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Messages - Norman German

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1
The Book Bazaar / Chinese Copyright Purchased
« on: December 12, 2011, 07:31:55 pm »


A major publisher in China, Fudan University Press (Shanghai), has purchased a 6-year copyright to The Word on Words, which will be reissued using simplified Chinese characters.

The Word on Words has been selected as a "Best of 2011" book by The Kirkus Review, ranking it 1st in Arts & Letters and 4th in Nonfiction: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/norman-german/word-words/

The stellar review concludes by calling the book "Lively, informative and thoroughly beguiling."

The Word on Words uses humor and fascinating etymologies (word histories) to nail down functional vocabulary words.

Devices that support color, like Kindle Fire, show the colorful book to its best advantage. It's also available in paperback.



new post merged with existing thread

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The Book Bazaar / The Word on Words & The Saints football team
« on: August 06, 2011, 10:26:40 pm »
Because of publicity surrounding the publication of The Word on Words, a New Orleans Saints attorney contacted me about being an “expert witness” in a lawsuit brought against the Saints by the producers of Aaron Neville’s rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” which uses the line “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?” Walshe’s firm has retained me to write an essay on the origins of “Who Dat?” to demonstrate that the term was first used in vaudeville almost a hundred years ago and is therefore in the public domain.

3
The Word on Words has passed its first major test--a highly complimentary and well-written review from Kirkus Review, which concludes by calling it "Lively, informative and thoroughly beguiling."

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/indie/norman-german/word-words/

Check out the Kindle edition at  http://www.amazon.com/The-Word-on-Words-ebook/dp/B004ZS87NA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1304982532&sr=1-1

It's an engaging book for students who think vocabulary books are boring. If you have a teen studying for the SAT, ACT, or PSAT, buy them the full-color paperback, also available on Amazon.

Thanks,
Norman German



--- edit... new post merged with original thread. please remember, only one thread per book. please bookmark this thread so you can find it again and please read our Forum Decorum.

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The Book Bazaar / "Best of 2011" Award & Publication in CHINA!
« on: May 15, 2011, 07:35:56 am »
Good news! Fudan University in Shanghai, China, just bought 6-year publication rights to The Word on Words.

The Word on Words was been selected as a "Best of 2011" book by The Kirkus Review, ranking it 1st in Arts & Letters and 4th in Nonfiction: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/norman-german/word-words/

The stellar review concludes by calling the book "Lively, informative and thoroughly beguiling."


5
The Book Bazaar / Re: A Savage Wisdom: Kindle BOOK OF THE DAY
« on: March 10, 2011, 10:50:07 pm »
Toni Jo’s story has intrigued me since childhood, when I would read about her in the Lake Charles American Press, which tantalized readers with reproductions of her leggy portrait as a coddled death-row inmate.

When I decided to “novelize” her life, my four-year research led me to the newspaper archive room and Toni Jo’s tombstone, which has her first named (Annie) misspelled as Anna.

Then I read dozens of newspaper articles on the murder, capture, trial, and execution. To create the dense, “textured” world of a novel, I immersed myself in magazines and popular histories of the time-frame of the novel: from World War I to 1963 (JFK’s assassination).

From antique stores, I bought ten copies of magazines from the period, including Life, Look, Collier’s, and Saturday Evening Post. I read every article and studied every ad in order to realistically recreate the clothing, slang, and pop-culture icons of the era.

One indispensable history was Frederick Lewis Allen’s Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America. However, my most valuable source was New Orleans in the Thirties, by lay historian Mary Lou Widmer. It includes hundreds of photographs chronicling the interior décor, men’s and women’s clothing styles, cuisine, and social customs of the time.

For the 1950s, I became familiar with everything from automobile models and colors to whiskey brands in legendary journalist David Halberstam’s The Fifties, as well as in Time magazine’s special issue “Time Capsule: 1950, The Year in Review.”

With this information saturating my consciousness, I began “texturing” the novel with the facts and ambience of the period.

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The Book Bazaar / Re: A Savage Wisdom: Kindle BOOK OF THE DAY
« on: March 10, 2011, 10:20:14 pm »
No single book has had a radical effect on me. Rather, a lifetime of reading has shaped my thinking and actions.

Among the most influential, I would name Thoreau’s Walden, the poetry of Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas, the short stories of Ray Carver and Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, James Dickey’s aggressive style in Deliverance and his poetry, and Wendell Berry’s prose, poetry, and philosophy. And, of course, no American can escape the Bible as a powerful influence. Weirdly, believe it or not, Benjamin Franklin's almanac and autobiography have had quite an impact on my development as a person and on my discipline as a writer.

Also, a number of more wide-ranging books have been enlightening: Desmond Morris’s The Naked Ape, Janson’s History of Art, The Hite Report, Carl Sagan’s Broca’s Brain and The Dragon’s of Eden, and biographies of Freud and Jung. Also, scads of vocabulary and etymology books influenced my writing of The Word on Words: The Play of Language, due out as a Kindle book by April 2011.

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The Book Bazaar / Re: A Savage Wisdom: Kindle BOOK OF THE DAY
« on: March 10, 2011, 08:31:23 pm »
Several people have asked about Harold Nevers' tattoos. The angel tattoo on his chest represents the good front he presents to the world.

The dragon on his back symbolizes his dark side. He's a chameleon character, or Satanic shape-shifter, constantly changing in order to be what others want him to be. His exotic dragon tattoo is described with exotic words. If the reader doesn't know some of the words, that only enhances his exotic out-of-reach appeal:

   From the doorway, Annie discerned the unmistakable colors of a tattoo on Harold’s back. She moved out of the frame to let the light reach across the room. Her throat constricted as it did when she was frightened or saw something very beautiful.
   It was a dragon. Of some sort. More beautiful and dangerous than any creature she had ever seen. A hybrid of sphinx and basilisk, of hippogriff and gargoyle and manticore, it was evil in design yet somehow holy in effect, a beast selected from the draconian population slurking in a guttered Chinaman’s opium induced nightmare. Rising out of a sulfurous fog, it was covered with diamond shaped scales of green and blue. The monster’s incandescent white eyes were embossed with black pupils; its mouth vomited red and yellow flames. At significant jointures, the skeletal structure of its batlike wings protruded daggerstyle—living icicles dripping with the gore of its latest victim. The quartz shards of its stegosaurean spine tapered into a segmented scorpion tail that serpentined down to the hills of his buttocks where it disappeared into the subterranean aperture of its cave home. Every aspect of the illuminated dragon seemed to possess hieroglyphic meaning, as if the tattoo were a medieval manuscript indited by a slavering but skillful madman.
   Mesmerized by the horror and beauty of the thing, Annie reached out to touch it.

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The Book Bazaar / Re: A Savage Wisdom: Kindle BOOK OF THE DAY
« on: March 10, 2011, 10:28:56 am »
Regarding the Texas connection:

Toni Jo’s birth name is Annie Beatrice McQuiston (misspelled on her tombstone as “Anna”). In Shreveport, as a teenage prostitute going by the name Toni Jo, she fell for Claude “Cowboy” Henry, an ex-prize fighter. In 1939, he isolated her in a hotel room and forced her to go “cold turkey” from her drug addiction. They secured a marriage license in Lake Charles and married in Sulphur.

Cowboy’s arrest for murdering San Antonio policeman Arthur Sinclair (before meeting Toni Jo) cut their honeymoon short. In January 1940, Cowboy was sentenced to fifty years in the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville.

For more on the Texas connection, click the following link, which includes the article “Texas Completes the Circuit to Louisiana’s Electric Chair,” which I wrote during a “Virtual [online] Book Tour” last year.

http://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html

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The Book Bazaar / A Savage Wisdom's Title
« on: March 09, 2011, 11:41:30 pm »
During the four years it took to research and write A Savage Wisdom, I had the "working title" Zero at the Bone in my head.

That's the last line of a poem about a snake by Emily Dickinson, and I thought her description of the chill from suddenly seeing a snake at your feet fit the feeling I was trying to achieve in my antagonist Harold Nevers. He is a chameleon character, constantly changing, so that even the protagonist, Toni Jo Henry, never really knows who he is, or even what name he is currently using.

Unfortunately, I discovered that not fewer than 17 books had the same title, so I simply took a phrase from the last page of the novel and used it. Fortunately, it has worked out even better than the original title.

Thanks, MissRead!

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The Book Bazaar / New Murder Mystery (Cripple Bayou Two-Step)
« on: March 08, 2011, 05:03:50 pm »
Just launched as a Kindle book: FINALIST in St. Martin Press's Year-2000 Private Eye Writers of America first-novel contest!

Featuring Shreve West, a one-handed, politically incorrect P.I., Cripple Bayou Two-Step’s tense plot balances a serial-murder with the rapid changes in Shreve’s personal life: exhuming a corpse from a Louisiana graveyard, fending off alligators with lost love Pixie Dewberry, whose crippling disease adds depth to the novel’s title, and paying a dangerous undercover call on Sweet Emma’s “house."

This genre-stretching comic murder mystery mixes gruesome homicides, romantic intrigue, zany sex, and offbeat sports like dwarf-bowling.

"Clue" references to Edgar Allan Poe’s life, planted by the taunting murderer, provide the scaffolding for this bizarre tale of the Deep South’s dark side.

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The Book Bazaar / Re: Switch-Pitchers (Baseball Novel)
« on: March 08, 2011, 08:43:33 am »
I forgot to mention:

Based on a review posted on its Web site by the Sport Literature Association, the research director at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, requested a copy of Switch-Pitchers for its library.

For all I know, every book about baseball is shelved there, but I thought, and still think, it is an honor to have my writing represented there.

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The Book Bazaar / A Savage Wisdom: "Alternative History"
« on: March 08, 2011, 12:12:50 am »
A Savage Wisdom is an imaginative reconstruction of the life of Toni Jo Henry, the only woman executed in Louisiana's electric chair, for a 1940 Valentine's Day murder.

I alter several facts from Toni Jo's life to pose the question, "What would cause a truly innocent woman to ruthlessly kill a seemingly kind man?"

These kinds of fictional variations (for example, a novel positing what would have happened if Lee Harvey Oswald had missed his fatal shot of John F. Kennedy) have been called "alternative history" and "faction," fiction based on fact.

A Savage Wisdom will be the Kindle "Book of the Day" this Thursday, March 10. Get ahead of the curve and discover why this startling novel has reached #5 four times in the competitive category of "Murder & Mayhem."

http://www.amazon.com/A-Savage-Wisdom-ebook/dp/B0028AD3C2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269274057&sr=8-1


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The Book Bazaar / Switch-Pitchers (Baseball Novel)
« on: March 08, 2011, 12:04:42 am »
In Switch-Pitchers, Ernest Hemingway smuggles twin Cuban pitchers to the U.S. for a shot at major-league fame. One can throw equally well right- or left-handed, but he won't. Why not?

Published by BlueWater Press in 2010, the novel is now available on Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Switch-Pitchers-ebook/dp/B004N8517C/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1267160684&sr=8-1

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The Book Bazaar / Re: What Is Identity?
« on: September 29, 2010, 06:56:47 am »
Is identity something we shape ourselves to be? Or is our identity the very instrument that shapes us? Theorists, such as Jacques Lacan and Louis Althusser, argue that we mistake (or, in Lacan's terminology: misrecognize) an external expectation (sometimes an image) for our own identity, setting up a lifelong battle to become --and maintain-- this "image."

In the case of Toni Jo Henry, the fictionalized character of A Savage Wisdom based on the historical figure, Toni Jo encounters an alter-ego in the opportunities Harold Nevers presents to her, which threatens her former existence and changes her future. Find out what makes Toni Jo vulnerable and whether or not her identity shapes her or she shapes it.

Check out the Kindle version, available through Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/A-Savage-Wisdom-ebook/dp/B0028AD3C2/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2.

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The Book Bazaar / Re: What Is Identity?
« on: September 20, 2010, 06:04:02 am »
How does deception play into the theme of identity? Is our "identity" really a deceptive mask? Analyze this theme of deception in Toni Jo Henry's quest for identity, as well as Harold Nevers's character, in the book A Savage Wisdom.

Click the following link to purchase the Kindle version at Amazon.com.
http://www.amazon.com/A-Savage-Wisdom-ebook/dp/B0028AD3C2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284136733&sr=1-1

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The Book Bazaar / What Is Identity?
« on: September 13, 2010, 06:29:55 am »
Is identity something we shape ourselves to be? Or is our identity the very instrument that shapes us? Theorists, such as Jacques Lacan and Louis Althusser, argue that we mistake (or, in Lacan's terminology: misrecognize) an external expectation (sometimes an image) for our own identity, setting up a lifelong battle to become --and maintain-- this "image."

In the case of Toni Jo Henry, the fictionalized character of A Savage Wisdom based on the historical figure, Toni Jo encounters an alter-ego in the opportunities Harold Nevers presents to her, which threatens her former existence and changes her future. Find out what makes Toni Jo vulnerable and whether or not her identity shapes her or she shapes it.

Check out the Kindle version, available through Amazon.com.

17
The Book Bazaar / A SAVAGE WISDOM now in Paperback
« on: May 13, 2010, 10:31:13 pm »
A Savage Wisdom, based on the life of Toni Jo Henry, the only woman executed in Louisiana's electric chair, is now on Amazon in paperback.

The Kindle version has reached #5 four times in the competitive "Murder & Mayhem" category.

http://www.amazon.com/Savage-Wisdom-Norman-German/dp/096545696X/ref=sr_1_1_oe_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1273470554&sr=1-1

Norman German


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The Book Bazaar / Re: Great BLACK HISTORY MONTH Selection!
« on: February 06, 2010, 09:34:48 am »
Reese, thanks for the iPod download. Keep me posted.

Marianner, yes, my novel is a fictionalized version of Coincoin's life. She is also known as Marie Therese. She had four children by a fellow slave, then 10 children by a man who bought her and set her free AFTER she produced the children, who were classified as slaves because children followed the status of their mother.

One of her descendants is artist Angelbert Metoyer:  http://www.angelbertmetoyer.com/angelbert_metoyer/war~beau_2009.html

I became intrigued with Coincoin's story 25 years ago when I taught at Northwestern State in Natchitoches and saw grave markers of her descendents.

Norman

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The Book Bazaar / Great BLACK HISTORY MONTH Selection!
« on: February 05, 2010, 10:36:56 pm »
In 1992, Ernest Gaines selected my historical novel No Other World as winner of the Deep South Writers Prize, calling it "a part of Louisiana history more of us should know about."

As a Kindle book, it has reached #1 in both the Prejudice & Racism and Feminist Theory categories.

The novel dramatizes the life of Coincoin, the ex-slave woman who became a slaveholder and founded Melrose Plantation, near Natchitoches.

To sample a chapter, click http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002G9TFQI

Many thanks,

Dr. Norman German
Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities
Southeastern Louisiana University

20
February 14th will be the 71st anniversary of Toni Jo Henry's murder of Houston businessman J. P. Calloway. For the truly cold-hearted killing, Toni Jo paid the supreme price of her life and became the first and still only woman executed in Louisiana's electric chair.

A Savage Wisdom has reached #5 four times in the competitive category of Murder & Mayhem.

A Savage Wisdom IS a novel. It is fiction in the vein of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which started the genre of faction (fiction based on fact). I change enough of the actual story of Toni Jo Henry that the novel would be classified as "alternative history," an intriguing genre that starts with the premise, "What if...."

I think of the novel as a study in deception and personality transformation. If you're interested in why good people sometimes do bad things, this will be a great read for you.

Norman German


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The Book Bazaar / Baseball & Hemingway
« on: January 22, 2010, 12:59:21 am »
If you enjoyed the sports stories in Sportfishing with Cameron, you will like my just-released baseball novel from Bluewater Press (Florida).

In Switch-Pitchers, Ernest Hemingway smuggles twin Cuban pitchers to the U.S. for a shot at Major-League fame.

Though not yet launched as a Kindle book, it is available in paperback on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Switch-Pitchers-Norman-German/dp/160452040X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264149983&sr=1-2.

Many thanks,
Norman German


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The Book Bazaar / Re: Louisiana Electric-chair Execution
« on: December 27, 2009, 10:08:43 am »
BookZillion has posted an excerpt of A Savage Wisdom that is not available on Amazon.com:

http://www.bookzillion.com/books/detail/a-savage-wisdom

The excerpted section is a description of the antagonist's symbolic dragon tattoo and Toni Jo Henry's foreshadowing reaction to it.

Norman German

23
The subtitle of Cripple Bayou Two-Step is "A Romantic-Comedy Murder Mystery."

Christmas figures into the sweet romantic-comedy subplot, so if you're looking for a good read for your new Christmas Kindle, this is it!

Norman German

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The Book Bazaar / Re: Louisiana Electric-chair Execution
« on: December 24, 2009, 07:37:37 pm »
When I graduated with an M.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979, I never thought I'd be the subject of an "alumnus" article.

For the interview about my writing A Savage Wisdom, click

http://www.utexas.edu/opa/blogs/shelflife/2009/11/18/ut-alumnus-inspired-by-true-crimes-of-first-woman-executed-in-louisiana-for-his-latest-book/

Norman German

25
Okay. Thanks, Dona. If you like Cripple Bayou Two-Step, which has a sweet romantic subplot, you might try A Savage Wisdom for something darker.

Norman

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