MEMOIRS OF A DILETTANTE VOLUME TWO – COVER REVEAL!

My favorite dilettante has a new volume of “memoirs” coming soon.  Who cares if her stories are fact or fiction?  They are always decisively entertaining.

Helena Cover Boa 4Cover art by Hastywords

COMING SPRING 2015 — official date TBA

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two is the second collection of reminiscences, following Helena Hann-Basquiat, a self-proclaimed dilettante who will try anything just to say that she has, and her twenty-something niece, who she has dubbed the Countess Penelope of Arcadia.

Speaking of Arcadia, this volume delves into Helena’s childhood, as she revisits what she calls the Arcadia of the mind — that place that keeps us trapped and holds us back from our potential. Some of her most personal stories are included here, interspersed with hilarious stories of misadventure. It’s not a novel, really, and it’s not a memoir, by the strictest definition. But most of what follows, as they say, is true. Sort of. Almost. From a certain point of view.

Discover Helena’s tales for the first time or all over again, with new notes and annotations for the culturally impaired — or for those who just need to know what the hell was going through her mind at the time!

Helena is going to be running a crowdfunding/pre-order campaign at Pubslush, a community focused solely on indie writers, and has set up a profile there to launch Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two.

For more information, and to follow the progress, Become a Fan at http://HelenaHB.pubslush.com

If you just can’t wait and you want a taste of Helena’s writing, follow her blog: http://helenahannbasquiat.wordpress.com/

If you just can’t get enough Helena, or you want updates on further goings on, release dates and miscellaneous mayhem, follow Helena on Twitter @hhbasquiat

helena-h-b

What you need to know (aka Helena’s biography):

The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.

She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she then bound in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming.

She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn’t think that the general populous or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

In 2014, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, several e-books which now make up Volume Two, as well as a multimedia collaborative piece of meta-fictional horror entitled JESSICA.

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One is available HERE in e-book for Kindle or HERE in paperback.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell.

Find more of her writing at http://www.helenahb.com or http://whoisjessica.com or connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat.

The Advent Calendar of Literature: Day 1

If you like interesting things about Christmas and literature, then follow Interesting Literature as they provide an Advent Calendar of Literature, starting today!

Interesting Literature

We’ve been running this blog now for two years. When we posted our first literary blog post, on 1 December 2012, we set out to publish a short post every day, or almost every day. To mark the second birthday of InterestingLiterature, we would like to present ‘The Advent Calendar of Literature’. Every day for the next 24 days, leading up to, and including, Christmas Eve, we’re going to publish a short post about some interesting fact relating to literature and Christmas. That’s 24 facts, or one for every month that this blog has been going. These are our favourite festive facts that we’ve uncovered over the last couple of years.

But not only that: each fact will be linked, so that tomorrow’s Christmas literature fact will pick up on today’s, and the one we post on 3 December will follow tomorrow’s, and so on, right to…

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A Different Kind of Book Review: Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan.

Dear Reader, here is another in my unplanned series of book reviews.  I hope you enjoy this commercial break.  Did you know that currently the ebook version of Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan, the subject of this review, is available for just 99 cents.  If you’ve been on the fence about getting yourself a copy, well, here’s your chance to get it cheap.  And if the price alone isn’t enough to sway you, then I do hope the following “different kind of book review” will knock you right off the fence and onto Amazon’s page for Occasional Soulmates

a occasional soulmates

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Sarah stuffed the manila folders into her messenger bag. She rubbed her eyes. She was tired of reading dark, gruesome material: coroner reports, Sheriff Cooley’s statement of Misty’s battered body, arrest records. She needed a break. Something that would take her away from the seedy world of small-time drugs and cheap sex. She reached back into her bag and pulled out a paperback that Michael had given her. It had seemed funny to him that the woman in the novel was named Sarah and that she was looking for love in all the wrong places. He’d tried to hide his smirk when he said this to her, and Sarah, in turn, fumed to herself. (more…)

On Virginia Woolf and Mrs Dalloway

In a time long ago, I fancied myself an amateur Woolf scholar. I had volumes of her letters and journals; her novels and essays; any biography I could find; and kept all close to my bed, within arm’s reach. My interest in Woolf started while I was in high school and continued, fairly strong, through my grad degree in English. I still fancy Woolf although it’s been a long time since I’ve (re)read anything by her. I no longer claim to be a Woolf scholar, amateur or otherwise, but like a moth to a brilliant light, I fly to her whenever I see her name.
In this blog post, Interesting Literature not only provides an interesting tribute to Mrs. Dalloway (published on May 14, 1925), but also includes a clip of Virginia Woolf talking about writing. I had never heard her voice before. Her accent is much what you would expect from a well-educated, well-to-do British citizen of that time. Her obvious love of language, her philosophy that words should tell us the truth or create beauty, tugs at my heart given that she left this world too soon and too young.

Interesting Literature

Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway was published on this day, 14 May, in 1925. In honour of this, we thought we’d offer a few little facts about this novel, and about Woolf herself.

The action of the book takes place over just one day – a ‘moment of June’ in 1923 – although there are flashbacks to events that occurred in the characters’ lives over the previous five years, in the immediate wake of WWI. The original title of the book was ‘The Hours’, a title that Michael Cunningham would go on to use for the title of his novel about Woolf, which weaves together events from Woolf’s own life and events from Mrs Dalloway. The book was filmed, in 2002, starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman (the latter of whom famously wore a prosthetic nose to portray Woolf).

Woolf stampMrs Dalloway wasn’t the only novel Woolf wrote the action of…

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From Interesting Literature: Five Fascinating Facts about John Steinbeck

Click Five Fascinating Facts about John Steinbeck to read some fascinating facts about John Steinbeck.  Number 5 should be of special interest to my friend Jayde Ashe-Thomas of The Paperbook Collective.  She is a fan of author Thom Steinbeck, John Steinbeck’s son (read one of her posts here) and, of course, John Steinbeck himself (he’s her “homeboy“)   🙂

Five Fascinating Facts about Henry James

I wonder how many of those who may read my blog will be familiar with, much less a reader of, Henry James, a writer who is perhaps the most opposite to Ernest Hemingway, in his style of writing, that is, if not just his time and nature. In short, I have a lovely Modern Library edition of The Ambassadors that I’ve never been able to complete reading because I start dozing after only a couple of pages, and I wonder if any of this blog’s followers have had that experience with James or not, but if you are interested at all in Henry James then you must, indeed, click through and read these fascinating facts about him.

Interesting Literature

By Viola van de Sandt

1. He had no regrets. In a letter to fellow novelist Hugh Walpole, James wrote in 1913: ‘We must know, as much as possible, in our beautiful art . . . what we are talking about – &  the only way to know it is to have lived & loved & cursed & floundered & enjoyed & suffered – I don’t think I regret a single “excess” of my responsive youth – I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions & possibilities I didn’t embrace.’

Henry James2. James’s close and long-standing friendship with Constance Fenimore Woolson, a widely-read writer who like James had also settled in Europe, ended abruptly when Woolson jumped from her bedroom window in Venice in 1894. It fell to James to sort through her belongings and finally dispose of her clothing. Unable to sell or burn her dresses, he eventually…

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Five Fascinating Facts about Jean Rhys

Five Fascinating Facts about Jean Rhys is another interesting post from a regular contributor to Interesting Literature.  I remember reading Wide Sargasso Sea and being quite moved by it, appreciating Bertha’s side of the story.  As much as I also loved Jane Eyre, I always felt unsatisfied with the portrayal of Bertha.  Having grown up around mental illness, I knew that the madwoman in the attic had a deeper story to tell than the one Charlotte Bronte gave her.

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The Best Anecdotes Featuring Oscar Wilde

I’ve been remiss with my reblog of Interesting Literature’s posts. This one is on Oscar Wilde. Click, read, and enjoy 🙂

Interesting Literature

It’s Oscar Wilde’s birthday today – he was born on 16 October 1854 – so in honour of this, we’ve compiled some of our favourite anecdotes featuring the great author and wit. Wilde is probably known for his conversation as much as for his literary works. Here are some of the funniest and most thought-provoking stories featuring the man who, as well as being a great wit, was also often rather wise, too (and as the etymologies of the words suggest, the two are not unrelated).

The most famous anecdote involving Wilde concerns his arrival in the United States in the 1880s, when he was already a known figure in England – part of the reason for his trip to America was to promote the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Patience, which mocked the kind of dandy aesthete embodied by Wilde – but he was known for his flamboyant behaviour…

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Literature and Martinis

Ah, the martini!

Interesting Literature

The great American wit and man of letters, H. L. Mencken, memorably described the martini as ‘the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet’. If the sonnet was the pinnacle of European cultural achievement, then the martini was the transatlantic equivalent. This is by no means the only literary link this iconic American drink can boast. Why is the martini such a popular and esteemed cocktail?

For many readers and cinema-goers, the martini cocktail conjures up the world of America in the 1920s – the ‘Jazz Age’ – so vividly portrayed in the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Undoubtedly these associations go some way towards explaining the popularity of the drink in recent years. The Great Gatsby in particular, especially the recent film, with its party scenes, seems bound up inextricably with the image of the martini. However, martinis are never mentioned explicitly in the book, which is noteworthy given that…

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Edgar Allan Poe: Poet and Prophet

Interesting Literature’s interesting discussion on an author who greatly influenced me when I was a very young writer: Edgar Allan Poe.

Interesting Literature

There is a story that, while serving as a young cadet, Edgar Allan Poe was expelled for reporting to a military march wearing nothing but a pair of white gloves. It appears that this is an urban legend, but there are many aspects of Poe’s life and work which are true, and often surprising. He was a pioneer of the short story form, and wrote short stories in a whole host of new genres. Helped to develop and, in a sense, invent several modern literary genres. He even anticipated an important scientific theory of the twentieth century. And then there were the snails…

Poe1Poe was going to be named Cordelia, if he’d been a girl. His mother, an actress, had portrayed the Shakespeare character in a production of King Lear. But when Poe was born (in 1809), and was most definitely a boy, he was named Edgar instead…

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