The Year of Loving On Sale for a Limited Time
For a limited time, The Year of Loving is On Sale for $.99!
Buy it here on Amazon.
The Year of Loving On Sale for a Limited Time
For a limited time, The Year of Loving is On Sale for $.99!
Buy it here on Amazon.
My Fiction Nook: Traci L. Slatton – The Love of my (other) Life – B…: Today, we welcome Traci L. Slatton and her novel The Love Of My (Other) Life . From the blurb: The latest offering from critically…
DAY 2 of the Blog Tour!
A little Q&A:
Q: What’s the deal with Brian at Yale and Brian in NYC?
A: We get to see Brian Tennyson in a few chapters set in his universe. Chapters 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 15 & 27 take place in a world where the same choices have been faced, but different decisions were made…. The rest of the novel shows Brian here in our world.
Q: What’s Tessa’s first impression of Brian?
A: That he’s a scruffy homeless man, but not bad looking, with a smile on his face. And that she should be more creeped out by him than she is…. Q: How long does Brian have to see Tessa and convince her that they’re married in his universe?
A: 5 days, 4 hours, and 22 minutes. Not a second more. There’s slime involved.
Q: What’s special about Brian?
A: Absotively, posilutely a lot! He’s a big-hearted physics genius who builds a device for traveling into parallel worlds. But he’s terrible at cooking, singing, and performing magic. He’s also a hugger. And a devoted husband.
Interview of Traci Slatton & Sabin Howard on Bookpleasures.com
Great interview, great questions!!
Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures, which he created in 2002.’ Practicing law for over 35 years enabled Norm to transfer and apply to book reviewing his many skills that he had perfected during his career in the legal profession and as a result he became a prolific free lance book reviewer & author interviewer.
What motivated you to write The Art of Life and what was your creative process like? What happened before you sat down to write the book? What do you hope to accomplish with the book?
Sabin is always talking about art, and what contemporary art lacks: rigor, grounding in the great historical tradition, and beauty. A lot of art right now is just silly–especially sculpture, which tends to be tschotchkis, ridiculous balloon animals, or oversized toys. Sabin brims with passion to change the art world and to bring back the rigor of craft and the good feelings and uplift that great art inspires. The process of writing the book revolved around us sitting down at the dining room table and me listening to Sabin. (And boy, can he go on about art!) Then I would do research, reading books that we discussed and making trips to museums with Sabin. Finally, I would write. Sabin would add and revise. I would rewrite.
It’s not so easy to write a book with one’s husband; names might have been called, objects might have been thrown!
What we hope to accomplish is to spread the word in the art world: “The emperor has no clothes.” Then we want to suggest the alternative to people: beautiful art made with passion, integrity, and superb technique.
Currently the norm in the art world is the decimation of the difference between “art world” and “real world,” there is no difference. I was brought up to believe that art is sacred; once you look past the picture frame, you look into an elevated world. Or if you look at a sculpture on a pedestal, it’s lifted up off the ground. So art is not “real” but more about what can be. I wanted to write this book because education is so important in how you look at art. Art works on many levels, but principally, art’s main function is VISUAL. So the book is a way to educate people about the importance of our rich historical past and how that’s not something to be thrown out.
This rich historical past talks about us as human beings. Figurative art should always be present in the art world because it represents us on a cultural level, as well. Since the art represents us as humans, it should represent our best parts, not our isolation and devolution, as modern art does. Modern art is a desensitization of our humanity and a discontinuation of our rich past.
I realized when I spoke to all my clients that the more they learned about the depth of the art, the more they become intrigued and passionate about sculpture. After twenty years of teaching, I realized my ideas could reach a broader audience with a book.
Sabin, you have had quite an eventful career, what influenced your evolution as a sculptor?
I didn’t start off my life knowing that I would be an artist. It came to me on October 19th, 1982 in a grungy wood shop in South Philly, where I was working after having dropped out of college. I decided that afternoon that my life was going nowhere and I had to do something radically different. I decided at that moment: I would become an artist.
This did not come out of a vacuum but was the direct result of having grown up in Italy and having experienced Michelangelo and all the great cathedrals of Europe as a child. I knew that great art was something sacred. I knew that it took great skill and learning to create an art that changed people inside. When you are 19, the sky is the limit. Anything is possible. With an urgency to set out on that path, I enrolled in the following fall in the nearby art school, Philadelphia College of Art, and this is where I met my teachers and mentors Martha and Walter Erlebacher. I had zero interest in the current art world and showed no respect for other teachers who told me that the Renaissance was something from the past. I knew that the feeling one got when viewing this type of art was timeless. I obsessively looked at Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael. Everywhere I went I carried a book under my arm. It was a template for me to follow. I knew instinctively that I had to learn specific information from the Erlebachers so that I would have the tools to make “real art.” Art was part of another world that you looked into. It was divided from this world by a picture frame, or elevated about the ground on a pedestal. Great skill was involved and not everyone was capable of doing it.
I spent 15 years learning my craft. I learned the nuts and bolts of creating an art form that would be seen as “awesome” and carry with it a startling presence. I became fascinated with the variety of body types and poses available to me as a sculptor. I learned that each human being carries a unique soul and life experience within their body and this energy manifests itself externally in the morphology and demeanor of the each individual. This uniqueness can be found in each individual part and how all those parts fit together to make the whole. Once I had gained mastery in the ability to design and compose exactly what I saw in life, I took the next step in choosing what story I wanted the body to tell. The variety of energies that I could choose to depict in each sculpture became the next step in my artistic process.
There is an internal pressure within the body that always pushes outward in a convex fashion. This internal pressure shows the unique spirit or soul of each individual; no two people are exactly alike. Using anatomy to translate this life force energy into sculptural terms, I learned to recreate this pressure within my bronzes, giving them the fullness of energy and presence of a unique human being.
Because my work is about showing man at his full potential, I began recruiting several models to create each piece. This part of my process allowed me to pick and choose the body parts to sculpt a unique morphology that best narrates the story and character that I am presenting. In this process of creation, I use my understanding of anatomy and I structure of the human body to organize the figure. The spiraling of muscles over the architectural foundation of the skeleton has become my grammar in telling a story that speaks to the human condition. As I evolved as a human being, my art evolved in a parallel fashion. The work I did in the 90’s with the seated figures and fragmented torsos exemplified my own struggles and stress, and this is why I gravitated towards that subject matter. Thus my art is, on one level, a visual record of my internal growth. The sculptures are an energetic evolution of my own experience and history. In the last 15 years, the energy of my sculptures has metamorphasized from figures that are closed and pressed down by gravity, to figures that carry an expansive energy with an open heart. The poses have become more elegant and graceful, taking on god-like proportions. The transitions between limbs flow with greater harmony. And the hierarchy of parts fit together with an ease suggesting a greater sense of wholeness. My vision as an artist has evolved from one of oppression and struggle to a realization that the universe is full of grace available to all those willing to open their eyes in the creation of the life of their own choosing.
Traci, who has written about your books and Sabin’s sculptures and how do you view their perspectives, opinions, and comments?
My books are all over the internet, specifically with book review bloggers (who are very influential!), and fortunately have received some wonderful reviews. Of course, there are always less stellar reviews. My attitude toward those can be expressed in one word: “Next.” But I also try to learn from critical reviews, so that the next book is better. There’s always room for growth!
Sabin’s sculptures have been written about by several art critics, notably James Cooper and Peter Trippi. Jim is a great admirer of Sabin’s work and sees the potential for art to uplift and transform people. He has been a wonderful supporter of Sabin’s rather lonely efforts.
But it’s not just art critics who admire Sabin’s work. Once Sabin was moving the Aphrodite out of his studio into a moving van, and she was on the street for a while. People from all walks of life walked up or drove up in cars to gawk. They were teachers, firemen, trash collectors, shop keepers, lawyers, mothers pushing carriages–Sabin had a wonderful hour of fielding questions from people whose only commonality was that they were struck by his sculpture’s beauty. He came home and told me about this, and all I could think was, “This is what great art should do: magnetically draw people in, all people, from the PhD to the high school drop-out!” We intuitively feel and recognize mastery.
The critics who have written about me are very positive about what I am doing. It reinforces the importance of doing something vital in the art world.
BookGorilla brings free or deeply discounted books to readers via an online subscription service.
As an independent author and the publisher of a small press, I am always, eternally, and forever looking for ways to market and promote my books. It’s an essential part of the job. I do marketing and promotion tasks weekly. Should do them daily.
I can write and publish the most awesomely delicious books, but if readers don’t know about those books, they won’t buy them.
Over the years, I’ve tried various methods for making people aware of my books. I’ve paid to have book trailers made. Those help; everyone likes to watch a short, well-made video that teases and intrigues.
I regularly submit my books to book review blogs, because those sites can spread the word about a book all across the worldwide web. In fact, I constantly troll the internet for book review sites that would be a good fit for my books.
I blog regularly, and you, dear reader, are tasting the fruit of that effort at this very moment. I write pieces for the Huffington Post. I create podcasts for an iTunes podcast channel. I’ve recently started a BlogTalkRadio show, “Independent Artists & Thinkers.”
The way it works is that readers subscribe to BookGorilla. When they sign up, they choose their personal reading preferences from a detailed list of genres and sub-genres. Then, every day, subscribers receive an email tailored specifically to their individual preferences. This email lists top quality ebooks that are, for a limited time, offered either free or at a juicy discount.
Kindle Nation Daily is more like a news service for all things kindle, and it dovetails with BookGorilla to offer bargains to readers.
The KND feature looked gorgeous:
Beautiful, yes? Beneath the 5 Star Praise box was the excerpt, so readers could get a taste of the novel–so they would be tempted to buy it.
The same day, Broken was included in the BookGorilla email blast:
Nice, right? But much more than nice. It’s effective. Immediately, book sales increased. Amazon ratings started rising. After a while, I took screenshots to capture those lovely high rankings:
It was extremely satisfying to watch the ratings rise! I didn’t capture the ascent at its peak, because I was busy through the day.
To be clear, the ratings rose because the book was selling and selling!
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
Because I am married to a classical figurative sculptor, Michelangelo occupies a luminous position in our home. His wisdom matters to us.
In this case, I’m quoting him because, well, he’s a Big Deal around here. I don’t know if this bit of thoughtful humility on his part really applies to the situation at hand. I am thinking rather simply about hard work. Specifically, editing sound files as I turn my novels into audiobooks.
Sound editing is some of the most laborious, tedious, difficult, grueling, and time-intensive work I’ve ever done. It ain’t fun. And it requires perfectionistic focus. It’s a good thing I’m detail-oriented, because I hone in on every single click, hiss, hum, rattle, or pop in the narrative that I read with such feeling, and recorded so carefully.
Two different programs, Audacity and Wavepad, serve to manipulate the audio files, to filter out noise and to optimize the quality. First I use Audacity for recording. It’s a great free program, and it works beautifully for basic noise removal, equalization, and compression.
But…I record in my office, not in a foam-insulated studio, so there’s some reverb. I nailed a big fluffy quilt up behind my desk to absorb some of the echo. But there’s still a little awkward sounding whoosh in the background. Enter Wavepad, which has a marvelous high pass filter that, yes, filters out the reverb. God bless Wavepad.
I suppose I am learning a new skill, and that’s an asset. I’m always grateful for assets that I acquire through hard work.
Nor ought I complain. I know people who work much harder all the time. I’m thinking specifically about my beautiful stepdaughter, who is such a lovely young woman, sweet and loyal and thoughtful and grateful, a pleasure to be with. She’s studying diligently for the MCAT’s while working at a high pressure medical research job.
So I’ll keep chipping away at the giant, obdurate block of stone that is my raw recording files, hoping to reveal the art within.
Last night at a pre-Sundance party in NYC I had the great good fortune of meeting the talented and impressive Anthony Whyte, whose work is being made into a movie.
He was there with his business partner Jason Claiborne, who runs Augustus publishing, “Where Hip Hop literature begins,” and fellow author Erick S. Gray.
They were an intriguing trio. Whyte has a background in the armed forces, as did my dad, so we had that to discuss, as well as books and movies.
This morning I did some googling around and learned that Whyte had trouble getting his first novel published. He then self-published, and people were so hungry for his message and his platform that he sold several thousand books quickly. Of course then a publisher jumped on the bandwagon, bought the rights, and republished… to sell over a hundred thousand copies. Pretty good! Whyte mentioned none of this to me; he was classy and unassuming, and left it to me to discover his story.
We talked about Zora Neale Hurston, author of the classic THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD. I remembered reading how Hurston had ended her life working in a library, and as a maid. It’s distressing that she died in obscurity, enduring financial struggles, when she’d written one of the masterworks of American literature. It left me thinking again about some questions that my oldest daughter had posed to me, over a year ago, when we discussed an African American Literature class she had taken: How did we in the U.S. create an underclass that left an entire group of people disenfranchised, struggling to find and authenticate their voice?
Is it enough that we have elected Obama as president? Is it enough that brilliant minds like Whyte, Claiborne and Gray are not accepting the status quo regarding their work, but are going out and creating new opportunities?
What does it take to create a truly equal society based on the hard work and merit of the individual, without regard to race, gender, sexual preference, and religion?
I hope none of these questions are offensive. I don’t know if they are politically correct or incorrect. They are the musings of a basically white woman of mixed genetic heritage who can not document her Native American ancestry because records were lost during the Trail of Tears. I’m just a mom with smart, irreverent kids, who ask good questions and expect me to engage them honestly.
And what else about the party? It was too much fun for the responsible parent I am, and included me introducing myself to a famous TV/movie actor who now believes I am sketchy. Because I did make a sketchy introduction, and he was far more gracious to me than I deserved. But I had to sally up to him with my big, tipsy grin–if only to be able to text my kids that I’d met him.