Friday, May 30, 2014

BYGONE ERAS: "The Picture of Dorian Gray" or "Did Oscar Wilde See Our Ageist Culture Coming?"

Hey all,

We are back for my belated Blogging Thursday!

Before I begin with my scheduled post, I will give you yet another 'goth video.' I gave you a pretty long, though very informative video title "What Goth Is Not" courtesy of YouTuber, Leahmouse in my first Bygone Eras post. Well, I give you another, only this one is much shorter (about a minute and a half) and features one of my FAVORITE goth artists, Voltaire, being interviewed by FEARNET, where he provides some very thoughtful insights

So for those asking themselves the question of "Why are Goths so sad all of the time?" Well, Voltaire offers this simple answer:



Perhaps a post on the Goth subculture will be in the cards for the future. It's actually quite a broad topic. And I also recommend checking out Voltaire's projects at his website, Voltaire.net.

So, with that said, I will begin this post by saying that I started this series of essays on bygone eras (and possibly other things generally misunderstood within the mainstream arena) is because I feel that oftentimes in our culture, we tend to get caught up in what is right in front of us with our television sets and various other propaganda. We tend to latch onto one particular news/entertainment source, and even with the best intentions, we form opinions on various issues, groups of people, cultures, time periods, etc on what really is a very limited and often one-sided spectrum.
As I stated in the first Bygone Eras essay, I have gotten to where I need to seek out at least three independent sources before I'll form an opinion on something (and even then I may still only be getting a small piece of the puzzle). I've come to recognize that one should never assume he or she knows it all, because you never really do. And while you might think you're openminded? EVERYONE has some sort of prejudice, whether they wish to admit it or not. Some less than others, of course, but nobody is perfect and we've all formed some sort of preconceived notion in some form or another based on limited and one-sided information.

This brings me to the topic I wish to discuss today, and it is an issue that isn't really addressed too much in our culture. The issue of Ageism.
People of all age groups face it in one form or another.
Recently, I read a book that has been on my 'to read' list for quite sometime, and that was the great Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde is among my FAVORITE writers. I've been a huge fan of his plays since high school and I'm happy that I've finally sat down and read his only novel. One thing I love about literature from bygone eras is that not only is the language the beautiful, poetic kind that I like, but much of the fiction of yesteryear involves an honest assessment of the author's view on society and the criticisms he or she had. Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (a book I plan to read this summer) is said to be rife with allegory on how he viewed society around him. Same goes for I'd say most fiction from previous centuries.
In my recent blogpost "The (Mis)Use of Classic Literature in Modern Fiction" or "Wuthering Heights was Gothic Horror, Not a Romance", I address how much of modern fiction is often misunderstood and misinterpreted today, mainly - I think - due to such a separation between our society and theirs. Romantic Literature in the day of Emily Bronte had a different meaning than it does today (in fact, Edgar Allan Poe, whose specialty was in Horror, is considered Romantic Literature due to the time period it was written in). Plus, a good portion of fiction of centuries passed didn't seem to necessarily be aimed for escapism (which seems to be what alot of readers today look for first and foremost...I'm not saying that's a bad thing as I look to escape myself at times, but I feel that if you're looking to indulge in a world of whimsy and traditional romantic love by reading Wuthering Heights, you might be in for major disappointment), but more so to point out what was wrong or right about society during their time, or maybe ruffle a few feathers amongst the powers that be (and Oscar Wilde did plenty of that).

The Picture of Dorian Gray is, in a nutshell, a story about a good-looking young male who sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth. It takes place in a setting of aestheticism and decadence when many are out for themselves and every relationship is one of convenience. It also takes place among the "new hedonists" of the Victorian era.
I believe that there has always been an obsession with maintaining youth, beauty, and appearances (physical and social). However, in my own lifetime (born in the 1980s), I have witnessed this obsession escalate, especially in the last ten years. I mean seriously, look at all the celebrity tabloid periodicals and "news" programs out now. They seem to have doubled since the year 2004 and also seems to affect the way many in the general populous view themselves and those around them.
For instance, who remembers Madonna's Superbowl Halftime show from back in 2012? And now, who also remembers all the snarky "grandma" comments hurled at a 50-something Madonna over the interwebs? Like being a grandma is a bad thing? I personally love my grandma. And my mom is a grandma now (to my two adorable nephews). So does that mean she should be ridiculed now everytime she leaves the house?
In addition to that, even us under 50ers have that annoying clock in front of us:
"You're 25? Oh! You're a quarter of a century old! It's the beginning of the end!"
"You're 30? It only goes downhill from here!"
"You're 40? Well, I guess you look great for your age."

Yes, I do hate the whole notion of a person 'looking great for their age.' Why can't people just look great, period?
Many of us do just want to live our lives, but then we have everything from the media to the medical community and insurance companies there to cheerfully remind us of how old and decrepit we are getting with each passing year (SIDE NOTE: this is one reason I went a more holistic route when it comes to medicine and lifstyle, where we feel that people can actually get BETTER with age).
In the beginning of Dorian Gray, the young man, Dorian, is the subject for a well-known artist's newest portrait art (along with being the artist, Basil Hallworth's obsession). After the artist and his friend gush over the portrait, the conversation turns to the subject of aging. The two older men mention how the painting will remain immortal and forever youthful, even after Dorian himself ages and dies. This disturbs Dorian tremendously, and he states that he would rather sell his soul and exchange positions with his image on the painting than become old and decrepit. Dorian gets his wish, but he ends up far more tormented than he ever dreamed he would be. In other words, be careful what you wish for.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot as I definitely encourage everyone to read it. But did Wilde somehow see our youth and vanity obsessed culture coming? Well, that's debatable as literature is always open to interpretation. But I do believe that the novel applies as much today as it likely did back in Wilde's day in Victorian society. Each character in the book is a representation of a portion of society and what people are in danger of becoming. The book addresses many prejudices and a person who lives a double life, hiding part of him or herself in order to maintain what is perceived as a respectable appearance (also touched on in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a work which Wilde was said to have very much admired). It represents what can be lost in humanity. No matter how terrible the acts Dorian commits, his peers still gladly accept him because of his ability to maintain an outwardly young and beautiful appearance. Kind of gives you something to think about.

 If you have thoughts on The Picture of Dorian Gray and other literary works of yesteryear, I'd love to hear them. :)

Also, check out this great article on the novel: The Conflict Between Aestheticism and Morality in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.

and

A little more on Oscar Wilde


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******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Video Friday: D-I-Y Makeup Remover Wipes

Hey everyone!

It's another New Video Friday and this week, I'm bringing you my d-i-y (do it yourself) makeup wipes! They are quick and very cheap to make with only a few simple ingredients. They are also better than any other commercial brand I ever tried.

Now, I did not invent this recipe. I actually got it from this link (courtesy of author, Jenny Trout, who writes for this site):

http://www.collective310.com/beauty/jenny-tries-diy-makeup-removing-wipes/

However, it's one I've been using for a while and wanted to share it. Also the cleanser I use is from the awesome holistic company, Healing Scents and it's their Green Tea facial cleanser that I use in the video:

http://healing-scents.com

So hope you enjoy this New Video Friday! If you do, feel free to Subscribe and share with friends. :)

I am also working on the Dorian Gray post which will be up sometime today. The allergies that hit me this week seem to be letting up (so hopefully my immune system will now be able to ward off the extra pollen, chemtrails, or whatever else may be cause everyone's sinus issues right now).





If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Dorian Gray Post

I'll be working on my next Bygone Eras edition (the post on Dorian Gray and Ageism) through tomorrow and will be posting it along with my New Video Friday (my D-I-Y makeup wipes!).
Sinus pressure from allergies crept up on my all week and finally hit me like a tsunami yesterday (not good when you're trying to get stuff done...and since I haven't had any allergies since I was really little, this is HELL for me).
They are alleviating, so hopefully I should be back in tip top shape by next week.

Thanks for your patience this week!
Tiffany



If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

COVER & BLURB REVEALS: Sacred Atonement, The Twisting House, Kindred, Transcend

Posting my News Wednesday a few hours early! :)

Here are the covers and blurbs for Sacred Atonement (The Birthrite Series, #1.5) and The Twisting House (A Short Story-Stories from Colony Drive, #4).

I've also decided to include short teasers for Transcend (A Birthrite Series Short) and Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2).


THE BIRTHRITE SERIES:

First, check out the Birthrite Series page and the series and Descent, #1 synopsis and book trailer.



Sacred Atonement: A Novella (The Birthrite Series, #1.5)

The summer of 1932 is one Linda never dreamed she would ever have. As a single mother raising her and Jimmy's infant daughter in a world she never would have thought existed, she tries forgetting the boy she once planned to spend her life with while plagued by the occasional dream of him being tortured inside the fiery pit she lost him in.
While she takes some comfort in knowing that Carl and Dorothy are right down the hall, her two newly married friends are occupied with trials of their own.

As Linda tries to make the best life she can for her daughter, a disfigured young man from her past watches her from inside the shadows. A man who also uncovered truths about his own self, and wishes for a second chance.

Sacred Atonement is a novella taking place between the events of Descent, #1 and Kindred, #2. It is a story of redemption and uncovering truths. A story of second chances.

Coming June of 2014


Transcend (A Birthrite Series Short)

As Dorothy deals with a devastating death in her family, discovery of her responsibility for a new life in the balance, and coping with the harsh reality of her future, she travels the Veil one night to clear her head, only to discover herself being followed...

Transcend is a short story that takes place between chapters 4 and 5 of Kindred, #2.

Coming August of 2014

Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2)

In 1935, a couple years following a tragic death in his family, 20-year-old Cletus Blake comes across the camp belonging to a Romani family passing through. It is there he meets seventeen-year-old Alisa, and begins a chain reaction that will reunite two families who once held a great, if unconventional, friendship...along with a whole lot more...

Coming Fall of 2014

Also, check out work-in-progress excerpts from Sacred Atonement, Kindred  and Rapture in the series.

STORIES FROM COLONY DRIVE:



The Twisting House (A Short Story- Stories from Colony Drive, #4)


Crystal was looking at the house the day she disappeared. At least that is what her friends believe. The Twisting House (as it is know to those in the area) looms over a vast and lonely field with it's twisted towers prominent in the distance.
On an early autumn afternoon, Jane and Trina set out on a drive only to end up at the house their former friend was so fascinated by. The house she yearned to become a part of.

Coming May 31, 2014


I'm also deciding on what I would like to write for my serialized novel on Wattpad. I've read quite a few Highlander stories so I'm thinking of that as a possibility. It's just the direction I'll go in that's the question. Well, when I know, you guys will be the first to find out! :)



If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

 

Book Review: Trusting Darkness by Eva Fairwald



Trusting Darkness
by Eva Fairwald

Synopsis (in the author's/publisher's words)

Captain Ella Dorsh is tough, skilled and… screwed. She is pretty sure that the enemy is leading the game and that war is going to reach the surface very soon, but humans are not ready yet.
The Underkingdom is impoverished and its population of dark elves wants to conquer the world and rule. Ella and the other “Reborn Divisions” are the only real chance to fight the enemy on the same level: elves against elves to spare precious human lives. However, nothing is as simple as it seems and darkness hides more than Ella had ever imagined.

The story is set in our world in a near future. It has some sci-fi and dystopian elements and a strong female lead that will kick your ass!
This novel is about Elvish soldiers caught in the middle of something too big to avoid and about dangerous secrets that will change life and history forever. 


I was actually really looking forward to reading this book when it was sent to me. I loved the cover (to me, it was reminiscent of the old comic book and sci-fi novel covers) and the premise sounded like a fun and interesting read.
What first struck me about this book is how the author chose to establish the characters and their relationships. One thing that I do find lacking in many modern paranormal and dystopian stories is a lack of character development and establishing. Fairwald, on the other hand, takes the time to really show who the people are and therefore, make them relatable, understandable, and ones you can empathize and sympathize with. And I also feel that those seeking out a strong female lead to read about will not be disappointed in Captain Ella Dorsch.
The scenes and settings are beautifully constructed and the plot and pacing of the story - overall - flows very well.
There were a couple scenes where I felt the reader could have still gotten the point if some details were shortened, but overall, I found this to be a very exciting and page turning read, and it has a nice blend of sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and dystopian elements.
If anyone were to ask me to compare this book to anything, I would say it's Lord of the Rings meets Battlestar Galactica. I would also recommend adding it to your summer reading list.

Eva Fairwald Online:
Official Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Official Blog

Buy Trusting Darkness:
Amazon



If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound
  

COVER REVEAL: Sylvain Reynard's "The Raven" (Book One in The Florentine Series)




Book Blurb:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery…

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her…

Cassita vulneratus.

When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets…

 Release Date: Early 2015



Book Links:


Author’s Bio:
I'm interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition - particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself. 

I'm also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.

I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House. For more information, see my Twitter account.

Author Links: