Book Promo The Sacred Artifact

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About the Book

Title: The Sacred Artifact

Author: Caldric Blackwell

Genre: Middle Grade

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

 

Author Bio

Children’s book author Caldric Blackwell first realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten. From that point on, he was nearly inseparable from books.

His interest in reading culminated in him studying English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Exposure to a host of great authors inspired him to begin writing fiction and started his journey to becoming a children’s book author. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he was drawn to the whimsical, imaginative nature of children’s literature and began working on his first book for children.

Blackwell’s debut work is an adventure-filled early chapter book, titled “The Enchanted River Race,” which follows a team of children as they compete in a river race. His next release is the beautifully illustrated picture book “The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf,” which revolves around a young werewolf who is self-conscious about his inability to howl.

His most recent work is the two-part Young Alchemist series, which is targeted at a middle grade audience. The first book in the series, “The Missing Alchemist,” follows alchemy student Craig Pike and clever archer Audrey Clife as they travel across mysterious lands and battle other-worldly creatures in a quest to rescue a famous alchemist. The second book in the series, “The Sacred Artifact,” centers on Craig’s attempt to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, which entails journeying to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a mysterious, ancient alchemist.

Outside of reading and writing, children’s book author Caldric Blackwell enjoys jiu jitsu, gardening, and playing bass and guitar. He currently resides in Southern California.

 

 

 

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How van Gogh’s Sister-in-Law Was Instrumental in His Posthumous Fame

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How van Gogh’s Sister-in-Law Was Instrumental in His Posthumous Fame

By Giuseppe Cafiero

 

Jo van Gogh-Bonger
*Amsterdam
*April 1889

Today, van Gogh’s art is celebrated throughout the world for its originality and billiance, being displayed in the most prestigious galleries and routinely selling for millions of dollars when it comes to market.

 

Yet during his lifetime, Vincent only sold one painting: The Red Vineyard, for 400 francs (approximately $2,000 in today’s money). His global fame came posthumously, and it is all thanks to the tireless effort of one person – his sister-in-law, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger.

 

Jo, as she liked to be called, was the wife of Vincent’s younger brother, the art dealer Theo van Gogh. She was close to Vincent and even named her son, the artist’s nephew, after him. But in a cruel twist of fate she lost both her brother-in-law and husband within the space of just a few months. When Vincent died in July 1890 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, his hundreds of paintings and drawings came to Theo, who had been his patron and foremost advocate. When he died early the following year of a brain disease, this artwork – along with thousands of letters between the brothers – came to Jo. Although a widow at just 28, now responsible for bringing up a young son alone, she vowed to find Vincent the wider artistic recognition that he’d not been able to secure during his lifetime.

 

Dismissing the advice from those around her to sell the artwork and offload her burden, she instead set to work on co-ordinating an exhibition Between 1892 and 1900 Jo oversaw close to 20 meticulously-planned exhibitions in Holland, where less well-known pieces were displayed alongside those paintings already acknowledged in artistic circles as masterpieces. Thanks to this strategy, the public and art critics alike started to become familiar with van Gogh, while rave reviews in newspapers helped spread the word across the country.

 

Once this was accomplished, Jo widened the net to Western Europe, connecting with influential art dealers to have Vincent’s work displayed in public and private collections, offering a generous commission on artwork sold as an added incentive. In 1905 she financed and secured a major retrospective at the internationally-prominent Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. It brought van Gogh to the attention of art-lovers around the world, and ensured his fame.

 

Jo, however, was not finished. She compiled a collection of van Gogh’s letters to Theo, which were published in three volumes in 1914. Her efforts were rewarded, as the correspondence helped cement Vincent as the archetypal troubled genius suffering for his intense, visionary art.

 

Jo died in 1925 but had already done enough to ensure the momentum would continue without her and that her brother-in-law would receive his lasting place among the greats of contemporary art.

 

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity by Giuseppe Cafiero is out now as an audiobook on Amazon, Audible.com and iTunes

 

About the Book

Title: Vincent Van Gogh: The Ambiguity of Insanity

Author: Giuseppe Cafiero

An abrasive itinerary of the presence of women, the landscape and obsession. Such are the internal paradigms that went through the compelling life of the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.

Not flesh and blood women, but the woman as a guide: Mrs. Jones, the woman as a mother; Kee Vos; Christine Hoornik of Siena; Margot Begemann. The Portrait-women such as Augustine Roulin and Madame Ginoux. And then the backgrounds, endless, unforgettable in this genius’s works: Isleworth, Amsterdam, le Borinage, Arles, St. Remy, Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent his life trying to capture the colors, the atmosphere, the light.

The pain of finitude and his obsession with achieving redemption through art, with intimate and stormy religiosity, with brotherly love, with the French noon sun and, in short, with death. A hard-working and unwavering life where art interacted, in a painful gesture, with the iron will of a hand that never lost its way.

The life of a beloved and devoted man, silenced by the anguish and despair of creation, who could only find peacefulness when he found his own death.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity is a fictionalized biography and gripping novel of the life of the Nineteenth-Century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The author, Giuseppe Cafiero, draws a psychological portrait of the Post-Impressionist painter through the women that marked his life and the cities in which he lived.

 

Author Interview Decanted Truths

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1) How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing professionally for (gasp) 40 years. Most of that was ghost-writing (nonfiction) for think tanks. But I started jotting down silly little stories not long after I learned to read. They were pretty bad, with lots of clichés. Looking back, I find it interesting, however, that even my childhood scribbling was character-driven and had a sense of duality (as in, the heroine was not necessarily what she seemed at first glance).

2) Is this book part of a series?

No, this book is not part of a series.

3) What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

Of the four novels I’ve written, this was the most challenging, because it took a long time to find its focus. I started it 20 years ago, with the idea of crafting a fictionalized account of my slum-born grandfather’s ability to pull himself up by his bootstraps. But it just wasn’t coming together, partly because I didn’t feel that much of a connection to him (he died when I was 4). Then the focus shifted to my grandmother, but it still wasn’t right. Things started to come together when (A) I split the venue between Boston (where I never felt comfortable) and Manomet (a place of many happy childhood memories); (B) when the wholly fictional character Leah just popped into my head; and (C) when I decided to use the Waterford decanter as the link connecting the three disparate immigrant families that would have such an impact on each other’s lives.

4) Which aspect of writing do you enjoy the most?

For me, the happiest aspect of writing is when a character takes off. Often that doesn’t happen until halfway through the book. But once the character has been fleshed out to some degree, she starts writing herself and my job is to keep pace. The writing just flows then. When I get off the right path, the characters let me know. First of all, the flow comes to an abrupt halt. Then, the characters disrupt my sleep in the wee hours, let me know they’re unhappy and show me where they should be going.

5) Are you working on another book at the moment?

I’m working on two new novels, at the same time. One focuses on French Canadian immigrants to New England in the 19th century, folks who shunned the typical path of working in Francophone mill towns. The other features a Virginia spinster who works as a school crossing guard and lives a lonely, dreary life, while she tries to manage distressing mental problems – or maybe she really does have psychokinetic abilities and a link to the goddess Hecate.

 

About the Book

Title: Decanted Truths

Author: Melanie Forde

Genre: Literary / Women’s Fiction / Family Saga

For Irish immigrant families like the Harrigans and Gavagans, struggle has been the name of the game since they arrived in Boston in the nineteenth century. For twice-orphaned Leah Gavagan, who comes of age in the Depression, the struggle is compounded by bizarre visions that disrupt her daily life — and sometimes come true. She has difficulty fitting in with her surroundings: whether the lace-curtain Dorchester apartment overseen by her judgmental Aunt Margaret or the wild Manomet bluff shared with her no-nonsense Aunt Theo and brain-damaged Uncle Liam. A death in the family disrupts the tepid life path chosen for Leah and sets her on a journey of discovery. That journey goes back to the misadventures shaping the earlier generation, eager to prove its hard-won American credentials in the Alaskan gold rush, the Spanish-American War, and The Great War. She learns of the secrets that have bound Theo and Margaret together. Ultimately, Leah learns she is not who she thought she was. Her new truth both blinds and dazzles her, much like the Waterford decanter at the center of her oldest dreams — an artifact linking three Irish-American families stumbling after the American Dream.

 

 

Author Bio

Raised in a Boston Irish family, Melanie Forde knew her life was infinitely easier than that of her ancestors, refugees from the Potato Famine. The storytelling skills of her elders kept ancestral triumphs and tragedies alive, so that the Potato Famine and the Easter Rebellion felt as real as the Cold War. Inheriting the storyteller gene, Ms. Forde is the author of three earlier novels, her Hillwilla trilogy. She now lives far from her roots, on a West Virginia farm. She still maintains a potato patch—just in case.

 

 

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