Evelyn's Blog for Mon., June 25, 2018- WHAT PURPOSE DOES A BLOG SERVE?

Why do people start a blog? A fair question.

Wikipedia’s answer: The purpose of writing blogs could be promotion of a product or service, awareness about social issues, information sharing about any subject or purely passion for writing.

You guessed it. MY purpose is to promote my books. The part of the answer about “pure passion for writing” is better served in…

Evelyn's Blog for Sat., May 26, 2018 - Reviewing "THE WAY THEY SEE"

"THE WAY THEY SEE" concerns a couple, once in love, who meet again after 25 years. This is a story about "unintended lives." 

Here is the opening paragraph of "THE WAY THEY SEE" — 

Susannah Lindstrom could not mark the day she fell in love with Sam Geddes because they played together as children and then as teenagers and all through high school. And Sam loved her, too. Then Sam went off to college in 1953, out of their small town. And Susannah waited...

Evelyn's Blog of Sat.,May 19 - JONI GORDON REVIEWS 'THE PROVIDER'

Before you read Joni Gordon's review of my first novel THE PROVIDER, there are some things you should know about her—the owner of Newspace Art Gallery.

Joni Gordon was my closest girlfriend, even during the years we had little contact, and then no contact. I never forgot her, which was the case everyone could make who knew her. At least 500 people attended her…

Evelyn's Blog for May 12, 2018 - THE IMPERATIVE OF A MR. RIGHT

The imperative of there being a Mr. Right pervades my novel

THE ROMANTIC IMPERATIVE. Our heroine in THE ROMANTIC IMPERATIVE receives a scolding when her best friend says to her, “Have you never heard about the woman who meets her Mr. Right without recognizing him because her head is filled with some larger-than-life romantic vision of a knight in shining armor so she walks straight past Mr. Right and then spends the rest of her life...

Evelyn's Blog for March 3, 2018 - PHOTOS FROM THE KIDS IN ISRAEL

REMEMBER Chris's photojournalism in India? Well, he's at it again, as is Hillary, in Israel. Take a look:

 Pomegranates

Pomegranates

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Goat heads. I never before saw this. Remember in the film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," the gal describes Christmas at their house where the uncles take the eyeballs and run around scaring the little kids with them.

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 Chris 

Chris 

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Halvah

 The Kingdom of Halvah

The Kingdom of Halvah

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 The remaining wall from Second Temple - Holiest Site 

The remaining wall from Second Temple - Holiest Site 

 YAD VASHEM  - Holocaust Museum

YAD VASHEM  - Holocaust Museum

 Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem

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 Yaniv & Olga - Relatives (in my novel THE PROVIDER, Yaniv's grandfather was the son of Rosa's brother who ran away from the war.)

Yaniv & Olga - Relatives (in my novel THE PROVIDER, Yaniv's grandfather was the son of Rosa's brother who ran away from the war.)

 Hillary writes: Some scholars say these were homes built in the 13th or 12th centuries BCE. Other scholars say these are ruins from the palace of King David.

Hillary writes: Some scholars say these were homes built in the 13th or 12th centuries BCE. Other scholars say these are ruins from the palace of King David.

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The presence of the toilet seat attests to the high standard of living of the people who lived here.

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Tomb of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus is said to be buried.

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the Holy Sepulchre of Jesus

 Ancient remains of an aqueduct.

Ancient remains of an aqueduct.

 Jerusalem Forest

Jerusalem Forest

 Hillary had been to India & Napol, but, like a nice Jewish girl, she found Nirvana in Israel.

Hillary had been to India & Napol, but, like a nice Jewish girl, she found Nirvana in Israel.

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NEW SUBJECT:  A follow-up about my two film friends on our cruise to Eastern Europe last December. 

Hello Evelyn

I want to offer my sincere apology for not following up with you sooner.  It’s amazing how life can just get busy and time flits by.  I hope you are doing well and that the New Year is treating you well so far.  

I recently had lunch with my friend whom I told you about.  His company is going through a restructuring at the moment and his future there is a bit up in the air.   I was hopeful that I might be able to help with your book in some way but sadly that isn’t the case.  

All the best to you and Marv,

Todd

MY ANSWERING LETTER:

Thank you, Todd, for being so conscientious. It seems the the film business is as slippery/ tough/ fickle as the literary agent/publishing business.

By the way, your friend whose "future is a bit up in the air” may be interested in looking at my novels as they are "very cinematic" according to the late Joni Gordon, creator and owner for 35 years of Newspace Art Gallery. Her resting place with the Smithsonian Archives is assured after a most extensive interview. 

Your friend may be interested for the future in looking at my sites (first, the Amazon site for a quick compressive read, and second the website for my blogs and bio):

EvelynMarshall.com

Amazon.com/author/evelynmarshall/

714.220.1882 (for messages), 714.336.7007 (Cell)

One more word about fine films for you and Scott to see.  The incredible foreign film “Babette’s Feast” will appeal to your knowledge of imagery. And the message is starkly apt to the imagery. 

For me now, since I have written a number of novels and short where the seed kernel is a love story (not a romance), I’m venturing out with a new novel, “A Woman of a Certain Age”. It seems like a logical step. I will be working on it for quite a while.

To you and your friend, and to Scott, I wish you stamina and eternal optimism for a bright future in the film industry.

Evelyn


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon

Evelyn's Blog for February 24, 2018 - 'A WOMAN OF A CERTAIN AGE'

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“Women of a Certain Age” is a phrase that has intrigued me for years. So after writing lots of novels and short stories about women in difficult positions, this idea seems a natural.

The phrase is hypnotic to lots of women (and men). Thornton Wilder wrote the play as a farce in 1938; in 1954 it was a  movie (“The Matchmaker”) starring Shirley Booth; and in 1964 it was put to music/lyrics by Jerry Herman.

Since then, there have been countless Dollys, among them Carole Channing, Barbra Streisand, Pearl Bailey, Mary Martin, and now Bette Midler.

We are sympathetic to the Dolly Levis of this world. They are women who live by their smarts. Dolly is a survivor, but she has had her darker moments (regrets and mistakes). Before she enters the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, she asks her deceased husband Ephraim for a sign, permission to join the parade before it's too late.

 She sings the song "Before the "Parade Passes by"—

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Before it goes on
And only I'm left
Before the parade passes by
I've gotta get in step while there's still time left
I'm ready to move out in front
Life without life has no reason or rhyme left
With the rest of them
With the best of them
I wanna hold my head up high
I need a goal again
I need a drive again
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again

Before the parade passes by

Before the parade passes by
I've gotta go and taste Saturday's high life
Before the parade passes by
I've gotta get some life back into my life
I'm ready to move out in front
I've had enough of just passing by life
With the rest of them
With the best of them

I can hold my head up high
For I've got a goal again—

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By definition, a woman of a certain age is no longer in her early twenties; the men are no longer looking her way; her career choices have wasted into limitations or dead-ends; she did not marry the man she should have, and did marry the man she should not have. Did she look too hard for Mr. Right? Not hard enough? She feels left behind to fend for herself. She is a spinster, a widow, a divorcee, a wife, a single mother.  She may feel short-changed by life. (Did you know that a cynic is a disappointed romantic?)

My sister-in-law Sandra Marshall (actress and comedian) is a woman of  a certain age. She said, "I hate those old guys who date and marry young girls and discount us completely."

I'm certainly going to include her opinion in the novel.  The working title will be "A Woman of a Certain Age". If any of you, male or female, have some strong opinions that you'd like to unload, please come right ahead at Evelyn@EvelynMarshall.com.


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog for Sat, February 17, 2018 - AN INTERVIEW WITH ME

One of my readers who requested anonymity asked to interview me.

 This is not his photo.

This is not his photo.

 

I asked him, "Do you want to dissect me?

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No, no. I'll ask the usual questions.

Okay, shoot!

Q: Did you always want to be writer?

A: No. My first choice, at ager 5, was being a CLASSICAL PIANIST.

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At are 13, I began studying with a “new” teacher  who said I had to memorize every note, as with a photographic memory. That was impossible for me. I quit.

Second choice was THEATRE. 

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UCLA: The professor called back me every day for the auditions to "Hedda Gabler" for the LEAD. I was a freshman and never read the complete play, overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. After that, I experimented with one-act plays, did not take to the chaotic lifestyle, and left college.

I went into outer space.

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Q: What do you mean?

 

A: Here’s the story. When Marv and I moved into our house,I began to teach high school: three years later I became pregnant. After Hillary was born and was in school, I began to take more English classes. I had graduated college as an English major, but I had an appetite for more: Comparative Lit., Shakespeare, European Lit.—”  Even so, I gradually felt I was disappearing. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I started to substitute teach, but I was searching for something other than teaching.  From time to time, my friends would say, “Oh Evelyn, you should write”.  I would retort, “No, no. It’s the way I talk. I’m an animated talker”. And I would forget about it. However, one day in the slumps,

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I sat down at the typewriter and typed the way I talked: a test case.

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When I pulled the paper out of the roller and read it, I said out loud, “Hah! I’m correct. There’s nothing here.” I tossed the paper away. And that was that.

Time marched on. Hillary came home from high school one day with her girlfriend who said to me, “My mother is writing a novel.” It was like the blast from a cannon.

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Without a second of hesitation, I turned on automatic. I telephoned the mother.

“Let’s go out for coffee. I’ve got to talk with you.” That mother told me she had enrolled in a novels workshop. My life changed.

Q: Do you have any regrets about turning in this direction?

A: Yes, that I didn’t start writing in my twenties. What a waste.

Q: What is your writing routine? I mean, when do you do your writing?

A: Like most writers, I write productively in the morning hours, about three hours.  My second wind comes at night, but writing at night stimulates me too much. I suffer insomnia anyway.

Q: Do you write in longhand or directly onto the computer?

A: I was taught to get into the habit of writing on the computer as soon as possible. With my mighty cup of coffee (logo for my former newsletters), I quickly started on the computer.  Today I stand at the computer (better for the back), but my first novels were written sitting down.

Q: What was the most significant event in your life, I mean beside marriage and motherhood?

A: Attending college a second time. I had dropped out of UCLA, a theatre arts major. Then five years after Marv married me, my wonderful husband said (out of the blue), “Do you want a house or do you want to go back to college?” I replied, “I can always have a house. I want to go back to college.” I started from scratch.

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Q: Did your husband (who was earning his doctorate at USC at the time) have advice for you as you re-entered college?

A: I should say so! “Always sit in the first or second row of class so that your attention stays focused, and never get behind in your homework.” I listened to him, thank God.

Q: But you did not return to UCLA. Why not?

A: I needed to stay focused. In classes of 250 students at UCLA, I didn’t have a chance. So I attended a state college, CA State U at Northridge, where there were only 30 students in the class. Interestingly, the Eastern Seaboard colleges (e.g., Yale) had at that time very small ratios of professors to students (1: 8). I thrived in the smaller classes and was taken into the English Honors Program. 

Q: THE PROVIDER was your first novel. Did you have trouble deciding what the subject would be for your first novel?

A: No. It was a given. That novel was all around me. I grew up living that novel.

Q: So, is it your favorite?

A. Yes. And my most personal. In the same way that Eliah Kazan’s most personal screenplay was “America, America”, and Billy Crystal’s was “Mr. Saturday Night”.

Q: Would you say your themes have a similarity?

A: Yes. Not unusual. Most writers handle the same theme over and over, but from different angles. I treat aspects of love stories, not romances. 

Q. You started writing late in life. You inspire people who think it’s never to late. I think the only person who started later was Harriet Doerr with her fine novel “Stones of Ibarra”. I think it was her Master’s Thesis at Stanford, and she received lots of encouragement at age 70.  She continued to write, but not as much as you. You were like a locomotive: I mean once you got started you kept going, and are still going with five published novels and two yet to be published. And there are some short stories. Do you think you will continue to write novels?

A: That’s an interesting question. The last novel I wrote was “An Incident in the Family”. It wrote itself and I held onto its coattails. What I came to the end of what I wanted to say, I simply stopped. It was unlike anything I had written. Since then, I have been writing short stories.  Something happened with that experience. I’m not certain where my writing will go from here.

Often, Henry James has written short stories that he thought would turn into novels; some did. We'll see.

I just wrote a short story, “The Arrangement”, with the intention of turning it into a novella or a novel. But I restrained it into a short story. Why? There was great fun in resolving the problem early.   “The Arrangement”, along with a few other new short stories, may appear in a collection.

Q: Your literary voice is distinctive.  I would say that your narrative style is lyrical, and you balance it with a great deal of  suspenseful dialog.  Do you consider yourself a stylist?

A: Yes.

Q: Ms. Marshall, I enjoy your writings very much. Will you permit me to interview you again in the future?

A: Most certainly.


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon


Evelyn's Blog - Feb 10, 2018 - "THE DEBT"

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A WORD ABOUT MY SHORT STORY - ON AMAZON KINDLE

Recently I mentioned that I would be selling a short story on Amazon.  This is how the idea came about:

I learned that people do not like to read fiction on blogs. A case was made for an author who only sold six copies of her short story on her blog, but when she sold it on Amazon for $2.99 it went like a crazy sale.  Well, I had put up one of my short stories on my website for FREE, and interestingly only six people wrote to me about it (raved about it, by the way) .

So, I removed the FREE sign and have just put the same short story on AMAZON KINDLE.  The story is "The Debt" which was a Finalist with Glimmer Train, one of the most prestigious literary journals. Here's the scoop:

"Jewish young man and gentile young woman become engaged, then marry. The young man works for the United Nations. Will its ideals work for these two cultures confronting each other?"

Please take a look at this short story "The Debt" on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B079NT72Z8.  

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It's even better now that I've edited it one more time. If it flies as a solo with enough sales, I'll put up more stories that are absolute pips!

Please tell your friends to become my blog subscribers. Very  easy to remember the address: EvelynMarshall.com. 

And Now On To A Novel/Film...

 Edith Wharton's Ancestral Home "The Mount"

Edith Wharton's Ancestral Home "The Mount"

'THE AGE OF INNOCENCE' - Novel/Film

Edith Wharton is one of my favorite authors. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature with "The Age of Innocence". She wrote about the highest tiers of wealth and society, in which she lived, about their locked-in code of impeccable behavior, while beneath that code roared gossip and hypocrisy, immorality and corruption.  

 Although published in 1920 and awarded  the Pulitzer in 1921, the era depicted was the 1850's. It was her 12th novel.

Although published in 1920 and awarded  the Pulitzer in 1921, the era depicted was the 1850's. It was her 12th novel.

 Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

She came from the uppermost reaches of American wealth that she depicted. She married a man who proved unfaithful (and unbalanced) and remained married to him for 25 years. But she broke loose in her literature and in her subsequent life in Paris helping the WW1 war effort. Edith Wharton was a critic of her social class who sacrificed the individual to unbending tradition. She writes with excruciating honesty and wit.

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The film is magnificently close to Edith Wharton’s novel. The surprise is the producer-director: Martin Scorsese, generally known for his gangster films. He made this masterpiece of a film in homage to his father.

The film is a fastidiously elegant work of art visually, narratively, and in every other way.  The actors did their part:   Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, and Michelle Pfeiffer, and all the character actors. 

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The novel begins at an opera where the upper class is properly sitting in their boxes. “Boxes” is a metaphor for locked-in proper place for decorum and standards.

There are two main women in the novel: the loving conformist wife May, Ryder) and his mistress Madame Olenska (Pfeiffer), the decadent woman who speaks to Newland Archer's artistic sensibilities. Archer is trapped between these two. His wife traps him and he falls back into the society of conformity and responsibility.

Of Edith Wharton's novels, I also recommend, "House of Mirth",  "Custom of the Country", and "Ethan Frome".  Of her short stories, 'Roman Fever' stands out. But "An Age of Innocence" is her absolute finest work.

The following BIO is from Google:

Wharton's life changed when World War I began. She traveled extensively by motorcar through Europe, opening schools and hostels for refugees in northern France and Belgium. She also wrote reports for American publications, supporting American involvement in the war. After the war, Wharton only returned to the United States once in her lifetime (to accept her Pulitzer prize).

Throughout her life, Wharton frequently held salon, hosting gatherings where the most gifted intellectuals of her time could share thoughts and discuss ideas. Teddy Roosevelt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway were all Wharton's guests at one time or another. Besides these salons, Wharton's friendship with Henry James had an immense influence on her work. Wharton continued writing voraciously until her death at age 75 in France. She is buried in the American Cemetery at Versailles.

A WORD ABOUT TRAVELING

In this novel "The Age of Innocence",  society travelled on giant ships for months at a time. They brought their trunks and pets, and were spoiled with constant dining sociability, indulgent room service, and daily town tours. 

Marv and I have traveled a great deal through the world. People think that travelers automatically have lots of material to write about. Not true. There’s no connection. Maybe some scenery, but not in terms of interesting plots.  I say this because as with the wealthy set, such as in “The Age of Innocence," they returned home the same people as before they left. Only fatter.

When taking a river cruise,  so many hours are spent in the constant comforts of sociability and dining, of cabin services, that the daily tours into the towns often pale by comparison and even wash together:  “When you’ve seen one castle, you’ve seen them all.”

Let's say for a moment that your hometown is Oxnard or Bakersfield or Salinas, and you take the Grand Tour of Europe. Do you come home plot heavy? Or just try writing lots of description and see what you've got that others want to read.  I think what you say is, "Home sweet home".


Take a Look at My Authored Novels on Amazon