Treasured Belongings Of Famed American Writer Gore Vidal Set For September Auction

People are always sending me stuff to post on my blog. Usually it has nothing to do with books or authors, but this particular press release caught my attention. The following is fun to read, anyway, and to dream of one day writing an iconic book.

Hundreds of items from the estate of the late American author Gore Vidal, including selections from his personal library, choice correspondence and literary awards, will be auctioned on Sept. 18 by Abell Auction Company in Los Angeles.

A true man of letters, Vidal’s works of historical fiction, essays and political commentaries represent some of this century’s most famous works. The extensive sale will feature items ranging in value from approximately $400 to $10,000 from the former homes of Vidal and his partner Howard Austen: a villa called “La Rondinaia” in the resort town of Ravello, Italy and Mediterranean style home in the Outpost Estates neighborhood of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills. Both properties were featured in design magazines such as Architectural Digest and also frequented by royalty, Broadway and Hollywood writers and actors, important literary figures and politicians.

image001The live and online sale will start at 10 a.m. PST and include items notable to art and antique collectors such as an Italian Baroque giltwood and marble console; a porphyry marble table top; a Flemish Verdure tapestry; a pair of Italian Baroque painted and parcel gilt torchieres; an Italian walnut commode and secretaire; a Victorian walnut partner’s desk; a set of four Italian painted overdoors; a collection of Old Master paintings and drawings; a Roman marble funerary urn and Asian artifacts.

For those interested in unique personal effects and memorabilia, standout items include Vidal’s personal image002library of first edition works under his name and pseudonyms; awards and recognitions, including his elite “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” medallion for contributions to the arts in France; a typed note from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams; a letterman’s jacket from the animated comedy “The Simpsons”; and much more.

Vidal died in 2012 at age 86 and is remembered as one of America’s most prolific and versatile writers. Among his most famous works are “Lincoln,” “Myra Breckinridge” and “The City and the Pillar.” A member of an illustrious political family, he was the grandson of a U.S. Senator and twice ran unsuccessfully for public office. His mother’s second husband was the stepfather of Jacqueline Kennedy.

An auction preview will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Sept. 14 to 17 at the Abell gallery, 2613 Yates Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, call 323.724.8102 or visit www.abell.com, where a complete catalogue will be posted on Sept. 2.

Auction Details
Live and online auction:  Sept. 18 at 10 a.m.
Onsite preview: Sept. 14 to 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Abell Auction Co., 2613 Yates Ave., Los Angeles (free valet parking)
For more information: www.abell.com or 323.724.8102

 

Excerpt From PASTOR LARSEN AND THE RAT by Lazarus Barnhill

Pastor Larsen and the RatReverend Martin Luther Larsen—highly regarded, completely ethical, genuine and sincere—has dedicated his life to the pastorate. Now, in the face of the drudgery, church politics and frustration that are the usual professional hazards of the ministry, a dangerous and intriguing complication has slipped into his life: Ange. No one in Larsen’s close knit congregations knew of the existence of this woman, the daughter of a parishioner who appeared just in time for her mother’s funeral. For Larsen, Ange is more than mysterious. She is alluring, wise and astonishingly intuitive. . . . And then there is the issue of the large rat that seems to be taunting the members of his church.

Excerpt:

She had answered the door shoeless, wearing a close-fitting black dress and no makeup. Her black hair was just long enough to bounce when she let him in the front door and immediately turned toward the kitchen table, where packets of documents and possessions were stacked. He assumed she was going to hand him the items she had promised him at the funeral and bid him farewell, until he saw the magnum of red wine and the two glasses beside it. First he thought he would have to turn down the offered drink, and then he wondered if perhaps he should not have assumed. Perhaps she was expecting other company. She sat down in one of the two chairs at the table and crossed her bare legs.

“Can you sit down for a minute? It was nice of you to come all the way out here to pick these things up, Pastor Larsen,” she said.

He pulled out the chair and sat down. The daughter sat in the one he had always used in past visits. It was strange to him to sit in the chair Joan Celeste sat in when he visited her, where she graciously offered him crumb cake and lemonade.

“I came out here to Alton a lot, actually. Your mother was very dear to me. That is, she was just as nice and hospitable as she could be. And I always really appreciated that. I enjoyed coming to visit her.” He smiled. “Of course you mother very faithfully showed up every Sunday. It’s a long way from Alton to Manchester. But she never missed. When someone comes that far every week, you want to show your appreciation.”

Ange Celeste stared at him. It was a bit disconcerting to Larsen. Did she not believe that he visited often, or did she doubt his sentiments? Did she—perhaps cynical about church life or even an outright disbeliever—look down on the sort of pastoral relationship he described? The unexpected or incomprehensible reactions of extremely attractive women had always troubled him, made him feel like an unappealing buffoon.

“She liked you.”

Her words and the way she spoke them surprised him. It was almost like a pronouncement or a verdict Joan had handed down for her daughter to share with Larsen in her absence. And there was something about the tone she used. It was wiser and perhaps more intimate than he expected.

“Well. I liked her.”

“She told me about conning you into going to the fall festival here in Alton. And on a Saturday, no less. And she told me about your favorite wine.”

Without asking, she turned and grasped the magnum in two hands. Larsen’s mouth dropped. He stammered, started to protest that he was working, had other appointments to keep that Friday afternoon and could not drink. The daughter paid no attention to him, though, as she poured the glasses full.

“A nice Nebbiolo from Verità Wino, your favorite Italian winery.”

“. . . I really shouldn’t.”

She had anticipated his reluctance and brushed it aside. “One glass, Pastor Larsen. Only 12% alcohol. Undetectable.” She picked up the glasses and handed one to him. “A toast to my mother, the divine Joan Celeste.”

He laughed, somewhat anxiously, as they touched their glasses. “To Joan.”

The wine was as he remembered it: rosy and slightly tart with a lingering mellow aftertaste. And with the first taste he felt himself begin to relax. The second and third sips did not disappoint.

“I did not know Verità Wino produced a magnum size of their Nebbiolo.”

She looked at the bottle, as if seeing it for the first time. “Well I guess they do.” She smiled at him. “Mother said it was ironic that you liked this wine.”

He gazed at her. “Seriously? Why did she say that?”

“Because you are so much like it.”

“What?”

“The Nebbiolo grape takes an exceptionally long time from the moment it blooms until it’s ready to pluck.” She smiled. “And once you do skin it and start the fermentation process, it takes a very long time before . . . it’s ready for the bottle.”

He stared at her oval face, cream-colored complexion, dark almond eyes, pert nose and small mouth. She bore only the faintest resemblance to her mother, whom he had only known in her 70’s. How old was this daughter? Forty perhaps, at most? Was she a late-life child?

“What does that have to do with me?”

She had finished her glass and poured another. “I guess Mother thought you were a work-in-progress.” She grabbed his glass in his hand and steadied it as she brought the neck of the magnum onto the lip and filled it again.

“No thanks. . . . Uh. What did your mother mean, that I’m a ‘work-in-progress?’ Was I not the pastor she needed me to be?”

“I seriously doubt that, Pastor Larsen. . . . Sounds like you worry about that kind of thing though.” She took another drink.

He thought about it. “Every pastor worth his salt wants to be the shepherd his—or her—congregation needs.”

“How politically correct of you.”

He laughed. “Heaven knows I try, Ms. Celeste.”

“Ange”

“Ang?”

“No. Say it right. It’s pronounced ‘auhnjj.’ It’s French.”

“Ange.”

“That’s right.”

“Well, Ange, I take it you don’t have a great deal of use for church life and customs.”

Her head tipped to one side. “I don’t do religion the way my mother did. That doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual.”

***

Bio:

Lazarus Barnhill’s titles appear in several Indigo Sea Press genres. Among his first novels to be published was the police procedural The Medicine People. Later, co-authored with Sally Jones, he released Come Home to Me Child. His work is characterized by the unexpected twist and turn, by crisp dialogue and unpredictable endings.

Only $.99 on Kindle today! https://www.amazon.com/Pastor-Larsen-Rat-Lazarus-Barnhill-ebook/dp/B01GGIKF4A

Excerpt from Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) by Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo

downloadBook blurb:

“Animal Dwarf Bandits” with Tommy Guns are on a crime spree in Georgia!

Dillinger-style bank heists are being committed by a dangerous gang of little people wearing animal masks. Enter ursine photojournalist Thelonious T. Bear. Still smarting from his misadventures in Norfolk, he’s eager to begin his assignment in the American South. However, Thelonious soon learns that the South isn’t all fried chicken and sweet tea. In between encounters with a trigger-happy farmer and a fire-and-brimstone preacher with a snake, he’s stalked by a man in a red pickup truck and nearly bear-napped by a family of hillbillies. Thelonious’s resemblance to one of the bank bandits puts him on the radar of Sheriff Maynard Grizzle and budding reporter Nate Jessop, both of whom are convinced he’s in the gang. As the robberies gain more media attention, locals smell fame in the air. Suddenly everyone wants in on the action. And Thelonious finds himself at the heart of yet another series of crimes!

From bestselling author Mitzi Szereto, co-authored with her celebrity sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo. Be sure to read Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles), the first in the series!

———————-
Excerpt:

By late afternoon a tired and hungry Thelonious was ready to pack it in for the day—until he saw the ruined timber barn. It was set well back from the road in a field so long untended it actually seemed to consume the structure. An oak tree had fallen onto the roof, causing it to collapse. The tree was thriving and had even become part of the barn, feeding new life into something left to die. Parking at the edge of what once had been a driveway, Thelonious got out of the Mini. He stood for a moment perusing the site. Slinging his camera bag over one shoulder, he trundled forth into the overgrown field. A No Trespassing sign lay on the ground, covered over with weedy detritus. It was still attached to a chain that had fallen down between two rotted posts. He passed right by, never seeing it.

Thelonious photographed the barn from various angles, changing lenses as he saw fit. Although the weight of his camera bag was a nuisance, he dared not set it down for fear it would be swallowed by the overgrowth. Approaching the barn’s entrance, he noticed several bales of hay inside that had been left there to rot. Rust-covered farm implements lay scattered about both inside and out. He included them in some of the images, since they lent extra character to the scene. He even captured a triangle of sunlight coming through the barn’s collapsed roof as it returned the mouldering hay to its original golden splendour, zooming in when a mouse poked its head out to feel the sunshine on its whiskers. The light shifted and changed hue, adding shadow, depth and richness to his compositions. Had Thelonious’s attention not been caught by a ramshackle assemblage of containers off to one side, he might’ve seen the figure skulking in the shadows behind him.

A rusty metal cylinder with a triangular-shaped lid had been set up in a corner of the barn. An encrusted pipe had been attached to the top, the elbow joint bending it sideways connecting it to a worm-eaten wooden barrel; its remaining iron bands had turned green with corrosion. Glass jugs and jam jars lay strewn about on the dirt floor. Some looked as if they had mouse droppings on them. Thelonious’s nostrils detected the odour of fermenting grains. It appeared that he’d stumbled upon a moonshine still.

As Thelonious framed it in his viewfinder, he heard a loud explosion. A bullet whistled past his right ear, nearly taking his deerstalker hat with it.

“Hold it right thare!”

A wiry old man with a shotgun stepped out from the shadows. He planted himself solidly behind Thelonious. A long scraggly beard hung from his chin; it would’ve been white if not for the dribbles of tobacco juice. Thelonious was pretty sure he saw things moving in it.

The ancient codger aimed the firearm at Thelonious’s chest, the brown sticks of his arms surprisingly steady as they stuck out from his tattered bib overalls. “This here’s private property!” he shouted.

Thelonious took a few steps back, feeling his bowels loosening. “I thought the barn was abandoned?” he croaked.

“Abandoned?” The old man spat into the dirt. “This here barn ain’t abandoned!”

“I must’ve made a mistake.”

“Ah’ll say y’all made a mistake! This here’s my farm!”

“Sorry.”

“Hmmph…” The farmer squinted hard at his intruder, his creased face like a dried plum above the beard.

Thelonious shifted the camera bag to his other shoulder. “I’ll just be on my way then.”

But the farmer had other ideas. He moved nearer, closing the gap between them. “Did that no ’count Bobby Ray Tuggle send y’all down here to steal my corn liquor?”

“No!” Thelonious shook his head until he thought it would fall off. The cosy relationship between the old man’s index finger and the shotgun’s trigger was making him nervous.

“Y’all don’t know Bobby Ray?”

“I don’t know anyone!”

“Okay. If’n y’all say so.”

Hoping this was the end of it, Thelonious turned to go.

“Not so dang fast! Didn’t y’all see my ‘no trespassing’ sign?”

“What ‘no trespassing’ sign?”

“Y’all walked right on past it. It’s thare, plain as day!” A skeletal brown finger pointed toward the barn’s gaping entrance. “C’aint miss it!”

“But I didn’t see any sign!”

“Ah shoot trespassers.” The farmer gave Thelonious a grisly brown grin. “Shot me one last year. He’s buried out back of the barn. Wanna see?”

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Author bios:

Mitzi Szereto (mitziszereto.com) is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction. She has her own blog Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog (mitziszereto.com/blog), and a web TV channel Mitzi TV (mitziszereto.com/tv), which covers the “quirky” side of London. Her books include Love, Lust and Zombies; Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romance; The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray; Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles); Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance; In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; Dying For It: Tales of Sex and Death; Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers; and Silk Sheets: Collected Stories of Mitzi Szereto.

Teddy Tedaloo is an author, celebrity teddy bear and the publisher and editor of The Teddy Tedaloo Times. He’s also a trendsetter, world traveller, and the production assistant extraordinaire/co-star of the web TV channel Mitzi TV. Popular in social media circles such as Facebook and Twitter, he’s known for his entertaining commentary and opinions as well as being an advocate for animal welfare. He lives (and goes) wherever Mitzi lives (and goes). He’s the co-author of Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles). Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) is his second novel in the series.

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Available for Kindle, Nook and Kobo e-readers and in trade paperback (Sept. 2015)

Author website: http://mitziszereto.com
Book website: http://mitziszereto.com/rottenpeaches
Mitzi Szereto on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mitziszereto
Teddy Tedaloo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/teddytedaloo
Mitzi Szereto on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mitziszereto.fanpage
Teddy Tedaloo on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teddytedaloo.fanpage

Buy links:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rotten-peaches-mitzi-szereto/1122563223?ean=2940151033503
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/rotten-peaches-the-thelonious-t-bear-chronicles
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Book Review for ACQUIESCENCE by Velya Jancz-Urban

Title: Acquiescence
Author: Velya Jancz-Urban
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
ISBN: 978-1630661021
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Acquiescence
by Velya Jancz-Urban

Book review by Carole J. Howard

The historical information in this book is mesmerizing. Other elements of the book are, too, but it was the history that was uniquely fascinating. What a clever plot device (no spoilers!) to integrate the history and to keep it relevant. I’m not ordinarily drawn to this genre (I can’t say why because it would involve a spoiler), but I’m so glad I dug in. And the way she ties it all together at the end is great. If only history had been this interesting in school.”

____________

carolehowardAfter a career in which her writing largely consisted of training manuals and memos, in which clarity was the holy grail, Carole is thrilled to be writing fiction and memoir.  She lives in the beautiful and rural Hudson Valley of New York with her husband, and with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren just down the road apiece.

Carole gets around, having been to about 50 countries (so far), including eighteen months spent in Senegal, the setting for her novel Deadly Adagio, while her husband was a Peace Corps Administrator. She has also been in several amateur orchestras, which is territory that, like a country, has its own language, customs, government, hierarchy, and sub-groups.

Book Review for ACQUIESCENCE by Velya Jancz-Urban

Title: Acquiescence
Author: Velya Jancz-Urban
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
ISBN: 978-1630661021
Acquiescence+front+cover

Acquiescence
by Velya Jancz-Urban

Book review by Susan Emmerich

Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, and don’t believe that those who have passed on are still with us, you will be touched by the power of Velya Jancz-Urban’s Acquiescence. In her incredibly well researched novel, Jancz-Urban takes the reader on a journey that suspends belief as it explores betrayal, forgiveness, and acceptance. With my own connection to spirits, with my love of cemeteries, I identified closely with the characters and the story. I found myself regularly checking to make sure this was a work of fiction as the book read as both drama and a memoir, with the main character, Pamina, exposing intensely personal struggles and insights. Her wisdom is evident in passages like: “…Even when you heal, you’re never what you before. You can’t go back. You can’t change the past. It just is.” While Pamina’s family is the focus of the book, it is their experience with the spirit Susannah that guides their path to establishing a fresh beginning. This meshing of the past, present, and future is what makes Acquiescence a compelling read.

____________

Susan Emmerich is not a writer by training and discovered her love of words late in life.  In her first career as a licensed social worker, she worked in the areas of family violence and adoption.  When her own daughter became school age she made the leap to school guidance to take full advantage of snow days!

While having coped with multiple losses in her life, Susan did not really take notice of their collective impact until her first menopausal mood swing.  It was then that she found writing and biking to be the best medicine for a wounded soul.  She currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio and is still discovering miles of new bike trails.

Susan is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes. 

Book Review for THE NINETY-NINTH REUNION by Dene Hellman

Title: The Ninety-Ninth Reunion
Author: Dene Hellman
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Mainstream
ISBN: 978 1938101922
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Ninety-Ninth Reunion
by Dene Hellman

Book review by Maribeth Shanley

I totally enjoyed this book!  I found Maggie’s quirkiness and sarcasm endearing.  Lee, a former victim of bullying before it was called that, turned out to be a formidable woman who knew what she wanted and had earned being happy.  Ben, a very decent Midwesterner, was very unassuming.  Then there’s Caroline!  My husband was born and raised in Iowa.  Fortunately, we never spent much time going back to his hometown.  Now that I’ve read The Ninety-Ninth Reunion, I’m glad we didn’t.  This book gave me the willies on what I may have encountered.  I’m also now very thankful I’ve never made the effort to go to a high-school reunion.  Those were never my favorite years; and, now, I’ll gladly let that sleeping dog lie.  The Ninety-Ninth Reunion…good to the last drop!

____________

MaribethMaribeth Shanley lives in Myrtle Beach, SC with her husband Bob Bibb.  They have three furry and three feathered children.  Maribeth is now retired from McCormick and Co., Inc. of the famous spice brand.  Once retired she decided to try her hand at writing.  “I’ve always loved to write and dreamed of becoming a writer.  Never did I imagine, however, it would actually happen.” Shanley is the author of the novel Crack in the World, which is based on her own experiences as a sexually abused child.

 

 

Book Review for CRACK IN THE WORLD by Maribeth Shanley

Title: Crack in the World
Author: Maribeth Shanley
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-1630661014

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Crack in the World
by Maribeth Shanley

Book review by Susan Emmerich

I picked up Maribeth Shanley’s novel, Crack in the World, with a bit of dread. As a former social worker, dealing with issues of sexual assault and domestic violence had been a daily task for me for a quarter century, and I was not looking forward to recalling decades of horror told by clients. I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Shanley focused more on the emotional fall out from abuse, rather than the details. She accurately describes the family pain resulting from sexual abuse, without ever losing sight of the strength of her main character, Emily. The reader can’t help but rejoice in Emily’s triumph.
Yet, I found myself cheering equally hard for Emily’s mother, Sarah. It is through her eyes that we really come to know the depth of the damage, the layers of hurt. In her descriptive style, Ms. Shanley is able to draw the reader into understanding the thoughts, fears, frustrations, and sadness that often go unsaid in families impacted by the ultimate betrayal. 

If you are looking for a feel good tale of love and support, you will find it woven among the complications of human pain and lost innocence. You will be reminded that wounds can be healed with kindness and honesty, even if they never quite disappear. Crack in the World is accurate, raw, and honest. Anyone impacted by abuse will benefit from reading Ms. Shanley’s insightful novel.
____________
 Susan Emmerich is not a writer by training and discovered her love of words late in life.  In her first career as a licensed social worker, she worked in the areas of family violence and adoption.  When her own daughter became school age she made the leap to school guidance to take full advantage of snow days!

While having coped with multiple losses in her life, Susan did not really take notice of their collective impact until her first menopausal mood swing.  It was then that she found writing and biking to be the best medicine for a wounded soul.  She currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio and is still discovering miles of new bike trails.

Susan is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes.