Tag: Amazon

Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?

This week: Two Poems and: Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?

I apologise for the belated post this week; Amazon managed to revert all my book descriptions to old versions so that I have had to spend the last three days rewriting them. Like a fool, I trusted Amazon to keep them current so I didn’t keep copies myself. I have also had Infinite Blue Heaven – A Kind and A Queen banned. I don’t know the reason why but it might be something to do with the word ‘incest’, which has been in the project description on Amazon since 2009 and on Lulu since 2006. If Nabokov, in Ada, and Thomas Pynchon, in Gravity’s Rainbow, can mention incest, why can’t I? I have emailed them to ask what the problem is and to ask for it to be reinstated so I will keep you posted.

Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?
Okay, so I have your attention! In fact the question is slightly tongue-in-cheek but there is a point to it, as we shall see.

It is often said by wiser men than I that the beauty of a woman is profound. Some would say that nothing in the Universe can be more beautiful.

In the Hollywood movie Malèna, starring Monica Bellucci, we see a beautiful woman through the eyes of a teenage boy.

She is the object of our desire and we do see her naked. I suspect every man who watched it, already knowing that Monica is famous and intelligent Italian model with outspoken ideas, identified with the boy’s vague feelings of lust for this beautiful woman.

Extend this to a photograph of the naked Monica and that man, myself included, will still feel the same lust.

And yet, if her place is taken by an unknown model, the feeling disappears. We do not lust after an unknown woman to the extent we desire a woman we admire. In fact, what we feel for the unknown model is banal; a simple urge for sex devoid of any deeper emotions.

So what is this feeling we have for Monica? In what way is it different from that for the model?

Well, there language fails us! Man has yet to find the words, or the grammar, to describe that feeling.

So there is space for our language to grow, and with it, we will grow too. I am sure you will agree with me that human society on Earth is far from ideal at the moment and so we need to grow.

However, if language is one of our learning ‘tools’, there is a problem. We simply are not trying hard enough. I heard you ask; why?

Well, let me explain. I was reading my daily dose of Edgar Allan Poe this morning. He often made a few bob from work criticising the work of other writers. Here he is talking about a story of James Fenimore Cooper (author of The Last of the Mohicans): Wyandotte.

Regarding Cooper’s sentence on the opening page of Wyandotte – ‘One of the misfortunes of a nation is to hear nothing besides its own praises.’

[This sentence] is by no means lucid. Here it will be seen, that to convey the intended idea [that compared with other nations Americans only see America’s virtues], we have been forced to make a distinction between the nation and its individual members; for it is evident that a nation is considered as such only in reference to other nations; and thus as a nation, it hears very much ‘besides its own praises;’ that is to say it hears the detractions of other rival nations. In endeavoring to compel his meaning within a brief sentence, Mr Cooper has completely sacrificed its intelligibility.

What a wonderfully analytical brain Poe had! He is basically saying that Cooper has communicated the following message: Americans can hear no sound other than praises of the good ‘ol USA!

He doesn’t go on to offer an alternative, as he does for other errors by Cooper, but nevertheless it is a withering criticism. Even in the 1840s, some writers of Cooper’s calibre were seen as ‘dumbing down’ grammar, either deliberately or by error.

Now, you and I can tell perfectly well what Cooper was trying to say and yet it is true that the sentence is ambiguous. So Poe was keen to point out that we need to be precise, and further more, it is quite clear that we are a lot less clear these days than writers of the 1840s. We have failed to pick up the challenge laid down by the likes of Poe, Dickens and even Shakespeare. Compare this chorus from the song Stupid Hoe by Nicki Minaj:

You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, yeah you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe you a you a stupid hoe
You stupid stupid, you a stupid hoe

Okay, so it’s an extreme example! But not only is it dumber than a hamster would tolerate of itself if it could pick up a pen, it is so ambiguous as to be completely meaningless. We don’t know if she is referring to herself, somebody in the song (she seems only to refer to herself in the rest of the song) or even the poor listener.

So what’s my point?

My point is that we are slowly losing the ability to communicate. Indeed, we are slowly losing the will to communicate.

What seems to have replaced it is the will to be entertained. I would suggest that Cooper had half a mind on entertaining the masses. During his lifetime, he was more popular than Poe; probably because he knew how to provide entertainment rather than enlightenment.

But if we carry on like this, overloading our senses with simple gratuitous pleasures like youtube videos, we will be sleepwalking into big trouble. Sooner or later, a clever malcontent like Hitler, or perhaps simple corporate greed, will shape our society in a way we want and guide our feet over the edge of the precipice, into disaster.

Oh, and my original question; Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?

Well, I think it depends on whether you know exactly who Monica is. What’s your opinion?

Two Poems

I read Poe’s critique of Rodman’s Culprit Fay this week. While Poe is scathing, I don’t think the poem is that bad by today’s standards. Judge for yourself:

Extract from: Culprit Fay – Joseph Rodman Drake

He put his acorn helmet on;
It was plumed of silk of the thistle down:
The corslet plate that guarded his breast
Was once the wild bee’s golden vest;
His cloak of a thousand mingled dyes,
Was formed of the wings of butterflies

My own efforts are pathetic by comparison. However, I have always believed that if you don’t get your own efforts ‘out there’ for others to judge, you can never improve. So here goes. Here are two poems of mine. The first, I began composing while on holiday in Spain. I was walking through a nature reserve, full of beautiful wild flowers, when a few rhyming words popped into my head. Over the next three months, I persevered with getting the thing into some kind of shape. The second, I can barely remember writing. I think it was written in ten minutes flat, after seeing an exhibition at the Tate Modern and meeting somebody new. I think you will agree that both are very poor, but please let me have your opinion.

To Play in Beds of Riotous Ray – Lazlo Ferran

Don’t you know you are the first, the utmost,
Figure-head of my dreams,
Like a sea-drunk fool, return’ed, who knowest,
Words, shaped to frame the tender feeling,
Art s’easy to snare as a unicorn,
I offer, in hope, ten stanzas,
– Ten prayers to the Holy God of Poem,
That in perfect word circumscribe,
The beauty of the lady from Kansas.

Succulent red pillows of a dew-ed rose,
Penanted breez-ed sunflower.
Precious golden corn flower posie,
Cascading sweet ellyssum bower.
The petals of a flower they only form,
A ring-ed shape that doth surround,
The central essence of your beauty’s stem
Which I first saw from afar, thence,
You seemed to withhold, mysteriously
and thus t’was, came to be bound.

I do not seek to invade, as some trou-
badour jesting in myth antique.
Chivalry, have imagin’d their false woo-
ing, but seek to befriend¬ – no tricks,
To encompass your waist, to hold your hand,
Because you, a woman, most fair,
Have power to give, th’ love that’s least detained,
From God’s deep infinite fountain,
You are the Lady to the Lord
That I do feel in your presence my dear.

Or with hold at your mercy, that which I,
Believe you to hold most precious.
I know that were I to take from you this prize,
Not cherishing its worth to us.
T’would be a sin, I could not do penance,
Adequate to pay the price to,
Absolve my soul from the evil cursed chance.
My loss too great, for I sought to take,
And took to turn and burn, our
Lady Jennifer’s heart and made it to dance.

The domicile of men is most suited,
To those who are of brutish strength.
Where words are of force, ne’er entreated,
But I entreat ‘y, must needs attempt.
To clumsy try with pen to reach you t’tell,
You how it is that to be close,
To you, would be to want to be closer still,
Let me say my dear that my most,
Delicate desire is to hold your waist,
And to let your breath my ears to fill.

Whether your breath is that quickened,
Or t’s the slow breath of sleep.
Its sweet music doth me empassion-ed,
– Smiled upon as I pass straight,
Through those gates to the garden of your heart.
To play in beds of riot ‘ous ray,
To walk hand in hand, yet we both be fast,
‘Sleep may be still ’tis we are one,
T’is just as a Night must needs have the Moon
And a Day must needs have the Sun.

Lady of the Lord that I feel I am,
When I am touch’d by your presence.
Your parapet I do walk alone,
Cautious, yet happy, I thence,
O’er see the foes advance ‘yon the walls.
I command all inside, grey stone,
Sky above, buttressed firm and resolv’d,
To protect you, to protect us,
I have built this castle, built this keep
For to keep us safe until we grow old.

I must, sure, seem to you like a dull blade,
On the battlefield of honour.
Your will so sharp to see all rank display’d,
Below you in clashing clamour,
If you had not e’en noticed your humble knight,
I would hardly have dared to try,
T’win your honour, but my aim you ignite,
And I need, on this field of conflict,
To loose the arrow, afore
I burn in the flames that burn so bright

You to me are of noblest blood,
Your features and deportment fine.
You glide like silk that marble dance-floor floods.
And glide and turn in sweetest line,
And if our twisting circles should entwine.
The Minstrel’s tune become too much,
Your eyes so close, to drink like mulled wine.
I would risk to press my case again,
And leaning close I see’st you smile
And in that while our fingers touch.

Now we have seen the form of my flower,
Radiant echo of your beauty.
See that I do not say if your bower,
Be a rose, sun-flower, lily,
Or the lilac, for it is in worship.
Of that flower called beauty,
Whose bud is true desire I fashion’d it,
In the hope that this fair missive,
May after a time, all the more
Beautifully say what my words can not.

This – the eleventh verse, is the bud,
Of my rhyme’s mimicking flower.
The mysterious creature called love,
At the centre of desire.
I say – We men are cordless without love,
Were you hence to remember me,
I’d be happy, e’en in that misty world above.
Were you to love me I would be,
Happiest of all – Were I a Saxon king,
Afire on my leafy bed,
On the lake, t’would be the last part burn’d
– The sweet mem’ry of you, in my sleepy head.

The Lighthouse – Lazlo Ferran

So dark the night.
Owls pussyfooting around my cloak muffed soul,
My destiny, three-masted, white, serene,
Glides deep, deeper into Hades sea.

Ghoul-Captained, sailors a’dippin’,
their plumbs and tinkly bone-dry fingers,
Into the still real lapping waves
As the old, oak-bound hulk shivers.

On the edge of night it is.
And yet isn’t quite extinguished
The souls of the crew,
Cry out for some Lode-Star light to distinguish.

“There!” cries a loose-socketed soul,
“I see it!” as the Dervish sweep – ,
Faery Light to guide them in,
Comes the Light House with their embrace to keep.

Too Bright the Sun

BookCoverPreview

As you will see in the post below, I was very happy to find out today that Too Bright the Sun entered the Top 100 FREE Kindle books list on all three: Amazon USUK and Canada on Monday. Promoting my work takes me away from writing so it’s really nice to get some reward for all the effort I have put in over the last few weeks. I only wish I knew exactly what number it reached. You can rest assured I am watching the progress of Vampire: Beneficence (Short Stories III) very closely. Below I will discuss the results of the Amazon KDP Free Promotion for my books so far.

Vampire: Beneficence (Short Stories III)

So far there have been 131 downloads, 17 of them in Germany. It seems to be taking longer to get people’s attention with this one although it’s doing much better in the US than here. Perhaps the UK market really isn’t so keen on Vampire stories. Then again it’s been my experience that lycanthropy stories do well here in winter and not summer whereas for Science Fiction it’s the other way round,

It’s languishing around the 3000 Ranking on both Amazon US and UK so if you haven’t downloaded a copy, please do.

Unknown Place, Unknown Universe

Interestingly, I did a two-day paid advert for 29-30 June on Facebook for this and I think it made very little difference. There have been 103 downloads (the promotion is now finished) which is about half what Too Bright the Sun achieved. But then Amazon continued billing me for half of the 1st July before I could stop the advert!! Needless to say that I have complained to Facebook about this but have not heard back. Their promotional blurb is misleading if this is how the promotion works: you have to delete or pause a campaign to stop them from billing you after the campaign is due to finish. I am also waiting for reply to my complaint about having the link to Too Bright the Sun declared spam! There was only one option from drop downs for the complaining email: ‘my Human Rights have been violated’! Anyway, in that 2.5 day period 168,500 people were reached and there were 52 clicks giving a ‘conversion’ rate of  0.005%.However it doesn’t mean these 50 people downloaded copies. I am doubtful many of them did because if I look at the access statistics for my Lazlo Ferran page I see that I reached 97,000 people in India in the last month (the highest reach for any country) followed by Germany at 44,000, Uk at 31,000, Canada at 20,000 and US at 15,000. And yet I only had 5 downloads from India. It is however worth noting that the high number reached in Germany might explain why the downloads for Germany were so unexpectedly high. I haven’t paid for an advert for the Vampire book and downloads are soon to exceed those for Unknown Place, Unknown Universe.

Results of Caption Competition for Too Bright the Sun’s Laser Weapons

I decided to do a caption competition half way through Too Bright the Sun’s promotion and had some great suggesions.

The winner for the Alien Laser Rifle is Organic Plasma Rifle by Dominic Kay @DBCK83.

The winner for the laser pistol is Laser Carbine LC5150 ‘Bullpup’ by David Bayne @david_bayne.

The names will be included in Iron III: Worlds Like Dust and of course there will be a credit both winners!

Other News

I have added some more background information and pictures in a section ‘From the Author’ for both Iron Series books; Too Bright the Sun and Unknown Place, Unknown Universe so be sure to take a look by clicking on the menu above. Also if you are a writer and interested in lycanthropy or high tech science fiction please join my discussion group on Facebook.

Don’t forget, the Free Promotion of Vampire: Beneficence: (Short Stories III) is still FREE to download until 8 am Sunday UK time or midnight 6 July in the US.

Too Bright the Sun Sci-fi novel in Amazon top 100 Free list!

BookCoverPreviewI was very happy to find  out today that Too Bright the Sun entered the Top 100 FREE Kindle books list on all three: Amazon US, UK and Canada on Monday. Unfortunately I wasn’t there to see it because I simply wasn’t expecting it to do that well! The book  has been in a Free promotion over the last week and so I was expecting high download volumes but what I didn’t realise is that there are not that many eBooks offered for free at any one time. Hence I was looking the wrong way. Thanks to @JessieBTyson (an author in the Facebook Group Authors Tweeting Authors for noticing. Only wish I had taken a screen grab but I will be watching closely during the next Free Book Promotion.

I have no idea what number I reached although I checked Amazon UK, US and Canada today and there were no Science Fiction books  in any of them so that in itself is a victory for Science Fiction.

Looking at the books in the #1 position for Free Kindle books on Amazon UK and Amazon US they generally rank first in their category and somewhere between 20 and 300 for all the Kindles on sale. The ones at the #100 position vary anywhere from 300 to 3000 in the sales ranks. Too Bright the Sun peaked at #17 (UK) and #38 (US) in the sales rank for its category and therefore it could have been anywhere really in the Top 100 Free kindle books.

There may be a very short blog this weekend – I will be sipping a margarita and reflecting on the success of Too Bright the Sun. It’s not just my success though but a team effort. Thanks to everybody who tweeted for me or posted, shared and commented on Facebook. It all helped a lot.