500 New Fairy Tales Found!

marioplushturnip

Once upon a time, the historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth collected fairytales in Bavaria, which were locked away in an archive until 2012.

On Sept 18, the English/German book version: Original Bavarian Folktales: A Schonwerth Selection: Original bayerische Volksmarchen – Ausgewahlte Schonwerth-Geschichten (Dover Dual Language German) will be available but you can preorder it now.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048649991X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486499918

At 304 pages it’s difficult to imagine all 500 tales are there, so it may simply be the fairy tales that are brand new and ones that are wildly different versions of tales with which we are already familiar.

However, a definite New Read Must Have. Wondering what these tales are like? Here is one of the newly discovered stories – The Turnip Princess

A young prince lost his way in the forest and came to a cave. He passed the night there, and when he awoke there stood next to him an old woman with a bear and a dog.

The old witch seemed very beautiful and wished that the prince would stay with her and marry her. He could not endure her, yet could not leave that place.

One day, the bear was alone with him and spoke to the prince: “Pull the rusty nail from the wall, so that I shall be delivered, and place it beneath a turnip in the field, and in this way you shall have a beautiful wife.”

The prince seized the nail so strongly that the cave shook and the nail cracked loudly like a clap of thunder. Behind him a bear stood up from the ground like a man, bearded and with a crown on his head.

“Now I shall find a beautiful maiden,” cried the prince and went forth nimbly.

He came to a field of turnips and was about to place the nail beneath one of them when there appeared above him a monster, so that he dropped the nail, pricked his finger on a hedge and bled until he fell down senseless.

When he awoke he saw that he was elsewhere and that he had long slumbered, for his smooth chin was now frizzy with a blond beard. He arose and set off across field and forest and searched through every turnip field but nowhere found what he was looking for.

Day passed and night, too, and one evening, he sat down on a ridge beneath a bush, a flowering blackthorn with red blossoms on one branch. He broke off the branch, and because there was before him, amongst the other things on the ground, a large, white turnip, he stuck the blackthorn branch into the turnip and fell asleep.

When he awoke on the morrow, the turnip beside him looked like a large, open shell in which lay the nail, and the wall of the turnip resembled a nut-shell, whose kernel seemed to shape his picture. He saw there the little foot, the thin hand, the whole body, even the fine hair so delicately imprinted, just as the most beautiful girl would have.

The prince stood up and began his search, and came at last to the old cave in the forest, but no one was there. He took out the nail and struck it into the wall of the cave, and at once the old woman and the bear were also there.

“Tell me, for you know for certain,” snarled the prince fiercely at the old woman, “where have you put the beautiful girl from the parlour?”

The old woman giggled to hear this: “You have me, so why do you scorn me?”

The bear nodded, too, and looked for the nail in the wall.

“You are honest, to be sure,” said the prince, “but I shall not be the old woman’s fool again.”

“Just pull out the nail,” growled the bear.

The prince reached for it and pulled it half out, looked about him and saw the bear as already half man, and the odious old woman almost as a beautiful and kind girl. Thereupon he drew out the nail entirely and flew into her arms for she had been delivered from the spell laid upon her and the nail burnt up like fire. And the young bridal pair travelled with [her] father, the king, to his kingdom.

The End.

Yes, a bit weird, but wonderful. The prince is neither clever nor heroic. The old witch (princess) and the bear [the King, her father] are the brains. What the moral is, is up for grabs. Probably that young men rarely see what’s right in front of them!

We’ll always have Paris

 

Awesome-Ice-Cream-25p813a

Normally we delete spam, but when a NY Escort Service sends you spam  well . . . .

 

I think that everything posted made a ton of sense. But, what about this? what if you typed a catchier post title? I am not suggesting your content isn’t solid, but what if you added something that makes people desire more?

I mean “And The New York Times fires back with a Greatest Non-Fic List of its own, which is quite revealing | Far & Beyond: A Saga of Publishing” is kinda vanilla.

You might peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create post headlines to grab people to click. You might add a related video or a related pic or two to grab readers excited about what you’ve written. In my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.

 

 

Truthfully, we have rarely encountered such cultured (even literate) spam. But we’ll have to leave it to the ladies of Westchester (we’ve seen the website) to  “grab” and “excite” people.

 

Making lives “livelier”  and less “vanilla”  through spam and personal services is probably far more financially rewarding than publishing. However, to us, there’s nothing more fascinating, desirable, or alluring than the rich dark print of a word laid bare upon a soft sheet of creamy paper.

 

Paris-Typeface-Reg-big(5)

Now admit it, aren’t you imagining yourself on a late summer afternoon, arm in arm with your love, having a cooling vanilla cone, as you stroll down the boulevard toward the glinting Eiffel Tower?

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on August 5, 2013 at 6:19 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Zero Hour @ Amazon + Truthiness @ Randstad = Angry Workers

zero-hour

For those of you that didn’t read the Daily Mail’s article on Amazon warehouse “employees,” you really missed a treat.

We won’t spoil it for you, but here’s a teaser: Employee bathroom breaks are timed. And of course Amazon knows an employee is in the bathroom because all employees are geo-tagged!

And if that’s not enough to convince you to read the story . . .

Amazon bosses tried to save money by instructing the Randstad agency (who provided the workers) to deceive their staff by not offering them holiday pay.

Andrew Kingsley, a former Randstad representative, said  “The [Randstad] agency reps were instructed not to tell them” [the Randstad people working as Amazon employees) that they were entitled to holiday pay.

And Randstad was ok with that. Really, just lovely.

America’s not only exporting  its 19th century business mentalities, it’s exporting the concept of Truthiness too.

59th Annual Emmy Awards - Arrivals

So, what will happen in US cities as Amazon brings “employment” to various sites — including 5000 jobs across the country in warehouses with at least 100+ of those at Amazon’s San Bernardino, California warehouse? Anyone’s guess.

But for a preview of all the possibilities, including zero hour contract workers and much, much more, read up! If you prefer your news in a more contemporary format, the BBC’s Channel 4 video report tells all — and includes interviews with some of the workers.

Enjoy!

(And yes, we do love the reporter’s mutton sleeve jacket — an homage to the 100th anniversary of the UK Sufferagette movement!)

Cuckoo Redux

Worst Kept Secret Ever!

Worst Kept Secret Ever!


Hard to believe, but the JK Rowling aka Robert Galbraith story has finally come to a conclusion, sort of.

One Weds, JK Rowling took her law firm, Russells, to court and won a judgement against them. Russells has agreed to make a large donation to The Soldiers’ Charity, at Rowling’s request, and has apologised publicly for the indiscretion.

Nowhere does it mention JK Rowling leaving Russells or the offending lawyer Christoper Gossage, being disbarred or even censured. However, the lawyer appearing for JK Rowling — Jenny Afia, is from Schillings law firm. So that does seem to indicate a shift in business.

Rowling, who was not in court for the hearing, said in a statement: “This donation is being made to The Soldiers’ Charity partly as a thank you to the army people who helped me with research, but also because writing a hero who is a veteran has given me even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly how much this charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed.

“I always intended to give The Soldiers’ Charity a donation out of Robert’s royalties, but I had not anticipated him making the bestseller list a mere three months after publication (indeed, I had not counted on him ever being there!).”

Of course, within that statement is the implication she spoke with “army people” as part of her research for the book. This rather implies that she went to Army soldiers and officers and said “Hey I’m doing research and would you mind . . . .” That statement implies at least a few Army personnel knew she doing research for a new book and any one of them could have mentioned it.

Too, it flies in the face of previous statements that Rowling made saying only told a “handful” of her most trusted advisers knew that she wrote a crime novel. Yes, maybe only a handful knew she was Robert Galbraith. But if she was talking to Army personnel doing research, people beyond the “handful” had to know she was writing a new book which featured some sort of Army connection.

Rowling’s lawyer told the court that Rowling was “angry and distressed that her confidences had been betrayed and this was very much aggravated by repeated speculation that the leak had, in fact, been a carefully coordinated publicity stunt by her, her agent and her publishers, designed to increase sales.”

Aggravating maybe, but completely understandable. Especially when one takes into consideration the fact that other publishing houses had rejected the novel as “good, but not good enough to a launch new author” and she ended up back at her old publisher instead of taking the book apart and trying to make it worthy of new author publication before submitting it again.

Solicitors for Gossage and Callegari said they had offered their sincere apologies to Rowling and legally undertaken “not to make any further public statements about this incident or the claimant.” Putting a lid on the matter once and for all.

Rowling will donate the equivalent of three years’ worth of royalties from The Cuckoo’s Calling to The Soldiers’ Charity. “It’s a not insignificant amount. We’re over the moon,” said a spokesman for the charity. So, all’s well that ends well. And hopefully, Rowling has learned to avoid pen names from now on. But don’t count on it!

Published in: on August 1, 2013 at 10:26 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Austen gets her due — and Darwin gets done in

_68928386_461janeaustenconceptimage

Yes, it’s true. The fortunes of The Pride and Prejudice author will finally turn, so to speak. Jane is to become the next face of the 5 Pound note, probably in 2017. She’ll be replacing Charles Darwin. Romance takes down Science!

As many of you avid readers (and all of you avid writers) know, Jane Austen’s fame did not translate into incredible wealth. That this cheeky miss will now finally have her portrait on all her fellow countrymen’s (and women’s) cash seems a just recompense.

The Bank of England feels Jane fills a void — left by the removal of the only other woman, besides the Queen, on a note. However, with 5 different denominational notes circulating, this means women will continue to occupy only 20% of all notes. Definitely they need one more woman. And how about an historically important member of the non-white immigrant (Ignacio Sancho, Nathaniel Wells) or the GLBT community for a note (Alan Turing, Oscar Wilde)?

While England has much to be proud of, there still seems to be a wee bit of prejudice floating about.

Wigging out as the alibis abound

judges-wig-white-143-620x400

It’s always nice when a plot thickens and with Cuckoo’s Calling there seems no end. The latest report on how JK Rowling was outted boils down to this:

Paul Calegari is senior partner at K&L Gates. This team attracts the respect of the business community for its advice on a range of matters including boardroom disputes and strategic issues. Paul counts AOL and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among his clients.

Paul has a wife Judith Callegari. Judith is friends with Mrs Gossage. Mrs Gossage is married to Mr Chris Gossage.

Chris Gossage is a lawyer at Russells Solicitors, the firm that represents JK Rowling. Russells stands out for its extremely strong music practice and garners high praise for its skill in negotiating lucrative deals. Chris has built a profile in the market as a “a good executor” on the transactional side.

Chris told his wife’s best friend, Judith, in a “private conversation” that JK Rowling was the author because Judith was someone he “trusted implicitly.”

What’s great about this story is how waffly it its. Chris is telling Judith, not his wife. Chris’s wife didn’t know. She didn’t happen to tell her BFF, who then spilt the beans. So Chris and Judith are . . . close?

Then there’s Russells statement:

We, Russells Solicitors, apologise unreservedly for the disclosure caused by one of our partners, Chris Gossage, in revealing to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari, during a private conversation that the true identity of Robert Galbraith was in fact JK Rowling. Whilst accepting his own culpability, the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly.

While Russells apologizes “unreservedly,” they then go on to make the excuse that Chris violated attorney-client privilege because he trusted Judith implicitly. That doesn’t make it less a breach of ethics. In fact, it just makes it worse. Too, all this waffle makes it sound like they’re just trying to avoid saying Chris was having an affair with Judith.

What we don’t hear is that Chris Gossage is being struck off the rolls (that’s English for disbarred). In fact, we don’t even hear the word “fired.”  Interesting.

JK Rowling has said

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.

But she has not indicated she’ll be removing her business from Russells or suing them for damages. Interesting. (Although, good luck proving she was “damaged” by this revelation.)

Judith Callegari has pulled down her Facebook page. Probably wise, though it’s hard to imagine anyone would want to attack her for outting JK Rowling. She apparently didn’t do it for money. But in a way, that make this just her outting Rowling that much more interesting.

As a lawyer’s wife, and “friend” of a lawyer, she must have known what she was doing was unethical. She must have known it would hurt her family, her friend, her . . . whatever Chris is to her, not to mention all the law firms involved. And yet when she tweeted this news, it was @JudeCallegari. In other words, she made it very easy to be “discovered” by the legal teams (particularly Chris) which she knew would be hunting for the “leak.”

Is Judith an attention seeker? A JK Rowling fan? Was she trying to hurt or ruin Chris? Trying to end her marriage (and possibly Chris’s)? Or maybe she was just doing as she was asked?

It’s difficult to believe it’s all “as stated.” Yes, people can do stupid things. But not  typically when the people are senior partners (or their wives) at law firms with a lot to lose. And not typically when it involves the best entertainment firm in the UK representing the highest grossing author of all time. So, did Russells arrange this leak? Lawyers really don’t mind getting their hand dirty for a good client. If the leak is tracked back to JK Rowling’s own law firm, that’s far better than a track back to the author, her agent, or her publisher.

Russells goes out of it’s way to state it was all accidental on their part.

On becoming aware of the circumstances, we immediately notified JK Rowling’s agent. We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither JK Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved.

It sounds like a love triangle gone terribly wrong that inadvertently exposed JK Rowling. But who can really say. The public is left with a mystery — even as the sales figures for Russells’ client’s book continue to climb. Readers will still have to decide for themselves whodunit, why, and whether The Cuckoo is worth the calling.

Published in: on July 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Cuckoo’s the right word.

cuckoo_460x276

We read a lot of UK news around here, so no surprise yesterday when The Sunday Times outted JK Rowling as new author “Robert Galbraith,” whose debut detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling went on sale in April.

It seems likely the publishing house was counting on Rowling being outted by an astute reviewer on day 1. Given the author was represented by JK Rowling’s agent, and the book was published by JK Rowling’s publisher and worked on by JK Rowling’s editor, then this first time, unknown author was hyped through the roof — even though this author makes no personal appearances, it’s hard to imagine no reviewer would connect the dots. But they didn’t.

Failing a reviewer discovery, the publisher probably assumed some reader would pick up on the true author’s identity in the early weeks. After all, there was Robert Galbraith’s the over-the-top backstory (typical of Harry Potter). The lead detective’s had a truly Potter-worthy name: Cormoran Strike (a take off on the Cormorant Strike military exercises). All of Rowling’s usual tropes –Latin, drug use, loathing of the middle class — were there. And, best for last, the completely Harry Potter style cover

CuckoosCallingCover
But again, no reader caught on.

The problem with all this publisher-author strategizing was, of course, they forgot that people just want to read a good book. The reviewers and the public were willing to give a new author a chance. They were willing to extended the author and the publishing house trust. In return, both the author and the publisher had to accept the results — lackluster — at least for 90 days.

It’s understandable that a famous author wants to see if he/she really has star quality writing ability or if their first huge success was an unrepeatable one off. But actually trying to find out by writing a book under another name? That is a writer deeply insecure about her talent and / or ambivalent about her earlier success. That’s an author who needs therapy.

It’s also understandable that while publishers may believe in an author and his/her work (even when they veer off their previous genre), they do have to cave in to the weird demands of very famous authors now and then. This book, no doubt, represents such a case. But, publishers spend a lot of money producing a book. Like it or not, they need a book to make its production/advertising expenses back — and then some — to stay in business.

The Cuckoo’s Calling, was released April 30. Until yesterday, it had sold only 1400 copies (500 by some stats) and had mixed reviews. That’s just not good enough for a publishing house, especially as July 31st is coming up fast. After 3 months, the window starts closing fast on “new book” sales. A new book is fading out of public view. It’s got all the hype it’s going to get. Sales start going down hill fast unless there is genuine reader buzz.

Most publishers hope to make the bulk of their sales on a book by month 3. If there’s reader enthusiasm — a lot of word of mouth — by month 3 a book might start generating more sales than when it was initially released. These extended sales are great because it means an author can be built up. New books in the series are generally then ordered.

However, since sales weren’t very good and reviews mixed, Cuckoo wasn’t going any place fast, ie, a net loss for a publisher. This is not to say it was a bad book, but realistically as a book by a first time, unknown author, it wasn’t doing even ok as regards sales. People kind of liked it, but they weren’t spreading the word. Low book sales mean no request for further books in the series. Very likely, author and publisher would have parted ways.

But Cuckoo wasn’t by a true unknown, a first-time author, and the publisher had an out — doubtless one which Rowling had agreed to readily because she’d tried to flog it to other publishers and they all rejected it as not good enough. So she ended up back at her own publisher. The discussion probably went something like this: If Cuckoo’s sales don’t start to seriously uptick after the first 60 days, there will be an “anonymous” tip sent out hinting that JK Rowling is the book’s real author. And this is what happened.

One of The Sunday Times‘ columnists, India Knight, received an anonymous tip on Twitter saying the novel was actually by Rowling. The Tweeter’s account was then immediately deleted. This tip was followed up on, and confirmed, and . . . voila, sales rocketed the following day.

It’s almost certain the publisher, who wanted to make serious money from Cuckoo, is the “anonymous” source. Since the clueless reviewers/public didn’t figure out this book was actually the work of a “famous” writer, someone had to tell them — and get Rowling’s huge fan base out buying. And it needed to happen in the first 3 months, by July 31st. Why? Can you say “Annual Report,” “Fiscal Year,” or “Stock Dividends”?

There’s nothing illegal about any of this, but it’s all a bit silly and demeaning for an author of JK Rowling’s stature. And as for the publisher, well, a corporation does what corporations do to protect their bottom line and their brands. JK Rowling is a brand. A brand can’t put out a bad product (in this case a book). This is especially true as her first novel for adults Casual Vacancy wasn’t that well received. And by not well received, we mean didn’t go as big as Harry Potter. It was still a 3 out of 5 book that made huge sales.

JK Rowling herself seems to indicate complicity in the whole Cuckoo scheme. “I hoped to keep this secret a little longer,” she said. Clearly, she’d expected her true identity to be revealed, just not within 90 days. She perhaps hoped her book would get great buzz and sell magnificently on its own. At the same time, she seemed to accept that her publisher would exercise its option to out her and make serious money off this book (and any future series’ books), if it didn’t. This “revelation” protects Rowling’s brand and makes her a lot of money.

Should all this reflect badly on Rowling? Truthfully, publishing contracts probably make it extremely difficult for her to self-publish a book under another name and let the work stand on its own. If that was something she wanted to do. Was it? Maybe. One of the things Rowling said, in remarking on Cuckoo, was that she didn’t want to get a lot of hateful reviews again just because she was famous. In other words, she felt Casual Vacancy had been attacked unjustly because of her fame.

Ultimately, it’s readers who decide a book’s fate. If a book is not well received, that’s life. Authors must accept that. They can’t assign blame to the readers. Overall, the number of haters doesn’t outweigh the number of actual open-minded readers. A wildly successful, established author shouldn’t need to hide under various nom de plumes in a desperate desire to get what they believe is an authentic review.

If you are a famous author and you are publishing another book, in another genre, under another name, in order to get a good review because you believe people are out to get you and, apparently, any review that’s negative is from a hater and therefore inauthentic . . . well, that’s just a bit sad and rather paranoid sounding. But, that’s apparently what’s going on here from what the author herself has said.

This is why therapy is a good idea. JK Rowling is a good author. But she can’t own her own talent or fame. Authors have to own their writing, own the fact there are haters out there, and own the fact that they will never be liked by everybody. That’s the only way to have a sane life. If you can only stand to hear good things about your writing because you don’t fully believe in in your work — stop writing.

Rowling told the Times, “I hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name.”

That really comes off as complete twaddle. The Cuckoo was totally hyped by the publishing house in a way no first-time unknown author’s book would be. And there were certainly expectations — by the publishing house, if not the author — that the book would sell and sell well. As for feedback? Apparently the mixed reviews of Cuckoo were expected — only this time she believed them. But those reviews still weren’t good enough to move the book, so her publisher outted her.

Translation: The book didn’t sell on the strength of the writing. It was an ok read but nothing so fantastic readers want to tell everyone it’s a can’t-put-down must-read. It was never going to be a best seller. However, sometimes audiences grow, especially over a few books in a series. Publishers often nurture new writers and allow time for this extended strategy to play out.

It’s sad that Rowling has no faith in the reading public. But her books do tend to reflect a pessimistic, even negative, outlook on people and life. What’s sadder still is that Rowling’s publisher didn’t have enough faith in her new book to let it run its course and allow it (and any future books of this series) to develop a following naturally.

One can only assume the publishers didn’t believe in Galbraith’s writing, or lost faith too soon when sales fell off, or, more realistically, that this is just everything going to (backup) plan: Let famous author do this, and 60 days in (if it’s not selling) reveal and make a killing. Win-win. Except for the readers who were duped.

Readers of Cuckoo were cuckolded. And it’s doubtful that title joke, played on the readers by Rowling (and her duplicitous publisher), was unintended. That Rowling still wonders why people write hateful reviews, especially after something like this, now there’s a mystery!

*For the record, Stephen King’s alter ego had no problem moving books — for years. We like JK Rowling and her books (the Potter series) a lot, but at some point an author has to accept books don’t sell well because of the writing, not the readers.*

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers