The Asset of Reading

Recreational Reading in History 

With fiction books on the rise in the late 1600s and throughout the 1700s, the term novel become a household word and most everyone knew what a novel was by the late 1700s. It was during this time period—and into the 1800s— that most popular, modern-day genres were born.

By the mid/late 1800’s teenagers were reading most any novel they could get their hands on. This of course drew the attention of concerned parents who feared that reading these fictitious tales could potentially be harmful and unhealthy.

Today, we know the opposite is true. However, reading for entertainment has been replaced by TV, movies, video games, music, social networking and a number of other—instantly gratifying—technologically based past times. Few of which, if any, have been found to benefit the mind and body in the way that reading does.

We all know that reading is a great intellectual exercise and sharpens the mind in general. Unfortunately, what people read today is largely work or school related, an article of research, an email, a street sign, a bill, much of which is less than interesting. This also leaves the benefits of recreational reading to be sadly, un-experienced.

Those who read books have not only discovered the adventure and wonder of it, they have experienced the many, invaluable advantages it has to offer.  Continue reading

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Born of Witches?

The question                                                             

Seems that I’ve always had a preconceived notion that the holiday of Halloween was an ancient holiday of witches and ghouls, and pagan ritual. Though I have heard it said that Halloween began as a religious holiday, I’ve always had my doubts.

Going into the third week of October 2018, I’m still unsure of the source from which this mysterious holiday came. This article is a broad-brush account of what I found in researching the origins of Halloween, research that began with a question that stemmed from my own curiosity. Is Halloween a holiday given by Christian religion, or is Halloween a holiday born of witchesContinue reading

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My Top 10 to Read

Foreword

Reading is good brain exercise, but reading is also a voyage; a movie that takes place in the theater of the mind and you are the director. 

Like most, I prefer to go about my daily life with minimal mayhem and mishap, but let’s face it, when things go awry; when chaos ensues and turns an otherwise good day upside down with grief and despair, there can be something comforting about other people’s tragedy. Hence the expression ‘someone else has it worse’. Somehow, there is a sense of alleviation knowing that misfortune has befallen another harder than it has hit us. Perhaps this notion has aided my life long thing for fiction horror and tragic tales of someone else’s unfortunate demise. While there are those who will disagree, there are many who will concur with what I am saying.

Add to the thrill of suspense and fear, the placating element of greater calamity on other’s, and you have the driving force behind the fiction horror industry.

For the sake of fun and self-curiosity, I have comprised a list of my top 10 must read horror/thriller books…and who knows, you may be interested in reading one of them yourself. Continue reading

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Self-Publishing Help—Where to Find It

Finding an Agent—The Truth

Like many authors, I wasted a lot of time and money searching for an agent to land me a publishing contract with a big name, traditional publisher. While my quest was far from successful, it did bring to surface a hidden truth that most author coaches would prefer you didn’t know.

The truth is, if you are an unknown, unpublished author, the odds of finding an agent to represent you is roughly 1 in 6,000. I was given that number by a professional in the industry. Keep in mind, if you do find an agent for representation, there’s no guarantee that he/she will be able to land you a publishing contract.

Only after paying unreasonable money for less than shabby coaching and sending dozens of rejected query letters, did I finally conclude that, if I wanted my novel published I would have to do it myself.

In my search for information on self-publishing, the first thing I found was… Continue reading

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2 Obstacles Aspiring Writers Must Overcome

Intro

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.    W. Somerset Maugham

Given this short insight from W. Somerset, it’s no wonder so many aspiring writers and novelist struggle.

Sure, there is a basic formula to writing any story. Regardless what genre you are writing in, a story can be knocked down and methodically outlined. My outline would look like this. I always start with characters.

  • Characters—The individuals that the story is about
  • Setting—Where the story takes place
  • Plot—The story around which the book is based
  • Conflict—What the plot is centered around
  • Resolution—How the conflict is resolved

While understanding these five elements is necessary when writing a story, in many cases, they are simply not enough to get us there. If they were, writing a novel would be so simple that doing so, would hold very little merit.

I know first hand that it is not necessarily the elements of a story that keep an aspiring writer in check—it’s writing itself. Finding the time to do so, and making it count. Continue reading

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The Craft

The Craft

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

Some are gifted, natural born writers. However, there are many more who desire to write, but have no natural understanding or talent to do so. This post is aimed at helping those people.

I had a desire to write at a very young age, and it seems from the beginning that I held a certain knowledge and understanding of how to form from nothing, a story start to finish. I still feel somewhat gifted in my ability to do so, but I know that much of my talent was forged and developed over time, as opposed to something that had been bestowed upon me. Even so, talent must be sharpened, whether it is gifted or gained.

“At times, talent is gifted! But mostly, it comes with good practice.” 
― Somya Kedia

Continue reading

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Watch Bitter Fortress

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What horror awaits?

The evolution of the horror novel

From the beginning of time man has conjured up stories meant to produce fear in the minds of others. From the ancient civilization of Sumer arose the tale of the Ekimmu. While the Sumerians did not refer to this creature as a vampire, it very much so resembled one.

The first known mention of a werewolf in literature can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the story of King Lycaon. Written around 1 A.D. it would still be over a dozen centuries before horror fiction would begin to take on a face of its own.

In 1307 the Italian poet Dante Alighieri published The Inferno, a literary masterpiece depicting a journey through Hell. While this was clearly a horrific work of fiction, it would be centuries to come before authors of such work began to surface.

In 1487, Henry Kramer and Jakob Sprenger published Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches). Though it is known to be one of the most important treatises on witchcraft, it is far from being a novel.

Then, in 1714 Anglo-Irish poet Thomas Parnell published A Night-Piece on Death. His work, along with the other Graveyard Poets, Thomas Gray, Robert Blair, William Cowper and Edward Young, greatly contributed to the evolution of the Gothic novel. Which was now only decades away. Continue reading

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