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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What Is the Last Book You Read? When? Why?

 

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, 

and slightly exhausted at the end, for you lived several lives while reading.”

 - William Styron


Book Lovers Day is celebrated 
on August 9 every year. 

This is an unofficial holiday observed
 to encourage bibliophiles to celebrate 
reading and literature.

People are advised to put away their smartphones and every possible technological distraction and pick up a book to read


Sadly I've lost count of the times I've nearly been run over by stockers in WalMart, 

orderlies delivering supplies, 

or walkers on the street too lost in their smart phones to even notice the world around them.


Have we become addicted to our cell phones?


Do any of your non-author friends read for pleasure?
Has life of late made it hard for even you to read?


Is the book destined to take its place beside the slide rule?

What do you think?


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

WHAT DO WOMEN WANT? IWSG Post

 

In fiction that is.

In romance I already know the answer: 

what I don't have.

Women account for 80 per cent of fiction sales. More women than men are members of libraries and book clubs. 

Women make up the majority of the audiences at literary festivals and bookshop events. 

They listen to more audiobooks, and attend more literary evening classes.

 Most literary bloggers are women.

I'm not whining, mind you. All right. 

Maybe a little.


But what has this to do with this month's question?

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?


The ghost of William Faulkner was looking over my shoulder as I wrote this, and said,

"The cries of the spirit have been lost in the roil and tumult of rising inflation, of rattling nuclear sabers, and of infantile demands to cater to ever-changing personal pronouns and sexual identities.

By all means, believe the moon is sentient, but do not demand I sing hymns to it at midnight with you. You will find yourself like Linus alone in the pumpkin patch.


Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

Leave no room in the mind for anything but the old verities of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed—

love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. 

Until he or she does so, she labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. 

His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.”

 
To me, the human heart is genderless.

It knows only loneliness, loss, insecurity, compassion or its lack, generosity or greed, fullness or never ending hunger no matter the sex of its host.





I write about what interests me: 

the colorful past, the tragic struggles of human souls striving for what they wrongly believe will fulfill them, for if you are not already complete within yourself no other soul with do the job,

the supernatural, the Golden Age of Hollywood and its secrets, and the colorful urban legends of New Orleans.

I answer questions that have interested me:

 How was it like to be a lesbian in Hollywood where the false fronts were not only found on the studio lot?

How was it like to be a returning soldier from WWII when PTSD was not even recognized much less treated?

What was it like to be a beautiful actress trying to navigate the treacherous waters of deviant studio heads and amoral directors?


I started each of my last three novels with diary entries from a woman who finds herself resurrected in another woman's body after having died on the battlefront two years prior.

I thought it might ground the reader more firmly into the mind of a major character in the novel's eerie story though it is told through the eyes of her wartime lover.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09LGJZ842

Tastes change. 

If you write what you believe readers want, you might be wrong, you will be writing under false colors, prone to be shot at from every side, your heart will not truly be in your prose and it will show.

Worse.

You might be successful and be trapped writing in a style and genre you do not enjoy,

If you stay true to yourself, you will never steer yourself wrong. It may be to a lonely port, but it will have been a worthy journey for your spirit.

But what do I know? 

My favorite Loreena Mckennitt song is an instrumental.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

HAILING FREQUENCIES CLOSED

 

BEAM HER TO HEAVEN SCOTTY


EACH OF US HAVE

OUR OWN MEMORIES OF HER

AND WHAT SHE MEANT TO US.



MY PRAYERS GO TO HER SON

AND FRIENDS.


HER VOYAGE AMONG THE STARS

IS JUST BEGINNING.

MAY HER JOY BE ETERNAL.


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

ARE YOU HAVING TROUBLE WITH YOUR BOOK?

 IS THE JEOPARDY IN YOUR BOOK "NOVEL?"


THE 9;30 TO HELL

A train from Madrid was surrounded by wildfires this Monday morning.

What if the wildfires had been worse?

What if you were a doctor helping an expectant mother give birth at that very moment?

What if you were that expectant mother?

What if a psychopath was on that train, realizing he was soon to die ...

but now he could kill to his twisted desires content?


WHAT IF YOU STARTED YOUR BOOK TOO LATE IN THE STORY?

Timing in stories and in jokes is everything.

Think of the Timing Chain in a car

Timing Chain?

The timing chain is a component of the car engine that synchronizes 

the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft in the engine's lower and higher portions.

You're the mechanic of your book.

What if you went back in the time of your story?

What if one of your characters finds Time to be only waves to be easily surfed along its endless eddies and undertows?

What mischief could she/he commit?

How would it shape their outlook on life and humans?


ARE EVEN YOUR SIDE CHARACTERS FLESHED OUT OR 

ARE THEY BUT SKETCHES THAT LEAVE LITTLE IMPRESSIONS ON YOUR READERS OR YOUR PROTAGONISTS?


For your book to "LIVE" all your characters must live for your reader.

What made THE BATMAN evocative was that even Gotham became a living character that shaped its citizens. 


David O. Selznick is a side character in my WIP and he was the blueprint for Harvey Weinstein,

leaving greatness and shattered lives in his wake.

But he was far from being unique in Hollywood.

In fact, my studio head, Samuel McCord, was hated by all the others for his refusal to "join the club."


 So? Has this helped you at all?

Let me know?

What I consider 
Ingrid's and Lucas'
Love Theme:

Monday, July 18, 2022

HAD A BIT OF HEAT EXHAUSTION SUNDAY!

 

OUCH!

GOT MY WORK DONE THOUGH!

FEEL BETTER TODAY (TUESDAY)

ALL OF YOU STAY AS COOL
AS YOU CAN!

Monday, July 4, 2022

AMERICA IS A LADDER WITH BLADES FOR RUNGS_IWSG Post

 



The sickest Frank Capra said he ever got was traveling in steerage as a boy to America.


The most thrilled he ever got was when as a boy he looked from the deck to see the Statue of Liberty.


All of his movies were love letters to America in some form or fashion.


When the government asked him to make a series of documentaries to persuade a reluctant public of the danger of Nazi Germany.


Senator Joe McCarthy hated IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

Why?

The part involving the maligning of fat-cat banker and slumlord Henry Potter. 

While Bailey (who lends money to the working poor) is the movie’s hero.

Henry Potter (who focuses on the financial bottom line alone) is the villain. 

According to an FBI’s memo, portraying a capitalist in such a negative light was a classic communist trick.


The Senate's Witch Hunt into Hollywood disillusioned Frank Capra who made few movies afterwards.


WHAT HAS ALL THIS TO DO WITH WRITING
 YOU MAY ASK


We have a unique chance to observe Humanity in a crucible of irrational thought, stress, and sociological pressures.




  
Look over the past 100 years and see who burned books,

shouted down opposing thoughts,

punished those who spoke out against Lawlessness hiding under the guise of Law.


Who uses the cover of night to do
what they do not possess
the votes to do legally? 

The Mob knows no Rule of Law ...
Which is all right ...

Until they come for you.


McCarthyism is alive and well ... just in another political party.







 Does humor have a place when writing in a time of crisis?

Especially then, don't you think? 


 You will never again have this opportunity to write while the world around you is at war with itself.  

Don't waste this chance.


 People are scared. It’s understandable.

 Our health and well-being are on the line. And our political foundations seem to be unraveling. 


But if you set your sails counter to the prevailing winds and stay the course, you may produce a novel of outstanding worth.


MOST HEROES ARE FORGOTTEN _ My July 4th Thoughts

 

"Marlene was staunchly opposed to autocrats and fascists. 

When she got to that position of security and fame she took every opportunity she could to oppose the Nazis," her daughter Maria Riva said.


"German foreign minister von Ribbentrop came to visit her [in 1937] at the Lancaster Hotel in Paris bearing a 'Mother's Cross' to woo Marlene back to Germany. 

It would have essentially made her 'Queen of Germany' with the promise of a carefree life, a castle, wealth. She said no then and many other times. 

Hitler never asked again, just labeled her a traitor to the Fatherland and put a death mark on her head."

In 1939 the actress, who had gone to Hollywood with von Sternberg in 1929, accepted US citizenship. 

During the war she sang in American uniform in front of US soldiers at the front.

"Actually I think Dietrich wanted to be a soldier and you couldn't very well be a soldier 

so she fought her way," said her daughter, Maria Riva,

For three solid years during WWII, Marlene entertained our troops on the front lines, despite a death sentence on her head. 

She was with the troops in winter frosts and under broiling sun.

 

She bathed out of a helmet like an infantryman, slept on the ground, and refused to be evacuated when artillary pounded the ground around her. 

She was willing to do anything to amuse the troops: playing musical saw and wearing a jeweled sheath over long G.I. underwear to parade to the sound of enemy fire in the distance.


3 years. 


And she didn't make one movie all that time and cared not a bit. 

She was awarded the Medal of Freedom. Hitler would have given her a bullet ... after long hours of torture.

 Marlene came back from her three years on the front lines of WWII very much changed. 

She never got over the horrors she saw there. She slept for months in jeeps, on floors, even on bare dirt.

 


One afternoon after VE Day, she was walking through a little French village. All around her was rubble, and she couldn't understand why -- 

all the buildings along the street were still standing with curtains blowing frilly and snapping clean-crisp in their windows.

 Then, she looked through one of the windows to see that there was nothing behind it. 

The fronts of the buildings were still standing, but everything behind them had been destroyed. 

There wasn't a single living person past the false fronts of those caricature buildings.

 

With her face cupped in trembling hands, she stood in front of that window, weeping silently, refusing to be comforted ...

 


"... for there is no comfort for the dead," 

she whispered.

 

When she returned to Hollywood, many producers said her looks were gone.

 But not director, Mitchell Leisen, for whom she had done a great kindness when he was an ill lowly assistant director before the war.

Marlene Dietrich prepared for her gypsy character spending several weeks in gypsy camps in the suburbs of Paris.

Due to a labor dispute, the principal actors had to "live" on the set for a few weeks to avoid crossing picket lines. 

No hardship for Marlene due to her wartime experience.

Marlene Dietrich took the time to learn how to play the zither; 

it was said she drove the rest of the cast and crew mad with her attempts to perfect her technique. 

Her efforts paid off, however, as illustrated in the scene where she plays the zither very competently.

The song "Golden Earrings", written for this film, 

It went on to be hit records by several artists, including Peggy Lee who co-wrote it.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1534981861


So it shouldn't come as a surprise that my only novel in which I star 

has me visited by the ghost of Marlene Dietrich and sadly an undead Hitler!

HAPPY JULY 4TH!