What makes good literature?

An extremely good conversation in my literature class about intelligence (Inspired by Ted Chiang’s The Great Silence). We talked about other species that fall under the definition of intelligence, which is “the ability to understand and apply knowledge.” parrot.jpgConsidering Alex the Parrot and Koko the Gorilla, and other species: crows are problem solvers and remember faces. We discussed dogs, cats, and others. Is love, as an abstract idea, understood and applied by animals? And then – is intelligence found in showing love?

This is what good literature should do. Teach, delight, and create wonder.

Read The Great Silence here

What’s So Scary?

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“Don’t be afraid of failure.  The reality is that most people successes rise out of the ashes of their previous failures.”

From a new documentary on Netflix titled Creativity. The narrator is talking to the creator of Game of Thrones. The creator is talking about how many times he’s failed.

I started this to say – what are you afraid of?

Then I wanted to ask – what if there was no such thing as fear? What would you do? What could you do?

I want you to think about that. What if fear was not in the human range of emotion or thought?

 

I Am Not Necessarily Me

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I use first person narrator in many of my stories.  I find the level of intimacy I can connect with in the character makes the experience feel more authentic.

I also enjoy the unreliability of the first person narrator. Although I don’t intend to make my main characters questionable, all first person accounts must be met with skepticism.

There’s one possible downside to the first person narrator and I’m certain many writers have experienced the fan who believes they understand the author based on a story which utilized the “I”.

dadshiningOne reader contacted me convinced Dad Shining was about me. “This is a true story, I bet!” He wrote.

This is complimentary in the fact that the story must have been realistic enough for this reader to believe and enjoy it.

However, Dad Shining (originally published in The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal) is written from a male point of view experiencing a life event incomparable to what a woman could experience.

There’s not much a writer can do about being mistaken for their narrator except to gently correct the reader without offending them or merely thank them. I said, “thank you for reading.”

My main character in West End is a young woman, and I did use an area close to where I grew up. A number of readers have attempted to call me out on that. One reader wrote, “I know most of this is you, except for the part of leaving the boy.” Another reader, convinced it was me believed I’d been married before and left them to change my name and start a new life incognito.

This did bother me to some extent; the woman in West End is in some ways stuck in west end coverlife, and while that might be my fear, it is not me.

Still others found the first person narrator unreliable enough to question her sanity and ask me if she was seeing spirits. These questions I rather enjoyed. One character I had intended to be questionable, but when asked about another – I don’t want to say as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone! – I was blown away!

And that is the benefit and, perhaps, curse of first person narrator. The connection is so authentically intimate that you might convince readers it’s you; And you might just convince them the narrator is a little off her rocker!

Happy Birthday, Eddy!

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The celebration of Poe’s birth date does not go unrecognized.  The Poe Museum in Virginia, as well as many others, will be throwing an Edgar Allan Poe Birthday Bash.

And, rightfully so, Poe is an important figure in American literature.  For my friend who said the other day, “like, what’s the big deal?!”  LET ME TELL YOU THE IMPORTANCE OF POE.

In the early 1800s, the American government called on writers to create a true American Literature to differentiate and separate ourselves from all things Great Britain. Remember, America had just gained it’s official independence from the mother land. By the time Edgar and his contemporaries were born, we were only a generation out from under British rule. There were still loyalists, still people very attached to the “old ways”.

Literature affects society just as society affects literature. By creating a true and distinct American Literature, we could become a true and distinct nation. And while Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau were definitely refining our style, Poe made waves. The stories he published made people sit up and take notice. His style was not always taken seriously here in the states, but authors and critics abroad were giving him credit.

Sometimes it takes someone to shake up the status quo, to capture the deeper, darker parts of our soul individually and collectively to make us look at ourselves and see us for who we are. I think Poe did that. He had a lasting effect that artists, authors, musicians, and readers are still inspired by.

The Poe Museum will be celebrating his birthday on Saturday, January 20th.

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If you can’t be there, you can still take part in the birthday bash.  Buy yourself a cupcake, throw your own Poe party, join an online group and celebrate with the members.

 

You might notice a familiar name on the list!

 

I’ve attended before. The first time, I did my own Poe Tour.

 

 

I’m looking forward to attending the event, talking Eddy with Poe fans, and CAKE!!!

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I’ll be reading, discussing, and signing my new book, Eddy.

The inspiration, the facts, the conjecture.

The reviews for Eddy are kind and generous! Thank you. Thank you.

Described as:

“Poignant and piercing!”

“Creative and very Poe-like.”

“Equally as enthralling as it is tragic”

“Edgar would be proud!”

 

 

Have a lovely new year! Be kind to one another.

 

Eddy Lives

 

Eddy, my new short fiction, is an imaginative fictional account of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1848 near-fatal laudanum overdose is available on Amazon.

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My first reading and signing takes place this Saturday in Santa Clarita at 12:30.

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I’d love to know what you think of the video, the cover, or the audacity I have to write about the legendary author.

Much love and happiness in the new year!

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Eddy – Win a Copy

Eddy, my new novella, will be out next month. I’ve eddycoverfinalbeen invited to read and speak at the Poe Museum’s Birthday celebration upon its release.

However, you can win a free copy before it’s released!

This is a fictional account of an actual event in Edgar Allan Poe’s Life. In 1848, whether accidental or purposeful, Edgar took an overdose of Laudanum, which was an opiate based medicine available on the open market. It was sold in pharmacies as well as pubs!

Poe nearly died as a result. This is a fictional imagining of that experience.

Poe reimagines the life and death of each of the women he loved. The story begins and ends in the Boston rooming house in which Poe found himself in November 1848 right after he’s bought the Laudanum. His overdose rouses images of his mother backstage at the theater in Richmond during her last performance  and continues on to Virginia in their Philadelphia home while she played the piano for their guests. The story doesn’t neglect his other loves.

Debbie the events coordinator from the Poe Museum said she was “blown away” and couldn’t wait to share it with her colleagues.

Eddy won’t be available until January 6th. But you can WIN a advanced copy by entering your email address.  You don’t need to enter more than once, your email address is your entry. A single one will be randomly selected by a generator, and the winner will be notified by email on or about January 5th.

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If you need more to whet your appetite, take a look at my interview with Super News Live on their Dark Mysteries Show about The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe.

I’m excited about releasing this as Poe’s work and life has been such an inspiration, not only to me but to many. His work will continue to inspire writers, artists, and film makers for many years to come.

 

EnJOY!