Thursday, 1 November 2018

Monthly Post: November 2018
Top tips for writers - but will they actually improve your writing?

The Scarab Heart (The Involuntary Medium, #2)The Scarab Heart (The Involuntary Medium, #2) by Michael Gallagher
Current average rating: 4.39 of 5 stars

We’ve all seen them, haven’t we? “Ten Top Tips to Improve Your Writing”. While I’m not about to make a list of my own, I will happily distil for you what these generally include:

1. Write in the active voice and avoid the passive.
2. Use fewer adjectives.
3. Avoid adverbs; choose verbs instead that describe the action.
4. Vary the lengths of your sentences.
5. Vary your sentence constructions.
6. Show, don’t tell.

If you follow this advice, your writing will almost certainly improve. It will cut out the flab. It may even turn you into the next Stephen King. Why? Read on…

This month’s giveaway is a free download of The Scarab Heart. The Valley of the Kings, 1885. Lizzie Blaylock has sworn not to use her powers, but her powers have other things in mind. Offer ends on November 30th 2018.

“The imagery is fabulous, the characters are likeable, and the story is believably enthralling.”—Nightwing, Goodreads Reviewer (5 stars)

Happy investigating!
Michael

Find me on my website Michael Gallagher Writes, on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @seventh7rainbow

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The end of an era—a brave new century dawns

Why the Victorians saw ghosts: twelve




On the 23rd of September 2004 I was lucky enough to attend a recreation of a Victorian séance organized by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman at the Dana Center in London, a venue dedicated to encouraging ordinary people to think and talk about science. Approximately fifty of us sat around an enormous round table holding hands, and, as the lights dimmed, we were treated to an orchestrated evening of raps and knocks, and at one point a thump from the middle of the table which was so unexpected that many of us jumped in our seats. But the event was only ever partially successful because we all expected something to happen, and, armed with our noughties skepticism, nobody imagined for one instant that the sounds were produced by any supernatural agency. We were a particularly tough audience.

Twelve years prior to this in 1992, Wiseman had made a study of the last of the great Victorian mediums, Eusapia Palladino. Born of Italian peasant stock, her first husband was a conjurer, and the second a wine merchant. Yet it is the second husband who is fingered as her accomplice, entering the darkened séance room via a secret panel and assisting Palladino in her catalog of tricks: levitating tables, making objects appear to move, partial materializations of hands and faces, plus the normal gamut of ghostly pinching, touching and kicks.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

W. T. Stead—the man who forsaw his own death?

Why the Victorians saw ghosts: eleven



William Thomas Stead was born in 1849, the son of a Congregationalist minister and a campaigning reformist mother. At the unlikely age of twenty-two he was appointed as editor of the Northern Echo, a regional newspaper based in Darlington in the north of England. Seizing an opportunity afforded by the excellent railroad connections on offer at the local train station, he managed to expand the Echo's distribution to national levels. In 1880 he took a post in London as the assistant editor of the Pall Mall Gazette. Two years later he became its editor, and was responsible for many of the innovations—from simple things such as the use of maps to help illustrate a story's location, through to a number of rather questionable investigative techniques—that paved the way for the tabloids of today. He is probably best remembered now for the Eliza Armstrong case, the darkest scandal to hit London in 1885.