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Loving Modigliani Book Tour and Giveaway

February 17, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , , , ,

 

 

The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne

 

Paranormal Ghost and Love Story

 

 

Historical Paranormal Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy Fiction, Literary Fiction

Published: December 2020

Publisher: Serving House Books

 

 

 

A ghost story, love story, and a search for a missing masterpiece.

 

PARIS 1920 Dying just 48 hours after her husband, Jeanne Hebuterne–wife and muse of the celebrated painter Amedeo Modigliani and an artist in her own right–haunts their shared studio, watching as her legacy is erased. Decades later, a young art history student travels across Europe to rescue Jeanne’s work from obscurity. A ghost story, a love story, and a search for a missing masterpiece.

 

Loving Modigliani is a genre-bending novel, blending elements of fantasy, historical fiction, gothic, mystery, and suspense.

 

 

Praise for Loving Modigliani:

 

“LOVING MODIGLIANI is a haunting, genre-bending novel that kept me turning pages late into the night” –Gigi Pandian, author of The Alchemist’s Illusion

 

“Part ghost story, part murder mystery, part treasure hunt, Linda Lappin’s Loving Modigliani is a haunting, genre-bending novel that kept me turning the pages long into the night.” – Best-selling mystery novelist Gigi Pandian

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author

 

 

 


Prize-winning novelist Linda Lappin is the author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin de Worde, 2004), Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft , 2008), Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasureboat Studio, 2013), and The Soul of Place (Travelers Tales, 2015). Signatures in Stone won the Daphne DuMaurier Award for best mystery of 2013. The Soul of Place won the gold medal in the Nautilus Awards in the Creativity category.

 

 

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EXCERPT FROM LOVING MODIGLIANI–PART  3

The Notebooks of Jeanne Hébuterne: 1

Saint-Michel- en-Grève, July 19, 1914

I like to sit here on this rock and look out over the ocean as I scribble in my notebook. I could spend hours, gazing at those inky clouds, drinking in the colors with my eyes and my skin. I love the ocean in all weathers, even like today when the wind is raw and the salt stings in my throat and the mud from the field clings in globs to my shoes and dirties the hem of my cape.

I’ve always been attracted to storms. When I was still very small and we were on holiday in Finistère, I’d slip outside and ramble over towards the headland whenever I heard the wind rising. As soon as Maman saw I was missing, she would send my brother André out to find me. He always knew where to look: perched as close to the edge as I could get. Shouting my name into the wind, he’d run to me through the scrabbly heather.

 “Come away from there, Nenette, you’ll fall!” Gently, he’d draw me away from the precipice. But I knew how to keep myself steady: I’d just look down at my shoes on the salt-frosted furze and feel my feet in the earth. Hand in hand, we’d squint out at the waves of steely water. I kept hoping we’d see something burst up from the foam. A whale or a seal. A sunken ship up from the deep, dripping seaweed and barnacles from its sides, a skeleton at the helm!

 I can’t explain why I keep watching the horizon, but I feel that my real life is waiting for me out there somewhere across the water. Who am I? Who will I become? Maman says I am going to be beautiful–but that my hips are too round, my face too full, and when I am older, I will have a double chin, like hers. But my eyes are the color of southern seas in summer, changing from green to gold to turquoise. I have seen those waters in the pictures of Gauguin, who is my favorite painter.

I am J.H. and I am sixteen. Everyone has an idea about who I am and what I shall be. For Papa, I will marry an engineer, or perhaps a doctor, like Rodolphe, the young country doctor who treated his grippe last winter, and become a proper wife and mother, accomplished in music, bookkeeping, and domestic skills, like turning tough chunks of old beef into edible stews.

Maman would rather I marry Charles, the son of the neighborhood apothecary, Thibideau, in Rue Mouffetard. He is a friend of André’s and when he comes to visit, he always brings Maman licorice or lavender pastilles, but he is not beautiful like André and doesn’t know anything about art or poetry. He spends hours in the laboratory helping his father make pills and suppositories, and his clothes and hair smell of ether, valerian, and cod liver oil. Maman opens all the windows after he leaves. I cannot imagine living with such a presence, much less being touched by those fingers.

 Sometimes after dinner, when André has gone out with his friends, Maman and Papa discuss the merits of both, debating which one would suit me better as a husband. I sit there smiling as I listen, sketching or sewing a hem.

“A doctor is a fine addition to any family,” says Papa.

“But an apothecary will do just as well and if he owns his own shop, why he’ll be richer than a doctor,” says Maman.

 They are both so absurd–they never ask me what I think. How can they imagine I’d ever be caught dead with someone like Rodolphe or Charles? The man I marry will be someone special. An artist or a poet. And he must be as beautiful as a god.

Papa thinks women should not work outside the home unless economic circumstances require it. Maman says that teaching is a respectable profession for a young woman if she wants to do something useful in society. She thinks I could be a teacher–of English, perhaps, so she is always making me study English grammar. But I find it hard to concentrate on English verbs. I’d much rather learn Russian. But what I love to do most is paint. It is a passion I share with my brother.

André is studying at the Académie Ranson in Rue Joseph-Bara in Montparnasse, where the Maître, Serusier, says he is very gifted. Over the bed in my room back in Paris, I have hung a painting he made of a poplar tree which he copied from a postcard when he was only sixteen. There is life in that tree, you can feel the leaves flutter as the summer wind shatters the heat and makes shivers run up your arms. When a painting makes you feel, hear, smell and taste, the artist has talent, or so Serusier says.

On every excursion to country fairs or old churches here in Brittany, I buy more postcards for André to copy so he can develop his talent. André plans to become a professional artist — though it’s a secret between us!  Papa and Maman don’t know yet that what they believe is merely a hobby will be his career.

André thinks I have talent too. After every lesson at the Académie, he teaches me something new, and this week it’s been about landscapes, but I’d rather paint people than cornfields. In any case, the human body is a sort of landscape. I like to study how our bodies are made, the waves of muscles and hair and the textures and colors of skin. The dimples in elbows and knees fascinate me, like the labyrinths in ear whorls and fingernails. I also like the way clothes fit on bodies and the crisp turnings of caps and collars like the Breton women wear and soft draperies in long clean lines and a bit of fur on a jacket cuff.

André says I should become a clothes and costume designer because I have a way with fabrics. And I love making clothes for myself, though Papa and Maman think my turbans and ponchos are too fanciful. This dress I am wearing I designed and sewed myself, inspired by a Pre-Raphaelite painting. Sometimes I wear my hair in two long braids all the way down to my hips, with a beaded bandeau around my forehead, just like an Indian princess. Other times, when I want to look older, I let it flow loose, under a black velvet cap. I made a promise never to cut it and when I am old enough to have a lover, I will wrap him in my hair and keep him safe.

 July 22, 1914

Here in Saint-Michel, every day André and I go out painting morning and afternoon. But if it is raining, he stays home and reads or sketches, but I get restless and have to go walking for an hour or so along the beach, and up to a spot on a cliff where an old paysan keeps his goats. I watch the goats for awhile, then traipse home through the sand and mud, clean my boots, hang my cape in the doorway, and shake the rain from my hair. Tomorrow Papa goes back to Paris and we will follow a few days later. Although I love it here, I admit, I am starting to miss Paris too!

I go straight to the kitchen where fresh sole are sizzling in melted butter and thyme in a skillet on the stove. Maman is grating celery root into a big blue enamel bowl and Celine, the girl who helps in the kitchen, is whipping up crème fraiche and mustard in an old stone crock. The leather-bound volume of Pascal lies closed on the sideboard. Papa has stopped reading aloud for the edification of the ladies and is now absorbed in his newspaper, but I can see the news is upsetting: His pink mouth scowls above his gray goatee. André sits on the edge of a chair, long legs crossed, puffing his new pipe by the open window, reading a book of poems.

“War is coming,” Papa says, rustling his newspaper. “André will have to go.”

“I am not afraid,” André says. His voice, so determined and grown-up, makes me feel proud and scared.

“But I am,” says Maman, “I don’t want my son to go to war. Against the Germans.”

She grates the root vigorously. Flakes fall like snow into the bowl.

“I won’t wait to be conscripted, I will sign up and defend my country,” says André.

Papa stares at him, proud and apprehensive, then folds the newspaper and puts it aside.

“And you, Achille?” my mother asks.

“All able-bodied men will be mobilized,” my father replies.

Mama puts down the celery root. I can feel she is sick with fear. We always have similar reactions. Our minds work the same. I go over to her and take her hand. Her fingers are cold and damp from the celery root; her wrists are threaded with fine lavender veins. I cannot believe that both my father and brother will be sent to war, though I know all over France, men will be leaving their families. I squeeze her hand to give us both courage.

We eat our lunch in silent dread. The food tastes like ashes in our mouths.

 July 23, 1914

Why am I a person of such extremes? When I am here in Brittany walking in the wind, I am happy for an hour or two, but then I feel gloomy and begin to miss the little alleys around Rue Mouffetard, the noise and turbulence, the bookstalls, street vendors, and cafes. But once I am back there again, soon enough I feel I can’t breathe, even the Luxembourg Gardens seem like a prison to me, and I long to escape to the seaside. It’s always back and forth with me, I never can decide which place makes me happier. But now that we know that André and Papa will have to go war, I don’t want to go back to Paris at all. Why does André have to enlist in the army? I asked him this afternoon while we stood on the rocks above Ploumanach where we had come to spend the day painting the pink cliffs.

“A man has his duties, Jeanne. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be a man. Making a choice and sticking with it is what gives a shape to our life.” He was painting a brooding seascape in bold lines of cobalt, with a fine thread of yellow foam scribbled across the sand.

I added the last strokes to my watercolor. “I know I change my mind too often.”

“That is because you are only sixteen-years-old, Jeanne, and you don’t know yet what you want out of life.”

“And you, aged philosopher? Do you know what you want out of life?”

“Yes, I want to paint! Doesn’t matter where. Here in Brittany, in Paris, maybe when the war is over I will go to Morocco or Egypt…”

“To paint blazing deserts, camels, exotic women in yellow silk veils?”

He laughed. “You would look charming in a yellow silk veil. But show me what you have done today.”

I step back from my easel to let him have a look at my work, holding my breath as I watch his face. I can guess his reaction by the way his mouth tightens at the corner and his eyes squint. He is never very generous with praise. But today he says —

“Not bad, for a girl of your age. You have captured the lay of the shore in that sweeping line quite admirably. Your brushwork in the clouds here is a bit clumsy, but the colors are subtle. This violet, tangerine, and gray truly give the sense of an impending storm.” He holds up the picture to study it closer, then nods. “There is feeling and emotion in it.”

The ocean wind scrambles a loose strand of my hair, blowing it into my mouth and eyes. “Passion.” I suggest, brushing the hair from my face. “Violet and tangerine are the colors of passion.”

André rolls his eyes. “Peut-être. But why not red, scarlet, orange, fuchsia? Besides what would you know about passion?”

 I shake my head and do not answer, kicking at a stone with the scuffed toe of my shoe.

Finally, I say, “Who will teach me to paint if you go off to war?” But what I mean is, “How can we possibly live without you?”

“I know you are sad that I have to go. All of you.” He blinks and turns away so I won’t see his face. “They say a war can’t last long. I will probably be home again in a matter of weeks.”

We are silent for awhile, looking out at the ocean. Far below the pinkish cliffs, we can hear the waves pounding the shore. Along the yellow beach,  a little boy in a red jacket runs along the sand with a prancing dog. It must be the lighthouse keeper’s son and I wonder if the keeper will have to go to war, like André and Papa, and if the lighthouse will be left deserted.

I swirl my brush in black and purple and daub some more paint in my clouds. “Perhaps I could enroll in a school to study painting while you are gone.” I say this partly to change the subject, but also because it is something I have been thinking about.

André looks at me, surprised. Clearly, it never crossed his mind that I might want to go to art school. Now he ponders the idea and says at last, “Why not? Many girls enroll in the School of Decorative Arts, these days. There are courses for decorators at the academy of Montparnasse in Rue de la Grande Chaumière. You might learn a skill you could practice at home.”

“But I want to paint portraits and nudes.” He raises his eyebrow at that.  “I want to make art! Not decorate teapots with rosebuds. I want to be a painter! A real painter.”

“Being a painter is a very hard life even for a man.”

“But Marie Laurencin and Susan Valadon, they are successful women painters.”

“Yes, but for a woman to be a painter, she must be rich and have an independent income! Or she must be the lover of a very important painter herself, and being a painter’s mistress or lawful wife is almost worse for a woman than being a painter. I don’t say this to discourage you from painting. But it cannot become your profession. Maman and Papa would never want you to lead such a life.”

“But you will lead an artist’s life,” I object.

“Girls don’t become painters for the same reason they don’t become soldiers, or chefs or the President of the Republic.”

“And why is that?”

André sucks in his cheeks and doesn’t answer straightaway. The granite cliffs seem to take on animal shapes as the violet dusk deepens around us. Overhead, screeching gulls reel back to their high nests. My brother puts away his paints and folds up his easel. It is almost time to go home.

 “If you don’t know the answer to that question, it means you haven’t grown up enough.”

Why must he always treat me like a child? I turn on my heels and stalk off towards the old lighthouse, leaving my easel and paint box behind, forgetting, just like the child he accused me of being, that this might be our last lesson for a long time to come. I glance back to see him packing up my things, then gazing out at the ocean. He looks so miserable and lonely that I run back up to him and throw my arms around him.

“Let’s never argue my little Nenette!” he says, “You will be what you wish! The gods will decide.” He kisses the top of my head.


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I Have Become a Tale Faery by Ransom Stephens

January 23, 2021 by in category Guest Posts, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , , , ,

(photo credit: Heather L. Stephens)

That’s right, not a fairy tale, a Tale Faery. A genuine hetero, cis Tale Faery. We’re rare.

It started with dragonflies on a magic summer day in Gainesville Florida. One of those 100+ degree, 100+% humidity (seriously, a clear blue sky supersaturated with humidity, a state of dew), my five-year-old daughter and I rode our bikes around a swamp, and I discovered what faeries are.

Heather rode in front. Her little legs pumped the pink pedals, and her scarf trailed behind. Empty roads and sidewalks, weather fit for a Florida hibernation.

A red dragonfly flew along between us.

“Look,” she said, “a blue one and a green one!” The farther we went, the thicker our dragonfly entourage. They ranged from an inch across to wingspans of almost eight inches. Each a single bright primary color.

A big red one perched on her handlebars, its wings brushed her hand. She let her bike coast to a stop and rubbed a finger along the dragonfly’s body. Its wings buzzed for an instant, but it didn’t take off.

“Look another one!” A blue dragonfly landed. She reached over it flew away.

Heather started pedaling again. We passed a pond where two men sat on an ice chest in the shade with fishing poles; the only people we saw that day. Dragonflies darted across the surface.

Down a street into a neighborhood lined with oaks. Trunks as big as the cars in driveways, and branches that met over the street forming a canopy with Spanish moss dangling like tropical icicles. I stopped in the shade, and she turned back toward me.

“If you lean into a turn just right, you can ride without pedaling,” Heather said.

“I guess we could just lean into these turns and go around in circles all day.” I pushed off too. I remember wondering if the energy of the Earth’s rotation could be used to maintain this sort of precession with no effort and how it could be used as a power source. Heather was in a world all her own, too.

She broke the silence. “I guess the dragonflies don’t like the shade.”

“They’ll probably come back when we head home.”

We rode around in circles for a while longer and then Heather stopped in the middle of the street. She leaned back, looked up into the leaves, and said, “I wish the world would stop turning.”

“No, that’d suck,” I said. “If the world stopped turning there’d be brutal earthquakes, tidal waves. No night and day, it’d be like Mercury and the light side would get insanely hot, and the dark–”

“That’s not what I mean, silly,” she turned and looked right at me. “I wish the world would stop turning so that this day could last forever.”

That day didn’t last forever, but from then on, I’ve found great joy in the little creatures who flutter, buzz, and zip around us.

In The Book of Bastards wonderful faeries, beautiful little people whose bodies share wings and shapes of butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees, lady bugs, and so on, help people deal with the hardships of life. And then some jerk comes along and ruins it for everyone.

I hope you enjoy the ride! And, by the way, if you want me to finish the trilogy, you have to ask, paperbackwriter@ransomstephens.com. I’ve finished a draft of book two, Bastard Knights, and have outlined Bastard Princess, but I might need some influencing to tidy it all up for you. Graft would help.


 

 

 

 

Fantasy

 

Date Published: January 14, 2021

 

Publisher: The Intoxicating Page

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Gold Piece Inn, where you can drink, gamble, and play!

Or hide.

 

Cursed on the day the king is assassinated, Dewey Nawton is compelled to protect the widowed queen, but protection means different things to different people (and different curses).

 

Kings have dictated every role Queen Dafina has ever played. Now, a halfling innkeeper assigns her the role of serving lass. But is The Gold Piece Inn just another tavern? Could it be an orphanage? … surely, it’s not a brothel.

 

Oh yes, she’s fallen from grace, but will that stop her from leading a handful of pirates and a dozen bastards to avenge her king and rescue Glandaeff’s faeries, elfs, and mermaids (and merbutlers!) from a brutal tyrant?

 

Dewey has a secret. Dafina has a secret. The Bastards have two secrets.

 

Is there even a sip of moral justice in all this bawdiness?

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Early Reviews

The Book of Bastards combines a riveting, intense plot of righteous vengeance with tongue-in-cheek banter that will keep you turning the page with eager anticipation. With settings that make you wish they were real, characters you can’t help but cheer for, and twists that keep you guessing, Ransom Stephens has crafted an engaging tale that makes every minute of reading, time well spent. I don’t often reread a book, but I think I’ll make an exception. Loads of fun. Highly recommended. – Brian D Anderson, million-selling author of The Bard and the Blade

 

 

A delightful, detailed tale about morality, being honest with yourself, and self-reflection, even when you don’t like what the glass has to show. A perfect treat for lovers of rich fantasy worldbuilding, gory battles, and the kind of thoughtful, character-driven stories that make your brain whirl, your imagination dance, and your heart surge.” -J.M. Frey, bestselling author of The Accidental Turn Series

 

 

About the Author

 

 

 

 

Ransom Stephens has searched for the Holy Grail in Cornwall and Wales but settled for a cracked coffee mug. He’s won several awards, but they’ve all been named after people he’d never heard of which made for awkward acceptance speeches. The author of four previous novels on simple, non-controversial topics like science vs religion in The God Patent, technology vs environmentalism in The Sensory Deception, oligarchy vs anarchy in The 99% Solution, and love vs money in Too Rich to Die, in his latest, The Book of Bastards, he offers readers what they really want, a story of bawdiness washed down with a sip of moral justice.

 

I’m a fairly accomplished scientist and technologist, all the details at https://contact.ransomstephens.com

 

 

 

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Excerpt from
The Book of Bastards

by

Ransom Stephens.

Queen Dafina at the Gold Piece Inn

Dewey took his seat between the fireplace and the only glazed window in the building. He could see the street, the saloon, the casino, the red-carpeted stairway, and the balconies and rooms on the second and third floors. He listened to the minstrel’s ballad of a heartbroken pirate on a desert isle, ate salmon grilled in rosemary and served on sourdough bread, felt the warmth of the fire on one side and the cool evening fog on the other—and none of it soothed Dewey’s worries.

Then he saw her on the porch. She fell through the door but not the way drunks fall. She reached up as though climbing from an abyss, and wailed, “Oh gods, please help me. Anyone, please!”

Loretta got to her first, dropped to her knees, and took the woman’s hands.

The woman grabbed at Loretta, tears cascading down her face, sobs racking her from head to toe. “Please!”

“It’ll be all right, dear. We’ll care for you.” She looked up at Dewey and added, “We will care for her.”

Dewey stood over them. Children accumulated. Teen-aged Aennie said, “She’s the cleanest beggar I’ve ever seen.”

Another kid plopped down next to the woman and held his worn black feet up to her clean pink soles. “Somefin wrong wit her feet.”

“What the?” Loretta said. “Feet don’t come that clean. I’ve tried.” She held the woman at arm’s length and examined her. “She’s a bag of bones, must be starving—Macae, fetch salted bread.”

“Get her out of sight,” Dewey said.

“You know her?”

“To the barn. Now!”

Loretta lifted her, muttered, “She weighs nothin’,” and guided her back outside.

The screech owl that lived in the barn announced to everyone within a mile that a stranger had arrived.

Dewey looked back at his inn. The minstrel had switched to a light ditty about a horny woman who carried drunk men into a field and took advantage of them—the sort of song that’s mostly chorus so anyone can sing along. Children were underfoot and some of the goats had found their way back inside. Bob was pouring ale and wine, the servers who weren’t delivering food and drink were lounging on the laps of smiling patrons. A serving-lad named Faernando slipped off a sinewy woman, the profiteer sailor and card-cheat named Baertha. She threw the lad over her shoulder and carried him to the stairs just as the chorus returned to “she threw the boy down, he popped up, and she made him a man.” The crowd erupted. Baertha took a bow, the lad waved, and Dewey held out his hand. As she passed, Baertha dug into her belt and tossed a silver ohzee. Dewey said, “You give him two of those when you’re through. If you hurt him, it’ll piss off the wrong kinds of faeries.”

In other words, it was just another night at The Gold Piece Inn, and no one had noticed the beggar at the door.

Dewey rushed through the kitchen and out to the barn. He dodged sheep, rabbits, a sleeping cow, nearly stepped on the tail of an old bloodhound, and climbed the ladder. The loft was covered in straw and cordoned into sections by blankets of differing color and quality. The woman lay on a brown blanket next to an unshuttered window that let in the last light of the day. Loretta appeared to be threatening her with a baguette.

“She’s lovely but there’s nothin’ to her,” Loretta said to Dewey. And then to the woman. “You faer?”

“I require your aid,” the woman said. “Please, my children …”

Loretta took a bite of the baguette dripping with salty olive oil and then offered it to the woman again. “Never seen a beggar who won’t eat. She elfin? Your kind?”

“No, she’s as human as you are.”

Loretta leaned forward and sniffed the woman’s neck. “She don’t smell like a human.”

“She bathes. Some people do that, you should try it.” Dewey helped the woman up.

Loretta examined her hands, no scars or calluses. She ran her fingers through her long, straight black hair and mumbled, “Fine as silk.”

Dewey said, “When have you ever touched silk?”

Loretta said. “I didn’t think skin got that pale.”

The woman’s eyes lost focus, and she fainted.

“Farqin shite!” Dewey said, “Get some water—nay, a blast of brandy.”

Loretta dropped down the ladder in a fluid, practiced motion.

Dewey waited a few more seconds and then whispered, “Queen Dafina, what are you doing here?”

She sat up straight, dabbed her eyes, and said, “I require your help.”

“You have to get out of here.”

“You must assemble the bodies of my husband and children.” Her voice cracked. “They require decent burial.”

“The usurper has them. There’s nothing I can do.”

“I can pay you more than you can imagine.”

“Maybe so but pay means nothing to a dead man.”

“Think of the favors I can grant, I can—” and then she went quiet and looked down, blubbering out the words, “My children, my husband, everyone is dead.”

“I’m not, and don’t plan to be any time soon.”

She looked up at him and then around. She fondled the rough threads of the blanket and pulled a piece of straw through a gap in the weave. A lamb bleated below, and a mouse scurried across a rafter overhead.

“Surely you don’t want to watch more people die.”

The Queen stood and bumped her head on a beam. Dust sprinkled onto her face. “No,” she said. “No, anything but that.”

“I’d like to help,” he said. “Dozens of good people, your subjects and their children, live here—you’re duty bound to protect them, and you know what Lukas will do if you’re found here.”

“Right.” She started down the ladder and Dewey held her steady. “I’ll go.” She stepped toward the barn door and Dewey nudged her, gently at first and then with a bit of authority to the side exit that led to an alley out of view of High Street.

He put two silver ohzees in her hand and said, “Take the morning barge back to Glomaythea or get passage on a ship to Nantesse—isn’t that your home?”

“It was.”

He gripped her shoulders and rotated her to face him. He waited for her to look up and said. “You asked for my help and I have helped you. Right?”

“Yes, thank you good sir.”

He oriented her downhill and gave her a shove. She staggered into the dark alley and down the hill that would take her back to the marketplace if she followed it. She said, “My babies are dead. They’re all dead.”

Dewey shut the gate just as Loretta appeared with a goblet of brandy.

“Just in time,” he said. He took it and drank.


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Coming Soon by Jenny Jensen

November 19, 2020 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , , , , ,

Every writer is subject to the influences of their time, influences that shape their work in some way. From Stephan King’s brand of horror—which he’s said was influenced by the pervasive fears of the cold war — to the oh so mannerly and delicately choreographed plots of Regency era literature, a reader can feel the spirit of the author’s era. I think that’s why I love H. G. Wells and his manly adventurers whose waistcoats and stiff collars are never out of place despite the monsters and hazards that beset them, and they always have time for a full service tea.

Covid is the strongest influence on us at present, changing behavior at a really basic social level, and I am eagerly anticipating how that will be reflected in contemporary fiction. Each genre presents a host of different affects to play with. How will full dress PPE impact the mystery and crime genre? With my mask in place, my sunglasses on my nose and a cap on my head, I am hard to recognize. Add gloves to that, and I don’t have to sweat over fingerprints. And if you’re not short and a touch chubby like me, it would be easy to quickly blend in with the (6 feet apart) crowd and make a smooth getaway. Does anyone want to get near enough to grab a suspect?

Science fiction, viewed through this lens, might use the long-lasting effects of a worldwide pandemic in interesting ways. The population has been decimated, but the disease is at last eradicated. Does the population retain a fear of personal distance? Does it become ritualized? Do they formalize ways of washing their food, like futuristic raccoons? Has public dining or public attendance at an event become distasteful, and if it is replaced, what with? That could be really fun.

Fantasy always gets a lovely reality pass. That’s part of why we love it. Fantasy isn’t required to reflect anything about the real world. But again, every writer is working through the lens of their own reality and all these new behaviors and social concerns are bound to be reflected somehow. Maybe it’s a race of creatures that are forever shunned—The Cooties. You can’t ever get close to them or they will sicken you, but the hero requires the help of those outcasts and so the taboo has to be overcome. It could be that a virus has been locked in a magic cave and as the ultimate weapon, it must be guarded by the heart of a dragon. The influence of this pandemic will be in there somewhere.

Then there’s Romance! I am especially eager to see how this genre deals with our current reality. One of the hallmarks of Romance fiction is its timeliness. We never tire of boy meets girl stories set in the shared here and now. These are tales that reflect our contemporary social and moral norms with the clarity of a mirror image. How will masks and gloves and 6 feet apart influence a love story? How will a chance meeting play out? Is love at first sight possible?

I have complete faith in Romance authors to create inventive and realistic approaches to this current social reality. I haven’t come across any yet. I may not have looked hard enough, but if you know of a romance in the time of Covid, I hope you’ll share it with me. I can’t wait to read it.

Jenny

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August Featured Author: H. O. Charles

August 28, 2019 by in category Art, Cover, Design by H. O. Charles, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

H. O. Charles Featured Author for August

H.O. Charles is an Amazon Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy author of The Fireblade Array – a #2 best-selling series across Kindle, iBooks and B&N Nook in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy categories (#1 would just be showing off, right?) Okay, it did hit #1 in Epic Fantasy in all those places . . . BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE because no one likes a bragger.

Though born in Northern England, Charles now resides in a white house in Sussex and sounds like a southerner. Charles has spent many years at various academic institutions, and cut short writing a PhD in favour of writing about swords and sorcery instead. Hobbies include being in the sea, being by the sea and eating things that come out of the sea. Walks with a very naughty rough collie puppy also take up much of Charles’ time.


Social Media Links

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Books by H. O. Charles


ANOMALY OF BLAZE

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ANOMALY OF BLAZE

ASCENT OF ICE

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ASCENT OF ICE

BLAZED UNION

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BLAZED UNION

CITY OF BLAZE

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CITY OF BLAZE

FALL OF BLAZE

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FALL OF BLAZE

NATION OF BLAZE

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NATION OF BLAZE

SNOWLANDS

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SNOWLANDS

VOICES OF BLAZE

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VOICES OF BLAZE

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August Featured Author: H. O. Charles

August 21, 2019 by in category Art, Cover, Design by H. O. Charles, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

H. O. Charles Featured Author for August

H.O. Charles is an Amazon Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy author of The Fireblade Array – a #2 best-selling series across Kindle, iBooks and B&N Nook in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy categories (#1 would just be showing off, right?) Okay, it did hit #1 in Epic Fantasy in all those places . . . BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE because no one likes a bragger.

Though born in Northern England, Charles now resides in a white house in Sussex and sounds like a southerner. Charles has spent many years at various academic institutions, and cut short writing a PhD in favour of writing about swords and sorcery instead. Hobbies include being in the sea, being by the sea and eating things that come out of the sea. Walks with a very naughty rough collie puppy also take up much of Charles’ time.


Social Media Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


Books by H. O. Charles


ANOMALY OF BLAZE

Buy now!
ANOMALY OF BLAZE

ASCENT OF ICE

Buy now!
ASCENT OF ICE

BLAZED UNION

Buy now!
BLAZED UNION

CITY OF BLAZE

Buy now!
CITY OF BLAZE

FALL OF BLAZE

Buy now!
FALL OF BLAZE

NATION OF BLAZE

Buy now!
NATION OF BLAZE

SNOWLANDS

Buy now!
SNOWLANDS

VOICES OF BLAZE

Buy now!
VOICES OF BLAZE

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