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Monday, April 30, 2012

Discount closing...

Just 28 more hours for the National Poetry Month offer at Mercer--

The Throne of Psyche discount:
In celebration of the new book and National Poetry Month,
Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche
 at 20% off plus free shipping  Discount code: POETRY

Read chapter one at Scribd 
See the book page
See the new facebook page

Goodreads giveaway, April 15-May 15: 
a generous 24 copies from Mercer - please sign up!

Amazon hardcover and ebook
Indie bookstore search
Buy direct from Mercer

UPDATE. On my North Carolina list for readings in May:  City Lights in Sylva (home stomping grounds near Cullowhee); Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh; Flyleaf in Chapel Hill; and McIntyre's in Pittsboro. I may add another, depending on my schedule, which includes a graduation...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Camellia courtesy

Thanks to Oregon poet Dale Favier for his mid-way read and post, in which he has a number of interesting things to say, including this: "People will inevitably call it Faulknerian – it's Deep South, it's hot, it's told through the lens of a boy who's neurologically atypical. And it's got fruit and blood. But if you have any spiritual antennae at all, you'll quickly grasp that it's anti-Faulkner. There's fullness, not emptiness, in back of everything." That comment reminded me of how my father, the sharecropper's boy who became a WWII tail gunner and then a professor of analytical chemistry, detested the very name of Faulkner and thought that he had gotten the deep South and poverty entirely wrong.

Thanks to GalleyCat for "handpicking" A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage and posting a clip and jacket image... and to poet Robbi Nester for telling me about it.

Thanks to the Cooperstown Crier for news about the new book and also about the NBA panel for young people's literature.

Upcoming:  an expansion of readings in North Carolina, tba on the Events page.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting my Judge-hat ready--

Can you imagine how many little boxes of books will be chattering and clamoring at my front door, trying to break in? Our first conference call is at the start of May...

from Publishers Weekly Daily:  NBA Entry Process Now Open to Publishers The National Book Foundation has issued entry forms and guidelines for the 2012 National Book Awards. The organization has also released the names of the 20 judges who will be choosing the award winners of the four prizes: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.

On the fiction panel, the judges are: Stacey D'Erasmo, Kent Haruf, Dinaw Mengestu, Lorrie Moore and Janet Peer. The nonfiction panel judges are: Brad Gooch, Linda Gordon, Woody Holton, Susan Orlean, Judith Shulevitz. Judging poetry this year are: Laura Kasischke, Dana Levin, Maurice Manning, Patrick Rosal and Tracy K. Smith. And the judges for young people's literature are: Judith Ortiz Cofer, Susan Cooper, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Gary D. Schmidt and Marly Youmans

Publishers can contact Amy Gall ( for award guidelines and, for bios of the judges, users can go to

Read chapter one at Scribd
See the book page
See the new facebook page
Goodreads giveaway, April 15-May 15: 24 copies - please sign up!
Amazon hardcover and ebook
Indie bookstore search
Buy direct from Mercer

Also--The Throne of Psyche discount:
In celebration of the new book and National Poetry Month,
Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche

 at 20% off plus free shipping  Discount code: POETRY

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In memory of baby Theodore

"Jonas at four days"
Years ago, a poet introduced me to the drawings and paintings of Laura Murphy Frankstone through her artlog, Laurelines. Since then, we've corresponded and even spent an evening together in the company of friends in Chapel Hill. Now Laura, who has given pleasure to so many, is asking for support. This weekend she and other family and friends will be the team for a March of Dimes walk in memory of her stillborn grandson, Theodore Mulhollan, child of Kate and Biff. You may read about the effort in Kate's words here.

Please join me in supporting the family team of walkers (you are also welcome to go along on the 3-mile walk in Raleigh, North Carolina) with a donation.

Laura's recent sketch of an 18th-century
German polychrome angel

My Team's Event

April 28, 2012
Imperial Center
4309 Emperor Boulevard
Durham, NC 27703

Walk Distance: 3.1 miles
Registration Time: 8:30 AM
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Chapter: Eastern Carolina Division
Phone: (919) 781-2481 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A greeting from the book--

Mary Boxley Bullington, "Red Tyger-Cat." Collage
of 3 acrylic collographs of the same collage on paper
(drawing in black gesso) 22 1/4" x 27."

See that little lady with her arms up, standing on a circus barrel marked with a star? Mary Boxley Bullington says that's me. I very much enjoyed seeing her work while I was in Roanoke for MALIA's spring meeting. And when I came home, I found a marvelous letter about A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage from a writer I first read in high school, someone I still admire. It's a wonderful thing to admire and be challenged by a book when 16 or 17, and then to receive such a precious letter from the writer many years later. He mentioned a particular passage. For today, I thought that I would just offer those words as a little greeting from my new book.

At this point in the tale (p. 101), Pip has run away from the orphanage. After adventure and misadventure riding the rails, he has found a resting place with a sort of family. In this paragraph, they are all at a meeting with Pip's teacher, who is a contrast to a prior one. Pip has been thinking about Tecumseh and the Red Sticks and the Creek War just before this passage; he has a passion for history. "Mrs. Shook" is Clemmie, "the big-bellied girl."

Here it is:

Pip wondered what she meant by "Mrs. Shook" for a moment; then the voices blurred and lapped at the edge of his consciousness. He was still thinking about the Red Sticks, but he smiled as he watched them chat, not because he was remembering the bad meeting of the year past and comparing it to this--when he put something aside, he put it aside completely--but because he felt suddenly content. Another boy might have been ashamed of the Countess or the retired trainman or even of the big-bellied girl, but the thought never occurred to him. The room brightened as if the sun had suddenly fallen a great deal closer to the earth, and the figures became indistinct in the light. Years later, he could remember almost nothing of that half hour except the Red Sticks, pounding along the riverbank, and how the teacher had touched him as if anointing him for a task.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Return, reviews, links

I'm not quite recovered from my trip South to speak at MALIA--that is, I'm finding it hard to adjust to the idea that soon there will be snow on the Lenten roses, bleeding hearts, periwinkles, violets, checker lilies, and so on now blooming in the front yard! Life in the No'th is a perpetual challenge to those of us who grew up in bright sunshine.

Not a bloggy thing is rattling in my sleepy head this morning, and it's a bit early for reviews since we did not send out advance copies of A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, so I will just post a few clips from reviews on that behemoth, Amazon, in hopes that passers-by are inspired toward reading. (Somehow, every time I use the word behemoth, I can hear Julia Child's rising inflection as she lauds "a be-HE-moth of a lobster!)

From a masterpiece: I hope this book receives the recognition it deserves. I was going to say it was "beautifully written," but that seems superficial somehow, so I'll say it's ~masterfully~ written. Youmans is a poet, true, but the poetry here is used in the service of the story, to bring scenes and characters to life; it's not decoration. I'm amazed at Youman's ability to inhabit another world so fully, as if she'd been reincarnated and were remembering it all firsthand. As others have noted, you want to linger over the descriptions and at the same time move forward to see what happens next. From An important, must-read novel that defies categorizationMarly Youmans' new book 'Death at the White Camellia Orphanage' is an important book. It is, in superficial terms, an American novel, a Southern novel, a bildungsroman, a picaresque novel, and a murder mystery, too... and yet, it doesn't WANT to be categorized, you can tell. It doesn't fit tidy definitions. Pip, the orphan protagonist of the novel, moves from a near- autistic reticence at the beginning of his tale to, after years of living a hobo's life, a kind of jerrybuilt, though workable and sturdy, sense of self at the end. Along the way, he meets characters and situations worthy of Dickens and Lewis Carroll. Youmans' voice is unique, her range wide, her output prodigious. But she has never given us anything like 'Death at the White Camellia Orphanage.' You really ought to read this book, if you care about fiction at all. Even if you're only lukewarm about fiction, do it. Read the book. It has taken up residence in my heart and in my mind. It could do this for you, too. From Beautiful Writing; Beautiful Story of the South: This book is written like a classic that is readable today while telling a story that has relevance for the future while showing us the past. Reader Review:'A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage' is pure joy. Marly Youmans has crafted a uniquely southern American experience into a universal melody that sings of deep loss and conciliation; of the vagaries and complexities of integration into society from the standpoint of the 'hero' - 'Pip' - who battles injustice and the incomprehension of those around him (Pip would these days be regarded as falling within the Asperger's syndrome classification, I believe) and, against all odds, finds a place within family and society. The novel is an extremely satisfying read. I believe I have just read an American classic.
Links for A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Read chapter one at Scribd
See the new facebook page
Goodreads giveway, April 15-May 15: 24 copies
Amazon hardcover and ebook
Indie bookstore search
Buy direct from Mercer
In celebration of the new book and National Poetry Month, Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche
 at 20% off plus free shipping  Discount code: POETRY

Sunday, April 22, 2012


With Alan Bobowski, Director of the Rockbridge
Regional Library in Lexington, Virginia.
Photo by Jamie Rexrode.
Despite the final plane (many maintenance men, aborted takeoff, maintenance men redux, and bumpy ride home), I had a grand time in Roanoke talking to MALIA, The Mid Atlantic Library Independent Alliance at the lavish new South County Library on April 20th. It was lovely have lunch with and talk to librarians, particularly my contact, Alan Bobowski, head of the Rockbridge Library in Lexington. I did a talk called "The Library's Child," and read from three genres of my work--discussion and signing afterward. The only sad part was arriving in Albany late and missing the packed-out soprano recital of my friend, painter and singer Yolanda Sharpe, accompanied by Craig Morrow. 

In other book-related news: Read chapter one of A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage at ScribdBook page.  See the new facebook pageGoodreads giveway, April 15-May 15: 24 copies. Amazon hardcover and ebook reader reviews are starting to appear. In celebration of the new book and National Poetry Month, Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche at 20% off plus free shipping.  Discount code: POETRY

Mary Boxley Bullington,
The Stowaways (Noah Series.)
47" x 26"
MARY BOXLEY BULLINGTON  One wonderful extra thing about being in Roanoke was spending two evenings with former medievalist and then-and-now painter, Mary Boxley Bullington. Mary came to my "The Library's Child" talk and reading, and brought along friend Beth Garst. Mary is about to have a show in Charleston, West Virginia at The Art Store Gallery, and she also organizes the Open Studios Roanoke, which takes place next weekend. I had the fun of poking around her bungalow and seeing all her in-progress and just-framed work for upcoming shows, as well as visiting her gallery in downtown Roanoke, where enjoyed talking with painter Ann Glover. If you're there or passing through, be sure and stop at The Market Gallery. Mary is wonderfully interesting, exuberant, and funny, a great companion. 

DOWN FROM THE HILLS: Paintings and works on paper by Ashley Norwood Cooper.
Red Fox. Casein on board. 30" x 30."  2012.
Today I had another art-filled day, as I walked over to my friend Ashley's house to see the new work she is taking to New York tomorrow for her one-woman show at First Street Gallery. It is always a great pleasure to know painters and see their work evolve over years, and to have a sense of the artist's sensibility behind those changes. If you live in New York City or are passing through, please visit Ashley Norwood Cooper at First Street. Her opening reception will take place on April 28th from 3-5 p.m. She will also be present for Frieze Art Fair (May 4-5) from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, and will participate in Chelsea Open Studios (May 11-13, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.) 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Secret no more--

Update:  Here I am eating a so-called Thai salad in the Philly airport, which is being "expanded for [my] convenience." A sign like that one is always a bad sign! And I guess that I need to update because maybe the rather minimal (I'm-on-the-road) post wasn't so clear... The link is nothing to do with Mercer's nomination of the new book; it's an entirely different thing. That is, I'm going to serve on the judging panel for the young people's award. And I think that will be interesting and a lot of work and a lot of fun. New friends! Hundreds of books to read! Jolly arguments! Etc.

* * *

As I am traveling, I will just share a bit of news: go here, and then slide down to the very bottom of the page (in the "young people" section!) and see what you find.

(Please look at prior posts for links to a discount, 24 Goodreads giveaways of A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, other new book links, and news about my Friday talk in Roanoke.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Marly at MALIA - Roanoke, VA

Featured Speaker, Mid-Atlantic Library Alliance Spring Meeting
South County Library, Roanoke, Virginia

Friday, April 20 1-2:30  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
1-2:00 "The Library's Child"
Marly Youmans talks about growing up with a librarian mother and how that helped shape her identity as an author of poetry, novels, stories, and Southern Appalachian fantasies for children. With readings from recent work in three genres.
2-2:30 Q and A and book signing

Poet Jeffery Beam on A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage  plus links here

Jeffery Beam on "A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage"

Reprinted from Facebook
By permission of poet Jeffery Beam.

I just completed my friend Marly Youmans’ latest novel. What I admire about her fiction in general is her ability to echo the Classics while spinning a good tale. She has a way with language which is literary but relaxed, delicate precision coupled with energizing plot ― the story always compels the reader along ― she writes the kind of book one dreams of ― her language beautiful, her sentences delicate but with just the right amount of ornate decoration creating a tension between reality and some other place in which I want to live.

Her characters are always flawed, always searching, and inevitably torn asunder by fateful circumstance. They are also believable, real, no matter how small a part they play in her tales. Marly’s best skill as a writer is to inhabit the interior of her characters through actual events, without having to explicitly relate psychological details. The characters are so much themselves that I feel I know them. That is a difficult accomplishment I think, and is made more amazing by Marly’s ability to create a character and stories that express spiritual or psychic revelations, soul-full discoveries, without feeling either cute or contrived, or New-Age or self-help. That’s what I’m getting at when I say she echoes the Classics.

In the greatest fictions characters, every bit real, also become emblematic or symbolic of each of us ― what was once called Everyman. Marly’s characters live and breathe; they walk not only the true story that is being told, but also the tale of a life, the trance on the path to becoming.

In A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, Pip, our hero, begins his tale with the greatest trauma of his life ― one more but greater death than many he has already known at the small age of ten. He’s a small boy with a large mind ― teeming with tales from the English Civil Wars taken from one of his three favorite books (an orphan’s only possessions). He lives both inside a fantasy created from those stories while somehow understanding with precocious wisdom the burden of his orphan state and the Depression settling all around him. To escape his trauma he sets to the rails, a hobo savant of community and relationship.

A Death is not without suspense, tenderness, and gristle. Pip’s story is a coming of age one, no doubt, but with a difference. He will come to know not only what it is to be a man, and a survivor, but how to become an artist of life – as well as an inhabitant of his personal history and a discoverer of parts of himself, and revealer of the hidden but much-desired parts in others. You’ll really come to love Pip and like so many other Marly’s characters, Pip will never leave you.

Her work, I suspect, partly as a result of its tightrope walk between the contemporary and the archaic, is severely under-rated. She’s not only one of our best stylists, but a fabricator of superior stories told with a sense of fun, serious artistic finesse, and a determination to create works of lasting value available to readers of many ages.

Links for A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Read chapter one at Scribd
See the new facebook page
Goodreads giveway, April 15-May 15: 24 copies
Amazon hardcover and ebook
Indie bookstore search
Buy direct from Mercer
In celebration of the new book and National Poetry Month, Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche at 20% off plus free shipping
Discount code: POETRY

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tolkienesque confession, with camellias

Middle-earth-style confession in the mode of neurotic comedy
The lovely light-elf parts of having a new book: hearing about people saying marvelous things to others in real life or e-life; receiving fan notes and letters about obtaining more rights; having other people be excited on behalf of the book; being gifted by Lady Word-of-Mouth; feeling a pleasant sense of flurry. The Dark-Lord parts: getting all in a twist because nobody has bought a book on Amazon for 36 whole-not-part hours, and how that must mean the thing has shriveled in an instant; having one's eye drawn irresistibly to numbers; worrying about marketing, done or left undone; despairing about the Precious! A new book means angelian Gandalf lolling on one shoulder, blowing smoke rings in the shapes of frolicking cherubs, and the eye of Sauron perched on the other, fiery and unblinking, clawed in place with iron eyelashes and burning a hole in one's nice elf-cloth.

And now I go do the laundry and then scoot off toward the dentist and then work on finalizing my "The Library's Child" talk in life that is not Middle-earth but has wonderful bits and magical trees and fascinating people all the same. Happy 51st birthday to my dear husband, Michael, a man I love just as much as when he had swaths of long blond hair--indeed, as much as when he had hair at all! XD

Links for A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Read chapter one at Scribd
See the new facebook page
Goodreads giveway, April 15-May 15: 24 copies
Amazon hardcover and ebook
Indie bookstore search

Monday, April 16, 2012

NYC opening, solo show: Ashley Norwood Cooper

casein painting by ashley norwood cooper
Ashley Norwood Cooper, "Another Sad Song" (diptych), 2012,
casein, 48 inches by 72 inches

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, April 28, 3 - 5 pm
It's not easy to mount a solo show in New York City when you don't live there. I recommend this artist and show and hope that those of you who live in New York will support her by turning out for the reception. (Earlier I wrote about Ashley Norwood Cooper's solo show at the Earlville Opera House here.)

Otsego County Christmas
Otsego County Christmas
casein and pastel


“Down from the Hills,” an exhibition of paintings and works on paper of life in the Catskill Mountains by Ashley Norwood Cooper, will be on view at First Street Gallery from April 24 - May 19.

“Sometimes the country is scary” said the artist’s six year old son, staring out the car window one moonless night at crooked houses, abandoned barns and ancient hills. The feeling that he was expressing has been noted by artists and writers going all the way back to Washington Irving. The Catskills are strange, mystical and, frankly, a little creepy.

Ashley Norwood Cooper’s quirky, narrative paintings of rural family life capture that strangeness. In this exhibition families raise their children, weed their gardens, and go about their business while nature looms close and the skeletons of the past lurk never that far away.

Ms. Cooper lives in Cooperstown, NY with her husband, three children, two dogs, a cat, a gecko, a dove and a gerbil. This is her second show at First Street Gallery. A reception for the artist will be held Saturday, April 28 from 3-5 PM.

To see additional work by Ashley Norwood Cooper, visit:
Text is drawn from a facebook invitational page.

A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Read chapter one at Scribd:
See the new facebook page:
Goodreads giveway, April 15-May 15:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage by Marly Youmans

A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage

by Marly Youmans

Giveaway ends May 15, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Sunday, April 15, 2012

White Camellia Roundup

Round-up of news about my new book, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage:
 1. The Goodreads giveaway of 24 books starts today, so please sign up. I haven't seen it on their lists yet, so go ahead and sign up first... button below.
 2. Mercer is nominating the book for several awards--National Book Award and Pulitzer.
 3. There's a new page for the book at facebook:
 4. The book page on my web site has been updated:
 5. The reading at The Green Toad was lovely.
 6. 746 reads/downloads of chapter one at Scribd so far:
 7. In celebration of the new book and National Poetry Month, Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche at 20% off plus free shipping:
 8. The next event is "The Library's Child," a talk with some readings in Roanoke for MALIA. April 20th. But since I'm still trying to shake the bug that bit me 17 days ago, I'm off for a nap. Happy reading.
 9. Almost forgot--have had some grand comments on facebook and am starting to get Amazonian reviews... Lovely readers!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage by Marly Youmans

A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage

by Marly Youmans

Giveaway ends May 15, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Library's Child

ROANOKERS: MALiA Spring Meeting
Featured Speaker
Mid-Atlantic Library Alliance Conference
Roanoke, Virginia
April 20 1-2:30

1-2:00 "The Library's Child"
Marly Youmans talks about growing up with a librarian mother and how that helped shape her identity as an author of poetry, novels, stories, and Southern Appalachian fantasies for children. With readings from recent work in three genres.
2-2:30 following the talk: Q and A and book signing

The MALiA spring meeting will be Friday, April 20th at the new South County Library in Roanoke. Guest speakers include John Ulmschneider of the VLA Legislative Committee, on advocating for your library and the legislative agenda, and author Marly Youmans, the author of novels, collections of poetry, and two young adult novels set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

The Mid Atlantic Library Alliance is a consortium of 150+ public, academic, school, and special libraries in Virginia, North Carolina, and northeastern Tennessee.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Where a thanks is due--

Thank you to Mercer University Press for deciding to nominate A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer. 

And thanks to the 75 people who visited and "liked" my newborn facebook page in its first seven hours of life and left such wonderful comments! If you'd like to join them, visit me here:

Please slide down to the next post if you'd like to see a new discount offer on The Throne of Psyche.

National Poetry Month deal--

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Mercer is offering The Throne of Psyche to my friends/followers at a 20% discount plus free shipping through the end of April. Use discount code POETRY when ordering through the Mercer website:

Horn toots and tralala--

Last night's reading was lovely, and just now I put up a new facebook page for A Death at the White Camellia Orphange; the URL is:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reading at The Green Toad

Reading from A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage
Thursday, April 12th at 7 p.m.
The Green Toad Bookstore  198 Main St. Oneonta, New York (607) 433-8898
Read chapter one of the book at Scribd

The Lucky Seven

Seymour Jacklin tagged me on his blog,  I like his self-description on twitter: Freelancing & freewheeling. Tweeting about my passions: writing, editing, non-violence, sustainability, veganism, faith, grammar, Bach, Jazz and creativity.  He also doodles in a big way, and he posts a story every week. Here are the meme rules:

  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Post on your blog the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are – no cheating!
  • Tag 7 other authors to do the same

  • I have four manuscripts in the pipeline and another I'm fooling with at the moment, so what shall I do? Two are poetry (Thaliad and The Foliate Head), two are fiction (Glimmerglass and Maze of Blood.) The manuscript I've never sent out is The Book of the Red King. I could do my brand new book, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, but that would be cheating--and besides, you can go and look at page 7 and the whole first chapter at Scribd.

    So instead I shall look in the Red King manuscript. If I take the first poem as page one, then page seven and line seven (counting the title) yield up this:

    The feather tumbled from a far

    Fetched place above the walls of world,
    A flower of ice, the petals furled,

    A wine the came some thousand miles
    From the floating Fortunate Isles.

    The Fool sets table for the King
    With pins and ragged skittles-string,

    You can see the whole thing at Mezzo Cammin--fourth poem down.

    No doubt some of these will rebel. Will they capitulate to meme-doom, or will they kick against the mighty meme?  I might still rebel, if I don't click the little button that says "Publish" eternally. After all, memes can pester and annoy. But if I do not, you will never know. Never!

    1.  Clare Dudman, novelist:  Keeper of the Snails
    2.  Luisa Igloria, poet:
    3.  Seb Doubinsky, novelist:
    4.  Beth Adams, writer and artist: The Cassandra Pages
    5.  Robert Freeman Wexler, novelist: Laconic Writer
    6.  Rebecca Kuder, novelist: Being the Blog of Rebecca Kuder
    7.  Robbi Nester, poet: Shadow Knows

    Read chapter one of A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage at Scribd

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    "Terrible and wondrous all"

    I skipped my voice lesson this morning in hopes of preserving my voice for tomorrow night's reading at The Green Toad in Oneonta (7:00 p.m.), though I may try to sing with the choir later... Meanwhile I have scoured the internet, answered mail, read some depressing articles from VIDA that deal with the inequalities between men and women in magazine publishing and elsewhere (there's nothing like a blue-and-red pie chart to set out the facts with boldness!), felt reasonably cheerful despite them (because, well, nothing has changed, so why be depressed?), looked at my first Amazon reviews, dutifully read a bunch of marketing ideas (silly, mostly), and now am about to do a little rebounding. They say it "moves the lymph" around and helps you get well. I don't know if "they" know anything, but I shall move myself around and see what happens.

    One of the most sweeping remarks from the VIDA-collected essays was Roxane Gay's summation: Here’s the truth. In this day and age, the publishing climate is rather untenable for all writers — men, women, writers of color, straight writers, queer writers. Getting your foot in the door doesn’t even mean what it once did. You may get a book deal, but then what happens? What’s an advance, again? Most publishing contracts don’t come with the necessary publisher support to adequately promote a book. It’s difficult to get books reviewed in major publications. Contemporary writers will probably agree that we’re all in this together — mired in the same depressing circumstance, quietly seething about our relative obscurity. Once in a while, we look up and see the bright twinkling star of a prominent, critically acclaimed novelist like Jonathan Franzen or Jeffrey Eugenides wearing his magnificent vest high above Times Square, and think, “When will it be my turn?” Most of us grudgingly accept that our turns may never come for any number of reasons that have little to do with the quality of our writing.

    I must have gone through such thoughts and come out on the other side because I do not "seethe." I do not "grudgingly accept," either. While I may feel a flash of regret that I've never received the desired "push" from a big publisher that launches one into a wider readership, I am determined to live my life in light and joy, to go on making poems and stories, in thrall to the love of language. Yes, publishing can sometimes be difficult and discouraging and cruel; yes, it has broken writers who could not bear to have their work ignored, who could not endure the ways of the world.

    But much of what writing is about is living a larger life, and I will live that life and not be like a flower that blooms and then cramps inward, brushed by frost. Besides, I've just published a new book, and you may go and take a nibble from it here, and you can learn more about it here. And I think you will like it. Although certain painful elements from generations of my family history streak the story, I wrote it with a sense of joy and good cheer to the world, despite all--despite and because of the terrible and wondrous all.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Feet on a tuffet--

    Finally, a day to loll about and recover from The Pernicious Bassett Bug! I'm hoping to be in the very pinkest pink of health by my reading from A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage on Thursday the 12th at The Green Toad Bookstore, Oneonta. Today I am relaxing and writing my talk called "The Library's Child" for the MALIA, the library conference in Roanoke.

    Yesterday I drove to Bard College to drop off our daughter and her mighty loads of laundry and camera equipment--always an odd experience at this time of year, winding to the southeast and watching spring unfold. Our four-inch tulip leaves here are blooming tulips there, and Dutchess County is frothy with forsythia. Olana rising from the hilltops, the Rip van Winkle bridge, the Fisher Center: all these always remind me what a dunce I am to forget my camera.

    Read chapter one of A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage at Scribd.
    Learn more about the book here.
    Scroll down for Goodreads giveaways and more.

    Writing advice for today: Ignore all advice. Just write, and let the writing teach you where to go and how to know. 

    Monday, April 09, 2012

    With a wave--

    As today is already booked until night, I leave you with a chance for one of 24 free books, and the already-posted peek at Scribd:


        Goodreads Book Giveaway


            A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage by Marly Youmans



              A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage


              by Marly Youmans



                Giveaway ends May 15, 2012.


                See the giveaway details
                at Goodreads.




          Enter to win