• Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    7 Quick Thoughts on FSF’s Overlooked ‘Beautiful and Damned’

    Fitzgerald’s second novel slipped through the cracks— but led to brilliance ahead 2nd month of F. Scott Fitzgerald reading challenge, 2nd novel, The Beautiful and Damned (1922) Yes, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a novel with a soap opera title, The Beautiful and Damned. (It’s not a soap opera, though I suspect more than a few in 1922 were surprised to see “Damned” in a title.) Didn’t know of this book? I suspect most of us at least know OF the legendary writer’s startling debut (This Side of Paradise), obviously we know of his classic and near-classics (novels 3 and 4, The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night, respectively), and…

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  • Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    4 Thoughts as Fitzgerald’s “Paradise” Turns 100

    A first novel still perplexing and astonishing— and even prescient 1st month of F. Scott Fitzgerald reading challenge, 1st novel, This Side of Paradise (1920) “Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while,” begins This Side of Paradise, and we are off and running. Paradise turns 100 this year and, not surprisingly, this calls for a new “Collector’s Edition” of F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s first and indeed all his five novels (well, 4½) by his old publisher Scribner, now part of Simon & Schuster. The 100th anniversary of a great author’s first work is certainly cause for celebration, though it seems…

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  • Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    Book Signings in the Age of Covid

    Yesterday I was to have a book signing of Hatteras Island at a local Barnes & Noble. Late September signings are fun. They bring in a lot of people, for sales and also conversation, now that summer is winding down. Earlier this month it was canceled, though, “due to covid 19,” said the email, which added: “We are not sure when we will be able to host events again at this time.” Join the crowd. Last month, I lost an Outer Banks bookstore signing. Then four days ago came word that the large, 4-1/2-day Bizarre Bazaar Christmas show in Richmond officially was off this year. For the first year since…

  • Weekly Blog

    ‘Saps’ Remembered

    Today’s page of tributes for the late, great Bill Millsaps Today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch has a fine page of tributes from some who worked for the late, great Bill Millsaps, the legendary sports editor who became managing editor, then executive editor. He died late Friday at 77. Here’s mine (you can see the whole page below): Some in the news department looked down on sports writers, confiding condescendingly that they worked in “the toy department.” Saps dissuaded the bigots. For one thing, the guy could write. Sheesh, could he write. Beautiful, straightforward, non-pretentious prose that told the story precisely and artfully. But he would prove at least as valuable as a…

  • Just Because,  Outer Banks, NC,  Vacations,  Weekly Blog

    Catching up with ‘Uncle Jack’

    His funny Outer Banks book publishes during the quarantine, with no stores to sell it, but he remains sanquine For Jack Sandberg, as for everyone else, the coronavirus and its accompanying quarantine have changed everything. Fortunately “Uncle Jack” has a sense of humor about everything. Sandberg is the humorist who came to define North Carolina’s beloved Outer Banks, writing for two now-defunct newspapers in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. His writing was funny, yes, but savvy, too, as more than one critic noted approvingly. He loved the OBX, but “Uncle Jack” was keenly aware that the strand of islands faced pressure from tourists, developers and real estate agents, and, of…

  • Coronavirus,  Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    “Our Town”

    “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?“ A book can bring comfort in the age of coronavirus — and even recognition [SPOILER ALERT: Details what happens to a main character ... for the seven people alive who don't know.] One of the social media questions floating around, as we’re all stuck inside during the coronavirus quarantining, is “What book are you reading?” Mine is Thornton Wilder’s Pulitizer-winning play, OUR TOWN. Why I’m reading it? Because we were supposed to be seeing it in a couple of days, Tuesday evening, at a community theater out of state. Our oldest grandchild was performing in…

  • Coronavirus,  Weekly Blog

    Jeff Bezos Needs No Fundraiser

    Amazon is fine in the time of COVID-19, but not our Mom-and-Pops As we hunker down in this coronavirus-imposed isolation, we’ll soon run out of “things.” Food is obvious. … and we all know about our obsession with toilet paper. But there’s also everything from children’s crayons to laundry detergent to books to medications to … well, the list is as long as your list. We’re sure not going to the stores to get them. We’ll just go online. Probably to Amazon. Like Amazon needs our help. The ones who do need our help — and much more than just our help, of course — are the shops and restaurants…

  • Coronavirus,  Vacations,  Weekly Blog

    COVID-19 and the Summer of ’20

    So are YOU going on vacation this year? This morning has been rapid-fire crazy, with cancellations or postponements over the coronavirus coming from every angle … every few minutes. Even our home town of Richmond. The first was a note from my wife saying students would be off from her school tomorrow, so faculty and staff could develop plans. Then she sent another saying the big end-of-March 10k road race was being pulled, too, delayed until September. (Our whole family comes into town for that one … or would have.) The Richmond Forum followed with a subscriber email saying its two speaker events this month — one with Michele Obama…

  • Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    Print, Audio & E

    The Three Faces of Publishing Over at Beach Glass Books, we’ve just announced our March Book of the Month. It’s THE SENATOR’S SON: The Shocking Disappearance, The Celebrated Trial, and The Mystery That Remains a Century Later, by Charles Olden. Technically, The Senator’s Son is not a new book, having been published more than a year ago. In  fact, it has already picked up some nice honors – winning a North Carolina Society of Historians Book Award and, on a more global note, being named an award-winning finalist in the International Book Awards. Those, obviously, were for the hardcover print edition, the only version there was. Now, The Senator’s Son…

  • Just Because,  Weekly Blog

    The Famous Carole Burnett ‘Blooper’

    I’m reading Carol Burnett’s In Such Good Company, her memoir about 11 years of her eponymous TV series. Last night I came to a short chapter, “The Famous Blooper.” Whether the November 5, 1977 skit qualifies as a blooper is debatable — it never aired simply because of a blurted-out epithet. But the scene is probably one of the show’s two most famous (along with “The Dentist”). And it IS hilarious — I re-watched it this morning. And legendary, of course. Dick Clark called it the most famous blooper on any show EVER. Make sure you read Carol’s short set-up before watching. One more thing to know is that each…