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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

While writing my novel by installment, I consciously chose holiday celebrations.

The one common thread about these holidays—besides the story itself—was the undeniable commercialization of every one of them as an opportunity for Big Sale Weekends, a fact I did mention in several of the 10,000 to 11,000 words short stories/novellas that make up the novel.

One could argue that the use of these holidays in book titles was a blatant and shameless exploitation in itself. Guilty!

In my defense, I used each holiday to structure an event in my protagonist’s growth from a pouty, self-pitying, rejected girlfriend to a woman capable of giving, as well as accepting, love from the two most important men in her life: her father, who she willingly believed had abandoned her in childhood, and her future Number One, who she must learn to trust when his profession makes demands, both of whom are men who have put their lives on the line for others.

The commercialization of Memorial Day, Presidents Day, Independence Day/4th of July, Cover Image Nights Before: The NovelVeterans Day, while celebrating our traditions and national values, as well as commemorating the sacrifices of those who have died to keep us safe and to secure our freedoms, also speaks to our fundamental identity as the land of opportunity.

As one of my English friends expressed the strength and success of our nation: “If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it anywhere.”

The 4th of July, our ancestors’ declaration of independence from oppressive laws and unfair taxes, is a perfect occasion to celebrate what Americans do best: making our work, our lives, our families, our country great.

Happy Independence Day to all!

 

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CJ Verburg’s Another Number for the Road  has all you could ever want from a murder mystery set in two iconic periods of American history: the 1960s: Free Speech, Free Love, Stop the War, Civil Rights and sex, drugs, rock and roll; and 1980s: Reaganomics, Cold War Collapse, Punk Rock, big hair and bigger shoulders.

Rock journo cum detective, Cory Goodwin (who has as many names as identities) goes on a “Magical Mystery Tour,” and then some, to recover her true inner self which has been consumed and subsumed by the demands of her multimillionaire son-of-the-founder-of-a-cosmetics-conglomerate husband’s boardroom betrayal of all they meant to each other as writing romantics who eloped in creative Paris and crashed in corporate necessity in Boston.

Cordelia Goodwin Thorne had many years of protest activism and rock star groupie antics to keep her from sinking into the paradox of her journo daydreams and her cosmetic charity dinner reality.

She joins the “Magical Mystery Tour” when she learns that The Rind is the mystery band—a group she interviewed for a magazine as a teenager. She aims to rekindle her past admiration for the much-maligned strongman of the band, the appropriately named, Dan Quasi, who, after the brutal murder of his friend and co-band member, Mickey Ascher, takes a runner and hides out for the twenty year hiatus, having lost his wife and his French bit to aforementioned co-band member.

Did this Quasi musician kill his best friend? Or was it the French bit? Or possibly her jilted lover and third band member, also appropriately named, Roach? Or has the mild-mannered Terry, fourth band member, been hiding a violent temper all these years?

The process of discovery is further energized by the author’s experience as a playwright and director. CJ Verburg makes use of the theatrical technique of juxtaposing two scenes on stage at once: flashbacks, backstory, supposition and real time, one upon the other, while skillfully  juggling a cast of characters that would daunt Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffiths.

Another Number for the Road  will satisfy all fans of complex, convoluted whodunits who remember the Sixties with longing and survived the Eighties, Nineties and are in deep with the Twentieth Century.

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One of the first books that sparked my interest in history, and particularly the Middle Ages, A Distant Mirror, purported to compare the 14th Century to the 20th. At the time the book was published, I was deep in studies of Comparative Literature, World Literature, Women’s Fiction et cetera, et cetera.

Cover image of A Distant MirrorWhat enthralled me about A Distant Mirror was the inevitable connection to tales of chivalry and classic romance—a literary convention that is neither tragedy nor comedy; a heroic or mysterious prose narrative set in a distant time or place; a medieval tale of knightly adventure.

Barbara W. Tuchman turned the study of history into a great adventure and a lifelong love of all things Medieval.

I loaned my copy to a fellow Mediophile (I think I’ve made that word up) and she never returned it, so it was with great pleasure that I found Tuchman’s book is available on the iBookstore.

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If you have not read this book, I sincerely hope you will, as it is one of the first dystopian novels to be universally recognized as prophetic and at the same time dismissed as pure fantasy, something that could never happen.

A few quotations:

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is strength.”

“Big Brother is Watching You.”

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

And a few others from another source that are even more frightening:

“Control healthcare and you control the people.”

“Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.”

“Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.”

“Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.”

“Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).”

“Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.”

“Remove the belief in God from the Government and schools.”

“Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.”

The first set of quotations are from the featured book: George Orwell’s 1984.

The second set of quotations are from the Community Organizer, Saul David Alinsky, who inspired the 44th President and the would-be 45th. The would-be 45th was so enamored of SDA that she wrote him a fan letter.

A+ if you see the connection between the Alinsky ‘rules’ and many policies that have dominated the educational and political environment over the past 50 or so years.

Another few quotations:

“…The Frankfurt School initially opposed the culture industry, which they thought ‘commodified’ culture. Then, they started to listen to Walter Benjamin, a close friend of Horkheimer and Adorno, who argued that cultural Marxism could make powerful use of tools like radio, film and later television to psychologically condition the public. Benjamin’s view prevailed, and Horkheimer and Adorno spent the World War II years in Hollywood. It is no accident that the entertainment industry is now cultural Marxism’s most powerful weapon….”

“…But hell had not forgotten the United States. Herbert Marcuse remained here, and he set about translating the very difficult academic writings of other members of the Frankfurt School into simpler terms Americans could easily grasp. His book, Eros and Civilization, used the Frankfurt School’s crossing of Marx with Freud to argue that if we would only ‘liberate non-procreative eros’ through ‘polymorphous perversity,’ we could create a new paradise where there would be only play and no work. Eros and Civilization became one of the main texts of the New Left in the 1960s.

“Marcuse also widened the Frankfurt School’s intellectual work. In the early 1930s, Horkheimer had left open the question of who would replace the working class as the agent of Marxist revolution. In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question, saying it would be a coalition of students, blacks, feminist women and homosexuals – the core of the student rebellion of the 1960s, and the sacred ‘victims groups’ of political correctness today. Marcuse further took one of political correctness’s favorite words, ‘tolerance,’ and gave it a new meaning. He defined ‘liberating tolerance’ as tolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the left, and intolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the right. When you hear the cultural Marxists today call for ‘tolerance,’ they mean Marcuse’s ‘liberating tolerance’ (just as when they call for ‘diversity,’ they mean uniformity of belief in their ideology).”

Want to know more? For a full examination of how community organizers and their academic minions have shifted the balance, read William Lind’s Who Stole Our Culture?

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https://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/leigh-verrill-rhys-guest-fox-redux

Many thanks to my friend, Jeff Salter, who has now written fourteen books since we last had an encounter of the blog kind.

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Humor-Social Commentary/Contemporary

As you’ve probably guessed, Linton Robinson is one of my favorite go-to authors for humor, particularly male humor. Call me whatever you like but Lin’s humor makes me laugh. It’s ironic, twisted, often self-deprecating and always ROFL funny. My favorite line is “Have they ruled out suicide?” (You’ll have to read Sweet Spot to get that one.)

This week I’m featuring The Way of the Weekend Warrior, a sardonic look at the world of the wayward journalist, gone rogue and a whole lot of other things.

I am enthralled by Lin’s humor, caustic wit, sarcasm, insights and social commentary. He sees the world for what it is, full of people who have no business pretending they are anything other than—well, you be the judge. But remember, we’re in the same boat.

The Way of the Weekend Warrior is available on Amazon, in Kindle or Paperback.

 

 

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Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance
Size Matters, By J. L. Salter
 
Size does matter, when you’re only a foot tall.
  
Concept:
Accidentally swallowing a mysterious pill from her eccentric scientist cousin, Emma Hobby shrinks to under a foot tall. When she resumes normal size, she must track down her cousin, who’s obviously in trouble (based on those unsettling messages he left). Can those sci-fi miniaturization pills help find him? How about Logan Stride, the attorney who wants to handle more of Emma than her case? 
 
Blurb:
Emma Hobby mistakenly takes a pill from a bottle mailed her by her eccentric/brilliant cousin — and it reduces her to eleven inches tall. Now she’s eye to eye with the Cyndi dolls she lovingly collects and sells in her shop.
Nobody – not even her best friend – believes her, so Emma takes another pill to see if it happens again. It DOES! This time she has a witness (Vickilee), who records things as they happen… and establishes a partial timetable.
Now that she thinks she knows what happens and when, can Emma use these pills somehow to help rescue her cousin, who left those unsettling messages? And will that handsome attorney she’s almost dating help her efforts? Or will Logan Stride just get in her way?
 Size Matters. Novel, $1.99. Size Matters

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