“War and Peace” is a Better Choice

GirlWithNoName“The Girl with No Name” by Diney Costeloe

Summary:   Thirteen-year-old Lisa has escaped from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. She arrives in London unable to speak a word of English, her few belongings crammed into a small suitcase. Among them is one precious photograph of the family she has left behind.

Lonely and homesick, Lisa is adopted by a childless couple. But when the Blitz blows her new home apart, she wakes up in hospital with no memory of who she is or where she came from. The authorities give her a new name and dispatch her to a children’s home.

With the war raging around her, what will become of Lisa now?

Recommendation: No

Review:

I love history and I adore reading good, well-written stories about history; however, this book was neither good, nor well-written. While at the online bookstore, I read the prologue and was fooled into thinking the whole book would be as well done. It wasn’t. Not only were the characters one-dimensional and poorly developed, the author couldn’t even maintain a character’s point of view for longer than a minute. It changed at random moments; sometimes mid-paragraph, and, several times, even mid-sentence.

While the premise was promising, the writing failed to fulfill that promise. I tried to push myself to keep reading, but it was difficult when there was no connection to the characters, and, thereby, no connection to the story.

I finally gave up at page 50. That the author actually wrote another 430 pages astounds me. But what astounds me more, is that people actually persevered and read the entire thing. I say, save your time and effort for something much more pleasurable…”War and Peace” would be an easier read.

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Escorting the Dead

 ellisnelson

AN INTERVIEW WITH TA SULLIVANpsychopomp-3d-dls-8pxls-2

One of my favorite movies is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir starring Rex Harrison (1947). In it, the ghost of a sea captain comes back for Lucy when she’s ready to pass. I always loved that he came back for her when it was time. Many of us will have heard stories about people getting close to death who see their loved ones, or sometimes angels. Beautiful, satisfying stories. But what if they’re not stories? What if that’s precisely what happens for many of us?

I recently finished “Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp” by TA Sullivan. It’s a fascinating read about her experience as a death escort for the recently departed. As a child she was sensitive, but it wasn’t until she had her own near-death experience (NDE) that her life took a turn and she started to train as a guide for the dead.

Please welcome author and photographer, TA Sullivan. Thank you for agreeing to talk about what is a difficult subject for many.

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The Writer’s Game – Sample 3

Shoot

(1st chapter of a romance by Anne Obert)

lips“I’m gonna count to three, and then I start shooting!” The threat echoed down the hallway as I fumbled with the door.

I twisted the knob again while yanking at the door. The hinges squealed as the door crashed open. I dashed onto the set just as the photographer raised his camera. Pete was probably one of the best commercial photographers around, but he was impatient, demanding, and cold…in a hot kind of way.

If it weren’t for his personality, I might have actually found Pete attractive. He had sapphire eyes and midnight hair, with a face that was more interesting than handsome. As for the body, well…let’s just say, I wouldn’t mind cozying up to that body. A warm shiver raced down my spine, but soon turned cold when his steely gaze pierced me, his impatience plainly visible.

I used one hand to stop the swaying of the hoop skirt on the period gown I was wearing and adjusted the low-cut bodice. We were in some museum-quality ballroom with bright filigree everywhere, and parquet floors. Several other models in satin britches or lace and satin gowns were also positioned in small groups and pairings throughout the room. This week I was selling Real Nature products, maple syrup and hot dogs. What maple syrup had to do with a fancy dress ball, I had no idea.

“Positions! Let’s go, everyone!”

I picked up the plastic bottle of maple syrup and held it out as if I were offering it to the Queen herself; then I plastered a smile on my face and began to twirl, dip, twist, and dance to Pete’s commands.

“Can you move any less gracefully? You look like a pregnant moose on roller skates…”

“No, not over there…I need you to look this way.”

“Are you always so clumsy?”

Yeah, the world of modeling was just so glamorous. If I didn’t need the money to help with my mom’s medical bills, I’d tell Pete exactly what I thought of him, I mused as I tried to contort my body into the positions he demanded. It was as if I was nothing more than another prop to him. He tugged at the dress, swatted my hand when my fingers encroached on the vendor’s label, and groused when I needed to grab a drink from my water bottle.

Four hours and two costume changes later, he said we had enough for that product. Now it was time to work on the photos for Real Nature hot dogs. Another costume change, another wig, and now we were seated around an elaborate dining room table being served Real Nature hot dogs. I tried to look enthusiastic, but truthfully, I just wanted it to be over with. The wig itched, the dress felt as if it was three sizes too small, and I really wanted to get over to the hospital and check on my mom.

 

 

The Writer’s Game – Sample 2

Shooting Off-Script

(1st chapter of a mystery by TA Sullivan)

 

“I’m gonna count to three, and then I start shooting!” the gunman shouted as he pointed his weapon at the hostages.

Hunkered behind a desk about four cubes away, my partner and I exchanged worried looks.

My partner’s face was drawn as she whispered, “What do we do?”

I opened my mouth to answer, and burst out laughing. A moment later, my partner, joined in.

“Cut…cut,” the director turned to us. “Really?”

“I’m sorry,” I muttered as we continued laughing. “But you have to admit, it’s a bit cliché.” The writing for this show had been getting so insipid lately; not that the show had ever been more than your basic cop drama. I played the rugged, rumpled, and slightly jaded cop, whose instincts were nearly always right; while up-and-coming actress, Pam Brewer, played my over-eager, naïve, rookie partner. As I said, very typical. Still, the writing had never been this hackneyed.

The director gave us several minutes to pull ourselves together, and we set up to do the scene again.

“I’m gonna count to three, and then I start shooting!” The actor playing this week’s crook waved his gun menacingly at the cowering hostages.

I exchanged looks with Pam and we managed to hold it together this time. However, when she opened her mouth to utter her line, it was drowned out by the crack of gun fire. This time when we looked at each other, the confusion and worry were genuine. We were definitely not acting.

I heard a scream echo from across the sound stage, and I jumped to my feet. A moment later, Pam and I joined the rest of cast and crew as they rushed toward the apartment set. At least a dozen members of the cast and crew of “Police Beat” were ringed around the bloody body. I could hear the pounding of racing feet coming up behind me as the rest of the staff came to see what had happened. Pam gagged and turned away, and somewhere behind the apartment set wall I heard someone getting sick. At least they hadn’t vomited all over the crime scene, I thought. Yeah, call me Mr. Sensitive.

murder-mystery

The Writer’s Game -Sample 1

The Shooter (a short story by DL Sullivan)

“I’m gonna count to 3, and then I start shooting!” I said.  The man’s grin widened with confidence as though he knew a secret that would ultimately save him.

I was determined to right the wrong he had committed on the little blond-haired girl standing behind me.  The look of sadness that suffused her small face had nearly broken my heart.

My face felt flushed from the anger I felt inside.  I couldn’t stand by and let this happen to this precious little girl without reprisal for the man’s callous actions.

I had checked the gun I grabbed from the top of the short wall separating us.  I smirked as I saw that he had changed the sight on the gun to shoot a little to the left of center.  My experience years earlier in the Special Forces came in very handy now.   I could have stripped this gun down to its individual parts and reassembled it with my eyes blindfolded.

His smile faltered as I counted, “One.”

The man’s seemingly calm, smug smile couldn’t hide the hint of worry on his face.  The corners of his mouth twitched ever so slightly in a nervous tick.  Sweat was beading on his upper lip despite the cool evening air.

I stared directly into his gray eyes as I counted, “Two.”

He straightened from his casual slouch.  His eyes darted from side to side looking for a way to escape his fate.

“Three,” I said with finality.  I quickly raised the gun, aimed a little to the right of center, and fired.

The man jerked violently when the gun went off.  The look of surprise on his face was a joy to see as the bell rang loudly, indicating I had hit the target square in the middle of the bullseye.

“We’ll take that giant teddy bear, now,” I said with a satisfied smile.

The carney looked dumbfounded as he reached for the bear sitting behind him.  I swear, I think the bear was smiling, too.  With a look of defeat on his face, he took the bear in both hands and slowly handed the bear to me over the short wall of the booth.

I turned around and held the bear out to the little girl.  The look of delight on her face as she took possession of the bear filled me with joy.

I would remember this day for a very. long. time.

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