Quotations on Courage

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“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

                                                                                         Nelson Mandela

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“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. . . we must do that which we think we cannot.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

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

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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.

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

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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!

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

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.

~~~

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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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!

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 Reminder–A Call For Help For My Pitch at #PitMad

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Hello everyone! This may sound like an odd request, but today 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 have put up.

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 and look like this: It x Stranger Things #PitMad #H #A 1957 South Dakota 13-year-olds, Dancer, Micah, and James band together to fight an ancient creature threatening their beloved teacher. To save him and survive, they face murderous bullies and supernatural threats, all controlled by the creature.  I will have the tweet up at 8 A. M. EST.

Again, thank you to all!

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