Beautiful Writing


17 May 2015

A poem by William Blake.


Blake’s poem provides the lyrics for one of England’s most familiar hymns.


Maine bed & breakfast owner will sell her inn to anyone for just 200 words.

12 March 2015

From Someecards:

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a historic bed and breakfast in Maine, that’s an oddly specific dream. But good news! Now’s your chance to fulfill it, as long as you have $125, a postage stamp, and a gift for words.

. . . .

Janice Sage, the owner and innkeeper of the Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant, wants to retire. Rather than sell the inn traditionally, however, she is holding an essay contest to find the person who will treat the old place right. She is charging $125 per entry, and hopes to attract at least 7,500 contestants, netting her the $900,000 estimated value of the property.

Where did she get the idea to hand off the inn that way? That’s how she got it.

Back in 1993, the Center Lovell Inn was owned by Bil and Susie Mosca. They held an essay contest, charging $100 per entry, and Janice was the winner. The contest attracted a lot of media attention at the time, including a feature on The Phil Donahue Show. Janice doesn’t have the media power of the Donahue behind her, but she does have the Internet. What do you say? Do you want to help make her rich, and have a chance at owning your own piece of history in the process?

The Center Lovell Inn was built in 1805, and features two outbuildings, as well as scenic views of Kezar Lake and the White Mountains. There are 10 guest bedrooms, a 40-seat dining room, and ghosts, probably. Probably lots of ghosts.

Link to the rest at Someecards and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Re-reading a modern day romance classic.

3 October 2014

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.

From Stephanie at Fangs Wands & Fairy Dust:

I read a lot and always have.  But it is a testimony to the excellence of this book that I can remember when I first bought it, and where in the now defunct bookstore I bought it. Furthermore, I remember going back there again and again waiting for the next book in the series.

I always thought I remembered a lot from my first reading. But, even reading through the last couple of books in the series, I realized I had forgotten an awful lot of the details, had some out of order, and thought different characters did different things. So about a week and a half ago I began rereading the story.

There has been a lot of contention since the series came out about whether it would stick to the book in plot and character. And, I have to say that it has really kept to the book, the last couple of episodes in this first season took some not unwelcome liberties, but all in all it has.


There is a lot less Jamie in the first few parts of the novel.  He doesn’t appear nearly as much as I seemed to recall. I’ve chalked it up to wishful thinking on my p[art as who wouldn’t rather Jamie than his gnarly uncle?  And the paradox of marriage to someone who has not yet been born is still really, really interesting.

This is a long book but really worth the time and money. It is in all likelihood at your local library in a couple of formats.  I think it is well-written, engaging, gripping and un-put-down-able — even after the second read.  And, I enjoyed reading it even as I watched the series.

I admit to having read Outlander when it was first released. In fact I’ve read the entire series. The characters are so real to me that I’ve had mixed feelings about any translation to either the big or small screen. The Starz series has managed to win me over, despite some lingering trepidation. Dear Ms. Gabaldon, it’s been 23 years, yet Claire and Jamie still have the power to enchant.

Read Stephanie’s perspective here.

Julia Barrett

There’s an old joke

1 April 2014

There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

First line of Annie Hall

I Am “Flippish”.

16 October 2013

The Filipino American International Book Festival.

“Filipino American authors and artists have come together to share their stories at the second Filipino American International Book Festival.  Hosted by PAWA, a Northern CA based 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization and independent publisher of Filipino American lit.  PAWA’s main goal is to create and encourage literature and arts for the preservation and enrichment of Filipino and Filipino American historical, cultural and spiritual values.”

At the San Francisco Public Library, October 19-20.  Read more here:                  Leslie V. Ryan- Author

Julia Barrett

It was proposed to establish a nation on new principles

4 July 2013

For visitors from outside the United States, today is Independence Day, celebrating the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, signed on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia.

From President Calvin Coolidge’s “Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence” in Philadelphia, July 5, 1926:

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. . . . It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world.

Serious Fiction and Legitlit: Creating a Hybrid Home

28 January 2013

From Jennie Coughlin:

Print vs. Ebook

Traditional vs. Indie

Genre vs. Literary

Serious vs. Fluff?

Critics, readers and writers all like debating about fiction and where it’s going. One interesting sidelight to the Traditional/Indie debate has been the discussion about what works in print versus in ebook. Some genres are hugely popular in ebooks. Erotica leads the way — no covers to hide from people while reading in public — but romance, supernatural and other popular genres also do well in ebooks. Meanwhile, literary fiction doesn’t. Unless it’s popular literary fiction — akin to what Don Maass has dubbed 21st Century Fiction — and then it does well in both print and ebooks.

Blogger and critic Porter Anderson has been talking recently about the rise in “shirtless” fiction — romance, romance and more romance. For Porter, it’s akin to the 25-cent paperbacks people can buy by the bag at library book sales and used book stores. Easily read, easily discarded. He’s been pushing what he’s calling #legitlit and #seriousfiction — stories that make you think. Is that literary fiction? That might depend on who you ask.

Read the rest here- Interesting.  Welcome to Exeter.

Julia Barrett

Is Your Research Showing?

24 January 2013

Love this.  From Diane O’Connell – Is Your Research Showing?

“How do you know when to stop research? And how much research should actually go in your novel? Not knowing when to stop incorporating your research, or not knowing when the facts you’ve ferreted out of the library start to encroach on your story is a problem for many first time authors. As novelist Sean Pidgeon expressed in a recent New York Times article, “The true challenge, as I discovered in due course, was this: how to leave most of it out?”

Read the entire article here:  Write to Sell Your Book

Julia Barrett


She’s a poem in motion.

22 January 2013

This is not what you think. Beauty, grace, artistic expression, athleticism. You have to watch the video in its entirety. Anything we, as authors, can learn? Work that core? Never say never? Nothing is impossible?

(Oh, if the video doesn’t load I’ll reload it.)

Julia Barrett

Pink Slip Pilgrimage: A Broke Writer Needs a Loan

7 January 2013

From Gawker:

There are as many roads to penury as there are paupers to follow them. As a writer, I always tried to see my own journey as material for nostalgic anecdotes to be delivered during acceptance speeches at some national awards galas. I like to imagine my struggles as leisurely, rather loopy jaunts.

Today, in real life, this jaunt is looking really rough. I’m on my way to sign over the pink slip on “Moby Dick,” my white 2000 Buick Century, as security on a loan, so that I can pay my rent, two weeks late and counting. My destination is a storefront in a bleak San Jose strip mall between a liquor mart and a shoe repair shop. A fuscia neon sign beckons: “Fast Cash! Paycheck Advance! Auto Title Loans!” There, my signed pink slip will net me $1000 in cold cash, which I promise to repay over two years at an interest rate of about 98 percent.

I back out of my carport, find a jazz station playing rueful sax, and hit the road. The rain that threatened all morning arrives now in earnest, and the mist on my windshield quickly turns to tears, as if to make up for the ones I’m holding back. Somehow, my whole life seems prologue to this humiliating ordeal. It could be worse, I console myself, which only reminds me that it may, indeed, grow worse. The wipers begin beating time to the bitter scold in my head: why didn’t you, why did you, why didn’t you, why did you?

. . . .

“It’ll be okay, mom,” says my daughter, guessing the reason for my silence. She sits beside me now, as she always has, and in a way nothing has changed-although her once downy head has grown into an avalanche of blonde-streaked waves, and the rattles and sippy cups have given way to a plastic box of eye shadow that she dabs on in the passenger mirror.

She has just graduated from college and is herself seeking a “real” job. In the meantime, she has moved back with me-compounding the financial pressures but giving me a comrade in the trenches. I understand, without taking it personally, that to not follow in my footsteps is for her almost a career goal in itself. Who can blame her? Financial turmoil has shaped her life since her father left us when she was three years old.

I merge onto Highway 280 South. The road is nearly empty on this Saturday morning. I picture commuters still enjoying their leisurely breakfasts before heading out to spend their spendable incomes.

As the miles unreel ahead, I cannot resist backtracking mentally over my own highway of choices that delivered me to this pass. How many wrong turns? How many dead ends, detours, directions unheeded? Or is the problem deeper still? The map is wrong. The destination does not exist.

Perhaps-now that science is revealing the biology of personality-I am just genetically wired to be broke. My inborn character quirks always seemed to have veto power over good intentions and resolutions. By age seven, I was already displaying the traits that have cleft my life like a fault line: dismissive impatience with saving, impulsive overgenerosity, dislike for routine and generalized temperamental unmanageability. Reading Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper and the ants, I quickly identified with my gangly orthopteral soul mate, shivering out in the cold with his inedible fiddle.

Link to the rest at Gawker and thanks to Brendan for the tip.

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