A Visit from Roland, ROW80, and A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

Guest post from Roland Yeomans today.

Welcome Roland!


Yes, it is another port of call for "Don't You Hate Book Tours?" Book Tour!

Deniz Bevan graciously let me slip into her blog harbor to rant, ah, talk about my book, THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD.

Lately, she has done a series of photos for her blog entries.

"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen."
--Leonardo da Vinci

In like manner, music is prose that is felt rather than read.

Behold the first Air-Steamship, Xanadu. Its paint, its very fabric, its very metal has been impregnated with bits of aluminum and stardust. When the first rays of the yawning sun hit the vessel, it burns like a miniature nova in the night. And the inhabitants of whatever land over which the Xanadu is sailing know hope. The McCord is coming with his mysterious alien wife to bring justice and wrath to their oppressors.

Strange fires burn within McCord's blood, for it has mingled with the blood of the Angel of Death. He has been ordered by President Grant to shepherd the peace treaty between the Lakota, Cheyenne, Crow, and Apache at Ft. Laramie. The government thinks to ambush the rebellious Texas Ranger. McCord vows that this is one treaty that the White Government will not break. He has asked the Angel of Death to seal it with her strange power. And as Union soldiers kneel to open fire on McCord and his friend, Mark Twain, the Host of the Seraphim begin to sing in the bruised skies as if their vocal cords were bleeding.

McCord's theme. Samuel McCord, haunted, cursed Texas Ranger. Forever seeking the peace that will always elude him even with his marriage to the mysterious alien, Meilori Shinseen -- for to be alone in the presence of one you love is to be truly alone. Across deadly Indian territory no other white man will ride, up desolate mountain peaks and alongside cascading waterfalls, McCord has never found the forgiveness for his dark past. Nor will he ever.

There are nights when the wolves are silent, and only the moon howls. The evening of the first Ball aboard the Xanadu is such a night. Egyptian statues ring the deck as the wheeling dancers spin intoxicated with the stirring waltz, Masquerade, in the air. Slowly, one by one, the eyes of the statues begin to open, warning Empress Shinseen that danger is near. Then, the Nautilus silently rises from the Atlantic to spit death at the Xanadu.

Meilori Shinseen, ageless, eternal -- she ruled Cathy when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, destroying the Republic he was trying to save. She smiled as screaming sacrifices were dragged to her up the blood-stained steps of Aztec pyramids. Will McCord lose his soul following his love for this Alien goddess?

Samuel McCord has ridden a crooked trail, always trying to protect the helpless to futilely make up for not being there when his own family needed him. On that trail, he found his blood mixed with the essence of Gaia, herself. She often speaks to him. Seldom is he happy to hear what she says.

I envision the books I write as movies. Listen to the music I hear in the opening credits as the Xanadu sails over the Atlantic at the start of a voyage that will transform every passage on board.

Don’t miss the adventure of a lifetime. Board the Xanadu. Cost of Passage only $9.99!

Thak you, Roland -- I love musical posts!

The first round of A Round of Words in 80 Days for this year is ending.

Of course, I should be editing. But round about the middle of January, I changed my goal to reading all the books that we already own. There are about 180 books in storage that we own but I haven't read, and thanks to four library book sales since we've been here (not counting online book orders...) we already have close to 100 unread books on our shelves! I intend to read about 60 of those (the rest either don't interest me at the moment or shouldn't even be in the house, for one reason or another (for instance a German economic textbook that I received by accident, when I ordered a Paddington Bear book!)). As of the middle of January, I've read about 50 books and poems and short stories -- I see now that 10 of those were novels from the Unread Books to Read pile. Is that good? Is that enough? That means it would take me about six more months to read all 60 of the Unread Books. Longer, evidently, since new publications or books I've volunteered to review, and so on, always crop up.

But the next library book sale is at the end of April...

We'll see what happens. I'll keep the same goal for the second round of ROW80 (starting on the first Monday in April!) and, also as part of my goals (setting aside editing and keeping up with book reviews), I hope to make it through the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge!

Speaking of which, the time has come... A little early, actually, as the theme reveal blogfest is on the 21st. I'm deliberately not signing up for that as I know I'll never have time to visit all the names on the linky list (I used to, whenever I joined a blogfest!). Instead, I'm slipping mine in a bit early, to keep to my one day a week blogging schedule, and I will try to visit everyone I can!... The time has come for the reveal:

My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is the Inklings!

It's hard to find proper, labelled photos of the Inklings.
Two of the group photos that repeat here feature C. S. Lewis, but neither include Tolkien.
And that bottom centre right photo is certainly not the Inklings!

The Inklings were a shifting group of authors, poets, professors, doctors, students, and their friends that, throughout the 1930s and 1940s (roughly), met on Thursday evenings in C. S. Lewis' rooms, and on Tuesday mornings at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford. I hope to have posts on the main participants (Tolkien, Lewis, Lewis' brother, Hugo Dyson, Dr. Havard and Charles Williams) as well as some of the other occasional participants (I just learned that there's a link through Neville Coghill to Richard Burton (whose former house is just up the road -- photos to come!)), and some of the locations as well, especially the main pubs and hotels...

If you're taking part in A to Z -- or even if you're not -- do you prefer blogging to a theme or two,
or do you prefer to write about whatever comes to mind each day?


The Inklings! Very cool idea.
Roland, that last song would be perfect for the opening of your movie.
sage said…
Wow, what a trip Roland's book is! I am planning on using A-Z (my first) in an attempt to write about places on my bucket list to visit and experience. I have already written several of the posts and I am hoping April won't be as busy as March.

As for The Inklings, I had a philosophy professor back in the late 1970s, who served with Lewis on a post-WW2 Christian commission to address Europe's problems. He had a opportunity to visit several of those pub gatherings with Lewis and Tolkien. He is now deceased, but would have been a great source of information.
Isn't using the Inklings a grand, "Novel" idea? I look forward to it. And thanks for liking my "opening credits" tune. :-)

Thanks for the kinds words. C.S. Lewis was a fascinating man. I would have loved to sat in on one of those Inklings meetings, wouldn't you?
Zan Marie said…
What a creative post, Roland! And, Deniz, you know I love your ROW 80 goal. The A to Z is inspired. Great post all around. ;-)
Thanks for the nice words. Isn't that A to Z unique? Good to see a new friend, Roland
Hi Deniz and Roland ... I knew I'd time for this post - so will need to be back. Loved the take on McCord and Twain's life through the world ... visiting you in Switzerland is so appropriate.

I'm going to love the Inklings A-Z .. I'll see lots of my beloved Oxford, and learn much about the members of that fraternity and other links ...

Excellent - I'll be back to listen to the music and read the review properly ... cheers Hilary
Thanks, Hilary. Isn't the Inklings theme a fun theme to do for A to Z?

In one of the later INNOCENTS books, McCord and Twain will adventure in Switzerland and above the Alps. :-)
S.P. Bowers said…
That's why I can't buy books until I read them. Okay, I do break that rule. But I stick to a very strict book budget that doesn't allow to much build up. I'm so thankful for libraries.
S.P.: Sadly, my book is not in the libraries. But it may soon be on audio. I think you would have enjoyed my little book. :-)
Ann Best said…
So nice to see you again, Deniz. And this through Roland. Glad you're hosting him. I left a comment on his blog (your blog, Roland) just now...

As for the A to Z, the Inklings does indeed sound like an awesome topic. I'm bookmarking your blog, Deniz, so I'll be able to check in with you through April. (I now have a wordpress blog; clicking on my photo here will take you there. Blogger won't let me comment with WordPress for many of the old blogspot blogs so I have a token one set up)...

Both of you have a wonderful week!

Ann at anncarbinebest.com
Li said…
REALLY looking forward to your theme. In fact, I'm fighting the urge to google the Inklings for myself! (But I won't.) :)
You are so nice to follow me here. Isn't the Inklings theme a fun idea? WordPress is such a pain, but then so is Blogger. Yet, I started with Blogger. I was taught to stay with the girl you bring to the dance! :-)

It is an intriguing idea, isn't it?
Beth Camp said…
Fascinating topic for the AtoZ Challenge. I'm looking forward to reading more! (won't google the Inklings either). And the music is breathtaking, something I've rarely taken the time to do (mostly I write too early in the morning to be playing music). You're making amazing progress with the reading. Our library is having a sale March 30 . . . alas, my TBR file is nearly as big as yours! Have a very good week -- and end of the round.
Michael Di Gesu said…
Hi, Deniz, Hi, Roland,

Some beautiful music, Roland... but I am not surprised. Such an amusing and creative way to do your tour! Well done, my friend.

Deniz, I LOVE your theme! What a cool period of time. I will definitely be looking forward to your posts. I plan to just visit and not post this year. Life is just too busy and the moment.
Roland has been so creative on this tour! Well done!

The Inklings? I've never heard of this group before.
My immediate reaction is to google it. But why should I, when I can just pop by during April and learn from you!

My theme is showcasing bloggers books and book reviews. There will be loads of giveaways too!
See you around on the A to Z circuit.
Anonymous said…
I did AtoZ last year, and failed because my theme idea exploded beyond what I had planned. A good thing--short posts, flash fiction practice, fun writing--but I never finished. This year I have a theme--Alphabet Haiku--and will do some pre-writing. Seemed like a copout when I read that last year, but this year, I see the benefit. Finishing all of last year's AtoZ posts is a part of my upcoming ROW80 Round 2 goals, so here's to being positive....
Erin Z. said…
Wonderful post!

That's a lot of books read! I should do something like that, b/c I tend to get distracted by new books coming out that I don't get to the old ones very often.

Looking forward to your A to Z posts!

Laura Hernandez
@VoluptuousBDiva from
The Voluptuous Book Diva
YA Book Divas

Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks so much everyone! And thanks for being around the blog, Roland, it was lovely to have you here!

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