotations that explain these themes as they do so far better than I could.
Loss of innocence
“While they went on writing and making speeches, we saw field hospitals and men dying: while they preached the service of the state as the greatest thing, we already knew that the fear of death is even greater. This didn’t make us into rebels or deserters, or turn us into cowards – and they were more than ready to use all of these words – because we loved our country just as much as they did, and so we went bravely into every attack. But now we were able to distinguish things clearly, all at once our eyes had been opened. And we saw that there was nothing left of their world. Suddenly we found ourselves horrible alone – and we had to come to terms with it alone as well.”
Loss of individuality
“I can still remember how embarrassed we were at the beginning, when we were recruits in the barracks and had to use the communal latrines. There are no doors, so that twenty men had to sit side by side as if they were on a train. That way they could all be seen at a glance – soldiers, of course, have to be under supervision at all times.
Since then we’ve learnt more than just how to cope with a bit of embarrassment. As time went by, our habits changed quite a bit.,
Out here in the open air the whole business is a real pleasure.”
“It gets dark. Kemmerich’s face gets paler, it stands out against his pillow and is so white that it looks luminous. He makes a small movement with his mouth. I get closer to him. He whispers, ‘If you find my watch, send it home.’
I don’t argue. There is no point any more. He is beyond convincing. I’m sick with helplessness. That forehead, sunk in at the temples, that mount, which is all teeth now, that thin, sharp nose. And the fat, tearful woman at home that I shall have to write to – I wish I had that job behind me already.”
“But our mates are dead, and we can’t help them. They are at peace – who knows what we might still have to face? We want to chuck ourselves down and sleep, or stuff as much food into our bellies as we can, and booze and smoke, so that the passing hours aren’t so empty. Life is short.”
“It’s a nuisance trying to kill every single louse when you’ve got hundreds of them. The beasts are hard, and it gets to be a bore when you are forever pinching them between your nails. So Tjaden has rigged up a boot-polish lid hanging on a piece of wire over a burning candle-end. You just have toss the lice into this little frying-pan – there is a sharp crack, and that’s it.”
All Quiet on the Western Front is a book we should never allow to be burned or removed from its place as a historical classic. Its primary role in literature, in my opinion, is that it illustrates the pointlessness of war which descends into a series of actions and day-to-day survival with no real meaning or even importance to those involved in the fighting. This sentiment is generally presented through the character of Albert Kropp, one of Paul’s previous school friends.
This book also highlights the destruction of young men’s innocence and their inability to ever reconnect with ordinary civilian life. It doesn’t mention post-traumatic stress syndrome specifically, but this is alluded to throughout the book.
All in, this is one of the most emotional and memorable books I have ever read.
Again, thank you to Roberta Eaton Cheadle for this U. L. S. post!
I want to thank M. C. Tuggle for joining the Underground Library Society!
I will have another post for the U. L. S. up on Sunday.
Now, here is M. C. Tuggle’s post:
I Am Beowulf
by M. C. Tuggle
I follow the rusting railroad tracks, occasionally veering off to wade through icy streams so the Mechanical Hound cannot follow my scent. When I find Granger and his small band of rebels, he welcomes me with hot coffee, which I greedily drink, then chase down with the bitter fluid Granger assures me will change my scent and confuse the Hound. Then he asks what book I choose to become by committing it to memory.
There is no question which book it will be.
After all, I’ve joined the resistance against a totalitarian government that controls its subjects by keeping them in perpetual ignorance. Numbed by mindless, ever-present mass media, the population exists without a past, either as individuals or as part of a living tradition. Only the present moment exists for them. Independent thought is quickly detected and snuffed out, and anyone with a book is a criminal who can be executed on the spot.
So of course the book I choose to memorize and become must be Beowulf.
After all, the oppressed people of Fahrenheit 451 need a vision that will rouse them out of their apathy. Once they rediscover who they are and what they were meant to be, maybe a fire will grow in their bellies and inspire them to reclaim their humanity.
Also, practical issues aside, I just love Beowulf. It’s the high school classic that made me into a future English major. The gritty details of battle against Grendel, his mother, and the dragon are as vivid and breathtaking as the greatest adventure tales of Robert E. Howard or H. Rider Haggard. And the action in Beowulf is not only entertaining, but significant. The tale is packed with commentary on the human condition as well as eye-opening insights into history, religion, and culture.
In Bradbury’s dystopia, historical amnesia has been weaponized to keep the people alienated and aimless. In Beowulf, on the other hand, one’s history is a vital part of one’s existence. Early in the story, when a Danish watchman challenges Beowulf and his crew, Beowulf identifies himself by telling the watchman about his lineage:
“We belong by birth to the Geat people and owe allegiance to Lord Hygelac. In his day, my father was a famous man, a noble warrior-lord named Ecgtheow.”
And in stark contrast to the soul-crushing conformity and stupor of Fahrenheit 451’s dystopian society, the world of Beowulf celebrates achievement, battle, and nobility. Upon first viewing Beowulf, the Danish watchman remarks, “Nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms on this earth than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, he is truly noble.”
Beowulf also gives us an overview of the history of Western civilization. It offers a glimpse of Britain’s transition from a pagan to a Christian culture. My take on this classic is that it is a rewriting of an oral epic from pagan days. What makes it unique is that it mirrors the history of the spread of Christianity, particularly in northern Europe, where the world-weary religion of southern European slaves and the poor reinvented itself to appeal to the more prosperous, more aristocratic, and more worldly north.
In doing so, the new religion embraced much of the pagan worldview of northern Europe, and this update of a pagan classic reflects that.
Consider the book’s undisguised pagan values. The hero sets out to save the Danish king’s mead hall, a place where members of the warrior class drink, feast, and share the spoils of battle. Prized weapons are named, something we do not see in the Iliad or Odyssey. And instead of promoting turning the other cheek, or looking to an eternal reward as life’s ultimate aim, Beowulf glorifies revenge and worldly honor: “It is better for us all to avenge our friends, not mourn them forever. Each of us will come to the end of this life on earth; he who can earn it should fight for the glory of his name; fame after death is the noblest of goals.”
I have four translations, or modernizations, of this epic poem. My favorites are by JRR Tolkien and the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. If forced to pick, I’ll have to go with Heaney’s shimmering retelling. That’s the book I would memorize.
M. C. Tuggle writes science fiction, fantasy, and mystery stories, and occasionally gets some published. His observations and rants about the writing craft appear on his blog mctuggle.com
Thank you again to M. C. Tuggle!
Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a poignant, bittersweet, and powerful novel of love, loss, and an exploration of both New England and the vaudeville circuit in the first half of the 20th Century. She shows the reader a world that few have known personally and of which few are aware, and she draws the reader into that world seemingly effortlessly.
Gauffreau skillfully tells the story of Faby Gauthier and her life in Vermont both during and after she met, was seduced, and married a dancer named Slim White on stage and Louis Kittell in his real life. Sonny is a selfish man who uses his sophistication to take Faby’s virginity and impregnate her. At this time, for a girl with a child on the way, this was a difficult situation. Gauffreau handles the story beautifully. It is neither overly sentimental nor it is maudlin. Gauffreau weaves her story and tells us the lives of people and how they survive.
Gauffreau, through excellent dialogue and description, creates this past world and in an historical and literary novel, pulls the reader into the tale and makes us care about Gaby and her son.
Gaby is faced with having to tell her grown son who is waiting for his wedding that his father, who abandoned them is now dead from a car accident. Gauffreau adds this layer of tension to this novel and does it quietly and with precision and care.
This is a tale of quiet strength and desperation, of love and abandonment, and of death and life. It is a novel of family, of connection, and ultimately of love.
Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a sweet, lovely, insightful, and compelling novel, and I give it my highest recommendation.
I am again asking for those who would like to join the U.L.S., the Underground Library Society, to join and write a guest post. I put this request out several times over the course of a year, because I hope to have more people join in the cause.
In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again.
In that spirit, I am putting out the call once more for like-minded people to join The U.L.S. All that is needed is to choose a book you would memorize if the need ever arose. The type or genre of the chosen piece does not matter. There is no restriction on what you would become. You do not, however, actually have to memorize the book now. If you wish to join, simply write a guest post in which you say what book you would “become” and why.
I have had several other bloggers join the U. L. S. Join the movement!
I hope many of you choose to join.
If you are a member and wish to add another book that you might become, you are welcome to do another post!
In the past, I have mentioned that I would become one of the following books: The Lord Of The Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
If you do wish to do a post, please email me at email@example.com and write a guest post as a Word doc. Thank you.
Charles F. French
I am looking forward to hearing from new members!
Please, come and join in the fun!
Here are a few quotations about creating first drafts to inspire all of us to keep writing:
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
“You might not write well every day,
but you can always edit a bad page.
You can’t edit a blank page.”
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”
“You can do it. You can write that first draft, so that you can then go on to the act of revision. But the first draft must be completed before you can achieve your finished book, and you can do it” (21). Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft.
Charles F. French
Hello to everyone!
My writing schedule for the year is a bit off track so far. I had hoped to be further along with the first draft of the Historical Romance I am writing, which is a bit different from what I have been writing–mainly horror. If you have read my Investigative Paranormal Society series though, you can see that love is a theme that runs through these novels. My writing schedule was interrupted by life–I was ill with a stomach virus for about 10 days, not covid, and one of my closest friends just died.
While I am a bit behind on my plan, I did reach 20,000 words on the 1st draft today. At this present rate, I should have the first draft complete sometime in April.
Additionally, I want to put what I hope are the finishing edits on two other books–Book 1 of a YA environmental post-apocalypse series and Book 1 of a horror series.
My question to all of the writers out there who read this: how is your writing progressing?
Available on Amazon
Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com
Please follow the following links to find my novel:
The book trailer:
My radio interview: