Culture Vulture Express Receives It’s Second Real Neat Blog Award!

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Culture Vulture Express has got a second Real Neat Blog Award from Mark at markanthonysblog. Thanks so much Mark. 🙂

 

 

Answers

 

1. Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hanks?

Both great actors but I have a bit of a crush on Benedict so I’m going to say him! 🙂

 

2. If you could go back in time, where would you go?

The 60s because it was a time of so much social change beginning and I love the music and the clothes.

 

3. Hot or cold weather?

Cold weather, not freezing but cooler weather. I’m Irish, I’m not used to the sun! 🙂

 

4. Things that remind you of your childhood?

Furbies, tamagotchis, Pokemon, Rugrats, troll dolls, Toy Story, Tellytubbies, Cindy doll, Barbie, Polly Pocket.

 

5. What show are you currently watching?

I’m catching up on the Rupaul’s Drag Race seasons gradually. I hadn’t watched the show and then I started watching season 6 because I became a fan of Courtney Act in Celebrity Big Brother in the UK and I got hooked and now I’m going through the seasons.

 

6. Favourite blogger(s)? and why.

Everyone’s blog that I follow because you’re all amazing! 🙂

 

7. What subjects are your most and least favourite?

Well when I was at school my favourite was English because I always loved reading and writing. My least favourite was Maths. I was never any good at them and a close second for least would have been PE. I quite liked hockey and tennis but the rest especially the fitness tests, no.

 

Feel free to use the same questions and comment below if you would like to be a nominee and take part. 🙂

 

 

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Letting Go Of Prejudices & Becoming A Better Person

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Ignorance. Lately it seems to be the most overused excuse for getting out of bother. If I had a cent for every time someone said ‘it’s ignorance, not prejudice’, I wouldn’t have to do the Lotto. But the thing is that prejudice often comes from ignorance. The two are often a side of the one coin. And there is a very big difference between the ignorance of not knowing something which is ok and the ignorance of believing prejudiced myths. For example asking, ‘What is pansexuality?” does not mean the same as ‘Does that mean you are promiscuous?” I suppose in short, it’s common sense to only ask what you wouldn’t mind answering yourself the opposite way around.

 

Now that I’ve spoken about the terms, let me get to what I want to discuss in this post. I have in the past had a few prejudices of my own which I apologise for and regret. I used to judge what a person’s gender was from their presentation, what their pronouns were, assuming their gender from their pronouns or words like brother and sister and from their voices and though deep in heart I always knew that was wrong, I done it because I was very brainwashed by the society in which I lived. I also used to use the term ‘coloured’ to describe people of colour until I realised it was an offensive term. There was a mixture of brainwashing and ignorance leading to prejudice thinking and speaking in that one. The latter I stopped immediately. It wasn’t as deeply indented me as the first one but I eventually got rid of the two thankfully and apologised in my mind for them as thank god I never actually used any of these prejudices in front of anyone I could hurt. And I guess the point why I’m writing all this is that the reason I got out of them is because I admitted to myself that I was acting in a prejudiced manner and that’s the problem with a lot of people with prejudices, they don’t admit it to themselves and that makes their journey to making themselves better people longer and sometimes they don’t even get there. It is a hard thing to admit but when you do, while of course you feel bad about it, it starts you on your way to recovery.

 

The problem is that a lot of people get defensive and what that leads to is people making out the way they are thinking is ‘ignorant but a natural way of thinking’ and it is not a natural way of thinking. It all ties in with that ‘everyone is prejudiced’ get out of jail card. Not everyone is and a lot of people have never had any prejudices in their life so that is really used to make a person who has prejudices feel better about themselves. To get out of having prejudices you have to take responsibility. Whether something is the reason or not for you thinking that, that reason doesn’t excuse your prejudices. You need to take responsibility for your prejudices and stop the pity party, the whole victim party and the whole feeling sorry for yourself because someone was upset by what you said. Yes I believe most people in this situation hate upsetting people but I find they hate upsetting themselves more and that’s not a good place to start from.

 

In addition and I think this is the bit that annoys me the most, they blame people for taking offense to what they’ve said when the most natural feeling in the world when someone is prejudiced towards you or you see someone being prejudiced towards people is to be offended and not like it. People aren’t robots with no emotions and I think people in this situation often forget that or conveniently do depending on the person. They want people to understand them being prejudiced. There’s a massive irony in there. And actually it’s more important to understand that you shouldn’t be prejudiced than to understand prejudice and why people are acting and thinking in a prejudiced way. I’ve actually heard people say that people who get upset about prejudice, even prejudice about themselves, need to ‘grow and mature’. As I said there is much irony in the things people say. Because when you have prejudiced feelings there is an immaturity and a lack of growth in that aspect of who you are. There is also a repression of peoples’ natural emotions here. It’s getting a stage now that feels very unhealthy where people are almost being forced to not take things personally that they do feel personally. When they think people ‘grow and mature’, what people are often doing is adapting to the situation to avoid hassle and the guilt-tripping of ‘the terrible struggle I’m going through because I’m only ignorant and you should understand that.’ Well this is tough love, nobody has to understand you acting in a prejudice way, stop your goddamn moaning and educate yourself and be adult enough to admit to yourself that what you are doing is having prejudices and that it’s desperately wrong. Would you be so understanding if people said prejudiced things about something about you?

 

If you honestly want to change this aspect of yourself, taking responsibility for your feelings and educating yourself is how you do it. Running away from your prejudices isn’t going to help you. Face them head on. They are there whether you ignore them or not so be brave and when you have got to a point where you are out of the sickness of prejudice apologise to those you’ve hurt or offended and if that isn’t possible apologise in your own mind. Then leave it in the past and don’t fuck up again. Forgive yourself. You will still have regrets but forgive yourself. Face these things you’re scared of feeling head on. I promise you that you won’t regret it.

Friday Fictioneers: Summer Romance

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

 

 

Summer Romance

 

I sat by the window. My mind intent on writing a book based on that brief relationship I had three summers ago with the woman who stole my heart. My sense of recall comes through my senses. Smelling the heavy scent of her perfume in my nostrils, the sight of her deep green eyes, the touch of her hand which was both soft and gentle and the soft sound of her voice to my earlobes after we made love in my bedsit flat.

 

 

She gave me a picture as a parting gift reminding me to fly and take life on.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

Corpus By Rory Clements Review!

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Corpus (2016) by Rory Clements is an absorbing historical thriller set in 1936.

 

A twenty-six year old woman Nancy gets past the Gestapo in Berlin to bring important papers to a Jewish scientist Arnold Lindberg/Schmidt and a few weeks later she is found dead in her bedroom in Cambridge holding a silver syringe. This leads to her death being put down as an overdose or suicide. But not everyone is convinced. Enter Tom Wilde.

 

Brought into the case by his friend and the woman he loves Lydia who was friends with the murdered woman, the history professor embarks on his first case to solve and gradually he finds himself in a world of murder, prejudice, corruption, blackmail, politics, social issues and family entanglements amidst a changing world. One part thriller, one part historical with a splash of romance thrown in, this is an engrossing read. One moment you are reading about the various suspects and all the complex and intriguing web that surrounds the murder of Nancy then you are reading about the various political motivations of all the various characters which is a great study in human nature and then you move to the budding relationship between Tom and Lydia and next thing you are in the midst of historical moments like Edward, Prince of Wales’ abdication and history from the terrible reigns of Hitler and Stalin.

 

It’s an incredibly interesting and jam-packed read. It is quite a long book but it’s worth the effort to find time to read. This is part of a series of Tom Wilde books and this is the first one in that series. The characters and the dynamics are very well-written and there is an array of very different characters in this book with differing viewpoints which of course adds a lot of drama and tension to proceedings. While there was a lot of different characters none of them I identified with in a way of relating to them but I most certainly have met people and know of people like a lot of these characters so there is a very realistic element to the characters. The book is very well-researched so kudos to Clements who clearly put a lot of work into that side of it and the writing is top class too.

 

This book also has a vibe of a critical thinking university atmosphere to it. The characters seem to be characters who think about a lot of things but it seems more in a structural way rather than a feeling way often. Not always but very often and maybe due to that there is sometimes a coldness to the characters but there is people like that so it’s a realistic picture of people who look at things in an analytical sense instead of from the heart. It was fascinating to see the flickers of real emotion coming through in parts but which they repressed with characters like Tom and Lydia. It isn’t particularly light reading and has a thought-provoking element to it and a lot of human dynamics, society and the relationships between people, what they put forward and what they keep back.

 

The mystery is brilliant. I didn’t figure it out and it was a surprise. Not saying they weren’t on my list but it was a long list and they weren’t near the top. So it was very well guarded. The writer does a great job by adding so many people into the story that you don’t know who is involved and who isn’t and great mystery writing mixes the reader up and Clements most certainly wrote a book here that twists and turns over and over.

 

A really great and original read. Excellently written.

 

To purchase Corpus by Rory Clements go to:

 

And for more about Rory Clements and his work go to:

https://www.roryclements.co.uk/

 

Private L.A. By James Patterson & Mark Sullivan Review!

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Private L.A. (2014) by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan is the seventh book in the Private series and it is an intriguing read full of twists and turns.

 

In this outing, Private Jack Morgan is on the case of a missing family. The case is high profile in the media as the parents Jennifer and Thom Harlow are well-known and respected film stars and philanthropists. Now both they and their three young children have been kidnapped without a trace. Soon however Morgan gets more than he bargains for as the case becomes more and more complex the deeper he and his team at Private dig. On top of all this Morgan is investigating a terrorist group called No Prisoners where a shooting on a beach draws Morgan’s attention to the terrorist gang. What follows is more and more killings and terror with Private running out of time to save as many peoples’ lives as they can. I thought the two cases were written very well. There is great indepth into the characters and some of them in both stories are extremely dark, evil characters so I wouldn’t say it was easy for Patterson and Sullivan to write how their minds worked. But both stories were written very honestly and were very interesting to read with lots of twists and turns in both in excellent fast-paced chapters.There is also quite an interesting side storyline involving Morgan’s run-ins with his brother Tommy who is accused of murder and trying to maintain Morgan was involved with the murder too. Their estranged relationship is interesting to read. A lot of drama there to say the least.

 

A part of the book that did my head in slightly was Justine’s overthinking of her problems. I actually quite like her as a character otherwise so I think this is unfortunate but she doesn’t half go on and to be honest I wouldn’t mind but some of her problems don’t seem all that big and she just seems to like moaning. It’s a pity because I like that she is a strong, open-minded, intelligent, independent woman. But a lot of those sections I could have done without. They add nothing to the story.

 

The great thing about the Private books is that even though it is a series, this felt like a standalone book so I would imagine even though this is the first longer-length Private book I read that each book in the series can be read in any order.

 

A great read which keeps you turning page after page quicker than you planned to.

 

To purchase Private L.A. by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan go to:

 

And for more about James Patterson and his work go to:

http://www.jamespatterson.com/

 

And for more about Mark Sullivan and his work go to:

https://marksullivanbooks.com/

 

 

 

 

Writing Links…6/11/18

Where Genres Collide

girl with lantern, mysterious girl with lantern

Writing Links…6/11/18

Traci Kenworth

 

Fantasy/Dystopian/UF/Paranormal/SF:

  1. http://storitorigrace.blogspot.com/2018/06/questions-for-cohen-silhouette.html “Since Beautiful People has ended for the time being I thought I’d try reviving character interviews on the blog so I can talk about my books a little bit. This is Cohen Makovsky and he’s the main character of my Adult Science-Fiction novel Silhouette. He had his own Beautiful People, but I need to get to know him even more. XD Let me tell you a bit about him.”
  2. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2018/06/09/there-is-a-sliver-of-light-in-the-future/ “Speaking of anxiety, this week has been a rough one.  Sunday was fun with ‘Deadpool 2’ and Cheesecake Factory, but the weekdays were emotionally brutal.  Aside from some personal stuff, two reviews vanished on me.  One from Warlord of the Forgotten Ageand another from War of Nytefall: Loyalty.  Those are two books that can’t afford to lose any reviews and I don’t have any explanation for it. …

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The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain Review!

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The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (1884) by Mark Twain is a stunningly crafted adventure story.

 

This book deals with many themes like friendship and adventure and more serious themes like freedom, racism and slavery. This book was set in times when slavery was still legal and Twain writes a book here which shows both slavery and the systematic racism in society, some of which is still sadly there today. Through Huckleberry and Jim’s friendship we see a gorgeous friendship that bypasses skin colour and the barriers of a racist society. Twain shows us in this book through characters like Miss Watson and Sally Phelps that some people who are white have their heads so much up their asses that they can’t see oppression and injustice in front of them and seem to think nothing bad of slavery or the idea of Jim being took away from his family.

 

This story is a fantastic story of friendship between Huck and Jim. We see how Huck changes from not really thinking about slavery to feeling passionate about not letting his friend return to that life after they go through so much after setting off on a raft down the Mississippi River. What I really love about their friendship is that this doesn’t come about by Jim being in some way understanding of his friend’s indifference but just simply by Huck seeing Jim as a fellow human being and seeing the smokescreen put up by society to hide their prejudice. In contrast the character of Tom Sawyer seems to be overly conditioned by the society he lives in. Through Tom we see how an impressionable young mind can be poisoned by the structural prejudice present in society. Though there may be hope for him to change his ways in the future here we find him not letting Jim know that he is free just to amuse his own imagination and he seems to like the power he feels entitled to.

 

My favourite character is Jim though I like Huck too. I found there was a lot of depth to Jim and there was a lot more to his story than the reader would ever know. I also really liked his compassion and the intelligence about how life really was that he possessed. He was clearly a character who had been forced to see more of life, often not good, than Huck and Tom probably ever would.

 

While Jim goes on a journey to seek literal freedom, Huck also goes on a journey to freedom as he tries to rid himself of the shackles of systematic racism. Both of their journeys are very brave and together they make each other feel stronger to see this all through and achieve freedom and contentedness. Their journeys are very interesting and the interweaving of those journeys is fantastic to read.

 

There is racist language in this book but there is offensive, prejudiced language in many books. I personally think as a reader and a writer the main thing to look at in regards to such language is what is it’s purpose for being there. What is the author’s meaning for putting it in? And I don’t think there is a problem if the reason is to show the prejudice in society as opposed to do it for spite and cruelty. In this book I believe it is the former reason and I think Twain put it in because it’s a true reflection of what prejudiced and brainwashed people do say and if we sweep under the carpet what is said in a way prejudiced people like that are being let away with it as opposed to being called out for it and brainwashed people are denied a chance to educate themselves. Pretending something doesn’t exist lets prejudiced people like that off the hook. Twain himself was anti-slavery and racism and I don’t any malice is meant. In fact I think Twain is actually showing how wrong slavery and racism are so I think it is done with good intentions. I actually think he was quite brave to write a book like this in the time that he did.

 

An excellent and important read.

 

To read The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain for free go to:

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/76/76-h/76-h.htm

 

And for more about Mark Twain and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1244.Mark_Twain