Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec’d.
And did young Stephen sicken,
And did young Stephen die?
And did the sad hearts thicken,
And did the mourners cry?
No; such was not the fate of
Young Stephen Dowling Bots;
Though sad hearts round him thickened,
‘Twas not from sickness’ shots.
No whooping-cough did rack his frame,
Nor measles drear, with spots;
Not these impaired the sacred name
Of Stephen Dowling Bots.
Despised love struck not with woe
That head of curly knots,
Nor stomach troubles laid him low,
Young Stephen Dowling Bots.
O no. Then list with tearful eye,
Whilst I his fate do tell.
His soul did from this cold world fly,
By falling down a well.
They got him out and emptied him;
Alas it was too late;
His spirit was gone for to sport aloft
In the realms of the good and great.
If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like that before she was fourteen, there ain’t no telling what she could a done by-and-by. Buck said she could rattle off poetry like nothing. She didn’t ever have to stop to think. He said she would slap down a line, and if she couldn’t find anything to rhyme with it she would just scratch it out and slap down another one, and go ahead. She warn’t particular, she could write about anything you choose to give her to write about, just so it was sadful. Every time a man died, or a woman died, or a child died, she would be on hand with her “tribute” before he was cold. She called them tributes. The neighbors said it was the doctor first, then Emmeline, then the undertaker- the undertaker never got in ahead of Emmeline but once, and then she hung fire on a rhyme the dead person’s name, which was Whistler. She warn’t ever the same, after that; she never complained, but she kind of pined away and did not live long.
Here’s an opportunity to hear a panel of top-notch mystery writers discuss their books.
Originally posted on Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter:
Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman’s book, THE GOLEM OF HOLLYWOOD, follows an L.A. detective on an important investigation that leads him to Prague, where he runs headlong into the legend of the Golem, a mud-creature supposedly conjured up by a sixteenth-century rabbi to protect the Jews said to be asleep. The legend has endured through the ages, but the Golem is dormant no longer.
Faye Kellerman’s MURDER 101 pokes into the hallowed halls of academia to find a killer. Decker and his newest partner, a young Harvard educated buck named Tyler McAdams are suddenly drawn deep into a web of dark secrets, cold case crimes, international intrigue, and ruthless people who kill for sport.
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Mark Twain cared about words: Pa’s boot with a couple of his toes leaking out of the front end; the sow lying in the middle of the street looking as happy as if she was on salary; and Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on.
And, “Use the right word, not its second cousin.”
In his autobiography, he tells the story of a time his mother used the right words to teach him a lesson that lasted a lifetime.
There was, however, one small incident of my boyhood days which touched this matter, and it must have meant a good deal to me or it would not have stayed in my memory, clear and sharp, vivid and shadowless, all these slow-drifting years. We had a little slave boy whom we had hired from some one, there in Hannibal. He was from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and had been brought away from his family and his friends, half way across the American continent, and sold. He was a cheery spirit, innocent and gentle, and the noisiest creature that ever was, perhaps. All day long he was singing, whistling, yelling, whooping, laughing – it was maddening, devastating, unendurable. At last, one day, I lost all my temper, and went raging to my mother, and said Sandy had been singing for an hour without a single break, and I couldn’t stand it, and wouldn’t she please shut him up. The tears came into her eyes, and her lip trembled, and she said something like this—
“Poor thing, when he sings, it shows that he is not remembering, and that comforts me; but when he is still, I am afraid he is thinking, and I cannot bear it. He will never see his mother again; if he can sing, I must not hinder it, but be thankful for it. If you were older, you would understand me; then that friendless child’s noise would make you glad.”
It was a simple speech, and made up of small words, but it went home, and Sandy’s noise was not a trouble to me any more. She never used large words, but she had a natural gift for making small ones do effective work. She lived to reach the neighborhood of ninety years, and was capable with her tongue to the last – especially when a meanness or an injustice roused her spirit.
Over 6,000 pounds sterling for a pair of panties? It’s obvious they didn’t come from Wal-mart. Read Kate Shrewsday’s account of where they did come from.
(When I was a child, I considered “panties” an inferior word, and saying it would have caused me to keel over out of embarrassment. But I’ve gotten over that.)
Originally posted on Kate Shrewsday:
It is only this week that, at an auction house in Kent, England, a pair of knickers went for £6,200.
Knickers: that’s panties, pants, underwear. We also call them drawers, and once upon a time they were pantaloons and even bloomers.
But the reason, girls, that you are walking around in M&S cotton briefs today – or shorts, or camis, or strings or whatever – is because of the owner of the pants which have just sold for such a stupendous sum somewhere outside Folkestone.
It is interesting to note that the aforementioned, extremely valuable knickers had a waist of some 52 inches.
Despite the perfectly developed bra-and-pants model developed in the Classical World (or strophium-and-subligaculum model, if you prefer) women in Mediaeval and Tudor Britain did without pants. Which, I know, seems unconscionably draughty to us today. But it was just another garment to purchase, and garments…
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Mystery authors Deborah Crombie, Timothy Hallinan, and Minerva Koenig will appear on the panel Get a Clue at the Texas Book Festival on Saturday, October 25, at 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., in Capitol Extension Room E2.014.
Deborah Crombie is the New York Times best-selling author of the Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James novels. A SHARE IN DEATH, her first novel, received Agatha and Macavity nominations for Best First Novel of 1993. She has won two Macavity awards for Best Novel and her books have been nominated for a number of other awards. Her fifth novel, DREAMING OF THE BONES, was named a New York Times Notable Book for 1997, was short-listed by Mystery Writers of America for the 1997 Edgar Award for Best Novel, won the Macavity award for Best Novel, and was voted by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of the hundred best mysteries of the century. The most recent book in the Kincaid / James series, TO DWELL IN DARKNESS, was published by William Morrow in September 2014.
A native of Dallas, Crombie has lived in both Scotland and England, and visits England, where are novels are set, several times a year.
Critical acclaim for Deborah Crombie’s novels
Crombie has laid claim to the literary territory of moody psychological suspense owned by P. D. James and Barbara Vine. – Washington Post
Deborah Crombie is an American mystery novelist who writes so vividly about England, she might have been born within the sound of Bow Bells. (She) gets better with each book…lyrical, biting and evocative.– Cleveland Plain Dealer
Timothy Hallinan has written eighteen critically acclaimed novels. He’s been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, and Lefty, among others, and is currently a Shamus nominee for his book LITTLE ELVISES. He writes two series, one set in Bangkok, where he lives half-time, and the other in Los Angeles, where he lives the rest of the time. The Bangkok books feature an American travel writer named Poke Rafferty, who has married a Thai woman and adopted a Thai daughter, a street child, right off the sidewalk. The books are as much about family as they are about crime. The seventh Rafferty novel, FOR THE DEAD, comes out November 4, and William Kent Krueger described it as . . .”not only a fast-paced, compelling tale, but also, on every level, a fine literary read.” His Junior Bender series, about a San Fernando Valley burglar, who works as a private eye for crooks, has just been bought by Iddie Izzard as an NBC television series. The fourth and most recent to be published is HERBIE’S GAME. [Thanks to Timothy Hallinan for writing this copy, which appears here unaltered.]
Critical acclaim for Timothy Hallinan’s novels
“Bender’s quick wit and smart mouth make him a book companion on this oddball adventure.” ~ New York Times Book Review
“A modern-day successor to Raymond Chandler.” ~ Los Angeles Daily News
Minerva Koenig is the author of NINE DAYS, published by Minotaur in September of this year. The main character, Julia Kalas, is described as “short, round, and pushing forty, but … a damned good criminal. For seventeen years she renovated historic California buildings as a laundry front for her husband’s illegal arms business. Then the Aryan Brotherhood made her a widow, and witness protection shipped her off to the tiny town of Azula, Texas. Also known as the Middle of Nowhere.” With a local law enforcement officer as watchdog.
Julia has no intention of lying low, but she also doesn’t intend to raise her profile so high that half of Texas—good guys, bad guys, and who-knows-what-kind-of-guys—are either chasing, or being chased, by her. One thing is sure–Julia won’t be pushed around by any of them.
Scott Montgomery, crime fiction coordinator at BookPeople Book Store, says, “NINE DAYS introduces us to a fresh-hardboiled voice. Koenig embraces the genre, yet doesn’t completely play by its rules. I can’t wait to see what other conventions she breaks.”
Joy Tipping of the Dallas Morning news hails Julia Kalas as a successor to Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone, saying, “Let us praise the literary gods, then, that a worthy successor has arrived with Austin author Minerva Koenig and her debut novel, the funny, scary and devilishly twisty NINE DAYS.”
A long-time resident of Texas, Minerva is a licensed architect who runs a one-woman practice in Austin. Among her other interests are sewing, playing chess, and fighting the patriarchy.
Critical acclaim for Minerva Koenig’s novels
“Small-town Texas is vividly brought to life in this atmospheric and entertaining debut that also introduces a memorable and unusual protagonist.” ~ Library Journal
Get a Clue ~ Saturday, October 25, 2014 ~ 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ~ Capitol Extension Room E2.014
I will be moderator of the panel.
One of the High Points of my life: Sitting in the first row of the Chamber of the Texas House of Representatives, with author Elmer Kelton at the speaker’s table right in front of me, and Liz Carpenter right behind me, and listening to Mr. Kelton talk about his writing career and respond to a question from the audience about why he couldn’t write good female characters.
Mr. Kelton said he’d heard that criticism, and he guessed it had merit, although he thought he’d done a pretty good job with Eve in The Good Old Boys, because she was really the moral compass of the book. He was sorry he hadn’t done better writing women, but at the age of seventy-plus, he didn’t know what he could do about it.*
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
But the folks at the Texas Book Festival Organization keep trying.
The 2014 Texas Book Festival takes place this weekend, October 24 and 25, at the Texas Capitol in Austin.
More than 275 authors will appear at the Capitol and at other venues around town to speak about, read, discuss, and sign their books. For an alphabetical list of authors, or to search by genre or keyword, click here.
Nationally renowned authors coming to this year’s Festival include Martin Amis, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Norman Lear, Lidia Bastianich, Ziggy Marley, James Ellroy, Katherine Applegate, Nicholas D. Kristof, John Dean, Valerie Plame Wilson, and Héctor Tobar.
(Here, I must digress: The summer I was fourteen, my friend and I biked from Fentress to Staples and back, wearing bathing suits [why bathing suits I can’t remember, unless we thought all-encompassing sunburn would add to the fun] and chattering all the way. The idea, X years later, that I could engage in a real-life conversation with anyone while riding a bike anywhere–well, it is to laugh.)
There will also be a Literary Mayhem (a literary pub crawl), food everywhere you look, music, activities for children and families, and a raft of other book-centered activities all over the Capitol grounds, and, if it’s anything like last year’s festival, stretching down Congress Avenue.
And there will be exhibitors from the American Society of Civil Engineers to Zonk Books and plenty in between. Translation: BOOKS FOR SALE!
And, saving the best for last–
More on that tomorrow. . .
*Mr. Kelton did, indeed, do a beautiful job with Eve. She was perfect. If you’ve not read The Good Old Boys, do yourself a favor and read it. Then see the movie. Not the other way around.
Does reading about writing distract from putting pen to paper? Maybe. Maybe not. Laura Oles explains.
Originally posted on Austin Mystery Writers:
There’s something alluring about reference books for writers. You know the ones, lining the shelves at your favorite local bookstore. They beckon, encouraging us to come closer, to flip through their pages to discover their secrets. They promise to teach us everything we need to know about creating compelling characters, powerful plots and revealing dialogue. They offer to give us a glimpse into the writing life as experienced by those who have earned some modicum of success. These guides are filled with information, tips, anecdotes and motivation. They are filled with promise.
They get me every time.
I’ve always been a bit of a research geek. When I want to learn something new, I tend to go all in, diving into the topic quickly and deeply. Some would claim this fascination serves as a distraction, a way to procrastinate from the hard work of putting words to paper. I’ve read…
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I received the letter pictured below when I worked at Norma Krueger Elementary School’s Scharf Library. Crystal Walpole wrote asking what my favorite book was. She dropped the letter into her classroom’s mailbox. Krueger’s Wee Deliver postal service stamped and delivered it to the library.
At the time, Crystal’s address was 683 Cocker Spaniel Drive in Sporting Dog, Texas. The library’s was 123 Yorkshire Terrier Avenue in Terrierville, Texas.
And Crystal Walpole is one of my favorite writers.
The towns of Terrierville and Sporting Dog existed for a brief but happy time as part of Marion Independent School District in Marion, Texas.