Some tautological sayings

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Tautology is using words that mean the same thing in a sentence, that do not add anything further. An example is ‘widow woman’. I am going to talk about some tautological things that people say and write today.

So let’s begin.

 I heard someone on the radio talk about a ‘small, little…’ Can you have anything little that’s not small? I have heard this on several occasions. Never, though, a ‘large, big…’ that I can remember.
‘Reverse back’ is another one frequently heard. Have you ever seen anyone reverse forwards? I haven’t.
‘Repeat again.’ Now this one can be used, but only if the thing has been said (or done) at least twice. Repeat means to do it again. The ‘again’ is in the word itself.
 One that irritates me, and is very frequently used these days is ‘Various different…’ Have you ever come across things that varied but were the same?
‘Fall down’, although frequently used in everyday life, is none the less tautological. You can’t ‘fall up’, so the ‘down’ is unnecessary. This is one that writers should watch out for.
Close proximity. If it’s in proximity, it’s close!
 Necessary requirement. If it’s not necessary, it’s not a requirement.
PIN number. Since PIN stands for Personal Identification Number, saying PIN number is saying ‘personal identification number number.’
 We see, in advertising, ‘Your Free Gift’ Well, if it’s not free, it’s not a gift, and if it’s a gift, then obviously it’s free.
Thought to myself. Writers beware. Unless telepathic, you can only think to yourself. Telepaths are a very rare commodity, I think.
 Finally, one heard on a snooker programme. The graphic showed a circular spot where the player wanted the cue ball to end up, and the commentator mentioned a ’round circle.’ Anyone know any circles that are not round?

I would love to hear any others you can think of. I know there are so many. Please add comments in the comments box.

Michael

I’ve just read this story. I think it is very moving.

Andrew Joyce

You might want to listen tothis before you read my story.

******

Michael was my friend. Michael died saving my life.

Michael row the boat ashore . . . sister help to trim the sails . . . the River Jordan is chilly and cold . . . chills the body but not the soul . . . the river is deep and the river is wide . . . milk and honey on the other side.

I can only hope that Michael has found his milk and honey.

This is the story of Michael.

Michael and I grew up together. We went through grade school together. Then on to high school, where together we stayed. Neither of us wanted to pursue a “higher” education, so we decided to travel to broaden ourselves, as the terminology was in those days. At that time, we thought good would always win…

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A Review of The Key to Erebus

I recently finished reading The Key to Erebus by Emma V.Leech. I really enjoyed the story.

Jehenne is a young girl who leaves Britain to go to live with her French Grandmother. When she arrives, everything seems normal at first, but gradually she is drawn into a world which she did not know existed. A world of elves, ghouls, vampires, fairies and others.

Her Grandmother is heavily involved in this world, and she sets about introducing Jehenne to all the mysterious and sometimes dangerous beings that inhabit it.

Jehenne finds she is in great danger from a renegade vampire who is seeking the mysterious Key to Erebus.

Jehenne finds the truth of the key is more frightening than she thought.

While I enjoyed the story immensely, I did find Emma Leech’s punctuation a bit off-putting. She uses semicolons far too much, and frequently in places that were inappropriate, or where a comma or full stop would be a better choice. She also seems to be unsure of how to punctuate speech.

But apart form this, the book was exciting and moved along at a good pace, keeping you guessing.

Aspholessaria. Bluehaven

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The journey continued. There were, as Trinelli expected, a number of times her healing skills were called upon. True to her word, Asphodel helped as much as she could. It was little enough, because the girl had not been trained in healing. She knew nothing at all. Not even the simplest remedies used by almost every housewife in the land.
She had been brought up as a privileged daughter of one of the ruling families of Quantissarillishon. Although only minor royalty, she had not had to work, The result was that she knew little of how life would be for most people. She was fascinated by Trinelli’s healing, both the mundane and that which the goddess channelled through her priestess.
One day, after they had been travelling for a week, Asphodel asked Trinelli about her religion.
‘Well,’ began the other woman, ‘What do you know about Sylissa?’
‘Not much, really. We elves tend to worship Grillon, as the god of nature. We know a little of the others, but Grillon is our god, really.’
‘Well, Sylissa is the god of Life and Healing. She is the twin sister of Kalhera, god of Death. They are like two sides of one coin. Sylissa’s colour is white, as you can see from my robes, while Kalhera’s is black.’
Asphodel settled down to listen as Trinelli told her about how Sylissa and Kalhera were the daughters of the Chief of the Gods, Kassilla and her consort, Zol the god of Knowledge and Learning. how each chose some aspect of life to be their jurisdiction.
Because she chose to aid those who were sick, occasionally there were disputes between the two sisters, if Kalhera thought Sylissa were denying death to people, but generally they were on good terms.
The clerics of Sylissa were the doctors and nurses of the world, but they did not rely wholly on the power of the god to cure sickness and injury. No, they learned other ways too, such as herbs, and manipulation. They could set broken bones, although sometimes they would call upon Sylissa to help.
Asphodel became fascinated by this and began to ask questions about the various herbs and other methods Trinelli used, She fould the rest of the journey passed quickly, especially as Trinelli sometimes gave her little things to do.
Just as they approached Bluehaven, Trinelli turned to Asphodel and said, ‘You seem to have some aptitude for healing, you know. Have you ever thought of becoming a healer.’
Asphodel was amazed. The idea had never crossed her mind.
‘I’m not sure I’d make a very good cleric,’ she said.
‘You don’t have to. We have some lay people who help us. Why not come to the temple with me and see the Great Mother there. You can decide then what to do.’
So Asphodel went to see the Great Mother and decided to become a lay healer.
Soon that was not enough, and one night she dreamed of Sylissa.
‘Come and join me,’ the goddess told her. ‘You have great potential. It’s wasted here. Join my clerics.’
So after a year in Bluehaven, Asphodel joined the novices at the temple of Sylissa.

All went well during her first year as a novice. Mother Caldo, the Great Mother of the temple praised the young elf, saying she thought she had great potential, and could rise through the ranks quickly. Mother Caldo told Asphodel that she could probably become a Great Mother herself, such was her potential in healing.
‘There’s just one thing, though,’ Mother Caldo said one day, in conversation with one of the archbishops. She sighed. ‘The girl is lacking in discipline. Sometimes she seems to think she knows better than her superiors.’
One day, the Great Mother called together all the clerics of the church of Sylissa in Bluehaven. She stood in the pulpit of the temple and began to speak.
‘As you all know,’ she began, ‘the annual meeting of all the Most Highs of all the religions was held recently in Asperilla on Holy Island. There, they decided that all the sickness and other problems that surround us are a punishment by the gods for the evil that we do.’
She looked at the paper before her before continuing.
‘The consensus of this meeting was that we should try to eliminate evil from the world. The best way to do this, they said, is to refuse aid to those who perpetrate evil. The discussion, apparently, decided against the active persecution and killing, as this would make us as bad as them. The Most High of Sylissa, therefore, has decreed that we will not give aid or healing to such people.’
She shuffled her papers and left the pulpit. An astounded Asphodel followed her fellow novices from the temple deep in thought.
This cannot be right, she thought. Surely we are supposed to give healing to all comers, regardless of anything they might have done. At least, that’s what I understood I was promising when I took my vows.
She listened to her friends talking, and they all seemed to think it was a good idea to eliminate evil in this way, and so she said nothing.

 

Please leave a comment in the comments box. I love hearing from you.

Book Release

Today Vengeance of a Slave is released. It is a historical novel I wrote under the pen name of Emily Littler.

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If you pre-ordered it, you should find it on your Kindle or Kindle app. Thank you for pre-ordering. When you’ve read it, I would be most grateful if you could post a review. Thank you in advance for that, too.

The story is set in Roman Britain and tells the tale of a young boy, taken as a slave from his family and homeland in Germania. He arrives in Britain with his new master and becomes a pet of the domina, or mistress of the house.

He builds up a hatred of the Romans for his treatment. Although not harshly treated, he resents being a pet, no better than a dog, and worries about what will happen when he’s no longer a pretty child.

He resents the loss of his freedom, his family, his friends, his country and his language. He builds this hatred every evening with a litany he adds to at each problem the Romans put before him. He dreams of escape and revenge on the Romans.

Can he escape? And how can one young man take on the might of Rome and survive?

His hatred is eating away at his soul. Can he find redemption?

 

If you have bought the book, please consider leaving a review. Reviews are important to novelists as they help other people to know if the book is the kind they like to read.

If you haven’t bought the book yet and wish to do so, here is a link that will take you to it in your own country.

myBook.to/vengeanceofaslave

 

Please leave any comments in the comments box and I’ll get back to you.

 

A Visit from David Kummar

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David Kummar is the author of a number of books, including the War of Enden series, which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

Welcome to my blog, David. I believe you have a new book out, called My Abigail. Please tell us something about it.

 

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“She would always be my Abigail.”
It was always about Abigail, for me. The book is called My Abigail, the major plot twist has to do
with Abigail, and the character I was reduced to tears over was Abigail. Trust me, I cried
countless times writing this book.
So, why is the main character named Caleb? Let me explain this book.
Caleb is a teenager, who lives in a small rivertown. He isn’t the cool type of teenager. He’s
lonely, angry, moody, unhappy, and doesn’t really have any friends. Not one. So when he meets
Abigail, who is as kind as she is beautiful, the two mesh pretty well. After all, what choice did
Caleb have, unless he wanted his high schools years to -as the kids say- suck?
Around the same time, he meets Xavier, a nerd who he’s heard all about but never met. They
become friends as well. Then there’s Ayva, the little girl his mom babysits. She’s creepy… really
creepy… but nice enough. They get along, and for Caleb it’s like having the responsibility of
being a big brother.
Things turn dark, as things tend to do. Abigail has her secrets. Xavier isn’t who he says. Ayva
continues to act stranger and stranger. And Damian, the shadowy figure on the street who
haunts Caleb’s nights, threatens to reveal everything.
Never before has the saying “ignorance is bliss” been more true. Because when Caleb finds out
exactly what’s going on with Abigail, he wishes he never had. He wishes he had never met the
perfect girl turned monster.
What’s that secret? I can’t tell you that. I can assure you, however, that it’s something you’ve
not seen before and you won’t expect coming. Don’t take my word for it. The reviews on
Amazon say the same thing.
I could talk about lots of things in regard to this book, and I might in the future. I could talk about
the music I listened to, or the time it took me to write it, or the usual day and how typing fit into
my schedule. But I can talk about those later. What I want to let you know is what my purpose
was for this book, and how it became the most important book of mine.
First of all, I wanted to win an award and become a millionaire. Nah, I’m just kidding. That wasn’t
even on the plan, and probably never will be.
For me, this book wasn’t really about making money (haven’t done that) or shocking people out
of their socks (hopefully did that). It was about writing something worth reading, and something
unique.
This book is scary, sure. It’s definitely emotional, what most would call sad. But overall, my hope
is that it’s original. Because just like the title character, this book has its secrets. It has its dark
moments. It had its happy ones. And in the end, it has Abigail.

Thank you David. It certainly sounds a fascinating book.

If you have enjoyed this introduction to David’s book, please leave a comment below.

Comment on the Arts Today

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I’ve been thinking a bit recently about the Arts, and how there is a similar feel to most of them these days. what I am going to say might just make some people say ‘Well, what do you expect from an old person,’ and that’s fine.

First let’s think about Music.

I grew up in a musical family. Although she did not play any instruments herself, my grandmother made sure her daughters learned the piano. She was a bit old-fashioned, I suppose, because her sons did not learn to play any instruments.

Her eldest daughter had a beautiful singing voice. She was a contralto and she had proper training. Her voice had been likened to that of Kathleen Ferrier, a very famous contralto of the time.

She told the tale of being on holiday with her husband and another couple, lifelong friends. They were in a group, on a boat, I think, and the group started singing. A distinguished white-haired man came up to her and gave her his card. He said ‘You have a beautiful voice, my dear. Come to my hotel tomorrow and I can help you get a career in music.’

She said no way was she going to go to the hotel of an unknown man. Who he was she never found out, but her voice was outstanding enough for her to be picked out. She could also play the piano by ear.

My youngest aunt had a music degree and taught the piano as well as music in schools. She played the organ, too. A famous tenor, who sang at the local performance of Handel’s Messiah, said she was one of the best accompanists he’d sung with.

My mother, although she could play the piano and enjoyed singing in a choir, was not exceptional, musically.

When we had family get-togethers, there was always music. We children were encouraged to sing or play and when we did something as a family, it was always in harmony. Everyone, it seemed could harmonise.

I myself learned to play the piano and the violin (or vile din, as my mother called it), and have been in several choirs.

I tell you all this so you can know something of my musical background.

I was listening–no, it came on while I was in the car–to a piece of modern music by Stephen Crowe. It began with a trumpet. the sounds from the trumpet were unmusical to say the least. If it were a child learning to play it would have been unacceptable, but no, this was supposed to be music. I didn’t hear much more because my husband changed the channels.

Much of the modern music of today (and here I’m talking classical) is discordant and atonal. It is not beautiful. To me it grates on my ears. Sometimes it sounds as if the orchestra is just tuning up.

I once heard an interview with a conductor, many years ago, when he was asked if he would be able to tell if a player made a mistake. He said he wouldn’t.

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Now the visual arts. I’ve visited galleries of modern art and been singularly unimpressed. I have some minor talent with painting and drawing, and I know how difficult it is to produce a masterpiece. I’ve gazed in awe at the work and talent of the Great Masters.

I sat for a long time in Firenze, looking at Michelangelo’s David, and in the Vatican at his Pieta. Beautiful works, and it took an immense talent to realise them.

Tracey Emin’s unmade bed? The pile of bricks that was in the Tate at one time? A pickled calf, by Damien Hirst?

Speaking of Damien Hirst. Why was a large anatomical model of a human, just like a big version of the ones we had in school, a work of art? The parts weren’t painstakingly carved by Mr Hirst unlike the wonderful marble sculptures I’ve seen, and the bronzes, too.

Paintings of black and white stripes, or a square on a background, whatever the colour are not difficult to do. Similarly the very simple, ‘flat’, childlike paintings many artists do are not greatly difficult. That’s why they are ‘childlike’, of course.

Poetry has gone the same way. Modern ‘poems’ are just prose divided into lines. Yes, they might have ‘poetical language,’ but they have no rhythm. I heard one being read on the radio the other day. I forget the poet, but he might just as well have been reading a bit of prose, because that’s what it sounded like. Poetry MUST have at least rhythm. That’s the most important thing. Rhyme, yes, but I’ll allow for blank verse. I’ve written blank verse myself, but they did have rhythm.

So what am I saying in all this?

It seems to me that art is reflecting life. Music is chaotic and so is the world today. People don’t want to spend large amounts of time doing anything. We are in a world where everything is a rush, so an artist won’t spend years completing a work of art.
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Modern cathedrals are stark in comparison to the ones built in the middle ages. We think we don’t have the ‘time’ to spend years and decades building them (except for the Familia Sagrada in Barcelona, of course).

Listen to some Bach and then some modern composer. One is sublime, the other–not.

Look at a painting by Titian or Rembrant. The work and talent that has gone into it is tremendous. Unlike the painting of black and white stripes I saw many years ago in the Fitzwilliam museum, Cambridge.

We have become lazy in our art as in much else in life these days. So much, I think, that much art the majority of people could do. I could put random notes down on a manuscript and say it’s a piece of music, or record random noises for the same thing.

Anyone can paint squares, on a canvas, or drop a pile of bricks, or leave their bed unmade, or cast sheets into a stream. (Yes, I read someone had got a grant to do this very thing.)

Anyone can string words together and call it a poem.

There’s no skill in that. The skill comes in being able to convince everyone else that it’s art. That’s the true art with these people, not in their works.

There are dragons and magic in the world if only you look for them… V.M. Sang

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