We live in a world of big brands, big names and celebrities, as is so wryly satirised in Ben Elton’s most recent comedy gold: Upstart Crow. In some ways, we have always had this culture. The gladiators of ancient Rome were much like the Olympic athletes we worship today. The Forum philosophers were no different to the TV personalities we watch now, offering advice on everything from sex to home-improvement.
But, the difference between our world and the ancient one (even going back only a hundred years or so) is saturation. There are simply so many more people than there used to be.
How then, can we find the gold, when everyone has a blog, everyone has a self-published book or song or film, and everyone is crying out to have their voices heard? It’s not easy, but one way is through simple recommendation. Who is being recommended and who…
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This Writer Crush Wednesday, I’m sharing a passage from a book I finally read last year. Yes, last year! But this excerpt is so good I’m still thinking about these few paragraphs months and months later. I’ll probably always think about them. They’re from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina at the very moment Anna and Count Vronsky succumb to their passions. I won’t ruin it by trying to explain all that’s going on here. Just read.
He felt what a murderer must feel, when he sees the body he has robbed of life. That body, robbed by him of life, was their love, the first stage of their love. There was something awful and revolting in the memory of what had been bought at this fearful price of shame. Shame at their spiritual nakedness crushed her and infected him. But in spite of all the murderer’s horror before the body of his victim, he must hack it to pieces, hide the body, must use what he has gained by his murder.
And with fury, as it were with passion, the murderer falls on the body, and drags it and hacks at it; so he covered her face and shoulders with kisses. She held his hand, and did not stir. “Yes, these kisses–that is what has been bought by this shame. Yes, and one hand, which will always be mine–the hand of my accomplice.” She lifted up that hand and kissed it. He sank on his knees and tried to see her face; but she hid it, and said nothing. At last, as though making an effort over herself, she got up and pushed him away. Her face was still as beautiful, but it was only the more pitiful for that.
“All is over,” she said; “I have nothing but you. Remember that.”
This is how I want to write when I grow up.
What do you think of this passage?
Have you read Anna Karenina?
What writers have blown you away?
I stopped by Chat About Books with Kerry Parsons and answered a few questions about my writing process, naming characters, and other ramblings. Please check it out and subscribe to Chat About Books. If you’re an author or publisher who would like her to review a book or feature you on Chat About Books, I’ll leave all her links at the bottom of this post.
Do you ever come across a passage in a book that makes you stop and marvel at the genius of the writer? I’m going to be sharing my favorite lines with you on Writer Crush Wednesdays. I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale right now. This is my first Margaret Atwood book and I’m astonished by her writing. I’ve selected an excerpt to share with you. Notice how skillfully she describes a face.
A little of her hair was showing, from under her veil. It was still blond. I thought then that maybe she bleached it, that hair dye was something else she could get through the black market, but I know now that it really is blond. Her eyebrows were plucked into thin arched lines, which gave her a permanent look of surprise, or outrage, or inquisitiveness, such as you might see on a startled child, but below them her eyelids were tired-looking. Not so her eyes, which were the flat hostile blue of a midsummer sky in bright sunlight, a blue that shuts you out. Her nose must once have been what was called cute but now was too small for her face. Her face was not fat but it was large. Two lines led downward from the corners of her mouth; between them was her chin, clenched like a fist.
The chin really got me. The description also says a great deal about the character’s personality.
Take notes, fellow writers! There is no doubt this is the work of a master.
The SICK Series has been dubbed as horror by quite a few bloggers and reviewers, but I’d never even read modern horror! I was curious, so one late night, I began investigating on the internet to seek out fellow female horror writers. That’s how I discovered author Carrie Green, who was kind enough to send me a review copy of her book. Here’s my review of her Top 100 Amazon Bestselling collection of short stories, Roses are Red.
Roses are Red: Not Just for Horror fans.
This book was like a dark chocolate sampler of Carrie Green’s writing. Each story is unique in plot and theme. Her writing is descriptive without unnecessary gore, and her characters are all too human, which is why they are so chilling.
Green gives us an impressive amount of information within the brief space of a short story without bogging us down with details. Not only does she cleverly reveal her characters’ flaws, we know exactly what motivates them.
A Long Distance Relationship starts off as a brutal murder, but becomes much more than a crime story. I found it tantalizing because you could view it as a ghost story or one where guilt executes the ultimate revenge.
A Lucky Human surprised me. I’m not familiar with scifi, and this turned out to be my favorite tale. Green’s vision of the future was realistic and believable, and the concept of the story was brilliant.
Cash Only focuses on one of my favorite themes, discovering the ugly truth about oneself and deciding whether or not to accept it.
What I found most charming about Carrie Green’s stories is the understated delivery of the denouement. It takes a minute for the complexity of the endings to sink in. When they do, you just sit back and go ‘Wow.’
Not only will horror fans love this collection of horror stories, readers of literary fiction will appreciate them too. I’m excited to read more of Carrie Green’s writing. It is a horrific pleasure to read.
Connect with Carrie Green
I’m sharing one of the best blog posts I’ve some across in a long time. Are you a fan of American Psycho? Read this piece by Jeremy Dyson about how well-written shock and gore fiction can and should make profound statements about society.
This year marks 25 years since the release of the controversial classic, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I’ve read a number of articles online about how Pat Bateman has become such an iconic character and rehashing the themes of materialism that got the novel so much acclaim. Still, every article I read seemed to come up far short of explaining the impact that American Psycho should have had on the world of fiction.
Originally posted on jeremydyson.com.
I’m honored and thrilled to have the support of so many amazing reviewers and bloggers. This latest review was published by Jeremy Dyson yesterday. Here’s what he had to say about SICK.
“John Branch is a sick, sick man. Born into a wealthy family, John has since fallen on hard times. As the family fortune disappears and his health fails, John is taken care of by his faithful wife. Susan struggles with the burden of supporting her husband emotionally, physically and financially.
This story is really about the struggles of an “unhealthy” relationship. One partner of the marriage is forced to bear most of the burdens of life, whether that be earning a living or stealing painkillers to ease the pain of her ailing spouse. Tragically, there is nothing Susan won’t give to their marriage, even if it means giving up her life to make John happy.
Sick is a wonderfully twisted read. It brings to life the struggles of marriage through a realistic relationship of characters. This story is well-written and crafted by a very talented writer, reminiscent in style to works by Chekhov or Dostoyevsky. Will definitely check out the sequel.”
Jeremy Dyson is the author of zombie novels with a literary flair. Follow Jeremy Dyson’s blog and learn more about his work here.
Susan has been taking care of her husband’s ill health from when they first met. As a nurse and devoted wife she holds onto hope that his mysterious and numerous symptoms will be diagnosed and cured. Susan is tired and barely holding onto her job, can her life be transformed once her husband’s health improves?
A harrowing and frank look at living with someone who is chronically ill and equally manipulative. It’s impossible to stop reading this novella as you pick up on its sinister undertones.
A well written macabre short story. This book is available to read for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.