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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

BOOK TITLES_Do You Fret Over Them?


I have unintentionally stumbled 
into writing what I call the 
DARK HOLLYWOOD CYCLE

Silhouettes in the Key of Scream
Perchance to Nightmare
Beware the Jade Christmas
and
Razor Valentine





 Although I didn't realize it at the time:

It started in 1927 with Her Bones Are In the Badlands: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FPFOJNO




But the majority of it really begins in 1946 and so far into 1947.

Did you know that a hurricane hit New Orleans in 1947?  

A time when hurricanes were not named.

Which led me to toy with a movie being made in the city during that time.

Hence


That story may yet be written.  However, my muse threw me a curve ball.

The novel insisted upon bringing in the Hollywood Blacklisting which started in 1947

and

 J. Edgar Hoover conning Jimmy Stewart into informing on his friends 

for the House of UnAmerican Activity Committee with lies.

Hence



A nightmare gave me a new start to my gestating novel:

A diary entry from the protagonist's dead love who had been drawn into a policewoman's body.

She is accompanying James Stewart to meet Hoover. 

Ingrid Durtz hasn't flown since the flight over enemy lines which ended in her death.

The diary excerpt is a recollection of that flight and the compassionate response by Jimmy Stewart.

The following chapter follows the protagonist as he is once again drawn back into the murky arena of espionage

as he helps Wild Bill Donovan former Head of the O.S.S. during WWII

in investigating the eerie mystery of the Ship of Dead Men, 

the Ouran Medan.

Again a new Title
came to me

I might even keep this one!


Do you fret over
your book's title?

With FREUD and MARK TWAIN at Meilori's

"Humor is a means of obtaining pleasure in spite of the distressing events that interface with it."
 - Sigmund Freud

“I believe that words are strong, that they can conquer what we dread when fear seems more awful than life is good.”
- Mark Twain
 



 "Vienna," I said to Freud's question of what occurred to me at the letter V.  

"Berggasse 19 to be exact."

Freud sucked in a breath and nodded, 

"Of course looking at me how could you not think of the address 

where I lived for 47 years, seeing patients every working day for eight or more hours?"

Mark Twain and I joined Freud in sucking in our breaths.  



As sometimes happened at the haunted jazz club, Meilori's, magic stirred echoes from the past atop our table.

In billowing mists, a scene from over 70 years ago in Vienna slowly took shape:

The sign on the building reading ''Prof. Dr. Freud/3-4'' had already been removed 

and a swastika flag had been draped over the doorway. 

Freud was one of many thousands of Jewish Viennese who were harassed 

in the weeks and months after Hitler's triumphant entry into the Austrian capital in March 1938. 


 When the Nazi commandos barged into the apartment, Freud's wife, 

Martha, in her unflappable Hamburg way, asked them to leave their rifles in the hall. 

Mark Twain smiled at the courage shown by the unbowed woman.

The leader of the intruders stiffly addressed the master of the house as ''Herr Professor."

In a brisk, rough manner, the commander, with his men, proceeded to search the vast apartment. 

Finally the Nazis left.

Martha Freud, in quiet dignity, went from room to room, straightening up the shambles they left in their wake.

With only a slight tremor to her voice, Martha informed her husband they had seized an amount of money worth about $840. 


''Dear me,'' Freud remarked, ''I have never taken that much for a single visit.''

Mark Twain sputtered a laugh and studied the man as the billowing scene evaporated atop our table.  

"Doctor, I don't much care for you.  But damn, you and your Mrs. had sand."

He cocked his head at Freud.  "And who would have thought you had a sense of humor?"

Freud smiled sadly, 

"I have found humor to be a means of obtaining pleasure in spite of the distressing events that interface with it." 

Mark grimaced, "Leave it to a Saw-Brains to take all the joy out of a laugh by dissecting it!"


He looked at the table-top as if still seeing the Nazis invading the home of harmless citizens.

"What is it that strikes a spark of humor from a man? 

It is the effort to throw off, to fight back the burden of grief that is laid on each one of us. 

In youth we don't feel it, but as we grow to manhood we find the burden on our shoulders. 

Humor? 

It is nature's effort to harmonize conditions. 

The further the pendulum swings out over woe the further it is bound to swing back over mirth."  

Freud nodded.

"Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever."

Mark Twain sat up straight.  "I wrote that!"

Freud smiled drily, 

"Yes, eventually even fools get some things correct.  The law of averages always has its revenge." 

I made a face.  "As apparently do professors."


Saturday, March 16, 2019

NEW ORLEANS GHOSTS VISIT SOUTH AFRICA!



TOP REVIEWS


Tonja Drecker   (5 Stars)


A STRANGE & EXCITING MYSTERY

When I dove into this one, I wasn't really sure what to expect...

but whatever it was, this story was much better.

 The author creates a dark but beautiful and enticing atmosphere in the French Quarter. 

The setting is placed on the first day of the Carnival in 1947, 

where reality, death and magic interplay and form a wondrous world.

 Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte is portrayed with an exquisite, dark elegance 

as she leaves a trail of death in her wake. 

But that's only the beginning.

The characters are vivid with personalities so potent, they jump from the page.

The addition of myth and magic add an alluring spice. 

It's a wonderful concoction which pulls in and presents a show all of its own. 

Add the well crafted wording and clever dialogue, and it's an intoxicating mix.

Don't miss Tonja's new book, Music Boxes!




C. Lee McKenzie   (4 Stars)


SURREAL ENTER STAGE LEFT

In Razor Valentine you enter 1947 during Carnival 

where the natural laws don’t exist and where death is a dark and dangerous beauty. 

In this world, unlikely people struggle to live and love. 

Death is always imminent and confusion is queen.

 Caesar Romero comes to life as the suave, sophisticated actor 

he actually was on the Hollywood screen decades ago. 

You can almost hear Jimmy Stewart drawl his way through the story, 

and the author pays him the respect he earned in real life during the war years.

Yeomans does an elegant dance with the English language. Something I always appreciate.

For the full reviews, 
go the Amazon Book Page



New Orleans' spirits and ghosts are notoriously unreliable and fickle, 

but they are supposed to visit Ronel Janse van Vuuren's blog this March 16th.

Pay her blog a visit and say HI.  

If the spirits are not there yet, 

they are probably sight-seeing and scaring shop-keepers and tourists alike!

Snippets of  
HER REVIEW
(5  Stars)

I liked the intertwined history, mystery and the odd (and compelling) character that is Lucas. 

And the author’s play with language is quite a treat! 

The world building is intricate, the layers fascinating 

and Irene is clearly insane (though, that is part of the fun) – 

and no-one in this story can truly be sane with everything they encounter.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?



"The world is doing its best, 
night and day,
 to make you everybody else."
 - E.E. Cummings

Try as we might not to be blinded by society’s prescriptions for happiness, 

we are still social creatures porous to the values of our peers.



We seem lost, myopic about the things we believe will complete us as human beings, habitually aspiring to the wrong things for the wrong reasons. 



We are beings profoundly different from what we imagine ourselves to be. 

The things we pursue most frantically are the least likely to give us lasting joy and contentment,



  “It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.”
Sigmund Freud


 “I cannot cause light; the most I can do 
is try to put myself in the path of its beam."
- Annie Dillard


“No one can build you the bridge on which you,
 and only you, 
must cross the river of life.”
-  Nietzsche


You can't grasp the concept of the soul, of your psyche.

Like a dust mote or a ghost, 

it can only be seen out of the corner of your perception.  Looked for directly, it disappears.

Like happiness or contentment, it comes to you while you pursue a needful goal or easing another's pain.

 What do you think is 
the path to self-awareness?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Is There Room In a Novel for the Big Questions?



From the diary of Ingrid Durtz
found in 
Temple of Tongues

(I re-named my Work In Progress)



Eyes born of a world whose air was death to breathe studied me.

The Ningyo called Ice murmured, "Ingrid Durtz, you died and re-awakened in another's body."

I suspected where this was going.  "Yes."

Her race was long-lived.  

That very fact made the prospect of death more frightening, not less, for them.  

Death in a strange land horrified them.  

Would their spirits become lost looking for their world not of this plane?


Death is a Void.  The body a fact.  

My tenant body they could see.  But what of my spirit?  What had become of it in the ether of non-existence?

She proved my supposition right.  "What do you remember of your journey from your old body to this one you now possess?"

There was a sadly obvious answer which was much like the answer to that tired jest: 

'How many World War II veterans does it take to change a light bulb? '  

"You don't know, man.  You weren't there."

But we were friends so I answered in a word she might believe but probably would not. 

"Nothing."

Her face lengthened as the faces of her race did when angry.  

"Nothing has two faces: 'Emptiness' and 'Infinite Potential.'"

I sighed.

That duality shaped her ideas of the afterlife.  

If she couldn't quantify the difference between the medical definition of life and the spiritual concept of the soul ...

at least she knew when there was no good reason for me to hold the knowledge and personality

 of a dead woman.

When nothing becomes something, it defies death.  

It put aside somewhat her fear that all awaiting her after death was the void.






I think having the people in my novel introspective and flawed makes them come alive 

and has the reader root for them to survive or at least die with dignity.


What do you think?

How do you make your characters believable?