Wednesday, June 28, 2023

I received a marketing kit!

I received a marketing kit from Arcadia Publishing today! I'm feeling very excited about this book launch because it is so close to my heart. My father is a newspaper reader. He still subscribes to the daily news, and he still puts stars and underlines throughout the printed pages. If reporters aren’t careful, he will point out their spelling and grammar mistakes as well. As I was growing up, Dad would clip articles or set pages out for me to read. He still does this and I’m fortunate to have found a partner who also does this. Having personal readers is huge! I still have my teenage self’s Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems and it is stuffed with newspaper articles with Dad’s notorious red ink from his ballpoint pen. It may be my age but there is just something magical about paper. It's so tangible.

For my first book, I didn't receive a kit. No one gathered for book releases in 2021. While I had some amazing experiences with my book release, this one feels different. What a difference a couple years makes.

In my previous post, I shared a Google map of all the places I traveled connected to this book. I cannot wait to get nerdy about these souls close to Poe. I have listed several of the in-person places that I will be doing book signings but I'm also pretty excited about planning a virtual book tour where I'll be speaking with podcast hosts and bloggers. More details will be posted soon. I'm just two months away from the release!

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Writer Sarah A. Brock Putnam buried in Hollywood Cemetery (Richmond, Va)

From American Women (1893), p. 590.
When I published my research on Women Writers Buried in Virginia, I dedicated the book to the women writers buried in Virginia cemeteries whom I have not yet discovered. 

I’m glad that I keep discovering them. There are twenty-three cemeteries represented in the book. The majority includes one or two women writers buried there with two exceptions—“Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, which has twelve women writers interred, and Arlington National Cemetery, which has five” (15). Make that a lucky 13 for Hollywood Cemetery. 

When reading Mary Tardy’s 1872 The Living Female Writers of the South, I overlooked Miss Sallie A. Brock, who often published under the pseudonym Virginia Madison. Born on March 18. 1831 as Sarah Ann Brock in Madison Court House, Brock went by the name Sallie. She was tutored at home by her father and later by governesses. Her family moved to the University of Virginia where Brock lived for eight years before the family moved to Richmond in 1858 where she devoted her studies to oil-painting and writing. Within a few years, Brock’s dreams of becoming an authoress would be put on hold due to the Civil War. 

After the war, Brock moved to New York to work around other writers. In 1869, her collection of poems from Southern poets, The Southern Amaranth, was published to benefit the Ladies’ Memorial Association, organized groups of southern white women who sought out the bodies of their fathers, uncles, brothers and cousins who were Confederate soldiers who had fallen in war and whose bodies were left in fields and made arrangements for their bodies to be interred in cemeteries. From 1869-1870, Brock traveled Europe where her letters were published. 

Brock wrote editorials, historical articles, essays, biographies, poetry, and a novel. She is best remembered for her memoir, Richmond During the War: Four Years of Personal Observation (1867), which was published “by a Richmond Lady.” Brock even references Hollywood Cemetery within her memoir. Her only published novel, Kenneth, My King (1873) described as “A romance set in the American South patterned after Jane Eyre, about an intelligent young woman who is unmarried and left to fend for herself.” The novel was poorly reviewed but that did not stop me from clicking purchase on a first edition copy that I found online. 

On January 11, 1882, Brock married a minister, Richard Fletcher Putnam who was also a member of the Boston publishing family. They lived in New York and Connecticut. While she continued to contribute to magazines and wrote novels, her focus had changed from writing to family. She attended the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 that was held in Chicago where she participated with other Virginia authors. 

On March 22, 1911, she passed and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery next to her husband who died five years before her. 

Richmond Times-Dispatch Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1911, p 2.

Works referenced: 
Driggs, Sarah, and Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "Sarah Ann Brock (1831–1911)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 15 Jun. 2023 

Tardy, Mary. The Living Female Writers of the South. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1872, 404-408.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

An Afternoon Tea with Mary Shelley

I attended the Making a Monster: An Afternoon Tea with Mary Shelley at Hunter House Victorian Museum, a house museum that was built in 1894 for James Wilson Hunter and Lizzie Ayer Barnes Hunter and their children. 

 This was the second time that I’ve attended one of their teas. The last time was in January 2018 when they hosted “Walking in a Witchy Wonderland.” This time, I decided to join the museum as a member. The museum is run by women and they have the best programming with many literary in nature. 

The Mary Shelley tea event was listed: 

Discover the blurred lines between medicine and literature at this interactive afternoon tea. Come meet our special guest Mary Shelley and learn about the real-life events that inspired her to make a monster. 

I’ve been trying not to take too many pictures at events since I’m focused on being present, or at least trying to be present but the food was so cute and the actors were talented, informative, and entertaining that I took a few. I loved how the camera played some tricks as the actor playing Percy Bysshe Shelley read from the book. Unfortunately, I was a bit too close to the actor playing Mary Shelley that my camera distorted her a bit. 

I really enjoyed the company of the museum members who were at the table with me. And, while visiting their gift shop, I was thrilled to see so many of the books and merchandise focused on women's history. I thought my Women Writers Buried in Virginia would fit right in. 

Turns out that they have an annual Poe event so this year my forthcoming book The Souls Close to Edgar Allan Poe: Graves of His Family, Friends and Foes will fit in as well. 

The tea was all very kismet. 
Hunter House Victorian Museum