Press Release For The Launch Of Entanglement

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FOR IMMIDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                               April 27, 2016 | Lubbock, TX

Entanglement To Be Launched Soon

A Retelling of the Superfluous Man

a quantum tale of caution

Entanglement is set during the Great Depression following Pietas and Bloodhound, which looked at the lives of the average struggling folk of Mississippi and Oklahoma, respectively. But Entanglement is a little different. It’s set in Florida and moves to Cuba and covers a decade beginning in the late 1930s and finishing shortly after World War II. Also, the main character, Rex Monday, is quite well off, even though the times are economically strained. He is old money and part of the idle rich. He wastes his life with gambling and chasing women. But even he avoids love because it would ask too much of him.

Rex Monday takes no regard for how his actions might affect the well-being of those around him. What Rex fails to notice is that all of his self-serving deeds ruin his own life. He never realizes that all of our lives, indeed all things, are connected. When his selfishness destroys the lives of other people, he destroys his own since everything is caught up in a Universal system of Entanglement.

Neal Abbott has previously published eleven books, four non-fiction, five novels, a novella, and a children’s book. He is the Content Editor for the Creative Writing blog, A Word Fitly Spoken. Neal is working on the first draft of his next novel about a 1st century Jewish freedom fighter who hates the Romans. It’s entitles Sedition. Later this year or beginning next year Neal plans on starting a political thriller where Ayn Rand meets Norse mythology, and it’s called Ragnarok.

Neal Abbott

2706 Genoa D4

Lubbock, TX

806.252.0248

abbott.neal@yahoo.com

Link to Neal’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/neal-abbott/e/B009T36LWK/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Link to A Word Fitly Spoken: https://nealabbott.wordpress.com

Link to Entanglement: http://www.amazon.com/Entanglement-neal-abbott/dp/1512103837?ie=UTF8&redirect=true&ref_=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

 

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I Want To Give You One Of My Books (And I’ll Even Pay For Shipping)

free

The best things life are free. And books are amongst the the greatest things ever. So what does that make a free book? Spectacular! Wonderful! Better than words can say.

I want to give you a free copy of one of my books. which one? you chose.

So here’s the deal. My 12th book, Entanglement, is scheduled for launch on June 7th. I want to build up to that day with as much buzz and word of mouth as I can get. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll make Entanglement available on Amazon beginning this week. I’ll have the price down to just about cost.

And for anyone who reads a copy of Entanglement and posts a review of it on Amazon by the 7th of June, I will give you one of my other novels for free. I’ll even pay to ship it if you want a hardcopy, or I’ll get you a free digital book if your prefer. Send me an email to let me know which book you want to request more information. Let me know in the Subject line your email has to do with my Free Book offer. I’ll gladly service those who do this favor me and leave a review of Entanglement by June 7th.

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German Writers We Should Love: Part III – ETA Hoffmann

eta

read part one

read part two

ETA Hoffman is not the most famous of writers, but he certainly was a great influence on these we honor as famous. From Poe to Dickens, from Gogol to Dostoyevsky, Hoffmann has left his mark on the best writers. And to influence the great one must himself be great, and he was. Besides being a terrific writer, Hoffmann was a composer, art critic, draftsman, caricaturist, and jurist. He wrote the story which inspired The Nutcracker ballet by Tchaikovsky. His stories were the basis for Offenbach’s opera, The Tales of Hoffmann. And it was a display of his art after his death and compelled Mussorgsky to compose Pictures at an Exhibition. This is just a snapshot of his reach. And his writing catalog is so extensive, I will only be able to skip a rock over the deep waters that is the fiction of ETA Hoffmann.

  • The Nutcracker and the Mouse King – We’ve all seen the ballet, but have we read the book? Give this a quick study before you see the ballet again and new magic will appear before you on the stage.
  • The Woman from Scuderi – This is the first detective story and bears great impress on Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
  • The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr – The aesthete in me cherishes this work for many of the same reasons I love Goethe’s The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily. It is Hoffmann’s masterpiece novel and deals with true artistry, and how the artist must transcend beyond himself to create something permanent and truly wonderful.
  • The Sandman – One of three stories that inspired The Tales of Hoffmann. It is a tale of love and insanity, and it is often difficult to distinguish between the two.
  • Counsillor Krespel – This is the second story to go into The Tales of Hoffmann. Krespel was an unconventional eccentric who did everything from make his own clothes to build his own house in the most unusual of methods, but it worked out well for him. It didn’t hurt at all that he could afford all of this exuberance because it was all paid for by a prince.
  • The Lost Reflection – And the last of story found in The Tales of Hoffmann. It walks the blurriness between the real world and fantasy. It explores a conventional German fantasy motif, the one of a shadow or a reflection that seems independent of its reality form.

I encourage everyone to read as much Hoffmann as you can. But don’t neglect your Schiller and your Goethe. The Germans may be principally known for her composers and her philosophers, but her authors rival the best in the world. Read for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

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German Writers We Should Love: Part II – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

goethe

Click here to read Part One

While Schiller was the idealistic poet of freedom, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was an artist, scientist, and politician who was just as interested in publishing works on the “Metamorphosis of Plants” and the “Theory of Colours” as he was writing novels and plays. He was good friends with Schiller, and the two of them began the Neo-Classical movement of literature in Germany, also known as the Weimar School. Goethe is so prolific, I only listed a few of his works, mostly the ones l have enjoyed the greatest.

  • The Sorrows of Young Werther – Werther is a tragic tale of unrequited love that ends in suicide. Fans of Goethe should appreciate this novel because of the personal demons Goethe was working out in writing it. In truth he killed Wether so that he would not have to kill himself. This novel was extremely popular and the first that could ever truly be considered a “best seller.”
  • Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship – To call this novel a “coming of age” tale sells it short in a vain attempt to pigeonhole this book. Wilhelm leaves his unsatisfied life as a businessman, dallies in the theatre, and eventually runs with the aristocratic crowd who sneak off to secret society meetings.
  • Iphigenie auf Tauris – This drama is a retelling of a play by Euripides about the Greek gods’ curse of the Tantalid bloodline, and how it is broken by family love, loyalty, and mercy.
  • Egmont – Count Egmont is a Dutch noble arrested by the invading Spanish, and the Duke of Alba. As he is taken to be shot at the end of the play, he cries out for revolution and liberty. Even though he dies, he is seen as a victorious martyr who accepts his fate without complaining.
  • Faust – This is by far the most familiar of Goethe’s works. It teaches the always valuable lesson that if you want to dance, you have to pay the piper.
  • The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily – I’ve included this charming little fairy tale written for adults because, well, I like it so much. The conflict of the story centers around crossing a river, which symbolizes crossing the barrier between the outward physical life in the realm of the senses into the world of aspirations of freedom and liberty within each human soul. By learning how to cross the river, principally through the exercise of our mind through the senses by means of art, the outer life we live can be joined to a soul that is complete.

I am tempted to make this a three part series and include E.T.A. Hoffman. We’ll all find out together on my next post. Suffice it to say he is great. I also felt like I am leaving something out by discussing Schiller and Goethe and not Beaumarchais. To me he seems to be so indelibly tied to these men’s ideas, but he’s French, so his article will have to wait. There is enough in this series of posts to put a dent in most people’s 2016 reading list.

If there are other writers you would like for me to survey, let me know in the Comment section below.

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German Writers We Should Love: Part I – Freidrich Schiller

fred

Writers are readers, and readers have a world-wide selection of great authors to choose from. Simply to name a few, we have Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner here in America. England has Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton. In France there is Hugo and Dumas, while in Russia they have Tolstoy and Chekhov. Spain gave us Cervantes and Italy provided Dante. And Germany has, … well, who has Germany given us?

Most German writers that are known are philosophers. Still, Germany has provided some of the greatest fiction writers to ever come about. But for some reason, they never seem to be listed amongst the greatest. This and my next two posts will review some of my favorite works by Germans. These men were contemporaries and good friends, and leaders in the German neo-Classical literary movement, also known as the Weimar school.

 

Friedrich Schiller was a poet and a playwright, as well as an essayist regarding matters or art. His plays are masterpieces, earning the reputation as the German Shakespeare.

  • The Robbers – Two brothers separated, one becomes a royal and the other a highwayman. It demonstrates the sin of class warfare and the despotism of the monarchy.
  • Intrigue & Love – This play was the basis for the Verdi opera, Lisa Miller. An aristocrat wishes to marry a music teacher’s daughter, but politics and petty scheming create disaster.
  • Don Carlos – This is my personal favorite of Schiller, and it also is the basis for a Verdi opera. What begins as a love triangle ends as a loyalty triangle.
  • The Wallenstein trilogy – These three plays tell of the cruelty of a commander during the Thirty Years war.
  • The Maid of Orleans – As some of you may have guessed, this is the story about Joan of Arc.
  • The Bride of Messina – This may be the play that caused Schiller the most trouble. It is set in ancient Sicily and demonstrates the clash of old paganism with the emerging Christian expansion.
  • William Tell – Everyone has heard the name and knows about the apple, but few know the story. It is a revolutionary tale again demonstrating the moral emptiness of the medieval monarchies of Europe.

As I mentioned earlier, Schiller was also a poet. I will allow you the room to study these on your own. It’s worth noting that the poem that served as the basis for Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy,” his Ninth Symphony, comes from a Schiller poem. Schiller also wrote some of the more interesting and influential essays on art, and are worth reading. In particular, his twenty-seven “Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man” are must reads in my opinion by any true Aesthete.

Put some of these on your reading list for 2016, but make room for Goethe. He’s coming up in Part II. Leave a Comment if you have read Schiller before and what your reactions were to his writings.

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Secret To Tremendous Character Development

map

I have always defined fiction as interesting people doing interesting things. This brings together the two great elements of story crafting, character development and plot development. Between the two I have always found character development to be the most difficult and the most rewarding. I have done many things to add layers to my characters. I have given then all the Briggs-Myers Personality Exam and I have given them associated mental disorders. I have divided them by the anneagramic personalities and by the major segments of types of dreams. But from my experience, the secret to tremendous character development is to explore the relationships between my characters.

Readers Relate To Relationships
Let’s face it, no man is an island. We all have relationships with other people, both those close to us and those on the fringe of our associations. These relationships can be good or bad, but we all have them. So when we read of a character who struggles with a relationship with someone, we can put ourselves in their shoes. Likewise, when boy meets girl and boy agonizes over how to get her to notice him, we all shake our head and empathize along.

Readers want to relate to characters, but readers will relate to relationships because they are so universal. The more prickliness you put in the relationship between any two characters, the more readers are invested because they want everything to work out well. The more you conceal but let you readers know that something is concealed the more they will read on to see what you’ve got hidden on the next page for them.

“Into Me I See”
I once heard a relationship expert define intimacy as “into me I see.” In other words, the level of intimacy between any two people shows us more about those two people than we would have known about them singularly and without the relationship. Think of your own life. How do you relate to your spouse or your parent? The level and type of intimacy a man has with his wife or his father shows us more about him than we could have known of if there never were a reference to these other people.

If this is true for you and me, then it’s true for our readers. Likewise, it will follow with all of our characters. When you demonstrate relationships that are rich and complex, so becomes our understanding of these people. If I wish to describe interesting people doing interesting things, that means some people will work together or sometimes other characters will try to undermine certain characters. The bonds between all of these people are demonstrative as to who they really are. You can give wonderful personalities to your characters and make them as unique and individual as possible. But when you show how all these people get along, you have found the hidden treasure of more interesting characters, which cannot help but make for better stories.

If you found this material useful, please share it on your social media channels. Maybe you know of another writer would could benefit from this information. And if you have any Comments, be sure and leave them in the section below.
And one more thing: Merry Christmas!

 

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Learning Focus From Canines, Gazelles, & Mattresses

focus

All of us have some sort of aspirations for our lives. Success is different for each of us. While we may realize that triumph does not come about merely by well wishing, to many times we act as if it will. True victory in life, regardless of how we define it, will only come about by focus and dedication.

Like A Dog On A Bone

Have you ever seen a dog chew on a bone? He knows it’ll be a long and difficult process, but I have never seen focus in my life more than a dog on a bone. When I see that a dog has a bone, nothing can distract him from his task at hand. Even time does not weary him. You cannot take it from him, and after trying once, you’ll know no to try again. Not only will the dog win that tug-of-war, you could receive a war wound from this. You don’t even want to pet a done when he’s working over a bone.

If we are going to find success in life, we needed to be as focused as a dog on a bone. Some people strive for success, but give up when the meticulousness of achievement wears down on them, but not a dog. Certain folk desire achievement, but strangely will let others take it from them. They don’t have the dog on a bone mentality. And just like a dog doesn’t like to be petted when he as a bone, we need to be weary of friends when it comes to our accomplishments. Our loved ones can be the one thing that can derail our victory train, and only if we let them. We don’t want to hurt our loved ones, and yet we will allow them to hurt us by blocking us form achieving ultimate victory in life.

Like A Gazelle Being Hunted

Sometimes you can define something by looking at its opposite. Success is not failing. Iife is a pass/fail exam. So to do the things that keep you from failing will be in line with carrying out what you need for success. This is important because some people feel as if they can still fall just short of their aspirations and still be considered successful. That’s like saying you can strike out in baseball but think of it as a home run because you were close. If you strike out, you are out. No one in archery misses he target and yells, “Bulls eye!”

From the Bible, the 6th chapter from the book of Proverbs deals with the need to be industrious and productive. In the fifth verse, Solomon says, “Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter.” For a gazelle success is not getting killed. Failure is not acceptable. Close enough and almost there still leave you as a trophy head on someone’s wall and steak dinners for the family. Run toward success, but also run away from failure. Run as if failure cannot be acceptable. Succeed or die! This is the only path to victory.

Going To The Mattresses

We have all heard the phrase “go to the mat,” especially when it is someone telling us how committed they are to some goal or project. They are willing to “go to the mat,” in other words, do what ever it takes, to accomplish what they want. The phrase has grown threadbare and means little today, but its origins should breathe new life into the power of this claim.

It comes from the 1972 movie, “The Godfather,” and actually the phrase is “go to the mattresses.” Clemenza tells Pauly to see a guy downtown about picking up a bunch of mattresses (about 25 of them) because “Sonny is ready to go to the mattresses over this thing.” To go to the mattresses is gangster slang from this time meaning to go to all out war with a rival gang. These mobsters would have several rooms with nothing but mattresses covering the floor. These were for the soldiers in this makeshift barracks of sorts. If you are at war with another gangster, you are either on the street to kill someone or sleeping.

If success for us is just a little “it would be nice to” kind of fantasy, we will not succeed. Achieving our goals and not is the difference between eating and being eaten. It is winning and losing a war. All of these phrases have to do with survival. Human achievement is unique to people, and we need to keep it. We should all want something we focus upon. If we have no dreams, no aspirations in this life, if we are not noted for accomplishments, but merely eat and sleep, nothing more, ten we might as well be animals since this I how they exist. Dreams make us human and reaching them keeps us truly alive in every sense of the word.

Let me ear our thought on success in life and focus for our dreams. Leave your opinions in the Comment section below.

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How To Greet The Godfather And What That Has To Do With Your Characters

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You can learn about a character by watching his actions. But you can also learn of a character by seeing how other characters interact with him. A perfect example of this is the opening scene of the movie The Godfather. It is Vito Corleone’s daughter’s wedding day. Vito is asked a favor by five different people. They way they go about it tells us something about how they see the Godfather.

Amerigo Bonasera

Amerigo came to America seeking his fortune, and he found it serving as an undertaker. He lived in Vito’s neighborhood, but was afraid to seek out his friendship. When Amerigo’s daughter was beaten and disfigured, Amerigo thought the courts would give him justice. When the judge suspended the sentence, he decided to see the Godfather.

Vito chides Amerigo for being afraid of his friendship and seeking justice in the courts first. Moreover, he scolds him for his plea for the Godfather to have these two men murdered, a service for which Amerigo would pay the Godfather. Vito refuses because it is not justice since her daughter still lives, and he does not do murder for hire services in the first place.

Vito’s greatest offense is that Amerigo did not ask with respect and friendship. When he does, Vito says he will take care of it, but not for money. The Godfather may ask him for a favor in return someday. This favor is asked when Vito’s eldest son is ambushed at a tollstop on a Long Beach Causeway, and he needs the corpse to look its best for the funeral.

Luca Brasi

Luca was bigger and tougher than anyone, but mostly, he was not afraid to die. He threw his newborn son in a furnace because he did not want his bloodline to continue. The same night he took and overdose of pills and turned himself in to the police, hoping to die in prison.

He didn’t die, but the pills gave him brain damage mostly affecting his speech. The Godfather had him released and made him his own weapon. Luca was devoted to Vito, even avoiding being seen with him in public to spare the Godfather’s reputation.

So Luca was truly surprised when he was invited to the wedding. He waited to tell Vito briefly of his gratitude, wished his daughter’s first child be a masculine child, and gave the most generous tribute offered that day for her bridal purse.

Nazorine Pitelli

Nazorine grew up Vito’s neighborhood and ran a patisserie. He knew how generous the Godfather was and honored him all his life with friendship and respect. Nazorine was also grateful that the Godfather intervened once in a welched deposit owed him by a furniture company. Nazorine took a Sicilian prisoner of war named Enzo Aguello to work in the bakery. Enzo and Nazorine’s daughter fall in love, but when the war ended, the government wanted to expatriate Enzo back to Sicily.

Nazorine shows great respect when asking Vito to help keep Enzo in the country. Vito is glad to help. As Nazorine leaves, he brags about the size of the wedding cake he made for Vito’s daughter.

Johnny Fontane

Johnny was a singer, and he was also Vito’s godson. Vito once helped Johnny get out of a service contract to a bandleader who wished to keep him from going out on his own. Johnny ended up divorcing his wife and neglecting his kids, which angered Vito, and their relationship was strained.

Johnny’s voice grew week so he turned to acting. There was a part he wanted that could make him a big star, but the producer refused him the part for petty reasons. Johnny asks for Vito’s help, which he promises, but only after smacking Johnny around and yelling at him to act like a man, which he truly deserved.

Genco Abbandando

Even though a Sicilian cannot refuse a request made to him on his daughter’s wedding day, there is one thing asked of Vito he refuses, with complete understanding why. This offer comes from Vito’s oldest friend, Genco. After coming to America, Genco’s family takes him in, even offering him work in the family grocery.

Eventually, Vito goes into business for himself, but names it after his friend, Genco Pura, which imported olive oil. Genco served as Vito’s right hand man until the day of the wedding. Genco had cancer and was about to die. He asked Vito to scare off the Grim Reaper, which Vito says he cannot do. Genco dies with his best friend beside him in the hospital.

So what do we learn form this? From Amerigo we learn that those who know about the Godfather but didn’t really know him were afraid of him. From Luca, we learn that Vito is generous to those who are loyal to him. From Nazorine we learn that he knows how to be a friend to those who show respect. From Johnny we learn that Vito will always forgive those who come back to him, but you might have to suffer some tough love first. And from Genco we learn that Vito is only human. His abilities had human limitations but his care had human universality. Vito’s personae is enhanced by these relationships. As writers, we can write about character’s actions, but also interactions, and this will add depth to our stories.

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How To Write A Stunning Courtroom Scene

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I just completed the part of the book that I had been dreading, but now, because of the work that I have put into it, I greatly cherish. I have just finished writing a courtroom scene for my novel. I knew that there were many ways this could go belly towards the sunshine, so I think I put in more prepatory effort for this one than other scenes I might had been more comfortable writing. Some obvious concerns were validated, but a few surprises awaited for me.

Know The Law

My novel is set in Cuba in the 1940s during the Batista era, and this invites all sorts of troubles. I cannot write a dictatorial tribunal as one might write To Kill A Mockingbird. Not only would Cubans have different laws, but the authoritarian regimes have a vastly different set of ways about them. I had to change everything so many times I almost gave up on the scene, but these changes were in the name of getting things right. To say a writer needs to know the law is only part of it. He must know the legal code, but also the adversarial process, the judge, the punishments potentially faced, and even what the courtroom itself is like.

Use Details Prudently

This might be the case with any scene, but I found it particularly sticky with a courtroom scene. There are details that are necessary, but boring. There are details that are exciting, but unnecessary. Remember, it’s not just arguing and cross-examining in the courthouse itself. There is also the interview of witnesses and the evidence gathering aspect. This was a minefield of bad writing waiting to take my legs off if I were not careful. I had to go through the ways of emptying a brake fluid resivior, and I bored myself even writing it. But you can’t spring evidence on the reader like you can the court. Also, the pre-trial interviews often sound too much like the in court cross-examination. You could be repeating yourself. We all need readers to help us proof out materials, but here I would use them even before book is done. Your details must be needful and exciting.

Balance Your Legal Jargon

Like all scenes, your legal scenes need to be authentic and understandable. Also, they need to keep the narrator’s voice consistently as it had been used before and will be employed after. Our American courts use plenty of Latin phrases, so how much more do you think there are in a Spanish speaking court? Keep the legalese at ease. But it needs an appropriate use to seem authentic. From here the writer runs into a bad spot trying to make the situation clear without breaking the narrator’s voice be explaining everything like a Dick & Jane reader. I think the best remedy to this problem is sing the show me, don’t tell me model we all know and love.

Avoid The Obvious

It may be clear even before the scene that the verdict will be either guilty or not guilty. That is not the problem. Even if anyone can see for a mile coming that the defendant will get off, don’t allow legal flow to become so transparent that your conclusion becomes ho-hum. In my scene, the lawyer looked at the evidence and flipped the state’s expert witness, but still I feel as if my lawyer’s case in not only interesting and understandable, but also not obvious beforehand to most readers. If the reader knows it before the lawyer says it, it needs reworking.

Make Pace Everything

A legal scene needs to move. You can get bogged down with stuff, or you can move quicker than what the reader needs to know can be written. To keep the interest of the reader, you need a quick pace, which does not avail itself to many details, but many details is what you need in a any good legal scene. Did I accomplish this in my own courtroom scene? I don’t know. I think I did. I hope I did. But like any other scene, it will be worked and reworked. That is the clear upside of being a writer – you don’t have to get it perfect on the first draft. Knowing that also encouraged me to start and finish this tough part of my novel.

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