Lizzie Bennet Diaries Episodes 5-8

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Like the Bennet girls I am attending a wedding, my little brother is getting married today.  I wonder whether any new matches will be made today that will lead to matrimony as it is a small family wedding a seriously doubt it but it is interesting that weddings still rank as a god place to meet potential spouses.

Meet you at the other side of the episodes for reaction…

Well what can I say am loving it, in fact I almost went onto the next one but resisted to share with you guys next week.  I am loving the dynamics between the sisters, I will confess I was a little unsure how the removal of two of them would alter the family dynamics but at this point they really haven’t been missed.  I love the god natured teasing between the two older sisters but you can see that streak of selfishness already in Lydia’s character, her lack of ability to know where to draw a line in proceedings.

Do you think the Bing Lee/Jane match could be viewed as an arranged marriage? As in the original it certainly is desired on one side yet we know the course of true love never runs smoothly.  But in some ways the matches in the time of the original novel were arranged marriages i that only if families approved and permitted the two into each others company could any match be made, and though today permission is no longer required I wonder how many still go ahead with a marriage if the family object unless there are other family issues already.

I find that as I get older I do have more sympathy with Austen’s male characters, we know that the women are expected to look at marriage almost as a business investment but the same can be said for the male characters as well.  There are expectations as the the character and attributes a wife must bring to the partnership and in some ways it may be argued he has as little choice in the matter as his female counterparts though realistically this is not true as he has far more freedom to indulge his fancies proportionate to his wealth.

But it still must be a little daunting to venture into a new area knowing every mother in the district will be aiming to throw their daughters at you in the hope that one of them can snare you.

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Free Me

Free me from myself

If I am my own master

Am I not therefore my slave?

Self flagellation of the mind and soul

Inflicts wounds deeper than any blade

Could penetrate, flay martyred flesh

Torn by the lashings of mine own tongue.

I am my own worst enemy,

And rage against any solace

I might find in my solitude.

 

 

Multi Media Nightmare

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I have been reading a lot of articles lately about platform building and how any want to be writer/author needs to work on their on-line presence before they worry about the business side of getting published and I started thinking about all the social media I use and how I use them.

The Blog – I started this as a way of practising my art, I never for one minute thought that people would find their way here and read it.  I also found lots of blogs I love reading though this is very time consuming I do feel I gain valuable advice and support which makes it worth the time sacrifice.  One gripe I do have is with WP at the minute I am not receiving any notifications of any posts you guys make, I have notified them but had no reply in an attempt to remedy this I downloaded the WP app for Windows 8 which actually is brilliant for reading your posts…

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Sadly there is one huge down side to it in that it does not allow me to like or comment on anything so am going back to using the reader here in WP for now until my notifications issue is fixed.  I also started a second blog for my photos which you can find here if you want to take a look, I have to say I do find that the photo blog has gained a following quicker than the writing one and I think that comes down to the ease of looking at a picture rather than reading a post such as this.

Facebook – one of the most common tools we writers use but one I realised I have been seriously misusing.  Most of the people who end up on the Facebook page find there way there either via the blog or via your friends on your personal Facebook page at least until after you are published.  So why should they bother going to your Facebook page on a regular basis, most of us share our posts everywhere, we share the posts from our author pages to our personal Facebook so why do they need to visit both pages?  I realised I need to include more exclusive content on my Author Facebook page so I have taken the decision to share less to my personal page and to post extra personal content such as photos on there to make it worth visiting (or I hope it will be) so if you would like to see what I have been up to including a pic or two of me from the weekend and photos of my recent day out in Whitby go pop over here and say hi.

Tumblr – this is one of those I joined but do not use anywhere near as much as I should, my blogs get posted here and I pop on occasionally and reblog things I find interesting.  I really should use it more but I am not that keen on how it works which is why I think I dismissed it so easily but if you want to see what I get up to there or leave me a link to your account I can be found here.

Pinterest –  possibly one of the most addictive of the social media sites.  The main problem with Pinterest is you pop on for five minutes and several hours later you look at the clock and wonder where the day went.  Until recently I had decided not to bother with it because of how easy it is to get lost looking at pictures but now I have decided to allow myself one hour a week (I set a timer) to wonder round the boards looking for inspiration and sharing the great images I find on my Author Facebook rather than my personal one (though not sure it always works that way) you can see my boards here and let me know if you use this and I will come look at yours.

Writers Cafe – I have not used this at all I set it up then could not find friends even though I know some of you were there and found it quite difficult to navigate I do intend giving it another go when I get chance to spend some time looking into it more.

Twitter –  in some ways my most used and most poorly managed social media.  All the sites share via my twitter account, occasionally I tweet on route to work and that is sent to both personal and author Facebook pages, sometimes I just use it for what it was designed to chat to friends but I find I do not really spend much time on it.  I know once I have a book to publicise I may tweet a little more but I know I find it annoying when all I see from certain people is tweet after tweet saying the same thing ‘buy my book’ and I get annoyed when I follow someone back only to immediately receive the hard sell in a DM.  I have downloaded Tweetdeck in an attempt to use Twitter more as it is impossible to keep up with the news-feed at times on the phone if you are on Twitter and I don’t already follow you give me a tweet here.

Magic Spreadsheet – this is more of a tool but also has a social side.  with recent events at home I was struggling to get back into writing daily again this is a great tool to encourage you (and eases you in gently) it gives you a support network and shiny badges you can find out more here, and check out the actual spread sheet here.

Which social media do you use? Which do you enjoy which are a chore?

Udolpho Readalong – Part Four Review Volume 1 Chapters X & XI

the-mysteries-of-udolpho-1-480x480-75 Okay hopefully you all have had chance to look back over the previous posts should you have wished to, if not no problem all you need to know is our heroine annoyed me, her father annoyed me so much I was happy he died and our hero seems a bit of a soppy, creep at the minute.  We have spent hours trawling through descriptions of the Alps and other wondrous landscapes which although very striking and dramatically profiled dragged on so long you began to get the feeling once you have seen one mountain you have seen them all.

So onwards we go and into…

Chapter X

Our Heroine has returned to her family home and is mostly moping around feeling sorry for herself.  Now I know that sounds harsh the girl has just lost her remaining parent but there is grieving and there is moping and she is definitely moping.  I may have had more sympathy for her if it were not for the main part of this chapter.

I really really struggled to empathise with this, her fathers final request is she pull up a board in a cupboard in his study and burn the papers she will find there.  I fully appreciate that the level of obedience required by the age is very different to today but this really jars against human nature to me.  She is instructed that she must not read them, and although she falters for a moment she does obey his demand.  The thing is it strikes me on two levels that this is wrong.

Firstly surely her father would have had a manservant someone he could trust that it would have been more prudent to send these instructions to, as one would supposed the papers must contain something damning or morally questionably to demand their destruction, we know that he did not have one travelling with him but he could have asked her to convey the message either by word of mouth or carrying written instructions.  It also says something of St Aubert’s character that he would have papers he felt needed to be destroyed, he is we are led to believe a respectable widower so one must question what was in those papers that he required destroying so badly.

The second thing that strikes me as wrong about this is it is human nature to look, even when instructed not to in fact I would go so far as saying that those instructions would make most people even more determined to take a peek.  But even for the obedient child we are led to believe Emily is the fact these letters are written in her fathers hand would naturally lead to her looking over them, if not exactly reading them you would expect her to fawn over the remembrance of his handwriting, and from that to at least notice a few lines of what was so terrible it needed to be obliterated.

The final things I want to touch upon in this chapter are Valencourt and God.  I will deal with God first, I am finding it hard to put up with the constant religious references probably in part because the God featured in this book is not one I personally believe in but I think mainly because it is rammed down your throat at times.  I know at the time this book was written science was beginning to make huge strides towards explaining the mysteries of life and many writers were determined that science should play no part in their stories but I have to say the way it is constantly interjected disrupts the flow of the story and is very annoying.

And finally Valencourt this is our alleged hero yet from his actions here he is more of a creepy stalker loitering when he knows he should not and deliberately breaking conventions to see her when he knows he could seriously damage her reputation.  At this minute in time he seems a very selfish character concerned with his own wishes and desires rather than the woman he claims to love.

Chapter XI

A very short chapter yet actually gives far more scope for contemplation than some of the previous ones.

This chapter sees Emily removed from the family home to the house of her Aunt.  She is shocked to find the opulence and extravagance in which her Aunt lives especially when contrasted to the tastes of her own parents but the first real pause for thought this book has given me is in the relationship between these two.  We would naturally assume an affinity between two women grieving the loss of a brother to one and father to the other except these two are so very different in temperament it is impossible for them to relate to each other.  Neither has the empathy required to puts themselves in the others place, and despite Emily dwelling on how different her Aunt is from her father it is worth noting that his injunctions regarding how quickly grief and melancholy should be overcome reflect her Aunts opinions very closely.

The second note worthy point is the employment opportunities for our young hero Valencourt. While we frequently remind ourselves that in the 18th Century young ladies of good birth and standing had no opportunity to earn their own fortunes it is often forgotten that younger sons frequently found themselves in a similar position.  The older brother would inherit any property and wealth attending any titles, younger brothers however after receiving a fitting education could find themselves in a very precarious position.  They had neither independent wealth enough live in a style which their family name demanded but nor could they take employment that would be viewed as beneath their station.  In general only three options were open to them, the first marrying money, this was unlikely to happen unless the young man were especially pleasing and the young ladies family very understanding.   The chances are his older brother would be the object of pursuit until such a time as he were married then possibly a younger brother maybe considered as marriage material for a younger daughter who would bring some wealth but not enough to support them in style.  Extra finances would still be desired.

This left two realistic options the Clergy or Military.  The first would be more likely to be taken by a third or fourth son with little chance of financial betterment but would ensure a home and a certain level of lifestyle and respectability.  The latter is the most frequent for second sons, an amount would be invested to ensure that an officers would be secured as of course it would be unacceptable to serve as a common soldier but an army officer was considered gentile enough for keeping the family name intact and offered the opportunity to earn enough money to maintain a decent standard of living.

It is frequently forgotten that these young men, many of them totally unsuited to the positions the were pushed into were just as much victims of circumstances as their sisters.

Book Review – The Nameless City By Michael Scott

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As you may remember I was not totally convinced by the first book in this series which you can read the review to here, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

17337621This book revolves around the Second Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) and his companion Jamie McCrimmon (played by Fraser Hines).  It is ironic that given many of this Doctors televised stories are missing now that the feel of this fits far better within his reign at the helm of the Tardis than the previous book.

I did question whether my own opinions on the two Doctors was reflected in this observation but I don’t feel it is as I have watched as a little of both and don’t feel an affection for one more than the other which would lead me to relate to them more, I really do believe this writer has captured the essence of his Doctor and companion far better than the first.The-Second-Doctor-Patrick-Troughton-classic-doctor-who-13664581-1024-768

Because these are only short novella’s it is hard to discuss the plot without giving the whole thing away, in typical Doctor Who fashion I will say the companion is duped, the Doctor is fighting for his existence and saves his life and that of his companion in this case with music.  The visualisations of the character are good however I will point out that obviously anyone with a knowledge of Who will already have the images of the actors firmly in place so it is hard to know what a person coming to the second Doctor with no Classic Who viewing under their belt would make of him or the wild man in a kilt accompanying him.

I really wasn’t sure after the first one if I wanted to keep reading this series but after this one bring one number three.

A big thumbs up and 5 out of 5.

Sunday Stories

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I started a story The Dragon’s Mark before and it trailed off after a couple off weeks making me realise that posting one episode weekly is not as easy as it seems.  I now wonder how many of those back in the Victorian Era wrote the story first than just divided it up.  Trying to maintain the rhythm of a story writing in weekly instalments is hard especially when writing other things in-between.

However I really don’t want to give up on the idea of a story on a Sunday so what I intend to try instead is creating a variety of stories of different lengths for Sundays starting next week, they will range from single episode stories to ones which last two or three weeks but the longer ones I shall write straight away and leave scheduled to run rather than trying to dip in and out of the story.  This is one of the great things about experimenting on a blog you learn your strengths and weaknesses.  Dragons Mark would have literally turned into a full novel with the story arc I had in mind and therefore was becoming far to complex to continue in the way I had begun in.  I may very well return to it in the future in book form but for now the dragon shall lie dormant on its pile of treasure.

I am going to avoid ghost stories in this slot as obviously they take up most of my writing time and will possibly try different genres that I have not tried yet am quite interested in fan fiction and the range of books/stories that inspire others so I am toying with the idea of trying my hand at some fan fiction here, I have a Doctor Who inspired idea floating in my head along with a Pride and Prejudice one.  Is that something you would like to read?  Have you tried writing fan fiction? If so was it as easy as you expected it to be?

Saturday is Darcy Day

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Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day to cram in all the things you intend to do.  Likewise there are too many things to watch, read and if your muse is in the mood write.  I have been promising myself I would watch these for ages in fact I am sure many of you reading this will be scratching your head asking ‘what took you so long.’

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries were an internet phenomenon when they exploded onto You Tube.  I have had them book marked to watch for months and failed to get round to it so I decided what better way than to virtually watch them with you guys I will post four each week starting today then give you my thoughts on them after so to start us off videos 1 – 4…

Okay I love the premise of this new take on Pride and Prejudice, losing the two sisters is not really such a big deal and I love the word play with Bing Lee.  I think in some ways it is true however talented or successful we may be (or not) in our own lives we are still judged to an extent by our marital status, especially by mums.  I would imagine it is true for men as well to a point after all I know plenty of mums who put pressure on their sons not usually to settle down but once they have found a girl then at least for them to provide grandchildren.

So not a great deal to say for these first ones from me other than how much I am looking forward to meeting Darcy.

What are you thoughts?  Do you like the idea of this as a blog post?  If enough of you are interested then I shall post episodes 5-8 next week and discuss

Mysteries Resumed

195What seems like a life time ago I decided to read The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, my lovely friend MsKatykins intended reading along with me but both of us got distracted by real life.  But from next Tuesday I intend to continue reading and posting my reflection as I go.  I am not going to set strict guidelines on how many chapters a week I will read this time, instead I will read it at my own pace and for pleasure rather than it feeling like a chore and then share my feelings on what I have read that week.  I am sure that will mean some weeks I will have read loads and be gushing about it and others will have struggled through a few pages and be ranting about the style.

If you would like to catch up on the reviews of the chapters we had read before to refresh your memories (I have and had a skim through the opening chapters) then click here for a quick link to the page containing the links for previous reviews.  I am hoping that my recent wanderings round the Abbey ruins in Whitby have fired up my taste for Gothic literature enough to get me through this in time to read Dracula for Halloween.

Audio/Book Review – Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick

There are some books which seem destined to sit forever on the to be read pile, occasionally picked up the pages perused before being replaced a few places lower once more to avoid feeling guilty about neglecting it.  For me this is one of those books.

The problem comes when you know that at some point you will be forced to read it to complete a list or challenge, for me it features in the 1001 books challenge but it frequently features in top hundred books and therefore cannot hope to be avoided forever if you are interested in seeing the top 100 books according to the BBC click here.  Despite having one of the most famous opening lines of any book ever

“Call me Ishmael.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
Many who know those lines will have come to learn them from one of the film adaptations.  The actual story itself if taken from the synopsis sounds fascinating, so one may reasonably ask why the reticence to read the actual book?  Two things I think contribute firstly it is by no means a small book, not quite on par with Ulyssess yet still fat enough to be daunting, then the second and possibly more important deterrent is the language.
“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for avast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own. However, nothing dispirits, and nothing seems worth while disputing. He bolts down all events, all creeds, and beliefs, and persuasions, all hard things visible and invisible, never mind how knobby; as an ostrich of potent digestion gobbles down bullets and gun flints. And as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker. That odd sort of wayward mood I am am speaking of, comes over a man only in some time of extreme tribulation; it comes in the very midst of his earnestness, so that what just before might have seemed to him a thing most momentous, now seems but a part of the general joke.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Melville certainly is reflective of the time at which he wrote this, long overly complicated sentences and descriptions which conjure up the most obscure images many of which would appear to have little to actually do with the subject of the book.
But fear not if this features on a list you are working through there is another option!
Technically I know audio books are cheating however this is not an actual audiobook rather it was a project to encourage people to read the Classics.
In 2003 the BBC canvassed opinions and created The Big Read a list of the top 100 books voted for by the people as those everyone should read.  You can find the list here.  From there it was taken a step further by a group of people who loved the book and wanted to share it Peninsula Arts along with Plymouth University approach various people in the public eye, actors musicians, actors, even a politician or two and asked if they would be interested in creating something special.
Each of the chapters is read by a different person making a total of 134 guest stars willing to donate their time and energy to this project.  As you can imagine some are more pleasing to listen to than others and it can be a little distracting at times if the reader is not one you care for, luckily as most chapters are only ten to twenty minutes this is not as detrimental to the project as it could have been with one person reading it.
I am glad I found this and am counting listening to it as allowing me to tick the book off though I will not allot it stars based on someone else reading it to me.  The more I listened to the more convinced I am I would never have made it through the full book but listening to it is not a painful experience and in parts quite enjoyable.
I have to say overall unless you have a real thing for history, whaling and long-winded at times confusing prose then give this a miss, listen to the audio book or watch the film.  It is one of those ‘classics’ that I suspect would struggle to find a publisher today.  I am sorry to say I found it very disappointing and am glad I found a different way other than being forced to read it to tick it off my lists.
If you would like to listed to Moby Dick Big Read click here and it will take you to the website.

Whitby

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This weekend we took a day trip to Whitby the birthplace of Bram Stokers creation Dracula, or rather the home of the events which inspired the creation.  I had never been before infact it had been quite a while since I was headed to that coast and I had forgotten how much I love the countryside in that part of the country.  Heading their across the moors reminds me of my roots growing up in a country village but more than that the great expanses of open space remind me of true freedom and total immersion in nature.

But yesterday was also about having a good day and exploring somewhere new, we took the open bus tour round Whitby which was great as it allowed us to see a lot more in the few hours we had there than we would have found on foot, it also ensured we are confident that there will be more than enough to do for us to revisit for a longer period.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went up to the  ruined Abbey and looked round the church and graveyard next to it.  I loved the ruins but I will say if you are planning a visit that you should consider your visit, I had my daughter and the monster with me, it had started raining and the ruins are exposed to the elements, as my daughter was not really bothered about getting up close to the ruins she offered to stay outside with the monster while I went in and took some pictures.  The reason she waited outside?  At £6.40 for adults And around £5 for children and students it is an expensive choice for anyone who either has children who will not be kept interested by ruins or in our case who will not be happy standing out in the rain.  I was lucky my daughter is grown up and could wait with her brother but it is certainly something I will plan better for another visit.

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I did have lots of fun as well snapping away with the camera, I know a lot of people don’t like Seagulls and I will admit that the are a little brash, loud and obnoxious but I think they are incredible, they have learnt to adapt and survive as human habitations take up more and more of the coast line.  They have learnt to survive when their natural habitat has been commandeered they have found new food sources and homes and if they steal the odd chip can we really complain when we sit eating their fish?

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Whitby is one of the few laces where the two main industries of tourism and fishing still co exist side by side, evidence of the less glamorous side of life is apparent along the harbour, the rough working boats moored alongside sleek yachts and pleasure boats.

If you are interested in Ruins, Seagulls, boats or just Whitby in general click the Facebook button at the top of the page and it will take you over to my facebook page where you can see all the pictures from our trip, I will leave you with a picture of me and the monster out at sea on his first open air boat trip, he loved it a natural born sailor.

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