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Saturday, August 30, 2014

At Last



Celebrate with me because I have sent in and received back the final proof of my upcoming YA book, End of Normal, under the name S C Arscott. It will be available on October 6. All I can say is thank goodness and damn that was a lot of work. A lot of work for a book that I hope is a success, but in a world overrun with books, some good, some great, some terrible, you never know, do you? 



Mentally I was through with Normal about a year ago and for those of you long suffering followers of this blog know, it kept resurfacing like the Dr. Seuss book The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. And just like poor Bartholomew, each revision request seemed (to me at least) more grandiose and crazier than the last. But, as with Bart (forgive me Bart for giving you an unasked for nickname, my fingers have trouble typing your whole name), the last revision request is finally completed and I am done. 

I now move on to a new project that I'm not going to talk about just now, I mean why ruin the surprise, right?


I apologize to those readers (of which now number in the triple digits - wowee) who read this blog with the expectation of a little humor (emphasis on little), but on this rainy beginning of the Labor Day weekend, my humor seems spent. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the least grouchy. I let Vlad the cat (the grouchiest cat known to humankind, I mean come on Vlad, how bad can a spoiled cat's life be? Not bad, trust me, I feed him.) Maybe it's his name, Vladimir Putin, after all that is a tough moniker for any creature to carry, especially a tuxedo male feline.  How would you like to have to compare yourself to an often shirtless crazy Russian leader (I almost typed dictator - whoops) with a penchant for world domination. It's got to be tough. 
This is a facsimile of Vlad - Did you really think I'd have an actual pic of our cat? 

In order to keep you amused, I looked on YouTube for one of those cat videos people find so popular ( I don't, to me a cat is a cat is a cat), but didn't find one even vaguely amusing. The truth is I am not much of a cat person. Vlad was brought home by this guy I live with and he's the one that got Vlad hooked on getting canned food at 6:00p.m. Since most of the time I'm the only one home at 6, the feeding of canned food falls to me. Anyway, not finding a funny cat video, I give you something a lot more satisfying, the original version of Etta James' At Last. Enjoy. 

Sing it Etta
















Also, My publisher, Champagne Books is holding a labor day sale, so take advantage of 50% off all ebooks, which make my novellas (usually a whopping $.99 a mere $.50), so if you've been holding out on ordering a fun, sexy, happy ending read, now's the time, so click my buttons (left, right, you name it I'm awash with buttons) and order away. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ideas Spring Eternal, Much Like Hope


I don't care, I'm doing it anyway.
I'm not going to pretend that scores of interviewers beg to know where my book ideas spring from, I'm not that good of a liar and even my fertile imagination boggles at such a stretch of the truth. However, despite the public's lack of interest in the origin of my ideas, I'm going to write about them anyway because, well, because I want to. 

One of my favorite idea-generating locales is art museums. Sometimes, I find a piece of art that seems to beg for a story. It's usually not the most famous, or largest, or even one many people actually look at for more than an instant that catches my eye and stirs my imagination. I find I'm more interested in the painting in the corner, the one most likely unknown. For instance, last week my sister and I spent five days in New York City doing what we both love--visiting art museums. For some of you, I realize the idea of spending hours looking at art is a serious waste of precious shopping time, but to Meg and I, it's a wondrous thing to do and no place better than NYC. That's not to say it's has the best art museums in the world, there are too many incredible places to say such a thing, still it's a fine city for museums. 


We went to the MOMA (home of an impressive collection of moderns, including Van Gogh's Starry Night), the Frick (all I can say is wow, what a collection of beautiful art including, are you sitting down, four Vermeer's, three in the permanent collection), the American Folkart (love, love, love folkart), the Neu (it has some Klimt's, sigh), and the Met, which has a little bit of everything. 


It was at the Met, where I found a gem of a picture that begs for its story to be told. This gentle family portrait caught my eye, so I looked closer at the little girl. 

Look at her face, her eyes, her expression. So sad and yet so compelling. The description explained that most likely the child was dead and the painting was done in honor of her. Oh my goodness, how tragic. With her story in mind, I pondered possible scenarios while walking  through the galleries, which seemed endless, so endless that my sister and I nearly laid down on the marble floor and took a nap-the only reason we didn't was the fear that the camera happy throngs snapping photo after photo would be too busy staring into their phones to notice us.

Anyway, I've done a brief outline of the little girl's story and once I finish my several projects, I will write a story about her and her family. 

So there you have it. And despite your lack of interest or desire to really know any of this, I quote Henry Fielding (the great 18th century English writer and magistrate who established the mechanisms of the modern novel through such works as Tom Jones and Amelia.) When I'm not thanked at all, I'm thanked enough, I've done my duty, and I've done no more. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Brevity is the Soul of Wit, or Is it Merely an Excuse For Keeping Things Short



Ah, what would Shakespeare have made of Twitter? Would he have stuck with his belief that being brief is a lot harder than rambling on and on and on? Personally, I think he'd have been one hell of a tweeter--short, succinct, and pithy would have been his style. And what's not to love about that.

The question, to me at least, concerns the art of brevity today as I write this post: is it better or is it merely an excuse for keeping it short. I have to admit, much as I love being brief for its own sake, today, I must stick to only a handful of lines because my time is running out. 
Back of you Lecherous Monkey


Doesn't that sound dramatic? Now you'll think I'm being chased by spies (what are spies in novel now--Russian? Syrian? Chinese? I don't know because I don't read spy novels as a general rule). Or by crazed monkeys in Voltaire's Candide, a truly weird story. 

Lest you've already leapt from you chair in an attempt to come to my rescue, relax and sit back down, even you, Mr. Chubby Superman. I've only been out of town and am leaving again tomorrow morning and am running behind on everything. Last week I was with my sister in NYC, having fun and enjoying ourselves. And tomorrow I leave for a friend's wedding in Tennessee, so you see it's not life or death, merely a little bit of life's joy, as Goethe said, Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must. To extend this a bit more, click on this silly 40 second video of Polonius muttering the famous advice on staying brief. 

A modern, and very brief, bit of Shakespeare.