As always, at the very last minute, here come cancellations due to circumstances out of my control. Two authors have had to cancel, Johnathan Barrett and Ann Hood but the GOOD NEWS is I have two outstanding authors that are coming, Tamra Bolton of “When We Were Small” on Kindle at Amazon and Romalyn Tilghman of “To The Stars Through Difficulties”. To say I am excited about these NEW additions is an understatement. Tamra Bolton is my Queen of the Pulpwood Queens of Jacksonville, Texas. She is a journalist and photographer and we met when she did a feature on me in IN Magazine and we just became great friends that day. We have had many adventures including the going to the National Rock Stacking Competition in Llano Texas at their LEAF festival where she took home the 3rd prize in that competition. We share a love of adventure and serious coffee and are planning a trip up to Jamie Ford country this coming summer to visit Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. I have found a compandre with the same soul, we both have a love of reading, writing, and adventure. She also wrote the Parade Magazine feature on me, Kathy L. Murphy, The Comeback Queen and she got the story just right. But that is not why I love her as a friend, I love her because she is probably one of the most authentic, honest, hardworking, and strong a woman as I have ever met. She’s the real deal and she has a terrific book to share with the world and can’t wait to share it with YOU.
Next is Romalyn Tilghman, a fellow Kansas that has all the elements in her book that have made me a reader for life, Kansas, tornados, Carnegie Libraries, this is a sure-fire Pulpwood Queen Book Club winner. I cannot wait to meet her in person and hopefully, this concludes our program without any more surprises this coming year.
Last is our guest blogger for the day, James Conroyd Martin who I met in Bellingham, Washington at Books on the Bay Author Festival run by fellow book enthusiast and publisher, Kiffer Brown. James has some terrific books and a terrific story, please read all about it below!
Truly Happy New READING Year!
Kathy L. Murphy
Some—as in many—years ago I resigned from a short teaching career, turned my young back on the Midwest, and landed in Hollywood, anxious to learn to be a screenwriter. I landed a job, two actually, and started taking screenwriting classes. All was going according to plan—until I met a young man who insisted I read his translation of his great-great-great-great grandmother’s diary.
Out of politeness, I did read the diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska, who began her journaling in 1791 when her parents died and she was forced to live with an aunt, uncle, and two nefarious cousins. The diary held me spellbound as I read of her falling in love with neighbor Jan while being obstructed in her happiness by crude Walter and scheming Zofia. The background to all of this was the nation at war and on the cusp of destruction. Margaret Mitchell could have outlined it.
But this didn’t call for a screenplay—that could come later. I would create a novel, yes—a novel. To cut my own serpentine story short, over years, the manuscript could not survive three agents, countless would-be editors, one lying publisher. Even the weight of Bette Davis, who read it with an eye to an eventual screenplay, didn’t seem to matter.
Return to the Midwest and to teaching. Keep the telling short, James, I tell myself. OK, one-day print-on-demand comes along and I publish the book myself, hoping to catch the eye of one of the big publishers. Fates smiles. St. Martin’s Press purchases Push Not the River. Anna’s story gets told. I pray it’s told well, I whisper to the spirit I’ve felt on my shoulder for so many years. Why, her story is translated back into Polish—full circle—and Nie ponaglaj rzeki becomes a bestseller in Poland. Na zdrowie!
Oh, the publisher wants a sequel? Cool. Done—Against a Crimson Sky. I’m flying now, pun intended. Wait—my editor is leaving St. Martin’s? What, without her, on board, they are declining the final part of the trilogy? Publish it yourself, my agent urges. How do I do that? Oh, yeah—I do know how. And so I do—The Warsaw Conspiracy.
Now, what is it they call writers like me—those who have been published by the big boys, as well as by their own big bad selves? I always forget. It’s some kind of flower or plant, isn’t it? Hybrids?—yes that’s right.
I’m a hybrid author. And do you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing.
Oh, a screenplay? It’ll happen one day.
You just wait.
James Conroyd Martin is the award-winning author of PUSH NOT THE RIVER, a novel based on the diary of a countess in 1790s Poland; AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY, which continues the family saga into the Napoleonic era; and The WARSAW CONSPIRACY, detailing the young Polish cadets’ rising against mighty Russia. It is now a best-selling e-book boxed set.
The latest: THE BOY WHO WANTED WINGS is a story of love and war as a young man seeks to become a hussar, one of the elite Polish lancers who rode into battle wearing wings of eagle feathers on their backs. The book culminates with the Battle of Vienna, 1683, which occurred on September 11-12, 1683. It was the FIRST 9/11, pitting the Ottoman Empire against Christian Europe. As crucial and consequential as the Battle of Hastings, this battle changed the course of European history.
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