Marie Marshall

Author. Poet. Editor.

Category: announcement

‘From My Cold, Undead Hand’ reviewed.

fmcuhReader Anastacia Zittel recently sent this review of From My Cold, Undead Hand to the Readers’ Favorite web site:

From My Cold Undead Hand (Where the Vampires Are, Volume 1) by Marie Marshall is the first book in what promises to be a thrilling, interesting take on vampire legend and lore. Chevonne Kusnetsov is a teenager living in the near-distant future, a world that you will recognize but it is subtly different from our own. Chevonne is like any other normal teenager – she goes to school, has friends, has a mother who worries about her, stays home alone after school reading books, but her ‘job’ is not the job of normal teenagers – she researches and kills vampires. This isn’t a Buffy the Vampire Slayer world, where the vampires are all beautiful, but our world where the vampires just want you dead. Chevonne is a Resistance fighter, and she’s out to save mankind.

Marshall does a fantastic job with creating an alternate world for us, where the action happens at a breakneck pace. From using technology that isn’t developed yet, to using weapons not designed yet, to using language and phrases not spoken yet, she creates a universe that is strangely familiar to us, yet it’s a place where you have to watch your back or you’ll be dead. Vampires aren’t glamorous, it isn’t romantic to meet a vampire in the alley behind the school, and they most certainly don’t sparkle. Marshall also does a remarkable job of tying in the classic vampire novel, Dracula, but makes you believe that it’s all real. This is a book that will leave you breathless for more!

The sequel, KWIREBOY vs VAMPIRE – Volume 2 of Where the Vampires Are – should be published this year, so watch this space!

The Winter 2016 Showcase at ‘the zen space’…

… is now on line! This time round, haijin and poets from all over the globe have been taking pot-shots at crows, and the result is murderous. Visit here, and join in the caw-rus…

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Edge – BHS 2015 Anthology

I have a haiku in Edge, this year’s anthology…

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Free copies of my novels

books1I am offering a few free copies of my three published (so far!) novels. The copies will be made available, in pdf or ePub form, to anyone who would like to read any or all of them, and who is prepared to write and publish a review. The review may be posted on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or anywhere else where the book is available on-line and where readers can offer reviews. Alternatively, if you have a lively blog with a decent number of followers/readers, I’ve no objection to your posting it there. Just let me know where and when. The novels are:

Lupa. This was my first novel. Someone suggested I should write a novel about a female gladiator. I sat down to do just that, and out came two parallel stories about young women in Imperial and 20c Rome. It has attracted a fair amount of interest since it was. One of my beta-readers said “I don’t do ‘Roman’, but I couldn’t put it down!” Find out more about it here.

The Everywhen Angels. This was my first novel for younger readers, and it was written in response to a challenge to set a fantasy story in a school or stop passing remarks about a certain fellow Scottish author. So I came up with this. There’s no D*mbled*re as a presiding deus ex machina, no Sn*pe or V*ldem*rt to hiss at, just a bunch of teenagers trying to make sense of the weird powers they have been given. This is the teenagers’ world, and adult interference is largely irrelevant to them. Read more about it here.

From My Cold, Undead Hand. Just when I thought I had time to work on a projected novel I had notes for, my publisher upped and asked me if I could write a teen-vampire novel. So I did just that. Someone told me it was ‘INSANELY good’ – think Buffy meets the Coen Brothers – but what will you make of it? Find out more about it here.

To get your fee copy, send an email to the email address below. Put Review: [title of your chosen book] as the subject of your email, and mention in the body of the email whether you would prefer a pdf or ePub version.

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Thanks, and enjoy!

M.

A free copy of a major poetry anthology!

How would you like a free copy of a book that has been described as ‘a groundbreaking anthology of poetry’?

I was privileged to work on the editorial team of The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Anthology of Sonnets of the Early Third Millennium, which came out in the winter of 2013/2014, and brought together a collection of formal poems all written during the new century.

Producing the anthology was not a smooth ride, there was much pain bringing it to birth. During its production, one member of the editorial team left under less than happy circumstances. Since publication date, that person has made a point of touring each and every web site that invites reviews – Amazon, Goodreads, etc. – and leaving lengthy, detailed excoriations of the book. Whether these ‘reviews’ are an honest opinion or the product of pique I can’t say, but I can say that they greatly distressed the Editor-in-Chief, who invested time, effort, and money in the production of the anthology.

The ‘reviews’ in question have, undoubtedly, damaged sales. So the Editor-in-Chief has decided to offer a free PDF copy of the anthology to anyone who is willing to read it and to write one or more reviews on the various sites. They do not have to be glowing reviews, just honest ones, and the more the better. It is not possible to have the openly hostile review removed, but more balanced opinions would help to redress the situation.

If you would like to volunteer to help out, please email me (please use the ‘Readers, fans, and friends’ email address on my ‘Contact’ page), and I will arrange for the Editor-in-Chief to send a PDF copy to you.

Thank you.

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The Autumn 2015 Showcase at ‘the zen space’ is now published.

The Autumn 2015 Showcase at the zen space is now published, and this time it’s all to do with fridge magnets! Have a look here or click the pic.

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Silver threading – among the gold

091815_1943_inherownwor1Silver Threading is a web site that has as its theme ‘Authors Supporting Authors’. This support can take the form of interviews, book reviews, articles, and so on. Recently they featured me, in an article mainly drawn from my own words. You can read it here.

Marie Marshall – Lady wot writes

Just a little note to say I have revived my occasional blog for humour, politics, and folk dancing.

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The Summer 2015 Showcase at ‘the zen space’ is now published.

cs1Haiku, haiga, short bursts of poetry, startlingly immediate artwork – these are things I try to incorporate in the quarterly e-zine the zen space. How I come to be editing and publishing this e-zine is an old, old story, but it has something to do with a run-in I had with the editor of a similar enterprise. I, being an arrogant wee beggar, decided I could do better. Well, I don’t know if I’ve actually ‘done better’, but at least I’ve ‘done’.

The current Showcase is number 16, which means – hey! – it has been running now for four years. It contains words, full of colour, from various poets, and also the artwork of Claudia Schoenfeld, an artists whose eye-on-the-world I love.

I would like my readers here to patronise the zen space. It’s free-of-charge, and the latest Showcase can be found here. You might like to look through the previous Showcases too. It’s easy to keep up with what’s happening by following the (front page) blog.

There are plans and ideas bubbling under for the next couple of Showcases, so keep an eye open.

M.

Thunderclap, Intertwangle, and Wotan.

ccapuanowsdI share a literary agent and a publisher with English novelist Carmen Capuano, whose YA novel Split Decision will be launched in a week’s time on the 4th of July. Our publisher – admittedly not one of the heavyweights – is utilising the ‘Thunderclap’ web application to promote the launch. If this promotion is successful, then they will use it for future book launches, including those of any book(s) of mine they may publish. This means I have a vested interest in seeing that their current campaign on behalf of Carmen is a success.

In order for it to work, we need one hundred people to support it. Yes – one hundred, and in less than a week! This means that we need to drum up people who are prepared to publicise it on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. It only takes a click or two. Please go here and read about this campaign.

Thanks in advance for your support.
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In yesterday’s PM, BBC Radio 4’s late-afternoon current affairs programme, there was a light-hearted item about the use of the word ‘intertwangled’ by (I think) management consultant Peter York during a radio interview. According to a representative from the Oxford English Dictionary, the word isn’t in the current OED, but, she said, it is a word by virtue of someone’s having used it. There was even a possible earlier coining. PM’s presenter invited listeners to bring the word into currency, the first line of attack being Twitter #intertwangled.

I love new words, inventive language, and so on, so I have jumped on the band-wagon by using it, in a poetic context, in one of my series of dem●n’s diaries. All in good fun. So there’s another campaign you can get behind!
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Wotan 1The other day I found, to my delight, that someone had loaded the whole of the Jahrhundertring onto YouTube. The Jahrhundertring was the production of Richard Wagner’s four-opera cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen, that was staged to mark the centenary of the Bayreuth Festival. This production, staged between 1976 and 1980 was marked firstly by the conductor’s baton being in the hands of probably the greatest modernist composer of the 20c, Pierre Boulez, and secondly by the stage direction being by Patrice Chéreau. Together they managed to realise George Bernard Shaw’s socialist analysis of the cycle, lifting the story almost totally out of Nordic/Germanic mythology and placing it in the 18c and 19c development of the Industrial Revolution. This might seem a fanciful idea, but, if you have the patience to watch the four operas, collected from the 1979 and 1980 stagings, and to absorb the concept, it works, and in fact becomes difficult to fault.

The humanising of the characters reminds us that the supernatural beings of Germanic mythology were, in many ways, the personification of human traits and emotions – courage and cowardice, love and anger, honesty and deceit, triumph and tragedy – but magnified far beyond the human range. Sir Donald McIntyre’s Wotan is a magnificent, tragic figure; if gods are more powerful than mortals, and their traits greater, then equally the contracts that bind them are more constraining. Wotan is bound by the agreements he has made, and each attempt he makes to find a way round them is doomed.

Wotan 2We first see Wotan amongst the other gods, gorgeously clad in 18c finery, in Das Rheingold. Valhalla having been secured and occupied, in Die Wallküre he has taken on the appearance of a bourgeois, 19c banker, frustrated in his scheming by his wife, the goddess Fricka (Hanna Schwarz) who is a picture of uxorial respectability. By the time of Siegfried, Wotan has become ‘Der Wanderer’, a rootless ranger of the world, limited by choice or by fate in how far he can intervene, and his clothes are a nondescript brown. He is still an imposing figure, but his clothes seem no longer to fit well, and he has already discarded the band that hid his empty eye-socket, reminding us that, for godlike power, paying a price is more than a mortal would endure. In my opinion, Richard Wagner would have considered McIntyre as the man he wrote the role for.

I said that the production was ‘difficult to fault’. In fact, one scene in Die Wallküre always fails to convince me, and that is at the beginning of Act III, where the Valkyries are lugging dead heroes’ bodies around like so many sacks of coal. However, the culmination of Act III also contains the farewell scene between Wotan and Brünnhilde (Gwyneth Jones), which is an almost unbearably emotional depiction of the irrevocable breaking of a father/daughter bond. It is the stuff of pure tragedy, and I love it.

Sieglinde SiegmundOther singers deserve recognition in their roles – in fact they all do, but I am going to single some out. Firstly Peter Hofmann and Jeannine Altmeyer as the incestuous lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde are not only brilliant singers, but bring physical beauty to the roles. They even manage to look like twins. Perfect casting.

Not least of all Heinz Zednik, who steals the show in Das Rheingold as the cynical demi-god Loge, his 18c costume, a modest black contrast to the shimmer of the gods’ adornment, covering a slightly deformed shoulder, the lace of his shirt-front and cuffs shabby and loose. He also took the role of the hapless, shambling Mime in Siegfried, and managed to wring pity from the viewer, under the bullying of the hero-tenor Siegfried (Manfred Jung).

LogeWhen, at the end of Götterdämmerung, the age of gods, giants, dragons, heroes, and dwarves perishes and Valhalla burns, the front of the stage is full of crouching figures, dressed in grey. They are cowering in awe, their backs to us. Suddenly, as the flames die and only smoke remains where once Valhalla stood, one figure – a young girl dressed in white – emerges from the middle of them, standing and turning to face us. Gradually, more and more of the nameless mortals stand and face us. It is a powerful moment, the culmination of the cycle, bringing the message that the age of ordinary humanity has come into being – no more meddling gods, scheming gnomes, doomed races of heroes – we are on our own, and had better face forward.

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This is, of course, not the latest production of the Der Ring des Nibelungen. It is already thirty-five years old. But it is a milestone performance, and the fact that modern technology has made it accessible (whether legitimately or not) means an opportunity for the experience of a lifetime. Watching this cycle of four long operas, the shortest lasting two-and-a-half hours, can be an endurance test. But to my mind it is well worth it.
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By the way, it is often remarked upon that Wagner was the favourite composer of one A Hitler. So what? If Hitler ever truly ‘got’ Wagner, then I’m a flying Dutchwoman!