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Book Review From a Historian’s Perspective – The Testament of Solomon

ID 109178136 © Andrey Simonenko | Dreamstime.com

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs, Paranormal Romance Author, Screenwriter, Copywriter and Dramatic Historian

Everyone is familiar with the Song of Songs in the Bible; however, The Testament of Solomon is a little more obscure.  It is considered a non-canonized version of Solomon’s life and it covers the topic of Solomon’s magic more extensively than the scriptures do.

Is this person an authority on the subject?

The version of the book I read was translated by F.C. Conybeare but it is ascribed to King Solomon, son of David.  Since it was supposedly written by King Solomon himself, the author is definitely an authority on the subject.

What do peers think of this body of work?

This book is not a part of the Old Testament but is associated with with that period.  It was not included in the canon but it does give insight into Solomon’s life outside of what’s included in the Song of Songs in the Old Testament.  The Testament of Solomon was not canonized as a religious text so I believe it is left to assume that this body of work is not really taken seriously, at least from a religious standpoint.

Does the writer remain objective?

The entire book is subjective.

Are the writer’s sources reliable?

There are no resources since this book is attributed to King Solomon – allegedly his own words.

Overall Impression of the Book

This book is a simple tale that is probably not as interesting as Biblical or Koranic interpretations of the life of King Solomon.  However, it does seem to be the only source of insight into how the Temple was built – allegedly by the demons Solomon controlled using his ring known as the seal, or Pentalpha.  The book even includes a confession by King Solomon about his fall from grace from the Lord of Israel due to his involvement with women who practiced idol worship.

The Testament of Solomon was a quick and easy read but I get the impression that the book has no authority whatsoever.  I’ll admit that this would have been a good book to read when I wrote my first book, The Vital Sacrifice, because it delves deeper into the mystical and magical aspects of Solomon’s life that are rarely seen in religious texts.  But, outside of exploring magic, this piece of work is not something that I would recommend as a serious work to study.


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Part II: The Making of The Vital Sacrifice – Creating a Mythical Secret Society

New World Order Image © Erika Kavali | Dreamstime.com 20943221

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs, Paranormal Romance Author, Screenwriter, Copywriter and Dramatic Historian

As you may recall from my previous blog topic, Part I: The Making of The Vital Sacrifice – The Invisible Race of Djinn, I developed my main character, Ali, as a Djinn.  After developing his character and my female character who becomes his lover, I had a big question mark looming over my story: “Why should audiences care about these two people’s relationship?”  Over the years of learning writing and screenwriting, I discovered that if there is no conflict, there is no story.  I knew that I had my two main characters, but now was the time to add conflict to their lives — and lots of it.

I formed the overarching conflict in my novel developing Ali’s character.  As you know by reading or from my previous post, Ali is a paranormal creature but I had to develop a world around him that would make him off limits to my female character, Teresa.  I did this by creating a Order of Djinns that he belongs to who play by specific rules that they themselves created in order to avoid conflict with humans.  One major no-no is for them is not to have too much involvement with humans and settling down into relationships with women is strictly forbidden, not just because of the rules of the Order but also because these men never age.  Thus, too much involvement with anyone over a period of time will cause people to wonder why they never age.  This is why they must live their lives in secrecy.

I also created the Order because I wanted to explore the topic of secret societies.  My research in this area over the years intrigued me and therefore, I wanted my characters to formulate their own secret society.  I studied about secret societies but much of the information that I discovered seemed originate with King Solomon.  His magical powers seem to be the cornerstone of all secret societies.  I delved into the Biblical and Koranic interpretations of King Solomon and other books about Solomon’s magic in order to build my secret mythical society of genie men.

Follow this blog to learn more about how I developed the paranormal novel, The Vital Sacrifice.  


Get a copy of The Vital Sacrifice


Image courtesy of © Erika Kavali | Dreamstime.com

Do You Like Learning About and Discussing Unusual Topics?

Ritual image courtesy of By Bob Orsillo | Shuttertock

Follow the “Pondering the Obscure” blog and join the Facebook discussion group where we share and discuss topics including occult studies, secret societies, supernatural occurrences, ancient controversial knowledge, aliens and much more.


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Image courtesy of By Bob Orsillo | Shuttertock




Film Review From a Screenwriter’s Perspective – Us, Directed By Jordan Peele

ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs, Paranormal Romance Author, Screenwriter, Copywriter and Dramatic Historian

When it comes to film, we screenwriters know or should have an idea of when things should take place within a film to keep the audience’s interest.  We refer to this as the story structure.  Directors that adhere to the story structure deliver an outstanding product.  Those that don’t tend to make us snooze or leave the theater.  As a screenwriter, I like to watch and review films from a screenwriter’s perspective to see if the movie plays by screenwriting structure rules.  This month, I am reviewing the film Us written and directed by Jordan Peele.

Act One 

Does the first act introduce us to all of the essential characters in the film including the hero?

Yes.  Act One introduces all of the people that we see for the rest of the film.  Adelaide Wilson is the hero.

What is the want and need of the hero?

Adelaide’s want is for all of the doppelganger class to be free.  Her need is for her to face her doppelganger and get rid of it once and for all and join the rest of the freed doppelgangers.


Inciting Incident 

Was there an inciting incident at least 10-15 minutes into the film?

Yes.  The inciting incident was when Adelaide wandered off from her parents while she was at the beach carnival and goes into “Merlin’s Forest – Find Yourself” hall of mirrors and sees a reflection of herself in the mirror that was her twin self.


Plot Point One and Act Two

How was the hero’s journey complicated?

Adelaide’s mission is complicated when the family shows up in the driveway.  This scene is plot point one and the introduction of Act Two.



What is the point of no return or what is dramatically different now?

The midpoint is when the family turns on the television and sees that this is no longer just their problem but a problem that everyone is having with their “tethered” selves.  The family realizes that there will be no one coming to save them and that they have to face these creatures themselves.


Plot Point Two

Is the hero’s journey complicated, even more, an hour and a half into the film?

Yes. When Adelaide’s doppelganger takes Adelaide’s son whom she vowed to protect, this raises the stakes, and she has to face her doppelganger fearlessly to save her son.  This scene is plot point two and the introduction of Act Three.


Act Three

Is the hero’s internal and external dilemma resolved?

Both the hero’s internal (need) and (want) external dilemma are resolved .  Adelaide realizes her external want for the doppelganger race to be free when we see all of the people in red holding hands across American in the same way that the eerie commercial alludes to in Act one.  Also, Adelaide fulfills her personal internal need when she defeats her twin and is finally “tethered” from her evil twin.


What seems to be the theme of the film?

The theme seems to be as follows:

In the U.S., everyone has an evil twin that is residing in dark, vacant caves, living terrible lives waiting for the opportunity to free themselves from bondage to kill and replace their twin so that they can live the perfect life that their good twin is living.


Overall Impression of the Film

All screenwriting technicalities aside, I think that Jordan Peele adheres to story structure very well.  He is both the writer and the director for the film, so this places him in a strong position to ensure that the storyline stays intact.  I was very impressed with how things unfolded and when they unfolded.  I felt that from a screenwriter’s point of view, he nailed this film in terms of sticking to the rules of screenwriting.

Many are talking about the confusion associated with the end of the movie; however.  For me, the only confusion I experienced was how the family would react to Adelaide being the true evil twin and their “real mother” being the one who was chasing them?  I guess this is what will lead us into a sequel.

Other things that people are talking about is the color red that the tethered class wore.  Jordan Peele seems to borrow this dominating color from the popular Hulu series, Handmaid’s Tale – played by Elizabeth Moth, the star of Handmaid’s Tale who also appears in Us as family friend, Kitty Tyler.  In Handmaid’s Tale, the red cloaks that the women wear represents their fertility.  I felt that the red in this film was chosen to represent the bloodshed that the tethered class would need to cause to be free.  The jumpsuits are similar to those that prisoners wear and seem to symbolize the fact that they are all united in bondage.  The red jumpsuits and the golden scissors seemed to go hand in hand symbolically representing the key to their freedom.

I’ve read where people are making comparisons of this film to Twilight Zone and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  While I can definitely see the comparison, this film reminded me of the Planet of the Apes because a lower life form is seeking to overtake the human race which is exactly what happens in Us.

Everyone also seems to be comparing this film to Jordan’s debut Get Out however, I don’t think there is a comparison.  It seems to me that Jordan is trying to build a portfolio of horror flicks that maintain his macabre style but are completely different from his hit thriller Get Out, which I think is a smart approach.   Avoiding being typecast as a certain type of director or writer will keep audiences wanting and wondering about what he will create next instead of assuming that they’ve seen all that there is to see with this developing director.

Will this film be Oscar-worthy?  It’s hard to say but if I were to choose a category that this film could be nominated for, it would be Best Story and Screenplay.  Will Jordan snag a win as he did for Get Out?  I guess we will have to wait until early next year when the Academy Awards air to find out.



Video courtesy of Youtube.com.