Saturday, September 16, 2017

Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life is $4.25 Right Now on Amazon

Score the paperback of Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life on Amazon for only $4.25. The list price is $12.98 so get it while you can for the price of a cup of "Coffee with Poe." In addition, Amazon Prime members get free shipping on the book.

Coffee with Poe, award-winning finalist (historical biography category) of the USA Book News "Best Book Awards," is a historical novel detailing Edgar Allan Poe’s life. The book is filled with actual letters to his three fianc√©es, his literary contemporaries (Longfellow, Irving, and Hawthorne), and his bitter enemies. Now that's scary.

The characters are brought to life by interactive dialogue that may have taken place given what history teaches us. Read about the life of America's most haunting and mysterious author today and see Edgar Allan Poe brought to life like never before!

“To give us a historical fiction look at Edgar Allan Poe is great. The start where we are at his mom's funeral gives a little insight into why he may write the way he does. It is very interesting the ideas the author has put into the story about Poe. I like the idea of detailing the life of Edgar Allan Poe into a historical fiction novel. . . . A great idea to give us some insight into why Poe may be the way he is.” Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Expert Reviewer.

Buy tonight!

#EdgarAllanPoe #CoffeewithPoe

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Monos and Daimonos by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) is known in supernatural circles for penning one of the greatest ghost stories of the nineteenth century: "The Haunted and Haunters." In 1857. H.P. Lovecraft called it "one of the best short haunted house tales ever." I included it in The Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology given its scary atmosphere throughout and fine writing. But enough about that ghostly tale.

Bulwer-Lytton was the first best selling novelist who got rich off his novels. Though Edgar Allan Poe admired the writings of Bulwer-Lytton, Poe also took a jab at him in his short story Lion-izingA section of “Lion-izing” is derived from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s tale “Too Handsome for Anything.” Follow the link to see what I had to say about the tale.

Bulwer-Lytton's second best ghost story is Monos and Daimonos. It was published in the May 1830 issue of the British New Monthly Magazine when Bulwer-Lytton was 27. The title is best defined as the heavenly and the infernal. The scary story involves a shipwreck, a murder and . . . well . . . a relentless ghost set out for revenge. Boo and Daiboo!

#MonosDaimonos #BestGhostStories

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Edgar Allan Poe Short Biography

Edgar Allan Poe
An Appreciation

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore–
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
       Of “never–never more!”

This stanza from “The Raven” was recommended by James Russell Lowell as an inscription upon the Baltimore monument which marks the resting place of Edgar Allan Poe, the most interesting and original figure in American letters. And, to signify that peculiar musical quality of Poe’s genius which inthralls every reader, Mr. Lowell suggested this additional verse, from the “Haunted Palace”:

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
   Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
   And sparkling ever more,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
   Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
   The wit and wisdom of their king.

Born in poverty at Boston, January 19 1809, dying under painful circumstances at Baltimore, October 7, 1849, his whole literary career of scarcely fifteen years a pitiful struggle for mere subsistence, his memory malignantly misrepresented by his earliest biographer, Griswold, how completely has truth at last routed falsehood and how magnificently has Poe come into his own, For “The Raven,” first published in 1845, and, within a few months, read, recited and parodied wherever the English language was spoken, the half-starved poet received $10! Less than a year later his brother poet, N. P. Willis, issued this touching appeal to the admirers of genius on behalf of the neglected author, his dying wife and her devoted mother, then living under very straitened circumstances in a little cottage at Fordham, N. Y.:

“Here is one of the finest scholars, one of the most original men of genius, and one of the most industrious of the literary profession of our country, whose temporary suspension of labor, from bodily illness, drops him immediately to a level with the common objects of public charity. There is no intermediate stopping-place, no respectful shelter, where, with the delicacy due to genius and culture, he might secure aid, till, with returning health, he would resume his labors, and his unmortified sense of independence.”

And this was the tribute paid by the American public to the master who had given to it such tales of conjuring charm, of witchery and mystery as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “Ligeia”; such fascinating hoaxes as “The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfaall,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” “A Descent Into a Maelstrom” and “The Balloon Hoax”; such tales of conscience as “William Wilson,” “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-tale Heart,” wherein the retributions of remorse are portrayed with an awful fidelity; such tales of natural beauty as “The Island of the Fay” and “The Domain of Arnheim”; such marvellous studies in ratiocination as the “Gold-bug,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Purloined Letter” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” the latter, a recital of fact, demonstrating the author’s wonderful capability of correctly analyzing the mysteries of the human mind; such tales of illusion and banter as “The Premature Burial” and “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether”; such bits of extravaganza as “The Devil in the Belfry” and “The Angel of the Odd”; such tales of adventure as “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”; such papers of keen criticism and review as won for Poe the enthusiastic admiration of Charles Dickens, although they made him many enemies among the over-puffed minor American writers so mercilessly exposed by him; such poems of beauty and melody as “The Bells,” “The Haunted Palace,” “Tamerlane,” “The City in the Sea” and “The Raven.” What delight for the jaded senses of the reader is this enchanted domain of wonder-pieces! What an atmosphere of beauty, music, color! What resources of imagination, construction, analysis and absolute art! One might almost sympathize with Sarah Helen Whitman, who, confessing to a half faith in the old superstition of the significance of anagrams, found, in the transposed letters of Edgar Poe’s name, the words “a God-peer.” His mind, she says, was indeed a “Haunted Palace,” echoing to the footfalls of angels and demons.

“No man,” Poe himself wrote, “has recorded, no man has dared to record, the wonders of his inner life.”

In these twentieth century days -of lavish recognition-artistic, popular and material-of genius, what rewards might not a Poe claim!

Edgar’s father, a son of General David Poe, the American revolutionary patriot and friend of Lafayette, had married Mrs. Hopkins, an English actress, and, the match meeting with parental disapproval, had himself taken to the stage as a profession. Notwithstanding Mrs. Poe’s beauty and talent the young couple had a sorry struggle for existence. When Edgar, at the age of two years, was orphaned, the family was in the utmost destitution. Apparently the future poet was to be cast upon the world homeless and friendless. But fate decreed that a few glimmers of sunshine were to illumine his life, for the little fellow was adopted by John Allan, a wealthy merchant of Richmond, Va. A brother and sister, the remaining children, were cared for by others.

In his new home Edgar found all the luxury and advantages money could provide. He was petted, spoiled and shown off to strangers. In Mrs. Allan he found all the affection a childless wife could bestow. Mr. Allan took much pride in the captivating, precocious lad. At the age of five the boy recited, with fine effect, passages of English poetry to the visitors at the Allan house.

From his eighth to his thirteenth year he attended the Manor House school, at Stoke-Newington, a suburb of London. It was the Rev. Dr. Bransby, head of the school, whom Poe so quaintly portrayed in “William Wilson.” Returning to Richmond in 1820 Edgar was sent to the school of Professor Joseph H. Clarke. He proved an apt pupil. Years afterward Professor Clarke thus wrote:

“While the other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine poetry; the boy was a born poet. As a scholar he was ambitious to excel. He was remarkable for self-respect, without haughtiness. He had a sensitive and tender heart and would do anything for a friend. His nature was entirely free from selfishness.”

At the age of seventeen Poe entered the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He left that institution after one session. Official records prove that he was not expelled. On the contrary, he gained a creditable record as a student, although it is admitted that he contracted debts and had “an ungovernable passion for card-playing.” These debts may have led to his quarrel with Mr. Allan which eventually compelled him to make his own way in the world.

Early in 1827 Poe made his first literary venture. He induced Calvin Thomas, a poor and youthful printer, to publish a small volume of his verses under the title “Tamerlane and Other Poems.” In 1829 we find Poe in Baltimore with another manuscript volume of verses, which was soon published. Its title was “Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Other Poems.” Neither of these ventures seems to have attracted much attention.

Soon after Mrs. Allan’s death, which occurred in 1829, Poe, through the aid of Mr. Allan, secured admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Any glamour which may have attached to cadet life in Poe’s eyes was speedily lost, for discipline at West Point was never so severe nor were the accommodations ever so poor. Poe’s bent was more and more toward literature. Life at the academy daily became increasingly distasteful. Soon he began to purposely neglect his studies and to disregard his duties, his aim being to secure his dismissal from the United States service. In this he succeeded. On March 7, 1831, Poe found himself free. Mr. Allan’s second marriage had thrown the lad on his own resources. His literary career was to begin.

Poe’s first genuine victory was won in 1833, when he was the successful competitor for a prize of $100 offered by a Baltimore periodical for the best prose story. “A MSS. Found in a Bottle” was the winning tale. Poe had submitted six stories in a volume. “Our only difficulty,” says Mr. Latrobe, one of the judges, “was in selecting from the rich contents of the volume.”

During the fifteen years of his literary life Poe was connected with various newspapers and magazines in Richmond, Philadelphia and New York. He was faithful, punctual, industrious, thorough. N. P. Willis, who for some time employed Poe as critic and sub-editor on the “Evening Mirror,” wrote thus:

“With the highest admiration for Poe’s genius, and a willingness to let it alone for more than ordinary irregularity, we were led by common report to expect a very capricious attention to his duties, and occasionally a scene of violence and difficulty. Time went on, however, and he was invariably punctual and industrious. We saw but one presentiment of the man-a quiet, patient, industrious and most gentlemanly person.

“We heard, from one who knew him well (what should be stated in all mention of his lamentable irregularities), that with a single glass of wine his whole nature was reversed, the demon became uppermost, and, though none of the usual signs of intoxication were visible, his will was palpably insane. In this reversed character, we repeat, it was never our chance to meet him.”

On September 22, 1835, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, in Baltimore. She had barely turned thirteen years, Poe himself was but twenty-six. He then was a resident of Richmond and a regular contributor to the “Southern Literary Messenger.” It was not until a year later that the bride and her widowed mother followed him thither.

Poe’s devotion to his child-wife was one of the most beautiful features of his life. Many of his famous poetic productions were inspired by her beauty and charm. Consumption had marked her for its victim, and the constant efforts of husband and mother were to secure for her all the comfort and happiness their slender means permitted. Virginia died January 30, 1847, when but twenty-five years of age. A friend of the family pictures the death-bed scene–mother and husband trying to impart warmth to her by chafing her hands and her feet, while her pet cat was suffered to nestle upon her bosom for the sake of added warmth.

These verses from “Annabel Lee,” written by Poe in 1849, the last year of his life, tell of his sorrow at the loss of his child-wife:

I was a child and TsheT was a child,
   In a kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with TaT love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
   Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago;
   In this kingdom by the sea.
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea,

Poe was connected at various times and in various capacities with the “Southern Literary Messenger” in Richmond, Va.; “Graham’s Magazine” and the “Gentleman’s Magazine” in Philadelphia.; the “Evening Mirror,” the “Broadway Journal,” and “Godey’s Lady’s Book” in New York. Everywhere Poe’s life was one of unremitting toil. No tales and poems were ever produced at a greater cost of brain and spirit.

Poe’s initial salary with the “Southern Literary Messenger,” to which he contributed the first drafts of a number of his best-known tales, was $10 a week! Two years later his salary was but $600 a year. Even in 1844, when his literary reputation was established securely, he wrote to a friend expressing his pleasure because a magazine to which he was to contribute had agreed to pay him $20 monthly for two pages of criticism.

Those were discouraging times in American literature, but Poe never lost faith. He was finally to triumph wherever pre-eminent talents win admirers. His genius has had no better description than in this stanza from William Winter’s poem, read at the dedication exercises of the Actors’ Monument to Poe, May 4, 1885, in New York:

“He was the voice of beauty and of woe, Passion and mystery and the dread unknown; Pure as the mountains of perpetual snow, Cold as the icy winds that round them moan, Dark as the eaves wherein earth’s thunders groan, Wild as the tempests of the upper sky, Sweet as the faint, far-off celestial tone of angel whispers, fluttering from on high, And tender as love’s tear when youth and beauty die.”

In the two and a half score years that have elapsed since Poe’s death he has come fully into his own. For a while Griswold’s malignant misrepresentations colored the public estimate of Poe as man and as writer. But, thanks to J. H. Ingram, W. F. Gill, Eugene Didier, Sarah Helen Whitman and others these scandals have been dispelled and Poe is seen as he actually was-not as a man without failings, it is true, but as the finest and most original genius in American letters. As the years go on his fame increases. His works have been translated into many foreign languages. His is a household name in France and England-in fact, the latter nation has often uttered the reproach that Poe’s own country has been slow to appreciate him. But that reproach, if it ever was warranted, certainly is untrue.

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944), English Cartoonist and Illustrator, Published Above Biography in 1900. Below is the cover for Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life where I being Poe to life using his actual letters to his contemporaries and many loves.

#PoeBiography #LifeofPoe

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes - Best Horror Quotes

On the Internet there are a number of websites that list Edgar Allan Poe quotes:

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” 
“We loved with a love that was more than love.” 
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” 

Oddly, none of them at present list the best horror quotes by the master of the horror short story genre. So with literary pickaxe in hand, I read back over Poe's best horror short stories contained in my horror anthologies and came up with the 10 best. I've have put them in a YouTube video along with creepy music to accompany them. Enjoy and please feel free to share the horror of Poe!

#EdgarAllanPoeQuotes #PoeHorrorQuotes

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Rudyard Kipling House in London

On a recent trip to London I was strolling up Villers street when I saw to the right of me a squeezed building called Kipling House. "Certainly that cannot be the Kipling," I said to my companion. So I asked the same of the a young man enjoying a puff or two on a cigaret in the awning's shadow. "Yes, the Rudyard Kipling lived here for a couple years," he verified. That's one of the coolest things about London is that the history city is so chockablock with literary haunts that you find them walking about.

So I snapped a photo on my phone and continued up Villers. When I got back in the States I researched it. Rudyard Kipling lived there from 1889-1891. Kipling stated: "From my desk I could look out of my window through the fanlight of Gatti's Music-Hall entrance, across the street, almost on to its stage. The Charing Cross trains rumbled through my dreams on one side, the boom of the Strand on the other, while, before my windows, Father Thames under the Shot tower walked up and down with his traffic."

Kipling wrote segments of his novel The Light that Failed in the house. He did not, however, pen his ghost short stories there. His most popular is "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes published in 1899. That story, nor any of Rudyard Kiplings other ghost stories rose to the level of The Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology given their lack of terror-inducing storylines.

But the next time you are strolling along Villers Street in London and pass building 43, look up and see the digs of famous author of his day (though a middling ghost story writer).

Author Andrew Barger

#RudyardKiplingGhostStories #RudyardKiplingHouse

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Middle Unearthed: The Best Fantasy Short Stories 1800-1849 a Classic Fantasy Anthology Edited by Andrew Barger

Two hundred years before Game of Thrones became a hit series of novels and popular HBO TV episodes, the fantasy genre was launched by short story authors. I have searched old magazines and forgotten journals to find the 10 best fantasy stories that launched a genre. I then annotated them and provided a list at the back of the collection of all the stories considered for the anthology. I further included background introductions to each story and author photos, where available.

Middle Unearthed, an Introduction by Andrew Barger

1836 "The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton" by Charles Dickens is thought by many to be a precursor to A Christmas Carol given the subject matter and goblins that a certain grouchy sexton meets on Christmas Eve.

1839 "The Kelpie Rock" by Joseph Holt Ingraham draws on the prior writings of Washington Irving in the Hudson River Valley while giving the world one of the best fantasy stories by an American during this important period in the genre.

1831 "Transformation" by Mary Shelley is the best fantasy short story by the famous author of Frankenstein.

1819 "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving gives a look into the American Revolution by one of America's most famous authors and is also the oldest story in the collection.

1824 "Lilian of the Vale" by George Darley is a haunting fantasy short story that is the cornerstone of all modern fairy stories.

1835 "The Doom of Soulis" by John MacKay Wilson recounts a haunting legend of a wizard that will not soon be forgotten.

1827 "The Dwarf Nose" by Wilhelm Hauff provides one of the best dwarf short stories ever written by one of Germany's most talented authors who died way before his time.

1829 "Seddik Ben Saad the Magician" by D.C. is a mystical story that conjures thoughts of Arabia, astrology, and the black arts.

1845 "The Witch Caprusche" by Elizabeth F. Ellet tells a haunting fantasy story of a witch and the thirst for power that leads to a bitter end.

1837 "The Pale Lady" by George Soane recounts a peculiar visitor who comes to stay at a castle that came only stem from the mind of one of the most underrated English fantasy authors of the nineteenth century.

Before there was a lovable green ogre called Shrek and a bespeckled wizard named Harry Potter, there were the best fantasy short stories published in English during the first half of the nineteenth century. Read today.

Please like my Facebook page: for updates on classic fantasy short stories.

They are included in my new classic anthology, Middle Unearthed: The Best Fantasy Short Stories 1800-1849. Before there were lovable ogres named Shrek and a quizzical boy wizard named Harry Potter, there were these groundbreaking fantasy stories that laid the foundation of so many great works to come. This annotated collection is on sale now at $12.99 for the book and $3.99 for the ebook. Read these stories from the Middle Earth of fantasy writing today.

Buy the Book
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Waterstones

Buy the E-book
Apple iBookstore | Kindle | Google Books | Nook

#GameofThrones #BestFantasyStories

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review of The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart

Albert Camus ("The Stranger"). Jean-Paul Sartre (Author of "Existentialism and Humanism"). Simone de Beauvoir ("She Came to Stay"). They are considered the leading French--if not the worldwide--proponents of existentialism. It's a big word that means, in essence, that to truly be free one kill their conscience; that one should act without fear of moral consequences.

Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure, was greatly influenced by them. His song "Killing an Arab" was based on "The Stranger" and he stated that he read Sartre in the original French when in high school. It's believe that "Six Different Ways" by The Cure (Head on the Door Album) is about "The Dice Man" and it would seem to fit given Robert Smith's penchant for existentialism. See my Cure blog -- Disintegration Nation.

That's all fine and good, but where does that leave "The Dice Man"? The 1971 cult novel emulates these existential heroes by introducing readers to Dr. Luke Rhinehart, a fictional character (we think) who just happens to have the same name as the author of the novel. Hoomph. George Crockcroft is real name of the author and Luke Rhinehart is his penname, which makes tongue-in-cheek sense. Crockcroft sounds more like a penname or perhaps if you last name is Crockcroft you need a penname.

Dr. Rhinehart adopts the dicelifestyle by doing what a roll of dice tells him to do without regard to morality or social outcome. The protagonist tells readers: "The secret of the successful dicelife is to be a puppet on the strings of the die." We are told to "Create the options. Shake the dice. All else is nonsense."

If you are into existentialism or even nihilism, The Dice Man is for you. If not, the novel can drag over close to 600 pages and doesn't have the plotted storyline one might expect for a novel this size.

Andrew Barger author of The Divine Dantes trilogy.

#DiceManReview #ExistentialismInLiterature

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A New English Translation of "The Vampire of the Carpathian Mountains" by Alexandre Dumas

In 1848 Alexandre Dumas published "The Vampire of Carpathian Mountains" (also called "The Pale Lady") in his French short story collection One Thousand and One Ghosts. It is a fantastic book that contains some of the best supernatural tales Dumas ever penned. If you have at least a reading knowledge of the French language, it is well worth the effort of flagging it down on or some other site.

Of course if your French needs a bit of a refresher from high school, it becomes a more difficult task. This is especially true of Dumas's signature horror tale: "The Vampire of Carpathian Mountains". When BlooDeath: The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849 was compiled, I included a 1848 translation of the Dumas vampire story from the London New Monthly Magazine. It was the rag, after all, that printed John Polidori's "The Vampyre" in 1819, which is also contained in my collection and is considered the first vampire short story to originate in the English language. So I figured the New Monthly Magazine knew a thing or two about vampire stories and would give the English translation the attention it rightly deserved.

Only after I published the classic vampire anthology did I realize I was wrong. It was brought to my attention that the original French version by Dumas included a poem that was nowhere to be found in English translation by theNew Monthly Magazine. Not only that, but the ending seemed rushed. I turned paler than a person under the throes of vampirism. I had done what is a no-no for one of my collections--I had published an abridged version of a classic short story and fallen victim the horrible magazine practice of trying to save space on the printed page.

With the aid of a translator in Montreal and a little help from online translators, I went to work. A month later I had in front of me an English translation of The Vampire of the Carpathian Mountains in a form that is much closer to what Dumas originally intended. I immediately updated the ebook versions of the collection and they are live now with the non-abridged story. I hope you enjoy it and forgive my faux pas.

#VampireCarpathianMountains #DumasVampireStory

Sunday, June 4, 2017

How to Write a T. S. Eliot Poem

T. S. Eliot

The routine and regimented ways in which to write a T. S. Eliot poem in 10 easy steps are as follows, ahem:

1. Come upon a cute turn of phrase,
2. Pen a rambunctious title loosely related to said turn of phrase,
3. Thumb the pages of Dante and pluck out an epigraph (preferably in the original Italian),
4. Insert said epigraph beneath said title,
5. Write slapdash quatrains,
6. Insert said turn of phrase at a random place in said quatrains,
7. Run the occasional line of said quatrains onto the next line,
8. Allude to a Bible verse (preferably the Old Testament),
9. Add italics to random words, and
10. Tell short tales within the poem that have no connection to the others.

Eliot is said to have ushered in the modernist movement in poetry. That is to say he largely did away with rhyming and sentimentality employed by the Victorians. He painted a dying world in the relatively few poems he gave us. "The Waste Land" is considered his best--perhaps because it is his longest. "The Hollow Men," however, shines brightest with its Shakespearean and Heart of Darkness references. A number of songs have been written about Eliot's poems and the famous play Cats was based on his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" "Afternoons and Coffeespoons" Crash Test Dummies God Shuffled His Feet 1993
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" "Creep" Radiohead Pablo Honey 1993
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" “Peaches” The Presidents of the United States of America Presidents of the United States of America 1995
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" “The Message” Grand Master Flash The Message 1982
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" "Thick as a Brick" Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick 1972
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats Cats Musical Andrew Lloyd Webber
"The Wasteland" "The First Day of Spring" Noah and the Whale
"The Wasteland" “Wasteland” Dan Bern Dan Bern 1993

Meh is how I would sum up the body of poetry Eliot left us. It certainly pails in scope and impact to the poems of Edgar Allan Poe. One has to wonder if he would be known at all without the litter of jellicle cat poems he penned, had more than nine lives on the West End and Broadway.

#tseliot #reviewoftseliot


Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Kindle Short Story is Free This Weekend - Azra'eil & Fudgie

Through Monday snag my free kindle short story "Azra'eil & Fudgie on Kindle.

In "Azra'eil & Fudgie" a group of marines stationed in Afghanistan meet a cute little girl who is not all that she seems. This only adds to the tension for Private Fudgerié ("Fudgie") who is on his first mission to diffuse IED roadside bombs that the team calls "skulls". Can Fudgie overcome the demons of his past and those of the present to triumph in the ever shifting sandscape of Afghanistan?

The short horror story is touching and even *gasp* has a little humor in it. In other words, "Azra'eil & Fudgie" is typical of the stuff I like to write. Enjoy.

#FreeKindleShort #BargerShortStory

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When Prince Co-wrote a Song with Morris Day Trying to Emulate the Sound of The Cure

Many fail to realize that Prince once tried to emulate The Cure. The sounds of their music was far apart, yet in 1984 Prince co-wrote "Ice Cream Castles" with Morris Day of The Time on the album of the same name. Morris Day recently told Rolling Stone that one of the favorite songs he collaborated with Prince on was "Ice Cream Castles."
[T]here were groups like the Fixx, the Cure [sic] doing those haunting, melodic songs and we wanted to do one of our own.
Robert Smith admired Prince, too. About a year ago I reported on my Cure blog that Robert Smith listed "Starfish and Coffee" as his favorite Prince song from the 1980s. When touring last summer in Minneapolis, Robert Smith again paid homage to the literary song. On his guitar was written a lyric from "Starfish and Coffee": "it was 7:45 we were all in line" Check out the photos at Glide Magazine.

Prince never wrote a Gothic song and The Cure never wrote an overtly sexy song. To at least some extent, however, Prince and The Cure liked each other's music and that's pretty cool.

#Prince #TheCure #TheTime

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review of The Sorrows of Young Werther

Johann Goethe

Review of the Sorrows of Young Werther

The literary impact of Johann Goethe's 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther cannot be underestimated. It was the second Gothic novel, a decade after the first: Horace Walpole's The Castle of Ortranto. The Old English Barron followed in 1778 and The Mysteries of Udolpho in 1794. in 1796 The Monk was published and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in 1818 where the unloved monster finds a worn copy of The Sorrows of Young Werther and likens himself to the protagonist. The Sorrows of Young Werther was impactful in ushering in the romantic age of literature--though Goethe nearly killed it off before it began. The novel was the foundation on which the German Sturm und Dang (storm and urge) literary style was launched, sporting reckless characters tossed about the seas of love.  

Poor, poor young Werther and his sorrows inflicted by a love interest who has a modicum of interest in him. Charlotte wants to be more friends than lovers. (Guys: Have you experienced that one before?) She is, after all, betrothed, and then married, to a plucky, self-absorbed man named Albert who can hardly be bothered with the young man named Werther who keeps hanging around the house.

In sharp contrast to his personality, Werther dresses like a bright canary (that alights on Charlotte's shoulder in the novel) in his blue suit jacket and yellow vest. He was Oscar Wilde a 100 years prior. His foppish outfit launched a fashion style during the late eighteenth century and the first rash of ancillary marketing ever experienced by a novel.

Think Eau de Werther cologne and China teapots on which portraits of the fictional Werther were hand painted as shown here, which the photo is copyright the Victoria and Albert Museum, and made in 1789. This is two years after the revised edition of The Sorrows of Young Werther was printed. The literary fever of the novel was still burning 15 years after its original publication. In Germany, where it was originally published, some 20 editions were already in print. Plays, operas, and satirical works soon followed. And copycat suicides that got the book banned in some German villages. The term "furor Wertherinus" was coined to reflect the suicidal passions of young men and woman scorned.

Parallels to Life
Most of the novel is written in epistolary form. Craftily, Goethe only lets the reader see the letters of Werther, not those of Wilhelm to whom he is writing. The Sorrows of Young Werther oozes in parallels to Goethe's own life. The novel is set in the fictional village of Walheim where "the reader need not take the trouble too look for the place...." But finding the real village was easy to do since, at the age of 19, Goethe met Charlotte Buff at a small dance in the German village of Whitsuntide in Wetzlar. (Stop it with the W names, Goethe!). He fell in love with her that evening but, just like in the novel, Charlotte was engaged to another.

The Forbidden Act
Two years prior to its publication, his friend Karl Wilhelm Jerusalem, committed suicide after falling in love with a married woman and "[in] that moment the plan of Werther was found...."
Consider this magazine excerpt from the early nineteenth century (Eight Historical Dissertations on Suicide, pg 117, 1859):
Let us, by way of specifying only a very few well-authenticated prominent instances, think of Captain Arenswald who shot himself Sept. 19, 1781, and had been fond of reading this Novel during the latter part of his life; 1) of Miss von Lassberg, one of Goethe's friends at the court of Weimar, who was found Jan. 17, 1778 drowned in the lime, with a copy of Werther's Leiden in her pocket; 2) of Gunderode who stabbed herself at Winkel on the Rhine from an unhappy attachment to an already married Heidelberg Professor, the learned and amiable Creuzer, and who used to read Werther together with her friend, the well-known Bettina von Arnim, and speak much about suicide. 3) — Aye, Mme. de Stael was not far wrong, when she asserted that it had "caused more suicides than the most beautiful woman," 4) nor does Goethe himself (in his Autobiography) deny that this aesthetical masterpiece of his proved a daemoniac charm which wrought deadly ruin unto many. Therefore, we cannot but pronounce it, in a moral point of view, a great error; for no book can be veritably of good which proves a sort of impulse and guide for the many unto self-destruction; — and what we may justly complain of is this: that Goethe, as far as we can learn, never regretted this its influence, never penned aught to counteract it, never, if I may here employ serious language, like a man and a christian repented of it!
IIL Ugo Fosoolo's le ultime lettere di Jacopo Orjtis (1802).

It was Goethe himself who stated: "Suicide is an event of human nature which, whatever may be said and done with respect to it, demands the sympathy of every man, and in every epoch must be discussed anew." My Life: Poetry and Truth

Rating & Recommendation
I recommend The Sorrows of Young Werner because of its high impact on literature. It was wholly cathartic for Goethe and left him feeling like he had made “a general confession, again happy and free and justified for a new life.”

I end this review with sage words of advice for our poor foppish Werther. Man-up, young Werther! Man-up. If the woman fails to reciprocate your love, forget her and move on as quickly as possible and you are sure to find your true love at another time.

#ReviewSorrowsofYoungWerther #WertherLiteraryImpact

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Top 10 Horror Short Stories from 1850-1899 Revealed by Andrew Barger

Andrew Barger

Over the past few months I have been counting down the best horror short stories from 1850-1899 under the guise that I would reveal the Top 10 Horror Short Stories in my new anthology. Well, the time has come and a hearty BOO! to all.
The best horror short stories from the last half of the nineteenth century are combined for the first time by Andrew Barger (that would be me), award-winning author and editor of 6a66le: Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849. They are also annotated.

I have meticulously researched the finest Victorian horror short stories and combined them into one undeniable collection. I have added my familiar scholarly touch by annotating the stories, providing story background information, author photos and a list of horror stories considered.

Historic Horror. The best horror short stories from the last half of the 19th century include nightmare tales by Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Le Fanu, W. C. Morrow, H. G. Wells, Arthur Machen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and other early founders of the horror tale.
  • A Terror Tour Guide (2016) by Andrew Barger (A leading voice in the gothic literature space, I set the stage for this anthology of nightmares.)
  • The Pioneers of Pike’s Peak (1897) by Basil Tozer (Hoards of giant spiders on a Colorado mountain. What could go wrong?)
  • Lot No. 249 (1892) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Perhaps the premier mummy horror story ever recorded from the master that is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is measured out to its climatic ending.)
  • The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Explore the depths of insanity.)
  • Green Tea (1871) by Joseph Le Fanu (One of the most haunting horror stories by the Irish master.)
  • What Was It? (1859) by Fitz James O’Brien (Sometimes the worst horror is one you can't see.)
  • Pollock and the Porroh Man (1897) by H. G. Wells (Wells takes us deep into the jungle and its wrought supernatural horror.)
  • The Spider of Guyana (1857) by Erckmann-Chatrian (The first giant spider horror story is one of its best.)
  • The Squaw (1893) by Bram Stoker (The author of Dracula never disappoints.)
  • The Great God Pan (1894) by Arthur Machen (Mythic horror that gained much praise from H. P. Lovecraft.)
  • His Unconquerable Enemy (1889) by W. C. Morrow (A fiendish tale of torture sees Morrow at his best.)
  • Horror Short Stories Considered (I conclude the horror anthology by listing every horror short story he read to pick the very best.)
Read the premier horror anthology for the last half of the nineteenth century tonight! 
“But it now struck me for the first time that there must be one great and ruling embodiment of fear, a King of Terrors to which all others must succumb.”

1859 “What Was It?”
Fitz James O’Brien

#BestHorrorShortStories #NewHorrorAnthology

Friday, March 17, 2017

Robert Smith of The Cure and Morrissey Feud -- A Chronology

                                            Morrissey                                   Robert Smith                                           

The spat/feud/disagreement (whatever you want to call it) between Robert Smith of The Cure and Morrissey, formerly of The Smiths, has been percolating since 1984 when Morrissey first mouthed off to the press. Here is what my research found on the web. Enjoy.
UK music magazine The Face: "If I put you in a room with Robert Smith, Mark E. Smith and a loaded Smith and Wesson, who would bite the bullet first?"
Morrissey: "I'd line them up so that one bullet penetrated both simultaneously (chuckle). Mark E. Smith despises me and has said hateful things about me, all untrue. Robert Smith is a whingebag. It's rather curious that he began wearing beads at the emergence of The Smiths and (eyes narrowing) has been photographed with flowers. I expect he's quite supportive of what we do, but I've never liked The Cure... not even 'The Caterpillar'."

UK music magazine NME, September 16, 1989 issues, Morrissey stated that The Cure gave "a new dimension to the word 'crap.'"

When told about the comment, Robert Smith said, "At least we've only added a new dimension in crap, not built a career out of it."

In the same article Morrissey added, "McDonald's bombed and Robert Smith popped (both actions require a similar voltage of explosives)."

US music magazine SPIN, titled "Happily Ever After" for the November issues of 1993, Robert Smith stated: "I have never liked Morrissey and I still don't. I think it's hilarious actually, what things I've heard about him, what he's really like, and his public persona is so different. He's such an actor. There's one particular photo of Morrissey in his swimming trunks sitting by the pool in Los Angeles. I bet that one hasn't been approved!"

US music magazine Rolling Stone, Robert opined: "I’d much rather have our fans than his — our fans are generally quiet, well-spoken and friendly and not pretentious in the slightest. Hopefully, that reflects the nature of the Cure. Despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, we’re a very natural group. The people who have been in the group over the years have been there because they have been friendly with each other. There has been no sense of purpose other than making music together. I think if Morrissey’s fans reflect what Morrissey is like as an individual or the way he projects himself as an individual then ... uh ... I’ll stop there."

In the US Hollywood magazine Entertainment Weekly, Smith said about Morrissey: "He was constantly saying horrible things about [The Cure]. In the end, I kind of snapped and started retaliating. And it turned into some kind of petty feud. I've never liked anything he's done musically, but I don't have any kind of strong feelings of animosity towards him as a person because I've never met him."

Through the Years - Miscellaneous Statements
"The press tries to portray me as a gloom-and-doom-singer. But take a look at Morrissey. That man is a professional complainer!”"

"There's nothing that links Morrissey and The Cure in my mind," Smith commented. "As the years go by, it's very easy to think we were from the same generation, but we're not. The Cure recorded our first album in 1978 - we were on our third or fourth album by the time the Smiths started."

"[Morrissey] has been away for a number of years and has come back I think to capitalize on this resurgence of interest in a particular period of time," Smith says. "That has nothing to do with the Cure. We've been playing constantly every year for 25 years. We're a living and breathing band."

"Morrissey’s so depressing, if he doesn’t kill himself soon, I probably will."

"If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’m going to eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey."

"fat clown with makeup weeping over a guitar."

#MorrisseyvsRobertSmith #RobertSmithMorrisseyFeud

By Andrew Barger - Author of the Rock trilogy of novels: The Divine Dantes.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Review of Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey

Sometimes a Great Notion is an anti-union manifesto, a work of flowing literature that should be studied in the cloistering halls of higher learning--not as much for its deep meaning, but rather for the structure of its text (I dare a professor to take any one of the 600+ pages and study it for an entire semester), a masterpiece of prose, the second novel by The Great Ken Kesey, a juxtaposition of two brothers that has been unequalled since Tolstoy.

Sometimes a Great Notion is many things, including a followup to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest published two years prior in 1962. The latter book is an undeniable classic of literature that has rarely been equaled. Read my review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Sometimes a Great Notion was published in 1964 and Kesey's next novel would not be published until 1984 when Demon Box (a collection of short stories thinly-veiled as fiction) was launched. What was this supremely talented author doing for 20 years? Most would claim it was drugs. Kesey had spent time in clink to prove it. Who knows? And when he finally rid himself of the Technicolor synthetics flowing through his veins, his brain was fried into a pigskin cracklin'. Instead of the psychedelics unlocking fantastic worlds, they seem to have hidden them away from Kesey in a demon box.

Sometimes a Great Notion at times becomes a long-winded bore over vast swaths of pages. It makes one wonder if Ken Kesey lost the Oregon forest through the trees on which his characters hack out a living. At times he tries to be too literary. But Kesey pulls it out in the last 200 pages to a wonderful conclusion. A side note on the movie of the same name starring Robert Redford and Henry Fonda--skip over like a rolling log! It's a real Hollywood hack job that treats the novel as though it was a short story.

Notion, in the hands of a master, is the closest you will ever get to the logging world of Oregon and the real-to-life characters Kesey created.

#ReviewSometimesaGreatNotion #KenKesey

By Andrew Barger - Author of The Divine Dantes trilogy