Sunday, November 13, 2022

Review of Béjart's Caravan

 


The Historical Novel Society’s review of my novel Béjart’s Caravan says that the “ribald adventures never fail to entertain.” Set in 17th Century France, the man named Béjart holds together a troupe of troublemakers and actors.  

 

Here’s an excerpt of the HNS review.

…Character-focused, the tale follows the troupe through their adventures with peasants, nobles, religious fanatics, and the dreaded plague, always in the shadow of the great French writer, actor, and poet Molière…Indeed, the Augusto Troupe displays “few virtues and many vices.”

 

Stanard wields the deft pen of an experienced novelist as she relays this earthy, delightfully period-appropriate tale. It’s filled with vivid detail that makes France and its people come to life, and readers can rest assured that their money is well-spent on this rousing tale of ambition, art, and the foibles of human beings.

 

The complete review can be found at:

 

 https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/bejarts-caravan/

 


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Pecan Festival, Florence, SC

 

Tent is set up, ready for the crowd
TWO SCENES 

 

At the Pecan Festival yesterday.

 

SCENE #1

“It offends me,” said a young, well dressed black woman, when she discovered I had written an antebellum novel from a slave’s point of view. “How can you know what it feels like to be a slave?”

 

I said, “Have you ever been a slave? How do you know how it felt?”

 

“But my ancestors were slaves.”

 

I said, “What about this? Can I write a story from a man’s perspective, though I’m not a man? Or can a male author write about a woman’s life?”

 

“That’s a different thing. Where do you get background information? How do you know what slaves suffered?”

 

“I used the slave narratives, many of them available at the Library of Congress.”

 

“What’s the slave narratives?”

 

I told her about the many interviews of former slaves that were recorded in the 1930s as a Writers Project when FDR was president. Within these interviews are many poignant and heart-breaking stories.

 

The well dressed young woman walked away, apparently still offended. 

The scene in front of my tent, a slow time
 

SCENE #2

Another black lady, who said she was born in 1938 but hardly looked her age, became engrossed in a small book about slavery that I put together using Macintosh Word and a stapler. The text came from the LOC narratives and photos from my collection from the internet.

 

We went through every one of the 30 pages, and I explained to her what I understood from the photographs. At the end, she said she was glad things weren’t now as they were then.

 

She suggested I publish and sell the book, and maybe I will. She thanked me for writing it. 

 

Doug, my partner and business manager

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Cincinnati Visit

HALLOWEEN IN OHIO

 

Just home from Cincinnati and a visit with son Davis and his family. They threw a Halloween party Saturday night and prepared gruesome treats for the guests (looked scary, tasted good).

Spiders are black olives on deviled eggs.

 

cookies w/frosting=ghosts and witch hats

Black walnut trees grow beside their house, and I spent time trying to get walnuts out of the shells. Now I know why they are so expensive. Doug and I picked out about a half cup in the three days we were there.

 

On the patio with black walnuts

We carved jack o’lanterns, put them on the front steps.

Davis carved the biggest one.

 

Davis and Cindy, ready for trick or treat

Lots of little monsters came by their house Monday evening. I took a mask that was so scary it bothered me. Only wore it for a short time.

 

Back in Lexington now, about five pounds heavier…

 

 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Wadsworth Reading @ the Aristocrat

 FLASH @ THE BAR

Photo left to right: Kasie Whitener, Rex Hurst, Anne Catharine Blake, Raegan Teller, Buck Brinson, AJ Brown, Bob Strother, and me.

 

Last night, I, along with six other writers, read aloud a flash fiction story at The Aristocrat in Columbia, SC. My story, "Wadsworth Walked Home After Losing His Horse in a Card Game” is about a shifty character who fell, hit his head on a tombstone, and landed in an open grave. The ending is true to our Halloween theme.

 

At Doug’s suggestion, I kept cutting this story until it’s half the original length, and I probably should have cut it more. And mine’s not the only story from last night that could have been edited shorter.

 

It was great to see Linda, Linda, and Debra from my aerobics class there.

 

Today I’m packing for a visit to our son and his family in Cincinnati. We’ll be back on Tuesday. I’m packing my Halloween mask.

 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Summerville House Tour

 

HOUSE TOUR IN AUGUSTA, GA

 

On Saturday, I, along with sister Nila and her husband Richard, took the Summerville Neighborhood Assoc. house tour. Perfect weather and luxurious houses to dream about. Not that I’d want to live in them. High-end interior decorators had a field day.

 

WHITE IS IN

Of the seven houses we toured, six were done-out in mostly white. It is hard to imagine a 6 or 8 year old kid sitting on a white upholstered chair eating jelly and toast at a shiny breakfast table. Though beautiful, the houses ultimately came across as sterile.

 

Wallpaper is making a comeback, much to my satisfaction.

 

NO OFFICE?

Nila noticed that of the seven homes, not one had a room used as an office, only two computers in evidence and both of them were tucked away in corners.

 

CENTER OF ATTENTION

Is it a trend to put photos of yourself in every room of your house? Not just photos, but huge painted portraits or yourself and/or your kids? Over the mantle. In the dining room. The living room and bedroom. Precious posed shots of parents hugging kids, a bride in wedding dress, husband kissing wife, the cute dog.

 

There was a smattering of original paintings, but given the money that went into these homes, you’d think the owners would put something beside photos of themselves on the walls.

 

RADIATORS

I liked the Ty Cobb house, in particular because the owners have kept the radiator heat. Our Richmond home had radiators and they’re wonderful. They sustain a constant warmth without the puffing that comes from the blower fans of gas forced air. Sometimes modern “improvements” aren’t really better.

 

BOHO PARADISE

Without realizing it, we saved the best for last— four apartments at 2421 Central Avenue. Touring them was like seeing a boho museum of art. Owner Anna Avrett put together a magical setting of wildly enthusiastic colors with coordinating furniture and accessories. Every room was a different color concept, but somehow it worked. The apartments are on Airbnb.

 

One of the apartments at 2421 Central Ave.


Sunday, October 23, 2022

SC State Fair

 

Step right up and take a chance...

WENT TO THE STATE FAIR


First thing Doug and I did was to take the gondola ride across the fairground. It gives you a panorama view of neon lights, vendors, rides, and swarming people. You can smell the hamburgers cooking and hear the screamers on the rides.

 

More food vendors than games or rides. Corn dogs come in three sizes, but a foot-long one is more than I want. Doug and I bought a funnel cake, since we hadn’t tasted one in a long time. They look great, all that powdered sugar. And you might like it if you like gummy dough.

 

The barns with the animals are favorite attractions, especially the fowl house. Chickens are all sizes and colors—red, white, brown, black, or a combination of colors. But I look for the guineas and bantams. You can count on hearing the roosters crowing. 

 

I'm holding up the moon.
The art show is a reminder that we have talented artists in our state. I’d love to have taken several of the paintings home with me.

 

On our way out, we stopped and listened as a live band performed. What a show! Lively music sung by a group of double-jointed dancers. We knew the parking lot was full, so we left before the closing hour and avoided the traffic.

History Club Presentation

Had a Great Audience

 

Last Tuesday’s presentation of “Death & Dying, Antebellum Rituals” to the Four Seasons History Club in Moncks Corner came off without a hitch. I was nervous because, although I’ve made the presentation before, I hadn’t done so with audiovisuals.

 

For a couple of weeks prior to the presentation I reviewed the rules for using the application Keynote (I have previously made a Keynote presentation to a Zoom group). Most of what I know about using a computer comes from watching instructions on YouTube. With its help, I formatted the pictures and text. And it worked!

 

A dark room makes for poor photos...

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Author Presentation, Moncks Corner, SC

 

Been brushing up on “Death & Dying, Antebellum Rituals” for a presentation Tuesday night at the Four Seasons History Club in Moncks Corner. I’ve spent time rummaging through books and the internet and finding more information…there’s always more information. To try to completely cover the subject would take days.

 

I’ve rearranged some of the sections, removed some information, such as info about medical care in the 19th Century. Treatments were based on a theory as old as ancient Greece, i.e., that illness was caused by in imbalance in the four humors (blood, phlegm, black and yellow bile).

 

Students at 19th Century medical schools generally learned by textbooks only. You could practically buy a degree, they were mostly diploma mills. No medical license was required even in the 1870s.

 

Anyway, I try to keep focused on “Death & Dying,” an apt subject with Halloween around the corner.

 

A slave funeral was different from an owner's

 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Mercedes at the Airport published

 SHORT STORY PUBLISHED

 
My short story "Mercedes at the Airport" is on page 62 of the New Reader Magazine's issue number 19, THE TOWER. My years of living in Brussels, Belgium, provide the background for this story. While I was there, I heard of a woman who was in a similar situation to the one in the story. Not that this story has anything to do with her. It's all fiction.
 
The link is below. It's easy to download the file for the magazine, open with Preview (or Acrobat), and READ!

https://www.newreadermagazine.com/download/the-tower

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Aiken Book Fair

 

 

Coming Saturday—Book Fair in Aiken

 

I’ll be there and so will about 40 other authors from central South Carolina. We’ll have books to sign and sell. The fair will be held at the Etherredge Center, which is located on the west side of the University of SC Aiken campus.

 

    DATE: Saturday, September 24

    TIME: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

    PLACE Etherredge Center, USCA

    ADDRESS: 471 University Pkwy., Aiken SC

 

I hope to see you there!


Thursday, September 15, 2022

coming book of poems

 

COMING SOON, PINT-SIZE POEMS

 

I’ve been proofreading my book of short poems, which will be published with drawings by a 17th Century Italian artist named Giovanni Bracelli. The poems are from two to seven lines long, which will appeal to those of us with a short attention span.

 

Example of Bracelli's art

Cover blurb provided by my publisher

    We don’t all think alike

    but to some of us life is an everpresent

    enigma. Stanard writes that life “chases me in

    cycles defying viewpoint.” With Bracelli’s

    cubist art as inspiration, she skillfully renders

    compositions that introduce us to an original

    and unexpected reading experience. This is

    a mix of pithy poems, some profound and

    others amusing.

 

Assuming the next draft I receive from Brandylane Publishing has the changes I’ve requested, the book should be in the final stages of production next week.

 

It’s a new and different kind of book for me. I guess you could call it a coffee table poetry book.

 

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

politically correct publishing

 

enforced virtue

 

“We will not tolerate any form of abusive behavior or bigotry in the stories we publish, nor the authors who write them.”

 

“If it should come to our attention that one of our writers has themselves published hateful material elsewhere, we want to know about it.”

 

According to Lit Mag News Roundup, two editors were forced off the masthead of literary magazines based on opinions they expressed online. Further, they’ve “seen numerous magazines announce the removal of writers’ work, based on things that writer has said on their personal page.”

 

Something to think about

The following authors were published before we became politically correct, but could they find a publisher today?

 

Rudyard Kipling

Instances of racial insensitivity and colonialist arrogance in his writings.

 

Roald Dahl

According to Dahl, the Jewish people deserved what they got during the Holocaust.


William Faulkner

Controversial portrayal of race and class.

 

Dr. Seuss

The Seuss estate stopped selling “Mulberry Street” because of the racial stereotype of an Asian man with slanted lines for eyes.

 

Charles Dickens

He publicly shamed his wife in writing, calling her mentally disturbed and malicious after she became aware of his mistress and they divorced. 


In our current publishing environment, will the books of these famous writers survive the controversy? Do we want to lose access to stories such as:

 

The Jungle Book 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 

As I Lay Dying

If I Ran the Zoo 

Oliver Twist

This is not meant to condone bigoted or hateful writing. But should the personality, beliefs, or behavior of a writer or artist keep us from experiencing the pleasure of superior work? The first, foremost, and only question should be, Can they write?


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Iceland

 

 

Iceland's Blue Lagoon Mineral Bath

TRIP TO ICELAND

My husband is a runner, and last week he ran Iceland's half marathon along with son Jason. 

 

Doug and Jason at the finish.
Good times for both of them, despite winds gusting to 40 mph.

 

Doug, Nila, and I did tourist stuff on Thursday and Friday before the race. We went to the Blue Lagoon for a hot mineral swim. 

 

Blue Lagoon photographer provided photos.
Went to Thingvellir to see the area where the North American and Euroasian tectonic plates are moving apart, which causes geothermal and volcanic energy.

 

Nila and I, between volcanic rock.
Saw the majestic Gullfoss waterfalls.

 

Nila and Doug at Gullfoss.
 Went to Öxárfoss waterfall. Water moves swiftly in Iceland, even in small streams.

 

With Nila at Öxárfoss waterfall
The marathon was just one of numerous events during Reykjavik's Culture weekend. The streets were unexpectedly alive with music—street musicians, some combos, some pop groups.

 

We happened upon concerts. At the Harpa, which is the city's concert hall and an architectural rarity, a chorus was performing a capella in the open lobby which has four balconies. 

 

We stood on the ground floor, looking up at audience.
The singers stood on separate balconies, the men on one and the women on another. At the conclusion, the audience joined the singers for what was obviously an Icelandic song. A beautiful experience.

 

Another unexpected event was an organ recital in the Hallgrimskirkja Church. The performer stunned us with overpowering music you could feel in your chest. 

 

The food is exceptionally good, no MacDonalds or Burger Kings. I loved the soups. Fish is a specialty. Food is expensive, for there are no fields for truck farming, only volcanic soil. They grow vegetables in greenhouses. 

Nila at restaurant that offered puffin and grilled whale.
Jason made it to the final concert and fireworks Saturday night, and I wish I had had the energy to be there.

 

Jason took this photo.
Although the language is Icelandic, we had no problems with English. On our return Monday, United Airline took us from Reykjavik to Newark, New Jersey (about 6 hours) and cancelled our connecting flight to Charlotte. We spent an unplanned overnight in Newark. 

 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Flash at the Bar


 TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE BAR


Photo courtesy of Raegan Teller

Authors, left to right are Rex Hurst, myself, Kasie Whitener, Raegan Teller, Cathy Blake, LisAnna-Langston, Charles Israel, and AJ Brown. The Aristocrat is a gem of a bar on Washington Street in Columbia, SC. It provides a venue for local musicians as well as us writers. Because it's in an old building, it has the pleasant ambience of a pub.

 

I had a chance to read "The Problem with Perry" and "A Visit with Cousin Hubert," two flash fictions I've been sending out to possible publishers. I'm still hoping they'll eventually be picked up by a journal.

 

An extra added delight was the presence of two of my granddaughters, who were visiting Doug and me. 

 

Lola
Camilla
 

Thanks to Raegan Teller and Chris Maw for putting together an entertaining evening.

 

 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Books at Beaufort Bookstore

 

Beaufort Bookstore owner Bruce and I sat for a chat

BEAUFORT BOOKSTORE

 

Beaufort is a coastal SC town that attracts vacationers who can do without a beach, e.g., history buffs and artists. Doug and I drove there and met with Bruce Pope, owner of the Beaufort Bookstore, located in Jean Ribaut Square (2127 Boundary Street). It's one of those independent bookstores that support us writers by featuring local authors. They have copies of my books on their shelves.

 

With competition like Amazon, bookstores depend on local support. If you're in the area, I hope you'll check it out.

 

Beaufort Bookstore Phone - (843) 525-1066