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Einstein And Human Consciousness (Eternity Is An Instant): Brad Buettner

April 22, 2010 6 comments

HEALTH/INSPIRATION

Which is more important: the practical or the sublime? Are you a Doer or a Dreamer? Brad Buettner has over twenty-four years of experience utilizing his physics degree in a wide array of engineering and management assignments. With this background he examines early twentieth-century physics and human relationships observed during his professional tenure to illustrate how Einstein’s theory of relativity pertains to our perception of time and how it explains divisions in our outlook. By applying the theory of relativity to human consciousness, Buettner discovers the motivation for personal inclination toward either the practical or the abstract.

Buettner defines total reality as containing more than the reality our senses perceive. When discussing alternate forms of reality, however, he insists on measurable and observable conclusions, eliminating references to mysticism, magic, or mystery. He outlines an engaging search for the unlikely possibility of interaction with the reality that existed before the Big Bang.

Einstein in Human Consciousness: Eternity is an Instant provides stunning revelations concerning human reality. Does your world extend beyond that perceived by the physical senses? If so, why? Buettner offers the answers to these questions by explaining an aspect of reality that was previously elusive.

Brad Buettner received physics and metallurgical degrees from Benedictine and Lehigh Universities, which he applied to a varied career in engineering and management. He’s lived or worked in New York City, Baltimore, Princeton, and the Chicago area. He has a wife and two sons and currently resides in the Chicago suburbs.

Brad Buettner might have written his book Einstein and Human Consciousness: Eternity is an Instant around an interesting theory, and he certainly has an easy, fluent writing style. But both were spoiled for me by his repeated reassurances that I would be able to understand his reasoning if I only tried, even if I wasn’t very highly educated. I found some of his comments about this patronising, and at times almost insulting.

When Buettner commented, “Dreamers have a different view of reality than Doers, and the reason is that Dreamers concentrate on a different reality altogether. Dreamers have found a peculiar aspect of human consciousness that has different properties than the physical reality that our senses detect” I wonder if he realised that he was casting Dreamers as “other”?

Buettner is at his best when he explains proven, accepted concepts: his account of relative time is clear, elegant and interesting. His writing is good; his text is beautifully error-free. But in trying to reach a wider audience he’s only succeeded in patronising us all; and he’s perhaps revealed more about himself than he had planned to in places. I stopped reading on page nine, when I came across this:

Imagine the ridicule simpler minds must have given Einstein when they first heard his proposal.

I don’t like the implication that anyone less clever than Einstein (which, let’s face it, includes pretty much most of us) would have automatically ridiculed him for proposing his theory: most, I suspect, would have asked him questions and tried to understand it for themselves. The human race is usually more curious than it is judgemental: if we weren’t, we would never have escaped our more superstitious beliefs and reached the moon. Because of that I’m not going to judge Mr. Buettner for apparently thinking so little of his readers: instead I’m going to wonder how much better his book would have been if he’d worked with someone who challenged his ideas and edited out all of his more patronising bits. How good could it have been then?

Petalon: Cornelius W Hyzer, Sr

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment

History flows like a river with tributaries and small streams feeding it on its inexorable journey to the sea. Sometimes it is blocked by ice or artificial dams, but it always breaks through. Floods and droughts change the level of the water, making it flow faster or slower, destructively or congenially. Most people enjoy the quiet times by the river, but historians prefer the rapids and violent waterfalls.

I read just eight pages of Petalon, which is a shame. If Mr. Hyzer had revised this book more thoroughly and paid more careful attention to the details, he could have had a real winner on his hands.

The little I read was full of potential: I think there could be a good story here, and the author does show an understanding of structure and pacing, which are both very important in fiction. However, his writing was often jumbled and confusing; he drops chunks of exposition into his text which further disrupt its flow; he makes sweeping statements which range from wrong to ludicrous; and he really needs to improve his copy-editing skills if he wants to hold his readers’ attention.

I did come across the odd undercurrent of excitement in the text: brief moments when there was a buzz of tension, which reminded me a little of Grisham and Coben. The difference is that both Grisham and Coben establish that tension early and then maintain it for pages at a time, whereas in Hyzer’s text it’s gone almost as soon as it appears.

Petalon looks suspiciously like an early attempt at writing to me. This writer has the potential to achieve much more, and to be much better. Whether he’ll realise that potential is entirely up to him, and the effort that he’s prepared to put in from now on.

Lines of Neutrality: SB Jung

January 21, 2010 3 comments

FICTION/THRILLERS

Lines of Neutrality is a window into the lives of two modern-day assassins—Raven Yin and Christian Delacroix. Unbeknownst to either of them, they are both hired to kill the same mark and coincidentally choose the exact same night and time to strike. This begins a chain of events that brings Raven and Christian together to fight a war far larger and more complex than either of them could have imagined. It is a war being waged against secret societies whose agendas are more enigmatic than their rumoured existence.

Their personalities and methods are fundamentally different, yet each of them discovers more about themselves by studying the other. Despite secret societies, internal betrayal, stolen memories and personal battles, Raven and Christian defy the odds to show that the Society of Assassins is nobody’s pawn.

S. B. Jung has been an English teacher since 2002. She has been writing plays, poems, and novels since 1997; Lines of Neutrality is her first published work. Her husband Matthew and son Aiden have been her strength, encouragement, and inspiration as she continues to write and create more worlds for readers to enter and enjoy.

SB Jung is a writer with real promise and Lines of Neutrality: Book One of the Assassin Chronicles has an interesting premise. Her text is lovely and clean, her grammar is pretty much spot-on, and I found that the pages of this book turned with a very pleasing swiftness: but despite all that, only read as far as page seventeen.

The problems I found were, for the most part, small and easy to correct: for example, the appendix is the first thing I found after the dedication page but the information it provides is confusing when presented here—it would have been much better placed at the back of the book; the cover design is unprofessional, and not terribly attractive; and the text on that front cover is blurry, slightly out of focus, and is in a font which really isn’t clear enough. The copy on the back cover needs attention too: it’s a little confused, a little cliched, and in places doesn’t quite make sense.

Moving on to the main text, then, I found a few quibbles which a decent edit would almost certainly resolve: there were some contradictions and lapses of logic which caused me to pause and rethink, and so spoilt the flow as I read. But the biggest problem that I had was that while this text is far more fluent and absorbing than most of the books I’ve reviewed here, it is still quite clearly the work of a novice writer—a talented and potentially very capable one, but still a novice.

I’d like to see what Ms Jung’s writing becomes when she’s written, and read, a great deal more. I have the feeling she could turn out to be competent and productive, and that in the years to come she might well produce books which are far superior to this good-but-flawed beginner’s effort.

The Genius of the Metropolis: Ronnie Lee

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Philosophy & Social Aspects

WHEN THE MATERIAL WORLD ENCOUNTERS THE SPIRITUAL REALM

This book is meant to show you,
Some connections between money,
Politics, economics and business,
To spirituality, morality and philosophy.

Much theory has been understood,
Regarding monetary policy,
But this book is meant to just remind us,
How this material World,
Interacts with our spiritual,
And moral compass…

The Genius of the Metropolis: Spiritual Economics and General Philosophy is the fifth volume of philosophy and poetry written by well-renowned author Ronnie Ka Ching Lee. In this latest work, Lee takes a holistic approach to the study of economics, approaching it with the heart of a poet in order to better understand the true nature of business. The Genius of the Metropolis analyses good and evil, social problems, duty, and work, and offers the reader ways to adapt and win at what he calls “the metropolitan life.”

Lee has lived and studied in the United Kingdom, and now dwells in Hong Kong. His previous works for Outskirts Press include The Book of Life, the Meaning of Life, The Philosophy of Life, and Poems of Life: Inspirational Knowledge for Life.

There’s a good reason why few commercial publishers publish poetry: even the best collections sell in very small numbers and just aren’t commercially viable. Mr. Lee would have done well to consider that before publishing The Genius of the Metropolis: Spiritual Economics and General Philosophy: not only is it a collection of poems, it’s a big book; it runs to 638 pages and weighs over two pounds.

I am not convinced that poetry—which is a traditionally unpopular form, much as I love it—is the best form for Lee to use to reveal the complexities of his own very personal philosophy of how economics and spirituality intertwine. Despite poetry’s brevity and apparent simplicity it’s a very difficult form to get right. It requires really stringent revision and editing, and depends on a clarity and depth of meaning which is completely lacking from Mr. Lee’s work.

The poems in this book are full of unnecessary repetition, their meanings are rarely clear, and the author’s logic is often completely out of kilter with the real world. On several occasions I found myself having to stop and re-read in an attempt to unravel the meanings behind Mr. Lee’s completed prose, and more than once I failed completely on that front.

This book would gain a lot by being edited strongly and cut by at least half; and if the author would learn about logic and fallacy before attempting those tasks, he would do himself, and his future readers, a great favour. I read just five pages, I’m afraid.

Until The Deep Water Stills: Michael Robert Dyet

December 3, 2009 2 comments

For Katherine Orr the words “I love you” are not enough. Only a demonstrative expression of her husband Jayce’s love can rescue their relationship. But Jayce’s personal demons prevent him from giving her this even though he knows that she is all that stands between him and a descent into chaos.

Simultaneously, Bryan struggles to repair the breach of love in his life caused by the death of his daughter. But his wife Jayce’s sister, grows ever more distant. Charismatic social activist Faith, who longs for love but fears she will lose herself in it, unwittingly becomes the catalyst for change in the lives of all four characters.

The paths of these four converge toward a tragic event as each struggles to decipher the intricacies of love lost and love found. Each discovers in their own way that love is the living core of human existence and that how we love defines who we are.

Visit http://www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog after each chapter for another dimension of this internet-enhanced novel.

Michael Dyet holds an Honours B.A., summa cum laude, in Creative Writing from York University. His professional writing experience spans journalism to marketing copywriting. Until the Deep Water Stills, his debut novel, weaves together memorable characters with a tightening web of external events. It ranges from lyrical to provocative in its style and from introspective to universal in its message.

Michael Dyet, the author of Until the Deep Water Stills, has an impressive list of qualifications and experience which I hoped would be reflected in his writing: he has a BA in creative writing, and has experience in journalism and copywriting. And he’s tied this novel to a website to add a further level of meaning to his text, which has the potential to be interesting.

The problem is that when I read a book I don’t want to have to keep referring back to the internet to get the full story. I want a book to be self-contained and complete: its own little world, into which I can disappear. Clicking about on the internet will drag me out of that world: it’s a distraction, and one which I found only detracted from my experience of this book.

And what an experience it was… the book is horribly over-written. Here is its first paragraph:

Shattering glass rescued Katherine from her dream. Aftershocks mingled in her half-awake brain with the elusive church bells now retracted seven years into the past. Jayce’s arm had knocked a water glass of the night table as he shifted in bed. How strangely prophetic, she thought, that he should fall into complicity with her dream. He did not hear the crash just as he did not hear the bells in her dream.

This sort of overwriting is neither literary nor clever: it’s just overdone (and bear in mind here that literary fiction is my genre-of-choice: I am not unaware of its conventions or standards). Dyet’s writing is far too complicated, and he often favours that complication over clarity and meaning. The text is thick with clever-sounding phrases, many of which make little sense; and I found a lot of clichés buried in his overdone language.

The back-cover copy is predictably weak; the punctuation clean enough, although I did pick up a few problems with it as I read. But overall, this book fails because it is so very badly over-written. I read just three of its three hundred and ten pages, but it felt more like fifteen.

File Under Fiction: Martin Locock

November 26, 2009 7 comments

File Under Fiction is a debut collection of short stories by Martin Locock.

In Change and Decay, an archivist’s visit to a crumbling gentry estate reveals a history of sharp practice and opportunism belying the elegant exterior, and he becomes embroiled in their current intrigues.

Exchange Mechanism is a science fiction story exploring what would happen if we could see inside other people’s minds.

Candle on the Table follows a frustrated solicitor’s obsession with a perfect family, unaware that it conceals dark secrets.

The world of a maverick PR man and the Toronto Mafia collide in The Gift of the Gab.

In The Time Zone Rule, two colleagues are sent at short notice to Morocco; they find the romance of the situation irresistible, but one night’s folly changes their lives for ever.

All the stories explore moral issues within a framework of spare narration and realistic characterisation, overlain by sardonic humour and elegance of expression. They have been described as “funny, accurate and deeply cynical.”

Martin Locock is an author and poet who works as a project manager at the National library of Wales. Previously he had worked in commercial archaeology, publishing extensively on a range of obscure topics. He was born in 1962 and has lived near Swansea since 1991. He is married with three children. He writes a blog, A Few Words (http://locock.blogspot.com).

I have a small emotional attachment to this book: its author lives in the same Welsh town where my grandfather was born and foolishly this gave me hope that the book would be good. Sadly, I was disappointed.

I did appreciate the errata which the author provided which read, “Corrections. A battle of wills between author and a subversive spellcheck program has led to the replacement of some words with ‘emoraliz’.” Sadly the errata is not quite extensive enough: both ‘emoraliz’ and ‘emoralized’ make appearances, accompanied by those little empty squares which appear in various computer programs when a special character is saved in a format which the program doesn’t support: a good edit would easily have found this problem; its appearance implies problems with the person who typeset the book rather than a rampaging spellchecker; and as this book was printed via Lulu (which is exclusively POD) there was almost certainly no print run of defective books: the author felt that these books were good enough to go out with this error in place. And on that point, I strongly disagree.

The punctuation was erratic, particularly the use of dashes (hyphens are often used where dashes are required, with odd and inconsistent spacing around them); a couple of punctuation marks escaped from the quote-marks which should have enclosed them; and there were a good few surplus commas scattered throughout the text.

The writing provided me with the biggest disappointment: it was flat and dull and unengaging and no more than the barest attempt was made to catalogue the events presented. The characters had no life; the events were dull; there was no depth to the work, and no texture, apart from a couple of places where the author’s voice, and opinions, intruded. And there, too, was a problem: I couldn’t agree with the opinions he voiced, and they were presented in jargon-cluttered language which made them difficult to decipher.

On top of all of that there were issues with the grammar too. I read just nine out of a total of 187 printed pages and hope that this writer polishes his work much more thoroughly before he considers publishing anything else.

(This book doesn’t appear to be listed on Amazon so I’m unable to include a cover image or a link to its sale page.)

As They Grow Older: S M Cashmore

November 19, 2009 7 comments

Witch Street is paved with stories for children. Strange stories. Spooky stories. Halloween stories.

This collection, AS THEY GROW OLDER, has a life of its own. Starting with The Toyman and The Grumpy Browns to fascinate the very young, the stories themselves grow older, stranger and spookier, until the almost adult Last and Longest Story at the very end.

AS THEY GROW OLDER should be read with the lights dimmed, read aloud at Halloween. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, there is a spooky story in this collection written especially for them to listen to…..

If they dare.

This collection of short, spooky stories is cleaner than most, with a mercifully-low error-count. The writer has a fluent, if rather naive style; and he has a good grasp of grammar, too. These things count strongly in his favour and were I reading this as a slush-pile submission rather than a published book, those good points would mean that he was automatically in the top ten per cent of the work before me.

He would still receive a rejection, though. His tone is at times a little patronising and while that might have worked a few decades ago it’s no longer acceptable in children’s fiction; and his stories, while perfectly pleasant, are neither convincing nor compelling. The story Nearly Nine describes a monster which lives in the narrow space behind the wardrobe: consequently, it’s shaped like a bath mat (and I quite liked that idea). The bath mat monster ripples across the bedroom floor one night, creeps up onto the bed where a child lies sleeping and—here’s the punchline—wishes him a happy birthday. And that’s the end of the story. This could have been done so much better: had the monster approached the child a few times but been thwarted, and had the reader had known that the monster felt the time was running out, the reader would have wondered why it wanted to reach the boy and there would have been some real tension to the story. As it is, we have some funny description of the monster, a brief moment of tension—and then it’s over, and nothing much has happened.

I’d advise this writer to work more on the structure of his stories, to consider developing their narrative arcs a little more fully, and to update his tone just a little. I read a respectable forty-nine pages out of a total of 369, and feel that this writer has plenty of unrealised potential.

The Bouncing Boy: Ilia

November 12, 2009 2 comments

The bouncing boy lives a life of ridicule and misfortune until one day his help was needed to save his village from a stinking problem. An exciting adventure ensues with the bouncing boy and an unlikely comrade, an elder from the village. Will this duo survive the trip to find the solution to save the village?

The Bouncing Boy is an entertaining modern day fairy tale enjoyed by kids 1-100 years old.

This is a singularly unattractive book. The illustrations are off-putting, and very uneven: that awful cover illustration is repeated inside, not once but twice, and after that, the illustrations change entirely in both style and sophistication (I suspect that they are produced by photoshopping photographs, but can’t be sure). The text clearly comes from a novice writer, and shows the usual mistakes: hyphens used instead of dashes, misplaced punctuation, odd capitalisations, occasional contradictions, errors in grammar, and a few sentences which made no sense at all. A lot of these problems could have been resolved by careful edit: but this writer would do better to work on becoming a better writer, and then write a better book. I read just three of its 54 pages.

Where Is She Now? Frances Gilbert

October 29, 2009 1 comment

Rosemary wants only to feel the calm promised in the hymns of her childhood, she wants to ‘lay down her burden and enter in.’

Cradling her green pocket book wrapped in an old green shawl, she wanders through her daily life with her husband Brian, her traumatized self, and her alter ego, the bossy and competent Anna. Something has happened in the past, centering on her baby, but Rosemary can’t quite remember what it was. And where is the baby now? As she oscillates between rational and delusional spells she seeks validation and support from the inanimate object around her, the cups on the shelf, the knobs on the bedposts, the books in the bookcase, and the houses lining the streets. In her conversations with them we see a Rosemary who is not quite as deranged as she seems, and Brian, not quite as supportive as he would like to have you believe.

The book is set in a fictional amalgam of two small English towns.

When I first received Frances Gilbert’s Where Is She Now? I had very high hopes for it: it seemed much more accomplished than many of the other submissions that I’ve looked at. But in the end, a slew of punctuation problems and confusing constructions did for this book: I had found my fifteen errors before I reached the end of its second page.

Despite that, I continued reading to the end of page seven. I found plenty more problems and mistakes as I read on, but there was something rather lovely about the writing here which pulled me along with it. Gilbert’s writing has a light and lyrical quality: there’s a rhythm and poetry to her words which I found quite bewitching and (assuming, of course, that the plot is strong enough and well-constructed) if she had spent more time working on her grammar and punctuation I would have been able to give this book a very positive review indeed.

Outside The Lavender Closet: Martha A Taylor

October 22, 2009 2 comments

Fiction

What is it that makes us straight or gay?
Is it environment or genetics?
Choice, chance or maybe even persuasion?

The answer to this age-old question is one that fledgling writer Margaret Allen sets out to discover as she endeavors to complete her first book. Taking on a subject she believes she knows well, she begins a very human odyssey, examining the lives of gay women, all of whom come from diverse backgrounds and mindsets.

Among those whom we meet are —

the florist, whose parents try to “cure” her of her homosexuality;
the twins who, separated at birth, live their lives at opposite ends of the economic spectrum;
the radiant redhead and her three failed marriages;
the poet who spent most of her young adult years as a nun;
the Kentucky woman who, as a new bride, makes a rather shocking discovery;
and the non-verbal, wheelchair-bound woman, who is a political activist with an extraordinary ability to communicate.

As we share in their deeply personal narratives, Margaret’s book ultimately raises the question: “Are relationships between two women really all that different than heterosexual ones?”

Outside the Lavender Closet brings to life a collection of contemporary stories inspired by actual women and true events.

Martha A Taylor’s Outside the Lavender Closet: Inspired by True Stories is affectionately-written and has an easy charm to it: I genuinely liked the narrator and her group of friends and I wanted the book to do well, but in the end it was let down by a series of careless errors which include all the usual suspects: punctuation, spelling, grammar, homophone substitution, cliché, and some rather odd logic.

That list of errors sounds much more damning than it should. There were lots of errors, and the text is often clumsy: in order to bring this book up to a publishable standard it needs to be completely rewritten, to sort out all the confusion and unbelievable dialogue; it needs a very strong edit to make it coherent and tight; and it needs a full copy-edit to clear away all those irritating errors. That’s a lot of work, none of which would be worth doing on a text which was completely substandard: but I think it’s worth doing here because despite all of its problems this one has a warmth and a character to it which most of the books I’ve reviewed here lack. It might well turn out to be a bit of a treasure if it were properly worked up. As it is, it’s just not good enough, I’m afraid, and I read just three of its one hundred and forty-nine pages.

Romancing the Claddagh: Ruby Dominguez

October 15, 2009 13 comments

Fiction Romance/Mystery Horror/Drama

The breathtaking mystery of the Irish Claddagh unraveled!

On a fire singed wall not so far away from the tragedy, a collage of photographs shaped the heartbreaking desperation of a city in search of missing love ones. A rescue recovery centre is deluged with a cascade of hundreds of Irish CLADDAGH rings uncovered from the collapsed World Trade Center at Ground Zero. The legend of the CLADDAGH’S origin entwines with romance of love tales, perilous adventures, mystery and royalty. A distinctively unique, timeless and honoured treasure of Irish heritage that is no stranger to love, tragedy and triumph. FOR IT WAS ONCE UPON A TIME, a sigil painted on an exclusive white sale of the Fisher King Ship marked with a crown, a pair of hands clasping the escutcheon of Nassau, evident of the crest of the royal house to which Liam, the King of CLADDAGH belongs, was recreated into a great spherical gold brooch to adorn the velvet lavender cloak of his future queen: Rowena, a descendant of ancient Ireland’s fiery crimson-haired goddess Macha, who wreaked a terrible powerful curse upon the northern kings of Ireland’s bloodline. An Irish phenomenon: its famous adage of “Let Love, Loyalty and Friendship Reign,” still eloquently resonates to this day.

Ruby Dominguez, creatively inscribes a link between fantasy and reality, life and eternity, love and constancy; capturing the essence of her vision. She also penned, THE PERUKE MAKER -The Salem Witch Hunt Curse. Both are Fiction Romance/Mystery/or/Drama/Tragedy Screenplays of a CURSE TRILOGY. The Peruke Maker was professionally reviewed by LEJEN Literary Consultants and attained a Good Script Coverage/Analysis. “Visually compelling, provocative, suspenseful, memorable, smooth pace with excellent twists and turns. By LEE LEVINSON

Ruby Dominguez is a brave woman: she is only the second person to have sent me more than one book to review. Her first book, The Peruke Maker: The Salem Witch Hunt Curse, had little to recommend it; and Romancing the Claddagh: The Curse of Macha, her second, is probably even worse.

I shan’t comment in detail about the back cover copy which is quoted in full above: it stands for itself. It’s jumbled, confusing, and tells me nothing about the book which would encourage me to buy it. The jacket design is a disaster: it’s strangely off-putting, and I wonder if that the girl in the image really is old enough to pose naked (and assuming she is, why does she look quite so sweaty?). I’d have preferred a more legible font for the title, too.

The book gets no better inside. It begins with a prologue which is just as confusing as the back cover copy:

Prologue

Guardedly, I listened to the echoes of my heart, yet fervently chased it down the deep recessions of a dark sacred chamber, where unspoken intimate emotions of agony and ecstasy come to surface.

Like a goldsmith, I creatively hammer down a precious link between fantasy and reality, life and eternity, love and constancy.

Herein pressed between the pages is the essence of my vision.

That’s on page i; then on the next page we have a single paragraph (which is repeated in full a few pages later, in a different context) with the title Time Period, which reads:

A rescue recovery centre is deluged with a cascade of HUNDREDS of Irish CLADDAGH RINGS recovered from the collapsed World Trade Center, at ground Zero.

Is this part of the setup information or has the screenplay begun? Despite it reading like a scene description, I have to assume that it is part of the setup, because the pages which follow contain character lists and locations. Page numbering then begins again, and we have a montage set before us which includes the following quotes:

An unforgettable stark landscape of inferno, pandemonium and death is broadcasted on TELEVISION and RADIOS across a horrified nation and to the shocked world.

ASH-MOLTEN ROADS are creased with GRIEF-STRICKEN FACES, engulfed with sorrowful CRIES of the CLADDAGH ring as a frame of reference to help find and identify love ones.

On this page alone I found fourteen mistakes. I already had more than enough to base this review upon, but something compelled me to read on. The screenplay continues to page five; then on page six we have this:

V

Time Period

CLADDAGH VILLAGE 17TH CENTURY

Fishermen leave the safety of the stony shores, love of family and comfort of home to set out to sea to make a living, in spite of the danger of abduction by seafaring pirates and treacherous weather.

Hence, to live in Claddagh is to be a fisherman, or starve.

Or to be abducted by treacherous weather, perhaps.

Some of you might notice that the conclusion there does not follow on from the paragraph which precedes it; so this is a fallacious argument. It’s not part of the action of the screenplay so what’s it doing here? And why is it followed by a list of characters and locations? We have five more pages of such setup before the screenplay begins again.

I’ll admit: I’ve read on through this, to try to make sense of it: but I failed. It’s jumbled, confusing, and at times cringingly badly written. All of the segments I’ve read show a sentimental affection for a non-existent, stereotypical, Hollywood kind of Irish; and what little I’ve read of the historical sections are very ill-informed. In addition, stage directions are used to fill in the plot’s back story and background: it’s bad enough encountering information dumps on the page, but how is this information meant to be conveyed to the audience if this play is ever performed?

I’m very concerned that the Lejen Literary Consultancy has told Ms Dominguez that this book shows promise, because in its current form, it isn’t good at all. Based on its judgement of this book, I strongly urge all writers to avoid the Lejen Literary Consultancy and if you’re still not convinced, read this thread at Absolute Write. I read four pages out of a possible 130 and if I’d observed my “fifteen strikes and you’re out” rule strictly I would have not read even that far.

A Different Kind Of Sentinel: Sir E J Drury II

October 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Personal Memoir

Having grown up in eastern Missouri, Sir E. J. entered the Navy after a brief stint at the US Naval Academy. For two long years did he struggle, in and out of sleep, with the true enemy of mankind — the Beast. And for the past twenty has he struggled to give form to this book, that you, the reader, might decide to join the fray and save humanity from its self and the destructive side of its animal nature.

A TREK THROUGH THE DARK SIDE IN SEARCH OF SOUL AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

“…a truly remarkable memoir that is as much about the author as it is about the soul and their eventual reunion…”

“Haven’t you heard? The Beast has been unleashed.”
“What beast?” you ask.
“Why that part of Nature which still defies Consciousness.”
“I don’t understand,” you exclaim.
“You will by the time you finish reading this story. Trust me.”
“Why should I?” You inquire.
“You have your soul to free and heaven to gain, and little time for either.”

“Once I started reading the book, I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it. You go where no one has ever dared. And for that you are to be commended.” David Stewart, Stewart Publishing

“It may very well go on to become the book of the century, or for that matter, the book of the millennium.” Harold Terbrock, Retired Carpenter

Sir E. J. Drury II (who is credited as the author of A Different Kind of Sentinel) has a pretty good grasp of punctuation overall, although he uses far too many commas which has the effect of stopping the flow of his words and giving his whole text a choppy, staccato beat. And this over-use of commas is part of a much larger problem: the style that this writer favours.

He habitually inverts his sentences and uses a dated and particular vocabulary. These two stylistic quirks combine to give his writing a dialect-like air, and the closest I can get to describing the origins of that dialect is to suggest that it’s a sort of pidgin-Biblical. It’s nowhere near as rich, textural or magnificent as the text of the King James version, though, and rather than accentuating and emphasising Drury’s text, these linguistic quirks of his only serve to knock his many writerly failures into sharper focus.

Drury’s uncomfortable style, his frequent and perplexing changes of tense, the many nonsensical sentences that I found, and his insistence on recounting great swathes of his own dreams within the text, meant that I read just five of this book’s two hundred and eighty six pages. Sadly, this is another self-published book which fails to please.

The 7 Gifts That Came To Earth: John Mellor

October 1, 2009 6 comments
Seven precious gifts bestowed on the Earth but not revealed
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A young boy is charged with finding them
“One of those unique and wonderful manuscripts that come one’s way all too rarely”“A most unusual and beautiful story that lingers in the mind long after one has read it”
~ ~ Senior Editor at a major UK PublisherThe singer emerged, and his music raged across the land, a wild, swirling cloud of chords laying waste like locusts to all that was soulless before it ..I come not to bring peace, he said

This story may be freely read on-line. But if you buy the book it will please my wife and impress my friends. Maybe yours too if you gift it to them. And you can read it in bed

For any freethinking, enquiring mind over 12
—John Mellor

I’m not a big fan of spiritual or inspirational fiction: I find it predictable, cheesy and often quite cringe-making. So I’m not the best person to review this book, which is rooted firmly in those genres.

Despite my reservations, that hideous big “7″ on the cover, and the truly horrible fonts in which this text has been set (authors: if you’re considering using fancy fonts in yourself-published book, please read this first), I thought that this little book was charming.

That doesn’t mean it’s perfect: no book is. Some of the storytelling was a little too forced and predictable from me (but that might well be down to the book’s genre which, as I’ve already explained, isn’t my favourite); the language used was a little formal and old-fashioned, which distanced me from the story and so stopped me becoming emotionally involved with it; and there were, of course, punctuation problems with it (for example, a couple of instances where a full-stop had managed to slip outside a quote-mark which should have contained it, and a dash used where a hyphen was required). There were a few lapses in meaning, to: for example, on page 21 we are told,

The specially-made gown — designed by the greatest couturier in the kingdom, assembled by a hundred hand-picked seamstresses from the finest silk of faraway lands — was cheap.

While the dress might have lookedcheap I doubt that it really was, and little lapses like that don’t help when you’re telling a story which has a deeper meaning at its core: if you can’t get the top layer right, how can the reader trust the rest?Overall, then, this is an easy read and it’s brief, too, coming in at just 167 pages. It had has shades of Jonathan Livingston Seagull to its tone; I much preferred it to The Shack, which I found trite and unauthentic; and despite its flaws and those dreadful fonts, The 7 Gifts is readable and engaging.Despite my reservations I enjoyed what I read of the book (I reached page 51), and will almost certainly read more. A good little book, and well worth considering if you’re looking for some reading in this particular genre.

The Peruke Maker: Ruby Dominguez

September 17, 2009 12 comments

The Peruke Maker: Ruby Dominguez

Fiction/Romance/Mystery/Horror/Drama/History

Salem 17th century — a bizarre and deadly detour in history!

The witch hunt hits feverish peak! Fear of the devil is as real as God. Witchcraft is a heinous crime a person could commit and is punishable by death at Gallows Hill for the victims accused of sorcery.

River reflections of Bridget’s scantily clad youthful beauty with long, wild, flowing, red hair, is frozen in fear amidst the overture of the Banshee’s foreboding and bloodcurdling wails of imminent death, that of her own.

THE PERUKE MAKER’S vengeful curse hastens chase for the innocent and is carried off by a whirl of ill-omened wind that transgresses all natural laws of time and space.

The Salem Witch Hunt Curse unearthed from necromancy, violates the course of natural events in a modern day world, relentlessly in quest for the avenger of innocent blood.

Sarah, a product of the 21st Century is inextricably caught in a fateful journey that comes full circle. But Michael’s abiding love for her triumphs over evil, transcending the grave in a magical and symbolic act of rebirth at the stroke of midnight of the Autumnal Equinox.

The Author, Ruby Dominguez is challenged by the conflicting complexities of the past and future. Undeterred, she strokes with pen the somber and bright hues of her visions.

A screenplay THE PERUKE MAKER was professionally reviewed by Lejen Literary Consultants and has attained a GOOD SCRIPT COVERAGE ANALYSIS.

“Visually compelling, provocative, suspenseful, memorable characters, smooth pace with excellent twists and turns!” — By Lee Levinson

A Curse Trilogy, she also penned screenplays:
• ROMANCING THE CLADDAGH — The Curse of Macha —
• THE RED DRAGON’S TRIANGLE — Boudicca’s Curse — COMING SOON!

She also exhibits a nifty double play of romance and comedy in the screenplay, “IT’S OVER MICHAEL, BUT…”

As I don’t have much experience in evaluating screenplays I showed The Peruke Maker: The Salem Witch Hunt Curse to a screenwriting friend of mine who has just a little expertise in the field: he’s won a handful of BAFTAs and a couple of Emmys, and although he hasn’t yet managed to grab himself an Oscar I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. You’re very likely to recognise his name if I give it: but he only agreed to comment on this book if I would allow him to do so anonymously. Here’s what he had to say:

This is a confused and confusing script. The prologue makes no sense, and what is it there for? I don’t think it’s a part of the script — it doesn’t seem to be spoken by a narrator, and that last paragraph is stunningly bad. The “time period” page makes no sense either. The lists of characters and locations don’t work. Does the movie’s action began on page 6? It’s not made clear. Is the paragraph which begins “legend has it” spoken by narrator? It isn’t attributed to any character, but it can’t be a stage direction either as it contains backstory. Two pages of this confusion then on page 8 we find the first real dialogue, and it’s awful: “I sense it behind me! It hinders my escape!” A lot of the dialogue doesn’t make sense: “Thou not let the devil take your soul away from your body!” The writer doesn’t seem to know what “thou” actually means.

The problem with scripts like this is that if the dialogue isn’t believable then the script has no chance of working when it’s filmed, or played on stage. I flicked through it and it’s consistently dull, confusing, and wooden. There’s a torture scene in it which reads like particularly badly thought-out porn, and God knows most porn is pretty badly thought out to begin with. I wouldn’t have looked any further than the cover were I not reading it as a favour for you, and can only suggest that if this writer is determined to continue writing, she either treats writing as a hobby or finds herself some good, professional tuition. Because this just isn’t good enough if she wants to get anywhere at all in the professional field.

I read up to page six before I found my fifteen errors, and I agree with all my friend has written: this is a dreadful book which contains misused words, clichés, misspellings, and errors in formatting, layout, grammar and logic.

What I don’t understand is how the Lejen Literary Consultants could have honestly given Ms Dominguez’s screenplay such a glowing reference. A little investigation led me to this thread on Absolute Write: based on the comments I read there, and the yawning gap between the Lejen Literary Consultants’ glowing praise and the reality of this book, I cannot recommend that anyone uses their services. And if you are in any doubt, and are considering paying the Lejen Literary consultants to evaluate your work, here is a direct quote from this book to give you an idea of what they consider good. I can’t reproduce the exact formatting so you’re denied that particular pleasure, but the text alone should be enough to give you an idea of what this is like.

INT. SALEM VILLAGE – JACOB’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

A naked young and enchanting lass by the name of BRIDGET CANE (SEVENTEEN), is with a married couple in bed, seemingly intoxicated.

They engage and indulge in forbidden lusty sexual desires and positions.

MOANS of pleasure reverberate the room.

MR. JACOB
(craving)
Hmmmm… Drops of pleasure between your mounds drive me wild!

BRIDGET
(teasingly TIPSY)

Such explicit bliss is hard to forget?

MRS. JACOB (EARLY THIRTIES)
(excitedly to husband)
Thy kiss is much sweeter and every thrust much harder since Bridget! I am encouraged by such performance! I crave for more!

MR. JACOB
(horny)

A feast fit for a king! Grasps my throbbing manhood as it gorges towards deep chasms of ecstasy!

I hope that makes it quite clear why I strongly suggest that writers avoid using the services of the Lejen Literary Consultancy, which praised this dreadful book.

Iman’s Isle: S A Davis

September 10, 2009 3 comments

Some treasures cannot be stolen, only lost. And if lost, may be impossible to recover.

Journey to an island paradise, the heavenly city of Casilda, and the hideous pit called Marheon and observe the creatures that dwell there and in between. Explore the struggle of good against evil, with humanity caught in the middle, and know that some unseen forces desire the destruction of humans, while others strive for their salvation.

S A Davis, the author of Iman’s Isle – A Tale of Lost Treasures seems to be yet another self-published author who is determined to present his or her book as badly as possible. I can’t be sure of Davis’s gender, as he or she has omitted to include any information about the author in the book.

The back cover copy (reproduced in full above) is full of clichés and nonsensical statements. It gives me just one clue about the genre this book fits into: those odd place-names imply that this book’s genre is probably fantasy or SF. But the back cover copy doesn’t give me any idea of what this story is about, or why it should interest me: and so it fails in the task it has, which is to inform and intrigue the book’s potential readers.

The jacket illustration is another big problem (and before you protest that this blog is meant to review books, not criticise illustrations, despite the numerous issues I have with the illustration I’ve only counted it as one strike of the fifteen I allow each book). What is that big white thing? Some sort of fruit? Perhaps it’s half a radish; but it appears to be bleeding where that creature’s claws are digging into it; and what’s with the six hands, each with six fingers? Do they all belong to one animal? Or to three two-handed creatures? Or perhaps to two animals with three hands each? And while six fingers might come in handy for back-scratching if I were this creature I would willingly trade in half of them for a single opposable thumb. To make the worst of a bad illustration, part of the creature’s furry green tail has been cropped off over on the left-hand side. This surely wasn’t done intentionally, but it makes the whole front cover look even more slapdash.

Inside the book things are little better. I found several inconsistencies in punctuation, some run-on sentences, and a few very confusing lapses in logic. The text was dull and rather confusing. The three men who appear in the opening scene all share exactly the same speech patterns: they all report their dreams in the present tense, but fall back to oddly-formal and rather archaic phrasing in past-tense for everything else; and this lack of characterisation makes it just about impossible to distinguish between them.

There was a paragraph on the very first page which was unintentionally stiff with double entendres, a large and unattributed quote facing the table of contents, and some nonsense about “revised versions” on the copyright page (either the book is a new edition or it’s not): not surprising, then, that I read only two pages of this and will now never know what that creature on the cover was really meant to be. Somehow, that doesn’t feel like a loss.

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