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21 February 2010

THE WRITTEN WORD: Inspiration from the Arts & Crafts Movement

I've been researching the Arts & Crafts Movement, finding inspiration in this artistic era on a number of levels. During the Arts & Crafts Movement, book design reached a pinnacle. Most notably, William Morris and Kelmscott Press in England, and the Roycrofters in East Aurora, New York, created gold-standard books. Beautiful typography, intricate illustrations, printers ornaments, lavish borders, and handsome bindings typify the books.

In their rare books collection, Denver Public Library has a number of these precious works. In the photo above, the spread shows a portrait of William Morris at left and an elaborate page at right. A thin tissue separates the pages.

(F.Y.I: Normally, the books may not be photographed, but DPL made an exception for my iPhone: Thanks, DPL!)

People in the Arts & Crafts Era responded to the Industrial Revolution; and I am responding to the Digital Age. The Industrial Revolution put a lot of people to work in factories and put and end to a lot of handcrafting. The Digital Age--along with its many advantages--poses some threats to books and writing. I believe we must preserve an interest in the written word and in tactile books.

The design of my soon-to-be-published first novel, titled GLASS HALO, shows a strong influence from the Arts & Crafts Movement.

My Friday Jones Publishing website includes a list of links related to the Arts & Crafts Movement. I hope you'll enjoy browsing some of these sites.

Thanks for clicking in!


19 February 2010

THE ARTS: Stained-glass gardens grow in Denver's cathedral

Since I was a wee one, bored in church, I've been enthralled by the luminous beauty of stained-glass windows. This ancient art form originated to help illiterate people understand stories from Scriptures. Check out this link to today's entry on my page, where I serve as Denver Flower and Garden Examiner. This post takes a look at the flowers and plants in the exquisite stained-glass windows inside downtown Denver's Gothic basilica, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. These are some of the finest windows west of the Mississippi. To read this entry, just click here. I've done a lot of research on stained glass for my first novel, titled GLASS HALO. Set in Denver, the main character is a stained-glass artist. For more details on my soon-to-be-released book, visit Friday Jones Publishing.
Photo by James Baca
This is not a window from Denver's cathedral, but is an example of Munich-style glass that shows the marvelous detail of the stained-glass style. Share/Save/Bookmark

17 February 2010

THE WRITTEN WORD: Full Circle Drawn with The Bloomsbury Review

When I first moved to Denver in 1985, I quickly discovered The Bloomsbury Review because I hung out a lot at a branch of the Denver Public Library, where I found free copies of this books magazine. I was young, financially challenged--as we say in today's politically correct parlance--and eager to become a writer. I had graduated with an English degree and honors from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. I had little experience, but a lot of interest in books; and when I saw that Blooms headquartered in Denver, I made a phone call.

The phone call turned into a long and thoughtful conversation with Tom Auer and ended with a warm invitation to come down to The Bloomsbury Review's office to pick out some books to review. Walking on air, I did just that, braving my way downtown to find Tom in an office cluttered with rows and stacks and shelves and piles of books. I picked out some books on nature, as I remember. I seem to remember a woman coming part way down a staircase, and Tom introducing her as his sister Marilyn.

I did not get paid for my reviews. I did not care. I was thrilled for the opportunity and the byline and the inclusion of my words in the magazine. I don't remember how many pieces I wrote for Blooms before I went on to other writing gigs, then full time jobs in the so-called real world. I eventually lost track of Blooms for many years.

All that changed recently when while working on an assignment for Tom Walker, the books editor of The Denver Post. Tom had given me contact information for a Boulder author to interview, but then called me off the source since somebody else had already done a recent story on him. When that source fell through, I wasn't sure where to turn. I decided to call The Bloomsbury Review to see if they had an leads.

Marilyn Auer answered, and we had a long chat about authors who might make good sources. I mentioned that I had written for Blooms way back. She mentioned that Tom had died. I had not known, or if I had heard, I had stuffed away the sad news.
"But you're holding down the fort?" I asked Marilyn.
And she answered, "I'm working on our 30th anniversary issue."
PING! My freelance journalist light went on, knowing Blooms' big anniversary would make a great story for the books section of The Denver Post.

I'm delighted to report that in the wake of my story about Blooms in the Post, the 30-year-old magazine on books got 55 new subscribers to the magazine--some for several-year subscriptions--and also gained 70-some new fans on Facebook, all in just the first few days after my piece appeared in the Post.

Chalk one up for books, magazines, newspapers, and freelance journalists--all evidently still relevant in the digital age.

Here's a link to my Post piece on The Bloomsbury Review, with some great quotes about books from Marilyn Auer and Blooms' marketing director David Perkins.


15 February 2010

THE WRITTEN WORD/WRITERS I'VE KNOWN: Happy Birthday, Tama J. Kieves!

Today I celebrate the birthday of one of my dearest friends and closest literary companions: Tama J. Kieves. Tama and I both arrived in Denver in June of 1985, though she came from Brooklyn, NY; and I came from Iowa.
Tama and I met about four years later through a third writer, Kay Porterfield. I was taking a fiction writing course through one of the university campuses in downtown Denver, and Kay was my instructor. Kay recognized my writing, knew Tama, and recognized that Tama and I had a lot in common. She suggested we meet. Funny thing, I was so intimidated by Tama because Kay told me Tama is a graduate of Harvard Law School. Eventually, Tama told me she was cowed because I was out of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Eventually, we did meet when Kay convened a writer's group. Tama and I connected. I appreciated--and continue to appreciate--Tama's smarts and humor and beauty on so many levels, her authenticity and her writing.
The writer's group disbanded, but Tama and I remained friends, cultivated our friendship; and shared countless fits of hilarity, as well as streams of salted tears. Tama and I used to schedule what we called "9 to 9" writing days. Tama would show up at 9 on a Friday morning with bagels and cream cheese. I'd brew the coffee. We'd breakfast, write, talk, write, break for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, write some more, walk my dogs, and talk about our books, our lives, write some more, winding down at 9 p.m. This was years ago. We're both still writing.
Tama has led the charge first by self-publishing her book, then getting signed by a major New York publisher, then garnering accolades for her book and going on to use her book as a springboard to other ways to have a voice in the larger debate, a place at the self-help table, and oodles of disciples like myself who have heard her Harvard lawyer wisdom delivered in lines closer to poetry. Tama is fearless: She speaks to huge audiences, at prestigious retreat centers, goes on television, does radio interviews. She has 15,000 names on her electronic mailing list, and pods of people in cities throughout the U.S. She's even branching out internationally, having done appearances in Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica.

I consider myself one of Tama's success stories because in addition to writing, Tama works as a career counselor, coach, and speaker. After practicing law for about a year, Tama fled her downtown Denver firm to follow her heart. She inspires others to do the same. She inspired me, and continues to inspire me, with her message of love over fear.
If you're considering a career change--and even if you're not, but you just like a sweet but solid voice of wisdom in the world, check out Tama's website. You'll find all her upcoming speaking engagements, her book THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love, audio recordings, destination vacations, and free resources. Definitely check out her free e-newsletter as it’s filled with monthly support and creative inspiration, and you can sign-up online.


• Bluestocking Guest Blog Tama contributed titled "Mothering Ourselves"

Tama Kieves endorses GLASS HALO, the soon-to-be-released first novel by Colleen Smith

Tama Kieves quoted in The Denver Post's article about authors conducting their own publicity

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TAMA: Enjoy the fruit!


01 February 2010

Where to find me these days online

Bluestocking blues: I'm not posting here as regularly because I'm working the following gigs:

• Please friend me on Facebook, where I post links to my published articles, as well as lots of random stuff--much of the same subject matter as I've included in this blog.

• Or check out my website for Friday Jones Publishing. I'm releasing my first novel, titled GLASS HALO. This website includes a lot of additional information about my fiction, along with links to lots of my articles.

• Become a fan of Friday Jones Publishing on Facebook. You'll enjoy regular posts about books, dogs, angels, stained glass, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and more.

• Or dig up my page. I serve as the Denver Flower and Gardening Examiner. Many of the photos on my page stem from my own gardens. I also post about gardens I visit, and I link gardening pieces I write for publications.
Detail from William Morris tapestry

Pass it on!