Your favorite quote?

At bookwitty.com, Véesah Afifi offers:

Alice in Wonderland cover photoChildren…in their innocence can’t fathom the weight of some of the most important quotes they hear in bedtime stories,” Afifi writes. “However, we’re adults now, and it’s time we appreciated some of the most profound quotations in the literature of our youth.”

e.g. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
– Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

What’s your favorite quote from a beloved children’s book?

See the other quotes at Bookwitty HERE

~~~~~
A 5-star review of ‘Wolf’, the second book in The Were Chronicles, by L. Bruce Diamond is the kind authors pick for their blurbs. He says, for example, that ‘Wolfis simultaneously frustrating, engrossing, infuriating, and satisfying.”  If a book can stir up that kind of reaction in a discerning reader, the author’s labors in producing it were well worth it.

He was a bit less pleased with ‘Shifter,’ the last book in my series. He gave it four stars,  noting that it was “A somewhat satisfying and slightly frustrating end-piece to an otherwise entertaining shape-changing triptych.”

You can read his and other reviews of ‘Wolf‘ at Amazon HERE

~~~~~
At  My Modern Met, Sarah Ann Loreth interviews Seattle-based photographer Kindra Nikole about her:

Portraits of Medieval Knights Reimagined as Fearless Women

CursedWightKindraNikole photoPhoto by Kindra Nikole

For her latest series entitled Árísan, Kindra drew inspiration from a visit to Glastonbury, the legendary resting place of Arthur, King of the Britons (aka King Arthur)”, Loreth writes. “The photographer now captures the essence of the ancient castle ruins and imbues its historical setting with new meaning. Although women did not originally take part in battle, Kindra’s images recreate history, imagining round table knights as strong, fearless women adorned in period armor.”

See all her stunning photos at mymodernmet.com HERE

~~~~~
Quote of the Day

All Men Dream - T.E Lawrence poster

Always dream with your eyes open.

~~~~~
About me    My books    Email me   

If you found this blog post interesting, amusing or helpful, then please use the icons below to share it with other writers, readers or the guy next to you on the subway.

The novel is dead – again

On Vox, Kelsey McKinney remembers the 30 times the novel has been declared dead since 1902

Read the whole story HERE

~~~~~
Since I have written many coming-of-age stories –from the Worldweavers and The Were Chronicles books to the Syai Empire Tales and The Hidden Queen — I was recently asked in an interview what the lure was for me.

Life is change,” I answered, and …”There is a particular age when change can be monumental, can place you between heartbreaking choices, can alter you or your circumstances in a fundamental way, so as to leave you in an entirely different space, both inside your own head and in the world around you. The story then becomes how you have evolved to fit those changes.

“That is the crux of the coming-of-age story, this evolution, and watching human beings change fascinates me. There are just so many possible individual responses to any given stimulus, so many alternate futures waiting, that it’s a breathless thing to wait and see which road a particular character will choose to take and how that choice will affect everyone else around them.”  (Read my interview HERE)

Camille DeAngelis, the author of Bones & All, a coming-of-age novel about a girl who’s also a cannibal, picked for Publishers Weekly:

The 10 Best Coming-of-Age Books You’ve Never Read

Her remarks are similar to mine. “…when we see fictional people growing into themselves to meet the seemingly-impossible challenges thrust upon them, , we feel better prepared to handle our own. This process is particularly critical during adolescence…”

Her choices include:
Prim ImproperPrim Improper by Deirdre SullivanThis Irish coming-of-age trilogy is alternately hilarious and poignant. When Primrose O’Leary’s mother dies in a bike accident involving a drunk driver, she has to move in with her dad Fintan—the quintessential Celtic fat cat—who’s been pretty much an absentee father up to this point. Written in diary format, the Prim Improper books are witty and tender without ever straying into sentimentality, emphasizing the value of compromise and of looking for the good in people who aren’t remotely like you—especially when you’re stuck with them because they’re family.

 

 

Read the whole article HERE

~~~~~
EpicReads has selected:

The 18 Most Beautiful YA Endpapers in the World

Cracking the spine of a hardcover book and discovering beautiful endpapers is a lot like opening the door to a literary surprise party. At first, you’re taken aback. A stunning cover immediately followed by equally stunning endpapers? Yes, let it sink in, because book designers know, sometimes you deserve to be spoiled.Angel endpaperThe Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare – photo posted by Brenda Franklin (@beefranklin613)

See other breathtaking YA endpapers HERE

~~~~~
Listen to what the English of Shakespeare, Beowulf, and King Arthur actually sounded like in these videosbeowulfThe English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible may seem flowery, but it’s basically just an older version of what we speak now, James Harbeck explains in The Week. In fact, it’s what linguists call Early Modern English. But it’s not what you hear in the movies, more like a mix of Irish and pirate. Watch the video and hear Ben Crystal perform a sonnet in the pronunciation of Shakespeare’s time.

Old English is not understandable at all to modern English speakers; you’d have an easier time learning Dutch or Danish. The most famous bit of literature from the Old English period is Beowulf. Listen to Benjamin Bagby, who sounds like he grew up then, read from it.

Read the whole story HERE

~~~~~
I don’t know who this woman is but I want to be her… these are my totem beasts, and my whole spirit just cried out watching that video. They are BEAUTIFUL.White Wolf PactThe Mysterious Connection Between Wolves and Women (Video)

All strong women who believe the Spirit heals.. who believe in spirituality, myth and medicine of the soul, should read this amazing work. It is a truly profound spiritual testimony to the Wild Wolf Woman within! ~ Selkywolf…

White Wolf Pact instructs us that healthy woman is much like a wolf – strong life force, life-giving, territorily aware, intuitive and loyal. Yet separation from her wildish nature causes a woman to become meager, anxious, and fearful….Without us, Wild Woman dies. Without Wild Woman, we die. Para Vida, for true life, both must live. © Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

Read the whole story HERE

~~~~~
THIS ‘n THAT

Buzzfeed offers 33 tongue-in-cheeks reasons You Should Never Read A BookLost vistasAll those magnificent vistas lost forever while you are home reading

See all the “reasons” HERE

~~~~~
Quote of the Day

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”  ~ James Baldwin

~~~~~
Alma Alexander     My books      Email me

If you found this blog post interesting, amusing or helpful, then please use the icons below to share it with other writers, readers or the guy next to you on the subway.

Goodbye — and Thank You

I was nineteen years old and a ‘seasoned’ writer who had written between three and six novels, depending on whether you counted only the ‘good’ ones or everything, when I hit upon a brilliant idea.

I would rewrite the Matter of Britain, the body of medieval literature associated with legendary heroes like King Arthur.

In the first person.

As the Queen.

I wrote the book. entitled “I, Guinevere”, and got so identified with it that my boyfriend at the time used to send me cards addressed to “the Princess” (I still have those cards. They are little treasures.)

It was a serious attempt to come to grips with a topic I passionately loved, with characters whom I’d known well for years through dipping into their stories as told by many other people, with the kind of lush language with which I was to become familiar as my writing later grew more fully into that shape.

“I, Guinevere” was promptly handed by my father to a South African publisher who loved it. I was close enough to a published book to smell it.

He said that the novel had to go to a beta reader first for his report. And off it went.

The beta reader… was Andre Brink.

André Brink, 1982André Brink in 1982

He was one of South Africa’s great writers, a Name, and I was stunned. But Brink was perhaps the last person who might have had any sympathy for the kind of writer I was – or I was shaping to be – or for the subject matter that I had chosen.

I waited for his report with something like existential dread.

When it came back, it opened with a sentence which still takes my breath away.

I have no doubt at all that this work was written by someone who will be a great writer one day.

If you can smell the next word, you’re right. It was

But...”

One of the reasons he gave for my novel’s having missed its mark was that it lacked, as he put it, “what Nikos Kazantzakis called madness“. (It was because of this that I went on to read Kazantzakis whom I had not read before then – so thank you, Mr Brink, for Zorba the Greek.) What he meant, I suspect, was that it lacked the rawest kind of passion, a sexual energy with which this story was charged – but with which I had failed to imbue it.

It rankled, then, but of course he was utterly correct – I was nineteen years old, and a very young and innocent nineteen, and my attempts to write adultery in THE FIRST PERSON (even adultery decorously clad in the robes of High Chivalry) were probably laughable.

I say “were probably” because, to my chagrin, I seem to have permanently lost every last copy of that manuscript. I would love to read it now all these decades later just to see by how much I had sailed past my mark but that is no longer possible. All I have is a memory of that nineteen-year-old girl and her romantic-but-attempted-to-be-gritty vision of Camelot and its shenanigans, and of the book that was born out of that.
dad and me lonelier roadA portrait of the writer as a young woman — Alma at 19 and her late father, Hamo Hromic, with an early book of her poetry

And that sentence. The sentence that – in spite of himself – in spite of all his misgivings and his caveats and eventually his veto – Andre Brink could not help but give me.

Thank you for that, sir.

With gratitude, and respect, I bid you farewell. And may Nikos Kazantzakis greet you with a does of ‘madness’ out there in the light where the passion of words (which you have always carried with you) blazes like a star,

Alma Alexander

~~~

Andre Brink dies at 79

~~~~~
Quote of the day

If I speak with a character’s voice it is because that character’s become so much part of me that … I think I have the right then to imagine myself into the skin, into the life, into the dreams, into the experience of the particular character that I’ve chosen.” ~ Andre Brink

~~~~~
Alma Alexander       My books       Email me

If you found this blog post interesting, amusing or helpful, then please use the icons below to share it with other writers, readers or the guy next to you on the subway.

Literary Winters

Winter

Ice on trees and snow on the ground, beauty mixed with danger. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

In The Guardian, Richard Hirst gives us ghost stories by the fireside and perilous journeys in the snow: from Emily Dickinson to Raymond Briggs, great writing that gets to the heart of the coldest season.

And the first tale is: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, anonymous (14th century)

This, one feels, is an early example of a tale to be told by firelight. At the court of King Arthur, the winter festivities are disrupted by the arrival of a spectral green knight. There is a duel, in which the knight is beheaded by Arthur’s nephew, Sir Gawain; he then picks his head up, holds it aloft and promises that the two of them shall meet again. It’s a hell of an opening. The poem only came to light during the Victorian era which, as any Christmasologist will tell you, is the yuletide’s golden age. So much here prefigures the tropes found in modern winter literature: family and friends gather for warmth and jollity, feasting is the order of the day, good cheer is lubricated by heroic quantities of booze … and then the stranger arrives.

Read the rest HERE

~~~~~

Talk to me

Join me at Bitten by Books today to chat about the World of Weres, my new book, and everything.

I’m HERE (today only)

~~~~~
Book Dedications that Basically Say “Screw You”
Dedications
Image credit: ThinkStock

Not all authors’ dedications are nice. Some—like these—are just plain mean, Arika Okrent says at Mental Floss.

e.g.
This Boy’s Life, Tobias Wolff (1989)
My first stepfather used to say that what I didn’t know would fill a book. Well, here it is.”

The acknowledgements section of Wolff’s memoir of a difficult adolescence with abusive stepfathers ends on a finely honed knifepoint.

Read the others HERE

~~~~~
Five Destructive Myths Perpetuated by Roleplaying Games

Actually a set of ideas which aren’t only applicable to games, Oren Ashkenazi writes at Mythcreants. “This works for writers, too, in terms of world creation and building up realistic milieux and protagonists with anchors and not just adrift at the whim of the plot.”

For example:

The Explorer Fallacy

Sacagawea.jpgBronze statue of Sacagawea, without whom Lewis and Clark would have been hopelessly lost.

Western culture has a bit of a fetish for explorers. We idolize them, from Marco Polo to Lewis and Clark…The vast majority of people we think of today as explorers were traveling through places where people already lived. They weren’t conquering untamed wilderness; they were asking for directions and buying supplies from the locals….When natives are mentioned at all, they are documented more as part of the terrain than as actual residents. This is dehumanizing, and it justifies claiming a land’s resources for ourselves. After all, no one was really living there.

Read the whole article HERE

~~~~~
Take The Reading Challenge!
Reading chartBook-lovers, start your reading engines, Tara Block writes at PopSugar. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more books in 2015, get started now with our ultimate reading challenge. From a book your mom loves to a book with a love triangle, we’re giving you a wide range of reads, spanning eras and genres, instead of specific books. You don’t have to read all 50 books (technically 52, since one is a trilogy), but it’s a fun incentive to diversify your reading — you may be surprised by what you find you enjoy!

See the whole chart HERE

~~~~~
21 Hilariously Misspelled Signs

Spelling is hard. But there’s no exuse to make misteaks like this!
porn and beansSee the other signs HERE

~~~~~
Gentlemen, I’m here to mansplain Dickens … okay?

“Occasionally, I write a column and brace myself for angry e-mail”, Tabatha Southey writes at The Globe, “but I didn’t when I wrote about Ebenezer Scrooge giving Bob Cratchit’s family a turkey at Christmas…protesting e-mail pinged in… I respectfully add Charles Dickens to the List of Things Canadians Are Vehement About.”

“I mostly dearly appreciate reader feedback, as about seven out of 10 times it seems to indicate “reader,” and some were very genial about their criticism. But the number of people willing to die on this Dickensian Goose Hill – and the bodies really did pile up – was striking.”

Read the rest HERE

~~~~~
Quote of the Day

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~ Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho

~~~~~
Alma Alexander      My books      Email me 

If you found this blog post interesting, amusing or helpful, then please use the icons below to share it with other writers, readers or the guy next to you on the subway.

King Arthur a Scottish warlord?

Welcome to MacCamelot. King Arthur was a Scottish, pre-Christian warlord whose remains are buried on Iona, according to a new book by a Scots historian.

Author Adam Ardrey claims, Emma Cowing writes in the Scotsman, that instead of the romantic English king of legend who lived at Camelot – which is often said to be Tintagel in Cornwall or in Wales – Arthur was actually Arthur Mac Aedan, the sixth-century son of an ancient King of Scotland, whose Camelot was a marsh in Argyll.

King Arthur a Scot?

—–
The Alot is Better Than You at Everything

I love this person. Alot.

At Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh writes: “As a grammatically conscientious person who frequents internet forums and YouTube, I have found it necessary to develop a few coping mechanisms.  When someone types out “u” instead of “you,” instead of getting mad, I imagine them having only one finger on each hand and then their actions seem reasonable.  If I only had one finger on each hand, I’d leave out unnecessary letters too!”

Alot
A lot of hyperbole

—–
Great Books Contemporary Culture Has Forgotten

The classics are classics for a reason, Alison Nastasi writes at Flavorwire, and while some novels hold timeless appeal, others have faded into obscurity.

The Illustrated London News in 1898 listed 100 of the best novels ever written. Almost half of the authors are women (a gender balance many contemporary journalists shockingly fail to pay attention to), living authors were excluded, and there are multiple first novels mentioned. We browsed Shorter’s picks and selected ten great books that should inspire further exploration.

lady-as-evelinaEvelina, by Fanny Burney (1778)

Dubbed the “chick-lit novel of 1778,” Fanny Burney’s first book, Evelina, was published anonymously. Told from the point of view of a 17-year-old girl (through her letters) about to enter London society, Evelina shares a comical view of the wealthy and the struggles the young woman faces along her journey. Burney’s work influenced a comparable, more popular author, one Jane Austen.

Forgotten great novels

—-
The birth of a word: How “gaaaa” turns into “water”

MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with video cameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

See the video

Birth of a word

—–
The Word of the Year Is Selfie

Every year, Oxford Dictionaries names a Word of the Year, the word “that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.”

The winner for 2013, Arika Okren writes on Mental Floss, is “selfie.”

selfie-word-of-the-yearSelfie has certainly had a big year. Suddenly everyone seems to be spreading the news about haircuts, vacations, engagements, or even just the weather outside by posting self-snapped photos of themselves on social media. According to Oxford Dictionaries Editorial Director Judy Pearsall, there has been “a phenomenal upward trend in the use of ‘selfie’ in 2013.”

Though the word has been around for a while – they have traced the first use back to an Australian web forum in 2002 – it didn’t come into widespread use until 2012. Ever since, both the word, and the practice it describes, have increased in frequency with every passing minute.

It’s all about Selfie

—–
YA Book of the Month

Oblong Books & Music in New York has launched a program for YA book lovers. Subscribers will receive a new hardcover book “specially chosen for them each month, along with swag and info about the books and authors we love, and whatever’s hottest in the YA world.”

In its q&a for the new program, Oblong said it plans to “to choose books that are very new and perhaps a bit ‘off the radar’–so hopefully these will all come as a delicious surprise and you’ll get to know new titles and authors.”

YA Book of the Month
—–
 
Alma Alexander

Sign up for my newsletter, Tea with the Duchess, here

Email me:
—–