Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mysterious is Not Necessarily From a Mystery Writer

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) Born in Dublin Ireland

Irish Playwright and essayist was a flamboyant and sharp witted writer who exposed the hypocrisies of Victorian society. He was a firm believer in art for art sake.  His colorful personal life, and eccentricities as well as his effected demeanor drew much attention to him even before he became an acclaimed literary genius. His printed words live on.
Most of his works were written in the 1890’s. His first book, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) was not as well received as his plays. His barbed comedy aimed at the attitudes and habits of the affluent of British society. “An Ideal Husband (1895) was about a blackmail attempt on a public official. It would seem that play or at least it’s morale repeats itself every year or so, only the venue changes.

While not a mystery writer, per se, Oscar Wilde reveals the flaws in societies fabric. As the rich and famous so often find, with fame they no longer own their life. Homosexuality was not taken lightly back then and after two years of hard labor, his sentence for exercising his sexual preference, he died a penniless pauper in 1900. The imprisonment did not dull the importance of his life’s work, however.

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between” Oscar Wilde 1882 a comment he made when he was on a tour in the US

Information gleaned from: The Intellectual Devotional, Revise your mind, complete your education, and roam confidently with the cultured class. David S. Kidder & Noah D. Oppenheim ©2006 Rodale

Monday, November 29, 2010

No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark - a review

No Place Like Home
By Mary Higgins Clark
ISBN 0-7432-6489-4
Simon & Schuster 2005©

Readers often ask, “Where did you get the idea for that story?” In the case of No Place Like Home a New Jersey law was the source for Mary Higgins Clark.  A real estate law to be specific, but to be more specific a real estate agent must inform prospective buyers if the home he/or she considers purchasing carries a stigma that might cause psychological damage to the purchaser. Like ghosts haunting the place or other sinister things connected with the facility.

As a prelude—or an introduction that gives the reader a chill and sets the stage for what might be coming next, Clark includes the oft repeated chant…
            “Lizzie Borden took an ax
            And gave her mother forty whacks
            When she saw what she had done
            She gave her father forty one.”

An unthinkable crime, a child killing a parent, and wounding another. Ten-year old Liza Barton, in a dreadful scene of domestic abuse, is awakened by an argument between her mother and her estranged stepfather. She accidentally shoots her mother she was trying to protect her from that stepfather. She is arrested, but the judge finds her not guilty.

 Exonerated by the justice system, but not the town or her conscience, Liza is taken in by distant relatives from across the country, California cousins. Liza is given a new name to protect her and help her get a new start on life. Celia, twenty-four years later divorced and remarried receives a birthday gift from her second husband. He buys her a house, it turns out to be the house of her childhood, the house in Mendham, New Jersey where she killed her mother and wounded her step father.

The terror she thought she left behind resurfaces as they are about to move in to the new place. The lawn and house are marked up with messages of the old…Little Lizzie’s Place—Beware is painted on the front lawn. A skull and cross bones is carved into the mahogany front door, a doll with a toy gun is propped against that door and the siding is splotched with red paint.

“Blood. It wasn’t paint. It was Mother’s blood. I could feel my arms and neck and face becoming sticky with her blood.” Liza/Celia is transported back to that dreadful day.

Her husband is outraged. The real estate agent is beside herself with embarrassment and Lisa/Celia is ready to collapse, but dares not show the terror she feels.  Not until she can prove her innocence to her husband before she tells him or the town who she really is.

It all gets worse from here on out. Who knows her—who remembers what she did—why harass her all these years after she received an innocent verdict? Does her stepfather have anything to do with this?

The reader will fly through the pages, sharing Liza/Celia’s terror and fear so thick it is nearly palpable, all the way to the end. Hoping for a solution, some good in Liza’s life, wanting her to find peace and recognition as the innocent person she is. In a word this is an unputdownable recommended read.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

100 Words...That's all

I can do that - after all 100 words isn't much, although I do remember when I thought 250 words was like a cruise ship compared to a canoe - impossible. Now, I write without much thought to how many words. Sometimes a thousand words is easy, a chapter of 1,300 or even 2,000 isn't all that much. Call it all in a days work. But what happens on those days when it's as if your mind quit thinking in words, or pictures, or anything but spaghetti noodles.
Today was an exceptional day...The local Amberg American Legion held their traditional ceremony to light the lights on the the trees that honor the veterans remembered by those who gathered for the dedication. There were enough members who were recognized both living and deceased that two trees were needed this year. Each light lit was a donation to honor one vet - from those who had served in any conflict past,and to the present day.
The crowd was larger than previous years. The Legion president was hospitalized, gravely ill,  so another took his place...the ceremony was beautiful and memorable. It always is. Then a chili lunch was served by the Ladies of the Legion Auxiliary and a family-like gathering continued to bring the attendants closer together to remember all the good and appreciate what we have.
It was a good morning - perhaps too good because it left me at a loss for words to find something to say here - something other than my own selfish pursuits - Perhaps a huge thank you to all those past, present and future who care enough to give their all for our beloved country, The United States of America.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where Did October go?

Well, It's November--off to a roaring start and I hardly finished doing October. {smile} 
I had a book released last month - Diamonds, Death and Deceit. The printed words are available in all electronic formats as well as print. Wings ePress, Inc is the publisher.
The book is set in South Africa, Ewando to be exact, not too far from Durban--You all know where Durban is don't you? Well, David Hemingway is an ex-FBI agent who decided to take his life in another direction after he lost his wife and infant son in an explosion detonated by a local crime syndicate.
Doctor, Alcina Danvers, a long time friend of his, invites him to come to Africa and set up a school with the Peace Corps to begin his new career as a teacher. He accepts, looking for the welcoming peace and quiet of a remote African village. At least that is what he thought he was going to find. Almost immediately he is caught up in the Xhosa people's struggle to maintain not only their native heritage, but their land and resources and their pride and life style. Who is he fighting? He finds out, eventually. After nearly losing his life and that of Alcina's, as well, in the process.
Pick up your copy and join us in this mystery/suspense adventure to the Dark Continent. Writing Wide: Exercises in Creative Writing