Posted in Language, Literary Arts Series, Literature, Words, Writing

Give A Lick: Literary Postage Stamps – Humorists Ogden Nash and James Thurber

What is the connection between Ogden Nash and James Thurber? Besides both being humorists, they published at The New Yorker during the same time period. In 1930, Nash’s first poem “Invocation” was published January 11.  Did you know Nash contributed 329 poems to The New Yorker between 1930 and 1971?

Meanwhile, the magazine ran a drawing by James Thurber for the first time in the February 22, 1930 issue. E. B. White had rescued Thurber’s doodles from being discarded, and encouraged the writer to publish his art work.

Ogden Nash 37¢
(1902-1971)

Ogden Nash.jpg

Issue Date: August 19, 2002
City: Baltimore, MD
Quantity: 70,000,000

American humorist and poet Ogden Nash wrote light-hearted, whimsical, and sometimes nonsensical verse. He often used an extremely large poetic license to create comical rhymes and puns. Ogden Nash is the 18th honoree of the Literary Arts Series.

An interesting couple of notes about the Ogden Nash stamp. It is the first time the word ‘Sex’ has appeared on a stamp; and probably also is the first time a limerick has appeared on a U.S. stamp.

U.S. Postal Service chief stamp developer Terry McCaffrey told CBSNews.com he expects to get complaints about “sex,” which is included in the six Nash poems in the background of the design: “The Turtle,” “The Cow,” “Crossing The Border,” “The Kitten,” “The Camel,” and “Limerick One.”

Nash poked fun at human foibles without cynicism. He wrote on many subjects, but all of his poems expressed his wry wit and demonstrated his playfulness with language. “I’m very fond of the English language. I tease it, and you tease only the things you love,” Nash reportedly said. He invented words and used puns, creative misspellings, irregular line lengths and unexpected rhymes to make his verse humorous and memorable. Because of his unique style, many consider Ogden Nash to have been one of the most accomplished American writers of light verse in the 20th century.

In a letter to the editor of The New York Times in 1969, Nash complained about stamps that would not stick to envelopes. He lamented, “The Post Office should supply a roll of Scotch tape with every 100 stamps, but mine won’t even sell me one. I’d like to go back to where I came from: 1902.”

Nash considered himself a ‘worsifier’. One of the most universally known verses is: “Candy is dandy/but liquor is quicker.” Others include: “If called by a panther, / Don’t anther,” and “In the vanities / No one wears panities.”

Did you know? Nash’s great-great-grandfather was governor of North Carolina during the Revolution, and that ancestor’s brother was General Francis Nash, for whom Nashville, Tennessee, was named.

James Thurber 29¢
(1894-1961)

James Thurber

Issue Date: September 10, 1994
City: Columbus, OH
Quantity: 150,750,000

One of the most popular humorists of his time, James Thurber celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people.  In Thurber-Land, the men are often sad, bewildered, and inept; the women are fierce and determined; and their dogs are indifferent to men a women alike, and are immersed in a fantasy world of their own.  Thurber is the author of The Secret Life of Walter Mittywhich portrays an oversensitive man who escapes from his nagging wife through his daydreams and the creator of numerous New Yorker magazine cover cartoons.  Writing nearly 40 books, he won a Tony Award for the Broadway play, A Thurber Carnival, in which he often starred as himself.

One of his books, My World and Welcome To It, was turned into an NBC television series in 1969-1970 starring William Windom. My World and Welcome To It, won best Comedy Series and Windom won Best Actor in a Comedy Series at the 1970 Emmys.

Thurber spent much time in and about the Algonquin Hotel in New York City.  Though never a formal member of the Algonquin Round Table, he was a favorite among many of its members including, Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.

Thurber is the 11th honoree of the Literary Arts series. Read his “The Art of Fiction” interview the Paris Review by George Plimpton and Max Steele.

Did You Know?  As a child, Thurber’s brother shot him in the eye with an arrow during a game of William Tell. James Thurber lost his left eye, and the incident left his vision permanently impaired.


For the rest of the Give A Lick: Literary Arts series of blog posts, check out Dorothy Parker and John Steinbeck, as well as Flannery O’Connor and Ralph Ellison.


For Further Reading & Source Material: 

A New Yorker Timeline

Eighty-five from the archive: Ogden Nash

PR Wire “Literary Arts series Continues with Issuance of Ogden Nash stamp”
*Note: The cool thing about this link is that it shows you the full verses of poems used on the Ogden Nash stamp.

Poetry Foundation / Ogden Nash

Thurber House

Ten Facts about Caldecott Winner , James Thurber

Thurber Prize for American Humor 
*Note: The Thurber Prize for American Humor is the nation’s highest recognition of the art of humor writing. 

Posted in Language, Literary Arts Series, Literature, Words, Writing

Give A Lick: Literary Postage Stamps – Flannery O’Connor and Ralph Ellison

Continuing on the Give A Lick: Literary Postage Stamp week, today I will be featuring Flannery O’Connor and Ralph Ellison. The connection between these two stamps is that they are the only two in the series that are intended for three-ounce letters.

Flannery O’Connor 93¢
(1925-1964)
Flannery O'ConnorIssue Date
: June 5, 2015
City
: McLean, VA
Quantity
: 20,000,000

Flannery O’Connor’s stamp is 30th in the Literary Arts Series, released in 2015.

Mary Flannery O’Connor was an American writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, she wrote two novels and 32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. Her writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.

The stamp shows O’Connor surrounded by peacock feathers—an homage to O’Connor’s love for the birds that she cared for on her mother’s farm toward the end of her life. She wrote about peacocks in a 1961 essay called “The King of Birds.” Today, three of those peacocks that were her pets have been returned to her homeplace in Andalusia, which has become a visitor center.

All three birds are named after characters in O’Connor’s work. The strutting male bird is Manley Pointer, after the scheming Bible salesman from O’Connor’s story “Good Country People.” One of the hens is named Joy/Hulga, after the woman whose prosthetic leg Pointer steals in the same story. The second hen’s name is Mary Grace, the “raw-complexioned girl” from O’Connor’s story “Revelation” in her collection “Everything That Rises Must Converge.”

The setting of Andalusia, including the ever-present peafowl, figures prominently in her fiction. If it is true, as critics and scholars have noted, that Southern fiction is marked by the importance given to a sense of place, then a major force in shaping Flannery O’Connor’s work is landscape. Andalusia provided for her not only a place to live and write, but also a functional landscape in which to set her fiction.

While living at Andalusia, Flannery O’Connor completed Wise Blood, which was published in 1952. Then her highly acclaimed collection of short stories A Good Man Is Hard To Find was published in 1955. She also wrote another novel, The Violent Bear It Away, published in 1960. Her second collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published posthumously in 1965. A collection of nonfiction prose titled Mystery and Manners, edited by Robert and Sally Fitzgerald, was published in 1969. The Complete Stories, edited by Robert Giroux, won the 1971 National Book Award for Fiction. Then Sally Fitzgerald edited a large collection of O’Connor’s letters, The Habit of Being, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award after its publication in 1979. O’Connor’s Collected Works was published in 1988 as part of the Library of America series, the definitive collection of America’s greatest writers.

 

Ralph Ellison 91¢
(1913-1994)

ralph ellison

Issue Date: February 18, 2014
City: Kansas City, MO
Quantity: 30,000,000

Ellison’s stamp is 29th in the Literary Arts series, released in 2014.

With his 1952 novel Invisible Man, a masterpiece of 20th-century fiction, Ellison drew on a wide range of narrative and cultural traditions, shedding vivid light on the African-American experience while setting a new benchmark for all American novelists.

The stamp art is an oil-on-panel painting featuring a portrait of Ellison based on a black-and-white photograph by Ellison’s friend Gordon Parks, a renowned staff photographer for Life magazine. The photo appeared on the back of the dust jacket of the first edition of Invisible Man in 1952. The background of the stamp art shows a Harlem street at twilight.

Drawing deeply on European and American literature as well as jazz, the blues, African-American folklore, and popular culture, Invisible Man won the National Book Award in 1953. Ellison’s nonfiction writing, especially the 1964 collection Shadow and Act, has also been praised for providing touchstones for black artists who loved American culture but often felt excluded by it.

In case you missed it, come and check out the rest of the “Give a Lick” Literary Postage Stamp series: 
John Steinbeck and Dorothy Parker
Humorists James Thurber and Ogden Nash
[Bonus James Thurber cartoon]

 

 

Posted in Language, Literary Arts Series, Literature, Words, Writing

Give A Lick: Literary Postage Stamps – John Steinbeck and Dorothy Parker

Inspiration comes from many places. Today’s blog post inspiration came from the Richard Wright quote of last week, when I went looking for an image of Mr. Wright to use as the focal point. His postage stamp led me to wonder what other literary wordsmiths had been immortalized on postage stamps.

The USPS started the Literary Arts series in 1979.  According to the USPS, “These skillful wordsmiths spun our favorite tales — and American history along with them.”

The full list of Literary Arts postage stamps can be found on the USPS website. I will be highlighting two per day this week, with perhaps a second week to come later on.

Today’s highlighted Literary Giants are John Steinbeck and Dorothy Parker.

John Steinbeck 15¢
(1902-1968)

Steinbeck_15_1979
Issue date: February 27, 1979
City: Salinas, CA
Quantity: 155,000,000

John Steinbeck was the first to be honored on the Literary Arts series. Steinbeck’s novels mirrored America’s struggle and victory over the Great Depression. His most famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. Other Steinbeck novels include Of Mice and Men, The Winter of Our Discontent, The Pearl, Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat.

I love the Paris Review’s “The Art of Fiction” interviews. If you haven’t read them, start with Steinbeck, Interview No. 45.

Listen to Steinbeck read two of his short stories, “The Snake” and “Johnny Bear” in 1953.

Dorothy Parker 29¢
(1893-1967)

Dorothy Parker
Issue date: August 22, 1992
City: West End, NJ
Quantity: 105,000,000

Dorothy Parker is 10th in the Literary Arts series.  Famous for her verses and her stories, she worked for Vogue and Vanity Fair, becoming their drama critic. She was published in Vanity Fair, Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Life (when it was still a comic magazine), and The New Yorker, run by her old friend, Harold Ross.

American journalist Vincent Sheean said: “Among contemporary artists, I would put her next to Hemingway and Bill Faulkner. She wasn’t Shakespeare, but what she was, was true.” John Keats in his biography of her, You Might as Well Live (1970) stated: “She wrote poetry that was at least as good as the best of Millay and Housman. She wrote some stories that are easily as good as some of O’Hara and Hemingway.”

A founding member of the legendary Algonquin Round Table, she was best known for her wit. Among her more memorable quotes are, “I don’t care what is written about me as long as it isn’t true” and “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

Read Dorothy Parker’s Paris Review’s “Art of Fiction” Interview No. 13.

Have you heard Dorothy Parker’s voice? You can hear her reading 30 of her poems at The Dorothy Parker Society.


Note: Featured stamp collection image courtesy of Birmingham Coin & Jewelry.

Check out the rest of the “Give A Lick” series:

Flannery O’Connor and Ralph Ellison
Humorists Ogden Nash and James Thurber
[Bonus: James Thurber Cartoon]

Posted in book lists, Books

IMO… 12 Black Authors Everyone Should Read

A friend posted about a novel quiz he took and realized that he didn’t know any of the Black Authors. He asked for suggestions as to what he should read.  This got me thinking, and I thought I would share my reply. Bear in mind, this is MY OPINION. Let me know in the comments below of any that you recommend.

Richard Wright’s Black Boy and Native Son.


Frederick Douglass’ memoir, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

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Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings1

James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son (set during the civil rights movement)


Octavia Butler’s Kindred

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W.E.B Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folks

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Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

Invisible_Man

Alex Haley’s Roots, The Saga of an American Family and The Autobiography of Malcolm X


Langston Hughes’ Not without laughter

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Did you know? The play A Raisin in the Sun by playwright Lorraine Hansberry was named for a line from a Langston Hughes poem.

imgres-1.jpg

Harlem
      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

 

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God 

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved

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BONUS:
Ta-Nehisi Coates is an editor and writer for The Atlantic. I mentioned him in my Just the Facts… About Fact-Checking blog post.

Also … Both Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison are mentioned in my Literary Arts Postage Stamp series of posts on the blog. Feel free to go take a look at them.

For Further Reading:

10 Black Authors Everyone Should Read by PBS.org. This has little biographies and blurbs on most of the authors I listed above, and a few that I didn’t know about.

22 Contemporary Authors You Absolutely Should be Reading by Isaac Fitzgerald

Posted in From The Editor's Desk, Literary Arts Series, Monday Musings, Quote, Writing

Mark Twain on Writing: “Kill your adjectives”

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Mark Twain, who read widely, was passionately interested in the problems of style; the mark of the strictest literary sensibility is everywhere to be found in the prose of Huckleberry Finn . . . He is the master of the style that escapes the fixity of the printed page, that sounds in our ears with the immediacy of the heard voice, the very voice of unpretentious truth.

Lionel Trilling, “Mark Twain’s Colloquial Prose Style”, from The Liberal Imagination, 1950

Mark Twain

Twain was often asked for advice on the art and craft of writing. Sometimes he responded seriously, sometimes not.  Here’s a piece of writing advice on from a letter he wrote on 20 March 1880 to a student named D.W. Bowser:

“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English—it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them—then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”

I often tell my editing clients one of my favorite pieces of advice he gave. Twain famously said:

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 


Bonus: “Give A Lick: Literary Postage Stamps” information for you philatelists! 

Mark Twain 44¢
(1835-1910)
Mark Twain
Issue Date: June 25, 2011
City: Hannibal, MO
Quantity: 50,000,000

Mark Twain is the 27th honoree in the Literary Arts series. “Our literary tribute this year rightfully honors Mark Twain, author of one of the greatest novels in American literature and the man whom William Faulkner called ‘the first truly American writer,’ said Postal Service Board of Governors member James H. Bilbray. “Mark Twain was a rarity, as he was one of the first writers to exploit the vernacular voice in his books, using the speech of common Americans,” Bilbray said.

Samuel Clemens’ family moved to the banks of the mighty Mississippi River when he was just a child.  Clemens developed a love for the river that would stay with him his entire life.

As a young man, Clemens met a steamboat pilot named Horace Bixby.  That’s when he decided to learn the craft, becoming one of the best pilots on the river.

As an author, Clemens took his pen name from his experiences on the water.  The Mississippi River is difficult to navigate.  To “mark twain” meant the water had been measured and was a safe depth.  In 1863, Clemens began writing as Mark Twain.

If it had not been for the Civil War, Twain may have remained a pilot who occasionally wrote newspaper articles.  But most business travel stopped along the Mississippi during these years, so Twain went back to writing.  His humorous stories of life on the river were a hit with readers then and remain popular today.

In 2010, the first volume of Twain’s autobiography was published.  It was his wish that it not be released until 100 years after his death so that he might speak his “whole frank mind.”  The volume offers a glimpse into the real Samuel Clemens – a man with strong political and social views who nevertheless entertained millions with riveting tales of life on the Mississippi.

More on the “Give A Lick: Literary Postage Stamp” Series

Dorothy Parker and John Steinbeck
Flannery O’Connor and Ralph Ellison
James Thurber and Ogden Nash
Bonus: James Thurber Cartoon 

 

 

 

pr09_037
2009 Richard Wright Postage Stamp courtesy of USPS

The more closely the author thinks of why he wrote, the more he comes to regard his imagination as a kind of self-generating cement which glued his facts together, and his emotions as a kind of dark and obscure designer of those facts. Reluctantly, he comes to the conclusion that to account for his book is to account for his life.

– Richard Wright
Native Son (1940)

 

Many writers do feel the urge to write about what they see, what they know, what they’ve experienced, capturing the writer’s zeitgeist.   Are you writing about your experience or are you more interested in your imagination’s ability to create new worlds?

Born September 4, 1908 in Roxie, Mississippi, Wright came from a family of sharecroppers in the Jim Crow South.  He was the 25th inductee into the Postal Service’s Literary Arts series. Best remembered for his controversial 1940 novel, Native Son, and his 1945 autobiography, Black Boy, Wright drew on a wide range of literary traditions, including protest writing and detective fiction, to craft unflinching portrayals of racism in American society. Wright died in Paris on November 28, 1960.

‘Words Can Be Weapons Against Injustice’

Did you know? 

Wright’s Native Son was the first best-selling novel by a Black American writer. It was also the first Book-of-the-Month Club selection by an African-American writer.

Native Son sold 215,000 copies within three weeks of publication. The book made Wright the wealthiest Black writer in America at that time.

For further reading:

Joe Bunting’s Do You Write from Experience or Imagination? 

Richard Wright Immortalized on Postage

10 Amazing Facts About ‘Native Son’ Author Richard Wright

Quote of the Day: Richard Wright

“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”

Arthur Plotnik

Outside of professional writing, which included articles and columns, he is the author of eight nonfiction books and a number of literary works.  His bestselling title was The Elements of Editing, a guide that grew out of his training of new staff.  Published by Macmillan and  packaged  by the Book of the Month Club with the iconic The Elements of Style, it sold more than 200,000 copies before going out of print. Parts of it are still used in journalism programs. Learn more at: http://www.arthurplotnik.com/biography.html

Editing lets the fire show through the smoke ~ Arthur Plotnik

Posted in Editor's Toolkit, Language, Writing

The Editor’s Toolkit: Hemingway App

hemingway
Ernest Hemingway photo courtesy of Yousuf Karsh

Ernest Hemingway‘s writing style is known almost instantaneously by most readers. It is distinctive, recognizable, and influential. Critics believe his style was honed during his time being a cub reporter in Kansas City.  Using short, rhythmic sentences, and selecting only those elements essential to the story, he created a clean style that works with having a journalistic background.

Featured today in my Editor’s Toolkit, the Hemingway App.

hemingway app
The Hemingway App

The Hemingway App shows you what is wrong with your writing in a clear and easy-to- follow method. Overly long sentences show up in yellow. Adverbs appear in blue. Words or phrases that can be simplified, purple. Green indicates passive voice. And red sentences are very hard to read.

Writer Ian Crouch of The New Yorker took Hemingway’s own writing and put it through the Hemingway App.  The opening paragraph from Hemingway’s short story,”A Clean, Well-Lighted Place“, only scored Grade 15 (OK).

It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.

 

Hemingway_A Clean Well-Lighted Place
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” opening paragraph on Hemingway App. Image courtesy of Dara Rochlin Book Doctor.

I hope this allows you to see how you can utilize different tools and websites to make your writing stronger and more concise.  Be sure to check out the other Editor’s Toolkit posts including The Punctuation Guide and the OneLook Reverse Dictionary. Come back for what’s upcoming the rest of the week, as I highlight what else is in my Editor’s Toolkit.

Feel free to let me know what is in your Editor’s Toolkit in the comments and I will mention you if it becomes part of the series.

Know of other useful writing apps that aren’t included here? Let me know about them on Twitter!

Posted in Books, Writing

“The Life of a Book” by Don DeLillo

 

Don DeLillo is the National Book Foundation‘s 2015 Medalist for Distinguished Contribution To American Letters. The Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters recognizes individuals who have made an exceptional impact on this country’s literary heritage.

He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2010, he was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize. The Angel Esmeralda was a finalist for the 2011 Story Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In 2012, DeLillo received the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for his body of work.

In the video clip above, you can hear Don DeLillo’s speech that he gave on the evening of November 18, 2015, at the National Book Awards Ceremony. I have transcribed it below.

Books.

This is why we’re here this evening.

Lately I’ve been looking at books that stand on two long shelves in a room just down the hall from the room where I work.

Early books, paperbacks every one, the first books I ever owned, and they resemble some kind of medieval plunder.

Old and scarred, with weathered covers and sepia pages that might crumble at the touch of a human finger. I’m the human in the story, and when I lift a book from the shelf, gently, I understand again the power of memory that a book carries with it.

What is there to remember? Who I was, where I was, what these books meant to me when I read them for the first time.

The House of the Dead. Dostoyevsky. First Dell printing, June 1959. Fifty cents.

Adventures in the Skin Trade. Dylan Thomas. Badly bruised copy. First printing, May 1956.

Cover illustration includes a woman wearing black stockings and nothing else. There are numbers scrawled on the inside of the front cover. Did I writes these numbers? Do I remember the naked woman more clearly than I recall the stories in the book? A Signet book. Thirty-five cents.

Words on paper, books as objects, hand-held, each wrinkled spine bearing a title. The lives inside, authors and characters. The lives of the books themselves. Books in rooms. The one-room apartment where I used to live and where I read the books that stand on the shelves all these years later, and where I became a writer myself.

Many of these books were packed in boxes, hidden for years. Maybe this is why I find myself gazing like a museum goer at the two long rows in the room down the hall.

Reflections in a Golden Eye. Carson McCullers.

The margins of each page resembling the nicotine stains on a smoker’s hand back in the time when the book was written. Bantam Books, fourth printing, 1953. Twenty-five cents.

Are any of the writers of these old frail volumes still alive? I don’t have to study the authors’ names to think of recent departures. Friends: Gil Sorrentino and Peter Matthiessen and Edgar Doctorow. Others I did not get to know nearly as well. Bob Stone and Jim Salter.

Book. The word. A set of written, printed or blank pages fastened along one side and encased between protective covers. An old definition, needing to be expanded now in the vaporous play of electronic devices.

But here are the shelves with the old paperbacks, books still in their native skin, and when I visit the room I’m not the writer who has just been snaking his way through some sentences on a sheet of paper curled into an old typewriter.

That’s the guy who lives down the hall.

Here, I’m not the writer at all. I’m the grateful reader.

Thank you for this honor.

In The Paris Review interview, he explained why he became a writer:

Maybe I wanted to learn how to think. Writing is a concentrated form of thinking. I don’t know what I think about certain subjects, even today, until I sit down and try to write about them. Maybe I wanted to find more rigorous ways of thinking. We’re talking now about the earliest writing I did and about the power of language to counteract the wallow of late adolescence, to define things, define muddled experience in economical ways. Let’s not forget that writing is convenient. It requires the simplest tools. A young writer sees that with words and sentences on a piece of paper that costs less than a penny he can place himself more clearly in the world. Words on a page, that’s all it takes to help him separate himself from the forces around him, streets and people and pressures and feelings. He learns to think about these things, to ride his own sentences into new perceptions. How much of this did I feel at the time? Maybe just an inkling, an instinct. Writing was mainly an unnameable urge, an urge partly propelled by the writers I was reading at the time.

Don DeLillo’s Backlist
Americana, 1971
End Zone, 1972
Great Jones Street, 1973
Ratner’s Star, 1976
Players, 1977
Running Dog, 1978
Amazons, 1980
The Names, 1982
White Noise, 1985
Libra, 1988.
Mao II, 1991
Underworld, 1997
The Body Artist, 2001
“Pafko at the Wall” (novella), 1991
Cosmopolis, 2003
Falling Man, 2007
Point Omega, 2010
The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories, 2011

For Further Reading

The 2015 Medalist for Distinguished Contribution To American Letters

The House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Adventures in the Skin Trade by Dylan Thomas

Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers

Gil Sorrentino

Peter Matthiessen

Edgar Doctorow

Bob Stone

Jim Salter

Posted in Uncategorized

Day 5: Steampunk with Heart: The Heartbeat of Steampunk: Romancing the Machine

Thanks for coming along this week on this amazing ride, er… read! Don’t run away yet, we still have the fun Friday Finale… The Heartbeat of Steampunk: Romancing the Machine, with Jacqueline Garlick and MeiLin Miranda for your reading and enjoyment.

 

Steampunk with Heart:†The Heartbeat of Steampunk: Romancing the Machine

withJacqueline Garlick†and†MeiLin Miranda


**see bottom of post for steampunk giveaways**
**see†Steampunk With Heart Page†for Facebook Party schedule**

It’s no accident steampunk has become so popular; here in the 21st century we’re facing an information revolution, just as the 19th century struggled through the industrial revolution. The rise in wearables, Internet-connected everything and, perhaps most troubling, governmental and corporate mining of personal data can alienate one a little. Even as we depend on tech more, we feel less in control of it and the changes it’s bringing to the world.

Enter steampunk and its beautiful, handcrafted machines of gilded cast iron and brass. So many of the stories in this genre reflect both the giddy hope of new technology and the fear of change. Steampunk tech seems more tactile and understandable: the boiler heats up, the steam goes round and round woh woh woh, and Science comes out here, right? It’s a little more human.

Another fun and relatable element of steampunk is how the genre encourages writers to push boundaries, allowing the technologies of today to mingle with those of the past. Throughout the pages of steampunk novels readers are exposed to thought provoking themes, such as man versus machine, or man and machine, united. Or, as in the case of ìLumiËre,î machine as manís best friend and protector, as well as evil counterpart.

It is this license of creative freedom that makes steampunk such a tantalizing genre for writers, and such a rewarding and intriguing one for readers. Imagine worlds filled with outrageously crossbred contraptions, tied to epic adventures, laced with memorable stories of love. What more could a reader ask for, right?

In ìLumiËre,î Eyelet Elsworth searches for her fatherís prized possession, thinking it is the answer to all her problems, only to discoveróas with all things scientifically developedóher fatherís prized possession is capable of things far beyond her wildest expectations, and not all of them are good. Along the way, Eyelet finds love and acceptance in the strangest places, and from the strangest creatures, and learns to fight for what she believes in.

In MeiLin’s “The Machine God,” a mysterious island floats high above a city-state bustling with new industry. No one’s ever been able to reach the island–until a wonder fuel is found, and an inventor uses it to power her gyrocopter to the island.

Even though the people there live in primitive conditions, once magic powered mechanical marvels so terrifying that their coming of age ceremony includes the oath “Magic and Metal No More.” A professor discovers what really powered those marvels, and that human greed, not machines, may be the real obscenity.

All in all, steampunk novels offer readers an escape from reality into worlds filled with mysterious technology of incredible consequence. Steampunk readers are rewarded with lush depictions of times gone by, tinged with dystopian trimmings and characters brimming with heart!



I’m Jacqueline Garlick. Author of YA, New Adult, and Women’s Fiction. I love strong heroines, despise whiny sidekicks, and adore a good story about a triumphant underdog. I love to read, write, paint (walls and paper) and plan cool writing events for cool writers (check out niagarawritersretreatandconference (dot) com.) I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate, grammar, and technology.You will always find a purple wall (or two) in my house (perhaps even a door) and a hidden passageway that leads to a mystery room. (Okay, so you wonít find a hidden passageway but a girl can dream, canít she?) Oh, and tea. There will always be tea. I love specialty teas…and collecting special teacups from which to drink them. (See website for collection, plus Facebook and Goodreads.)

In my former life, I was a teacher (both grade school and college-don’t ask) and more recently, I’ve been a graduate of Ellen Hopkinís Nevada Mentor Program and a student of James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass. An excerpt from LumiËre earned me the 2012 Don Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship.†LumiËreóA Romantic Steampunk Fantasyóis my debut novel, Book One in my young adult The Illumination Paradox Series.
Lumiere (The Illumination Paradox)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.†After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her fatherís prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures, but just as Eyelet locates the Illuminator, itís whisked away by an alluring thief. She follows the boy, enduring deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the Illuminator, only to discover the miracle machine they both hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.†


MeiLin Miranda writes literary fantasy and science fiction set in Victorian worlds. Her love of all things 19th century (except for the pesky parts like cholera, child labor, slavery and no rights for women) has consumed her since childhood, when she fell in a stack of Louisa May Alcott and never got up.

MeiLin wrote nonfiction for thirty years, in radio, television, print and the web. She always wanted to write fiction, but figured she had time. She discovered she didn’t when a series of unfortunate events resulted in a cardiac arrest complete with electric paddles (“clear!”) and a near-death experience. She has since decided she came back from the dead to write books.†MeiLin lives in a 130-year-old house in Portland, Oregon with a husband, two teens, two black cats, a floppy dog and far, far too much yarn. You can find her at her website.

The Machine God (The Drifting Isle Chronicles)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
Folklore Professor Oladel Adewole leaves his homeland for the University of Eisenstadt to pursue his all-consuming interest: the mysterious island floating a mile above the city. The first survey team finds civilization, and Adewole finds a powerful, forbidden fusion of magic and metal: the Machine God.†The government wants it. So does a sociopath bent on ruling Eisenstadt. But when Adewole discovers who the mechanical creature is–and what it can do–he risks his heart and his life to protect the Machine God from the world, and the world from the Machine God.


ENTER TO WIN

 

Wait.. where you going? I want to say thanks to all the phenomenal steampunk authors who have made this week so special. For donating their time, their experiences, and their hearts. Hope to see you at the bookstore!
~Dara

Posted in Uncategorized

Day 1: What Is Steampunk with Heart?

Hi All! This week I’m giving over my blog to Steampunk with Heart, a great group of authors with a phenomenal story to tell. 

Sit back, relax, grab your cup of coffee or tea, and let them transport you to their amazing vision.  Be sure to check back every day this week to find a new part of the tale. 

See you next week! ~ Dara

What is Steampunk with Heart?
8 Authors, 5 Blog Posts, and an Abundance of Steampunk Giveaways

**see bottom of post for steampunk giveaways**
**see†Steampunk With Heart Page†for Facebook Party schedule**
MONDAY:†What is Steampunk with Heart?
TUESDAY:Steampunk IS Romance (Susan K. Quinn, Scott Tarbet)
WEDNESDAY:†Things We Love About Steampunk – Multicultural, Adventure, and More†(Jay Noel, SM Blooding)
THURSDAY:†Steampunk FAQ†(Rie Sheridan Rose, Cindy Spencer Pape)
FRIDAY:†The Heartbeat of Steampunk: Romancing the Machine†(Jacqueline Garlick, MeiLin Miranda)
Below is an introduction to each of our eight authors, a peek at one of their steampunk books (many of our authors have several), and what “Steampunk with Heart” means to them.

“Steampunk with Heart is a romantic look backward at a bygone Victorian era (or entirely fictional analogue of one), where we alleviate some of the oppressive ideas of the past while keeping the lush aesthetics and romantic ideals about relationships and love.”

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It’s possible she’s easily distracted. Her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can subscribe to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!) or stop by her blog to see what she’s up to.
Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1)

Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print

The Third Daughter of the Queen wants to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon force her to accept a barbarian princeís proposal of a peace-brokering marriage.

“Steampunk With Heart is for those whose steampunk tastes lean more to the romantic than the gadgetry.”

Scott Tarbet is the author of A Midsummer Nightís Steampunk from Xchyler Publishing, Tombstone, in the paranormal anthology Shades & Shadows, and the forthcoming Lakshmi, Dragon Moon, and Nautilus Redux. He writes enthusiastically in several genres, sings opera, was married in full Elizabethan regalia, loves steampunk waltzes, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah. Follow Scott E. Tarbet online at his website or on Twitter.†

A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk†
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print

Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeareís classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoriaís Diamond Jubilee.

“Steampunk is all about questioning authority and challenging conventions. That’s where the PUNK aspect of Steampunk comes from.”

Jay Noel: After doing some freelance writing and editing for more than a dozen years, Jay decided to stop procrastinating and pursue his dream of being a novelist. He’s been blogging since 2005. Jay spends his days working in medical sales, but he can be found toiling over his laptop late at night when all is quiet.†He draws inspiration from all over: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, and Isaac Asimov.†You can find Jay at his website.


Dragonfly Warrior
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
The tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and†Zen must live up to his nickname, the Dragonfly Warrior, and kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six-guns. He is called upon to somehow survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.

“Steampunk is the genre where the oober nerd is the hero, and the athletic type gets to be the laughed-at sidekick. LMAO! Science geek trumps the strong brute. How could you not love that?”

SM Blooding†lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Ms. Bird who is really a bird. The guitar and piano have temporarily been set aside. She’s learning to play the harmonica. The bird is less than thrilled.†Her real name is Stephanie Marie (aka SM), but only family and coworkers call her that, usually when theyíre screaming at her. Friends call her Frankie. You can find out more about her and her writing at her website.

Fall of Sky City (Devices of War)
When Synn ElíAsim is captured, his Mark is brutally awakened. He finds himself the most powerful Mark, and quickly becomes a coveted weapon in the war between the Great Families and the Hands of Tarot. However, only he can decide how he will be used to shape the lives of all the tribes.

“To me, Steampunk is an alternate look at a period of history that fascinates almost everyone. What would have been different if technology had taken a slightly different direction? And it is fun to play with the gadgets.”

Rie Sheridan Rose’s short stories currently appear in numerous anthologies.†She has authored five poetry chapbooks, and collaborated with Marc Gunn on lyrics for his ìDonít Go Drinking With Hobbitsî CD. Yard Dog Press is home to humorous horror chapbooks Tales from the Home for Wayward Spirits and Bar-B-Que Grill and Bruce and Roxanne Save the World…Again. Mocha Memoirs published the individual short stories “Drink My Soul…Please,” and ìBloody Rainî as e-downloads. Melange Books carries her romantic fantasy Sidhe Moved Through the Faire. Zumaya Books is home to The Luckless Prince as well as her newest novel, The Marvelous Mechanical Man. You can find her at her website.

The Marvelous Mechanical Man (A Conn-Mann Adventure)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
Josephine Mann is down to her last two dollars when Professor Alistair Conn hires her to work on a wonder–a 9-foot-tall automaton Jo dubs Phaeton. When an evil villain steals the marvelous mechanical man, Jo’s longing for adventure suddenly becomes much too real…and deadly.

“Steampunk is being able to mix together all the things you love from the Victorian, modern and all eras in between, along with the addition of future tech and fantasy.”

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book. You can find her on her website.

Ashes and Alchemy (The Gaslight Chronicles)
Kindle†|†Nook†| Audio
London, 1860
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes. Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor for her daughter Ivy who has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Seb sniffs a case and musters every magickal and technological resource he can to uncover the source of the deadly plague, but it’s†he†who will need protectingófrom emotions he’d thought buried long ago.

“Steampunk with Heart is all about freedom of expression. The opportunity to create unique and diverse characters in unprecedented and unusual worlds. It’s about adventure and inventions and romance…oh my…”

I’m Jacqueline Garlick. Author of YA, New Adult, and Women’s Fiction. I love strong heroines, despise whiny sidekicks, and adore a good story about a triumphant underdog. I love to read, write, paint (walls and paper) and plan cool writing events for cool writers (check out niagarawritersretreatandconference (dot) com.) I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate, grammar, and technology.You will always find a purple wall (or two) in my house (perhaps even a door) and a hidden passageway that leads to a mystery room. (Okay, so you wonít find a hidden passageway but a girl can dream, canít she?) Oh, and tea. There will always be tea. I love specialty teas…and collecting special teacups from which to drink them. (See website for collection, plus Facebook and Goodreads.)

In my former life, I was a teacher (both grade school and college-don’t ask) and more recently, I’ve been a graduate of Ellen Hopkinís Nevada Mentor Program and a student of James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass. An excerpt from LumiËre earned me the 2012 Don Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship.†LumiËreóA Romantic Steampunk Fantasyóis my debut novel, Book One in my young adult The Illumination Paradox Series.
Lumiere (The Illumination Paradox)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.†After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her fatherís prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures, but just as Eyelet locates the Illuminator, itís whisked away by an alluring thief. She follows the boy, enduring deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the Illuminator, only to discover the miracle machine they both hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.†

“Steampunk is at least in part a yearning for technology on a more human, intimate scale–handmade, ornate and wondrous.”

MeiLin Miranda writes literary fantasy and science fiction set in Victorian worlds. Her love of all things 19th century (except for the pesky parts like cholera, child labor, slavery and no rights for women) has consumed her since childhood, when she fell in a stack of Louisa May Alcott and never got up.

MeiLin wrote nonfiction for thirty years, in radio, television, print and the web. She always wanted to write fiction, but figured she had time. She discovered she didn’t when a series of unfortunate events resulted in a cardiac arrest complete with electric paddles (“clear!”) and a near-death experience. She has since decided she came back from the dead to write books.†MeiLin lives in a 130-year-old house in Portland, Oregon with a husband, two teens, two black cats, a floppy dog and far, far too much yarn. You can find her at her website.

The Machine God (The Drifting Isle Chronicles)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
Folklore Professor Oladel Adewole leaves his homeland for the University of Eisenstadt to pursue his all-consuming interest: the mysterious island floating a mile above the city. The first survey team finds civilization, and Adewole finds a powerful, forbidden fusion of magic and metal: the Machine God.†The government wants it. So does a sociopath bent on ruling Eisenstadt. But when Adewole discovers who the mechanical creature is–and what it can do–he risks his heart and his life to protect the Machine God from the world, and the world from the Machine God.


ENTER TO WIN