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review 2018-01-16 20:46
Dark Mirror
In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This was the Goodreads Classic Horror Lovers Tales to Chill Your Blood group read in October 2017. I listened to it on Kindle. This volume contains five stories: "Green Tea" "The Familiar" "Mr. Justice Harbottle" "The Room in the Dragon Volant" "Carmilla" I will go through and discuss each story separately.

 

"Green Tea"--I have read this story before. It's interesting, although the way it's written is a bit on the dry side. It's told with detachment, which I suppose makes sense as it's told through letters written by Dr. Martin Hesselius, a paranormal investigator. The interesting component was the concept of green tea as a substance that can cause a person's third eye to open and to allow them to see into the spirit world. The unfortunate clergyman who is the focus of the story is able to see a monkey that continues to haunt him until it drives him crazy. It could have been more suspenseful, honestly. 3 stars "The Familiar"--A psychological horror story about a man who is being haunted by a figure from his past as a sea captain. Another use of the trope of a person being driven mad by his perception of something no one else can see. I was not particularly impressed by this story. 2.5 stars "Mr. Justice Harbottle"--a story about a judge who is haunted by the spirits of those he wrongly condemned to death. Nice build of suspense. I think the writing is much better in this story than "Green Tea" and "The Familiar". Ironically, I read the original version of this story, "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street" (1853) out of another ghost story volume I was reading in October. I like that it deals with the concept of spiritual consequences for the wrong that one does, even when the person seems to be powerful in this life. The judge was not just a corrupt official, but he was also a degenerate who treated those around him poorly. 4 stars "The Room in the Dragon Volant"--This is more of a suspense story. It reminds me of something Robert Louis Stevenson might have wrote. It's one of the longer stories in the volume, with some involved storytelling. It's not a ghost or horror story, although there initially appears to be supernatural elements. Lots of nice twists in the story that did impress me. 4 stars "Carmilla"--Another reread for me. A very famous novella about a female vampire with some very obvious homoerotic overtones. Carmilla chooses exclusively female victims and uses her allure to develop their attraction to her. Carmilla is a create of simultaneous seductiveness and repulsion to her newest victim, Laura. Readers can plot this story out and see over time that there is something very wrong about Carmilla. The story builds to an exciting climax as Laura's father and other concerned parties work to deal with the evil vampire. This is old school vampire horror. Carmilla is the bad guy. Readers who enjoy the romantic angle cannot escape the fact that Carmilla is a sexual predator who is endangering the life of Laura. This was written during the Victorian age, in which sexual values were highly pruritanical, so it couldn't have been written any other way without national outrage. However, it was a night springboard for plenty of later vampire stories that focused more of the erotic aspects and less on the evil monster component. First time I read this, I found the flowery descriptions tedious. I enjoyed this a lot more this time around, maybe because I listened to the narration. 4 stars. Overall, I would give this 3.5 stars, which is an average of my individual ratings. Le Fanu is a good writer, but his style isn't my personal favorite. He's not the most active writer and I don't find his writing particularly scary (other than a couple of moments in Carmilla). However, he has some interesting ideas and concepts and his storytelling has been influential to the genre of classic horror.

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review 2018-01-15 17:28
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee

It is impossible to explain how you can love someone so much that it’s difficult to be around him. And with Percy sitting there, half in shadow, his hair loose and his long legs and those eyes I could have lived and died in, it feels like there’s a space inside me that is so bright it burns.

 

This book is absolutely beautiful.  And for this to be on mainstream shelves makes me very happy.  I fell in love with all of these characters, and Monty's inner voice was heartbreaking and frustrating at the same time.  A character who for the most part grows into a man over the course of this adventure, despite the demons this boy carries. The writing is simply magnificient.

 

Perhaps he can’t understand it, the way that house will always be haunted for me, even if my father were gone from it. I can’t imagine living in it for the rest of my life, throwing parties in its parlors and filling the cabinets with my papers, all the while ignoring the dark spot on the dining room floor that’s never washed away, where I tore my chin open when my father knocked me to the ground with a single well-swung fist; or the hearth that chipped my tooth when I was thrown into it. There are bodies buried beneath the flagstones of my parents’ estate, and some graves never green.

 

 

I do wish we had also gotten sweet Percy's POV or a final scene between Monty and his father. I can only hope that we will get a third book to this series and perhaps a continuation of these boys as they grow further in their love for one another and continue to grow into the men they have become, standing on their own in a world so unaccepting of their love.

 

 

Felicity's story it seems is next. I am quite excited to see her continued adventures, perhaps with the "pirates" as she also looks to stand as a woman of purpose in a time where socially her worth has been predetermined.

 

 

 

Such amazingly developed fan art to accompany this beautiful journey.

 

Highly recommended.

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text 2018-01-13 04:44
Co-Curricular Vs. Extra-Curricular Activities: And Why Both of Them Are Important

Education is more than just the curricular studies. There is an important holistic element that is important for producing capable, decent, and clever workers for the jobs market. With this aim in mind, conventional academics are simply insufficient. Students absolutely must engage in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities; and if excess project work is preventing them from doing so, then they should get the aid of an essay writing service UK.

 

 

What Is Either Of Them?

 

Many people confuse these two areas of education as the same, even though they are not. Learn the difference between co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and why both of them are important for a pupil’s grooming. In order to understand how one differs from the other, we need to narrow down on their prefixes.

 

Co-Curricular Education

 

Co-Curricular activities are those projects that aim to supplement the curriculum itself. They are designed to be enjoyable and enhance the students understanding of the subject, while also promoting teamwork. They are not generally considered to be outside the actual coursework.

 

Extra-Curricular Education

 

Extra-curricular are those activities outside the general discourse of your studies themselves. While they may be facilitated by the institution, they are not intended to help you with your studies in any way. But that doesn’t mean they are seen as completely useless; quite the contrary in fact. They are seen as excellent for endowing students with a host of extra skills that enhance their personality, as well as their CV.

 

Prefix Co

 

Co-curricular activities aim to teach students to practically apply what they have learned in the classroom. They also encourage teamwork and cooperation among pupils; as well as promote innovation and creativity in the field.

This grooms students to be more than just reservoirs of knowledge, and actually, know what to do with all the information that they have accumulated.

 

Prefix Extra

 

Extra-curricular is meant to be a domain where the student goes to explore themselves. You can take the opportunities offered by your institution and try out the many different clubs and societies offering a variety of activities.

 

Exploring them may lead you to the doorstep of a yet undiscovered passion or hobby. Maybe you can simply learn a new, helpful skill. Extra-curriculum isn’t just meant to be fun, it has real practical purposes. These activities look good on your CV; employers like candidates who have unique skills and an interesting personality. These societies also offer students a taste of what the real job market is like by mimicking aspects of it; hence, endowing students with useful experience and even leadership abilities.

 

The Gray Area

 

You can now see that there is a very clear distinction between the two. However, there is no conclusive way of knowing what activity falls under a whose umbrella. Some institutes strictly define all athletic activities as extra-curricular, whereas others are more flexible and term some of them as co-curricular. Regardless, they are crucial to your upbringing as a competent citizen.

 

While participating in co-curriculum is hardly ever an issue, it can be in the extra curriculum. This is because participating in these projects needs time on the part of the student; something they seldom have. Make some for yourself by hiring an essay help service to do your work for you.

 

Author Bio

 

Hans Lagerfeld is a retired university professor, but he continues to be a committed educator. After teaching at prestigious institutions in East Germany and then the UK, he now spends his days giving students Essay Writing Service UK by writing online blogs that give tips for improving skills.

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photo 2018-01-08 04:35

The writing process, in two graphs.

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text 2018-01-04 07:58
My 2017 writing year in review

This is a review of my writing for 2017. You couldn't call it a success, nor could you call it a failure since something would have had to have been achieved in the first place. Get what I'm saying? If you've never been up how can you be down?

 

If you don't, well, that's okay since I write this for myself to put the previous year in perspective.

 

Last year I decided to see what it would be like to take part in public readings and conduct writing seminars. The idea was to raise my profile while at the same time sell my books at these events.

 

It didn't take much to get booked for both, but the experience was not very satisfying, akin to pitching from behind a table you've rented at a flea market. After my initial experiences I didn't look for more opportunities. Sales just aren't that important to me.

 

The only thing I self-published was a novella, The Rocker and the Bird Girl. It began as an experiment on Inkitt to see if a shallow story about a rock star and a young woman who ran a bird sanctuary would be popular with the juvenile readers who populate that site. Unfortunately, or fortunately - I'm not sure which, I was soon having so much fun with this story and became so enamored with my characters (though very few Inkitt followers did) I decided to pull it from that site and self-publish it.

 

Novellas for "New Adults" (protagonist between eighteen and thirty) seem to be trendy likely due to the diminishing attention span of this age group and the fact they're read on cellphones during commutes. Quite unexpectedly I discovered I had a lot of story ideas for this heroine and I could easily expand it into a series. Series, according to the "experts" sell better than stand-alones so what the hell, nothing else is working.

 

Despite a thorough launch for The Rocker and the Bird: listed as a pre-order on Smashwords three weeks in advance of publishing, email ARC copies to my Advance Reading Team, giveaways on Booklikes and Library Thing, two weeks free on Smashwords, free with coupon on my website, and promoted unabashedly on my social media accounts  - it so far has had two reviews and no sales.

 

Undeterred, the second in The Mattie Saunders Series, Cold Blooded, is set to be self-published in March of this year. Here's the blurb:

 

"When a suspicious death at the The Reptile Refuge closes it down, Mattie receives a desperate call from Liz, an old friend from high school, asking if it's possible to temporarily board some reptiles at Saunders Bird Sanctuary. Mattie's not concerned with the circumstances and sees it as an opportunity to reconnect with Liz as well as help some animals in distress.

Unwittingly, Mattie's drawn into a dark intrigue and soon discovers it's not just the displaced inhabitants of The Reptile Refuge that are cold blooded."

 

Still determined to break into traditional publishing I spent the balance of last year polishing the manuscript of East Van Saturday Night - four short stories and a novella and submitting it to Canadian publishers. The list of rejections continues to increase from those publishers gracious enough to send me one.

 

What's ahead?

 

This year, as mentioned, the second in my series will be self-published, the third is already outlined (okay, only in my head, but it's only January 4th) and a first draft will be written, plus I'll continue to work on another full length novel with the working title, The Triumvirate - three exceptional people, one insurmountable challenge. I've already stopped submitting East Van Saturday Night and, once the disappointment abates somewhat will take another look at the entire project.

 

Promotions of my backlist are also a consideration for 2018.

 

Book sales from all sources in 2017 amounted to $174.44. Expenses including book proofs, book orders and postage totaled $253.88. You can draw your own conclusions.

 

Oddly enough I'm optimistic. Why not?

 

Besides, writing for me is its own reward - really.

 

Stand calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

Sites associated with this blog:

https://www.inkitt.com

https://www.smashwords.com

 

My Amazon book page

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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