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Buy M. A. F. I. A. at Borderlands Press

I recently did an interview with acclaimed horror writer Thomas F. Monteleone for the upcoming Maryland Writers’ Association Conference (it’s coming soon! I have to finish transcribing it/editing it on paper), and all around awesome guy that he is, after the interview was finished he offered to send me a copy of The Mothers and Fathers Italian Association. It’s the Borderlands Press omnibus collection of his “M. A. F. I. A.” column that has appeared in various publications over the years, currently at Cemetery Dance.

He asked me to let all you readers/writers out there know that you must have this book, and, frankly, he didn’t even need to ask! YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK. Seriously, it covers so much about the publishing industry, how it’s changed over the years, the ups and downs he and others have gone through in the writing and publishing business. It’s an entertaining and very honest look at all of it, no bs.

There’s years and years of experience in “M. A. F. I. A.” and it’s all laid out for you to read and digest. Learn from it, wince when you recognize your own missteps (I most certainly did), and take comfort in the fact that it’s all a part of the process. If you really want to know, I suggest you get a copy ASAP.

I will refrain from using the The Godfather line to persuade you 🙂 .
Buy M. A. F. I. A. at Borderlands Press
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Nancy O. Greene

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As many have heard by now, the visionary, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, has passed away. His funeral was held on Saturday in Sri Lanka.

Arthur C. Clarke was a pioneer in literature, science, and humanitarian aid. He influenced generations with his novels, like the popular 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was made into the film directed by another visionary artist, Stanley Kubrick. If you would like to learn more about Arthur C. Clarke’s body of work and donate to his causes, such as the THE MILLENNIUM VILLAGE PROJECT in partnership with the Arthur C. Clarke Institute, please visit The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.

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Also, The Planetary Society will be broadcasting a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke starting today and continuing throughout the week.

Nancy O. Greene

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The short story form is something I have yet to master, yet it’s a form I love returning to again and again in my reading.  As Kurt Vonnegut once said, short stories are like “Buddhist catnaps.”  While even the bad ones can be a form of escapism from day to day activities and easily forgotten, some rise to the level of art and can be as complex, challenging, and unforgettable as the greatest of novels.

Having just finished reading James Joyce’s short story collection, Dubliners, I was inspired to create a brief list of the greatest short stories I’ve ever read.

1.  “The Dead” by James Joyce

2.  “The Basement Room” (aka “The Fallen Idol”) by Graham Greene

3.  “Two Soldiers” and “Shall Not Perish” by William Faulkner

4.  “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

5.  “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe

I was also tempted to include “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James, though that is officially considered a novella, and at 80 some odd pages, it is rather torturous to get through (which is part of the suspense of it all). 

What stories would make your list?

For more on James Joyce’s “The Dead” and my current reads, click below:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2008/03/01/bring-out-the-dead/

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5.0 out of 5 stars
A Semi-Apocalyptic Tale of Hope, November 4, 2007

There is a lot of information hidden–and not so hidden–within the pages of this deceptively thin book; I hardly know where to start. The book is a well-constructed, semi-apocalyptic tale of hope. But that isn’t all. What you probably won’t find in this book is any sort of simple resolution, even though it may seem like it at times.

Bernard Johnson is on a journey to connect–to connect with himself, with others, with anything. What he finds is a way of existence that he never expected, one that takes him down paths he never imagined for himself, and in that he finds a truth that’s been eluding him for so long. The author wraps you into the story, presents philosophical viewpoints, and tries to mold your mind–all without you knowing exactly what is going to happen from one moment to the next. The same takes place for Bernard in his interactions with the various characters he meets. The dream-like writing style hooks the reader from the very first paragraph and never lets go.

While reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised by both its simplicity and its depth. Whether I agreed with the views presented or not, there were times when I would read a few pages and then sit the book aside in order to really think about what was just read. And really, it is partially the presentation, the bluntness of each statement wrapped within a larger story, that contributes to the book’s complexity. On each page there is something for the reader to mentally digest–whether it is a tidbit about the benefits of holistic remedies or questioning the validity of a comfortable reality.

Various comparisons to authors like Philip K. Dick seem wholly accurate. I would also say that comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut are in order as well. Though Shipp displays a signature style that is unlike anything I’ve read before, thoughts of Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS do come to mind.

There’s a lot more that I could probably say about VACATION. But nothing said could really prepare the reader for their own experience of what’s within the pages of the novel. No matter what your philosophy on life, or what type of books you like, you should read VACATION. Put it on your reading list and get it as soon as you can. You may or may not agree with the viewpoints presented but you will most certainly have a lot to think about and talk about afterwards. Who knows–it may even change how you look at the world.

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There’s something about the sky and the light in October…the retreating days…the cooling ground…the twilight that seems to last forever…the falling leaves.

It makes one contemplative and thinking about taking inventory.

Here I have made a list of my favorite novels of all time:

10.  The Prince of Whales, R. L. Fisher (1986)

9.  An Accidental Man, Iris Murdoch (1971)

8.  In the Hand of Dante, Nick Tosches (2002)

7.  A Gun for Sale, Graham Greene (1936)

6.  To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (1960)

5.  Jazz, Toni Morrison (1992)

4.  Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky (2004-French edition, 2006-English Translation)

3.  Dracula, Bram Stoker (1897)

2.  The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene (1940)

1.  Light in August, William Faulkner (1932)

What books would make your list? 

Follow the link to my blog for further explanations of the choices and the reason for the list:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2007/10/27/the-greatest-novels-of-all-time/

-D. H. Schleicher, Author of The Thief Maker

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Passing along this press release for what is sure to be an excellent event!

Celebrate 800 years of Persian poet, teacher, and philosopher Rumi at “A Rumi-esque Reading.”

The event takes place at the Watermark Gallery in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Sunday, October 21 at 2 p.m. and includes readings of Rumi’s work as well as Rumi-inspired fiction, poetry, artwork, and music. Wine and refreshments will be served.

The Maryland Writers Association (MWA) will be well represented at the event; all three fiction-readers and one of the two poetry-readers are members of the MWA.

Hightlights of “A Rumi-esque Reading” include readings of Rumi’s work as well as Rumi-inspired work from poets Deanna Nikaido and Cliff Lynn.

Three local fiction writers will share their work.

Caryn Coyle will read her story, “She Walks in Beauty,” about a Native American ancestor guiding a twentieth century woman on a spiritual journey

Nitin Jagdish will read “Lines: A Portrait Contemplates Its Audience” and “Fragments from a Backyard Melodrama.”

Eric D. Goodman will read excerpts from Womb, a novel written from the point of view of an unborn child.

Diverse Expressions,” a collection of surreal artwork by Manza Rassouli-Taylorr, will be on display.

Eastern, Rumi-inspired music will be performed to enhance the mood.

During the intermission as well as after the readings, members will have the opportunity to mingle with the authors, artists, and each other to talk about Rumi’s work and how his spirit lives on in the works of new artists today.

The Watermark Gallery is located in the Bank of America Center Skywalk Level, right across from the Inner Harbor, at 100 S. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland. The phone number is (410) 547-0452.

Learn more about the Watermark at their online gallery.

http://www.manzar.net/

Learn more about “A Rumi-esque Reading” at Writeful.

www.Writeful.blogspot.com

Brush up on your Rumi here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jalal_ad-Din_Muhammad_Rumi

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On September 30th, 2007, I woke up from a very relaxing sleep to realize that I was late for the start of the last day of this year’s BBF. I had planned to make an early start of things in order to enjoy the readings of some of my friends and colleagues.

So I quickly got myself together and headed down to the festival. Fortunately, I was in time to hear most of the readings of Works in Progress, sponsored by Gregg Wilhelm’s CityLit Project and moderated by Paul Lagasse, MWAB’s President. Unfortunately, I missed the first reading by Edith Goldman of her work “Pan-delerium,” though I’m sure it was excellent.

Michael M. Hughes, a local horror writer, read an entertaining and funny piece called “Lunch Meeting.” Barabara Friedland read an excerpt from her upcoming novel A Member of the Force, based on the true story of a local murder case. Having heard and read earlier excerpts from the novel, it was wonderful to see that it is coming along so well. I think it could possibly become a Baltimore staple, one of those novels that people mention when they talk about Baltimore’s literary scene. Jen Michalsk’s reading of “The Movie Version of My Life,” from her short story collection Close Encounters, was another interesting read. It was, if memory serves correctly, my first introduction to her work.

Mathew Lee Gill’s novel excerpt “Broken Charm” was a telling piece about a shady characters. Lalita Noronha also read an excerpt from her novel in progress. Afterwards, I purchased a copy of her short story collection Where Monsoons Cry. The last time I heard her read at one of the MWA meetings, her writing stuck in my mind and I knew before she finished that I would be purchasing a copy. Lauren Eisenberg Davis read a selection from her memoir-in-progress. Eric D. Goodman read “The Silences” from Tracks, his novel of interconnected stories. It’s always good to hear Eric read; in fact, a few months ago he read “A Good Beer Needs a Good Stein,” one of my favorite pieces from the novel, on NPR. It’s an excellent example of how authors should read their work, and a first-person version of the story is available at To Be Read Aloud.

Last, but not least, Ian Hochberg read several of his poems. I was reminded of the beat poets, he just had an energy about him that was so fun to watch and his pieces were engaging.

I enjoyed the readings so much (despite having to take a seat outside of the tent because of my late arrival, and therefore baking in the hot, hot, too hot sun), and afterwards I chatted briefly with some of the other writers before heading off to find some food. Even though hadn’t had breakfast, I ended up waiting several hours to buy something to eat–a soda sustained me while I walked around and decided on what books to devour.

Last year I didn’t have much time to purchase. This year was different. Thanks to huge discounts, I walked away with two bags full of books, magazines, and miscellaneous items.

Raw Dog Screaming Press (publisher of the wonderful book Vacation by Jeremy C. Shipp) was on hand, and we talked and I browsed and on my second time around—after deciding on what I would and wouldn’t purchase—I bought The Bizarro Starter Kit: An Introduction to the Bizarro Genre. It turned out that one of the men I chatted with, John Edward Lawson, was also featured in the collection and he signed it for me.

I also purchased several copies of the literary journal Mosaic. It was a surprise to find out that such a professional publication was no longer stocked in bookstores. The publisher and I talked a bit about their attempts to get it back into stores now that the magazine is non-profit. I personally prefer to buy literary magazines from the stores, whether a big chain like B&N or a local independent, simply because of problems with receiving subscriptions in the past, but maybe I should re-evaluate that policy. Maintaining a lit mag is undoubtedly a difficult job.

There were many other events that I enjoyed, including a staged reading of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, musical performances, and I bought several more books. But eventually my legs wore out and I was nearly past my spending limit, so after a quick stop at the Walters Art Museum and a local aromatherapy shop, I grabbed my bags and headed home. Good times.
Nancy O. Greene
http://www.portraits.bravehost.com

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If I never win an award, if I were to stop tippity tapping on my laptop tonight…I would consider myself a success. I’m not being egomaniacal by any stretch. I feel so proud of what I’ve done and accomplished personally with Alan Solomon on “The Mango Tree” book that it has inspired me to write from a deeper place. Write until it hurts and causes me to walk floors at night. I want to dig deep and be uncomfortable…not that I enjoy feeling the familiar pangs of turmoil and confusion.

But, I do enjoy sorting it out in a strange way. I want to clarify my experience…fictionally speaking of course. I want to punctuate the sentences that I hurriedly wrote as I danced across the years of my life. I want to fully remember others that I observed and spoke of to no one. And, I want to write.

My next novel I aspire to write more along the lines of Hemingway rather than Grisham….not that I put myself in that category or class. I think of Maya Angelou’s joyful yet forceful refrain….Rise!

“Invisible Fences” a novel that details the journey and angst of one man who fails to take chances early in life which result in missed opportunities. He ultimately leaves behind everything he has acquired to find the reasons he lingered too long in his comfortableness.

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http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/books/09/07/obit.lengle.ap/index.html

I would count Madeline L’Engle as an author who got me into writing. I read her books as a kid, yes and deeply loved them. But it wasn’t until I read “Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art” several years ago that I began to seriously think about writing again. I had always meant to write a letter to her thanking her for writing the book, but I also knew she was sick for the longest time, so I didn’t.

Rest in Peace, Ms. L’Engle. Your books were such a great inspiration to me. I know one day we’ll meet in heaven and we’ll talk face to face, you and I.

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What a fascinating time I had with Taryn. Originally we were going to have her co-author join us from China yet, unfortunately he was on call on his regular job yet Taryn has a wealth of knowledge about whether to self-publish or not, what a ghost writer is, collaborating by email ~ which she and Alan did; not yet having EVER spoken with each other ~ and then, the story of their book ~ The Mango Tree Cafe; Loi Kroh Road.

What a fascinating story I had the pleasure of reading. Taking place in Thailand the story weaves around the main character Larry and how he went from living on a farm to being gently urged by his father to do more with his life. With that, the tale begins and centers around the characters on Loi Kroh Road; his love for Heather and Noo, having the “sight” and what he learned in that time. This is a definite “must read”. Please enjoy our interview.

LISTEN HERE

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1430325224?tag=dancingdragonrev&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1430325224&adid=06AEJEKQ30E47GA4AZ54&
http://podcast.thebookcrawler.com/2007/08/15/revvell-interviews-taryn-simpson.aspx

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