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ONE OF THE WORLD’S LONGEST NOVELS

In 1862, Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy began writing a book that would take six years to finish and eventually be called War & Peace.  The epic story is considered one of the greatest novels ever written, remarkable for its dramatic breadth and unity. Its vast...

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GET CAUGHT READING

May is "Get Caught Reading Month," a nationwide campaign to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read. In honor of "Get Caught Reading Month," I'm creating photo collage of folks reading or listening to Who Is to Blame. The photo collection will appear on...

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NATIONAL BOOKMOBILE DAY April 12, 2017

When I was still a malleable small fry (prior to those audacious teen years), my mom, in cahoots with our hometown bookmobile, taught me to appreciate the written word. I’ve since devoted many years to trying to use it properly. Give a round of thanks to your local...

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READING MAKES YOU HUNGRY

  I received these photos from my friend Joan in Ohio. After reading Who Is to Blame, these Yellow Springs gals put together a multi-course meal of traditional Russian food.  An unbelievable feast!  What I wouldn’t give to have been able to share that culinary...

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THE MAKING OF AN AUDIBLE BOOK

Who Is to Blame is a complex book to record. Fortunately, Gil at Peak Recording is a pro and a gentleman in every regard. The narrator, actor John Hosking, devoted untold hours mastering the long, tongue-twister Russian names.  Fate was unbelievably generous when it...

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Russian Words, Well Spoken

The present generation sees everything clearly. It is amazed and laughs at the folly of its ancestors...and self-confidently enters on a fresh set of errors at which their descendants will laugh again later on. ~ Nikolai Gogol in Dead Souls (1842) Russian dramatist,...

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RUSSIA’S CHOLESTEROL WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

A bit of trivia  On January 31, 1990, the first McDonalds opened in Russia (the Soviet Union). Throngs of people lined up to pay the equivalent of several days’ wages for Big Macs, shakes, and fries. On the day the fast-food eatery flipped its first burger, it was...

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DON’T KNOCK IT UNTIL YOU TRY IT

What a blast being invited to a vegan potluck with the theme of "Russian Food!" After giving a brief presentation on the history of vegetarianism & veganism in Russia, I overstuffed myself with traditional Russian food, with substitutions for the animal products....

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HOW ELIZAVETA CAME TO BE A SERF

We meet the female protagonist of Who Is to Blame, Elizaveta Anafreva, in 1840.  Thirty or so generations before that, Elizaveta’s ancestors were tenant farmers—free peasants at liberty to leave their landlord for a more favorable one. Or they could quit farming...

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CHUCKLE WHILE YOU LEARN

Browse my e-newsletter to dive deeper into concepts touched upon in Who Is to Blame. Take a look at the current edition.  No entrapment. No sales gimmicks. I promise. Sample Content:  ...

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READING RECOMMENDATION FOR RUSSOPHILES

Do you have an interest in the country with the world's largest land area?  Try Russian Life magazine. I've found that it contains slices of just about everything pertaining to historical and cultural Russia. This brainy, funny, off-the-beaten-path publication has...

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WOMEN DEFINITELY DID NOT RULE THE ROOST

I was told by someone who recently read Who Is to Blame, “Being a woman in peasant Russia - Ugh!” Couldn’t agree more.  In order to be a female Russian peasant who’s content with her life, you’d have to: adore your in-laws since you share a one-room hut with all 12 of...

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RUSSIAN WORDS, WELL SPOKEN

"Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary." Boris Pasternak (1890 - 1960) Soviet Russian poet novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russian, Pasternak's first...

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BEVERLY HILLS BOOK AWARDS

A stupendous piece of news arrived this week!  WHO IS TO BLAME was selected as a finalist for the Beverly Hills Book Award.  The organization “celebrates the physical book in print that has always been and will always be a part of our worldwide culture.” In selecting...

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ERRORS GALORE

A writer pores their hearts and souls into their work.  But sometimes that isn't enough.  Sometimes, authors require a second set of eyes. I am in debt to literate / literary friends who volunteer reviewed my manuscript in various stages of development.  A "beta...

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AUDIO VERSION

AUDIBLE IN THE WORKS! As I watched WHO IS TO BLAME being recorded at Peak Recording, I was stunned at how exacting, technical, and lengthy the process is. The narrator, actor John Hosking, always kept a green apple within arm’s reach.  Imagine the dryness of your...

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QUIRKY BOOK FACT

  To prevent theft, books used to be chained to shelves in libraries. According to the English Historical Fiction Authors, the chains were long enough to allow the the books to be taken from their shelves and read, but not removed from the library....

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RUSSIAN WORDS, WELL SPOKEN

Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.   ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Notes from Underground (1864) Novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist,...

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BOOK CLUB – 15 Years & Going Strong

Last week, I had a rollicking good time with a local book club as they discussed  Who Is to Blame. These women not only crave knowledge, they have a blast in the process.  And they've been together over 15 years! During the discussion, they imagined being an old (40+...

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RUSSIAN WORDS, WELL SPOKEN  

A woman can become a man's friend only in the following stages - first an acquaintance, next a mistress, and only then a friend.”   Anton Chekov in The Three Sisters, 1900

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Neighborhood Book Launch Party

Slavic Snacks!   Cossack Fur Hats!   Russian Peasant Costumes!  Cyrillic Name Tags!   Shots of  vodka!     And hugs to my 3 extraordinary party planners    ...

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WHO IS TO BLAME – BORN 10/18/2016

Earlier this year, on the day Krista Tippett's book was published, she tweeted, “The book is born. Such a long time in the writing.  A happy day.”  Wow, do I echo her sentiments on my publication day! Krista is the voice behind the public radio podcast On Being,...

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A Day Well Spent

A friend sent me this photo, blaming me that her roommate wasn't helping with the housework because she refused to put down Who Is to Blame? !    Don't we all love cozy days like this?    ...

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AUTHOR PENS A BOOK; PUBLISHER BRINGS IT TO LIFE

Why does the author get so much credit for a book?   Yes, the author puts the words on paper, but creating a book requires a synergistic team of professional editors, proof readers, designers, and typesetters, plus gurus in distribution, marketing, accounting, and...

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RUSSIAN WORDS, WELL SPOKEN

All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Lev Nikolayevich (Leo) Tolstoy in Anna Karenina Russian novelist Moral & religious teacher Animal rights activist & vegetarian (1828 -...

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RUSSIAN WORDS, WELL SPOKEN

Man is born to live and not to prepare for life.    - - Boris Pasternak, in Doctor Zhivago, 1958 Soviet Russian poet, novelist, literary translator  (1890-1869)    ...

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What’s Better than FREE ?

A copy of Who Is to Blame? will be given to 10 people in the Goodreads Giveaway Program.  No gimmicks.  No obligation.  However you must be signed into Goodreads to access the Giveaway.  Enter the Giveaway between now and October 30. For those unfamiliar with...

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In the Works – Website Video

A soon-to-be released blockbuster!!  Girls and Their Clothes in 19th Century Peasant Russia!                     Total length -  3 min 47 sec. Thank goodness I found Daniel Smith of Oolite Media. He’s so delightfully cheerful and courteous, he didn’t even make fun of...

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Russian Words Well Spoken

“All is in a man's hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that's an axiom. It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most...” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment Russian...

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18 Years – Keep Trying!

People often inquire, “How long did it take to write your book?” Have you ever had an itch (actually, more like a compulsion) to do something, but despite your very best efforts, it just doesn’t work out? That’s how I felt after 18 years of attempting to write...

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Russian Words Well Spoken

“My dreams, my dreams!  What has become of their sweetness?  What indeed has become of my youth?” ― Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin Russian novelist, playwrite, poet stipple engraving image by Thomas Wright...

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One Last Looksee

I'm catching some fresh air while giving Who Is to Blame? the final inspection before it goes to press.  The editing process starts with big-picture changes and over a period of several months, gradually evolves into fine-tuning. Phases of editing include:            ...

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One Cool Neighborhood

One Cool Neighborhood To continue the thread of my 2 previous posts, my photographer and web designer are located only 3 blocks from each other in time-worn red brick buildings in an historic brewery district that dating back a hundred years. At the turn of both the...

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Amelia Anne Photography

Backdrop.  Lighting.  The shutter's rapid-fire click.  SMILE!  For that brief speck of a moment, I felt like a celebrity! Amelia has a great sense of humor and a discerning eye for balance, color, and hiding wrinkles!                           A single mom with 2...

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Website Up & Running

Such a relief to have my website operational!  And what an enriching experience to work with the talented web design folks at Classic Ink.  Their sharp minds are full of expertise and enthusiasm!  My project manager, Mandy Responsive yet patient Professional but fun...

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