Archive for the ‘Legendary Writers’ Category

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 ūüôā .
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.


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:


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For those who haven’t heard…Dan Fogelberg passed away from Cancer at 6am this morning. He died with his wife, Jean by his side at home in Maine. He was 56 years old.

He leaves behind a wealth of songs and artistry. For me? I was slow to warm up to his music, but I remember when I did get hooked. The songs were “Stars” and “To the Morning.”

Dan also used to lived in Kingston Springs, Tennessee which is about 30 minutes outside Nashville. Hearing stories around town of when he lived here made him feel like a neighbor even if he didn’t live next door to me. I’ll miss Dan. Thanks for the music and lyrics.

To The Morning

by Dan Fogelberg
Watching the sun…watching it come Watching it come up over the rooftops
Cloudy and warm…maybe a storm You can never quite tell from the morning


And it’s going to be a day There is really no way to say no to the morning
Yes it’s going to be a day There is really nothing left to say but come on morning
Waiting for mail Maybe a tale from an old friend or even a lover Sometimes there’s none
But we have fun thinking of all who might have written


And maybe there are seasons And maybe they change
And maybe to love is not so strange

The sounds of the day Now they hurry away Now they are gone until tomorrow
When day will break and you will wake And you will rake your hands across your eyes and realize

That it’s going to be a day There is really no way to say no to the morning
Yes it’s going to be a day

There is really nothing left to say but come on morning
And maybe there are seasons and maybe they change
And maybe to love is not so strange
Dan Fogelberg
1951 – 2007

Come on Mornin, indeed….Rest in Peace.

Taryn Simpson is a freelance ghostwriter who will miss Dan Fogelberg terribly.

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Not too long ago, a friend sent a “mini questionnaire” for me to complete as a blog promotion. I completed it and sent it on to the next person, but it caused me to reflect for a moment.

One of the questions was “Who is/was your mentor in writing?” I answered and smiled at the long road I have traveled to get from there to here. I looked back at his comments and felt appreciative all over again for him to take the time to read some lackluster articles and to actually critique them. I was even more grateful for his no holds barred ripping of my work. I respect someone who is a straight shooter and will tell you exactly what they think, regardless of hurt feelings etc. It’s the sign of a good friend who will serve your needs far better than someone tip-toeing around the heart that is clumsily pinned to your sleeve.

I found some emails he sent. For all the writers out there, have a giggle, it’s on me. For new writers out there, take his sage advice!
Foster Winans-Ghostwriter, Editor, Lecturer

Foster is the first well-known journalist to correspond with me and offer to look at my work. And WHOA did he look at my work. He ripped me to shreds, but he did it honestly and with integrity. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Here are some snippets of emails he left me (not to mention he even called me on the phone, which almost left me speechless.)

Email Correspondence after sending my work to him:

“I scanned through everything and see that you have a broad range of interests and accumulated knowledge… I am a cruel and heartless editor who has had almost forty years of mistakes behind him, so I consider it my obligation to be honest. That’s all it is, honesty. And the crankiness of age. I encourage you to challenge yourself more as a writer, and to be much more careful as a proof-reader…

There is too much starch and not enough protein in your writing. Even someone who is an expert on a subject needs to cite examples, details, stats, anything, to support their argument, to show they know the subject.Your nonfiction work lacks anchor points, and in their absence tries too hard to sound important. You are telling when you should be showing… You sound like a smart person who has an interest in growing. So I repeat‚Äďchallenge yourself…

I will leave you with my standard homily: it’s never a question of “Is it (or am I) any good?” The question should always be, “Is it the best I can make it and, if not, how can I make it better?” Keep plugging away, don’t give up!”
Regards, Foster

Taryn Simpson is a freelance writer and has recently completed a novel that is nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. For more info about Taryn’s background, please feel free to access her online presskit: http://www.Taryn-Simpson.blogspot.com

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Halloween is officially here. Like most holidays, consumer celebration of it starts a few weeks before and extends to a few weeks after. Here are a few suggestions to keep you entertained and in the Halloween spirit long after the parties are over and the trick-or-treaters have ransacked your candy stash:

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: A timeless tale of isolation and strange evolution, it’s been adapted several times. The latest movie will be released in December, starring Will Smith. As with any adaptation, it takes certain liberties with the book; it remains to be seen how good the newest film will be. In the meantime, read the book.

Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe: Halloween just isn’t complete without mention of Poe. While he wrote in a wide range of genres and literary styles, he is legendary for short stories such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and poems like “The Raven.” Edgar Allan Poe was a master of atmospheric and psychological horror, and every year his grave here in Maryland is visited by fans and curious tourists to get them into the holiday spirit.

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler: This book weaves together a thoughtful, well-paced tale of genetics, family, and mystery with a fairly different take on vampire folklore. It is the last book written by the highly admired author.

30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith: I have not seen this movie, but it’s on my list and so is the graphic novel. Based on reviews by both critics and audiences, the film is utterly terrifying, and the vampires are a far cry from the sympathetic, lovelorn bloodsuckers portrayed in books/movies like Interview with the Vampire.

(November 4, 2007) The SimpsonsTreehouse of Horror XVIII“: Of course, Halloween really isn’t over until Homer says D’ oh!

Lastly, check out http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/halloween07.htm for reviews of Halloween based books.

Nancy O. Greene

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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:


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

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From CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/books/09/17/obit.jordan.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

“‘Wheel of Time’ author dead at 58

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) — Author Robert Jordan, whose “Wheel of Time” series of fantasy novels sold millions of copies, has died of a rare blood disease, his aide said Monday. He was 58.

Jordan, whose real name was James Oliver Rigney Jr., died Sunday at the Medical University of South Carolina of complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy, his personal assistant, Maria Simons, said. The disease attacks the body’s major organs; in Jordan’s case, it caused the walls of his heart to thicken.

He wrote a trilogy of historical novels set in Charleston under the pen name Reagan O’Neal in the early 1980s. Then he turned his attention to fantasy and the first volume in his Wheel of Time epic, “The Eye of the World,” was published in 1990 under the name Robert Jordan.

Jordan’s books tells of Rand al’Thor, who is destined to become the champion who will battle ultimate evil in a mythical land.

Book 11, “Knife of Dreams,” came out in 2005; there was also a prequel, “New Spring: The Novel,” in 2004. The other titles in the series include “The Great Hunt,” “Lord of Chaos” and “The Path of Daggers.” Jordan was working on a 12th volume at the time of his death, Simons said.

He is survived by his wife, Harriet McDougal Rigney.”


I would count Robert Jordan as one of the top fantasy authors who got me into writing in the first place. Many criticize that his epic style of writing went overly long–and I myself only got as far as book six of his “WOT” series. But it still is sad to hear he passed away just as he was working on the last book.

This, coupled with Madeline L’engle’s death a week ago, is truly shaping to be a sad month for the fantasy world indeed.

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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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My daily struggle as a writer is to find enough inspiration to write the next story. It takes a lot of time and imagination to create something that would move me, I need to keep in mind that the story will only flow if I have it inside of me. It must be so powerful that will burst out from inside onto the paper.

Many factors affect the amount and quality of my writing; daily life, circumstances, emotions, health, peace of mind and feelings. Taking the good with the bad I push myself to write something every day. Anything and everything could spark and idea for a writing; the news, a movie, an article, a painting, music, a picture. Staying close with like minded people also estimulates ideas that could become a whole story on its own.

I was checking my email this morning and the announcement of the movie Becoming Jane got my attention. I watched the movie trailer and was taken right away by the theme. I have to see this movie! I enjoy watching movies of writers and this one I’m sure will spark many ideas.

For those of you who write, I would like to know what helps you get new and fresh ideas? How much time do you dedicate to writing?

Clary Lopez
Author of Simplicity – Richness of Life
Clary’s Blog

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