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Archive for the ‘Currently Reading’ Category

Summer is a great time for catching up on reading.  This summer has seemed endless to me, as have some of the novels I’ve devoured during these lazy, hazy days.

Check out what I’ve been reading:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/my-summer-with-graham-kurt-and-william/

…and feel free to share what you’ve read this summer–other than Harry Potter!

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I would just like to announce that for a limited time (one month) you can purchase Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King and Portraits in the Dark together on Amazon.com. By purchasing together, you will save an additional 5%.

And while you’re at it, go see the movie “1408” if you haven’t already. I’ll be seeing the movie soon and will let you know what I think of how it compares to the short story!

sellsheet_cover.PNG Everything’s Eventual

Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King and Portraits in the Dark by Nancy O. Greene on Amazon.

AUTHORS OF MYSPACE INTERVIEW.

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I was recently interviewed by author R.M. Hamilton on Authors of Myspace. For those that are interested in learning a little bit more about me and my first book, Portraits in the Dark: A Collection of Short Stories, you can read the interview here:

AUTHORS OF MYSPACE.

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Portraits in the Dark on Barnes and Noble.com.

Portraits in the Dark on Amazon.

Portraits in the Dark through BookSense.

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Welcome to the June 12, 2007 edition of writers from across the blogosphere.

Neela Menon presents Well Done, Director! posted at One Hundred Years of Solitude, saying, “This is a collection of intensely personal notes from the diary of an artist, meant for the flames in her winter home. But so much water has flown under the bridge since then, and I dont care now!”

Bob Jones presents Writers Block, How I Deal With It posted at Bob Meets World, saying, “How I deal with writers block.”

articles

Josh presents Stop the Junk Mail posted at My Credit Scores, saying, “Find out why you get so much junk mail, junk email, and phone calls from telemarketers. Then stop it in its tracks.”

Divya presents Plagiarism in freelancing : the ABCs posted at inkpenny, saying, “All you need to know about plagiarism…”

authors

polliwog presents Guest Frogger – Meg Cabot posted at Polliwog’s Pond.

blogs

http://forgottenblueline.blogspot.com presents Can’t take it anymore, Good Bye posted at The Forgotten Blue Line, saying, “I write stories from my work place. I am a security and safety officer for a major East Coast hospital”

book reviews

Numina presents Book Review: Contact by Carl Sagan posted at Numina Reviews the World, saying, “Not complimentary towards the novel, but not a bashing either. Or at least I tried not to bash.”

Meredith Mathews presents I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. posted at Lemonade Stand, saying, “Both the cover art and the confessionary title caught my eye. But the writing tone is what I respect most; the authors speak candidly about being a mom and their feelings on it.”

life

Damien presents Que? – A Funny Experience I Had as a First-Year | Riley Central posted at First Edition: Doing What They Love.

politics/current events

Steven Silvers presents Rankles over U.S. News best colleges list hint at bigger issue with media rankings. posted at Scatterbox at stevensilvers.com, saying, “Information-age transparency turns what used to be slam-dunk annual marketing promotions into ongoing controversies about news media methods.”

reading

Ashok presents Notes on Dickinson’s “There’s a certain slant of light” posted at Rethink., saying, “I’m not sure what category this may go under, if anyone cares to read it. One of Dickinson’s most famous poems is posted and then discussed in this post.”

writing

Elvis D presents Looks Like Rain posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents Crippled posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents Impulse posted at 365fiction.

Jade Blackwater presents Show and Tell Friday – Poetry Selections posted at Brainripples, saying, “Greetings. The Brainripples blog is a place to discuss writing, art, and creativity. Show and Tell Friday is a new feature at Brainripples, and I launched it last week with a selection of my poetry called “Singing of the Spheres.” Thank you for considering my work, and enjoy!

Cheers,
Jade Blackwater
jadeblackwater@brainripples.com”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
writers from across the blogosphere
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
.

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I just finished Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices by Jodi Picoult. Miss Snark praised her, I’ve seen her name everywhere, she writes both young-adult and adult fiction, so I grabbed this one. It was good, interesting for me from a craft sense, but somehow unsatisfying. Is this women’s fiction? I think so, or some region on the border of women’s and literary fiction. It’s the account of a marriage breakup and reassemblage told from five different first-person viewpoints with the chronology all shuffled up. So technically that was interesting but I had a strong sense that the choice was not inevitable. That it was less “it has to be this way” than “let’s try this.” And the other thing I found disappointing in such an acclaimed writer is that the voices of the five different narrators all sounded curiously the same. There were a few overtones of individuality, but the way they looked at the world, their literary voice, was at foundation the same. So, interesting yet unsatisfying. I didn’t learn anything here except maybe what to watch out for in my own work.

I know, hideous hubris for me to be dissing a well-loved and recognized novelist while I–a self-pubbed author–am still languishing  in the slush, but I pound my chest and declare it’s my right to be a critic if I want. (blows raspberry)

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Welcome to the last edition of a contest carnival – submit your article! From these entries we will choose one winner to receive a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card as well as free books and/or promotional material from authors on The Writers’ Block that will be participating in this contest. (*Please note that not all authors on The Writers’ Block blog will be participating.)

articles

FMR presents The Minor League theory posted at FollowtheMusicalRoad, saying, “Thank you!”

presents Treasure of Life posted at Success Step.

books

Jon Swift presents Who Needs Books? posted at Jon Swift, saying, “For a long time I have been saying that actually reading books is overrated. Now I have an unlikely ally: librarians.”

Aspeth presents How To Write Chick Lit In Ten Easy Steps posted at TwelveYearsOfBeingAnnoyedByChloeSevignyDotCom, saying, “A critique of the “chick-lit” genre.”

contests

Brent Diggs presents Building My Career With A Book Signing Tour posted at The Ominous Comma, saying, “Thank you for your time”

fiction

Lorraine Roach presents Anxiety Sufferers posted at Coping With Anxiety, AnxietyEnded.com, saying, “My article is a simple idea about the help that we as anxiety sufferers can receive from published programs and techniques. There are many types of helpful books etc. available and I had a comment concerning the money made by publishers from peoples desire to end anxiety.”

publishing

Corner Scribe presents Which route? posted at cornerscribe.com, saying, “In this article I talk about traditional publishing verses print on demand, and why an author might choose one or the other.”

EelKat presents Business Plans: Moonsnails Magazine: We’re Back! posted at MoonSnails Magazine: The Official Blog.

writing

Ruth Mitchell presents 12 Step Program for Bloggers posted at Buy Outside the Box, saying, “Just when you thought it was safe to blog.”

articles

Dorothy Thompson presents How Self-Syndication Leads to Free Publicity posted at Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion.

publishing

David Maister presents Writers and Performers posted at Passion, People and Principles.

Greenearth presents Become Carbon Neutral posted at A New Green Earth, saying, “Together we can create a new green earth.”

publishing

Robinson Go presents A Comprehensive Blogging Guide posted at Robinson Go dot Com, saying, “This is a future comprehensive blogging guide to help all aspiring bloggers from the newbie to the above average blogger. I believe this is a good tip for your readers who may exhibit enthusiasm for blogging online. Thanks.”

Past posts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
.

Technorati tags:

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(Sorry about the delay in posting this week’s Blog Carnival–electricity was out yesterday!)

Here they are, more other interesting blogs for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

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Welcome to the May 12, 2007 edition of writers from across the blogosphere.

Al Nye presents Free Anonymous Lawyer Books! posted at Al Nye The Lawyer Guy.

Al Nye presents Hundred-Dollar Baby by Robert Parker posted at Al Nye The Lawyer Guy.

articles

Susan Borgas presents Hints for Staying Focused posted at Arts & Stuff, saying, “Staying focused in your work isn’t always easy, especially if there is a daunting amount of work to do over a period of a year and the next and so on. Time management is so important to stay focused on what needs to be done. This is how I try to stay focused and for the most part it does work.”

Rajesh.P.I presents Train journeys posted at Rail Magic, saying, “Travelling by train is the best way to capture the soul of India…”

blogs

LaShawn M. Wanak presents Adventures in Potty Training, Prelude (or Thoughts of the ?Chair? again?) posted at The Cafe in the Woods, saying, “Come to the Cafe to see LaShawn’s musings on life, writing, and how to write the world’s greatest epic fantasy in the time a two-year-old takes a nap.”

Robinson Go presents Robinson Go dot Com » Blog Archive » What is a blog? posted at Robinson Go dot Com, saying, “This is my first post for a free blogging series that will help bloggers achieve excellence in blogging online.”

Rajesh.P.I presents Waiting for the Monsoon… posted at open windows, saying, “Like waiting for a beloved, I am waiting for the Monsoon to arrive…”

life

Damian (EnglishBard) presents The holy man on the train. posted at be the change – tread the path.

John Crenshaw presents The One Idea That Took 23 Years To Understand And Changed My Life Forever posted at Dominate Your Life, saying, “There’s one path on the way to meet your goals, and it’s disappearing behind you; there’s nowhere to go but forward, there’s no other option but to succeed.”

philosophy

Sudhanshu presents Gyaan Sutra: The rant of the entrepreneur posted at Gyaan Sutra.

politics/current events

Steven Silvers presents Memo to U.S. news media: Please remember to refer to the head of any government office as a Czar. posted at Scatterbox at stevensilvers.com, saying, “Because it’s the news media’s job to help Americans understand important news about their government, that’s why.”

writing

Mr. Besilly presents Ideas Are Like Rabbits posted at Mr. Besilly – One Man’s highway, saying, “I will always be a recovering idea guy. Creative ideas are the life blood that keeps me forever young. The most difficult part of having new ideas is knowing which ones to cultivate and which ones should be pushed aside.”

Laura Spencer presents Compelling Copy–What is It? How to Get It. posted at WritingThoughts, saying, “Do you ever wonder why you are drawn to some writing, while other writing barely holds your interest? This post explores some of the components of compelling copy.”

Mr Edward Bison presents Mr Bison’s Journal: Toilet Joy posted at Mr Bison’s Journal, saying, “Mr Bison’s Journal
The blog of a freelance writer. Allegedly humorous.”

Wakish presents Wakish Wonderz » Writing posted at Wakish Wonderz, saying, “Why you should write! Get inspired!”

Wakish presents Wakish Wonderz » How to write good english posted at Wakish Wonderz, saying, “A must for any who wants to write good english or any other language..”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
writers from across the blogosphere
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
.

Technorati tags:

, .

Read Full Post »

This is an appreciation I wrote for the science fiction short story “The Tenants.” It originally appeared as a part of The ED/SF Project (The Ellen Datlow/Sci Fiction Project) here. You can read the story for yourself here.

“The Tenants” by William Tenn: An Appreciation by Nancy O. Greene

“The Tenants” by William Tenn (Philip Klass) is laced with the kind of subtle horror and mental decline that comes with obsession. It starts out with the protagonist, Sydney Blake, going about things as he normally would as an employee of a Wellington Jimm & Sons, Inc., a real estate company, but the tale quickly goes from the normal to the bizarre with the introduction of two prospective tenants for the McGowan Building, Tohu and Bohu. These unusual characters are interested in renting a level of the building—the 13th floor—which doesn’t exist; while Blake is not successful in swaying them from their “impossible” interest, his boss eventually rents the floor to the unusual pair.

The situation goes on to become more bizarre. Movers and cleaning crews and even the protagonist’s secretary, Miss Kerstenberg, see nothing at all strange about the fact that “only those that have any business on the 13th floor” are able to reach the mysterious office. Blake’s mental acuity begins to decline as he tries trick after trick to get to the 13th floor, all to no avail.

Written in 1954, it appears that this story can be related to an examination of a type of “Beaver Cleaver” mentality–everything is accepted at face value, very little is questioned. People accept what should be unacceptable and those that question are seen as, and indeed driven, insane.

On the other hand, one wonders at the end of the story, and with the fate of the character, if he should not have adhered so stringently to his world view, his standards of normalcy, and his abnormal curiosity, because this is what ultimately leads to his subsequent downfall. His lack of imagination, his inability to see beyond his own experiences trap him, literally.

As his secretary explains to him, tohuoobohu is a Hebrew word for chaos and void, and the unusual tenants themselves deal in the intangibles. What kind? “The soft kind.” And they are not interested in answering questions about what they do or how they exist, the just are. Unfortunately for Sydney Blake, he wishes to know more.

But one should be careful what they wish for, as the protagonist soon finds out. By focusing on Tohu and Bohu, he is drawn into a sort of chaos and void of his own, and there is no one that can rescue him.

The well-known author and a Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University, Philip Klass—writing under his pen name of William Tenn—is primarily known as a science fiction satirist, though he also writes other types of fiction and non-fiction. “The Tenants,” just one of his many celebrated tales, is an interesting story; less satire and more subtle horror, astonishing in its simplicity.

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“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922-April 11, 2007)

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/novelist-kurt-vonnegut-dies-at-84/

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Still reading The Golden Bough, Chapter 21, Tabooed Things, including hair and the head. 

I think this is interesting given that this taboo continues in some forms today. When I was a girl, I had to wear something on my head to go to church (Episcopal), either a hat or at least a little scrap of lace. Jewish men must wear yarmulkes, Sikhs must not cut their hair and must wear turbans, Muslim women must cover their heads. The reason “rude savages” are all squirrelly about anyone touching their heads or cutting their hair relates to the belief in sympathetic magic, Frazer says. Primitive societies believed that malevolent sorcerers could take pieces from one’s body–hair, nail clippings, even spit–and use that for enchantments. And despite all evidence to the contrary, a “savage” who believes his hair has been burned by an enemy may waste and die, Frazer says–solid proof of the power of mind over matter, belief over reason.

One of the most troubling aspects of our particular time in history is the power of these lingering primitive religious beliefs, wrapped up in thousands of years of semi-rational thought and before that millions of years of irrationality.

Reading The Golden Bough has reaffirmed my disbelief, I must say. I do believe it matters that we live a good life, but hope of reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife has nothing to do with this conviction. I don’t have any idea what happens after we die, and it seems that most religions are pretty much waving our arms around trying to answer that great mystery in a way that keeps fear at bay.
Covering the head before God or wearing a scarf to avoid arousing men’s lust seems senseless to me. After reading Orhan Panuk’s Snow, I can get with headscarfs as a political statement. I can even get with them as a fashion statement. When I was in my late 20s, I traveled to Western Iran, near Tabriz, and the girls there (this was the late 1970s before the Shah was deposed) had these flirty scarfs and wore jeans and platform shoes. I wanted a scarf like that in the worst way.

But if there is a power that binds the universe together, I can’t think it would care that our heads are open to the sun or that the wind blows through our hair.

However, The Golden Bough is rich material for writer, especially for fantasy or historical fiction. 

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