Sunday, December 27, 2015

Amelia Bassano as "Key Collaborator in the Shakespearean Works"?

This fascinating argument is developed in John Hudson's recent article, "Amelia Bassano Lanier:  A New Paradigm."  While initially inclined to reject the notion without much deliberation, I must confess that I found the argument quite intriguing and far more plausible than those put forward for any of the other "usual suspects" (e.g., Bacon, de Vere, Marlowe, et al.).

So many little details arise in support of Hudson's hypothesis, including the following:  (1) Amelia was the mistress of the Lord Chamberlain, who became patron of the Lord Chamberlain's Men shortly thereafter.  (2) Several of her relatives held prominent posts related to both set design and music.  (3) Dedications to The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis went to the Earl of Southampton, a neighbor and close friend of Amelia.  (4) Ben Jonson (who claimed to know the author of the plays) strangely compared said author to a "matron" in the First Folio.  Finally, (5) unlike most of the other "suspects" (with Marlowe perhaps the most notable exception), Amelia was an accomplished and published poet.

It's a long article with far more than the above, and well worth perusal.  Those interested can find it here:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Is Thomas Pynchon Author of COW COUNTRY?

Art Winslow, writing for Harper's, raised the issue earlier this month in his excellent article, "The Fiction atop the Fiction."  Certainly the "publisher" raises an eyebrow; Winslow refers to Cow Eye Press as "a publishing house (if that is what it is) established in 2014 apparently for the express purpose of issuing Cow Country and perhaps related follow-ons ..." and enumerates other suspicious points about the firm.  More telling:  the presumptive author, Adrian Jones Pearson, almost tells us that this is all a gimmick.

Winslow attributes the following to Pearson:  “The reading public, and especially professional reviewers, tend to be pretty dismissive of new authors.”  This is certainly true!  He continues:  << He [Pearson] allows that "skeptical" or “indifferent” might be a better characterization than “dismissive,” for unknowns lack the benefit of the doubt reflexively ceded to well-known authors. While Pearson recognizes that he may be consigned to “an utterly disjointed and fruitless literary career” as a result, there is an upside: He will not be forced to participate in a “dishonest system that I don’t believe in. >>

Yet haven't we seen this theme before?  How does this differ from the book J. K. Rowling published under the name Robert Galbraith?  The Cuckoo's Calling garnered rather modest sales until word leaked that it had actually been written by the author of the Harry Potter books, whereupon it became a huge success.  Thus, Winslow suspects that for a variety of reasons, Pynchon may be attempting a similar ruse -- one he is perhaps more willing to maintain and also something at which he will prove more adept.  

Similarities between Pearson and Pynchon abound; the article can be accessed at:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Novelette and Short Story Published!

When I was a student, we studied the "short story" and the "novel," and only occasionally heard about something called the "novella," or short novel.  I recently learned of yet another designation, the "novelette," which is presumably shorter than the novella but longer than the story.  It seems that my Sherlock Holmes and the Murder of Alekhine, which weighed in at slightly over 10,000 words, is indeed a novelette.  More significantly, though, it is now available as a Kindle product:

"Bach's Last Composition:  A Fantasy" is indeed a short story.  I uploaded it onto Lulu as a free pdf file, along with the score of my conjectural "completion" of Bach's unfinished masterpiece, The Art of Fugue.  It can be most safely accessed through my Lulu page:

It has been enjoyable to return to fiction!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Three More Interviews Published

I apparently neglected to mention earlier publication of my interviews with Leonard Slatkin and Pinchas Zukerman.  Yesterday, Stay Thirsty Media released my interview with Grant Colburn.  Here are the links:

Interview with Leonard Slatkin

Interview with Pinchas Zukerman

[NB:  This made the "Stories We Like" list of Classical Voice North America (the journal of the Music Critics Association of North America)]

Interview with Grant Colburn

Friday, July 3, 2015

Publishing: Appellate Court Upholds Judgment Against Apple

On Tuesday, 30 June 2015, Reuters reported the verdict:  the 2nd U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling and felt that Apple had indeed "orchestrated a conspiracy with five publishers to increase e-book prices."

In his dissent, Judge Dennis Jacobs maintained that Apple's business practices were "pro-competitive in taking on a 'monopolist,' Amazon, which controlled 90 percent of the market."

The complete article can be accessed via this url:

Thursday, June 11, 2015


With apologies for a belated announcement, I am delighted to convey the exciting news that Part Two was uploaded recently.  This proved a far more difficult task, since I needed to edit good chunks of the text, make a couple of corrections, and reconstruct some of the dialogue.  Although I do not know how much more can be salvaged from the manuscript, I think these first two parts read extremely well.  I added a brief Foreword, once again.  The digital book can be accessed at:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sales of SLOW TRAIN Are Noteworthy!

While US sales have been few, A Slow Train To Budapest has truly begun to "break out" in the UK.  November figures weighed in at 832; December, at an even 1,000; January, at another 615.

These results certainly defy current trends in marketing strategy.  I have done absolutely nothing to promote the work, and it has garnered only five reviews (four 5-stars, but one 2-star).  Nevertheless, this little gem is selling.

I hope to edit and reconstruct more from my mother's manuscript in near future, and I shall definitely plan to upload a Part 2 if at all possible!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Value (?) of Book Reviews

            The New York Times ran another interesting “Bookends” column on 3 February, as James Parker and Anna Holmes squared off on the question:  “Is Book Reviewing a Public Service or an Art?”  The text may be accessed here:

            Sadly (and with all due respect to the highly-credentialed contributors), neither writer addressed some very real problems:  the democratization of culture, the emergence of Everyman as critic, and the millions of “reviews” bought and paid for (if not otherwise published by family and friends).  Amazon is particularly noteworthy in this regard.  With a proper marketing/promo campaign, an author may easily drum up hundreds of 5-star reviews.

            This is easier than it may sound.  Those who release titles through Kindle Direct Publishing can run numerous “promotionals” during the year.  At these times, they give their titles away – literally; they may actually release it for free.  This, in turn, creates the “verified purchase” that lends credibility to the family, friends, and paid “reviewers” who will of course give it five stars!

            I thought both Parker and Holmes made excellent points, and their essays are well worth reading.  However, I should have been happier had they addressed this issue. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Could e-Books Overtake Printed Books by 2018?

Some of us may find this difficult to imagine, but here is the news as it appeared in print:

<< In the United States and Britain, sales of e-books represent between a quarter and a third of the consumer book market and, by 2018, will edge out printed and audio books as the most lucrative segment, according to projections by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. >>

The full article, “In Europe, Slower Growth for e-Books,” appeared in the New York Times