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Author Blogs

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Charles Dickens and copyright law.


Charles Dickens is famous as a Victorian storyteller par excellence. Through his novels he campaigned for social justice and educational reform (Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby to name just two); created memorable male characters (David Copperfield, Pip in Great Expectations, and Scrooge in The Christmas Carol); but wasn’t so hot on portraying realistic women (Little Dorrit). His works were very popular, with readers waiting impatiently for each installment, and family groups gathering round the hearth whilst the new episode was read out loud (no telly in those days). But, despite personally campaigning through his literature for better education for all, his books were primarily bought by t...
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Beware of ‘writing fancy.’


Beware of ‘writing fancy.’ This is the advice of Benjamin Dreyer in his book Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. Some writers and grammarians would argue that there is no such thing as an ‘utterly correct’ way of writing; words and grammar evolve, and so long as your reader can understand clearly what you have written in the way you intended, it is correct enough. But Dreyer is the chief copy editor of the American publisher, Random House, so his advice may carry more weight than the writers of other style guides – especially if you want to get published by Random House. Perhaps surprisingly, Dryer approves of Twitter. For him “It’s brought a punchy smartness to ...
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Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel


Synopsis A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan. Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention. Can the end of the world be avoided? Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit? Terminal Transit, Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’ The Lily and the Dying Bird By Butler F. Temple   The Lily and the Dying Bird   The lily is a favored ...
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Writing Fiction – encouragement from the best.


If you want to improve your fiction writing, there areplenty of guide books out there to help you. So many, in fact, that you couldspend all your available time reading them and never get round to putting pento paper yourself. I don’t think that two of my favourite novelists readsuch books. If they did, they certainly didn’t mention it. But both, in theirown way, managed to include words of encouragement for other authors into theirmanuscripts. It was a craft they were both truly proud of, and recognised thehard work that goes into writing good fiction. Here’s Jane Austen addressingfellow writers in Northanger Abbey. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Althoughour producti...
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A poem for the morning after the night before.


Writers in English love playing about with words, often withhumour and to take a dig at the more po-faced or traditionalist among us. I amsure it is not just an English speaking and writing phenomenon, but my languageskills are so limited that I can’t put it to the test. I’ve been sorting through the last of my late mother’spapers recently, and came across some documents she had kept that had beensaved by my father who had died nearly twenty years earlier. He was a great onefor press cuttings – mostly about his swimming club and my brothers’ prowess inpool or on the running track, but also articles and letters to the editor, or poems,which had amused him. One I felt particularly apt for a Su...
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Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel


Synopsis A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan. Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention. Can the end of the world be avoided? Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit? Terminal Transit, Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’ Verse 5. ‘Your father told me that he had uncovered something so terrible that it meant the end of all...
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Meet Author Robert Hoppensteadt


I meet a lot of interesting people on this blog, who have come to writing along very different routes. Robert says he sobered up when he was thirty five and really started thinking about writing again then.  It had been an old dream that got lost in the chaos.  Before that he had a lot of different jobs.  Once he got it together he established a very lucrative professional career and found that he did not have what it takes to devote the time to writing a novel and also handle the demands of a stressful and responsible job. He did take some time off and self-published a novel in 1990s when print on demand was in its infancy, but after that he found poetry to be great outlet and something he ...
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Meet Author David W. Thompson


David W. Thompson is married, and the proud grandfather of twelve. He loves fishing, hiking and kayaking (well, pretty much everything outdoors). Indoors he enjoys woodcarving (and has even won an award or two) and makes his own fruit wines. He attended classes at the University of Maryland University Campus, mostly in Nuremberg, Germany, but also in Georgia US, during his stint with the US Army. He graduated shortly after his Expiration of Term of Service release. He’s been writing for some time (mostly short stories), but became more serious about it once he retired from a management position at Boeing in 2013. What is the title of your latest book? The latest is Sons and Brothers and it’s...
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Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel


Synopsis A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan. Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention. Can the end of the world be avoided? Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit? Terminal Transit, ‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak,’’ Verse 4 ‘I have known you and your family for an exceedingly long time now,’ said the old man in the...
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Plain – or Plane – Sailing?


Last month there was an article in The Times titled Turning a boat into artwork isn’t plain sailing. This prompted a curt letter to the editor from a retired merchant naval captain who said that the term was plane sailing not plain sailing. Plane sailing, he explained was ‘a simple method of sailing short distances, assuming the earth is flat.’ He’s right that this is the correct definition of plane sailing – I looked it up. But what, therefore, does plain sailing mean? I turned back a page in the dictionary and discovered that the most commonly understood meaning of plain sailing these days is ‘smooth or easy progress.’ It also means ‘sailing in a body of water that is unobstructed.’ The Ti...
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Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

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Terminal Transit Synopsis A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan. Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as its starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention. Can the end of the world be avoided? Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit? Terminal Transit, ‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak’’ Verse 3 Following the inquest, the Coroner’s Report confirmed that ‘Dr Butler F. Tem...
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Character Interview

One site, "The Protagonist Speaks" has the fantastic idea of interviewing the character instead of the author. Yes, my characters do have more to say... https://theprotagonistspeaks.com/2019/05/24/bridget-etheridge-of-mystic-evermore-by-cecelia-hopkins-drewer/ Original link
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Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Horror Novel

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Synopsis A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan. Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as it’s starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention. Can the end of the world be avoided? Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit? Terminal Transit, ‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak’’ Verse 2. It was Professor Mac an Bhaird who woke one rainy night from his lonely dreams to hear sobb...
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Writing Dialogue – What To Do.


In my last post I talked about three things you SHOULD NOTdo when writing dialogue. I.e.: Don’t go overboard using alternatives to the verb – to say.Don’t overdo accents, slang and cursing.Don’t let a character’s speech slide into too much explanation as a way of moving the plot forward. Here are three things you SHOULD do. Do use your dialogue to reveal important things about a character – their social class, their prejudices, their self-confidence (or lack of it), their differing relationship with the other characters.Do ensure each character speaks differently, sothe reader can easily differentiate between them. After all, no two people inreal life speak in exactly the same way.Always rea...
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Writing Dialogue – What Not To Do.


Most novels include dialogue. It helps to reveal character; move the plot forward, break up the wordy bits of exposition, and a lot more. What it isn’t is an exact exposition of how people actually speak. Done well, it’s an illusion of how people speak that sounds completely authentic. Here are three tips from the experts for what NOT to do when trying to create this realistic illusion. Don’t use any other verb than ‘says’ or ‘said.’You may have swallowed a Thesaurus and want to ‘expostulate’  ‘extrapolate’ or ‘explain’ etc. but more thana couple of clever alternatives to ‘said’ and the reader will start to find ittiresome.Don’t sink into parody. Your character may be a crafty Cockney, a tou...
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Barnaby Taylor, Terminal Transit – Irish, Apocalyptic, Science Fiction Novel

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Synopsis A brilliant research student discovers a plot fulminated by demons from another dimension and kills himself in the process. The fate of the world is left in the hands of an elderly academic and a mysterious orphan. Using the facts surrounding Ireland’s economic collapse in 2008 as it’s starting point, Terminal Transit is an apocalyptic adventure dealing with death and destruction in a Dublin slowly devastated by demonic intervention. Can the end of the world be avoided? Or is this planet simply scheduled for Terminal Transit? Terminal Transit, ‘Chapter I ‘The Song of the NotBeSpeak’’ Verse 1 Professor Amhalgaidh Mac an Bhaird is elderly now, almost ancient. He is an Honorary Fellow ...
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Artful Cursing?


When I wrote my YA novel Girl Friends several years ago, I used my experience of working inthe Probation Service and in child protection / safeguarding to ensure thestoryline rang true. I also used a lot of the language used by many of thechildren and adults I had worked with. This again rang true, but a moreexperienced writer pointed out to me that too many swear words per line got abit boring for the reader. Also, although we all know children, especiallyteenagers, use bad language, many publishers of YA novels don’t like it. Theyhave the parents in mind as potential customers as much as the young peoplethemselves. So the final version of GirlFriends went out several hundred words shorter ...
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What is a Poet Laureate?


Poet Laureates originated with the ancient Greeks and Romans when poetic achievement was honoured by a crown of laurels (the laurel tree being sacred to the god Apollo, the patron of poets. The title was first granted in England in the seventeenth century. James the First gave the playwright and poet, Ben Jonson, a pension from 1616, but the first poet to hold the title was John Dryden who was granted the position for life, as were all his successors until Andrew Motion. He took the post in 1999 for a set time of ten years. He was followed by Carol Ann Duffy (the first woman laureate) in 2009, and her replacement, Simon Armitage, has just been appointed to replace her. Famous poets from the ...
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The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

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The Eleventh Film XVIII With her comrades gone, the lexicographer felt it was as if the world now hung useless in its orbit. Not spinning any more. Limp. Cernuous. Nutant. Forever. Unlimited. That final word took her back. Darkness. She was a child in her father’s car. There was a sign overhead. She saw the word. Then she was too young to understand what the word meant. Now she knew that the endlessness of this word really was the end. For thirteen nights she resisted but on the fourteenth morning she suffered a crisis in language and was no longer able to compute. She lay curled on her side as the last of her brain’s charge emptied itself out through her right ear and onto the floor of the ...
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Putting Your Word(s) in Order.


Legal documents are dry, precise, pedantic – and consequently make for rather a dull read for those of us who are not solicitors. They are written that way because their meaning has to be crystal clear – ‘for the avoidance of doubt’ – as they often state. Fiction writers are not so hide-bound. They may want to convey a mood, an atmosphere, a feeling, an impression … Metaphors, hyperbole, humor, irony and, not least, word order, will help with this more than the unvarnished truth. That said, a novelist needs to take care with the order their words are written in, so that they get the meaning they intend across to the reader. There are subtle (and not so subtle) differences between ‘I only bou...
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