"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Hysteria In Rome!

Maggie Gyllenhaal, left, smiles as she looks at US film director Tanya Wexler, center, on her tiptoes, and British actor Rupert Everett, lowering, during the photo call of the movie "Hysteria" at the 6th edition of the Rome International Film Festival in Rome, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Cajun Wit and Wisdom

An Interview with Ken Atchity

Humor & Health Journal

After reading your book, Cajun Household Wisdom, I wanted to do an interview with you. I found the book very humorous as well as informative. Through the sayings, photographs, and stories the reader gets a genuine glimpse and flavor of Cajun culture and a lot of laughs. What motivated you to write the book?

As I grew around my mother’s French Louisiana Family on a farm near Eunice I started collecting sayings and stories I heard from family members and other people in Louisiana. Especially the hunting stories and jokes my uncles told. I’ve always thought that the Cajuns have a unique way of looking at life and wanted to put it together in one place.

Let me mention some subjects and let you give an explanation of what they mean in Cajun culture.


Cajuns are people who enjoy every moment of life. They aren’t city planners, architects, or engineers. They’re country people. Their thing is living in the moment. The greatest celebration of the moment on a daily basis is meals. Cajuns have an incredible zest about eating and putting their energy into food. They love texture, which is why they like spicy food and all kinds of food that has a lot of surface to it. Cajun philosophy center around the kitchen and around eating. As far as Cajuns are concerned, if you haven’t eaten with someone, you don’t know them.


Dancing is another example of living in the moment and celebrating life. What’s amazing when you go to Louisiana is that you see the oldest people dancing. People in there nineties will be out in the dance floor kicking up a storm. People of all ages go to the dance halls. So the dance hall is another place where Cajun culture comes together to celebrate the energy of life. One of the famous clubs is Fred’s in Mamou. If you walk in at 11 o’ clock on Saturday morning you’d find the place already hopping. The truth is that it’s all the people from the night before who are still there. Since there are no windows in the place no one has any idea or cares what time it is.


Jokes, stories, and conversations are all a celebration of life and obviously the best place to do that is over a meal or a cup of coffee. Coffee is a central part of Cajuns culture. It’s a time to stop and talk. You don’t drink coffee while working.


Cajuns like to talk and tell stories. One of my uncles in Louisiana still resents the telephone. He thinks that if people want to talk with you, they should drive over to your place. Then you’ll know it’s important and you’ll stop what you’re doing to have a talk.

As a kid I remember sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs and endlessly listening to my uncles, grandfather, and grandmother telling stories and talking. That’s what I go home to Louisiana for now. I need the fix- to be with people who know how to talk.

One time I went on a fishing trip with my Uncle Wib. We got up at three A.M. to go down to Grand Isle and we never stopped talking. We were supposed to get there by sunrise. At 10 o’clock I pointed that out. He said ‘Oh my God, I took the wrong road at Thibodaux five hours back.’ We were so deep in conversation that we forgot about everything else.

To Cajuns nothing is more important than communication. We get so busy in our modern world that we don’t really have time to talk with each other – everything is oriented toward efficiency and arranged in bytes. Just enough is said to get by. But to Cajuns talking is an art.

What is your next Cajun book?

It is similar to Cajun Household Wisdom except it’s about the kitchen and eating. It’s called Cajun Kitchen Wisdom and has recipes for smothered chicken, lima beans and lots more. It contains sayings that have to do with the kitchen. One is “If de gumbo is good, you can put up with de cook.’ It also presents fishing and farming stories. The thing about Cajun humor is that much of it is about fishing or farming stories. The White Mule stories are prime examples of farming tales.

One of my favorite White Mule stories will appear in the next book, Cajun Kitchen Wisdom.

It goes like this: A stranger walks into a bar in Abbeville and takes a seat. Halfway through his Jax, he pulls a huge tomato out of the paper bag he carried in, and sets it on the counter. The bartender sees him do it, but doesn’t even stop wiping his glasses. The man at the other end of the bar doesn’t come over either.

So the stranger asks, “Y’all see dis tomata?’

The other two men nod.

“Sacre blue du couyon,” the stranger says. “Have you ever seed a tomata as dis heah?’

The other two men move over politely to take a closer look. The man who was at the far stool lifts the tomato, palms it, smells it, rubs it, smells his finger, then puts it back on the bar. The bartender doesn’t even bother to do the same. He just exchanges glances with the other man.

“Well?’ demands the stranger.

‘Well, ah foh one siurley have,’ says the man from the other stool.

The stranger can’t believe his ears but the other man tells him to wait. He goes outside, then comes back in, straining as he carries the biggest, most gigantic tomato the stranger’s even seen in his life – it has to weigh over ten pounds! The man places the tomato on the counter, and the stranger can’t resist touching it, smelling it, stroking it’s skin. Sheepishly, he puts his tomato back into its bag.

“Okay,” he says to the man.

“You got ta tell me, yah. What is yo’ secret?”

“Did you see dat white mule tied up outside?” the other man asks.

“Yah, ah sawed it,” the stranger nods.

“Well it’s dat mule.” “Ah doan unnerstand,” says the stranger.

“Dere’s nuttin’ ta understand,” the other man explains.

“Everybod ‘roun heah knows about it” – he looks at the bartender, who nods for confirmation.

“When ah go out ta ready my ground for plantin’, dat white mule pulls mah plow. When ah’m plantin’, dat white mule pulls de cultivator- an’ when ah’m harvestin’ –“

“How much you recon’ you wan’ foh dat mule?” the other man breaks in.

“I had date mule foh ten years now,” the other man says. “Date mule’s not foh sale.”

“Ah’ll give you a hunnert dollars cash for dat mule raht now,” says the stranger, plunking the gold coins down on the counter.

The other man looks at the coins for a second. “A hunnert dollars?” he says.


The stranger’s jubilant, but the man who sold the mule says, “Would you min’ if ah deliever him ta you in the mohnin? Dat mule was mah fren,’ and ah’d lake to let mah wife ‘n kids say good-bye to him properly.”

“No problem,” says the other man, and leaves the bar whistling.

But the first man got himself a real run of bad luck. First of all, he stays at the bar and gets caught in a bouree’ game- and lost the hundred dollars. Second of all, when he wakes up the next mroing, and went to his barn to get the mule ready to deliever he finds the mule dead as a doornail on the barn floor.

He felt real bad about that, real bad- especially because he didn’t have the hundred dollars to repay the stranger. But after awhile he got to thikin’ and realized that, as the saying goes, “a deal is a deal.” So he loaded the mule on his wagon, and headed for the other man’s farm. He parked the wagon down the road a bit and walked up to the house, where the man was waiting for him on his porch.

“I got some bad news for you, an’ some moh bad news,” the first man says.

“What’s de bad news?” asks the stranger.

“Well you ‘member dat hunnert dollars you gave me las’ night for det mule? Ah got mahself caught in a bouree’ game and ah done las de whole ting.”

“Well dat surely is bad news,” the stranger agreed. “Dat’s real bad news. Ah feel rela badly foh you, losing dat money, sha.”

“But the other bad news is dat the mule you bought – ah found him daid in mah barn dis nohnin.”

Now the stranger understood the gravity of the situation all too well, and why the first man felt so bad. But he got to thiking, and realized to himself, “a deal’s a deal.”

“Let me axe you a question, he finally said. “Whar is dat mule?”

The other man pointed down the road to the wagon. The stranger followed him so he could see for himself. After he was satisfied that it was the same mule he’d bought at the bar he helped the other man unload the mule.

“Jes’ leave him heah.” He said.

The first man said again how bad he felt about the whole thing, and drove off home with a heavy heart.

A few months went by before the first man had the nerve to go back to that bar in Abbeville for a Jax. But one night he did, and there was the stranger.

“Whar yo’ bin?” the sranger said. “I bin watchin’ foh you/”

“To tell ya de trewty. Ah felt so bad ‘bout losin dat money and dat mule dying an’ all, I didn’t have de noive ta see you again.”

“Doan feel bad no mod, the stranger said. “Ever’ting toined out okay.”

“Whatch you mean okay?”

“I held me a raffle and made me a good profit.”

“A raffle?”

The stranger nodded. “Yah, ah raffled off dat mule. Al sole me two hunnerty tickets foh one dollar each.”

“You raffled off dat daid mule, and you made two hunnert dollars?” The first man was amazed, “and you had all dose folds mad at you?”

“No,” the stranger smiled. “Jes’ one poison was mad yah. But ah gave him his money back!”

These are stories I love. They reflect the culture and the ingenuity of daily life. They say, “If you can find a simple way to do it, find a simple way to do it, find a Cajun and he’ll make it ten times more complicated and you’ll have a lot more fun along the way.”

Kenneth Agillard Atchity is the author of several books including Cajun Household Wisdom: You Know You Still Alive If It’s Costin’ You Money published by Longmeadow Press. At the time of this printing he’s somewhere between Breaux Bridge and Opelousas eating his way across his native state.


SAN FRANCISCO _ The 2012 San Francisco Book Festival has issued a call for entries to its annual competition honoring the best books of the spring season.
The 2012 San Francisco Book Festival will consider non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, compilations/anthologies, teenage, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, audio/spoken word, history, wild card, gay, photography/art, poetry, unpublished, travel and spiritual works. There is no date of publication deadline.
Our grand prize for the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival is $1500 cash and a flight to San Francisco for our gala awards ceremony and day festival.
Submitted works will be judged by a panel of industry experts using the following criteria:
1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story.
2) The potential of the work to reach a wider audience.
ENTRIES: Please classify your book and enter it in the following categories. Multiple entries must be accompanied by a separate fee for each book.
· General Non-fiction
· General Fiction
· Children's books
· How-to
· Spiritual
· Photography/Art
· Gay
· Poetry
· History
· Teenage
· Biography/Autobiography
· Audio/spoken word
· Compilations/Anthologies
· Best Unpublished Short Story
· Cookbooks
· Science Fiction
· Wild Card
In addition to honoring the top selections in the above categories, The San Francisco Book Festival will award the following chosen from submissions:
1) Author of the Year- Honors the outstanding book of the competition.
2) Book Design of the Year - Honors outstanding and innovative design.
3) Publisher of the Year- Honors the top publisher based on materials displaying
excellence in marketing and promotional materials, as determined by our judges.
FESTIVAL RULES: San Francisco Book Festival submissions cannot be returned. Each entry must contain the official entry form, including your e-mail address and contact telephone number. All shipping and handling costs must be borne by entrants.
NOTIFICATION AND DEADLINES: We will notify each entry of the receipt of their package via e-mail and will announce the winning entries on our web site (www.sanfranciscobookfestival.com). Because of the anticipated high volume of entries, we can only respond to e-mail inquiries.
Deadline submissions in each category must be received by the close of business on April 25, 2012. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail and on the web site. Please note that judges read and consider submissions on an ongoing basis, comparing early entries with later submissions at our meetings.
TO ENTER: Entry forms are available online at sanfranciscobookfestival.com or may be faxed/e-mailed to you. Please contact our office at 323-665-8080 for fax requests. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee of $50 in the form of a check, money order or PayPal online payment in U.S. dollars for each submission. Multiple submissions are permitted but each entry must be accompanied by a separate form and entry fee.
Entry fee checks should be made payable to JM Northern Media LLC. We're sorry, but entries must be mailed and cannot be delivered in person or by messenger services to the JM Northern Media offices.
Entry packages MUST include:
1) One copy of the book;
2) A copy of your official entry form or a reasonable facsimile;
3) The entry fee or receipt for online payment;
4) Any press/marketing materials you wish to send. Marketing is used as a tie-breaking consideration by our judges.
Entries should be mailed to:
JM Northern Media LLC
attn: San Francisco Book Festival
7095 Hollywood Boulevard
Suite 864
Hollywood, CA 90028-0893
AWARDS: The San Francisco Book Festival selection committee reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project.
The 2012 San Francisco Book Festival is part of the JM Northern Media family of festivals, which include the DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books, New York Book Festival and Hollywood Book Festival.

Sign Up For My Webinar ...

9 Steps for Turning Your Book into a Film

You’ve written a novel and want to see it on the big or little screen. We can help you learn how to turn that dream into a reality! In this webinar Author, Literary Manager, and Hollywood producer, Ken Atchity, explains the 9 steps to getting your book from page to screen, including leveraging reviews, connecting with the right people, developing the screenplay and more!

About The Presenter
Dr. Atchity is the author of 15 books, including A Writer’s Time, Writing Treatments That Sell, and How to Publish Your Novel. He’s worked successfully in nearly every area of the publishing and entertainment business, and has spent his lifetime helping writers get started with and improve their careers. As founder and head of Atchity Entertainment International, Inc., The Writer’s Lifeline, Inc., including Atchity Productions and Story Merchant, and The Louisiana Wave Studio, LLC. he has produced nearly 30 films in the past 20 years for major studios, television broadcasters, and independent distribution. He is currently nominated for an Emmy for “The Kennedy Detail,” based on the New York Times bestselling book he developed. For nearly twenty years before, as professor of literature and teacher of creative writing at Occidental College and UCLA, he helped literally hundreds of writers find a market for their work by bringing their craft and technique to the level of their ambition and vision. During his time at Occidental, he also served as a regular reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.

Register Now

Early reviews of AEI Client Noire's Betrayal

5.0 out of 5 stars NOIRE'S DONE IT AGAIN!!!

By P. Cannon "SK"

I just finished reading GSpot 2: Betrayal, and emotions are still running high! Wow! As always, Noire pulled us in from the very beginning. She started this book with the unexpected and the unthinkable and that's exactly how she ended it! It took a moment for what I was reading to actually sink into my brain! What??! After getting up and walking around, I decided to read it again to make sure, and I'm still in a state of shock, disbelief, and pure pisstivity! The Queen of Urban Erotica has done it again. But then again...what else did we expect? Kudos Noire! SK

5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Wait!

By Laneal Baugh "LaNeal Baugh" (Florence, AL USA)

I read this book in a day and I couldn't stop reading!!! And Noire u did ur thang wit dis part and I can't wait until G-Spot 2: Greed comes out!!!!! :)

5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC....................


G-SPOT 2 BETRAYAL: THE 2nd DEADLY SIN was FANTASTIC from beginning to end. Could'nt wait to read what would happen next, read it in 1 sitting. This book was so vivid, It felt like I was watching a movie unfold. Would've given more stars if possible. NOIRE is an AMAZING WRITER. I am a TRUE FAN. Can't wait until GREED: THE 3rd DEADLY SIN release date. FANTASTIC FANTASTIC FANTASTIC..................................................

5.0 out of 5 stars love this!

By kels1fan

Once again, Noire does not let us down!! LOVE this and can't wait until the next one comes out!! Was kinda sad about the ending but excited at the same time... can't wait to see what happens next!! Denita Brown

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Provoking.....

By Kr Bankston "TheAuthor-KRBankston" (ATLANTA, GA, US)

Another great read by Noire...can't say I'm honestly suprised by peoples actions in the book, lies told, or how it ended, I for one am a severe pessimist and I already believe that most people would sell their sould if the price were right. I was very saddened by some of the events in the book, but I won't spoil it for anyone about to read. Noire did a sensational job....

5.0 out of 5 stars What about your friends!

By Baby Girl (T. Smith) (Chicago il)

all i can say is noire there is never a dull moment. when i first spoke with moire on fb about Betrayal i never thought it would end up like this. The action and plot is so thick until it makes you feel like you are right in the story with the writer. from beginning to the end you are a for a shock of your life. My heart is so heavy for juicy because its like she cant catch a brake. No matter where she turns its always something. I dont wanna give too much but all i can say is these little black books are something else. at the end of the day i really hope this can be turned in to a movie of some sort. Keep up the good work Noire!

5.0 out of 5 stars You already know!

By Alli Louisiana

This book is the shiz nit! I couldn't stop reading it, and kept my eye on the percentage read b/c I didn't want it to end LOL. Come on now, Noire never disappoints. The end will shock you...I didn't see that coming. I know it's betrayal but damn...

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Does it like Noire

By Sapphire

Noire is definitely on her game with the Deadly Sins series. The second installment left me with questions but I know many of them will be answered in the next installment. It takes a talented author to weave a story that brings the reader in and keeps them wrapped up in the story. She has done both in Betrayal. Waiting another month for Greed is going to be pure agony. Well done, Noire.

5.0 out of 5 stars Upheaval...Devastation...Misfortune

By Dawn Chambray (Michigan, United States)

But it all narrows down to betrayal where Noire once again takes you on a ride full of adventure and mayhem. Believe me I was tired as heck getting off work at midnight but still managed to read Betrayal from front to back and be done by 5 am. It's just that intriguing. Once you get going you cannot stop! Each page pegs your interest and you are yearning to know who, what and why... In Betrayal, everything is still happening so fast! Oh the heartbreak, turmoil, lies and deceit! Poor Juicy Mo! She's experienced more catastrophe than one lifetime should dish out! Will things ever get better for her? Or will she end up in the same psycho place that Salida was released from? The suspense is killer but it makes it more interesting; makes you think and wonder what mysteries lie in wait for you next;which questions will be answered or touched upon, and what new mysteries will come about. What is Salida really up to? Did she really believe Money Making Monique's lies or is she putting on a front to keep everyone under her psycho spell? Who are the Italians really taking care of? Where is DarQuese really? The ring? And why? Rita, Rita, Rita...why, why, why??? All these questions and more are still a mystery. In one more month Greed will drop and just maybe there will be some answers in there. Until then one can only wonder.

5.0 out of 5 stars She did it again!
By Miss Drenna

Noire's 2nd installment to G-Spot 2 was everything I wanted it to be! It left me with my jae dropped wide open and a thousand questions like: why does Noire have to change the literary game with a serial novel? Why do her fans have to wait a whole month for the next book? Does she get off on the anticipation? Then it hit me: duh she wouldn't have it any other way. Anticipation is a mutha.... It's gonna be a long month!

Read An Excerpt From Betrayal Here

Latest Nods for AEI Client Royce Buckingham's Dead Boys

  • 2011 Cybils Award Finalist

  • Fall 2011 Junior Library Guild Selection

  • One of 20 books included in the St. Louis, MO Battle of the Books in which 30 schools participate annually. Royce will be a featured author on the event's blog soon, which is updated weekly. We've noticed an uptick in book sales in the St. Louis area since July when the book battle books were announced (as tracked through Amazon's sales tracking).
  • The Dead Boys has also been selected as a 2011-2012 nominee for the Isinglass Teen Book Awards. Books are chosen by a committee of librarians as well as per teen recommendations. I believe the winning book is voted on by participating teens. The program is promoted by 14 libraries in New Hampshire. Winner chosen in April 2012 and announced at the NHLA meeting/conference in May.

St. Louis Battle of the Books
Isinglass Teen Book Awards

Paulo Coelho: "I LOVED The Missing Rose." Story Merchant Client Serdar Ozkan

20 SEC READING: part of the ocean

Illustration by Ken Crane

There was once a wave in the ocean, rolling along, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the swiftness of the breeze.
It smiled at everything around it as it made its way toward the shore.

But then, it suddenly noticed that the waves in front of it, one by one, were striking against the cliff face, being savagely broken to pieces.

‘Oh God!’ it cried. ‘My end will be just like theirs. Soon I, too, will crash and disappear!’

Just then another wave passing by saw the first wave’s panic and asked:
‘Why are you so anxious? Look how beautiful the weather is, see the sun, feel the breeze…’

The first wave replied:
‘Don’t you see? See how violently those waves before us strike against the cliff, look at the terrible way they disappear. We’ll soon become nothing just like them.’

‘Oh, but you don’t understand,’ the second wave said. ‘You’re not a wave. You’re a part of the ocean.’


in “The missing rose” by Serdar Ozkan


“Palumbo’s exciting second mystery featuring Pittsburgh psychologist Daniel Rinaldi…takes the reader into the seamy side of the Steel City, chock-full of corruption and crime, love and loss.” --Publisher’s Weekly
“In this fine novel…Rinaldi’s methods are as much Columbo as shrink: he notices details that don’t fit and picks at them until the whole psychodrama comes clear. A smart, strong read.” --Booklist
"Intricate plotting and mind-boggling twists make Dennis Palumbo's Fever Dream a memorable mystery. The character of psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi gives great heart to this story and elevates it to novelistic heights."
--John Lescroart, New York Times best-selling author of Damage

“Lovers of noir will enjoy Dan Rinaldi's fast-paced adventures. Rinaldi, an empathic therapist, is on call to the Pittsburgh police. He needs every ounce of his Golden Glove skills to survive the violent world of Pennsylvania politics.”

--Sara Paretsky, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, author of the V.I. Warshawski novels

"Fever Dream is another well-wrought puzzle for the likable Dr. Dan Rinaldi to unravel. Fans will be delighted."

--Thomas Perry, Edgar award-winning author of The Butcher’s Boy

“Dr. Daniel Rinaldi is back in a new non-stop thriller that finds the humane, quick-witted Pittsburgh psychologist (and former pugilist) searching for a link between a failed bank robbery, several brutal murders, a homicidal soldier of fortune, a small town ex-sheriff and a gubernatorial election. A fast, gripping read that offers that rare combination of dimensional characters and propulsive action.”
--Dick Lochte, award-winning mystery critic and author of Sleeping Dog

"Palumbo again delivers more great characters, a page-turning mystery and sizzling suspense. If you liked Mirror Image, you'll love Fever Dream."

---Bobby Moresco, Oscar-winning writer/producer of Crash and Million Dollar Baby

Watch WDayNews6 Coverage of Clint Hill's Visit and Speech At Concordia College which is honoring him with an Alumni Achievement Award

Former Secret Service agent speaks of fateful day in Dallas in 1963

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's not every day Secret Service Agents from Fargo greet a passenger off a flight at Hector Airport. But tonight, those agents welcomed one of their own - one of the most notable Secret Service Agents - from one of America's most tragic days.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Watch Video Coverage Here

It's not every day Secret Service Agents from Fargo greet a passenger off a flight at Hector Airport. But tonight, those agents welcomed one of their own - one of the most notable Secret Service Agents - from one of America's most tragic days. North Dakota Native Clint Hill was the agent assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy the day JFK was assassinated in Dallas. For years, he remained silent about the tragedy. Tonight, he told his story at Concordia College, which is honoring him with an Alumni Achievement Award.

57 years after he left Concordia, Clint Hill would return to the campus carrying with him, details from a day that haunts him and his country to this day.
Clint Hill – Retired Secret Service Agent: “I saw the President grab at his throat, and so I jumped and ran, trying to get on the back of the presidential car.”

For years, so many new Clint Hill as "that man" who would climb aboard Kennedy's limousine when shots rang out in Dallas.

Clint Hill: “There was a third shot that rang out, hit the President in the head, near the ear, it was so massive and violent that it spewed blood and brains all over including myself and Mrs. Kennedy came out of her seat on the trunk trying to grab material that came off the President's head. She did not know I was there.

For years, the tragedy would cripple Hill emotionally, physically.

Clint Hill: “I went into a deep depression for 7 years, alcohol and tobacco. I finally quit that and then I started to heal myself.”

It would be decades later before Clint Hill would return to Dallas, Texas and retrace his footsteps and relive that fateful day, but he says those two return trips changed his life.

Clint Hill: It was the best thing I could have done, I should have done it a long time before then, It helped me healing slowly ever since.

Hill finally went public recently, writing a book about the assassination. It would mean a cathartic healing period in his life. Still.

Clint Hill: “Still a part of me feels responsibility and guilt because I was the only one who could have done anything.”
Hill is impressed with the interest young people have in Kennedy and the story of his assassination. Hill says it is his job to set the record straight, dispelling the conspiracy myths that still surround the steamy afternoon in Dallas that changed the country forever.

Hill is working on another book called "Mrs. Kennedy and Me.” It will be out next spring. He continued to guard Jackie Kennedy a year after JFK's assassination.

Swedish Poet Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Maja Suslin/European Pressphoto Agency
Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer at his home in Stockholm on Thursday after receiving the news that he won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet whose sometimes bleak but graceful work explores themes of isolation, emotion and identity while remaining rooted in the commonplace, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

Announcing the award in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy praised Mr. Transtromer, saying that “through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.”

The assembled journalists cheered upon hearing that Mr. Transtromer, who was born in Stockholm, had won the prize.

Mr. Transtromer, 80, has written more than 15 collections of poetry, many of which have been translated into English and 60 other languages.

Critics have praised Mr. Transtromer’s poems for their accessibility, even in translation, noting his elegant descriptions of long Swedish winters, the rhythm of the seasons and the palpable, atmospheric beauty of nature.

“So much poetry, not only in this country but everywhere, is small and personal and it doesn’t look outward, it looks inward,” said Daniel Halpern, the president and publisher of Ecco, the imprint of HarperCollins that has published English translations of Mr. Transtromer’s work. “But there are some poets who write true international poetry. It’s the sensibility that runs through his poems that is so seductive. He is such a curious and open and intelligent writer.”

Neil Astley, the editor of Bloodaxe Books in Britain, called Mr. Transtromer “a metaphysical visionary poet.”

“He’s worked for much of his life as a psychologist, and the work is characterized by very strong psychological insight into humanity,” Mr. Astley said.

Mr. Transtromer was born in Stockholm in 1931. His mother was a schoolteacher and his father a journalist. He studied literature, history, religion and psychology at Stockholm University, graduating in 1956, and worked as a psychologist at a youth correctional facility.

In 1990, Mr. Transtromer suffered a stroke that left him mostly unable to speak, but he eventually began to write again.

On Thursday afternoon, the stairwell in Mr. Transtromer’s apartment building filled with journalists from all over the world seeking reaction, the Swedish news media reported.

Visibly overwhelmed, Mr. Transtromer finally appeared, accompanied by his wife, Monica. Speaking on his behalf, she said her husband was most happy that the prize was awarded for poetry. “That you happened to receive it is a great joy and happy surprise, but the fact the prize went to poetry felt very good,” she said, addressing him at a gathering that quickly moved into the vestibule of their home in Stockholm.

There was also a celebration among Swedes, many of whom have read Mr. Transtromer since his first book of poems, “17 Poems,” placed him on Sweden’s literary map when he was just 23.

“To be quite honest it was a relief because people have been hoping for this for a long time,” said Ola Larsmo, a novelist and the president of the Swedish Pen association. “Some thought the train might have left the station already because he is old and not quite well. It felt great that he was confirmed in this role of national and international poet.”

John Freeman, the editor of the literary magazine Granta, said: “He is to Sweden what Robert Frost was to America. The national character, if you can say one exists, and the landscape of Sweden are very much reflected in his work. It’s easy because of that to overlook the abiding strangeness and mysteriousness of his poems.”

But in the United States, Mr. Transtromer is a virtual unknown, even to many readers of poetry, despite the fact that he has been published in English by several widely known publishers.

Mr. Halpern said that “Selected Poems,” originally published in 2000 by Ecco, part of HarperCollins, would be rereleased within days. On Thursday morning, print copies of his books were already backordered on online retailer sites, and electronic versions were difficult to find. New Directions, an independent publisher, released “The Great Enigma,” a poetry collection, in 2006; Graywolf Press, a publisher based in Minneapolis, released “The Half-Finished Heaven” in 2001.

Jeff Seroy, a spokesman for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, part of Macmillan, said Thursday that the imprint had acquired a volume of Mr. Transtromer’s work, translated by Robin Robertson, called “The Deleted World,” originally published in 2006. Mr. Seroy said the book would be released by year’s end.

Much of Mr. Transtromer’s work, including “The Half-Finished Heaven,” was translated by his close friend and fellow poet Robert Bly. Mr. Bly has been named as one of the central people who introduced Mr. Transtromer to a small but devoted group of American readers.

The selection of a European writer for the literature Nobel — the eighth in a decade — renewed criticisms that the prize is too Eurocentric. The last American writer to win a Nobel was Toni Morrison in 1993. Philip Roth has been a perennial favorite but has not been selected.

The committee noted after the announcement on Thursday that it had been many years since a Swede had won. It last happened in 1974 when Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson shared the prize.

Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the academy, said this week that the literature jury had increased the number of “scouts” it employed to scour for books in non-European languages.

And once again, the jury proved its inscrutability. In previous years, the choice of relatively unknown writers like Herta Müller of Germany has surprised Nobel watchers; in other years, winners like Harold Pinter or Orhan Pamuk have raised questions about whether the Nobel committee is overly influenced by politics.

While Mr. Transtromer has been a longtime favorite to win the Nobel, he has also won other prizes, including the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bonnier Award for Poetry, the Petrarch Prize in Germany and the Bellman Prize.

The Nobel Prize comes with an honorarium of nearly $1.5 million.

Christina Anderson contributed reporting from Stockholm.

The Emmys

With Jerry & Joyce Blaine, Kayoko Mitsumatsu, Clint Hill & Lisa McCubbin
With Chi-Li Wong
Kayoko Mitsumatsu and Director Vince DePersio
Jay Renfroe (Renegade83) and Chi-Li Wong
Chi-Li Wong, Fred and  Betsey Griffin
Jerry Blain and Fred Griffin

Memories of JFK assassination haunt former Secret Service agent and North Dakota native

Monday, October 10, 2011

MOORHEAD - Nov. 22, 1963, is on Clint Hill’s mind every day. The former Secret Service agent assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated is still haunted with guilt nearly 50 years later.

By: Amy Dalrymple, INFORUM

MOORHEAD - Nov. 22, 1963, is on Clint Hill’s mind every day.

The former Secret Service agent assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated is still haunted with guilt nearly 50 years later.

The Washburn, N.D., native and Concordia College graduate was on the running board of the car behind the presidential limousine in Dallas. He heard the first shot and jumped onto the presidential vehicle in an attempt to shield the Kennedys from gunshots. Hill made it just as the first lady was reaching for the top of Kennedy’s scalp.

He received recognition for “extraordinary courage and heroic effort in the face of maximum danger.”

But Hill, who battled depression and alcoholism for years as a result of that day, still wonders if he could have done more.

“I still have a sense of responsibility and a guilt feeling I should have been able to do more, because I was the only one who had that chance,” Hill said in an interview last week with The Forum.

Hill, who served five presidents during his time with the Secret Service, will return to Concordia this week to accept an Alumni Achievement Award.

“I tried to tell them that I didn’t think I was worthy of the honor, but they insisted,” said the 79-year-old, who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

Hill also will give a public talk on Wednesday night, along with Lisa McCubbin, co-author of “The Kennedy Detail,” which gives the Secret Service agents’ account of the assassination.

North Dakota native

Hill was born in 1932 in Larimore, N.D., and was adopted as a baby by Chris and Jennie Hill of Washburn.

Hill graduated from high school in Washburn and attended Concordia, where he majored in history and physical education and excelled at football and baseball.

After Hill graduated from Concordia in 1954, he served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence agent.

Hill’s Secret Service career began in 1958.

When Kennedy was elected, Hill anticipated he would be assigned to protect the president because he had been assigned to President Dwight Eisenhower.

He was shocked to learn that he’d instead be protecting the first lady.

“I was very upset about it,” Hill said. “I didn’t really want that assignment.”

But it turned out to be the best job in the Secret Service at the time, Hill said.

Jackie Kennedy and Hill built up a trust and became friends, though she always called him Mr. Hill, and he always called her Mrs. Kennedy.

“We shared secrets, and we got to know each other very well,” Hill said.

That historic day in Dallas was unusual because the first lady was campaigning with Kennedy, something she often shied away from doing.

During the motorcade, Hill was positioned behind Jackie Kennedy on the follow-up car and was scanning people taking photos from a grassy area off to the left.

Then he heard an explosive noise over his right shoulder, and his eyes scanned past the presidential vehicle.

“I saw the president grab at his throat and kind of move to his left. I knew something had happened,” Hill said.

“I jumped from the follow-up car and ran toward the presidential vehicle,” he said. “My attempt was to get on the back of the presidential car and place my body above the president and Mrs. Kennedy so that I would shield them from anything that was a possibility of happening.

“There was a second shot, apparently, but I didn’t hear it because I was running.

“Then the third shot happened just as I was approaching the presidential vehicle. I slipped, had to regain my steps, got up on the car. The president had been hit in the upper right rear of his head with that third shot.

“There were blood and brain matter and bone fragments throughout the entire area, including myself. He slumped to his left. Mrs. Kennedy came up from her seat onto the trunk of the car trying to grab some of the material that came off his head. … I grabbed her and put her back into her seat. When I did that, the president’s body fell into her lap.

“The right side of his face was up, and I could see his eyes were fixed. There was a hole in the upper right rear of his head. It appeared to me that he was dead.”

Hill gave a thumbs-down to the follow-up car, and agents yelled to the lead driver to go to Parkland Hospital. Hill continued lying on the back of the car to shield the Kennedys as the car sped 80 mph to the hospital.

‘Downward spiral’

After the assassination, Hill continued to be assigned to the first lady and the children until the election.

He was then assigned to President Lyndon Johnson and served him during the tumultuous time that included the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Hill also protected Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

In 1970, a promotion had Hill working an administrative desk job, and for the first time since the assassination, he had time to think. That day in Dallas was never far from his mind.

“I gradually deteriorated emotionally, and that affected my physical well-being,” Hill said.

In 1975, doctors said he wasn’t fit for the Secret Service, and he retired at age 43.

Hill returned to North Dakota and worked on his sister’s farm for about six weeks, “trying to get everything out.”

That year, he also spoke about the assassination for the first time in a famous interview with Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes.” Prior to that, Hill hadn’t talked about that day with anyone, not even his family.

Hill’s emotional state only worsened in his retirement.

“By 1976, I was once again in a downward spiral, and that lasted until 1982,” Hill said. “I had a great big bottle of scotch and a carton of cigarettes, and I laid on a couch in my very dark basement.”

Then in 1982, a doctor told Hill he either had to change or die.

“I decided I wanted to live,” Hill said.

Without any help, Hill quit drinking and did some security work for Chrysler, Mesa Petroleum and Billy Graham during the 1980s.

Decades after the assassination, Hill was still not talking about that day. He declined to be interviewed in 2003 for the 40th anniversary of the event.

“I didn’t want to talk about any of this type of thing and never did,” Hill said. “We as agents never talked about the assassination among ourselves. I never discussed it with any member of my family.”

Then fellow Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine and journalist Lisa McCubbin began working on the book “The Kennedy Detail.”

Hill said McCubbin convinced him that it would benefit history if he revealed details of that day from his perspective.

Contributing to the book proved to be beneficial for Hill, and he’s now talking more openly about that day for the first time, nearly 50 years later.

Hill and McCubbin also are collaborating on a book, “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” that will be published in the spring of 2012.

In 1990, Hill did something he wishes he would have done earlier: He returned to Dallas and walked Dealey Plaza and looked out the window of the sixth floor.

“I came to the conclusion that on that particular day, because of everything involved, the weather, the angle of the building, the way the street was configured and the way the motorcade was running at the time that I did everything I could, and I really couldn’t have done any more than that,” Hill said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

If you go

  • What: Speech by former Secret Service agent Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin, co-author of “The Kennedy Detail”
  • When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: Concordia Knutson Campus Center Centrum
  • Info: The event is free and open to the public. A Q&A session and book signing will follow.

Story Merchant Client Clint Hill Honored As Concordia College 2011 Alumni Achievement Award Winner

Former Secret Service agent, author to speak

MOORHEAD – Concordia College 2011 Alumni Achievement Award-winner Clint Hill (1954), a former Secret Service agent who was with President John F. Kennedy the day he was assassinated, and Lisa McCubbin, the co-author of “The Kennedy Detail,” will speak during homecoming week at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Centrum, Knutson Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM

MOORHEAD – Concordia College 2011 Alumni Achievement Award-winner Clint Hill (1954), a former Secret Service agent who was with President John F. Kennedy the day he was assassinated, and Lisa McCubbin, the co-author of “The Kennedy Detail,” will speak during homecoming week at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Centrum, Knutson Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Hill was in the motorcade in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, assigned to protect Jacqueline Kennedy, when the president was assassinated.

After leaving Concordia, Hill entered the U.S. Army and served as an intelligence agent. He was discharged in 1957 and entered the Secret Service. He retired in 1975 as an assistant director.

He and McCubbin are writing the book “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” which will be published in spring 2012 by Simon & Schuster.

Looking for the best books published in 2011

You're invited to enter the 2011 Book of the Year Awards competition for excellence in publishing.

ForeWord’s Book of the Year Awards was established to bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers of the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors.

All finalists will be announced in May 2012. Gold, silver, and bronze awards will be awarded in each of the sixty genre categories. Award winners will be announced at ALA’s annual conference in Anaheim, Calif., June 21-26, 2012.

We look forward to seeing your independently published, self-published, and small press titles.To enter today or for more information on the awards, click on this link: Book of the Year Awards.


NEW YORK (August 22, 2011) _ The 2012 New York Book Festival has issued a call for entries to its annual program honoring books that deserve greater recognition from the world's publishing capital.

The 2012 New York Book Festival will consider published, self-published and independent publisher non-fiction, fiction, children, young adult, how-to, audio/spoken word, comics/zines/graphic novels, poetry, wild card (anything goes!), unpublished stories, science fiction, horror, photography/art, romance and biography/autobiography works.

Entries can be in English, Spanish, French or Italian and must be published on or after January 1, 2006. Our grand prize for the 2012 New York Book Festival Author of the Year is $1,500 and a flight to New York for our awards ceremony in June, 2012 in Manhattan.

Additional information and registration forms are available online at www.newyorkbookfestival.com

Publisher Weeekly's Review of Story Merchant Client Dennis Palumbo's Fever Dream

Fever Dream:
A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery

In Palumbo’s exciting second mystery featuring Pittsburgh psychologist Daniel Rinaldi (after 2010’s Mirror Image), the police bring in Daniel as a trauma expert to care for Treva Williams, the sole survivor of a bank robbery hostage situation gone bad. Though she’s clearly traumatized, Treva has her own secrets, including a former relationship with a cop, another with an abusive thug, and a string of questionable choices. As the center of a messy crime with high stakes, Treva appears to be a link between several unrelated events tainting district attorney Leland Sinclair, who’s running for governor of Pennsylvania. When the governor’s race heats up, Daniel is thrown into a dangerous mix of political intrigue, murder, manipulation, and explosive revelations that could rock Pittsburgh. Palumbo takes the reader into the seamy side of the Steel City, chock-full of corruption and crime, love and loss. (Nov.)