Tag Archives: novel

Some thoughts on Enid Blyton and the 50p coin

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Recently, it was proposed to put Enid Blyton, the children’s author, onto the 50p coin. This was rejected on the grounds that she was a racist, homophobic and sexist.

This worries me slightly because we are judging someone from a different era in the light of our own. Admittedly, the three things she has been accused of are deeply unpleasant—at least to our more enlightened eyes. I personally abhor all these things.

She has also been condemned and removed from libraries, not because of this, but because some people thought that she used too simple language and did not stretch children’s vocabulary.

When I was a child, I loved her books. I read them avidly. They were exciting. Her Famous Five books, her Mallory Towers books, the Adventure books, the Faraway tree books, the Secret Seven, and my favourite as a child, Shadow the Sheepdog were all read with great pleasure.

Now let us examine the accusations.

Racism.

She certainly had golliwogs in the Noddy books, and they were the baddies. But golliwogs were common toys in the 40s and 50s and no one thought anything was wrong with them. There was The Black and White Minstrel Show on the TV, and the blacking up of white men as black minstrels was accepted.

Now I’m not saying it was right, Clearly it must have been deeply offensive to black people. What I am saying, is that when she was writing, golliwogs were not considered to be offensive, and so to brand her as racist on the grounds of having gollisogs in the Noddy books, and making them bad, was acceptable at the time.

Sexism.

Was she sexist? At that time, it women usually stopped working when they married. They then devoted their time to looking after the home and raising the children. That was how it was.

Because Anne, in the Famous Five, did the cooking when they were camping does not make Miss Blyton a sexist. She was reflecting the way things were at that time. Boys simply did not cook.

That they do now, shows how far we’ve come. When she was writing, boys didn’t learn cooking and needlework at school, neither did girls do woodwork and metalwork. Now they are all merged together under the title of Technology, or Design and Technology.

Homophobia.

Homosexual acts were illegal in England and Wales until 1967, but only between consenting adults over the age of 21, and even then, not in the armed forces, It was illegal in Scotland until 1980 and Northern Ireland until 1982. Thus, during the time when Enid Nlyton was writing, homosexuality was frowned upon by the state.

Having said that, reading the Famous Five books, Miss Blyton had a transexual (although the term was not used in those days.) Georgina, one of the five, and known as George, always dressed as a boy and had her hair cut short (unlike Anne who had long hair). She also expressed the desire to be a boy and behaved as a boy. That sounds very much like a transexual to me.

To conclude, I think that it is unfair to judge someone from a totally different era, with a totally different mindset by our much more enlightened and liberal standards.

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Miss Blyton was very important as an author. She got many children interested in reading. I am one of them. I devoured her books, as I said at the beginning of this post.
Some of her works, I understand, have been reworked. Things that we now consider wrong, why can’t they be altered. Noddy’s golliwogs could easily be changed into something else. Her baddies in the Famous Five, Sevret Seven and Adventure series, if people don’t think having them as foreign is right, could have their nationality changed.

The very first story I wrote was based on Shadow the Sheepdog. I was only about seven at the time. Would I have become a writer if I’d not had that early inspiration?

I think it’s wrong to judge people by today’s standards when the standards they lived in were so different.
I would love to hear what you think of this. Please post your comments in the comments box.

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Review of Relissarium Wars, Part 1 by Andrew C. Broderick

 

I’ve just finished reading Book 1 of The Relissarium Wars and found it an excellent read.

It is, in fact, more of a novella than a book, but it is the first part of a series, and so is probably simply an introduction.

The characters are introduced in this book, along with the main storyline, which will, I presume, continue through the other books to come.


Theo is a farmer on the moon of Reliss, but is persuaded by his brother to pick up a package for him on his regular trip to the market. Little does Theo realise that this simple favour will land him into something much bigger and more dangerous than he thought. He is in over his head, but has to take part in a rebellion as there is no way out for him to get back home. Especially as his moon home has been annihilated, and so, with a price on his head, he has no choice but to help the Carbonari.

The book is well written. I was delighted not to come across typos and grammatical errors! There is plenty of action and the characters are believable, if not much development, but this may come in later books. This is after all a very short book taking place in a very short time. Hardly enough time for anyone’s character to develop.

I would recommend this book to any scifi fan and fans of action adventure.

A Poem from my Work in Progress.

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This story is set in Britain, in what is now Yorkshire at the time of the Danes and tells of the trials and tribulations of Helgha. This is a saga told by a scald (the Danish equivalent of a bard.) It tells of how Erik won Helgha from her father.

“Erik loved the beauteous maiden, Helgha,
The most beautiful maid
Amongst all the Danes.
Her flaxen hair flowed like moonlight on the seas
And her blue eyes glowed like the sky in summer.
But they could not marry.
For Erik was promised to another.
He visited his love often
Until her father challenged him
To a battle.
Sword rang on shield.
Axe split the air with sound like thunder.
Young and strong, was Erik,
Older and wily was Biorn.
Who would win?
Youth and strength or
Guile and Experience?
Biorn struck first with his axe,
But Erik raised his shield.
Biorn’s axe glanced off.
Erik fought bravely
Until Biorn’s shield broke.
Biorn hit Erik with the edge and drew first blood.
Brave Erik did not flinch.
Blood streamed from the gash in his cheek
But he fought on, ignoring pain and blood.
The battle continued for hours.
Erik parried the axe with his shield.
His sword longing for blood.
His eyes burning with the pleasure of the fight.
Then Erik saw Biorn tiring
The man’s steps became slow,
His axe dragged
As if reluctant to hit this brave young warrior.
Erik backed into a barn wall and feigned a slip.
When Biorn came with raised axe
To finish the battle and send Erik to Valhalla,
The young warrior rolled beneath the axe
And as Biorn raised his weapon,
Erik sent his sword upwards.
Into the heart of his foe it went.
Blood flowed over both.
As Biorn crashed down, Erik rolled away.
Helgha screamed.
Her lover and her father both drenched in blood.
Who lived and who died?
Then Erik rose and seized the maiden.
He fled to Stjarna, his horse,
And leaped to her back with Helgha.
They galloped all night
Until at dawn they arrived in Jorvik.
Now Erik has a beautiful bed-slave.
And a scar on his cheek
To remind all of his bravery.”

The book is undergoing the editing process at the moment. I’ll keep you all informed as to how it’s getting on. Nearly through the first rewrite.

New Design

I decided to have a new design for my website. I’ve given my dragon a little holiday. I think she needed one. As you can see, I replaced her with some of my books. (There’s one that’s not there, you’ll notice. )

I wanted to have my books showcased on the front page with a link to Amazon wherever you are. It will make it easier for people to go to their page and have a look (look inside and prices etc), and of course, buy.

If you want to know more about each book without going to Amazon, you can click on the My Books tab and read a blurb about each one.

At the moment, Vengeance of a Slave is self-published, but shortly, when I’ve gone through it once more to check there are no major errors and plot holes, it will be published by the same publisher who has published the other books. I hope it wont be too long.

The next book in that series, that follows a family through the ages, is on the way. It’s currently being critiqued. Then I need to go through it again at least once. I’ll be sending that to the publisher, too. This one is called Jealousy of a Viking and follows the personal conflicts of a young Viking girl, descended from Adelbehrt, the protagonist in Vengeance. I’m really looking forward to this being published. I’ve had some excellent comments from the critiquers, including one that said it has the potential to be a great book!

I’ll keep you informed about what is happening in future posts.

l love hearing from you, so please leave a comment in the box. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

A Review of Dangerous Alliance by Randall Krzak

I have just finished reading the book below. Thoroughly enjoyable. Read my review below.

 

Dangerous Alliance by Randall Krzak
Dangerous Alliance
by

Randall Krzak (Goodreads Author)

The story is set in present day North Korea, Somalia and London. It tells of how an alliance is made between North Korea and Somali pirates. Of course, everyone cheats everyone else, and to add to the intrigue, the Somali pirates kidnap an important personage who is working in a refugee camp.
An undercover group, working for MI6 (or is it 5, I forget) is sent to both rescue the prisoner and to capture the pirates.
Of course, there is the North Korean ambassador, being forced, under threat, to bring about the trade between his country and the pirates.
Randall Krzak is an accomplished writer, and tells the story with authority. He brings the places and characters to life. His prose is excellent.
There is a twist at the end, when some of the relationships of the people are brought to light.
The story is full of action, and keeps you turning the page.
An brilliant read. I have no problem with giving it 5 stars.
Please feel free to leave a comment.

Free, Free, Free

 

Wolf-Moon-Promo-Ereader

Did you get your FREE copy of The Never-Dying Man? Now you can get Book 3, Wolf Moon free from today. 24th April until Sunday 28th April.

Don’t miss this opportunity to find out what happens to the other members of Wolf who escaped in The Never-Dying Man.

The group called Wolf have been enlisted into the Erian Army against their will, and they soon learn that an invasion is planned into their homeland of Grosmer.

As the heroes make their escape, they accidentally stumble upon an old Dwarven city, and become friends with them.

Facing enemies on all sides, the five must find where their loyalties lie, and save their homeland from certain destruction.

You can get Wolf Moon by clicking here, or on the picture.

If you want to buy the other books in the series click here for The Wolf Pack (book 1)

or here to buy The Never-Dying Man (Book 2)

If you buy any of these books, I would be very grateful if you would post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews are important to both authors and readers as they help authors get visibility and readers to find out if they think they would like the book.

With thousands of books being published each day, you can see it might be a problem to get people to know the book exists.

Please leave a comment in the comments box. 

 

A couple of extracts from Author Sean Robbins

 

Sean, whom I featured last week, has kindly provided me with a couple of extracts from his book, Crimson Deathbringer. I hope you enjoy them

Sean tells me that Max is a car, just in case you become confused.

Extract 1.

We returned home at around two AM. I was tipsy, and with Liz pressing up against me and kissing my neck, I didn’t realize we’d arrived until Max said, “Jim, we’re in front of your home.”
I owned a one-story Colonial house in Nassau County. Nothing too fancy, but not too shabby either. I got out of the car and walked through my small garden with its wintering rose bushes that looked like wooden candelabras to the front door with Liz holding my arm. I said, “Cordelia, I’m home.”
A soft, feminine voice said, “Welcome home, Jim.”
The door of my house opened. We entered the living room, laughing and kissing each other. Then, a faint smell of expensive cologne hit my nostrils, and I found a tall, blond man sitting on my favorite sofa. He had piercing gray eyes and a completely unfashionable goatee, and he was wearing a long black trench coat. There were not one, but two freaking lethal-looking machine pistols next to him on the coffee table.
There were a few small blood stains on his shirt, my sofa and the floor.
Liz let out a tiny shriek. I put my arm around her shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. Everything’s fine.”
“Hi, Jim. It’s been a while. Merry Christmas,” said the man.
My heartbeat hadn’t returned to normal, but pretending that it was an ordinary visit, I answered with an air of nonchalance, “Hi, Kurt. So nice of you to drop by. Just a few days ago I thought splashing some blood on my sofa would give it that gritty, rebel look.”
Yep. Kurt von der Hagen, the legendary freedom-fighter, tyranny-battling rebel, ruthless terrorist, deadly super-assassin, and number one on every security agency’s most-wanted list was sitting right there in the middle of my freaking living room. Right when I was about to propose. King Kong wrench, thrown.
Liz looked at me with wide eyes. “Why’re you two talking like you know each other?”
“Sweetheart, meet Kurt, whom I’m sure you recognize from all the wanted-dead-or-dead posters,” I answered. “Newsflash: He’s my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were in elementary school. Kurt, this is my girlfriend, Elizabeth.”
Kurt stood up, grimacing with pain and clutching his side, and in perfect Spanish—which I could mostly understand but couldn’t speak—said, “It’s a pleasure meeting you, Elizabeth. May I say you look absolutely stunning.”
Liz looked lost for words, but one didn’t become an acrobatic pilot/stunt woman without fast reactions and the ability to think under pressure. “Charmed, I’m sure”—she said in English—”but in case you haven’t noticed, you’re bleeding all over our furniture. Let’s patch you up, and then you can tell me what Public Enemy Number One’s doing in our living room.”
I snorted. “Public Enemy Number One? Huh! John Dillinger ain’t got nothing on Kurt. Mr. Super Assassin eats the likes of him for breakfast.”
“With all these movie references, I confess half of the time I have no idea what Jim’s talking about,” Kurt said, “but I can already tell the two of you are perfect for each other.”
Liz asked, “You’re ‘best friends’ with someone who doesn’t watch movies?”
“It’s a very long story,” I said.
Liz had some medical training and had dealt with many wounds and injuries in her career. She went to our bedroom to bring her bag of medical tools.
“Cordelia?” I said.
“Yes, Jim?”
“What’s going on outside?”
“Nothing much. All quiet,” she said.
“Did anyone follow Kurt?”
“Not so far as I can see, and you know I can see a lot.”
“Full lockdown mode,” I said.
Half-inch steel sheets covered all my housed windows and doors. The only way someone could enter now was using explosives.
“This won’t stop SCTU, you know,” said Kurt.
“True. But Cordelia can see them coming, and it’ll give us more time to figure out what to do,” I said.
Liz came back to the living room. Kurt took off his trench coat. I got my shoulder under his arm and helped him walk to our dining table and lie on it. Liz slashed Kurt’s shirt with a pair of scissors. She unwrapped the piece of cloth around Kurt’s waist and examined the bullet wound on his side. I tried to look over her shoulder.
“Give me some room,” she told me. A couple of minutes later she added, “It isn’t bad, but you’re losing too much blood. Hold still.”
She debrided the wound and started patching Kurt up.
“Before I forget, Cordelia?” I said. “Aren’t you supposed to inform me if an armed man tries to enter my house?”
She asked with concern in her voice, “Jim, are you all right? Have you had brain trauma recently? Do want me to call a doctor?”
Much like her owner, Cordelia was a wise-ass. Liz couldn’t stifle a laugh.
Kurt flinched. “Don’t make me laugh. It hurts too much.”
Cordelia continued, “This is Kurt, your oldest friend. He’s been in this house 523 times already. The last time he was here he was covered in blood and heavily armed too, and he was accompanied by Allen, who was carrying a grenade launcher.”
Liz laughed. “What? No bazooka?”

Extract 2.

The crimson space fighter and its wingmen attacked Invincible, laser cannons blazing. Maada’s vessel dived at high speed, pulled its nose up at the last moment, and did a firing run close to the starship, hitting her repeatedly from bow to stern. The gray space fighters followed it, raining deadly laser bolts on the Akaki ship. Energy bolt after energy bolt tore into her, scoring devastating hits. As soon as the Xortaag vessels veered off, a massive ball of multihued fire engulfed Invincible, and in a flash, she blew up into millions of minute glowing shards shimmering in dark space.
Five thousand sailors, vaporized. Just like that.
And Varina.
The thought of his daughter made Tarq feel his hearts were about to give out. His only child, who could not wait to grow up, was dead. Varina, who loved his pranks, and who never got tired of listening to the stories of how her father had saved the galaxy multiple times, was gone, and it was Tarq’s fault.
The command ship was under attack. Someone shouted, “Brace for impact!” The vessel shook violently. Tarq did not pay any attention. He stared at what was left of Varina’s ship, and overwhelming grief cut through him like a thousand sharp knives. Trying to use physical pain to block his mental anguish, he grabbed his two front antennae and pulled them so hard the agony made his vision blur. That worked. For a brief second.
His PDD beeped. It was a video message from Varina. With terror in her eyes, she said, “Father, we did our best,” and the message cut into static.
His daughter’s last thought before being murdered by the Xortaags was how she had disappointed him.
The thought made his gut churn. He twisted his antennae as hard as he could. The severe pain pushed him to the brink of losing conscientiousness.

Here is a link to the Sean’s Amazon Author Page.

https://www.amazon.com/Sean-Robins/e/B07PS1116K

 

A visit by author Sean Robbins

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Sean is a brand new writer who has a book that will shortly be released by Creativia, the same publisher who has published my fantasy books. Sean’s book is currently on pre-order. The link is at the end of this post.

 Welcome and thank you for giving me the opportunity to feature you on my blog, Sean.

What is the first book you remember either reading or having read to you?

Dick Sands the Boy Captain by Jules Verne. I was 8 years old at the time. That book opened up a new world for me and turned me into the bookworm I have been ever since.

Who is your favourite author?

My favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is probably how I ended up writing in a first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone as he does. The fact that my MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental though

What is your favourite book?

I honestly don’t think anyone can answer this question, but I have read The Dresden Files series three times (!), so maybe that.

If that book isn’t a ‘classic’, what is your favourite ‘classical’ book?

Gone with the Wind, hands-down.

Apart from writing, what is the thing you enjoy doing the most?

Reading novels, watching movies and teaching- I am an English teacher.

If you weren’t a writer, what job would you do?

My own day job

Why do you write?

This is how it started: I have got purely obsessional OCD. What this means is a thought enters my mind—usually something negative—and doesn’t leave. I end up having to think about it 5000 times a day, and once this starts, my life is ruined for a week, two weeks, a month, or six months. I’d tried a lot of different ways to get rid of this problem: therapy, medication, meditation… Nothing ever worked, until I read an article that said the people who had this problem had an overly active imagination, and it would help if they channeled it into something productive, like writing.
I’d always wanted to be a writer. This is literally a childhood dream, one of those you give up when you grow up. I had the story of The Crimson Deathbringer in my mind for years (even started writing it and stopped a few times). When I read that article, I was going through a tough time in my marriage (fighting with your wife is no fun, even for sane people), and my mind had gone into its life-destroying over-drive, so I told myself, “Well, you’ve tried everything else, let’s give this a shot.”
And then a miracle happened.
My mind put the same energy it used to put into producing BS and making my life miserable into coming up with stories. Ideas would come to me fast and furious, and I had to stop whatever I was doing several times a day to write them down. I’ve been OCD-free since then (I know, I sound like a recovering alcoholic). When TCD (cool, eh?) was finished, it took my out-of-control brain half a day to plan my second novel, which is about a nerdy scientist and a sexy female mercenary who use a time machine to defeat an alien invasion

A question I can’t answer, myself. Where do you get your ideas from?

They just appear to me on their own. I can’t turn my brain off even if I wanted to!

When you go out to eat, what type of food do you prefer?

I prefer anything sweet. Often I don’t even order food and go straight to desert

Do you enjoy sport? Do you prefer to watch or take part?

I am a swimmer, and I play volleyball regularly. I love watching soccer to, and hockey when the Canadian National Team plays.

What, in your opinion, is your best trait?

I am super positive, which you can probably tell by the tone of my book.

Which is your favourite city?

Amsterdam.

Do you cook? If so, what is your favourite thing to cook?

No. Like never. The maximum cooking I have ever done is to put chicken or fish in my steamer.

Do you have any siblings? Do any of them write?

No. I had a younger brother who sadly died a few years ago.

Can you swim?

Big time swimmer here.

 

Here is a bit more about Sean.

“Who am I? I am Spiderman.”
Well, not really, but this should tell you all you need to know about me and my writing style.
I’m a huge Marvel (plus Game of Thrones, Star Trek AND Star Wars) fan, which shows since my novel is loaded with pop culture references. If you are a sci-fi fan you will enjoy them tremendously. I even went full Deadpool in my first draft and broke the fourth wall multiple times, until my editor told it was distracting and kept taking her out of the moment. Shame. Those fourth-wall breaks were hilarious. Still, I can guarantee a few laugh-out-loud moments. Case in point: The “good” aliens in my novel are a race of pranksters, whose main goal in life is pulling other people’s legs (They have four legs, hence the slight change in the idiom).

And here is what his book is about.

The Crimson Deathbringer Cover

The Akakies, a peaceful, technologically advanced alien species known as “the galaxy’s pranksters,” are under attack by the Xortaags, a vicious military race bent on conquering the universe. The Xortaags are deadly, but Tarq, the Akakies’ chief strategist and legendary shadow master, has a plan.
Meanwhile on Earth, Jim, a wise-cracking, movie-quoting, OCD-suffering fighter pilot, is about to propose to his girlfriend Liz when his childhood friend Kurt shows up at his house, injured and covered in blood. Kurt is a freedom fighter/super- assassin hunted by a brutal military dictatorship’s security forces. Soon after, Jim, Liz and Kurt’s lives are set to crash with a galactic war that threatens the very existence of the human race.
Can our heroes save humanity from the wrath of an overwhelming enemy?
The Crimson Deathbringer seamlessly blends breathtaking action sequences with mischievous humor. If you are a science fiction/space opera fan, this book, with its memorable characters, formidable antagonist and Game of Thrones style shocking moments, is written especially for you.

To pre-order, click here.

You can connect with Sean on his website.
Author Website: https://seanrobins73.wixsite.com/website

It would help Sean, a new writer, if you could reblog this.

 

 

Another Chance at a Freebie.

theneverdyingman

From tomorrow, April 15th, the second book in The Wolves of Vimar Series, The Never-Dying Man, is FREE for 5 days only. The offer ends on Friday 19th April.

Hurry and get your copy before it’s too late. You can get it by clicking on the title or the book cover. You will be taken to its Amazon page where you are.

You can also get Book 1, The Wolf Pack, by clicking here,

thewolfpack1

and Book 3, Wolf Moon, here.

Wolf-Moon-Promo-Ereader
On Tuesday, I will be hosting a new member of the Creativia family. Sean Robbins has his very first book on pre-order. It is a scifi tale, so especially if you are a fan of that genre, don’t forget to come around and find out more about Sean and his book. It sound interesting.