Friday, October 31, 2014

Join Dennis Palumbo for Murder at the Beach, Bouchercon 2014!


Why We Write Thrills: Exploring the Human Psyche

 Saturday November 15, 2014   4:30-5:30 pm

Moderator: Dennis Palumbo

with
George Fong
Michelle Gagnon
Joshua Graham
Becky Masterson
Gregg Olsen


--------------------------------

Mind Games: Psychological Thrill Rides

 Sunday November 16, 2014    10-11 am

Moderator: Ali Karim

with
Patricia Gussin
Andrew Kaufman
Wendy Webb
Dennis Palumbo



Register and for hotel, or (optional) tour arrangements, we encourage you to do so today.  

Chair, Bouchercon 2014, Murder at the Beach

ingrid@bouchercon2014.com
 
 


The World Mystery Convention is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization which holds an annual convention in honor of Anthony Boucher, the distinguished mystery fiction critic, editor and author. It is the world's premier event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community, and is commonly referred to as Bouchercon. [bough'·chur·con]

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Museum at Chatillon Features Terry Stanfills "Realms of Gold"




                                Amis du Musée du Pays Châtillonnais
                                                                                                 Trésor de Vix
No oo1  Lettre aux Amis du Musée  Automne 2014
Fédération Française des Sociétés

d’Amis de Musée (FFSAM)

Notre association est adhérente à la FFSAM à l’instar de quelque 290 autres sociétés d’amis de Musée. En plus de son rôle d’interlocuteur des Pouvoirs Publics, la fédération est un organe de promotion des Sociétés d’Amis et par voie de conséquence des musées, une source de contacts et une occasion d’échanges d’expériences. C’est ainsi qu’un article sur l’AMPC est paru dans le dernier numéro de la revue de la FSAMM. Par ailleurs nous sommes entrain d’établir des relations avec nos collègues de Bourgogne en vue de donner un second souffle au groupement régional (Bourgogne) des sociétés d’amis de musée.
Affaire à suivre.


























Un roman autour de la Dame de Vix :

Les royaumes dorés par Terry Stanfill.

La Dame de Vix a inspiré un roman original écrit par une Américaine résidant en Californie, Terry Stanfill.  A l’occasion d’une visite touristique de la région, cette écrivaine eut un véritable coup de cœur pour la Dame de Vix et tout ce qui l’entoure. L’ouvrage
"Les royaumes dorés" en Anglais "Realms of Gold " imagine les circonstances dans lesquelles le vase de Vix est arrivé dans notre Châtillonnais. Naturellement, c’est une fiction : elle met en scènes divers évènements et protagonistes réels ou imaginaires. Les versions françaises et anglaises sont en vente à la boutique du Musée (15€).  




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                Contacts : Président Robert Fries  Tél :03 80 93 14 42
                                                                      Secrétariat : 06 36 60 92 78  courriel ampc.tresordevix@gmail.com
Permanence les jeudis de 9h. à 12h. (sur rendez-vous)

Monday, October 27, 2014

THE LAST WITNESS By Jerry Amernic Reviewed by Joan's Musings


Moments in world history that must never be forgotten

I was in high school during WWII and I remember the news footage when General Eisenhower first visited Auschwitz, and even in these times there are people who claim that Auschwitz and the other death camps never existed.

Although this story is written as fiction, the conditions and treatment of the Jews as related by Jack Fisher are true.  Jack was originally a Jew and imprisoned in the ghetto in Poland by the Nazis.  Jack and other small boys would make a hole in the wall and sneak out to steal food to eat, for the Nazis never let enough food be allowed into the ghetto to feed everyone sufficiently. At this time, Jack had a Jewish name as Jacob, so he spoke Polish, and then had to learn German, which the Germans demanded.  Jack was rather blond with blue eyes, so he didn’t look Jewish, but more Polish.  One time when Jack was out stealing, he entered a Catholic Church.  The priest gave him food and told him to come back weekly and he would have food for him.  The priest also recognized the fact that Jack looking Polish might save his life, so he dye Jack’s hair more blond and told Jack to use the Polish version of Jacob and he also taught him some Catholic prayers.  Thus Jack was able to save his life and as the years passed, he said he was Catholic.  Eventually the priest was taken away by the Gestapo.  Jack was four and five years old during these times.

Then the Nazis began to move the Jews out of the ghetto, over-loaded them on freight train cars and sent them to Auschwitz.  Eventually all of Jack’s family was killed and the only reason why Jack wasn’t was because the Nazis thought him Polish and Dr. Mengele never got around to experimenting on him like he did the other children.  Through this story Jack tells about the atrocities that occurred.

The slant in this story against other tales of Nazis and the Jews is that the story takes place in 2039, the Holocaust of the murder of six million Jews took place from 1939 to end of WWII and in the meantime in 2019 there was a slaughter of twenty-thousand Christians by Muslims, which was considered the Great Holocaust.

Jack is now one hundred years old and there were only four or five other Jews that old who were Holocaust victims.  One by one they suffered mysterious deaths.  The officials of Austria, Germany and several European countries claimed Jack and the others lied.  That they did have camps where they simply held people who were considered anti-German.

Jack spoke up about his experiences when he had a chance and his great grand-daughter, Christine, was able to get documented proof of these camps and the names and numbers who were killed, as they were original Nazi records.

This put Jack and Christine’s lives in danger.  And the story continues with what they went through to prove what Jack said.  This is a fantastic plot, a page turner, but a true historical story based on facts.  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review.  


Reposted from Book Reviews by Joan 

 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Inside The Creative Mind: An Interview With Psychotherapist, Screenwriter, and Novelist Dennis Palumbo


Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Suspense Radio on BlogTalkRadio




Jan Burke and DP Lyle discuss psychology and storytelling in both novels and on the screen with veteran screenwriter/novelists Dennis Palumbo

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist and author of Writing From the Inside Out (John Wiley). His work helping writers has been profiled in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ and other publications, as well as on CNN, NPR and PBS. He also blogs regularly for The Huffington Post andPsychology Today.

His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). His acclaimed series of crime novels (Mirror Image, Fever Dream, Night Terrors and the upcoming Phantom Limb) feature psychologist Daniel Rinaldi, a trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police.  All are from Poisoned Pen Press.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kenneth Atchity Featured in The Visionary



 
Get The Visionary in print or for your iPad, Kindle, Nook, or Kobo.



"You cannot fail at being yourself, which means doing with all your might what you were born to do with your light, your vision, and your time.”

There is no such thing as was—only is,” William Faulkner wrote. “If was existed, there would be no grief or sorrow.” Time is a human creation.


Time keeps then now. Time causes aging, not age. A mayfly has no time to realize its lifecycle is mere hours; fellow mayflies don’t remind it or post countdown clocks on its walls. By and within ourselves we are ageless. And time is what we make of it. We must make the time to do what we do best, what we were born to do.
Light is the universal mind revealing its potential. “Let there be light,” the creator said, and his very words were the light “that shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Without the darkness whence it came, there would be no light; darkness is the chaos created by fear, unease with the universe—but also the womb of love and light. Light begets perception, and perception at its brightest is what we call vision.

Let your voice rise to the heavens called the Elder and the voices of the group rose strong and clear to greet the First Ray to celebrate its arrival in the cycle of this new lifetime as the ancients called the day this new journey of the Earth around the axis of its heart, to welcome it with outstretched arms and hearts wide open yes here the Light loved to shine

Reading Birgitte’s words makes me rejoice anew in that time of first light that I’ve sought throughout my life to dedicate to vision. Born on a farm, I’m happiest when I awaken an hour or two before dawn. This is my time, spent with a cup of savory coffee and a half-hour of reading inspirational words like these; followed by attending to my latest “visionary” project. Currently, that’s the completion of a family chronicle; prior to that it was my novel The Messiah Matrix, which explores the origins of Christianity from an unusual and little-discussed historical perspective.

I believe in the power of stories to change the world. My passion for stories has not only changed my life; it has been my life—hundreds of books sold to publishers or published by Story Merchant Books, two dozen New York Times bestsellers, thirty movies produced to date, several television series sold. All stories I felt needed to be told. It’s been my beloved vocation to inspire storytellers to reach for their maximum audiences. The books and movies we’ve developed have reached millions worldwide and it’s the best feeling to hear, on a plane from Hong Kong to Tokyo, that a complete stranger saw “Hysteria” or “The Kennedy Detail” and loved it.

Each day I’m ready for the sunrise, facing it with an exhilarating sense of promise and potential—and the power to choose how I fulfill it.

Vision weaves light and time into patterns, drawing our attention to them as confidently as male peacocks spread their tail feathers, young bucks clash with their antlers, or sea anemones vibrate color, drawing attention to the lifeforce’s need to replicate itself, thereby overcoming time and dancing with love and immortality. 

What is the purpose of this cosmic dance? we wonder. What is the purpose of life? Just as a California poppy bursts open with hues brighter than the rainbow, an antelope leaps across the Colorado prairie because she can, or the alpha lion’s mane grows shaggier with power, the purpose of life is simply to fill our human experience with forms we create to celebrate the splendor and beauty of the universal mind.

One of those forms is time, the first expression created by humanity in response to the universal creation of light. While we wait for life to make its ultimate expression known to us, we ourselves reach for it by bathing in the light the universe sends to remind us of its eternal promise.

No matter how far we ever are from reaching that highest expression of ourselves, let us remember the words of Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset: “I think the only immoral thing is for a being not to live every instant of its life with the utmost intensity.” That’s what Mahatma Gandhi meant when he declared, “Full effort is full success.”

Birgitte’s mellifluous prose reminds us that you cannot fail at being yourself, which means doing with all your might what you were born to do with your light, your vision, and your time.

~ Ken Atchity

Dr. Kenneth Atchity is an American producer and author who has worked in the world of letters as a literary manager, editor, speaker, writing and career coach, columnist, book reviewer, and professor of comparative literature. Called a "story merchant" by a visiting ambassador to the United States, Ken's life passion is finding great storytellers and turning them into bestselling authors and screenwriters.
A member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Ken has made numerous radio and television appearances and given keynote speeches at conferences throughout the world. He has produced over 30 films, including the Emmy-nominated “The Kennedy Detail,” and received awards and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation.
Following studies at Georgetown (A.B., English/Classics) and Yale (M.Phil. Theater History, Ph.D. Comparative Literature), Ken has served as professor and chairman of comparative literature and creative writing at Occidental College; editor of Contemporary Quarterly: Poetry and Art; columnist-reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review; Distinguished Instructor, UCLA Writers Program; and Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Bologna.  

Learn more about Ken and his work at www.storymerchant.com.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Big Thrill Interviews Dennis Palumbo author of The Phantom Limb, A Dennis Rinaldi Mystery Thriller



By Cathy Perkins

Phantom Limb by Dennis PalumboPalumbo’s fourth novel in the series, PHANTOM LIMB, opens with psychologist and Pittsburgh police department consultant Daniel Rinaldi’s new patient: Lisa Campbell, a local girl whose lurid, short-lived Hollywood career sent her scurrying back to the Steel City. Now married to one of the city’s richest tycoons, she comes to Danny’s office with a challenge: talk her out of committing suicide. Though he buys some time, she’s kidnapped right outside his office. The search for Lisa pits the police—and Danny—against a lethal adversary. At the same time, he tries to assist a friend’s brother, a bitter Afghan vet who lost a leg in combat, whose own life now appears at risk. Or is it?

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (including My Favorite Year and Welcome Back, Kotter), Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist and author. His acclaimed series of crime novels (MIRROR IMAGE, FEVER DREAM, NIGHT TERRORS and the upcoming PHANTOM LIMB) feature psychologist Daniel Rinaldi, a trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh police. All are from Poisoned Pen Press.

You’ve had a fascinating career—screenwriter to psychotherapist to novelist. As a psychotherapist, do you find this background provides insights into human behavior and/or helps develop the hero, villain, and perhaps the victim in your novels?

Definitely! I think the merging of my two careers—seventeen years as a TV/film writer and nearly three decades as a psychotherapist—has benefitted both the writing in general, and my exploration of human behavior in particular. Certainly my ongoing study of trauma has contributed to my understanding of the psychological issues with which the crime victims in my novels grapple. As for my hero, psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi, my experience as a therapist in private practice—as well as time spent working in clinics and a psychiatric hospital—has given me a unique perspective on what might motivate a guy like him. As it turns out, he and I share a lot of the same ideas about the flaws in the mental health system and how psychotherapy is practiced. Go figure.

Although officially set in Pittsburgh, your Daniel Rinaldi series has avoided the “Cabot Cove” (kill everyone in town) effect through varied locations for the four books. How important do you believe setting and secondary characters are to a series?

I’m glad that you noticed how varied the locales are in the novels, even though they’re ostensibly set in Pittsburgh. Over the course of the four books (so far!), the stories have taken readers to rural Pennsylvania, as well as parts of Ohio and West Virginia.

I think this gives me greater freedom in the writing, since I’m not forced to situate all the action in Pittsburgh proper. Especially since I believe setting is crucial to giving visual interest and narrative vitality to the story. Just as I believe having interesting, believable secondary characters are crucial to the success of any long-term series. They add realism and context to the world of the hero. In fact, their interaction with my lead character actually helps define him. Moreover, if the emails I get are any indication, readers seem to enjoy watching the series’ secondary characters grow and change. I know I sure do!

As a follow up, I noticed Rinaldi’s love interest has a background role. What place do you see for relationships in action adventures or in suspense in general?

Again, I think the exploration of relationships is crucial to giving any suspense novel realism, depth, and relevancy. If the characters, and the ways they interact, aren’t compelling, why should we care what happens to them? The way I see it, good writing of any type depends on conflict, which derives from the expression of strong emotions. Moreover, if the stakes aren’t high—personally or professionally—for your characters, the reader’s investment in the story won’t be very high, either.

Daniel Rinaldi is a non-law enforcement protagonist who often takes on an independent investigative role, generally chasing the villains in superb action adventure scenes. How do you balance the fine line between a driven character and a reckless risk-taker?   

In Rinaldi’s case, I’m afraid there’s not much of a fine line. Practically every person in his life decries his “hero complex.” One of his colleagues on the force, Sgt. Harry Polk, is constantly reminding Rinaldi that he’s not a cop. But one of the things I strive for in the writing is to show how his emotional wounds, his own personal demons, compel a good deal of Rinaldi’s actions. And how this behavior is the counterpoint to his clear professionalism as a therapist.

Your books are known for well-written action and pace. Do you find this emphasis the nature of the genre or do you think it reflects a larger society or perhaps today’s shorter attention span?

Wow, that question may be above my pay grade! I do think a modern crime thriller needs thrills as well as crime, as long as the action scenes are realistic and seem to emerge naturally from the situation. So as not to seem to dodge the broader question, I do think crime novels reflect society, and have always done so. When I think of 1880s London, my reference point is the Holmes canon. My image of the Boston underworld is half George V. Higgins, half Dennis Lehane. The author Tom Wolfe said that the novel—any novel—has always served to describe a culture’s “status details,” the issues, trends, and mores of the society that the particular novel depicts. This is as true of crime novels as it is of general fiction.

Going back to your psychotherapist role, I found you’re described as a specialist in creative issues. Could you expand on that role?

After all my years as a TV and film writer, as well as a novelist and short story writer going back to the 1970’s, I figured that specializing in creative issues made sense when I started my therapy practice. Though most of my patients are writers in the entertainment industry, I also have novelists and journalists in my practice. As well as some musicians and actors. In my experience, creative people all tend to struggle with the same kinds of issues, regardless of medium or genre: “blocks,” procrastination, fear of rejection, anxiety, depression, and so on. Not to mention the havoc that having creative ambitions can play on relationships! As Robert Frost said, “The one thing all nations on earth share is the fear that a member of the family is going to want to be an artist.”

Tell us something about PHANTOM LIMB that isn’t mentioned in the publisher’s synopsis.

The character of Skip Hines, a returning vet who lost a leg to an IED in Afghanistan, suffers from “phantom limb” syndrome: the strange sensation that his missing limb is still there. That it itches sometimes, and feels the cold. As I got deeper into the writing, I realized that his phantom limb symptoms were a metaphor for the felt sense of loss we all experience sometimes in life. The death of a loved one, a painful divorce. That feeling that the person is not really gone from our lives. That their presence is still with us, as though a tangible thing. Given that Daniel Rinaldi’s wife was murdered, and his father died of alcoholism, he can really relate to Skip’s feeling that something that is gone is still, uncannily, there. At least in his mind.

Okay, enough with the business questions! How about some fun stuff? You know, just between the two of us. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, to do onsite research, where would it be?

Easy. Two places I’ve already been and am desperate to re-visit. The first is Nepal, where I trekked for weeks in the Himals. The landscape is breathtaking, the Nepali people the kindest and most generous of spirit I’ve ever encountered. The second place couldn’t be more different: Oxford, whose history and architecture really speaks to the Anglophile in me. I’d love to spend my dotage sitting under a thousand-year-old gargoyle, in some shadowed, forgotten corner of some shadowed, forgotten gothic building, with a glass of Pinot Noir and a good book.

What are you reading now for pleasure?

THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt. What an amazing writer!

What’s next for you?

Diving into the fifth Daniel Rinaldi novel. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble the poor guy is going to get into next.

Reposted from The Big Thrill


Thursday, October 16, 2014

14 definitions of a “classic”

Why the classics should be read.

 


That’s exactly what beloved Italian writer Italo Calvino addresses in his 1991 book Why Read the Classics? — a sort of “classic” in its own right. In this collection of essays on classical literature, Calvino also produces these 14 definitions of a “classic”:

  1. The classics are those books about which you usually hear people saying: 'I'm rereading…', never 'I'm reading….'
  2. he Classics are those books which constitute a treasured experience for those who have read and loved them; but they remain just as rich an experience for those who reserve the chance to read them for when they are in the best condition to enjoy them.
  3. The classics are books which exercise a particular influence, both when they imprint themselves on our imagination as unforgettable, and when they hide in the layers of memory disguised as the individual's or the collective unconscious.
  4. A classic is a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading.
  5. A classic is a book which even when we read it for the first time gives the sense of rereading something we have read before.
  6. A classic is a book which has never exhausted all it has to say to its readers.
  7. The classics are those books which come to us bearing the aura of previous interpretations, and trailing behind them the traces they have left in the culture or cultures (or just in the languages and customs) through which they have passed.
  8. A classic is a work which constantly generates a pulviscular cloud of critical discourse around it, but which always shakes the particles off.
  9. Classics are books which, the more we think we know them through hearsay, the more original, unexpected, and innovative we find them when we actually read them.
  10. A classic is the term given to any book which comes to represent the whole universe, a book on a par with ancient talismans.
  11. 'Your' classic is a book to which you cannot remain indifferent, and which helps you define yourself in relation or even in opposition to it.
  12. A classic is a work that comes before other classics; but those who have read other classics first immediately recognize its place in the genealogy of classic works.
  13. A classic is a work which relegates the noise of the present to a background hum, which at the same time the classics cannot exist without.
  14. A classic is a work which persists as a background noise even when a present that is totally incompatible with it holds sway.

           
    Reposted From Brain Pickings
           

         

       


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Birthday e.e. Cummings

1000px-EE_Cummings_signature.svg


For E. E. Cummings’s birthday: a letter he wrote to Ezra Pound in October 1941, larded with gossip, political commentary, neologisms, and mordant pseudonyms. (Look out for Archibald MacLeish and William Carlos Williams, among others.) Pound and Cummings first met in Paris in 1921; this letter and others from the expansive Pound-Cummings correspondence appeared in our Fall 1966 issue, with Cummings’s “often eccentric punctuation and his verbal byplay intact.” 


October 8, 1941


DEAR EZRA
whole, round, and heartiest greetings from the princess & me to our favorite Ikey-Kikey, Wandering Jew, Quo Vadis,Oppressed Minority Of one, Misunderstood Master, Mister Lonelyheart, and Man Without A Country

re whose latest queeries

            East Maxman has gone off on a c-nd-m in a pamphlet arguing everybody should support Wussia, for the nonce. “Time” (a loose) mag says Don Josh Bathos of London England told P.E.N. innulluxuls that for the nonce writers shouldn’t be writing. Each collective choisi(pastparticiple,you recall,of choisir)without exception and—may I add—very naturally desires for the nonce nothing but Adolph’s Absolute Annihilation, Coûte Que Coûte (SIC). A man who once became worshipped of one thousand million pibbul by not falling into the ocean while simultaneously peeping through a periscope and sucking drugstore sandwiches is excoriated for,for the nonce,freedom of speech. Perfectly versus the macarchibald maclapdog macleash—one(1)poet,John Peale Bishop, hold a nonce of a USGov’t job;vide ye newe Rockyfeller-sponsored ultrarumpus to boost SA infrarelations. Paragraph and your excoed Billy The Medico made a far from noncelike W.C. of himself(per a puddle of a periodical called “Decision”)relating how his poor pal E.P. = talented etc but ignorant ass who etc can’t play the etc piano etc… over which tour d’argent the wily Scotch duckfuggur Peter Munro Jack 5 Charles Street NYCity waxed so wroth he hurled at me into New Hampshire a nutn if not incandescing wire beginning “stab a man in the back but do it three years too late”:’twould hence appear you’ve still some friends, uncle Ezra, whether vi piace or non

now to descend to the surface;or, concerning oldfashioned i: every whatsoever bully(e.g. all honourless & lazy punks twerps thugs slobs politicos parlourpimps murderers and other reformers continues impressing me as a trifle more isn’t than least can less and the later it’s Itler the sooner hit’s Ess. Tune: The Gutters Of Chicago
“make haste” spake the Lord of New Dealings
“neutrality’s hard on my feelings”
—they returned from the bank
with the furter in frank:
& the walls,& the floors,&the ceilings)
As my father wrote me when I disgraced Orne—forsan et haec. And the censor let those six words through
hardy is as hardy does
                                    —salut!


Reposted From The Paris Review


Monday, October 13, 2014

Miki's Hope Reviews Dennis Palumbo's Night Terrors!



I can almost guarantee that you will not be able to see the ending of this book coming! What a roller coaster ride! The characters come to life and are extremely believable.

Daniel, a psychologist who sometimes is an outside consultant for the police is always getting into trouble-he just can't let the police do their jobs-and he has the bruises and broken bones to prove it. He just has to get involved in the investigations, much to the consternation of the police officers--some of whom he doesn't exactly get along with!

This is the third book in the Daniel Rinaldi Mystery series. It can definitely be read as a stand alone. I have a feeling that I am going to try to get the first two books as well as the 4th!!!!

About the Book (from Amazon)

After twenty years spent inside the heads of the nation’s worst serial killers, retired FBI profiler Lyle Barnes is falling apart mentally. Psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi thinks he can help Barnes through his terrible night visions. Barnes, however, is also the target of an unknown assassin whose mounting list of victims paralyzes the city and lands Lyle in protective custody. When Barnes flies the coop, he draws Daniel and the joint FBI-Pittsburgh PD Task Force into a desperate manhunt.

Meanwhile, a second case competes for Daniel’s attention. The mother of a youthful confessed killer awaiting trial is convinced that her son is innocent and appeals to Daniel for help. Against his better judgment, he becomes involved, and soon suspects that much about the case is not as it appears.

Daniel is faced with a number of questions. Can he and the law officials find the missing Barnes before the killer does? Will the danger closing in around him begin to affect his personal life, such as his deepening relationship with Detective Eleanor Lowrey? And are these two seemingly unconnected cases somehow linked?

Read a couple of chapters here


Purchase the book here

Friday, October 10, 2014

Guest Post: My grandson just uttered his first word, and it's not what we expected by Jerry Amernic




My daughter has a one-year-old. His name is William, he’s a cute little guy and we all love him to death.

He has dimples in his cheeks when he gives us his four-tooth smile (two uppers, two lowers). The week after his birthday he did two things for the first time: He walked by himself, and it was something to behold – a cross between Frankenstein and Jimmy Cagney – and the other thing he did was utter a word, but it wasn’t Mama or Dada.

Here’s the story. In our dining room we have this pendulum wall clock, and every time it gongs, William takes note. If he is visiting us at noon and hears 12 gongs, he sits up, completely mesmerized, with his mouth ajar, until the string runs out. He doesn’t even blink. If he’s in his high chair in the kitchen and we ask, “Where is the clock?” he knows where to look and sometimes he points to it.

The other day he finally said it. Clock. It was his first word, only he didn’t quite capture the consonant blend, and so, it came out minus the “l”. Kapeesh?

Now, of course, he’s saying it all the time and my daughter, his mom, is beside herself. She has a book where she records such things as his height and weight at birth, when his first tooth appeared, and his first word. But she is still leaving that one blank.

I am sure he says it when she’s out shopping with him at the grocery store. Or when they visit the other grandparents. Or when they have friends over to the house. It must be embarrassing.

I play old-timers hockey with the guys. The thing about men’s hockey leagues is that when you’re in your 20s and 30s, dressing-room talk is always about women – wives, girlfriends, barmaids. In your 40s, it’s about family and kids. In your 50s, colonoscopies and other bodily issues are the rage, so any opportunity to inject humour into the proceedings is welcome.

When we were getting dressed for a game the other night, the guy next to me, a big defenceman who happens to be a police officer, announced that he just became a grandfather. After offering congrats, I mentioned this little story about my grandson.

Bob – that’s his name – said it’s a good thing William’s initial foray into language didn’t refer to the female anatomy.

Could you imagine? It got me thinking. Can a one-year-old be charged with creating a public disturbance?

I should ask Bob, he’s a cop. But no. I’m sure that a little kid can’t be charged with anything. But the adult who’s running the show certainly can, and that goes for mothers, fathers and grandfathers.

Since I’m the one who got him interested in that wall clock by making a fuss whenever it gonged, I feel responsible, and now it’s obvious that I created a monster.

Because of me, William says “clock” (minus the “l”) when you shove your watch in his kisser.

Because of me, he says “clock” (minus the “l”) when you put him down to play with that Fisher-Price toy that has the round face with the big hand and little hand on it.

Because of me, he says “clock” (minus the “l”) whenever he sees any kind of clock at all.

On his last visit to the house I spent a lot of time with him. We were both looking at his parents’ wedding portrait hanging in the hallway.

“Mama,” I said over and over, pointing to my daughter.

“Dada,” I said, pointing to my son-in-law.

Mama. Dada. Mama. Dada.

Nothing. Not even a glimmer of recognition.

Just then the pendulum wall clock in the dining room issued a single gong, signifying arrival of the half-hour.

“C[l]ock!” William said out loud, turning to the sound. It was as clear as the proverbial bell.

Satisfied, he smiled from cheek to cheek, dimples and all.

I was toast.


Orginally Posted on The Globe and Mail




Thursday, October 9, 2014

Five Star Review for R. Lee Walsh's Irin on Reader's Favorite




purchase on Amazon.com



Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

R. Lee Walsh's fantasy novella, Irin: The Last Scribe, is about an ancient race of supernatural beings known as Irin. They don’t age, get sick or wounded like normal humans do. They walk freely in society, easily overlooked as someone unimportant. They protect the world against those who intend to corrupt and terrorize humankind’s existence. In Irin: The Last Scribe Prequels Book 1, we meet Riley Storm, an Irin enforcer who is seeking his missing partner. His search brings him to Los Angeles, where he discovers a disturbing secret behind the city's most violent criminals.

Irin is a novella that easily rivals a lengthy novel. It is less than 70 pages, yet the back story is enough for readers to familiarize themselves with the ethereal existence of the Irin race, particularly Riley Storm and Peach. It is captivating right from the beginning – it only took two pages for the story to fully hook my interest, and I easily immersed myself in every vividly written scene. The challenge of writing a fantasy fiction is getting the readers to understand the concept of the story, its world and be fascinated by its ethereal characters. I personally think that Walsh nails this prerequisite element of the genre.

On the whole, The Last Scribe is definitely a series that fantasy fans would love to follow. It is fascinating, action-packed and very readable. The plot is original and has substantial depth. Walsh’s talent as a writer is definitely a laudable one. I would certainly keep a lookout for her next work. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

UBAD Writers & Readers Festival October 1-5, 2014



web program launch


We are delighted to share with you the full program for Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, October 1-5, 2014.

With over 150 writers from more than 25 countries it’s truly a celebration of global issues, big ideas and extraordinary stories. This year’s theme, Saraswati: Wisdom & Knowledge is an exploration of the wisdom to be gained by creative expression.

A number of the Festival’s writers are no strangers to prizes – such as Hassan Blasim (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize); Eimear McBride (Baileys Women’s Prize) and Cyrus Mistry (2014 DSC Prize) – to name a recent few.

Queen of Crime and creator of much-loved series Wire in the BloodVal McDermid will be jetting over from Scotland, while master novelist Amitav Ghosh joins us along with Pulitzer Prize-finalist Deborah Baker (they’ll also lead an exclusive post-Festival Komodo Islands cruise).

With wandering in their blood, the program features British travel writing great Colin Thubron; memoirist Robyn DavidsonTim Cope; and Carl Hoffman.

Rayya EliasKate Holden and poet Kosal Khiev are all survivors of different stripes, while star of Spike Lee’s Inside ManCarlos Andrés Gómez is also an acclaimed spoken-word poet and writer.
Leading the vanguard for avant-garde Asian fiction is Chinese writer Can Xue and Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura, while ex-pat Malaysian Tash Aw continues to delight us.

From Indonesia the Festival has invited publishing pioneer Goenawan Mohamad, intellectual Azyumardi Azra, art patron Agung Rai and Festival favourites Debra YatimAhmad Fuadi and Ketut Yuliarsa‘Truman Capote with a machete’ Made Wijaya joins the line-up, as does How to act Indonesian YouTube hit sensation Sacha Stevenson, plus many more.

Ardent human rights activists and social commentators are plenty, from one-time UN Representative in Sudan Mukesh Kapila, to frontline journalist Pallavi Aiyar, author of TheWisdom of Whores and Indonesia etc. Elizabeth Pisani, and Polish editor and journalist Adam Michnik. On the environmental front we have Keibo OiwaNadya Hutagalung,Willie Smits and more.

In addition to our Main Program and Special Events, we’ve added exciting extras: Yoga; Digital Dialogues; Surf; plus of course Environment Day and The Kitchen. We hope you enjoy exploring.

With literary lunches, workshops, in-depth conversations,children’s and youth events, twilight performancesfilm screenings, poetry slams, cultural masterclasses, art exhibitions, book launches and more, be sure not to miss this world class event set in Bali’s cultural heartland.
Full program HERE.

Purchase your Festival Passes HERE.

Please note: Sir VS Naipaul will unfortunately no longer be joining the 2014 line-up. More information here.