Categories
HM Poetry

Brooding

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Green lights

An orgiastic future fades

How to grasp when the tension

Between the possible and impossible

Fails?

*

A blueish lawn turns frosty

And naked feet will never progress

Along the faded roses.

Futile fears

Turn the city into shadows

Wailing about their loss.

*

We live in obscurity

Possessed by reckless

Dreams that were

Never meant to succeed.

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© HMH, 2021

Categories
HM Paintings

Two Winter Sketches

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Just a short post this time to wish you all Happy New Year. I’m certain that most people are relieved to say goodbye to 2020 and hope that 2021 will be better – at least by degrees. Again, my sketches are digital works that I hope to paint sooner or later. . .

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© HMH, 2021

Categories
HM On Writing

My Last Reviews of 2020

Lesley Eames, The Runaway Women (Silver Ladies) in London

A Sweet Diversion Set in the Early Nineteen-Twenties

Four young women, Ruth, Jenny, Lydia, and Grace work together in a household in a small town. Their employer is a wealthy woman with a temper to reckon with. As a necklace disappears – stolen – she accuses her employees of the theft and dismisses them without references.

The four women, disgraced, and therefore unemployable must think of other options for making a living. In this gloomy setting, there is one spark of light. Ruth has inherited some money together with a carriage house in London. It transpires that there is a bonus in the carriage house – a Silver Ghost Rolls Royce. The four friends have the talents necessary to start a business, a car hire service that they dub the Silver Ladies.

Ms Eames is a dab hand at narrating and bringing her characters to life. The women meet unexpected trials and tribulations, their secrets and weaknesses help to keep the interest of the reader. There is a cast of lovers, villains, families, and friends to match the four protagonists, brave souls, who confront a male-dominated world to find a place in life. All in all, this is a charming confection of escapist delights.

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Mary Deal, Dead to Life

MIA, A Missing Key, and Mayhem

A key and a bunch of letters. That is all that Sara Mason and Huxley Keane possess to help them in their search for Huxley’s MIA brother Rocky. The key was found in Vietnam, but Rocky’s fiancée Emma Ellis has a matching key. During their search for Emma, they find out that her sister Evelyn committed suicide. The search takes Sara and Huxley from California to Hawaii and back in a perilous escapade that threatens their lives.

Ms Deal writes an efficient mystery with local colours and intriguing questions. Her dialogues are lifelike and her characters believable – whether agreeable or the contrary. There are many twists and turns before Sara and her friend find the truth.

***

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Katie Mettner, Granted Redemption

Poignant Love Story

Can two people who are scarred on their soul as well as on their bodies find love together? Carla and Grant both carry heavy burdens from their past, as they chance to meet at her coffee shop.

With the mellow fragrance of good coffee running through this romance, Ms Mettner creates a warm a fuzzy feeling inside her readers. Still, her writing doesn’t avoid the darker aspects in the lives of her protagonists, neither is the book without drama. There is a good balance between anguish and hope, and Ms Mettner’s writing is sufficiently powerful to make her characters stand out.

***

JS Frankel, The Return of Master Fantastic

Montague is Gone and Mayhem Erupts

Paul and Myrna spend time on the watery world they visited in Master Fantastic. They need time to deal with all that has happened, but they can’t stay. Winged creatures are destroying the earth. Paul’s hearing has deteriorated, but Myrna goes through a transformation – she can hear and seems to have inherited her father’s magic.

JS Frankel takes us on another journey between the worlds. The fantasy returns and mayhem erupts as wild, weird, and wonderful happenings abound. Mr Frankel lets his imagination out to play in the sequel to Mr Fantastic. It is a fast-paced and sometimes extremely violent tale, but that is to be expected with evil creatures that want to destroy the world.

My only question to this is whether it was necessary to return to this fantasy. It appears to me as if there isn’t much scope for developing the characters, but that doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining and astute read.

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Carol Marrs Phips, Then

The Sequel to Wham.

When Wham ends nothing is resolved – and the same situation is true of its sequel Then. As I’ve already broadcasted my reflections on the use of hooks to sell books, it is only fair that I don’t reissue this now. There are many developments in this sequel, but the stakes are even higher as they were. The dystopia still reigns in a world that is already half destroyed by an underground sorceress, aptly named Pandora. At her beck and call, we find kidnapped Nia, still alive but placed in a dependent position to her kidnapper. Tess still fights to rectify the wrongs that mar the entire world, although the elf realm still is green and pleasant. Trolls, elves, humans, fairies, and the Greenwood family combine to fight Pandora, but the outcome stays uncertain.

In a multifaceted storyline with multiple points of views, a reader could lose the thread, if it weren’t for the Phipps’s firm control of the contrasting worlds and characters. This is admirable as is the world-building and character development in this second issue of Tess’s world.

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CA Asbrey, In All Innocence

Perfect Crime Thriller

I haven’t read all the parts of the Innocents series. When reading the third volume, I had no difficulty in catching up with the past. That doesn’t mean, I’m not tempted to read all there is about these innocents, although it would mean letting other books wait. Now, confronted with the fourth instalment, my appetite is growing.

Nat and Abigail move to Canada in the hope that it will give Nat a clean start. Not so, on a train heading across the mountains, a rock-fall stops them in their tracks. Worse, there is a murder committed on the train. This murder may stem from the theft of a moonstone, no doubt a homage to the first (nineteenth century) crime author, Wilkie Collins.

It is no surprise that Asbrey writes with her usual wit and expertise. Her characters develop convincingly, and Asbrey offers all the twists and turns an avid crime reader can wish for. A murder victim, a large group of English butlers, another victim, a nefarious business scheme, a kangaroo, and a cliff-hanger ending – combined with Asbrey’s excellent writing – make for a captivating read.

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CW Hawes, The Medusa Ritual

Works for Me

Special Agent Pierce Mostyn attempts to locate a rare book, which is forbidden for the good reason that it can unleash unthinkable terror on the world. He also works to rescue his partner Dr Dotty Kemper and so he is double engaged in solving this case.

A mysterious and mask-wearing man is part of the mystery, and Mostyn must confront him to find important clues. Not only that, but this old man is also the key to the mystery and the only link to Mostyn’s partner.

Mostyn fights against time and paranormal creatures through the seedy parts of La as well as deep in the crumbling tunnels beneath the city.

How come that I always start in the middle of a series? Not that it matters when the author knows what he or she is doing. The Medusa Ritual presents such a case.

The monster that confronts the people, who take part in the Medusa Ritual as it unfolds, combines Medusa’s snakelike tentacles (her hair) with some of the properties that are usually alleged to the basilisk. It possesses eyes that kill. All this helps to add to the horror that is worthy of the Cthulhu Mythos.

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Barbara Best, The Lincoln Penny

Time-Travel: Between Now and Savanna During the Civil War

An antique casket, a mysterious key, and a modern penny are part of this time-travel extravaganza. Jane Peterson is a normal girl in normal 2012. She is also a history geek and as a friend invites her to a Civil War re-enacting for her birthday, she happily prepares by making a costume. She takes her father’s birthday present, an antique jewellery box with her. In this box, she finds a key and carries it with her to the evening re-enactment party. Late in the evening, she opens a door and somehow gets transported back in time and into a raging battle.

It is beyond question that Ms Best did her research. She fills her narrative with detail that will interest a historically interested audience. What one might question is her narrative style. Why? One reason is the third person present tense and omniscient point of view. Sometimes Ms Best forgets in which tense she writes and that is unlucky. Other than that, she presents an interesting and captivating period, her characters are pleasant, but my greatest bugbear is the set up for another book in the series. It would be reassuring if authors like Ms Best would feel certain that they’ve engendered enough interest in their characters and ideas to sell volume two without leaving an obvious hook.

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Toya Richardson, The Festive Love Coach

Romantic Comedy

The Festive Love Coach opens with a bang. At a surprise visit to her boyfriend, Maya finds him entangled with his female business partner. She leaves him, and the flat, never to look back. The only difficulty is that it is close to Christmas and she has nowhere to go. The planned trip with her boyfriend is a smoking ruin and all the ‘interesting’ journey destinations are booked. What to do? Maya decides on a coach trip to Eastbourne.

Onboard there are quirky characters enough to satisfy any taste but worse, there is a young man who Maya already met – in unlucky circumstances. Honestly, the meet-cute between Maya and Carter is everything but cute. It gives Ms Richardson amble opportunity to exploit the antipathy that could lead to romance.

This is a festive romp that is both well-written and entertaining. A hotel in Eastbourne, loads or elderly but exceedingly alive characters, misunderstandings, mishaps, and rich food to die for – and fight to get rid of for the rest of the year. It was a quick but fun read – something to indulge in while enjoying a cream tea or with mulled wine and mince pies.

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David W Thompson, Possum Stew

Dark Poignant Short Stories with Holiday Themes.

Ten Stories, Ten Holidays

New Year, Miriam – a vampire’s honour code

Valentine’s Day, Eternal – a happy marriage or a ghost story

Easter, Possum Stew – don’t visit the shadow woods unless you’re prepared to withstand the test.

Mother’s Day, It’s Never Too Late – a mother’s love knows no boundaries

Father’s Day, The Phone Call – don’t be afraid to admit your love

Fourth of July, Let Freedom Ring – as love heals a broken heart so death renews the faerie kingdom

Happy Indigenous People’s Day (Columbus Day), The Saga of Running Deer – Little Fox the victim of schooling children at the tip of a bayonet. One way or another, Running Deer gives his life to save the children.

All Hallows’ Eve, When Dawn Breaks – Liam and Lola. The curse of life eternal, only to be ended through sunshine

Thanksgiving, Thank You, Edgar Allan Poe – older cousins, and a brother’s Dracula prank gone wrong

Christmas, Yuletide Spirits – Spirits come back to visit and comfort

A year may not last long, but the happenings in it determine how it touches the individual. David W Thompson shows humanity through the prism of monsters. Vampires, Ghosts, Faeries, Demons, Watchers of the Underworld, a Wendigo (a Native American avenging spirit) live in his ten short stories and help to show the deepest longings and pains as well as the horror, love, and redemption we humans share and live through. This is a tour de force of narrative mastery and leaves the reader thoughtful.

***

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Tia Fanning, Twelve Spankings from a Secret Santa

Folie à Trois?

Can Martha come back to the love of her life? What will be the consequences for her and for him? Nicholas accepts the ‘Christmas miracle’ but also works towards accepting that his business partner Peter takes an interest in Martha. The problem being that Martha also fancies Peter. Martha’s dawning feelings for Peter was what prompted her to leave. Now, she has lost her fight to deny her love for both men – and that is the reason she has returned. This is a dilemma that involves all three. Their solution is unique in many ways. Nicholas and Peter are long term friends, and they decide on the course to follow with regards to their mutual beloved. It is important for the understanding of the three to know that Martha expects discipline, administered by Nicholas. Peter is a Dominant and wants Martha for his Submissive. Hence the twelve presents: Martha must choose between one from each of her lovers during the twelve days of Christmas to get through her punishment for desertion.

This is a light-hearted tale looking at the ways people might enjoy sexual relationships. Ms Fanning does this with aplomb – showing the mutual respect between these three partners. Domination and spanking can’t take place without consent and it takes mature people to deal with the intricacies of this situation. It is admirable to portray this in such a wise and understanding manner. It isn’t always a smooth ride, but the characters live up to their mutual expectations and find a way of life that works for them. Twelve Spankings from a Secret Santa is an interesting and amusing tale about people with a difference.

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© HMH, 2020

Categories
HM

Merry Christmas!

Something went wrong when I posted last, so I’ll give it another try. Without further ado, here is Santa Baby by Joan Javits, Phil Springer, and Tony Springer.

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Keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll work this time. . .

© HMH, 2020

Categories
HM On Writing

Reading at Speed Reviews

LC Conn, Carling

Coming of Age Can be a Hurtful Process

Since the end of the first volume of The One True Child series, the Romans are stationary in Britain. Romans kill Carling’s parents and brother get killed in a raid. On the way to their camp, Carling witnesses the Roman commander killing her grandmother. At the settlement, she becomes a slave but finds unexpected friends.

It is no wonder that Carling grows up full of hate against her oppressors. That doesn’t change the fact that she must learn to accept her situation to survive. For this, she gets help through learning the Roman language. Her hardest task is to avoid the unwanted attention, given to her by her granny’s killer. As she nears maturity, her powers slowly emerge.

Ms Conn develops her fantasy sage with polished prose and great imagination. It is a delight to follow Carling’s development and the intricacies of the plot. Throughout this fantasy series, with elements of Celtic and Roman mythology, Ms Conn puts in her word for humanity.

***

G Lawrence, Treason in Trust

Rich in Detail

Trying years in Elizabeth’s life. Drake develops into a trusted alley. Mary of Scots has been deposed and becomes a prisoner in England. The trial begins but doesn’t end. Dudley remains the love of her life, even if they don’t share intimate relations. The night of Bartholomew puts an end to this part of her saga.

Lawrence focuses on two things in this, the fifth part of her Elizabethan series. Elizabeth’s love for her country and her subjects that she sees as her children, and her relationship to Mary. She must fight on both fronts, a woman in a patriarchal world will be met with an incessant admonition to wed and bed and give birth. Her troubled relationship with her cousin Mary is well documented and ended in disaster for Mary. In a way, these strong women were caught in religious strife as well as being unable to find common ground. All this Lawrence brings to life, seen through Elizabeth’s eyes.

The cast of beautifully developed characters, Lawrence’s fluid prose, and her immaculate research unfold the drama and pageant of a long-gone period.

***

Tina-Marie Miller, The Curious Miss Fortune

Women’s Fiction at Its Best

There’s romance, there is wit, there are sorrows, there are lies and secrets, there are victims, and perpetrators in The Curious Miss Fortune. Also, there is a play, which gets rehearsed during most of the novel and perhaps, unnecessarily, features as an appendix. At the beginning of the rehearsals, its director tells the cast that there’s scope for improvisation. That’s certainly true, there are only the bare bones of a play to read.
That aside, the main part of the book is entertaining, witty, and convincing. You suffer with Tiggy, who must face the demise of her father and lay her inner demons to rest. You rejoice with Bridget, who finds her feet as an author of theatre plays, albeit hampered by her eccentric husband. You worry with Bridget, whose son, Aster wants money to secure his success as a surgeon. Harry, a contractor, engaged to rebuild Tiggy’s family home, quickly discovers his romantic interest in Tiggy. The life in the Hamptons village runs parallel with the theatre piece’s plot in weird and wonderful ways, and Tina-Marie Miller weaves the strains together into a wonderful piece of women’s fiction.

***

Lesley Hayes, Written In Water, Book One, Exits And Entrances

In Our Time We Play Many Parts

Rosalind, Beatrice, and Cordelia are childhood and school friends. Rosalind is ‘a defiant heathen with a stain of catholic guilt’, Cordelia ‘believes in an infinite power’, and Beatrice claims that ‘religion is a torture chamber’. Will they be able to remain friends for life as they want to, or will life and their different beliefs tear them apart?

These are the questions that make up the weft of this, the first part of the trilogy Written in Water. Rosalind, Beatrice, and Cordelia face differing challenges, but they keep their relationship intact during the sixties.

The Cuba Crisis, sexual liberation, the gay movement, and political questions are brought to life through Ms Hayes’ excellent writing. Her characters are lifelike and substantial. They fight their way through exits and entrances. A great book that takes isolation as its main theme. The isolation that every human being must deal with. The three girls, our protagonists, are outcasts. One, Cordelia, has rich parents but is a starry-eyed romantic whose dreams get shattered by a violent husband she has met in India. The other one, Beatrice, has lost her suicidal father and must care for her nerve-wracked and depressed mother. She, Beatrice, is a lesbian in times when it was prohibited to be gay. The third protagonist, Rosalind, is successful in her career but insecure in her private life. Then there’s Paddy, who lost his beloved and found Rosalind’s gay brother.

Everybody must suffer losses to have a chance to find themselves. The three young women stick together, regardless of their different approach to life. They don’t intrude and aren’t always available for one another, but in the big crises that come to every man or woman, they stand together. Intrinsic in the plot lies the separateness and inability to reach out that mars most lives. It’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking book. The characters are strong and authentic. Compelling and empathic, Ms Hayes writes with a deep understanding of human individuality.

***

Martha Perez, Broken Pieces

Abuse Breaks Lives

A family of drunkards, an evil stepmother, and a gallery of characters, spanning from nasty girls to loving boys, and from a weak father to a stern granny. Only Abby’ sister has backbone, but she disappears out of Abby’s life too early to be helpful.

When reading Broken Pieces, I couldn’t help wondering if Ms Perez had made the daring choice to ignore all grammar rules to give the protagonist her true voice. Certainly, the device is powerful. Abby cannot be portrayed in any other way. If she’d told her story in polished sentences, her suffering wouldn’t be easy to believe. As it is, the abuse she endures throughout the book, the characters around her, and her strange choices come to life. It takes getting used to though, and I found myself rethinking many sentences.

What strikes you is that Abby never grows up. She is the ideal victim, and it gets so bad that she can’t see her plight. This is a disturbing read and shows how easily a human being can go under.

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Alex Baily, Once Upon a Romance

Christmassy Disney World Romance

In this sweet and sour, beautifully written, romance, suffused with gentle humour, we meet Ariel, an eight-year-old who has lost her mother. We meet her aunt, Sophie who, in a family of Disney lovers, is the odd one out. We meet her boyfriend, Darren, the up-and-coming businessman. Finally, the cast is complete with a Disney expert – a blogger – whom the fates present to Sophie. As her dead sister cannot take Ariel, Sophie invites her niece to Disneyland at Christmas.

The plot puts Sophie’s convictions to the test and analyses her lack of enthusiasm with regards to the Disney enterprise. Ms Baily uses the two males in Sophie’s life as a device to show the rigid businessperson, Darren up against the creative and life confirming blogger, Ray AKA Professor Disney. Everything comes together during the Christmas fireworks in this feelgood piece of charming escapism.

***

Mary R Woldering, Voices in Crystal

World Mythos Fantasy

We are in ancient Egypt, in the period of the Old Kingdom. Amerei is a simple shepherd who seeks his goddess. In songs and dreams, he beseeches her to come to him. When a star falls, Amerei sets out to discover if his beloved deity, Ashera – Queen of Heaven – has finally come to him.

Aboard the Goddess Boat, he finds the Children of the Stone who send him on a mission to bring a bag of crystals to Djedi, son of Sneferu, founding pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty.

With him he brings three women, fallen sisters who, like Amerei, have been healed and endowed with magical powers aboard the Goddess Boat. The three women function as a triad, representing three aspects of the goddess. Amerei worships them as such and develops a strong as well as sexual relationship to them all.

Their quest is fraught with drama and violence.

Ms Woldering mixes Ancient myth and Sci-Fi visions into a colourful if slow-moving narrative that touches on spirit walking priests, singing stars, as well as human desire and violence. She evokes pictures of gleaming pyramids but puts emphasis on her characters’ uncertainties and doubts. There is no space for rational thought in a realm and time where intuition rules the day. In that, she puts up a mirror of today’s world where authority isn’t always trustworthy and trusty people have little or no authority.

It is a pity that her writing style tends to repetition – especially of songs and prayers – something that will put off some readers. All in all, there is food for thought in this mythical and historical fantasy. My only regret is that Ms Woldering ends the story with a cliff hanger. The idea that people will only continue reading a series if every volume ends with a significant hook never appealed to me.  

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Fernando Trujillo Sanz, Get out of my Dreams

Dreams and Reality Meet

Strange happenings occur as vicious twins haunt the dreams of the protagonist in this extraordinary tale. In it, a teenage boy talks about his life, which is full of contradiction. Regardless of his parents’ economic situation, he goes to a public school. Why? Partly because it seems embarrassing to him to be an upper-class kid, partly to stay in touch with his best friend.

FT Sanz let the readers gain insight into the turbulence that often mars adolescent life. As the protagonist loses his grab on reality, his dreams seem to break the laws of humanity and show him his family in a new light.

The twins become the excuse and the catalyst that fills his life with suspense and intrigue.

The translation from the original Spanish seems to captivate FT Sanz’ prose and renders a tale that will haunt your thoughts.

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© HMH, 2020

Categories
HM Poetry

Ball playing Mongrel

Flapping ears mark her longing to fly

But the bitch never misses a ball.

Frisbees, sticks, anything will do

She catches high balls or curves

Gleefully straining and running for her life

Jumping higher than any cow, trying for the moon.

Grannies and children beware!

The exuberant buoyancy of this dame

Takes no prisoners:

Greetings mostly end with mongrel and co in a heap on the floor.

Walks become exercises in sounding

And working like an express train

Steam engines can’t hold a candle to

The hard work initiated the moment somebody offers to put her on the line.

Blue-black eyes glitter at the feast of chewing a shoe

*

In later years, the lady found

Greater pleasure in chewing gum

Scrunched at the nearby garage.

Nobody would have thought she ever could slow down

But age and infirmity took its toll

And one day even this lightning-ball

Decided to take leave.

*

Doubtless she catches every high-flier

In the happy hunting grounds.

© HMH, 2013

Categories
HM Paintings

Anna Casamento Arrigo Mini-Series III

It is hard to believe that this is the third and last time that I can welcome Anna. Maybe we will meet again. It has been fun and remarkably interesting to hear about her journey through a difficult period of her life. At the same time, it is remarkable how positive Anna has been throughout this, for her so difficult time. I admire your strength and resilience, Anna. With that it’s my pleasure to give Anna the last word.

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As my left arm became stronger, I took greater chances with my art forms. I decided, while I knew painting beautiful faces-Cassatt, Renault, Tutty, or even Klimt, my form would be more impressionistic bordering on abstract. So my occupational therapy was taking hold and while, at times, it became tortured to wield and allow my magical brush to find its way to where I’d wish it would go, quite the contrary (I equate this to the characters in my books that take over and create a new direction for the tale). In any case, art it would be. Moreover, it was progress. This time, I included the use of my right hand, the one unaffected by the stroke. (Just as an aside, while I am ambidextrous, I do prefer to use my left for certain tasks-cutting, painting, brushing my hair/teeth-those sort of things. This I called, ‘Flutterings.’ (Much like those first sensations in my, otherwise, cadaver hand).

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Here’s a reminder of Anna’s links:

https://www.annacasamentoarrigo.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Casamento-Arrigo/e/B00G2UY84G%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

***

© HMH, 2020

Categories
HM On Writing

Spoiler Alert!!!

Have you ever experienced that, after writing a review, somebody shouted spoiler alert?

I have, and that made me think. Yes, in that review, I mentioned things that emerge within the story but, in my opinion, it wasn’t the plot that moved the book forward. It was the characters and their inner lives.

Honestly, I’ve never understood why it should be necessary to keep the plot of a psychological novel a secret.  It made me ask myself if we only read to be surprised.

In that case, I’d give up many books – because the plot is too obvious. I’ve seldom been surprised but, since my childhood, my reason for reading was never to find out about the storyline. If anything, my reason for reading is to see how the author uses the plot to develop characters or vice versa. Perhaps my main reason for reading is to enjoy the language – if the author is worth his or her mettle.

Merely reading for a plot would mean that nobody could enjoy a fairy tale. This has something to do with the idea that there are only a certain set of plots to choose from. To me, it is obvious that certain plots get plenty of repeat performances. Those are: boy meets girl (romance), crime capers, fantasy, vampire stories, and even horror ditto. The Westerns also have their set course, and that goes for any genre fiction.

Does that stop us from reading? No. What keeps us reading is those little and significant differences in the way an author, any author, presents the story. It’s colours and flavours if you like. What interests a reader cannot be the plot. Perhaps the only themes that avoid that are fantasy and Sci-Fi. If the narrative includes world building it isn’t unlikely that this stands in the foreground. All the same, it is the relationships between the characters, their way to cope – or not – that captivate a reader. Isn’t it?

Why do we read? In my opinion, it is to find out what it is to be a human being. We are that close to Narcissus.  We like to hold a mirror up and see that we all are alike deep down. We may shudder to think that we could commit murder. We may get carried away into a blossoming romance. We may root for the hero – or for the charming villain.

The seven basic plots are ‘overcoming the monster, rags to riches, quest, voyage (and return), rebirth, comedy, and tragedy. In those categories, there are already similarities though. Overcoming a monster – even if it is innate in the protagonist – is similar to a quest. So is a voyage and a rebirth. All of the above can be written or told as comedy or tragedy. Rags to riches is another form of a journey and so would the opposite (riches to rags) be.

Apparently, a British economist, Francis Isidro Edgeworth was the first to use the so-called hedonometer, a method to measure happiness in writing. Later, Kurt Vonnegut used this idea to measure the fluctuations between good and evil in simple tales.

At the bottom line, it is important to remember that even if there are only seven stories, or three, or six, or whatever researchers suggest next – it doesn’t mean you don’t have a worthwhile story to tell. From a framework perspective, it may all have been done before – but only the most cynical could use that as a reason not to write. So, could only the most cynical use this as a reason not to read.

What comes to the front of this analysing lark is that we aren’t so taken with the plot as we are with exploring our humanity. So, where does a review come into the scheme of things? If all stories follow a narrow pattern, the review must be about delving into what inspired the reviewer to think. If anything did. Maybe my thought here is that a spoiler can’t spoil an excellent book – one that has more to offer than merely a plot. A book that lets the reader delve into what it might be that makes humans tick offers far more.

Hence, I dare to suggest that there’s no point in reading books that get spoiled through a ‘spoiler’.

© HMH, 2020

Categories
HM Poetry

Lover-Boy

He said: I’ll miss you too.

He said: we’ll stay in touch.

Weeks passed

*

She waited unwearyingly, trusting his words.

Once she wrote and every day afterwards

She looked for his non-existent answer.

She puzzled about it but found no reason:

Nothing to solve the riddle

That haunted her waking hours and

Turned to nightmares in the dark.

*

Remembering how it began, she wondered.

Reluctant or merely confused

He seemed arduous but sweet.

*

His passion kindled regardless of every misgiving

And so, she relaxed, accepted the marvel.

Snowed under by charming or often silly letters

She dared believing that he loved too.

*

Their intimacy soared

Lovemaking, tender and passionate

Taught her to feel sheltered and cared for

Until they were almost caught out

(Clandestine affairs never thrive)

*

At present she still sits on a monument

Smiling at grief

***

***

© HMH, 2013

Categories
HM Paintings

Anna Casamento Arrigo Mini-Series II

It is a great pleasure to present Anna’s second instalment in this mini-series, concentrating on her – other – talent. Anna is an accomplished poet and author, who has great success with her writing. Here we focus on her paintings, which are beautiful as well as unique.

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Slowly, ever so slowly, as fluttering began in my paralyzed left hand, I began pushing its use so that I could attempt new and paintings that had had greater detail and depth. It wasn’t always easily accomplished and, admittedly, quite a few attempts ended upon the trash. Nevertheless, since this new discovery and cathartic, and satisfying release encouraged my need to bring about and, yes, even awakening of all I, just months earlier, thought all, I, was lost. My occupational therapy continued both at Kessler and, more so, at home! My second painting, using the drop method once again, I called ‘A Congregation of Swans.’

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Here’s a reminder of Anna’s links:

https://www.annacasamentoarrigo.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Casamento-Arrigo/e/B00G2UY84G%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

© HMH, 2020