Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Of Illusory Titles, or, Bookshop Obituaries No. 1

'Don't tell me of facts, I never believe facts; you know, Canning said nothing was so fallacious as facts, except figures.'
--Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

There are many facts I don't uphold, in day to day life, as Truth.

For example, when searching for a particular secondhand bookstore on one's day off (as one does), the fact of London streets being a deal greater and more convoluted than they look on paper fails to register.

The fact that a concrete street name, or address, beyond a hazy notion of 'the street with all the bookshops on it' may help when searching, or, at any rate, when asking directions of innocent bystanders.

And so; and so; we move on. Life wends its immutable course, and though the bookshop street was not, indeed found, one has traversed a great deal of city. And not seen a good many titles which frustrate, proving as they are impossible to purchase.

But it was not of this incident that I wished to remark.

Does one really need another £1 1920s copy of 'Adam Bede'? And while a 'Beatrix Potter's Illustrations' hardcover is greatly soothing to the soul, greatly pleasing to the heart, can it, in the end, suffice? This week's obituaries* include the following:

-Four different copies of 'The Wind in the Willows', none, however, perfect (by which means: cheap, and also with the illustrations.)
-The 1899 equivalent of 'let's learn Hebrew'
-Bleak House (in two volumes), 1930s edition
-The Complete Keats
-A delightful book of Beatrix Potter illustrations--both published and unpublished
-English plays from the turn of the 18th century--with illustrations--thus, popular home dramas that are mentioned in Austen and similar..

Ah, the sweet anguish of it! No spare change, or more, and such dainties before one's grasp but unattainable--

Still. 'I am a part of all that I have met', quoth the poet, and so it is. The excitement gleaned does not rub off so quickly, no: but a promise to keep searching. For all books go to secondhand shops at some time, and there are always more, cheaper, dustier, ones, to be discovered.

If you haven't seen our new Chesterton & Davies Book Prizes or Contests, please do!

*By which the author of this blog means books that were seen, desired, avidly picked up and looked through, but regretfully set down again, through necessity.

Monday, March 15, 2010

BOOK PRIZE Chesterton & Davies, Ltd. Book Prizes for Historical Fiction New Women Writers 3 Tales Publishing Book Prize for Children's Literature

3 Tales Publishing Book Prize for
Children's Literature

(in two categories:

3 Tales Prize for Best Picture Book 2010


3 Tales Prize for Best Young Adult 2010


For each Prize: $500, plus Royalties in addition to prize, and publication of work by 3 Tales, plus launch of book nationally and/or internationally. Note, Royalties are in addition to prize paid upon publication.
Only previously unpublished works for which Author hold All and Exclusive World Rights are accepted.

Entries: $20/submission; no more than 2 submissions/author.

No entries accepted after August 1, 2010.)


The Chesterton & Davies Prize
Historical Fiction 2010:

This award will be given to a work that is carefully researched and tells a captivating tale — emphasis on captivating. Works of Time-Travel welcome as well.

The Chesterton & Davies Prize
New Works by Women 2010

This award will be given for a memorable new work by a female writer. Genre can be fiction, or non-fiction in these areas: environmental, travel, spiritual, personal narrative, or memoir.

We are looking for strong new voices among women of any age from any nation in the world. We are also looking for original voices and an instant classic that makes a bold new contribution to all women's voices in writing.


For each Prize: $500 and publication of work plus launch of book nationally and/or internationally based on audience. Royalties paid in addition to prize upon publication.

Possibility of three runners-up, with titles of books, authors and synopses to be publicized on our website. After announcement of prize, runners-up are welcome to submit manuscripts to other publishers for publication (i.e. we do not control rights after announcement of Prize for those submissions that do not win the First-Prize.)

Entries: $25/submission, no more than 2 submissions/author. Submit through the link below and follow the instructions on our Details page.

No entries accepted after September 1, 2010. No exceptions.

For further detail and submissions, please see our BOOK PRIZE page.

The Curtain is Swept Aside, or, Our New 2010 Contests Revealed At Last

Chesterton & Davis, Ltd. is dazzlingly pleased to announce new writing contests and awards for 2010.


March: First Chapters that Enthrall

First impressions are remembered forever...
Prizes: 1st $200. Plus Top 2 Runners-Up: $50. Top 3 will be noted, excerpted and lauded on our website under “New Voices” and on our Facebook page and a letter of recommendation that "if the rest of the book is of the same quality as this first chapter, why you should be published!" for your portfolio. Entry $5/first chapter submitted. Limited to 500 entrants. DEADLINE: March 31, 2010

Further Ahead:

April Contest: Your Finest Blog Entry

May: My Beautiful Essay

June: Summer Beach Reading

For submissions and further detail, please visit our Contests page.

Further information on our 'Serious' Book Prizes to follow...

Friday, September 18, 2009

London's Stations, or, The Mystery of the Invisible Editor

For many months now, we have been invisible.

Why? For what possible purpose, for what conceivable intent, could this be the case?
There are no good replies... (Remorse is requisite. It is duly laid out, here, with penitential heart and truthful spirit.)

...Save for this: Lost in London. We (part of the newly functioning UK branch of Creative Works Int'l Media) know the train stations very well. They are a nice, fixed point in the ever-turning wheel of the city; they are magnetic, and deceptively spaced. A ten-minute wander in any direction can, at times, lead one to half a dozen stations. On the other hand, a three-hour ramble can lead one to precisely not the spot one had hoped to find. Lurking in second-hand bookshops. Market research, incognito. And such summer schemes.

Why incognito? --Valiantly, we go forth. Valiantly, we persist. (Despite that once the fabled spot is found, 'market research' often takes a backseat to grovelling among old children's books. Old travel guides. Old oddities, of diverse sorts.)

Valiantly, we find our way back to the station, having not discovered it: the secret to the perfect children's book. It is, after all, the new Philosopher's stone?

Join us, and see--

Details of our new forthcoming contests to follow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Of Time, and Other Musings

Time is a fascinating subject to catch hold of...on rainy days, brooding about, it is a balm--to the lovelorn, the brave, the bored, the foolish, the splendidly happy, the mournfully lonesome--all things pale before this consideration.

We profess to know so much about it: 'Ten twenty-five,' said I promptly in response to a bewildered passerby this morning.
'A.M.--that's in the morning, is it?'

For it had not occurred to me, you see, that it could be otherwise than ten twenty-five AM. And yet, this bewildered soul was quite right: there is not a topic on this earth, or outside of it, about which we know less.

For example, does it run in circles? Is it, then, the ever-present whirlpool? A matrix, perhaps? Or a drudging line, stretching out into oblivion, never to return whence we have come? Can past and present exist at once? And how would one know? It is the eternal mystery, of all the mysteries in this thing we call life.

I am aware that I may be delving into morose monstrosities of brooding here, but never fear: it does wrap round to return to publishing in the end.

For if time is not an arrow, but a sphere, then all the ideas, all the experiences we have been carrying about within ourselves for years (and doubtless wish to banish many from the groove of our memories) are as fresh and new as they were when they sprung into being. Thus, though we grow and learn beyond our stories' capacity, betimes, we can never leave the feelings that once we owned. Every instance of great feeling seems, to me, an hour-mark, every moment of passion or sorrow or envy or joy a tick-mark, a sundial-slash in the fluid sand of one's life. Tho' the tide of years may come up and seem to wash the mark away, it remains. It is ever being made, and disappearing, at once.

It may not be true, but what a good brooding introductory theme it makes.

© 2009 Creative Works Int'l Media, all world rights reserved

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lost, and Found

I apologize for my unwieldy absence; I've been away, and relocating to London, where I shall hope to sleuth about the literary scene on behalf of my fellow editors with equanimity. And, doubtless, walk into a great many passers-by.

In the process, I seem to have forgotten Dr. Johnson's dictionary--still under the bed, this time in my old house. A great pity indeed.

But all is not lost! I have had a hint that great news is ahead. Please watch this space, for a grand adventure unfolds...But how do I know?

...It buzzes, within, this sense--clear and qualmless as any bell. See? If you can't beat them, join them: words are fluid, as is language itself. Perhaps someday we shall communicate purely by images 'sent' to each others' brains. A great pity, one feels, indeed. For without words, without the weight and heft of them...

Let's just leave it at that for this evening, shall we? And, back to the pondering-board as one contemplate a wordless life. A human existence, or no?


Saturday, August 1, 2009

How To Choose a Book to Read Aloud, or, Parley for All Ages

The joy of reading aloud, especially at busy holidays, has been mentioned. (It also features prominently in this our philosophy). Books that possess this capability are more than simply accessible, they are enthralling. For, at heart we are an oral species still--tho' the days of cultural identities passed from mother-to-child or elder-to-group before a fire are, for a large percentage of the world, over, we instinctively relate to the cadences of the human voice.

But how to choose the perfect book?

When reading to a mixed audience, it is good to know what the attention level is. One wouldn't want to be stuck on the B section of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, just to choose an example at random, if there are squirming children around the table, or squirming businesspeople at a meeting. The trick is to select a book that holds an appeal for everyone, even if it requires a slight alteration of the text. (If little Xanthis is currently obsessed with pirates/vampires/Norsemen/aliens/zombies/Roman Senators/talking animals, perhaps a little tasteful editing is in order). Best of all, a book that has everything.

Jerome K. Jerome is a good place to start, for the last idea mentioned. The classics are really underrated for humour--try Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, or a Jane Austen novel. Vikings may not be period, but with a little dexterity, it may be possible to work them in. The undying Complete Sherlock Holmes is another good place to start.

Another option, rather than subjecting the children to adults' books, is to subject the adults to children's books. Eva Ibbotson and Joan Aiken hold much for the discerning reader, regardless of age.

Just be sure that whatever book you choose contains no 'bathroom humour'. It isn't that funny, really. Really.

Suggestions: good books for reading aloud? Please do submit as comments, or join our discussion here.