Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Magic tour stop

I was promoted from Honorary Witch to member of the coven, so that means I get to be part of the Random Magic Blog Tour. Hooray! Welcome to anyone stopping by on their trek from blog to blog, and to my regular readers: stick around, share in my love of books, and follow the tour!

You can find my review of the book here. I'm also sharing today's tour date with Becky, who has an interview up on her blog with the author, Sasha Soren. (Becky also has a post up with bonus info about the book- that's here.)

Tada! You've discovered bonus material! In Random Magic, quite a few authors make an appearance, and I get the honor of posting some information about that subject.

Reader Notes: Celestial Roll Call: Writers Featured in Random Magic

Wouldn’t it be nice to meet your favorite writers at one big literary party? In Random Magic, that’s exactly what happens!

Callie, the First Muse, is friends with every writer ever born, and so it’s not unusual at all for her to throw a bash attended by, say, Mark Twain or Edgar Allan Poe.

In fact, you’ll meet both writers at one of Callie’s parties – along with their fellow party guests, Charles Baudelaire, Lord Byron, Noël Coward, H.P. Lovecraft and Dorothy Parker.

((Meri's note: I'm trimming this post and only posting some info about each author, because otherwise this'll be very long. However, I also made a backdated post here with much more information about the authors and pictures of them, so please go check that out. It's much more interesting than this condensed version! :) ))

Plum (P.G. Wodehouse): Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, whose body of work includes dozens of quirky, satirical novels and collections of short stories. He was also a playwright and lyricist. His work was often dismissed by critics as being lowbrow literature, simply because so much of it is just plain funny, and thus, not Serious Literature.

However, anyone who’s picked up a work by Wodehouse knows just how much mastery he had over the English language, and how skilled he was in devising delightfully preposterous and entertaining plots and predicaments. His family and friends called him Plum.

Dosty (Fyodor Dostoevsky): Writer, essayist and philosopher, whose profound understanding of the human psyche and soul are seen clearly in several classic works: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov.

Dostoevsky described himself as a dreamer when he was a young man, but his later character was marked by several tragedies and hardships, including the death of his mother, the murder of his father, poverty, a stint in the army, fits of epileptic seizures, his imprisonment in a Siberian prison, and the death of his wife Maria Dmitrievna and brother Mikhail.

Twain (Mark Twain): Novelist, essayist and humorist. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he chose the pen name Mark Twain as a memento of his days working on riverboats. The phrase “mark twain,” was riverboat slang meaning that the water ahead was “two fathoms deep,” and thus, deep enough for the safe passage of ships.

Twain’s best known for his novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but also wrote funny, satirical books about his ramblings around the world, including Roughing It, Following the Equator and Innocents Abroad.

Twain was both studious and entertaining, and his humor was -- and still is -- especially appealing to folks with a hearty appreciation for the dryly comical.

The Bells (Emily Brontë): Novelist and poet, best remembered for her only novel, the passionate and gloomy Wuthering Heights. During her lifetime, she published under the pen name Ellis Bell.

The Bells (Charlotte Brontë): Novelist, and the firstborn of the Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily, and the youngest, Ann), all of whose novels became standard works of English literature.

She was the last surviving Brontë sister, as both Emily and Anne, as well as their brother Branwell, died young. Charlotte, who wrote gothic romance Jane Eyre, wrote under the pen name Currer Bell.

The Bells (Anne Brontë): Baby sister to Emily and Charlotte, and the author of Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Agnes Grey was based on her own experience working as a governess; her father was a poor clergyman, so his daughters were well-educated but without means.

Although only in her early 20s when her books were published, both novels were well-received and popular. Unfortunately, her second novel was also her last, as she died of tuberculosis a year later, at the age of 29. Anne wrote under the pen name Acton Bell.

Baudy (Charles Baudelaire): French poet, critic, and translator – and licentious gadabout, carouser and opium eater. In between all that lush decadence, however, he managed to write a brilliant book of verse, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). Although folks in his day were appalled by his lush, erotic and darkly passionate verses, The Flowers of Evil later became a standard of French literature. Although immensely talented, Baudelaire died in poverty.

Dot (Dorothy Parker): Writer, poet and wisecracker, who wrote for The New Yorker and was a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algonquin_Round_Table] Her political involvement with left-wing politics landed her on the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s. [link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_blacklist]

Although she was a published poet, screenwriter and established theatre critic, she was better known for her disastrous love life, problems with depression, love for the drink -- and a world-weary, sardonic wit that helped her deal with all the rest of it.

H.P. (H.P. Lovecraft): Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. His works were dream-like, grim, cynical and deeply pessimistic. H.P. invented the idea of the Necronomicon, a grimoire allegedly written by the mad mystic, Abdul Alhazred. The lure of a secret book of magical power was so strong that many readers believed the book actually existed.

Although his readership was small during his lifetime, his work exerted a powerful influence over succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction.

Gloomy George (Lord Byron): George Gordon Byron, later Noel, 6th Baron Byron, of Rochdale, FRS, and commonly known as Lord Byron, was a poet and one of the most notorious literary figures of his day. His best-known works include the poem “She Walks in Beauty” [http://www.bartleby.com/101/600.html] and “The Sea.” [http://www.geocities.com/cptblood_1999/page2.html].

A later chapter header in Random Magic includes two lines from “The Sea,” in tribute to this stormy poet whom lover Lady Caroline Lamb called “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

Shakes (William Shakespeare): William Shakespeare was a poet and playwright, widely regarded as one of the greatest dramatists in the English language. He’s often called England's national poet and the “Bard of Avon.”

His surviving works include 38 plays (including Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream), poems, and 154 sonnets. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright in history.

(Reader note: You can find another tribute to Shakespeare at the end of Chapter 19 in Random Magic!)

Assorted Russian poets (Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, et al.): Although we don’t meet them in the book, Callie’s party quite likely included famed Russian writers Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov, both of whose works (and lifestyles) were influenced by Lord Byron – thus, in the book, they’re simply his good mates who came along for a roisterous night out.

Poe (Edgar Allan Poe): Writer, poet and editor, famous for his lurid and dreamy tales of mystery and the macabre, and considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, unfortunately resulting in a life of straitened finances and poverty.

In Random Magic, one of Callie’s closest friends is a shape-shifter, who travels in the form of a raven. His name is Nevermore. Nevermore’s name, of course -- and the name of his cousin, Quoth -- comes from one of Poe’s most well-known poems, “The Raven”.

Hosky (Oscar Wilde): Oscar Wilde was a playwright, poet, the author of several short stories and one novel. His nickname at school (Oxford) was “Hosky.”
Oscar, though a brilliantly gifted writer, was even more famous for his scathing wit, clever quips and outlandish style, becoming one of the greatest “celebrities” of the late Victorian era. Several of his plays are still hugely popular, including The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere’s Fan, both of which have seen big-screen adaptations.

Noelie (Sir Noël Peirce Coward): Born December 16, 1899, he was a playwright, actor, composer, director and singer, famed for his flamboyance, cheeky elegance and quick wit.

He started writing in his teens, and his body of work includes 50 plays, among them Private Lives and Present Laughter, which are still performed today. He composed over a dozen musical theatre works (including the operetta Bitter Sweet), poetry, short stories, the novel Pomp and Circumstance, and a three-volume autobiography.

Reader note: If you’re curious about the lives of any of the writers mentioned, please feel free to visit Wikipedia, which was a valuable resource in compiling these biographical profiles for your reading pleasure.

The biographical details of all these creative man and women are fascinating in their entirety. Happy reading!

And, lastly, it might not yet but January 19, but if you have a moment to spare, let’s raise a glass to Poe -- and Hosky, Shakes, Dot, Baudy, The Bells, Gloomy George -- and other departed friends, lovers, sarcastic quippers and mad geniuses. Thank you for leaving us with so many wonderful words to savor, puzzle over, mull over, quote, recognize, laugh at, cry for, act out, act on, and devour with gratitude and appreciation. Huzzah!


Becky said...

Thanks for being my linky RM coven sister.

Rose Works Jewelry said...

very interesting!

Merily said...

Becky- you're welcome! This tour is so fun! :D Ack, I just noticed I have the link going to your wrong blog post. I'll fix that now.

It is, Ruthie! When you can get your hands on a copy of the book, you should definitely read it. :)

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