The Book Corner: Gemma Files’s Experimental Film

cover Gemma Files’s Experimental Film

Book Corner: Experimental Film by Gemma Files

Loleta Abi

Experimental Film by Gemma Files. 2015 ChiZine Publications.

Amazon Blurb: Fired at almost the same time as her son Clark’s Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, former film critic turned teacher Lois Cairns is caught in a depressive downward spiral, convinced she’s a failure who’s spent half her adult life writing about other people’s dreams without ever seeing any of her own come true. One-night Lois attends a program of experimental film and emerges convinced she’s seen something no one else has—a sampled piece of silver nitrate silent film footage whose existence might prove that an eccentric early 20th-century socialite who disappeared under mysterious circumstances was also one of Canada’s first female movie-makers. Though it raises her spirits and revitalizes her creatively, Lois’s headlong quest to discover the truth about Mrs. A. Macalla Whitcomb almost immediately begins to send her much further than she ever wanted to go, revealing increasingly troubling links between her subject’s life and her own. Slowly but surely, the malign influence of Mrs Whitcomb’s muse begins to creep into every aspect of Lois’s life, even placing her son in danger. But how can one increasingly ill and unstable woman possibly hope to defeat a threat that’s half long-lost folklore, half cinematically framed hallucination—an existential nightmare made physical, projected off the screen and into real life?

My Review: Warning: spoilers. As a mother, I found the Lois character lacking in the beginning as I’m sure most readers will, but then something incredible began to happen by the middle of the book. I began to CARE about her, even to sympathize with her as she opened herself up as a character. I have to admit, I’m not particularly interested in film history, but I do like to see behind the scenes how things are made. Her theory that all movies are ghost films, is interesting. It’s true, we can still see films of stars that are long gone. The villain in the story, however, is no ghost. I’m talking about the main villain: Lady Midday, though there are other villains in the story. She’s a forgotten god who wants in on the world that’s come to be. She’s chosen her sacrifice for the way in, can Lois stop what her predecessor couldn’t?


The Writer’s Wheel: Setting Goals for the New Year, it’s Not Too Late!

cover of Gemma Files’s Experimental Film

The Writer’s Wheel: Setting Goals for the New Year, It’s Not Too Late!

Loleta Abi

How did you do with 2018? Did you reach what you were aiming for? I admit I didn’t get as far as I wanted to, but then my journey’s not over yet. Nor is yours! If you get stuck or turned around from what you’re wanting to do, take time to breathe, and then begin again.

  1. Begin Again. This is something I didn’t since I was in the later years of my high school journey. If I got messed up, I took some down time, and then started over again. As many times as, it takes. Let’s be honest, no one’s journey goes smoothly.
  2. Adust Your Schedule. If we try to do more than we’re able, we’ll fail. Several times, I’ve had to adjust my schedule do to being too ambitious. There’s only so many hours in the day, you do what you can. That’s not an excuse not to make time to write, however. If you want to become an author, it takes work. A lot of work! But if you set, say ten minutes aside to do something to further your career, it’ll help. It may not sound like a lot, but it opens the possibilities!
  3. If you want it, you’ll push to give yourself more time. The ten minutes will turn into fifteen and then thirty minutes and so on. You say, you still can’t find time? What about during those appointments? Is there any waiting time? Bring a laptop, a notebook, a recorder whatever you choose. Running the kids to games? Is there any free time that opens while you’re waiting? What about your lunch break? Is there some time you can carve out there?
  4. Make Time for Reading. This is very important! You read to learn. As you read other’s stories, your knowledge of how to tell a story deepens. You start noticing something that a teacher or craft book pointed out to you. You can analyze everything, though I like to let thinks sink in and then go back and say, hey, how did they do that? It may be brilliant or an attempt that didn’t work. We can learn from other’s mistakes as well as our own. I read forty-five books this past year and hope to increase that to fifty this year.
  5. Don’t forget to breathe. Give yourself the down time you need. For being sick, loss of a loved one, whatever life throws at you, you need to give yourself some time off. I take weekends off writing. I didn’t used to, but I’ve noticed that that little breather helps me to go back to the writing, refueled and ready to handle whatever comes. It’s also good to spend some time with loved ones. We don’t know how long we’ll each be around, don’t live with regrets. Take the time. Then go back to writing.

Have a good week, take care, and God bless!

Five things I learned writing The Adventurers – Guest Post by Jemima Pett…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Sometimes the ideas I have are good ones. Sometimes I should think them through a little more before embarking on them.

On this occasion, having the idea to write a series or serial for the Story Reading Ape all through my guest post spot in 2018 seemed like a good one. Maybe it was bananas all along.

For some time I’d been wanting to write a story based on my illustrator’s characters. Dani English does a lovely range of fantasy creatures, full of personality, and often already named. She specialises in dragons, and does commissions, if you’re interested. I’d collected some of her sketches in the past, and when I discussed it further with her, she came up with several more pictures, two of which became prompts for the first stories.

I’d also already written some flash fictions set in a fantasy world where Erebor was the almost mythical place…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with author Frank Prem #Australia

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the first of a new season of Getting to Know You and my first guest for 2019 is Australian author Frank Prem who has recently released a collection of poems and short stories about his childhood – Small Town Kid.

Hello Sally, and readers.

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes…

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Small steps…

The Silent Eye

“I need to do something.” Clinging to a lifestyle in which they felt themselves to be stuck, the person concerned said that a change was needed… a break in the pattern of their days, for to break just one link in a chain is to break free of it. But where to start? What if it wasn’t enough? The fear of failure was holding them back from taking even the smallest step forward that could potentially change everything.

I know that feeling. I imagine that most of us have felt it at some time in our lives. Change and failure can be two of the scariest monsters we have to face and maintaining even a painful status quo can feel like a far better option than scaling a mountain of fear. Still, you never know what you can do until you try…and you cannot take a second step until you…

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Goal Post: Trying to Get Back Into the Writing Saddle

Legends of Windemere

Do you know when the last time I wrote anything new was?

Raven’s Dawn in July.

I don’t even know if I can truly count that since it was the finale of a blog story that I never had that much faith in.  The last time I wrote anything new and central to my heart was War of Nytefall: Rivalry in June.  That’s 2018 and I haven’t been able to muster the time and ability to do anything since then.  For someone who hasn’t had crippling writer’s block before, this is disconcerting.  I’ve had challenges that I would be able to think through, but this is the first time I’ve hit a point where I can only stare at the page or became too anxious to even get that far.  I’m going to change from disconcerting to frustrating.  It’s like I’m stuck in a body that won’t work or…

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Other Blogs: Part One


I have often mentioned that I follow over 100 other blogs. Some are on WordPress, and some are self-hosted. It has been a long time since I have recommended that you look at those blogs, though of course many of you will be the bloggers featured. 🙂

So I am starting a short series on blogs that I suggest you check out. Each will have a short description, and a link to the main page. There will be something for everyone; from stunning photos, to film reviews, book reviews, and general musings. If you have some time to spare, please think about those that might interest you, and perhaps read a couple of their posts.

Let’s keep the community vibrant!

A European couple, living a lovely life in a village on the North Norfolk Coast. Stunning photography, together with intelligent and thought-provoking text. Nature, Wildlife, and the elements.

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves – #ScienceFiction #Fantasty – Voyage of the Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to showcase the latest release of C.S. Boyack...the Science Fiction/Fantasy – Voyage of the Lanternfish.

About Voyage of the Lanternfish

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep…

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