Original poem: The Sunflower Opens

Yanie's Sunflower
An original poem by Noe and Cindy

Sunflower ...
The sun calls out to you;
Please open that your beauty may be true.
Your lovely colors are your own,
Your splendor must be shown.

Sunflower ...
Your life was meant to be seen
By all who the sun do chase.
Hide no longer in your own embrace;
Unfurl your petals and beautify our little scene. 

Noe and Cindy
copyright © May 2018


Sonnet 116

In respect of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116

There are several opinions on the intended meaning of Shakespeare's sonnet number 116, and though I am not doing a line-for-line explanation, I would like to express my impressions on this lovely sonnet.

Something that comes up clearly in 116 is the allusion to marriage vows, and I believe that Shakespeare was inspired by those wedding vows to pen his thoughts. The idea of love not altering when alteration it finds seems to be a reference to "in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer" the couple declares during their vows. Certainly, anyone who has been married for a few years knows that change or alteration is not something that may come, but is certain to come in many different ways.

The words with the remover to remove are quite odd to decipher, though I think he is referring to the idea of "forsaking all others" ... that is, anyone a person has known before the marriage vows are taken or who may come afterward. In effect, saying "no person shall remove me from you." And till deaththe edge of doomthe wedding promise is made to last for the married couples' whole lives.

I can just imagine Shakespeare attending a wedding and while he is listening to the vows being recited, he considers how lovely and profound the thoughts are. They only lack a certain flow and rhythm to become poetic. As he is on his carriage ride home, the words and thoughts fill his mind, so that by the time he has arrived there, he rushes to his desk and writes one of the most beautiful expressions of love.

However, though I fear I may come across as pretentious, I will say I am not crazy about the ending of Sonnet 116. I wish that the last two lines would have been on as high a level of thoughtfulness and moving in their scope as what precedes them. As it is, he seems to have hurriedly come up with some way to end his sonnet. I understand he wished to make the thoughts conveyed be personal and therefore ends with a reference to himself, but to me those last two lines are like having a Rolls Royce and putting a Chevy insignia on it.

All that aside, it seems only right that those expressions on the everlasting quality of love were written literally hundreds of years ago and yet are still being read with tender feeling today. They convey the emotions of people truly in love, who wish to demonstrate their love by making a solemn promise to each other by uniting in marriage.

My having been happily married to the same person for four decades, I can personally say with a fair bit of authority that this sort of everlasting love cannot be just a feeling, no matter how deeply it is felt. It must also be a guiding principle that makes the couple determined to stay together through tough timesyes, for better or for worse. Not that it is worse to stay with the person, but circumstances in life sometimes become better and sometimes worse, such as sickness as opposed to health. In ever so many ways, love is more than what can be summed up in just one word, and Shakespeare captures its enduring nature in this beautiful poem.

To conclude, I was inspired by his words to write a clumsy imitation of Sonnet 116, as you see here:


An offer to our Goodreads winners and runners up!

For our recent paperback giveaway, the winners are ...

Joanne from Michigan
Julie from Alaska

These photos were posted on our Instagram account, @noes_expressionsthe day we mailed the packages out. Our winners actually received their copies of our paperback book, Captivated by Youth and Beauty: Mr. Bennet's story, about 2 weeks ago. We hope you are both enjoying the story!

As an incentive to your posting a Goodreads review once you have completed reading our captivating novel, Julie and Joanne, we would like to give you both a free copy of our likewise charming e-short story, The Conversation: with Elizabeth Darcy and Emma Knightley!

But wait, there's more ...

If you are one of the persons who put us on your Goodreads to-be-read list but were not one of the winners, we'd love to give you a free copy of our e-short story just for entering the giveaway also! 

How to receive your free digital copy:
Email us (noeandcindy.write @ gmail .com) letting me know your Goodreads name showing our Captivated book on your TBR list — or if by chance, you have already read it, show me what shelf you have it on. Leave your file preference of either Kindle mobi, epub (works on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other devices), or pdf version.

One more thing
As you know, authors need ratings and reviews, not only to keep them encouraged to continue writing, but also to let others know about their stories. For that reason, we would love to see your ratings/reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, or any place else you might think your friends would see it.
Thank you!

Learn more about us here:
Amazon author page
Barnes & Noble author page
Goodreads author page


Goodreads giveaway: Captivated by Youth and Beauty

It's a giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Captivated by Youth and Beauty by Noe

Captivated by Youth and Beauty

by Noe

Giveaway ends August 20, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
Our story is captivating! If you've ever wondered how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet could have united as one, this will tell you.

Two paperback copies to be given away, USA only at this time. And we hope you'll connect with us:
Instagram: @noes_expressions

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Spider-man rescues Jane Austen

It could happen ...

Jane Austen was sitting at her writing desk, but pen was not making that swift movement from paper to inkwell at the moment. No, her hand was at her head in a contemplative posture, as she asked herself, “Oh, how should Emma react to Mr. Knightley’s reprimanding her for her treatment of Miss Bates after the picnic on Box Hill?” Jane felt the need to stretch, deciding to take a walk about the garden as she contemplated her main character’s reaction. “Should Emma get angry? Should she start to cry? Should she defend herself, or even shoot back some accusation?”

As she was deep in thought about this, all at once, from her peripheral vision, what seemed to be the most enormous bird caught her attention. Turning her gaze into the sky, she looked in every possible direction for it. Seeing nothing, she concluded she had just imagined it, for how else could such a large creature be gone so quickly? Had it not been for the icy chill going down her spine, Jane Austen could have forgotten about the phantom giant bird and returned to the dilemma of Emma’s reaction. She was at the point of refocusing her mind when suddenly she felt herself enwrapped in the arms of someone, or something, and her feet leave the ground.
“I beg your pardon!” she protested, “A woman doesn’t mind getting swept off her feet, but this is not quite the idea!” Getting a view of the person in whose clutch she was and observing it to be a snarling, bald, ugly man with the appearance of a large bird, she added, “Well, I suppose this is the only way you could manage the feat of sweeping a woman off her feet.”

“Listen, lady, just listen! You wrote that story about Mr. Darcy, didn’t you?”

“A brute like you has read Pride and Prejudice? Perhaps you are not quite as unrefined as I first thought.”

“Shut up and answer the question—are you Jane Austen or not?”

“I see refined is definitely not the word for you, sir, but yes I am she. Though I must say, you might reread P&P and pay closer attention to those with good manners.”

“You can keep your manners, I’m not interested in them. I want to tell you how to make your story better—I want you to write another one with Darcy being like me. That will make a really great book, way better than what you have with all that good manners stuff.”

She gawked at the stranger, replying, “You want me to what? Now see here ...”

“Ok, Beak Head, I hate to ruin your fun, but this is Jane Austen and she is
used to men with better manners!” came another voice out of nowhere. At that moment, Jane found herself pulled out of the grasp of the ugly bald man and his winged suit, only now she was somehow suspended by a thread and being placed gently on the ground. Looking up, she saw someone in a red and blue form-fitting outfit spinning a web around the winged man and very politely placing a note to his forehead for the local police.

“My, my, I just came outside for a change of scenery, hoping for a bit of inspiration ... this has certainly been more invigorating than a whiff of roses!”

“Sorry about that, Miss Austen,” said the man in the red and blue suit, “but ol’ Beak Head—or Vulture, as he prefers to be called, but I don’t like insulting the real birds with the association— he hasn’t learned how to behave in decent society, as you would say.”

Jane nodded her head in agreement. “And what are you called? And why do you fellows from America choose to go flying through the air as you do? Isn’t walking like an ordinary person good enough?”

The man laughed, “I’m Spider-man, and if it doesn’t make me sound too conceited, I would say I am not exactly ordinary. But all that aside, can I ask what prince charming there wanted with Jane Austen?”

She answered with some loathing, “That barbarian wanted me to write another story about Mr. Darcy and ... excuse me, but do you know who that is?”

“Sure, from Pride and Prejudice—love the book.”

“Why thank you, sir! Well, as I was saying, he wanted me to make Darcy be like him. The nerve of the man—have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?”

“No way, I see your point. If you made Darcy like our feather-brained friend, he wouldn’t be Darcy anymore.”

“Quite right! Now tell me, what would you think of someone making up a story about you and this bald-headed winged man, but when you arrive on the scene as you did for me just now, you get angry and turn into .... oh, I don’t know, let us say some giant green thing, and he is changed from his winged costume into some other thing, a jungle creature such as a rhino, perhaps?” Giving her hands an upward toss, she cried, “Now, do be honest, the story would no longer be Spider-man versus the Vulture ... do you see my point?”

“Sure, I get it, but let me correct you ...” Miss Austen inclined forward as he continued, “ ... the Thing is a big rocklike person and the giant green angry one is the Hulk.”

Miss Austen rolled her eyes and laughed, “I see, but let us not get sidetracked from the main point: changing a character’s identifying traits entirely changes the character and, therefore, giving them a certain name doesn’t make them that character; such a thing would be nonsense. Even if this vulture was called Darcy, he wouldn't be my Mr. Darcy!”

Spidey nodded his head, “Absolutely! If someone wants to put one of your characters in some other story setting, that is something that could be interesting, but the real beauty of it would be if the character is still the same person you came up with. Otherwise, why not just make up some other name for the character?”

“You are a young man of good understanding. How refreshing! And speaking of refreshment, I should beg your pardon; the least I could do after you saved me from that savage is to offer tea.”

“That sounds good, but I must be going now.”

“Oh ... well then, I sincerely thank you for saving me, kind sir.”

“My pleasure, Miss Austen, and if I hear of anyone messing with your characters, you can trust your friendly neighborhood Spider-man to give them a stern talking to!”

copyright © 2017 by NoeandCindy ***********************************
Jane Austen art by Gracie Klumpp I found this beautiful art piece by Miss Gracie through a Google search, and you can find her and more of her work on Facebook and her website. Thank you so much for the permission to use it on our story, Gracie!

Vulture clipart: This was found with a free clipart search and downloaded from this site.

Spider clipart: This also was found with a free clipart search and downloaded from this site.


Captivated by Youth and Beauty

Our newest release

With the release of our latest novel, Captivated by Youth and Beauty: Mr. Bennet’s story, now seemed like a good time to interview Noe on his cover art. Noe has done all the covers for our stories, and there’s a reason he did each one the way he did. Here are some of his thoughts about doing our cover art and on this one in particular:

Me: Noe, why do you choose to do your own book covers?
Noe: Creating a book cover that is interesting and related to the story inside is a challenge. I have picked up books that had sweet covers only to find, in starting to read the book, that the cover was misleading.

Me: That has happened to me before as well and can be quite a let-down, I must agree.
Noe: Exactly. For that reason, I try hard to make our book covers accurately represent the narrative. Our latest book has a cover that I hope imparts the idea of the man we know from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, who loves books so much they are his best friends, being distracted by a beautiful young lady.

Me: That seems simple enough, and with him holding the book in one hand and her beside him on the other, I think you captured that.
Noe: Thank you. Because the story is also about the history of his family, though, I wanted the image to communicate a feeling of nostalgia, that sense of looking at old family photos. That is why I opted for black and white for the main portion of the digital copy. The paperback will be in color but will also have a distressed look to convey that same idea.

Me: This story is bit different than your others in that you have Mr. Bennet answering Elizabeth’s question about how they met, so it takes us from their present to their past. I think you said you incorporate that idea in the cover also.
Noe: Yes, while making Mr. Bennett and Miss Gardiner look young, I highlighted them with white, as if their white hair of old age is being transformed to their younger days by virtue of him relating the story. For those who are young now, to think of themselves as elderly may be difficult, but when a person has reached old age it is a blessing that with a simple thought you can conjure up your younger self. Suddenly, those many decades that you have lived through don’t feel like decades, but more like just a flash. And speaking of flash, the light behind our two lovers is meant to be a setting sun, for that touch of romance of our hero and heroine ending up together, but it is also a symbol for Mr. Bennet being in his declining days.

Me: Wow, there really is a lot to consider in this book cover.
Noe: Well, when people look at a piece of art, each person has their own impressions of any implied meaning in the objects depicted, and most often the artist is not present to relate what his concept of the piece really is. I have no idea if all I was trying to convey in the cover art can be perceived, but hopefully with this explanation, you might see some semblance of it as you read the story.

Me: Well, I think even if readers do not see this blog article, they will be moved by the cover of the book. For people who love this character, finding out how the silly Mrs. Bennet was able to captivate Lizzy’s father in his youth will be quite moving.

Mr Bennet meets his wife
Captivated by Youth and Beauty

The book is available in ebook format only at this time, but should be ready in paperback by the end of May if not sooner. Below are a couple of links for places you can find it online:
Books2read has several links:
You can also find it on other online bookstores by searching their ebook sections.


Perfectly Preposterous Pride and Prejudice, number 3

Episode 3

Jane Austen, without a doubt, is one of the wittiest women you can find. She is absolutely one of our favorite authors. This is the third in our series of preposterous episodesclick here to see the first or the second. And now, let the fun begin:
Sisters Will Talk

The Meryton Assembly Ball always created a stir in the Bennet household, and this year's ball had what could be called that very special something that makes such an event something looked forward to even beyond the enjoyment of dancing. Yes, that appeal to the heart and imagination that a rich single man in attendance brings! Handsome is always a part of the description of such a fellow, regardless of the reality. Why, one might even believe the color of his coins is rose.

As the location for the ball is the small town of Meryton, this added incentive for excitement is rare indeed. "Lizzy," cried Lydia Bennet, "are you not simply overflowing with anticipation to the point of giddiness to finally see Mr. Bingley? My own head is positively whirling so that I am dizzy! You, on the other hand, seem so calm—you resemble the pond when not even a duck has so much as stirred its waters. The day has finally arrived for all our curiosity and speculations to at last be over! Surely there has not been a ball that has offered so much reason for suspenseful anticipation, would you not agree? We shall be meeting a handsome single man of five thousand a year living at Netherfield Park!"

Indeed, the days until this happy prospect arrived could not pass quickly enough. Before her sister had time to reply, however, Kitty walked to the window and declared, "Lizzy has wisely determined not to set her horse after the same fox as all the other young ladies. I dare say I will adopt her position myself, for there is nothing quite so frustrating as wanting what everyone else wants when there is not enough to go around ... in a house full of five sisters, I can assure you, I know that more than anyone. And besides, just imagine how terrifying for the poor fox to have so many hot on the chase."

Lizzy raised her eyebrows at such common sense coming from this younger sister and was on the verge of saying so when yet another of her sisters spoke before she had the chance. "What you say has a ring of truth, Kitty. However, in the world of men and women, it is we, the fairer sex, who are most often viewed as the game after which the men chase, not the other way around. I believe it was Sir George from Birmingham who, I might add, spent more than a few years in the jungle—yes, it was he who said, 'Find a good woman and one has found a fine trophy to showcase.'" Being very much pleased with the quote, Mary gave her head a nod or two and then paused, casting a wary eye as she added, "Although, the whole notion of comparing human relations to the barbarism of the hunt would make one conclude that mankind has yet to learn to be truly civil. For my part, romance should have nothing in common with anything that ends with blood being spilled."

Elizabeth now turned toward Mary, but as her lips began to part and her breath was about to create that articulate sound, the other sister that had yet to speak said quietly, "Mary, men have always put matters of the heart in terms that make sense to them. They are not to be found fault with for the littleness of their minds on this point ... it is common knowledge that men have brains equal to their hearts. They do so little thinking or feeling, it is no wonder that both have atrophied to the point that we find them now. As you say, their comparing love to anything noisy and violent, such as sport with guns, is proof of this unfortunate debility."

Lizzy put her hand to her chin and gazed upon her sisters, respect and warm regard filling her heart and head. At that moment, her sisters turned to her as one, and seeing she had taken on such a faraway, thoughtful aspect, they declared in unison: "Well, Lizzy, are you looking forward to seeing Mr. Bingley or not?"

copyright © 2017 by NoeandCindy

The end of this episode ....

Want to read more "Perfectly Preposterous P&P" posts?
Here they are:
Number 1, The Continuing Saga
Number 2, Bingley visits Mr. Bennet

Thank you for reading what noeandcindy.write !
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Show, don't tell — or How to make a mountain out of a molehill

My thoughts

Storytelling sounds so much better than story showing, don’t you agree? And yet, in the world of writing, there is this mantra: "show, don’t tell." According to some persons, a book is determined to be either good or bad on this one basis. But is "show, don’t tell" really the cornerstone of good writing? I don’t think so.

I have read several articles about "show, don’t tell" and inevitably the person writing the article takes one sentence or a short paragraph that is written very plainly as an example of telling and then they rewrite it in a more interesting way as an example of showing. Afterward, they make this conclusion: “There, isn’t that better? You see, showing is so much better than telling!" Of course, you can take one sentence or paragraph that is poorly written and just about anyone can rewrite it in a more interesting way. I dare say, you can then take the showing, rewrite and rewrite it yet again and keep coming up with a better sentence. That is, after all, why authors write and rewrite their books until they’re happy with them.

I have read reviews where the reader enjoyed a book but complained about misspelled words and bad grammar, but I have never read a review where the reader said it was a good book but found fault because there was telling and not showing. This is why I would maintain that a more significant way to determine if what is written is good or not is how interesting and entertaining it is. An author can show all he wants in his writing, but if his characters are not compelling or the story is of no interest or, perhaps better said, not told in an interesting way, the technical mumbo jumbo about "show, don’t tell" is completely irrelevant. It’s a bit like saying, “I love the color of my car! Didn’t the painters do a wonderful job?”— but the car doesn’t have an engine or wheels.

This malarky about show, don’t tell strikes me like a silly fashion craze that lasts for one summer, whereas good storytelling— yes, telling— is like blue jeans. They’ve been around forever and they never go out of fashion.

Goodreads review: Star Sand

Noe's review

Star SandStar Sand by Roger Pulvers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

From his author page, we read: “Roger Pulvers is an author, playwright, theater director, and translator. He has published more than forty-five books in English and Japanese, including novels, essays, plays, and poetry. He also translates works from Japanese, Russian, and Polish.”

With a résumé like that, you would expect some good work, or at least fair writing. But reading Star Sand is like going through something that was written by a real novice. I did not know the author’s credentials as I was reading his book; I found it at the end on the “about the author” section.

Having just finished Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby before reading this book, I was glad for the change of pace. The story isn’t long and doesn’t have Dickens’ irritating knack for going on and on. Star Sand is told in three parts: the first during WW2; the second, which is very short, in the 1950’s; and the last section in the 2000’s.

The WW2 part is told through a diary of a sixteen-year-old Japanese American girl who is helping two deserters, one Japanese and the other American. This was getting to the point of being boring due to its repetitious nature of her activities, but thankfully, that is when the section came to an end. The two deserters hole up in a cave on a small island that was far enough removed from the war for it to be a safe haven, though the men could not venture far from the cave for fear of being caught and executed. The girl is there for the relative safety of the place as well.

The story does a pretty good job of showing the absurdity of war, the hating and killing of other humans just because they live on the other side of a line at the orders from some person who says you should. The girl being Japanese American serves well as a symbol of the fact that we are, after all, humans on the planet earth, not just residents of one particular country. I realize most people don’t take a larger world view of things and prefer to look at themselves and others through the lens of nationalism. But there are those that feel like Albert Einstein, who said, “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.” And during war, mankind’s measles comes on at its worst.

I wish Roger Pulvers would have written a more powerful short story, but his ineptitude leaves us with only a fair one that lacks suspense and, most of all, emotion. I give it three stars because he attempted a worthy subject in what could have been an interesting way and because he kept it short.

What the Dickens?

Charles Dickens

I have been reading Nicholas Nickleby for a few weeks now and have some thoughts to share on this author. Movies based on his books are almost certain to be goodOliver Twist, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, and Great Expectations, to name just a few.
Little Dorrit mini-series 2008
But I want to talk about reading his books and his style of writing. Charles Dickens had a rare distinction among artists, which is he was famous while he was alive. People by the millions loved his work back when he was writing and still do to this day. Of course, not everyone was his fan; according to Wikipedia: "Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism."

I'm not sure I understand what those three were talking about in their complaints against Dickens, but I have a much more simple protest to lodge. To me, he writes like someone who is in love with the sound of his own voice. There is something annoying about the way he drags a scene out that has nothing to do with the storypage after page of silly nonsense between characters of no significance. Dickens seems to try to make up for this fluff by attempting to be witty or by taking some dig at the society of his day. Hey, maybe I do understand what lacking psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein saccharine sentimentalism is after all.

There can be no debate in that he has a way with words and a knack for creating some distinctive characters. But the way he regularly extends things becomes tediously painful and tiresome, since the places he chooses to get carried away have no bearing on the story. It's like going shopping for groceries, but the store is filled with so much other stuff you have trouble finding the food. I don't know about everyone else, but when I'm reading for entertainment, I don't want to wade through this kind of malarkey to find the story. If I wanted to just read words for the sake of reading, I would reach for the dictionary or the encyclopedia.

I have found it interestingly ironic that in Nicholas Nickleby, Dickens actually wrote this about a particular scene: "To recount all the delight and wonder which the circumstances just detailed awakened at Miss La Creevy's, and all the things that were done, said, thought, expected, hoped, and prophesied in consequence, is beside the present course and purpose of these adventures." Had he used that principle throughout his writing, I would consider him a great writer, not just a good one! Instead, he frequently 'recounts all the delights and wonders and things done, said, thought, expected, hoped, and prophesied!'

Half the brilliance of a great artist is to know when to stop adding paint; the other half, I would say, is the subject. I am struck with the idea when reading his works that, if Dickens would have used his creative imagination to embellish the story in the areas involving the storyline and the main characters, this would have been genius. Instead, reading his books is like watching a Humphrey Bogart movieone of those movies where Bogey gets into a cab, at which point the cab driver either nods at Bogart and then he, as the main character, tells the driver where he wants to go ... now, sometimes the cabby will have a line to say, such as: "Where to, Mac?" Or maybe the driver gets to say more, like: "That's a bad side of town ... you sure you want to go there?" In any event, however much or little the cabby gets to say, once he drops Bogey off, that's it for the driver. But in a Dickens story, you would learn the cabby's name, body size, how cleanoh, that's right, this is Dickenshow dirty his cab is, how long he's been married, how many kids he has, why driving a cab is the best job he ever had ... well, if there was such a Dickens tale I was reading, all the while I'd be pulling my hair out, crying, "I don't care about the cabby! I just want to know what happens to Bogey when he meets Bacall in the bad side of town!"
Oliver Twist movie 1948
That is my gripe with Charles Dickenshe becomes the storyteller describing how some old geezer (who you, or at least, I don't really care about) arranges his socks, how his housekeeper can't hear because her hair has been turned up too tight, why she only polishes the silver on special occasions, why he takes two lumps in his tea although he would prefer four, and on and on about this guy and just any and almost everybody in the story! To be sure, this is why the movies based on his books are so much better than the booksthey have cut out all this extraneous material.
Bleak House mini-series 2005
I think what may account for what I consider a pretty big flaw in his writing is that he wrote in installments, putting the stories in a journal and releasing them weekly or monthly. Perhaps if he had just sat down to write an entire book and not simply articles, he may not have gotten lost in what he was supposed to be writing about. I'm surprised he didn't have an editor with the good sense to rein him in, or maybe that's just what the editor wantedsomeone who would write lots of words to fill his magazine for a year or so.

At any rate, there Charles Dickens sits atop the literary world, and here I get this little chance to rant about him. And in today's world, that means he wins, though I will never understand what the Dickens all the fuss is about.

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