Ursula Le Guin – ‘A Born Writer’

 

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Ursula Le Guin was born on the 21st of October 1929. She is an American author who writes in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Ursula is most famous for her ‘Tales from Earthsea’ fantasy series. There are six books in this series and they have sold millions of copies throughout America and England. These books have also been translated into sixteen different languages. Many fans of Hayao Miyazaki (maker of anime feature films) will recognise the title ‘Tales from Earthsea’ from the 2006 movie.

Ursula was interested in reading and writing at a very young age. At age 9 she had written her first fantasy story and at age 11 she had a science fiction story published in a magazine called Astounding Science Fiction. Ursula is the daughter of anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber. Her father’s career in anthropology influenced some of her science fiction stories, some of which included highly detailed descriptions of alien societies.

Here are some interesting facts about Ursula Le Guin:

Ursula met her husband while travelling to France, his name was Charles Le Guin. Charles was a historian.

‘Tales from Earthsea’ was written for children, but because of her attention to detail and great writing skills it appealed to a larger adult audience.

Ursula grew up with three older brothers, in an intellectually stimulating environment created by their parents. All of them were encouraged to read from a young age.

From 1951 – 1961 Ursula wrote five novels which were all rejected by publishers because they were deemed too inaccessible.

In the 1960’s Ursula’s work seemed to pick up and she was becoming more successful. It was also during this period that she experienced bouts of depression. She has described this as “dark passages that I had to work through.” In one of her novels from ‘Tales of the Earthsea’ she has used a quote from Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’ – “Depression as a journey through the silent land of the dead.

One of the places that Ursula likes to go is to the high desert of eastern Oregon with her husband Charles. She enjoys the awareness that the desert gives her of distance, emptiness, and geological time.

Ursula’s major influences are – J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip K. Dick, Leo Tolstoy, The Bronte sisters and Virginia Woolf.

Ursula is known as a writer who has broken down the walls of genre and has taught many other writers to step out of their ‘genre comfort zones.’

Please have a look at some of Ursula Le Guin’s writing:

Earthsea Series:

–          A Wizard of Earthsea

–          The Tombs of Atuan

–          The Farthest Shore

–          Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea

–          Tales from Earthsea

–          The Other Wind

Other Novels:

–          Lavinia

–          The Lathe of Heaven

–          The Eye of the Heron

–          Always Coming Home

–          Annals of the Western Shore

–          The Compass Rose

–          Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand

–          The Wind’s Twelve Quarters

–          The Beginning place

–          Orsinian Tales

Hainish Science Fiction (Hainish Cycle is a number of science fiction novels an alternate history/future)

–          Rocannon’s World

–          Planet of Exile

–          City of Illusions

–          The Left Hand of Darkness

–          This Dispossessed

–          The Word for World is Forest

–          Four Ways to Forgiveness

–          The Telling

 

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Bram Stoker – The man behind ‘Dracula’

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Abraham Stoker or Bram Stoker as most ‘Dracula’ fans know him, was born the 8th of November 1847. He died in 1912 at the age of 64. He Is an Irish author best known for the novel ‘Dracula.’  He published ‘Dracula’ at the age of 50. Bram spent the early part of his childhood confined to his bed because of a mysterious illness. Looking back on this part of his life Bram mentions that “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” Bram married Florence Balcome and they had only one child together. This child they named Irving.

Here are some interesting facts about Bram Stoker:

Bram Stoker was the third child of seven.

Even though bed-ridden for most of his childhood he later on excelled in athletics being named University Athlete at Trinity College in Dublin.

Before Florence Balcome married Bram Stoker she actually had another suitor interested in her. His name was Oscar Wilde. Florence chose to be with Bram instead of Oscar. This left Oscar upset enough that he left the country.

Henry Irving and Bram Stoker became close friends. This happened when Bram wrote a review of Hamlet that impressed Henry. A few years later Bram ended up managing Henry Irving’s theatre and career.

‘Dracula’ was inspired by an essay written by Emily Gerard called ‘Transylvania Superstitions.’ Stoker himself had never visited Eastern Europe so he spent a lot of time on research, 7 years in fact.

‘Dracula’ was originally titled ‘The Un-dead’ and ‘Count Dracula’ was originally going to be called ‘Count Wampyr.’

‘Dracula’ wasn’t the first story ever written about vampires. The story ‘Camilla’ written by Sheridan Le Fanu was about a lesbian vampire who stalked young women in 1871. There also happened to be a horror series by James Malcolm Rymer called ‘Varney the Vampire,’ that also came before ‘Dracula.’

Walt Whitman was one of his favourite authors.

Bram’s death didn’t attract much attention in 1912 because it was around the same time as the Titanic hit an iceberg. The Titanic was big news at the time.

There are many different opinions on what the final cause of Bram’s death was. Daniel Farson, Bram Stoker’s grandnephew says in his biography the cause of death was Locomotor Ataxy – know in those days as general paralysis of the insane.

Check out some of Bram Stokers other writing:

The Snakes Pass

Seven Golden Buttons

The Watter’s Mou

The Lair of the White Worm

The Lady of the Shroud

The Jewel of the Seven Stars

The Shoulder of Shasta

The Man (A.K.A The Gates of Life)

Lady Athlyne

The Mystery of the Sea

 

Short Stories:

Under the Sunset (Eight fairy tales for children)

Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party

Dracula’s Guests and Other Weird Stories

 

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Bell Night is back from the dead!

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After a long period of no blogging, Bell Night is back up and running. Due to a number of personal reasons the site hasn’t been operating for a while. I hope that you will forgive me for being absent! I am truly sorry.  Hopefully in the coming weeks I will see a lot of old faces and hopefully some new ones. Stay posted and watch this space because there will be a new author review up in a few days! Looking forward to hearing form everyone and writing some new articles!

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James Herbert – The Man Who Knows How To Write An Exceptional Chiller!

James Herbert

James John Herbert was born on the 8th of April, 1943 in London, England. James is a horror/chiller writer with more than 54 million copies of his books sold worldwide. James left school at the early age of 15, but later on went to study at the Hornsey College of Art. After graduating he went on to join a small advertising agency.

In 1974 James published his first novel called The Rats which became an instant success. A lot of people were very critical of The Rats saying that it wasn’t literature. The readers of the time were appalled by the vivid depictions of death and violence that James had written. From this point forward James went on to write a book nearly every year.

James died on the 20th March 2013 at the age of 69. He is survived by a wife and three daughters.

Here are some interesting facts about James Herbert:

James designed many of his own book covers, this may be from the benefit of having worked at an advertising agency.

Herbert was afraid of the dark as a child, but later on in life his real fear was spiders.

In 2010 James was made Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and given an award by Stephen King.

James was also awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire, giving him the title of OBE.

Supposedly he would make sure he was finished writing every night at 6 in time to watch The Simpsons and drink a glass of Vodka.

Four of his novels have been made into films. The Rats, The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted.

James never read any of his own books.

Something that Stephen King once said about his writing: “Herbert was by no means literary, but his work had a raw urgency… His best novels, The Rats and The fog, had the effect of Mike Tyson in his championship days: no finesse, all crude power. Those books were best sellers because many readers (including me) were too horrified to put them down.”

 

Some writing by James Herbert you should check out:

Novels

Ash            The Fog                The Rats                        The Magic Cottage                    Fluke

The Survivor                   The Dark                 Shrine                      The Spear                     The Jonah                   Lair

Moon                 Nobody True                   Haunted                  Domain                  Sepulchre              

Portent                  The Secret of Crickley Hall                Once                  Creed                   The Ghosts of Sleath

’48                 Others       

 

Short Stories

They Don’t Like Us                    Breakfast                  Maurice and Mog             

Halloweens Child                 Cora’s Needs                   Extinct

 

Bell Night

 

 

 

Gravity down a darker path.

Here is another piece of writing from Mykh, let me know what you think.

A deeper murk lies upon the unwary astral traveller, as exists hypotheses of weights immeasurable, and of a light consuming blackness. Waking from a slumber beyond measure, these vexed collapsing titans, long since extinguished, feed upon their own with an infinite and impartial hunger.
Their form unseen, as the gloom of an all consuming darkness distort any true motive.
The wise pilgrim plans well when venturing into the still vacuum between the stars, for these deities wrath is absolute, an all enduring cease, exists within.

— Mykh Wulves

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The Stephen King of Children’s Books: R .L. Stine

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Robert Lawrence Stine was born on October 8th 1943. Many people will know him as the author of many children’s series like, Goosebumps, Mostly Ghostly, Fear Street, and The Nightmare Room. Robert began writing at the age of 9 when he discovered a typewriter in his attic. Roberts father was a shipping clerk at a warehouse and his mother would stay at home to look after the children. Robert had two other siblings.

He later went on to achieve a degree of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English. He then moved to New York and became a writer and editor. His books have now sold over 400 million copies worldwide.

Some interesting facts about R. L. Stine that you may not have known:

His mother would read scary stories to him as a child like the original version of Pinocchio.

When he was a child he wanted to become a cartoonist.

Something strange about Robert is that the only green thing that he will eat is green mint ice-cream.

Supposedly Robert doesn’t have a very good memory.

Robert tried to make sure that he was writing every day when he was a teenager.

Robert wrote his first book in 1986 and it was called Blind Date.

In 1986 he wrote a children’s book called Miami Mice

Stine is married to a Jane Waldhorn and they have a son together and his name is Matt Stine.

Some writing you should certainly check out by Robert is:

Space Cadets

Jerks-in-Training                  Losers in Space           Bozos on Patrol

Goosebumps Series 2000

Cry of the Cat           Bride of the Living Dummy                  Creature Teacher

Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part I                        Invasion of the Body Squeezers, Part II

I Am Your Evil Twin             Revenge R Us                 Fright Camp

Are You Terrified Yet?             Headless Halloween          Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls           Brain Juice

Return to HorrorLand          Jekyll and Heidi          Scream School         The Mummy Walks

The Werewolf in the Living Room         Horrors of the Black Ring        Return to Ghost Camp

Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid!       The Haunted Car           Full Moon Fever      Slappy’s Nightmare

Earth Geeks Must Go!          Ghost in the Mirror

Give Yourself Goosebumps

Escape from the Carnival of Horror         Tick Tock, You’re Dead!         Trapped in Bat Wing Hall

The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek      Night in Werewolf Woods          Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter

Under the Magician’s Spell          The Curse of the Creeping Coffin       The Knight in Screaming Armor

Diary of a Mad Mummy         Deep in the Jungle of Doom        Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum

Scream of the Evil Genie       The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock      Please Don’t Feed the Vampire!

Secret Agent Grandma        Little Comic Shop of Horrors       Attack of the Beastly Baby-sitter

Escape from Camp Run-for-Your-Life       Toy Terror: Batteries Included          The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island

Return to the Carnival of Horrors              Zapped in Space          Lost in Stinkeye Swamp

Shop Till You Drop…Dead!         Alone in Snakebite Canyon        Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel

Night of a Thousand Claws           Invaders from the Big Screen           You’re Plant Food!

The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge          It’s Only a Nightmare           It Came from the Internet

Elevator to Nowhere        Hocus-Pocus Horror            Ship of Ghouls

Escape from Horror House        Into the Twister of Terror          Scary Birthday to You

Zombie School         Danger Time           All-Day Nightmare

Give Yourself Goosebumps: Special Edition

Into the Jaws of Doom          Return to Terror Tower          Trapped in the Circus of Fear

One Night in Payne House        The Curse of the Cave Creatures

Revenge of the Body Squeezers        Trick or…Trapped!         Weekend at Poison Lake

 

Fear Street

The New Girl     The Surprise Party      The Overnight          Missing

The Wrong Number        The Sleepwalker         Haunted      Halloween Party

The Stepsister     Ski Weekend        The Fire Game         Lights Out

The Secret Bedroom         The Knife         The Prom Queen

First Date        The Best Friend         The Cheater        Sunburn

The New Boy       The Dare       Bad Dreams       Double Date

The Thrill Club         One Evil Summer       The Mind Reader

Wrong Number 2        Truth or Dare             Dead End

Final Grade          Switched         College Weekend           The Stepsister 2

What Holly Heard       The Face         Secret Admirer       The Perfect Date

The Confession          The Boy Next Door       Night Games         Runaway

Killer’s Kiss        All-Night Party          The Rich Girl            Cat

Fear Hall: The Beginning        Fear Hall: The Conclusion

Who Killed The Homecoming Queen?        Into The Dark      Best Friend 2

Trapped

 

New Fear Street

The Stepbrother         Camp Out

Scream, Jennifer, Scream!          The Bad Girl

 

Fear Street Super Chiller

Party Summer         Silent Night        Goodnight Kiss

Broken Hearts         Silent Night 2      The Dead Lifeguard

Cheerleaders: The New Evil         Bad Moonlight

The New Year’s Party        Goodnight Kiss 2          Silent Night 3

High Tide        Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives!

 

 

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Fem Fatale Fantasy Fictionist: Robin Hobb

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Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden has taken on two successful pseudonyms during her writing career. The first being Megan Lindholm and the second being Robin Hobb. Margaret was born in California 1952, but spent majority of her life in Alaska before moving to Washington. At the young age of eighteen Margaret was married and from here on she started her writing career. She first wrote for children’s magazines and progressed into bigger works of fantasy fiction.

Some interesting facts that you may not of known about Margaret:

Although she has experienced a small taste of what adventures are in her books, she mostly writes from doing a lot of research. “I like primary documents when I can get them, diaries, journals and things of that sort. Then I like to find well researched and foot-noted books written on whatever topic I am covering.”

Margaret has four children, three of them are adults.

She has no television in her lounge room only a lot of tall bookcases.

Some of Margaret’s favourite authors: George R R Martin, Jane Johnson, Michael Marshall, Robert Parker and Janet Evanovich.

Good news for readers Margaret has been quoted saying in an interview: “…I’m writing another book. And after that, I think I’ll probably write another book. And then another. Until my hands and eyes give out (They’re in a race to see what fails first.) I think that’s all I can say with certainty. I’ll be writing more books.”

Australian fans will be glad to here that they have the chance to meet Margaret in 2014 at Supernova and she is also going to be a guest at Worldcon, Loncon, London.

If you are a fan of Fantasy, then this is certainly the author for you!

Some writing by Margaret that you should check out:

Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy

Assassins Apprentice                 Royal Assassin                 Assassins Quest

Liveship Traders Trilogy

Ship of Magic            The Mad Ship           Ship of Destiny

The Tawny Man Trilogy

Fools Errand               The Golden Fool             Fool’s Fate

The Rain Wild’s Chronicles:

Dragon Keeper          Dragon Haven             City of Dragons         Blood of Dragons

The Fitz and Fool Trilogy:

The Fool’s Assassin      

Other Elderling  Stories

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince

Soldier Son Trilogy:

Shaman’s Crossing             Forest Mage             Renegades Magic

Short Stories

The Inheritance              Homecoming           Words like Coins            Blue Boots

Cat’s Meat             The Triumph            Neighbours

Megan Lindholm

The Ki and Vandien Quartet

Harpy’s Flight        The Windsingers            The Limbreth Gate             Luck of the Wheels

Tillu and Kerlew

The Reindeer People                 Wolf’s Brother

Other Stories

Wizard of the Pigeons               Cloven Hooves             Alien Earth            The Gypsy

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Poe – Writer and Poet

Edgar Poe

I thought it was about time I did an article on Edgar Allan Poe. He has influenced many great writers and without him literature as we know it today would not be the same.

Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, January 19 1809. His parents were only around for a year or two after he was born. His father left and his mother died a year later, making Edgar an orphan. He was taken in by a Frances and John Allan, but never formally adopted, his name became Edgar Allan Poe. In young adult-hood Edgar became more and more interested in writing. Poetry was the form of writing that Edgar seemed to be most fond of before he decided to try his hand at stories. Much of Edgar’s work has a dark romanticism about it. Edgar Allan Poe died October 7th, 1849 under mysterious circumstances.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not of known about Edgar Allan Poe:

The first thing Edgar published was in 1827, a pamphlet of poems, most of which were written when he was 14.

Edgar was poor majority of his life.

The Raven was Edgar’s most successful poem. The Raven came about when he was trying to set himself a personal challenge of writing a 100 line poem. He in fact wrote 108 lines.

The creation of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by a french detective that Edgar wrote about.

Edgar married his cousin Virginia when she was 13 and he was about 26 or 27. The marriage lasted 11 years until she died.

He joined that army at one stage under the false name of Edgar. A. Perry

Edgar Allan Poe was actually considered quite handsome by many people, only in his final years did he grow more facial hair and have a permanently brooding look about him.

Edgar Allan Poe had a rival and his name was Rufus Griswold. Edgar didn’t have a very high opinion of Rufus and questioned his literary integrity.  Rufus managed to succeed Edgar by becoming the editor of Graham’s magazine. After Edgar’s death, Griswold decided to write an obituary and also a false biography depicting Edgar to be a raving drunk mad-man.

Many theories exist on why Edgar died. He was discovered on a Baltimore street wearing someone else’s clothes October 3rd. Edgar woke days later at the Washington Medical College where his final words were: “Lord, help my poor soul.” Some of the theories surrounding his death include: Alcoholism, heart disease, drugs, rabies, suicide, murder and a brain tumor.

Edgar Allan Poe loved cats and they loved him. Supposedly he had a tortoiseshell cat named Caterina that died two weeks after he did.

Edgar was buried in an un-marked grave. Rumours and gossip started to spread and finally a tombstone was ordered, strangely enough though it was destroyed in a train accident.

Some writing by Edgar Allan Poe that you should check out:

Poems

The Raven                A Dream Within a Dream          The Bells               Lenore

The City in the Sea           Tamerlane          Eulalie                 To Helen                 

The Conqueror Worm            The Haunted Palace        

   Ulalume          Annabel Lee                     Eldorado                 Al Aaraaf

Stories

The Murders in the Rue Morgue             The Oval Portrait             The Tell-Tale Heart

The Black Cat               Morella              The Premature Burial                           Ligeia                    

The Purloined Letter              The Gold-Bug               The Imp of the Perverse

The Fall of the House of Usher             The Pit and the Pendulum          

The Masque of the Red Death

The Cask of Amontillado             Hop-Frog         

The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether

A Descent into the Maelstrom              

The Facts in the Case of M. Vlademar                         

Bell Night

More of Departure in the Night

Here is more of Departure in the Night. Let me know what you guys think.

A looming resonance thickens as the wooden hands meet, as if pressing the colder frost, like minuscule spider webs on the not so familiar glass. Twelve chimes mark the opening of a door and a departure in the night. For beyond the sight of the soft candle light where imp shadows play with the imagined un-night, lays deeper murks with a thousand eyes.

From vast realms and dim night places do they speak their horrid language, as a queer song whispered from some dark corner or half imagined nightmare. From those dark portals of abbadon, beneath and behind do they appear, drawing the eye and vanishing as soon as a sentient gaze fixes upon them.

A cloak of dark dressed those macabre creatures; those that hide in travellers peripheries, in the echoes of their footsteps upon the damp stone sidewalks, and most of all in the street lamps that fail within solitary proximity.

A mesmeric tone of deep greys and brown black pursue and corrode my quiet mind. Drawing in the lost wisdom and memories of some yester life once lived, before my only known incarnation. Like one breathes in poppy smoke from the air.  The imaginary tendrils of night lurking somewhere unseen.

 Instinct and reason deviate as the rhythmic footsteps hasten. Only a small and fleeting sanctuary can be found in the night, that of the gas lamps cold light that spot this slumbering city swallowed by fog. Beyond my temporary flickering halo the impossibly black backdrop can only be infinitely vast.

 Not until sanctuary of a familiar door and behind it the hearth, do my invented watchers withdraw.

Mykh Wulves

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Departure in the Night

I thought I would put up something slightly different up for a change. Here is something a friend of mine wrote. He would really like some honest feedback. Let me know what you think.

A looming resonance thickens as the wooden hands meet, as if pressing the colder frost, like tiny spiders webs on the not so familiar glass. Twelve chimes mark the opening of a door and a departure in the night. For Beyond the sight of the soft candle light where imp shadows play with the imagined un-night, lays deeper murks with a thousand eyes.

A cloak of dark dressed those macabre creatures; those that hide in travelers peripheries, in the echoes of their footsteps upon the damp stone sidewalks, and most of all in the street lamps that fail with solitary proximity. The imaginary tendrils of night lurking somewhere unseen. Instinct and reason deviate as the rhythmic footsteps hasten. Not until sanctuary of a familiar door and behind it the hearth, do my invented watchers withdraw.

Mykh Wulves

 

 

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