Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I by Charles F. French is now available on Kindle!

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I have big news about my horror novel Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book I.  It is now available on Kindle through Amazon!  I am still putting the finishing touches on the print version through Createspace, and I will notify you when it is ready!

To purchase a copy,

click here

Thank you!

 

Blog tour for my upcoming novel.

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Hello to everyone. I am planning on doing a blog post tour in October for my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I.  I will be setting the release date for the book soon, but it will probably be somewhere in the area of October 20.

The blog tour will probably run 2-3 weeks. I admit I should have this schedule set, but I am running a bit behind on some of the planning.  But as an absent-minded professor, this fits me perfectly!

If you are interested in hosting a post on a particular day, or on any day from October 1 through October 20, please email me at frenchc1955@yahoo.com .  The subject is something we can discuss with some possibilities being discussions of how I wrote the book, interviews with questions you prefer or those I can write, interviews with the characters, or themes of the novel. I am certainly not limiting the subject matter; those are simply suggestions.

Here is a sneak peak at the tee-shirt for the book!

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(photo by Liz French 2016)

Dining With Authors

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It has been a while since I have written a post in this series, so I thought it was time to revisit it. And because I released my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I and Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 2, I was thinking about previous horror writers and their works.

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I would invite three important authors of works of horror fiction to join me in a discussion about their writings, and we would meet at a pub for food and pints of beer or ale–always Guinness for me! I hope that this meeting would create a lively discussion of what they consider the most important aspects of their work.

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For this gathering, I would invite Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, who wrote Carmilla (1872), the first novel to feature a female vampire. Le Fanu, from Dublin, Ireland, and who was recognized as a first rate writer of ghost stories introduced a new element into the Gothic Fiction: of both a female vampire and the inclusion of a lesbian element to the story.  This novella is a compelling tale, one that is often overlooked today.

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My second invitee would be Bram Stoker, author of Dracula (1897), also from Dublin, and the creator of a book, that while not successful during Stoker’s life, became one of the most well-known and best selling books of the 20th and 21st centuries. Stoker’s portrayal of Dracula set the standard for many years for the portrayal of the vampire as a Eastern European nobleman with great power and wealth.  I know that Stoker was not the first to feature a vampire of noble birth, but Stoker’s work is the preeminent and superior book to the second-rate, and I am being kind, novel by Rhymer and Prest: Varney The Vampire. I would go so far as to say that unless you have an academic interest in the literature of vampires, don’t bother reading Varney the Vampire–it is terrible.

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The third author I would invite is the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, typically not known for Gothic or horror novels, but famous, nevertheless, for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).  In this short novel, Stevenson explores the idea of various elements, such as good and evil, existing simultaneously in the human mind, and his good doctor Jekyll attempts to isolate and remove the evil side, but with terrible consequences.

There are many questions I would like to ask these authors. I would like to know what their concept of evil is–does it exist as part of the universe or part of humanity or both? Where do they think Gothic or horror fiction fits in the world of literature? Did they have other novels they considered writing but never did? And what contemporary themes about society exist in their works?

Are there any questions you would have liked to pose to  these writers?

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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

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Available on Amazon

 

 

Sarah’s Quiche Lorraine– Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

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Sarah Franklin, Roosevelt’s deceased and beloved wife, in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I was an excellent and accomplished cook.  In some ways, besides being a horror novel, this is also a love story about a man who so loved his wife that even years after her death, he has not stopped grieving for her or loving her.  He still wears their wedding band, and he still misses her every day when he wakes up in an empty bed.

Sarah enjoyed cooking for him and making dishes that he would never have attempted himself. One of his favorites was her Quiche Lorraine.  This is Sarah’s version of a traditional dish. Her recipe follows:

*Use either a premade 9 inch pastry dough, or make it from scratch.

Ingredients for crust:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– 1/3 cup shortening

– pinch of salt

– 3 tablespoons cold water

Directions for crust:

Mix salt and flour in a bowl. Add the shortening, using a pastry blender, until the pieces  are the size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork until all flour is moistened

Shape the flour into a single ball. Then, form it into a flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until the dough is firm and cold but still malleable.

Preheat oven to 425° F. With floured rolling pin, roll the pastry into a round form 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch quiche dish or glass pie plate. Fold the pastry into fourths; place into dish. Press against bottom and side.

Line the pastry with a double thickness of foil.  Press the foil gently onto the side and bottom of the pastry. Let the foil extend over edge of pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil, and bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until pastry just begins to brown and has become set. If the crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon.

After the piecrust has been made,

Ingredients for the Quiche:

– 12 slices of bacon, fried crispy and crumbled

– 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

– 1/3 cup chopped scallions

– 1 and 3/4 cups light cream

– ¼ teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper

– ½ teaspoon salt

– ½ teaspoon sugar

– 4 eggs

Directions:

– Preheat oven to 425°

– Whisk eggs slightly, then add remaining ingredients, and whisk a bit more.

– pour mixture into pie pan

– bake for 15 minutes at 425°

– reduce oven heat to 300°

– bake additional 30 minutes

– the Quiche is ready when a butter knife is inserted into the center and comes out clean

– let the Quiche stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!!

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(photos courtesy of Liz French)

 

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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

Sam’s Secret Love of Art

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How often do people hide the truest parts of themselves from the world?

Samuel Sadlowski, a  retired homicide detective of the Bethberg, PA Police Force, is one of the three central characters in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. In many ways he projects a carefully cultivated image of a guy who doesn’t care about his appearance or what others think of him. He dresses in beat up old clothes, eats very fatty foods, and is overweight. He also has a reputation, also carefully developed, as being a tough guy—after having served in active combat as a Marine in the Vietnam War and a police officer, the people in the area know that he is able to handle himself in physical confrontations.

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This self-created image is what he uses to hide his deep sorrow about his son’s suicide, and it serves to keep others at a very long distance, except for a very few people.  Included among those to whom he shows his true feelings and identity are the other two men of the Investigative Paranormal Society.

While he shows one image to the outside world, one part of himself that few know of in his little city is that he is a lover of art. He has no desire to share his appreciation of art with anyone other than his friends.  He loves to travel to the museums in New York City and Philadelphia. He has a small collection of original paintings of mainly little known artists from the area and an array of prints of famous artists.

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He once confided to Roosevelt and Jeremy, the other two members of the IPS, that he almost decided to be an Art History major and go to college instead of enlisting in the Marines, but he was too afraid of what his father would have said. He told them that he was more afraid of his father’s disapproval than of the war.  But now, he spends much of his free time reading and looking at paintings and sculptures.

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Sam’s favorite art, like Roosevelt is the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movement.  But very few people in Bethberg know this side of Sam. And his favorite museum is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a short two hour drive from Bethberg, PA.

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Writing Progress

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I believe I have not done an update in a few months on my writing progress, so I will do so now.  I have finished a first draft of book 2 of my young adult series: The Ameriad.  Now like most first drafts, it is not very good, and I am being charitable, and it needs massive revision, but it is done. As I say to other writers and to my students, get a draft done, otherwise you have nothing to work on.  Now I have about 50,000 words for future revisions. I am anticipating both cutting and adding in the next draft.

That means, I will continue on my plan on completing 2 first drafts every year.  I now move on to book 2 of The Investigative Paranormal Society.  Each book in this series will focus on one of the three older gentlemen who form the nucleus of the group. This one will center on Sam, the retired homicide detective.  So, to work with this!  I hope to have the draft done by the end of the year.

And I am moving along with the manuscript of my horror novel, Maledicus:  Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. I will shortly send it out to be formatted, both for ebook and printing, and I am aiming at a release in late September. I will keep you informed as I move forward with promotion on it.

In addition to drafting, I am always revising also.  So I try to find separate times to do both most days.  I am now beginning a major revision of book one of my young adult series.  I will speak more of this in future posts.

Remember folks, keep writing and revising!

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One Lovely Blog Award

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I have been nominated for this award by One Tough Mama at https://whathasbecomeofparenting.wordpress.com .  Thank you very much for this honor, and I apologize for taking so long to get to it.

The Rules:

*Thank the person who nominated you, and give a link to his/her blog.

*List the rules.

*Display  the image of the award on your post.

*List seven facts about yourself.

*Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award, and notify them to let them know you have nominated them.

Seven Facts About Me:

I am a writer of speculative fiction.

My first novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I will be released in mid to late September.

I am a professor of English Literature.

I drink coffee from morning when I wake up until evening before I go to sleep–it has no effect on my sleeping.

My favorite junk food is hot dogs. I have loved them ever since I was a little kid, and my favorite toppings are either chili, mustard, and onions, or ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, and a pickle.

One of my favorite books, and movies, is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings.

My favorite beer is Guinness.

My Nominees:

Karina Pinella at Karina Pinella Writing the Wrong, Right, and Rediculous  https://karinapinella.com

Mitch Teemley at Mitch Teemley The Power of Story  https://mitchteemley.com

Karen Dowdall at Midnight in the Garden https://karendowdall.com/

Spearfruit at spearfruit…it’s my life  https://spearfruit.com

Tony Burgess at The Tony Burgess Blog  https://tonyburgess1969.net

Jennie Fitzkee at A Teacher’s Reflections https://jenniefitzkee.com/

Yinglan at This Is Another Story  https://yzhengblog.wordpress.com

Tadhg at Ask A Teenage Aspie https://askateenageaspie.wordpress.com

Sarah Higbee at Brainfluff  https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com

Nic Schuck at   Nic Schuck    https://nicschuck.wordpress.com/about/

Rapaela at Hummingbird Redemption https://hummingbirdredemption.com

M.C. Tuggle at M.C.Tuggle Writer  https://mctuggle.com

Annette Rochelle Aban at Annette Rochelle Aban  https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Mary Cathleen Clark at Southern Highways And Byways  https://marycathleenclark.com/

 

Once again, thank you to One Tough Mama at https://whathasbecomeofparenting.wordpress.com

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Favorite Horror Films of the 1960s: The Brides of Dracula

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A tsunami of horror films cascaded into movie theaters in the 1960s, some by the larger studios and an abundance of grade B-Z films from smaller companies. Following the success of Horror of Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein, and The Mummy, Hammer created a plethora of sequels as well as new horror films. Frankenstein and Dracula would serve as the basis for the most sequels, thereby creating a seemingly non-ending money source for the studio, even as the films often became bad imitations of the original productions.

Oddly, the first sequel to The Horror of Dracula, The Brides of Dracula, (1960) does not feature Dracula as a character. Instead, the movie features a Baron Meinster, as the opening voice-over narration says is a disciple of the ongoing cult of vampirism led by the now destroyed Dracula. While Dracula does not appear, the renowned vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing does as played once more by Peter Cushing. Along with Baron Frankenstein, this role would establish Cushing as a major horror film star of the 1950s-1970s.

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The characters are indirectly based on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, the foundation for most vampire films, until Anne Rice’s revolutionary treatment of the undead in Interview With The Vampire.

The plot involves a young teacher who is “wooed” by a Baron Meinster. He proposes to her, while intending to make her his vampire bride. The tone of the film is clearly Gothic, with an architectural focus on a castle, the threatened young maiden, and a Bryonic Hero–the Baron.  These are standard, but not all inclusive, elements of a Gothic tale, and the Byronic Hero is typically a sexually attractive and threatening person, but more importantly, someone who lives according to his or her own rules, ignoring  the dictates of society.

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While much of the film does not break new earth in exploring the vampire story, it does feature one very unusual twist. In one sequence, Dr. Van Helsing is attacked by a vampire and bitten. He passes out, and when he awakens, he is able to remove the curse of the vampire bite. He heats an iron in glowing coals, then uses it to cauterize the bite and finally pours holy water onto the wound. It works and suggest that the vampire attacks are not merely demonic but also infections. This motif is one that will be greatly developed in many later vampire novels, TV shows, and films.

Van Helsing is successful in destroying the vampire and saving the young woman. The motif of the holy symbols are repeated: Van Helsing throws holy water onto the face of the Vampire, repelling and burning him, and then he is able to catch the Baron in the shadow of a giant cross, which destroys him.

Terence Fisher directed, and the film did well enough at the box office to justify a chain of sequels. Even though Christopher Lee did not appear in this movie, he would soon return to reprise the role of Count Dracula in the near future.

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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

Favorite Horror Films of the 1960s: The Birds

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After Psycho in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock directed and produced his other masterpiece of horror in 1963: The Birds. Both of these movies place Hitchcock in the forefront of filmmakers, not only in America, but in the history of world cinema. The Birds was based on the short story by Daphne Du Maurier, and starred Tippi Hedren in her first featured role, Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, and Jessica Tandy, an extraordinary cast.

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The movie follows an unexplained series of attacks that centers on a small California coastal village of Bodega Bay. That the attacks come without warning are crucial to developing a central theme of this film: that nature can strike back at humanity without warning. It is a mid-20th century movie that posits an ecological warning to the world that we are not alone and our actions are not without potential consequences. Certainly, this might not be the only way to view this film, but I suggest it is a central and deeply important theme.

As such, the ecologically horrific implications transcend the horror film aspect of the story, which is very powerful and effective, even nearly 53 years later. Hitchcock creates great tensions and frights throughout the film, often alternating sense of sparse filmic density with overloaded density of visual images to create impact. For example, the scene of the attack on the school begins with Melanie Daniels, Tippi Hendren, going to check on her friend, the schoolteacher. Daniels realizes that a class is still in session in the very quaint, old-fashioned schoolhouse, so she goes to smoke a cigarette. Remember, this is the 1960s, when most people smoked. She sits on a bench with a hill behind her, a schoolyard, and a wide expanse of sky. It is peaceful, serene, and visually calm. Then, in a classic moment of dramatic irony, we see the jungle gym behind her slowly filling with crows.  By the time Daniels notices the coming birds, the schoolyard is filled with them, creating a vast threatening menace. Without going into all the details of what happens, in case any of you have not seen  this film, it is a powerful and terrifying sequence.

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The film was a very expensive production for that time, costing between 2.5 to 3 million dollars, and it brought in over 11 million.  By any standards, it was highly successful and has elicited many forms of critical academic reaction, but all, or almost all, agree that it is a masterwork.

I give this movie my highest recommendation. If you love cinema, American movies, or horror films, you need to see it.

Sam’s Chicken Paprikash

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It has been a while since I have talked about the characters from my horror novel Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1. Sam Sadlowski is one of three founding members of the IPS, the Investigative Paranormal Society, a ghost and supernatural investigation group, that is central to my book.

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Sam is a retired homicide detective and an avid cook.  But he doesn’t do any of “that high-class stuff served on a plate too large and a portion too small,” as he would say. A proud descendant of Polish and Hungarians, he loved the peasant food he grew up with. He loves hearty food and plenty of it.

One of his favorite foods was a meal his mother made often when he was growing up.  Here is his version of Chicken Paprikash:

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(Photo By Liz French, 2016)

Ingredients:

2 pounds chicken, either breast or thighs

2 green bell peppers

2 large onions

1 pound button mushrooms

1 can crushed tomatoes

paprika — regular or hot depending on the level of desired heat

fresh ground black pepper

garlic

pinch of salt (optional)

sour cream

either dumplings or wide noodles

To prepare:

Use a large dutch oven, preferably of cast iron.

Boil the chicken for a few minutes to begin the cooking process, then transfer to the dutch oven that has a hot layer of cooking oil in it that has been heavily coated with paprika, so that the oil looks red.  Be sure to pat the chicken dry first with a paper towel to avoid oil splattering.

While the chicken is searing, on both sides, chop the peppers and onions. Clean the mushrooms with cold water and a paper towel.

After the chicken is seared, turn the heat to low or simmer.

Add the peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

Add the seasoning.

Add the crushed tomatoes.

Add two-four tablespoons sour cream, and mix completely.

Let simmer in the dutch oven for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours.

Cook the noodles or dumplings.

To Serve:

Serve over noodles or dumplings in a large bowl.

Slick thick pieces of good bread to place on the side.

Sam prefers to drink Hungarian red wine: egri bikaver, which translates loosely as “bull’s blood” with the meal.

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If you enjoy hearty meals, give this a try. You will probably enjoy Sam’s recipe.