Welcome Alexis Cunningham to the U. L. S. The Underground Library Society

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I want to welcome the newest member of the U. L. S. — the Underground Library Society — Alexis Cunningham!

The U. L. S. is an unofficial organization dedicated to preserving books and to opposing censorship.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge called poetry “the best words in the best order” or so the blurb on the inner cover of Best Words poetry anthology tells me. Issued to my English literature class as we prepared for our G.C.S.E exams (the equivalent to High School leavers exams) many years ago, I could not have imagined how big an impact one single poem inside could have on me.

Thing is, I’m not generally a fan of poetry. I’m staunchly a prose kind of girl. I think it. I write it. I want to expound at length, not distil language into something symbolic, or constrain it with iambic pentameter, or any of those other fiercely rigid structures that transform the written word into a composition and not an essay.

But when I thought about what book I’d want to become for the Underground Library Society my mind went blank…until they came. Snatches of words, rising from the conquered regions of my mind.

“Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.”

These words form the final line of the first stanza of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem the War Photographer, a work of literature I’ve never been able to forget.

When I was sixteen I didn’t know where Beirut was. I’d never heard of Phnom Penh. Yet it didn’t matter. The specific conflicts didn’t matter –I understood. In war, all flesh is grass.

In four unpretentious stanzas, Duffy asks her reader to consider not just war, and the privilege of peace, but also the culpability of a world where the safe can witness horrors from a TV or PC screen, a smartphone video, or, as she puts it “the Sunday supplement” where “reader’s eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers.”

This was heavy stuff for a sixteen year old who could barely stay awake when asked to wander lonely as a cloud, or compare thee to a summer’s day, and it’s heavy stuff now –and I suppose I must like that, because poor old Keats and Browning, Byron and Billy Shakespeare have never done a thing for me.

Like the eponymous war photography himself, who “stares impassively at where he earns his living and they do not care” reading the War Photography left me feeling bereft and guilty, shaken out of my complacency and introduced to a new world of vivid imagery that made me look at the everyday through a different lens.

There is one place that links me, Duffy and her War Photography. England. The place I call home and Duffy describes as a land of “ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel”.

Yet England is irrevocably connected to foreign fields that explode “beneath the feet of running children in a nightmare heat,” through the War Photography himself. Forever jaded by all he has seen, he brings the war home to sleepy England with its baths and Sunday luncheons.

That juxtaposition of ordinary pain and nightmare heat, and of grass and flesh, is one that has captivated my imagination ever since.

It’s no real surprise that in my first published work, The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear, I chose to write ten short stories of an England where monsters roam in plain clothes and innocents live with their eyes wide-shut, creating a suburban world where horror lives hand-in-hand with absurdity.

Sometimes, we don’t choose to become our words, they choose us, and there are ideas that are much bigger than the pages that contain them.

About me: I am a fantasy fiction writer and life-long n00b working on a book series –The Seraphim Chronicles–focused on a group of dysfunction gods and their human avatars, set in the world of Aldlis where souls fuel magic and the dead can’t pass on.  I am also learning to run my blog Aldlis Chronicles, while knowing nothing and doing it all backwards. It’s going great!

My first published work, The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear and Other Stories of Chilling Modern Horror Fantasy is available on Amazon and a follow up, The Innocent Need Not Apply is in development.

Links to me:

Book:
The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear: and Other Stories of Chilling
Modern Horror Fantasy eBook: Cunningham, Alexis: Available: Amazon
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Once again, thanks to Alexis Cunningham for joining the U. L. S.!

April Self-Promotion Party!

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It’s Spring, and weather has become warmer, plants are beginning to grow, and trees and starting to bud.

This is also a good time to do some unashamed self-promotion!

Tell us about your book(s)!

Leave links and images.

Shout to the world about your work!

You are writers–be proud of what you make.

So as many as possible can see your work, please like, tweet, and reblog this post!

 

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!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

Revisiting Characters From My First Novel, Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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This entry is one of several posts I wrote about some of the characters in my first novel. I hope you enjoy it.

Roosevelt Theodore Franklin, the protagonist of my supernatural horror thriller Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, is a retired History professor, living in Bethberg, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. He is a deeply complex man, influenced by, among other things, his service in the Vietnam War and the profound and loving marriage with his now deceased wife.

Roosevelt has several deep enjoyments in life—eating, drinking good whisky, especially single malt Scotch, and smoking high level cigars, but his primary passion in life is books. A visitor to his home would notice, more than anything else, the enormous number of bookcases lining many of the walls in his house. Roosevelt’s home is an old Victorian home that he and his wife Sarah had purchased and renovated shortly after their marriage.

While she did have a large room dedicated to being her art studio, an avocation she loved, even while being a surgeon, and Roosevelt had a large room that was his studio, smoking room and library, other rooms also were filled with books of many kinds and conditions. Roosevelt, although a man of financial means, is not a book collector. He believes that books should be read and not simply owned to be put on display. He thinks that the words in a piece are what make the book important, not a fine leather cover or being a first edition. He places worth on the ideas, the stories, the tales, the histories, and the communications in books and not their potential monetary value.

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At one point, he tried to make a calculated estimate of how many books he owned, but he decided it was an almost impossible task, so he stopped the tally when he reached 4000. And no matter how many books he owns, he seems to always find more to buy. Again, he is not a snob when it comes to the owning of books. His snobbery emerges when it comes to whiskey and cigars.

More on that later.

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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!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

 

Why Do Writers Write?

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Why do I write?

I was asked this question several times over the last couple of years, often at writing conferences or by other writers online or by those who have read my books. I was thinking about it, and my answer is deceptively simple: I write because I have stories to tell, characters to give life to, and because I love books.

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I believe in the power of words to communicate between the author and the readers as I believe in the connection of human beings. All stories, no matter the genre, speak to that connection. I remain an eternal optimist and see writing as an expression of that hope. I see the journey into the imagination as creating not only places of wonder but possibilities for the growth of empathy and compassion. I see writing as a way to question society as well as to show its strengths. Mostly though, I am able to tell the stories I have within me.
 

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So here is my question to anyone who might wish to answer: why do you write?

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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!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

Quotations on First Drafts

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Here are a few quotations about creating first drafts to inspire all of us to keep writing:

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“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

                                                               Mark Twain

jodipicoult

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page.

   You can’t edit a blank page.”

                                                                 Jodi Picoult

William_Faulkner

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

                                                                      William Faulkner.

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“You can do it. You can write that first draft, so that you can 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. ”

(Get The Draft Done: Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft” Charles F. French)

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Quotations On Perseverance

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“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”

                                                                  H. G. Wells

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“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

                                                                  Theodore Roosevelt

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“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

                                                                 Eleanor Roosevelt

The Work of Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis

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Here is a post to celebrate and promote the work of Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis!

Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku
Authors: Cendrine Marrouat & David Ellis
Genre: Multimedia – Poetry with some photography (non-fiction)
Release date: September 3, 2020

Synopsis:

‘Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku’ showcases two unique, brand-new poetry forms created by Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis, the co-founders of Auroras & Blossoms, a platform celebrating positivity and inspiration in art.

By taking elements of found poetry and Japanese poetry forms, Cendrine and David have developed a style of poetry known as the Kindku. The collection also features a selection of gorgeous images and poems from Cendrine’s own visual poetry form — the Sixku.

Enjoy a divine series of poems inspired by a variety of well-known poets including Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Emma Lazarus, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, William Butler Yeats, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Maya Angelou, Sara Teasdale, Pablo Neruda and many others.

Learn how to write your very own Kindku and Sixku by reading this book and when you are done, consider submitting them to Auroras & Blossoms for publication.”

Relevant links: https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Rhythm-flourishing (Amazon, B&N, etc.) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54741107-rhythm-flourishing.

Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography
Authors: Cendrine Marrouat, David Ellis & Hadiya Ali
Genre: Multimedia – Photography with some poetry (non-fiction)
Release date: March 16, 2021

Synopsis:

‘Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography’ is a unique collection of artistic styles that bring together different innovative concepts of both gripping writing and stunning visual imagery.

In the first part of the book, photographer and painter Ali introduces us to two of her favorite photographers by reimagining and recreating images in the nature of her photographic idols — Irving Penn and Karl Blossfeldt.

In the second part, photographer, poet, and author Marrouat shares a selection of her reminigrams, a digital style that she personally created to honor and pay homage to the early days of photography.

Author and poet Ellis rounds things off with a series of pareiku poems (the poetry form he co-created with Marrouat), offering fresh outlooks for his sincere, heartfelt adoration of photography of the past.

A fascinating and compelling book, ‘Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography’ will leave you with a deep sense of appreciation and a greater understanding of photography.
PoArtMo Collective is a gathering of inspirational artists, writers and photographers that combine their talents to produce positive, mixed media projects that stimulate the minds of the people who delve into them.”

Relevant link: https://abpoetryjournal.com/seizing-bygone-light/ (Amazon, B&N, etc.) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57127979-seizing-the-bygone-light.

A follow-up interview with Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis will appear on this blog in the not too distant future!

Promote Your Books On My Blog!

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I usually do a once a month post in which I ask authors to promote their books along with everyone else who joins the party. I will continue to do that, but I also want to open my blog up to authors to do posts in which they can promote their book(s). Here, they can write a post to help spread the word about their writing; it could be a piece about the book, an interview with a character, or an author interview. The possibilities are wide.

This option will not exist only for this month. I want authors to know that they are free to submit a guest post about their book(s) whenever they wish. I ask that it be sent to be as a Word.doc to frenchc1955@yahoo.com.

Be sure to include photos of the book, banners, and links to where your work can be purchased if you have these.

Then I ask anyone who reads these posts to reblog them, post them to Twitter, and other social media so we can get the word about these books to as many people as possible.

To all the authors reading this: Promote Yourself!

Writers–Believe In Yourselves and Your Writing

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Hello to all the writers out there!

This is a difficult and very trying time in which we all find ourselves. One thing you can be sure of, in this period of great uncertainty, is that you are writers.

You are the voice of imagination, of story-telling, and you are the conscience of society!

Believe in yourselves!

Believe in your writing!

Keep writing!

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A Few Quotations on Finishing First Drafts

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Here are a few quotations about creating first drafts to inspire all of us to keep writing:

mark-twain-67793_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

                                                               Mark Twain

jodipicoult

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“You might not write well every day,

   but you can always edit a bad page.

   You can’t edit a blank page.”

                                                                 Jodi Picoult

William_Faulkner

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

                                                                      William Faulkner.

001

“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