Parchments of Fire

THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “BEAST,” BY MARA ADAMITZ SCRUPE AND “THE BREEDING TREE,” BY J. ANDERSEN, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.

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THE BOOK: Parchments of Fire.

PUBLISHED IN: 2018.

THE AUTHOR: John Chaplick.

THE PUBLISHER: Cricket Cottage Publishing LLC.

SUMMARY: Near the island of Antikythera, off the southern coast of Greece, sponge divers discover a 2,000-year-old Roman shipwreck that harbors a secret, potentially catastrophic to the public image of Greece. The Greek government and two criminal organizations will stop at nothing to seize the damaging documents…the criminals to sell them, the government to destroy them. Visiting Harvard classics professor Tobias Romulus Finch becomes the unwilling guardian of the ancient papers, his life now dependent upon finding a solution acceptable to both opposing forces.

THE BACK STORY: I decided to write it because the Antikythera mechanism is a clock-like device that represents the equivalent of the world’s first computer and the sponge divers’ discovery of it represents an actual find, which is now stored in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, where I lived for a few years. The gripping story that I built around this phenomenon took two years to write and will be a book the readers will not be able to put down.

John ChaplickWHY THIS TITLE?:  Two reasons: one, the title captures the essence of a plot in which the horrendous parchments recovered from the Roman shipwreck set off an explosive and inflammatory adventure that takes the reader deep into the heart of Greece and threatens to destroy the international reputation of that country at a time when its government is struggling for financial recovery. Two, it grabs the prospective reader’s attention and the cover design reflects the intensity of the plot.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?: The readership appeal will likely come from the exciting and adventurous nature of the book as suggested on the back flap, and from the unusual geographic setting (Antikythera) of the story.\

REVIEW COMMENTS: The book is too new yet for that because the first copies were sold last Sunday, too recent to receive reader comments.

AUTHOR PROFILE: What may be the strongest author appeal is the fact that Parchments of Fire  takes place in Greece where I lived for awhile, and it reflects little-known facts about that country, such as the actual Antikythera mechanism discovery, which has recently garnered more world- wide publicity. My writing style, as you’ve seen, is concise and hard-hitting in a way that holds the reader’s attention throughout.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Parchments of Fire, like all of my books, is specifically designed to combine an unusual geographic setting with a unique plot that presents a brand new dimension to some historic fact or event.

HOW TO BUY IT: The book is, of course, always available through my website @ EngagingBooksBlog.com, but also via amazon, nook, kindle, and through any Barnes & Noble outlet by specific request.

PRICE: Parchments of Fire sells for $14.95.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: My email address is jpchaplick@gmail.com, and I am on  Facebook under my own name

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The Breeding Tree

The Breeding Tree (Destiny by Design Book 1) by [Andersen, J.]THE BOOK: The Breeding Tree: Book 1, Destiny by Design series.
 
PUBLISHED IN: 2017


THE AUTHOR:
  J. Andersen

THE EDITOR
: Courtney Dudek, Rowena Kuo

THE PUBLISHER
: Brimstone Fiction.

Brimstone Fiction is a traditional book publisher that offers unique print and eBook titles.

Initially an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Brimstone first launched in March, 2014. With expansion over the next three years, Brimstone Fiction became its own publishing house in February, 2017. With a primary focus on YA Speculative Fiction, Brimstone will extend to publish other fiction genres. Speculative Fiction may include, but is not restricted to, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Chiller Thrillers with Supernatural/Paranormal elements.

www.brimstonefiction.com

J. AndersenSUMMARY: When Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don’t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body tossed in the trash could be hers.

“This is a powerful story about the meaning and value of life–we don’t have enough of those.” ~ Terry Trueman, Printz Honor author, Stuck in Neutral

THE BACK STORY
: I’ve always loved dystopian literature but never had an idea for one. Before this, I wrote (and continue to write) contemporary YA. The entire story came to me in one setting and I got busy! It took about 8 months to write, but that’s just the beginning of the publishing process.

WHY THIS TITLE?: I didn’t originally choose this title. It was first called The Unviables because in this society, if a child is deemed unviable according to the government’s standards, it’s disposed of. However, the publisher suggested it be changed, so I brainstormed with my writer’s group and we came up with The Breeding Tree, along with many other suggestions. I live in a rural community. When farmers breed cattle, they attach them to a post called the breeding tree. My friend suggested that since the people in the book are often treated like cattle, it would be appropriate. The publisher liked this title the best out of the several I sent.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT?
It’s geared toward YA, but many of my readers are adults. If you like dystopian literature in the vein of The Hunger Games or Divergent, this will be right up your alley.

REVIEW COMMENTS
:

Amazon Reviewer:  Quite a plot! I was wondering if it was going to be a major chick book, but it turned out to be really intense! Loved it! Warning: You will get the sequel!

Amazon reviewer:  The Breeding Tree, what a great name for a great book. Once again J. Andersen has spun her magic and created a story that is fiction but fits into events that are unfolding all around us. There are people who want to control our every move, our words, our actions and even how we look. The Nazis tried to accomplish that with their hideous experiments in genetic engineering. Ms. Andersen has taken this evil and projected it into the future where the Institute manipulates the lives of the people who have fallen under their control. The characters are real, the story line is real and shockingly appears to be out of today’s headlines. The writer of At What Cost has now given us The Breeding Tree. Excellent read, I highly recommend it. I give it five stars.

Amazon reviewer:  It’s been years since I’ve read fiction for pleasure. The Breeding Tree captured my interest from the first pages and held my attention until the end. Andersen’s descriptive writing creates characters you immediately feel connected to and feel as though you know them personally. I was engrossed with the storyline and, although I am a speed reader, I couldn’t read fast enough for my curiosity as to what would happen next. Anderson’s imagination shines as she creates a futuristic world that is within the realm of reason and seems plausible, all the while challenging the reader on their stance on the sanctity of human life. This book far exceeded my expectations, and I am looking forward to reading book two of the Destiny by Design series!

 

Amazon reviewer: This book is an amazingly written and very well thought out. The issues that Ms Andersen bring up are incredibly pertinent to the issues we face today as a species. I truly believe that if we refuse to face the issues that she brings up, we will truly suffer all around. I suffer from a painful genetic disease, and would truly love to see it eradicated, but unless we can come up with an ethical line to tampering with the human genome, then we shouldn’t try and middle with what we don’t truly understand. This is a truly thought provoking book, and I am impatiently awaiting the sequels!


AUTHOR PROFIL
E: J. Andersen likes to write books, but doing so means slaying the dragons of procrastination while trudging through piles of laundry to make it to the computer. This small town, stay at home mom and former English teacher may be a world builder by day and a superhero by night, but that doesn’t mean she can ignore making dinner or driving the kids to music lessons.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Andersen/e/B008BKDK0I/

TO BUY IT: Amazon, Brimstonefiction.com.

PRICE: Free with Kindle Unlimited, .99c- Kindle, $11.95- print

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: www.jandersenbooks.com, www.facebook.com/jandersenbooks, www.twitter.com/jvdlandersen, www.instagram.com/jandersenbooks.

Beast

THE BOOK: BEAST.

PUBLISHED IN: 2015

THE AUTHOR: Mara Adamitz Scrupe.

THE PUBLISHER: National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press (NFSPS PRESS). The National Federation of State Poetry Societies is a non-profit organization focused on poetry and education, which sponsors more than fifty annual poetry contests. NFSPS also sponsors the annual Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition for the best collection of poems by a single poet. BEAST is the 2014 winner of that competition.

SUMMARY: I began writing BEAST some ten years ago at a time of great change in my life; I had a new job, I had relocated to a new city, and I was also reassessing the single most important close relationship in my life.

Mara Adamitz ScrupeDuring that period, at moments when everything seemed in flux and out of control, the only reliable method I could muster for coping with the changes I was experiencing involved jotting down my thoughts and feelings: on scraps of paper, or on my cellphone, or anywhere else I could preserve them to reckon with later. Some days, sitting in my car in a parking lot before going into a meeting, I found myself frantically writing down everything that was going through my mind. These weren’t poems – the formal invention came later – but instead served as means for organizing, understanding and managing the many shifts in my life, not the least of which was the changing face of my marriage.

Though I’d spent most of my professional life as a visual artist, I’d always privately written poetry, and also published essays, articles and reviews about art. Deciding to seriously focus on writing poems, and assembling a collection of poetry, felt very personal, frightening, and revelatory in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, in some ways BEAST almost wrote itself, as a process of taking stock and as a means of pointing myself in the right direction in my life. Ultimately, I suppose this is what poetry does best: helping us express and closely examine experiences and emotions that are recognized, embraced, and shared between a writer and her readers

THE BACK STORY: BEAST emerged from a decade I spent documenting my thoughts about loving as we grow older. While this poetry collection is not specifically about aging, the poems address how we navigate love’s disappointments as we grow and change, resisting cynicism while ultimately embracing joy, if in somewhat chastened forms. Having been married for more than thirty years, this book is truly a reflection of what I’ve learned, and have yet to learn, about love as selfishness and generosity, loyalty and abandonment, solace and sadness. BEAST lets loose on the many conflicting emotion we all experience in our relationships with those we love, and how we survive life’s hardest disappointments to keep on trying to have that most fragile, ecstatic and rewarding of experiences, love shared with another human being.

WHY THIS TITLE?: I’ve always privately referred to those less appealing human emotions like anger, envy, jealousy, and regret, as “beasts in the basement”. When I began assembling this collection of poems about love and loss, it seemed that BEAST was the natural title for the collection. Likewise, since these poems so often employ nature as a metaphor, the title struck me as fitting.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? BEAST is a book of love poems for adults. It’s tough and dry-eyed, sexy and tender, and full of wonder at relishing and surviving love. If you’ve ever been in love, these poems might resonate with you.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

Beast is aptly and perfectly named. From start to finish the poems in this collection are physical — resolutely alive to all that is alive in us, all-too-frail, all-too-human, ‘beasts’ with ‘ our self deceptions, encumbrances, limitations’ (“River Musk Perfume”). Yet at the same time, metaphysically, poem after poem turns a questioning, lively, and emotionally honest eye on how we ‘ pass our days, metering the hours now/until morning’s last solitary stars’ (“Reckonings”)

Beast is always much, much more than one poem facing another across a page, or simply following on. The sequencing throughout is both intelligent and instinctive — something as rare as it is wonderful. Poems call out, wait for an answer, and then listen. The protagonist of “Chores”, ‘wiping up messes- today’s/tomorrow’s – ‘ knows the truth that we, as humans, are simply custodians ‘of all things that fall apart’ ‘(Handyman’) These assured poems speak to each other before they turn to speak to us, and the collection as a living, breathing whole is all the more powerful as a result.

The poetic voice in Beast is sometimes raw, often compassionate, frequently beautiful, consistently real, and devoid of any posturing. This is mature work crafted by a mature poet in full command of her art. I am not at all surprised that it has been awarded such a prestigious prize. — Enda Coyle-Greene, author of Map of the Last, Dublin, February 2015

Mara Adamitz Scrupe’s poetry is like her — fierce, fragile, reticent, and unrelenting. There are here plain truths ( Paul Harvey on the radio preached parables and broken chaff, dust and snow and caution, in familiar remnant phrases) and lyric sights ( August dry birds’ mating in huge whoring throngs, exoskeletons resonating to beat the band).

In every line, the constant is honesty, ruthless, rugged, tender, resonating to beat the band. — Jacquelyn Mitchard, author The Deep End of the Ocean

AUTHOR PROFILE: Mara Adamitz Scrupe and her two sisters were raised by a single mom, a farm girl who left the country for the city to train and work as an executive secretary. She met and married a handsome, smart and charming young man who was also alcoholic and unable to hold down a job. Scrupe’s first book of poems, “Sky Pilot”, takes as its subject her father’s struggles with alcoholism, and his eventual death from complications of Mesothelioma.

Growing up with an alcoholic father, and a beautiful and hardworking mother, some of the most important and lasting experiences of Scrupe’s life she learned by the time she was six years old including loyalty, teamwork, responsibility and self-discipline. She also witnessed first-hand the many ways we navigate love’s complexities, and how Mara Adamitz Scrupe is both a poet and visual artist; she has created significant bodies of work in poetry, artists’ books, sculpture, installation, and social practice. Her art projects have received wide recognition with exhibitions and permanent commissions in the U.S., Europe and China. Her essays and critical reviews have been published in magazines and periodicals and reprinted in art history volumes. Adamitz Scrupe is the author of two poetry collections, Sky Pilot (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and BEAST (NFSPS, 2015). Eyewear Press (London, UK) published her new chapbook collection, Magnalia, released in early 2018. All are available on Amazon.

Scrupe’s poems have appeared in Bare Fiction, Comstock Review, Off The Coast, Narrative, Ruminate, Crosswinds Review, Crab Creek Review, Axon, Sentinel Quarterly Review, and many other literary journals and anthologies. In 2015 Adamitz Scrupe’s poem Arillus won commendation in the International Poetry Competition of the Poetry Society (UK), and she has won or been shortlisted for the Eyewear Press Lorgnette Chapbook Series (London), Fool for Poetry Pamphlet Competition (Ireland), Erbacce Poetry Prize (UK), Periplum Book Award (UK), Bright Hill Press Book Prize, Sentinel Poetry Book Competition (London), Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (UK), Canterbury Poetry Festival Prize (UK), Ron Pretty Poetry Prize (Australia), and the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Award (Australia).

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “We manage and survive our own choices.

SAMPLE

https://www.amazon.com/Beast-Mara-Adamitz-Scrupe/dp/0990908208/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525808851&sr=8-

1&keywords=mara+Adamitz+scrupe

WHERE TO BUY IT: Available on Amazon.com, as well as on the publisher’s website.

PRICE: $15

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: By e-mail at mscrupe@aol.com or mscrupe@uarts.edu.

A Minneapolis native, Mara Adamitz Scrupe received her BA from Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota and her MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in New York. She has taught and lectured nationally and internationally and occupied the first Barbara Bishop Endowed Chair in Art at Longwood University in Virginia. She also held the inaugural Alan F. Rothschild Distinguished Professorship at Columbus State University in Georgia and currently serves as Professor of Fine Arts at The University of the Arts in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She divides her time between Philadelphia and Charlottesville, Virginia where she lives on a farm with her husband of more than thirty years.

Weather Report, May 21

Related image

(Photo through Lithub).

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “BLUE THREAD,” BY RUTH TENZER FELDMAN, “WOMAN PUTTING ON PEARLS,” BY JEFFREY BEAN AND “THE HOUSE OF WRITERS,” BY M.J. NICHOLLS, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.


 

You can’t judge a book by its cover, we’re told. A lot of that has to do with the title.

Personally, I’m always drawn to intriguing and enigmatic book titles, and all three of our offerings this week on Snowflakes in a Blizzard (snowflakesarise.wordpress.com) have them — “Beast,”: by Mara Adamitz Scrupe, “The Breeding Tree,” by J. Andersen and “Parchments of Fire,” by John Chaplick.

If you were to take a guess at the contents of any of these from their titles, chances are you’d be wrong.

“Beast,” for example, sounds like one of those horror stories that wind up as an Arnold Scwarzenegger movie. In reality, however, it is a collection of introspective poems.

The author explains: “I’ve always privately referred to those less appealing human emotions like anger, envy, jealousy, and regret, as ‘beasts in the basement.’ When I began assembling this collection of poems about love and loss, it seemed that BEAST was the natural title for the collection. Likewise, since these poems so often employ nature as a metaphor, the title struck me as fitting.”

OK, so how about “The Breeding Tree?” A treatise on horticulture?

“I didn’t originally choose this title.” recalls Ms. Andersen. “It was first called The Unviables because in this society, if a child is deemed unviable according to the government’s standards, it’s disposed of. However, the publisher suggested it be changed, so I brainstormed with my writer’s group and we came up with The Breeding Tree, along with many other suggestions. I live in a rural community. When farmers breed cattle, they attach them to a post called the breeding tree. My friend suggested that since the people in the book are often treated like cattle, it would be appropriate. The publisher liked this title the best out of the several I sent.”

And why “Parchments of Fire,” John Chaplick?

“Two reasons: one, the title captures the essence of a plot in which the horrendous parchments recovered from the Roman shipwreck set off an explosive and inflammatory adventure that takes the reader deep into the heart of Greece and threatens to destroy the international reputation of that country at a t ime when its government is struggling for financial recovery. Two, it grabs the prospective reader’s attention and the cover design reflects the intensity of the plot.”

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, WEEK OF MAY 22-28.

“BEAST,” BY MARA ADAMITZ SCRUPE.

Writes Mara: “BEAST emerged from a decade I spent documenting my thoughts about loving as we grow older. While this poetry collection is not specifically about aging, the poems address how we navigate love’s disappointments as we grow and change, resisting cynicism while ultimately embracing joy, if in somewhat chastened forms. Having been married for more than thirty years, this book is truly a reflection of what I’ve learned, and have yet to learn, about love as selfishness and generosity, loyalty and abandonment, solace and sadness. BEAST lets loose on the many conflicting emotion we all experience in our relationships with those we love, and how we survive life’s hardest disappointments to keep on trying to have that most fragile, ecstatic and rewarding of experiences, love shared with another human being.”

“THE BREEDING TREE,” BY J. ANDERSEN.

When Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don’t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

 

“This is a powerful story about the meaning and value of life–we don’t have enough of those.” ~ Terry Trueman, Printz Honor author, Stuck in Neutral.

“PARCHMENTS OF FIRE,” BY JOHN CHAPLICK.

Near the island of Antikythera, off the southern coast of Greece, sponge divers discover a 2,000-year-old Roman shipwreck that harbors a secret, potentially catastrophic to the public image of Greece. The Greek government and two criminal organizations will stop at nothing to seize the damaging documents…the criminals to sell them, the government to destroy them. Visiting Harvard classics professor Tobias Romulus Finch becomes the unwilling guardian of the ancient papers, his life now dependent upon finding a solution acceptable to both opposing forces.

 

 

Blue Thread

Blue Thread by [Tenzer Feldman, Ruth]THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “WOMAN PUTTING ON PEARLS,” BY JEFFREY BEAN AND “THE HOUSE OF WRITERS,” BY M.J. NICHOLLS, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.

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THE BOOK: Blue Thread

PUBLISHED IN: 2012

THE AUTHOR: Ruth Tenzer Feldman

THE EDITOR: About a dozen editors helped to shape this. Thanks to them all!

THE PUBLISHER: Ooligan Press, which is affiliated with Portland State University. Ooligan staff also study toward a Master’s degree in publishing.

Image result for Ruth Feldman + author + photos

SUMMARY: It’s 1912 in Portland, Oregon. Sixteen-year-old Miriam Josefsohn strives to work in the family print shop, but her parents refuse. They insist on grooming her to be a desirable match for a suitably rich and established bachelor. Angry and afraid, Miriam throws herself into the campaign for Oregon women to gain the right to vote. She meets Serakh, a mysterious woman who helps Miriam to discover a prayer shawl with a single blue thread, the Josefsohn’s hidden and forbidden heirloom that transports Serakh and Miriam thousands of years into the biblical past. Miriam meets five sisters—the daughters of Zelophehad—who insist that Miriam has been sent to help them in their struggle for women’s rights. But what can she do? And will she find the courage to fight for her own future?

THE BACK STORY: After I finished Blue Thread, that biblical character Serakh continued to capture my imagination. She remained bound to the Josefsohn family and the pursuit of justice across time and space. Blue Thread became one of three companion novels for young adults and older readers. The Ninth Day (Ooligan, 2013) entwines Berkeley, California, in 1964—when LSD was legal and political speech on campus was banned—and Paris in 1099, after the First Crusade. Seven Stitches (Ooligan, 2016) returns to Miriam’s old house in Portland, in 2059—a year after a catastrophic earthquake—and transports us to the sultan’s harem in 16th-century Istanbul. Serakh remains a key character in all three, but each book is a complete story and the three can be read in any order.

WHY THIS TITLE? The biblical book of Numbers contains a passage that instructs people to wear a garment of fringes with a blue thread to remind the wearer to do what’s right. What if one very particular blue thread could take you across time and space in pursuit of justice?

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Blue Thread and its companions offer a unique blend of well-researched historical fiction and mind-expanding sci-fi and fantasy. The context is Jewish; the struggles and triumphs are universal. Blue Thread received the Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature; the American Library Association listed Blue Thread as one of the best feminist books for teen readers.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“In the spirit of Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic, with a mix of historical details about the women’s suffrage movement and early printing tied together with a very Jewish thread of historical continuity.”—Kirkus Reviews.

“Hooray for Miriam! Just the kind of young woman I like—curious, compassionate, intelligent, independent, and determined. Her story is told in Blue Thread, a wonderfully written novel about her struggle to be herself, to be honest, and to be just. In an intriguing blend of fantasy and historical fiction, Miriam finds the battles of the past informing her present and inspiring her future. I cheered her efforts, her courage, and her rewards—and so will you.” —Karen Cushman, author of Newbery-medal winner, The Midwife’s Apprentice.

AUTHOR PROFILE: I grew up on the East Coast, where I raised two children, wrote bills for the U.S. Department of Education, and wrote ten non-fiction books (mostly history and biography) for children and young adults. Then I had the urge to change perspectives and stretch the truth. Now I live in a city nestled between an active volcano—Wy’east (Mt. Hood)—and the Cascadia earthquake subduction zone along the Pacific Coast. I still enjoy history, and I’m a stickler for digging into the “facts” in search of truth. But now I am have found a place world that feeds my soul and my imagination.

AUTHOR COMMENTS:  My mother was born in 1920, the year that the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution gave women across the country the right to vote. I grew up wondering why women, among other groups, had for so long so little control over many laws that affected their lives. I also grew up fiercely protecting the vivid imagination that has kept me company my whole life. History and fantasy seemed the perfect match for Blue Thread, my first book of fiction. Miriam grew out of my curiosity about the women’s movement in Oregon, my newly adopted home. What if Miriam met the biblical character, Serakh, and faced the ethical commandment to pursue justice? I let the weaving begin, and soon Blue Thread came into being.

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER THREE:

Mrs. Jenkins had most of the day off on Sundays, abandoning me to leftovers until dinner, and to my parents from morning until night. I took my time coming downstairs to face them in the library.

Mama studied me head to foot and stopped cranking the Grafonola. “Good morning at last.” She had an edge to her voice. “Rigoletto or Carmen?

I headed for the tea biscuits and lemon curd. “Carmen,” I muttered, although to me one opera record was about the same as another. “It’s only half past ten. Are there plans for today?”

Papa turned a page of The Morning Oregonian without looking at me. “Your mama wishes for an outing to the Washington Park Zoo in the Oldsmobile. I will indulge her until a quarter before two, when I go to the Club.”

Even though Papa grumbled about muddy roads and every-man-for-himself intersections, he kept his word, and we left shortly after breakfast. I had no say in the matter and felt as caged in as those poor grizzly bears at the zoo. We also stopped at the statue of Sacajawea striding westward with her baby on her back. I read the inscription aloud: “Erected by the women of the United States in memory of Sacajawea, the only woman in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and in honor of the pioneer mother of old Oregon.”

I pointed out that [my teacher] said Abigail Scott Duniway and a whole passel of suffragists attended the statue’s unveiling at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. “Even Susan B. Anthony was there,” I told my parents. Not that it did any good. Oregon women still couldn’t vote.

Papa looked at his pocket watch. “[She] filled your mind with useless politics,” he said.

I clamped my mouth shut and climbed into the Oldsmobile. Papa cranked the motor and we bumped our way back home. As soon as we arrived, I headed upstairs in search of those fringes Serakh said my parents should have given to me. Gold tassels, not blue ones, dangled from Grandma Goldstein’s silk shawl. Forget that. I tiptoed into the guest bedroom, breathed in the sweet cedar aroma of Mama’s hope chest, and commenced to rummage through it. Buried under a bolt of brocade were two silver candlesticks, an embroidered linen tablecloth, and several lace doilies. No fringes, nothing in blue. Mama stayed home the rest of the day, making it impossible to snoop around. …

Mama insisted on taking me shopping Monday for more clothes for the New York trip. She bought me a hat- pin with a pearl stud, yet another pair of white gloves, and a lacy handkerchief. Accoutrements she called them—French for doodads. We dined out for lunch, though, and for dessert I ate an entire éclair—which is French for the most delicious pastry on Earth.

The smell of fresh bread lured me to the kitchen the next morning. Mrs. Jenkins was adding something to sourdough starter. “I feed you up good, Miss Miriam, but you never gain an ounce.”

“Keep trying,” I joked. I took two sweet rolls from the sideboard and reached for the crock of butter. I figured my luck with staying slim made up for my prominent nose and blotchy complexion.

Mrs. Jenkins asked, “Did you read about the daughters of Zelophehad?”

“Not in the Bible, not yet. But I read an article about a suffrage march and it mentioned those daughters. I don’t know why. Voting rights for women is on the ballot in November. Do you think it will pass this time?”

“Can’t rightly say.”

I offered Mrs. Jenkins one of her own sweet rolls. “Well, do you want it to pass?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” she said, meaning the roll. She set the starter aside and served us coffee. “Ladies’ Home Journal is against women voting. Big magazine like that, who am I to say otherwise?”

I added evaporated milk to my coffee and imagined [my teacher] lecturing Mrs. Jenkins on the need for women to think for themselves. “What did Zelophehad’s daughters do? The ones in the Bible I mean.”

“As I recall, they wanted a place of their own in Canaan— the Promised Land.” Mrs. Jenkins took two lumps of sugar. “When Mr. Jenkins and I came to Oregon in 1898, we called our farm New Canaan. We were so blessed!” She dabbed her eyes with her apron. “He passed away two years come December. Our boys have the farm now.”

I offered her my handkerchief. “Do you have any daughters?”

“Married off, thank the Lord. Ethel’s in Oregon City and Harriet moved to one of them new homes in Laurelhurst.”

Marrying off daughters. Not my favorite subject. I finished my roll, excused myself, and headed to the parlor, where Mama was playing the piano. She raised her cheek, and I kissed it while she continued to play.

“ This sonata is impossible to master by Thanksgiving,” she said. “I should never have agreed to that benefit recital.”

Mama was playing fine, as far as I was concerned. I followed along on the sheet music and turned the page when she nodded. When she finished the sonata, she started on scales again. I wondered about Tirtzah, and those daughters, and the fringes Serakh insisted I had.

“May I borrow your wedding Bible? I don’t think Papa has a Bible in English.”

“It’s packed away with my bridal gown. Why do you want it?”

“Just to look up something.” I picked at a fingernail. My search for that shawl had turned up nothing. Perhaps Mama had it. “Is…um…anything else packed away for me? Another shawl, perhaps?”

Mama didn’t skip a beat. “There’s not another shawl, but I have started on your wedding trousseau.

“Mama!” Was MARRIAGEABLE MAIDEN stamped on my forehead today?

She glanced my way without stopping her scales. “Don’t roll your eyes at me, young lady. You’ll meet some very charming gentlemen this winter—Guggenheims and Schiffs. You should keep an open mind. You’re nearly seventeen, as old as I was when I met your father. He was already a successful businessman, cultured, debonair…he was my German Prince Charming.”

I’d heard it all before. She neglected to add that Papa had been thirty-two—nearly twice her age—and losing his hair. Time to escape. “I’m going to the Stark Street Library today,” I announced, determined to sound as sure of myself as that odd girl at the temple. I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

Mama started back in on the sonata with renewed fervor. “We’ll take the streetcar together. I have a luncheon with friends at the Portland Hotel.”

“It was perfectly fine for me to take the streetcar to [school] and back every day for three years,” I said. “Now you never let me go anywhere alone.”

“Young women do not go gallivanting around the city. You should know by now how important it is to avoid a compromising situation.”

I couldn’t help my temper. I knew it was useless to talk back to Mama, but the thought of being chaperoned everywhere until I could be suitably settled with some “charming gentleman” set me on edge. “Oh, jolly. I’ll be a prisoner in my own house until you and Papa marry me off.”

Mama pounded out one last chord. I crossed my arms over my chest. One long moment of silence wedged itself between us.

“We’ll go to the library together and you’ll come straight home on your own.”

“We’ll go to the library together and you’ll come straight home on your own.”

LOCAL OUTLETS: Available through your independent bookstore nation wide. My favorite three independent bookstores in Portland, Oregon are Powell’s, Broadway Books, and Annie Bloom’s Books.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

PRICE: $12.95, print; $4.99 e-book.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I am eager to hear from you!

ruthtenzerfeldman@gmail.com

FB at Ruth Tenzer Feldman Books

Twitter @ScrivaRuth

 

Woman Putting on Pearls

THE BOOK: Woman Putting on Pearls

PUBLISHED IN: 2017

THE AUTHOR:  Jeffrey Bean

THE EDITOR: The wonderful Susan Gardner, who edits with tremendous care and attention.

THE PUBLISHER: Red Mountain Press. From the press’s website: “Red Mountain Press publishes poetry and poets’ memoirs and literary fiction. Our books represent the point of view of the author and are beautiful objects of lasting value. The authors retain full rights to their work. We use the best papers and printers, with manufacturing processes that are low impact and resource conserving.”

2016-293-027  Jeffrey Bean.jpgSUMMARY: Susan Gardner and I collaborated to write this summary for the press release: “Winner of the 2016 Red Mountain Poetry Prize. Woman Putting on Pearls explores human connection and want as manifested through touch and the physically palpable gaze. With richly patterned sounds and rhythms, the collection forms a loose narrative in seven short sections acting much like musical movements. It traces the arc of life from childhood through death, integrating and savoring sensory experience in all its terrors, pleasures and aches. Interlaced throughout is a series of Voyeur poems focused on a man’s one-sided relationship with a woman he secretly watches. These are presented as interludes and constitute a separate but related loose narrative. Together, the two threads consider the tensions between the opposing needs for intimacy and independence, and the conflict between the desire to escape time and mortality and the desire to be wholly present in body, tasting all the delicious particulars of the world.”

THE BACK STORY: Woman Putting on Pearls is a full-length collection that brings together poems written over roughly eight years, some of which appeared in my two previously published chapbooks: Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window and The Voyeur’s Litany. The book consists of several short sequences of poems, including a sequence of ekphrastic poems based on paintings, a sequence of “Voyeur” poems in which a persona (an invented character) obsessively watches his neighbor, and a sequence of poems exploring parenthood that I call the “kid poems” in which a father addresses his daughter as “kid.” The various sequences took shape at different times—I was rarely working on “kid” poems and “voyeur” poems at the same time, for instance—and for a while it was hard to imagine how they might work together in a collection. Some of the “kid” poems are partly autobiographical and explore my own experiences as a parent (and my own childhood), and the “voyeur” poems are entirely fictionalized—in that sequence I was interested in speaking through a persona that felt unlike me, a character I found troubling and deviant, even creepy, and at the same time sympathetic. These impulses seemed at odds with each other, but once I started putting the sequences together, I was surprised to find they resonated with each other and explored the same themes: love (in many forms), the body, desire, mortality, and the need for human connection. I revised and revised again, I wrote some new poems for the book, I tried out different combinations of sequences, and after about a year of sending it out the manuscript was selected for the 2016 Red Mountain Poetry Prize by guest judge Sarah Sousa, a wonderful poet whose work I was happy to discover.

WHY THIS TITLE?: It’s a translation of the title of a Vermeer painting more commonly known as Woman with a Pearl Necklace or Young Woman with a Pearl Necklace. I found the translation Woman Putting on Pearls somewhere and liked the sound of that more active phrase better. It’s also the title of one of the poems in the collection, an ekphrastic poem based on the painting. I think that poem represents the book well thematically, and the title has obvious resonance with the “Voyeur” sequence since the speaker of those poems often observes the woman next door performing mundane domestic activities.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Readers have enjoyed the book for its variety, especially the contrast in form, tone, and subject matter between the “voyeur” poems and the “kid” poems. On one level, the “voyeur” poems offer some of the pleasures of fiction—he’s a kind of anti-hero who is at times pathetic and at times sympathetic, and readers have told me they find him to be a complex and memorable character. Some find him scary, others find they relate to him, and some have said he’s a useful figure for thinking about our voyeuristic cultural moment. Many fellow parents have connected with the “kid” poems—and other poems in the book dealing with childhood and adolescence—for their honesty, humor, and exuberance. All of the poems in the book savor sensory experience, and readers who look for rich imagery and close attention to the details of the world will find much to enjoy. Finally, as a musician, I think a lot about sound and rhythm as I write, and I hope readers find the poems a pleasure to hear.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“In Woman Putting on Pearls, poet Jeffrey Bean speaks of the body, its loneliness, hungers, and joy. The body in Woman Putting on Pearls is essentially an isolated entity continuously seeking, not only attachment, but utter oneness with the other.  But these poems, like want, are complex. The speaker in the “voyeur” series is sympathetic, pathetic, and frightening all at once. These seeming disparate views of body-love become points on a continuum of the human need to see, touch, love, and even worship another. Through insightful, sharp, and nuanced writing, Bean holds these contradictions in his steady gaze, no need for reconciliation.” –Sarah Sousa, 2016 Red Mountain Poetry Prize judge and author of See the Wolf, Split the Crow, The Diary of Esther Small, and Church of Needles

“In Jeffrey Bean’s Woman Putting on Pearls there’s the excruciating pleasure of wanting—the tastes, the smells, the gaze that longs for a body as slippery as a ruby. In each of these gorgeous poems I lose track of the boundaries of flesh and bread, dirt and the beloved’s hair, what the body holds and what holds a body. Through every season and each love, everything in the world wants in, wants a closeness, an intimacy that overtakes and consumes and transcends time, distance, and skin. And it makes you want that, too. So do. Open the curtains and open this book and let everything in.”—Traci Brimhall, author of Saudade, Our Lady of the Ruins, and Rookery 

“These are love poems for fearful lovers, people who know that all romance is half panic. Or sometimes these are elegies sung by giddy mourners. Often they are both. The speakers in Jeffrey Bean’s Woman Putting on Pearls use rhythm and rhyme, repetition and reference to understand and order the world, while deeply “loving the ache of it” in all of its gorgeous and terrifying and impossible particulars.” –Patrick Ryan Frank, Author of The Opposite of People and How the Losers Love What’s Lost.

You can read an extensive review of Woman Putting on Pearls by Brian McKenna in the latest issue of Newfound: https://newfound.org/current-issue/reviews-woman-putting-on-pearls/

 
AUTHOR PROFILE: 

Jeffrey Bean was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. He attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, graduating with a degree in Jazz Guitar Performance. He is the son of writers: his father, John, earned an MFA in poetry writing from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and his mother, Barbara, a published fiction writer, taught creative writing at Depauw University for twenty-five years. Although he grew up in a house full of poetry books, he didn’t start writing until high school when he read Yusef Komunyakaa’s Jazz Poetry Anthology, a book, that, to paraphrase Dickinson, made him feel physically as if the top of his head were taken off.

While at Oberlin, he continued to write, taking workshops with fiction writer Dan Chaon and poets Martha Collins and Pamela Alexander. After college, he and a friend backpacked across Europe for six weeks, visiting Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal. When he returned home to Bloomington, woefully out of practice and certain that a career in music wasn’t for him, he took a job waiting tables at a Tibetan restaurant owned and managed by the Dalai Lama’s nephew. After that, he taught gym for a year in an elementary school in Portland, Oregon before enrolling in the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Alabama.

Since then, his poems have appeared in such journals as FIELD, Subtropics, and Slate, and recent poems appear or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Antioch Review, The Missouri Review, and New Orleans Review among others. In addition to Woman Putting on Pearls, he is author of the poetry collection Diminished Fifth (WordTech) and the chapbooks Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (Southeast Missouri State University Press) and The Voyeur’s Litany (Anabiosis Press). His poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in the 2014 and 2016 New Poetry from the Midwest anthologies.

SAMPLE POEM:

Vermeer: Woman Putting on Pearls

Sometimes you get a minute or two,

nobody needs you for once, your body’s buoyed

by that grass-and-river feeling after lunch,

you draw back the shutters and the room

takes on the freshness of streams, hard buds

swelling up outside. It’s early spring,

you’ve got your best coat on, ermine trim,

and you lift up a necklace to the light,

to the space and quiet (it’s a gift, it asks

to be touched like this), and the places it touches

you, fingertips and throat, become

organs more sensitive than mirrors or eyes.

 

The V the ribbon makes that holds the pearls

draws the pleasures of the room in closer:

this chair, this table, this blue rug, the tug

of your earrings, your hair bow like a pink, chubby hand,

the downward slope of your forearms, eyelids,

mouth, light all over the wall like words

for what you wanted, words you can’t remember

now that you’re thinking what the light is really,

shattering fire, violent as birth

for billions of years out there in space, that long,

blue-cold cloth, an emptiness from which

sometimes come moons pink as hands in orbit

around a throat, a head, some pearls, warm for now.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Buy signed copies at a discount directly from my website (https://www.jeffreybeanpoet.com/books), or buy it directly from the press (http://redmountainpress.us/order-books-here-2/), or buy it from Small Press Distribution (https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9780997310252/woman-putting-on-pearls.aspx)

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

PRICE: $18.95 (or $15 with free shipping on my website)

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: I always love to hear from readers. Please contact me through my website: https://www.jeffreybeanpoet.com/contact

The House of Writers

The House of Writers by [Nicholls, M.J.]

Image result for M.J. Nicholls + author + photoTHE BOOK: The House of Writers.

PUBLISHED IN: 2016.

THE AUTHOR: M.J. Nicholls.

THE EDITOR: The polymathic whiz-kidder Jacob Smullyan, himself a penner of fine puckish prose.

THE PUBLISHER: Sagging Meniscus Press. A publisher of wonderfully offbeat, linguistically explosive, and playful prose and poetry, usually with lashings of wit and innovation, based in New Jersey. They publish, among many others, the splendid Marvin Cohen, Lee Klein, Aaron Anstett, Steven Moles, and Jack Foley.

SUMMARY: (The blurb). “A playful novel set in 2050, when the publishing industry has collapsed, literature has become a micro-niche interest, and Scotland itself has become an enormous call center. Those writers who remain reside in a dilapidated towerblock, where they churn out hack works tailored to please their small audiences. The novel weaves together individual stories of life inside (and outside) the building, where each floor houses a different genre, as the writers fight to keep the process of literature alive with varying degrees of success. The novel is a feast of wit: a surreal entertainment, a bracing satire, a verbal tour de force, and a good-spirited dystopian comedy; it is also a loving homage to language, literature, and the imagination, and a plea that they remain vital well into the dubious future that awaits us.”

THE BACK STORY: I had, for a number of years, found myself in the paradoxical position of being chronically fed-up with the writing life, resenting every published or unpublished writer (including friends, and myself, whenever I published), and loathing my every written word, while simultaneously embracing literature with a mad fervour, reading five to ten books per week, and worrying violently for the future of the pursuit that I loved (and loathed). This novel, the first in a trilogy of novels on writers, readers, and critics, emerged from that contradictory and self-flagellatory mental soup, and allowed me to further my fondness for satire, comedy, parody, lists, and metafictional play. The novel is borne from a real despair at the present-day ebbing away of interest in the written word, and the conceit of corporate publishers who fashion bestsellers from old cabbage and soiled undies.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The protagonist of the novel is, in effect, the towerblock in which the writers are fated to scribble furiously for their evening falafel.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? The novel is more likely to please bibliophiles and writers, rife as it is with parodies, references, lists, stories-within-stories, self-referential tangents, and pseudo-autobiographical confessions. Anyone with working eyeballs is welcome to read the novel, which sweats profusely to please. I tried to make the whole thing highly amusing too.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“The House of Writers fizzes with ideas and energy and evinces a verve which carries you along with it. M.J. Nicholls proves he is a writer who has the sort of clinical eye and cynical wit required of successful satirists, and the result is one of the best, and funniest, commentaries on writing and writers I have read.” — Alistair Braidwood, Scots Way Hae

“Every chapter is as dense with ideas as any book I’ve read this year, and every page brought something unexpected, something outlandish, something hilarious […] I didn’t want it to end.” — The Bibliofool

“The sardonic spirit of Gilbert Sorrentino hovers over this satire on writing and publishing. By setting his novel in the future and adopting a faux Truman Capote persona, Nicholls can extrapolate from current trends and exaggerate them for comic effect. I particularly liked the florid parlance, its Monty Python-like use of polysyllabic words, and its constant referencing of popular current writers. As an ageing effeminate male desperate to feel superior to something, Nicholls provided me with hours of much-needed entertainment.” — Steven Moore, author of My Back Pages

AUTHOR PROFILE: Blog: http://quiddityofdelusion.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: @MJ_Nicholls

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2386804-mj-nicholls

My other books: A Postmodern Belch (a self-published novel, 2012), The Quiddity of Delusion (a “sagging short” novella, Sagging Meniscus, 2017), and my latest novel is The 1002nd Book to Read Before You Die (Sagging Meniscus, 2018).

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Read more, everyone, for the love of Chuang-tzu. Read fucking books and read them now.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: From ‘The Farewell, Author! Conference’

The event organisers had witnessed many writer brawls, in particular the little-known fistfight between Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer back in 2007, where Gore emerged the victor after a vicious blow to the belly, ending Mailer’s life (a press release lied that he had been undergoing lung surgery), and the bizarre bout between E.L. Doctorow and William H. Gass in 2015, resulting in a fractured tibia for Doctorow, and a 1000-page treatise On the Vicissitudes of Violence from Gass (never published). The safest option was to clear the area—the organisers knew that writers were the most cowardly, traitorous fighters out there, never averse to an attack from behind, or punching someone in their sleep, or shaking hands and calling a truce and stabbing through the navel with an icicle. In that vein, Muriel Barbery clobbered Paul Murray with a bag of frozen beefsteaks; Ben Marcus shoved Geoff Dyer towards an open freezer and, having failed to move him an inch, crouched down and begged “Don’t punch me!”; Jáchym Topol kicked Claudia Rankine in the shins, and received a stunning slap in return; Warren Motte attempted a headbutt on Mark Haddon but ended up hurling himself at Lydia Lunch, who rolled up him like a carpet and fired him out the window. The scene of violence that followed does not bear rendering in another list form—to reduce these shameful acts

to mere rote would be in itself a shameful act. I leapt up later to take the microphone and shouted: “YOU HAVE COME HERE TO DIE, NOT TO BRAWL!” This created the desired silence, and I followed this up with: “Did not Nabokov once say, ‘Beauty is mysterious as well as terrorful. God and the devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of a man’?” This caused an eruption of laughter.

“That wasn’t Nabokov, you buffoon!” Jonathan Coe mocked.

“It’s terrible, not terrorful. Terrorful isn’t even a word!” Jhumpa Lahiri mocked.

“It’s God and devil, not God and the devil. Did you memorise that from Wikipedia?” Agnès Desarthe ditto.

“That was Dostoevsky, you moron!” Toby Litt ditto.

“It is heart of man, not heart of a man. I can’t believe you didn’t know that!” Steven Poole “ ”.

“I fail to see the relevance of that line, are you saying you find us beating the shit out of each other beautiful?” Cynthia Rogerson “ ”.

“You are trying in some bungling manner to make us ponder a concept no longer applicable in the modern world,” Georgi Gospodinov “ ”.

“You have proven to us all that you have no handle whatsoever on basic symbolic metaphor,” David David Katzman “ ”.

“You stand proud on that stage, maintaining your ground, while inside that body beats the heart of a simple village dolt,” Silvia Barlaam “ ”.

“I hate your words and the mouth responsible,” Ever Dundas “ ”.

“How about this, then?” I tried again. “Did not Aeschylus once say, ‘Be nice, for everyone you see is waging a hard fight’?”

“JESUS CHRIST!!!” Dan Rhodes “ ”.

“You are the largest fool I have ever permitted to speak before me on a picnic table,” Geoff Nicholson “ ”.

“That was Jewish Egyptian philosopher Philo, not Ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus!!!” Jim Dodge “ ”.

“There is a 500-year difference between the people you have confused and misquoted!” David Mazzucchelli “ ”.

“Your mere cardiorespiratory existence is a source of persistent bafflement!” Miranda July “ ”.

“Be kind, not be nice. As if an Egyptian philosopher circa the birth of Christ would say ‘nice’, like some mum talking to her kids!” Daniel Handler “ ”.

“Everyone you meet, not see. How can one be kind to strangers on the street? Shoot them kind looks, or stop and ask them if there’s anything they need? You, sir, are an inflated buffoon about to burst,” Carol Ann Sima “ ”.

“It’s fighting a hard battle, not waging a good fight. This laughable misquotation proves your IQ is several digits below an earwig,” Frédéric Beigbeder “ ”.

“You are a boil on the neck of literacy,” J.T. LeRoy “ ”.

“I have eaten bagels with more insight than you,” Steven Hall “ ”.

“A few centuries ago, you would have been shot for such brainbuggery,” Vanessa Gebbie “ ”.

“Your utterances transcend my otherwise prodigious capacity for empathy,” David Shields “ ”.

“Scum,” Scarlett Thomas “ ”.

“There are no words to describe you, although if pushed I would use ‘pant-wetting fuckbudgie from hell’,” Mary Roach “ ”.

“I could have quoted that correctly,” T.C. Boyle “ ”.

And so, through my sheer idiocy, I had stopped the brawling. My intention had been to make them reflect on the meaning of the quotes, but the fun at baiting a writer for his mistakes had proven the stronger impulse.

“I could have quoted that correctly,” T.C. Boyle “ ”.

And so, through my sheer idiocy, I had stopped the brawling. My intention had been to make them reflect on the meaning of the quotes, but the fun at baiting a writer for his mistakes had proven the stronger impulse.

LOCAL OUTLETS: This novel is available in multiple (Scottish) public libraries. Everyone else, Amazon. Contact me on my email for a signed copy.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Small Press Distribution, Indiebound.

PRICE: £13.50/$19.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: mjnichollsishere [at] gmail [dot] com.