Archives for the month of: November, 2018

Abandoned Dreams - Rod Raglin

This year I decided to spend some of my paltry marketing budget entering my novels in a few of the many contests offered on the internet.

 

I may as well have flushed the funds down the toilet for all the good it did. Most contests hastily cashed my cheque and then didn’t even bother spamming me to advise that I didn’t win, place or show.

 

These for sure are cash grabs for financially beleaguered writing sites, festivals, literary publications or outright scam artists.

 

The exception so far has been the Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards that provided a brief commentary from an anonymous judge.

 

So here are Judge Number 54 comments regarding my submission to The 26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Not a bad review, but then it did cost $116.45 ($99.49 entry fee + $10.30 postage + $6.66 for the price of the book and shipping)

 

 

Entry Title: Abandoned Dreams

Author: Rod Raglin

Judge Number: 54

Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

 

 * Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

 

 

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

 

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

 

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

 

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

 

Character Appeal and Development: 4

 

Voice and Writing Style: 4

 

 

Judge’s Commentary

 

   This novel uses a distinctive succession of first-person sections that combine to offer an incisive perspective on the loves and fortunes of several characters whose lives intersect in tortured relationships. Musings and actions by the characters as the story progresses create a running succession of candid revelations. Along the way, readers get intimate understandings of what motivates the characters, who cross a wide age range, as they seek to reach their social and artistic goals. Literary and artistic matters including the drive for fame and creativity, as well as cutting criticism, are refreshingly realistic and provide illuminating insights into the minds of writers and artists. How the past and present link up and influence their current lives and activities is skillfully portrayed. Generational aspects, including a visit to an ashram in the U.S., are woven into the multiple relationships and ambitions that stir the narrative.

       Overall, the dreams of the past blend into the aspirations of the present as the force of character persists.

         More suspense in what will happen, especially as the past is recalled, would enhance the book’s drive. More chapters should end on a suspenseful note to make readers wonder what will happen next. The dialogue is snappy with good use of interior monologue while showing the mind-sets of the characters.

     The title is intriguing and spurs interest. The first two lines of the subtitle work, but the third one raises the question of who the “they” is. Perhaps “life” could be used instead. The cover image is interesting, but consider placing an easel between the chairs and a manuscript on one chair to better reflect the contents and themes of the novel.

 

You can purchase Abandoned Dreams from my Amazon Author’s Page at

https:www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1812399/contest-entry-commentary-costs-116-45

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One of the reasons I write is to explore contemporary issues through different perspectives. For example, in Book 3 of the Mattie Saunders Series (yet untitled), I’m researching the #MeToo movement and the issue of sexual harassment through the eyes of Mattie, my protagonist.

This investigation that included watching Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and hearing the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford made me reflect on my own behaviour. Did I ever cross the line, that line being the use of force or intimidation to have sex with a woman?

The answer is an emphatic no. Why am I so convinced? To understand, you need some context.

Between the ages of fourteen and nineteen, I tried to have sex with every woman I dated. It was just what you did, and, it seemed the girls I dated expected me to, not that they were all cooperative.

It was a game we played in the backseats of cars and in dark rec rooms.

The necking would start, and hands would search out clasps to undo, pants to slide down or dresses to pull up. There were three inevitable outcomes. The girl would get up and go home, the girl would break off go to the washroom, come back and re-engage only to break off, etc.,  the girl would go all the way.

Despite the outcome, I didn’t feel different about the girl, though the ones who walked out never dated me again.

I don’t think I was too different, or indifferent than most guys my age at that time, except for me when it came to sex it wasn’t so much the destination, but rather the journey.

Women had to want to have sex with me, that was whole the point. It was all about being cool, attractive and desirable. If I got turned down, and I did, a lot, I told myself it was their loss. I may not have been a nice guy, but I wasn’t a misogynist.

The idea of using anything but charm, appearance and style combined with a confident, cavalier attitude was unimaginable. In fact, intimidation, coercion or force were the antipathies to what was trying to be achieved.

The times have changed dramatically in fifty years, I’ve matured, and my attitude regarding many things has undergone a paradigm shift. What hasn’t changed is my view that using force to achieve your goals is the way of idiots and cowards, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish.

Not surprisingly, Mattie feels the same way.

Keep calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

Author’s  Amazon Page for the Mattie Saunders Books 1 & 2, The Rocker and the Bird Girl and Cold-Blooded

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1808910/my-metoo-moment

Review:

 

 

Residential schools operated in Canada for a hundred years and about one hundred and fifty thousand First Nations children were forcibly removed from their parents and their communities and sent to them. The philosophy of these institutions was to kill the Indian in the child so they could better assimilate into white society.

 

It’s been well documented, indeed even Prime Minister Trudeau has apologized for the physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse these children endured for the ten years they were enrolled.

 

What isn’t understood is that as well as losing a normal childhood they also lost coping mechanisms, trust, a sense of safety and belonging and future parenting skills. For generations there was a cycle of remove children from their family, culture and support systems; shame, punish and abuse them; and then return them to parents who had undergone the same treatment.

 

If you don’t have this information, and other information about the cultural genocide perpetrated by the Canadian government, supported at least indirectly by the Canadian people than you cannot begin to understand the struggle of First Nations people in Canada.

 

I didn’t and now I do, thanks to Lynda Gray’s book, First Nations 101.

 

In a readable and dispassionate voice, Gray, a member of the Tsimshian Nation and Executive Director of the Urban Native Youth Assoc. in Vancouver, Canada, lays it all out and it’s horrific, unjustifiable and unresolved.

 

Chapters include identity, social control, community issues, fairness and justice, taxation, health and wellness and arts.

 

Apologies and commissions aside, First Nations still struggle with poverty and discrimination which are born out by statistics including Indigenous adults representing 4.1 percent of the of the total Canadian adult population — but 26 percent of adults in federal custody.

 

As they begin to recover from the effects of our assimilation policies and decades of intergenerational trauma all they ask is that they receive justice and fairness and for us to get out of their way so they can get on with the healing and rebuilding of their culture.

 

At the end of the book, Gray describes what needs to be done by the Canadian government and Canadians individually, and First Nations themselves if both sides are really interested in truth and reconciliation.

 

Reading First Nations 101 is a good first step.

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1806061/a-dispassionate-factual-account-of-cultural-genocide-against-first-nations-in-canada

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