Quotations on Bigotry

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“What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.”

Albert Einstein

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“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

                                                                 Nelson Mandela

 

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“There should be no discrimination against languages people speak, skin color, or religion.”

                                                                         Malala Yousafzai

 

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“Bigotry of all kinds is intolerable, unjustifiable, and immoral. We, as human beings, must always be willing to stand up against any kind of bigotry.”

                                                                       Charles F. French

 

Absence of Evidence by M. C. Tuggle

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Neurodivergence and Mystery

by M. C. Tuggle

One of the themes I keep returning to in my writing is the disconnect between modern norms and human needs. The resulting clash is hard on everyone, but especially so for autistic individuals. Both work and educational norms require people to sit all day, which is pure agony for someone bursting with energy and curiosity, whose natural instinct is to ramble and explore the world around them.

Similarly, a society that’s scrapped traditional codes of behavior is a nightmare for those who seek the comfort of structure and proper protocol, standards that once guided and sheltered individuals in potentially awkward interactions. this has critically eroded social connections. And that’s a tragedy, because the loss of connections impairs individual development.

That’s the driving theme in my novelette “Absence of Evidence“, now in the latest issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine. The protagonist, Treka Dunn, is a former combat nurse who can fix anything from shrapnel wounds to barracks plumbing. Now the chief medical examiner at the Gilead, Missouri, county morgue, she faces budget cuts, a growing backlog, and family pressures. So when her cursory exam of Davis Washburn’s body reveals no evidence of foul play, she’s ready to move on to her next corpse.

But Ron Washburn, the victim’s son, is convinced his father was poisoned. Ron, who is autistic, struggles to convince Treka and Officer Jerry Simms, who investigated Washburn’s death. Treka agrees to run a toxicology test, which reveals–nothing. When she tries to explain her findings to Ron, he mentions a seemingly insignificant detail that Treka can’t explain – and she realizes a murderer is about to get away with the perfect crime.

My primary motivation in researching and writing this story is that I love offbeat characters, a challenging mystery, and juicy technical details. But another thing that inspired this story is my experience with InReach a service agency that provides assistance to folks with learning disabilities. My wife and I support this organization. InReach’s annual luncheons, which give sponsors the opportunity to meet the people their donations aid, have deeply moved us.

So the character Ron Washburn is based in part on the life experiences of several of the InReach clients we’ve met. I can only hope the character I’ve drawn reflects the dignity, sense of purpose, and pride of those clients. Treka Dunn is the protagonist of “Absence of Evidence,” but Ron Washburn is the driving force behind Treka’s quest for justice.

In fact, “Absence of Evidence” reinforces the theme of social and individual integrity in its interplay of characters and plot. The murderer is a sociopath disconnected from human relationships, while the three main characters reflect the unity of a healthy personality — Treka Dunn is the mind, Officer Jerry Simms the body, and Ron Washburn, the spirit. All three are unique individuals who aid and sustain each other. And that’s the kind of people we all aspire to be.

Mystery Weekly Magazine is a Mystery Writers of America approved publisher, and is available in digital and print formats on Amazon.

M. C. Tuggle lives and writes in Charlotte, North Carolina. His fantasy, science fiction, and mystery short stories have appeared in several publications, including Mystery Weekly, Hexagon, and Metaphorosis. He blogs on all things literary at https://mctuggle.com/

I want to thank M. C. Tuggle for his guest post. Please be sure to go to his excellent site!

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

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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

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 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

A New Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1

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Maledicus

A Fresh Look At The Good Vs. Evil Story

There will never be a shortage of horror novels, both good and bad. Author Charles F. French enters the fray with his premiere offering, Maledicus, that thankfully falls into the former category. French has concocted a clever and intriguing tale of a very old evil spirit, who once lived life in Ancient Rome as Lucius Antony Caius (aka Maledicus). In present day, a trio of retired friends who have also lost loved ones, have formed a group called the Investigative Paranormal Society (IPS) partly as a way to cope with their grief, and also to stave off the boredom of retirement. Their leader is Roosevelt Franklin, the widower in the group, and as staunchly sound and American as his name implies. While these men investigate paranormal activities as a sort of hobby, their paths inevitably cross with that of the titular Roman spirit in a classic battle of good vs. evil. While this tale has been told innumerable times, French brings some fresh perspective to the subject. One can also see the influence of the master of this genre, Stephen King, but, fortunately, French manages to find his own voice in a straightforward style of the writing that fully engages the reader. He cleverly uses a back-and-forth structure in the chapters as the two adversaries work toward their anticipated confrontation. As a first effort, French has delivered a first-rate thriller, and established himself in the horror genre as a genuinely original storyteller with an excellent command of plotting and narrative. There are two more volumes in the IPS series, and I look forward to reading them both.

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

A Promotion Post For Chris Hall: Chatting With My Characters

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Chatting with my characters

My characters often chat with me, usually in that sleepless hour between three and four in the morning, when they worm their way into my consciousness and strike up a conversation. Some of the principal players from my second novel, You’ll Never Walk Alone, are the most insistent. This recent conversation went the way they usually do, starting with a few flattering comments and then… well, you’ll see.

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I’m sitting with Connor and Cynthia in the patch of garden behind Cynthia’s flat. It’s late summer and bees are buzzing lazily around the neglected rosebushes, echoing the hum of the traffic circling Sefton Park.

Connor fills our glasses and places the almost empty bottle on the peeling wrought iron table. He sits back,  takes a large mouthful of wine and beams at me. ‘I believe congratulations are in order, once again, Ms Hall.’

Cynthia winks at me. ‘Connor was rather interested to discover you’d branched out from writing novels to penning poetry.’

‘Being a poet myself, with several slim volumes of published work under my belt, I feel an even greater empathy with you, my dear,’ says Connor. ‘I’m looking forward to reading your contribution, indeed, I’m looking forward to reading all the work in this new anthology. What’s it called again?’

‘It’s called Creation and the Cosmos, isn’t it darling,’ says Cynthia, patting my arm. ‘We saw a picture of the cover. Beautiful! Like you could lose yourself among the stars.’ Cynthia throws out her arms in a theatrical gesture.

‘And hot on the heels of your latest novel, too!’ Connor picks up the wine bottle and tops up his glass. ‘We thought it was rather good, didn’t we, old thing?

Cynthia winces at the sobriquet. She turns to me. ‘Song of the Sea Goddess, such a lovely story, darling. Such colourful characters. I especially liked your Professor and his little monkey, and I do like the way your writing is developing, only…’ she fiddles with the stem of her glass.

Here it comes.

I pick up my glass and take a generous sip to fortify myself, savouring the taste of the cheap but pleasant Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon which, as always, throws me right back into the early 1980s.

Cynthia continues. ‘We know that you’re busy with the sequel to Sea Goddess, but there have been some recent …’ she makes air quotes with her elegant fingers ‘…developments here. Worrying ones.’ She glances over at Connor.

Connor returns his glass to the table and leans forward on his elbows, hands clasped. ‘I really wouldn’t like to say too much, Ms Hall; potential spoilers for your readers and all that. But would it be too much to ask for you to start giving some proper thought to our sequel?’

~~~

Creation and the Cosmos, edited by tara caribou and featuring poetry and artwork by 32 writers and artists will be released on 23rd March 2021. Available from:

lulu

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Kindle

 

Song of the Sea Goddess is on Amazon: USA – UK – IND – AUS – CAN – ESP – Rest of the World
Or download from kobo

Catch up with Cynthia, Connor and the rest of the gang in You’ll Never Walk Alone through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Youll-Never-Walk-Alone-Chris/dp/1797875809

 

Chris’s other books are also available on Amazon. Find the links via her website, Luna’s online: www.lunasonline.wordpress.com/books/

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

(Traditional Irish Blessing)

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Torn Between Worlds by Nancy Blodgett Klein: A Guest Post

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This post by Nancy Blodgett Klein is the first of the guest posts on my blog by authors promoting their books.

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My book is called Torn Between Worlds: An illegal immigrant’s journey to find herself.

This is the story of Isabel, a 12-year-old Mexican girl who comes to the United States illegally in search of a better life with her father. A story common to many Mexicans. She has to leave her mother behind and this makes her sad. People demand she speak English, a language she doesn’t know well. She doesn’t feel welcome living with her uncle and his family and is very lonely. How will she cope?

Her kind sixth-grade teacher suggests Isabel keep a journal, where she can pour out the feelings she used to share with her mother. She encourages her to take home the newspaper to read to improve her English and learn about world events and politics. Isabel is horrified by the events that take place on September 11, 2001 in the US, witnesses a political demonstration in Oaxaca, Mexico where people are killed, and is forced to flee to Madrid, Spain to keep her and her mother safe from harm. Will all this chaos prevent Isabel from finding a way to feel connected to the world around her?

This coming-of-age story is written in journal format, spanning three years and three countries. Follow Isabel as she grows from innocent child into confident young woman through turbulent times.

I used to be a bilingual teacher to many Mexican students, including some immigrants who had crossed the border illegally with one or both parents. When I was a teacher, I noticed there were very few books that told the story of these students so I felt compelled to write this novel for them. It is geared towards young adults between the ages of 12 to 18. However, adults have read this book and  enjoyed it. Published in February, the book currently has five reviews on Goodreads and all of them are five stars! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56912602-torn-between-worlds

Here are three of them.

  1. I love reading stories written in journal format as you really get to know the main character. Young people especially are very honest about their feelings and thoughts when writing in their journal. The author has done a great job of writing from the point of view of a young illegal immigrant girl sharing her innermost thoughts as she deals with trying to fit in, a new language and frightening current events. Isabel is living in the United States at the time of the 911 attacks. A scary time for all young people but even more so for immigrant children. She documents her fears, joys, ideas and hopes as she moves between Mexico, the US, and Spain. We learn about her friends, her first kiss and how she deals with her parents failing marriage. Growing up is never easy, but for Isabelle, it’s especially difficult. I highly recommend this book.
  • Torn Between Worlds tells the story of a Mexican girl who leaves her homeland to live in the United States and Spain. Told in journal entries, the girl’s story pivots around the economic and political realities that necessitate her moves. She must adapt to different lifestyles and languages as she grows into young womanhood. Her strength and insightfulness make her a heroine girls can look up to.
  • I loved this very unusual story. Spanning three countries, very informative. I most enjoyed the latter part, where there was so much history of Spain and its heritage.

It can be ordered on Amazon.com by clicking this link. Available in paperback and as an e-book. https://www.amazon.com/Torn-Between-Worlds-illegal-immigrants-ebook/dp/B08QZRTRSS.

About the Author

Nancy Blodgett

Nancy Blodgett Klein worked as a journalist as well as a magazine editor in the Chicagoland area for much of her career after receiving a Master’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. Later on, she went back to college and earned a Master’s degree from Roosevelt University in Education. Then she worked as a public school teacher for 12 years. This included eight years as a bilingual teacher to mostly Mexican students. In 2016, she retired to Spain with her husband Rick Klein. They are the proud parents of two adult sons named Alex and Andy. While living in Spain, Nancy keeps busy with yoga, singing in a choir, volunteering in a charity shop for hospice patients’ care and participating in a writers’ group and three book groups. She also writes a blog covering a wide variety of topics called spainwriter.home.blog.

A Ghost And His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle–A Review

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A Ghost And His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a brilliant, thoughtful, and deeply emotional novel. In this book, which is a historical paranormal novel, she weaves together the plots of a distant time period and shows how they connect to the present. Her historical research is impeccable, and her characters draw the reader completely into the story.

A Ghost And His Gold is a tale of love and hatred, the impact of the past on the present, greed and decency, war and peace, and sinning and redemption. Weaving such an intricacy of themes could easily be difficult, but Cheadle is extraordinary in her narration. She moves the reader seemingly without effort from one time period to another, and confusion is never a problem. Her plotting skills as are strong as are her character development.

This novel is set in South Africa, both in contemporary times and during the Boer Wars. The impact of this setting and history is interwoven beautifully with both the character of the ghosts and those of Michelle and Tom, and we see the tensions of these characters as they impact each other.

While Cheadle intertwines moments of great terror, both from the paranormal and from the consequences of war, ultimately this is a novel about committing terrible transgressions, forgiveness, and achievement of redemption. It is a book about the complexity and depths of the human spirit.

I recommend this novel completely. Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a truly talented writer, and this book is excellent! I give this book a five star review!

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Roberta Cheadle is an accomplished novelist and poet: please read her other work as well and visit her blogs:

Robbie Cheadle Books | Poems | Reviews  and Robbie’s inspiration

Copy of Roberta Writes - independent pub 2 theme.

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!