Tag Archives: mark twain

Riverboats & Levees

It’s no secret how much I love riverboats. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a few hints at my love. Some of my first posts on this blog were me sharing images steamboats and packets. I find them to be a fascinating piece of history, a mode of transportation that, like airships, have faded away from practical use but still retain a sense of wonder and freedom.

“It is a strange study, — a singular phenomenon, if you please, that the only real, independent and genuine gentlemen in the world go quietly up and down the Mississippi river, asking no homage of any one, seeking no popularity, no notoriety, and not caring a damn whether school keeps or not.”

—Mark Twain, Letter to Will Bowen, August 25, 1866

I like riverboats so much, I’m writing Coal Belly, a western fantasy set in a world covered in twisting rivers. It’s a place where riverboats are ubiquitous and necessary, and I have been having a blast writing it. It’s allowed me to do a ton of fascinating research. Along with extensive reading, I’ve been exploring the vaults of the Library of Congress looking for images. Within, I have found quite a few old photos, and I figured it’d be fun to share a few with you.

There’s a lot out there, so I am going to pick a theme. Today’s theme focuses on steamboats alongside the levees where cargo and passengers were loaded and unloaded. You can click on any image to view it larger.

If everyone enjoys this post, I’ll be sure to share more going forward. All images were acquired from the Library of Congress’s website. In some cases, I did some minor color correction and cropping. While my knowledge is not as extensive as others, I’d be happy to answer any questions folks have about any of these images.

Lavafield in Iceland

I Have Returned

Hello, all you wonderful folks. I have returned from my brief hiatus in the mountains and I am back! Iceland was incredible, do yourself a favor and go. Get there. See the country and get lost on its backroads. It’s wild and raw and pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. (If you’re interested, I’ve been posting photos on Instagram.)

Travel is always a big part of my creative process. Old Broken Road was born in Norway. The Stars Were Right was forged while touring some of America’s best National Parks. I cannot encourage creatives enough to get out there. Experiencing a country (even your own), learn about its people, study its history, experience its culture, food, and traditions. You’ll be surprised what will come. One of my favorite quotes about travel is one I posted before, but it’s still apt:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain

Frankly, a week wasn’t nearly enough time for Iceland. We just got to explore the west side and a bit of the central Highlands, but there is so much more. We’re already planning a return visit. Meanwhile, the show must go on. I have a stack of emails to get through, and a book to launch. Expect some big announcements soon.

All in all, it’s good to be back.

Mark Twain

Become Great

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain

Found this quote as encouragement for a friend of mine and I figured I’d share it here with everyone. Stay away from the small people, their opinions are useless to your journey. Twain, as usual, is right. As I wrote to my friend: keep your head down, lock those shoulders forward, press through. You got this.

Friday Link Pack 01/31/14

10 Key Terms That Will Help You Appreciate Fantasy Literature

It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming year? Let me know!

Writing:

Mapping the world of Mark Twain
It’s no secret that Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors. I was excited when this showed up in my RSS feed. When I saw the map, I was blown away.

10 Key Fantasy Literature Terms
Nice write up covering the terms for the various sub-genres of fantasy. Everything from Portal Fantasy, Secondary Worlds, to the New Weird (technically the subgenre The Stars Were Right falls inside). It’s good info and worth checking out.

A Novel List of Atypical Sci-Fi from the Seattle Public Library
My home town’s Library compiled a nice list of solid science fiction. There’s a lot of good stuff on here, some of my favorites: Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age and China Mieville’s The City and The City.

Art:

Joao Ruas’ “Verso”
Thinkspace gallery is featuring the work of one of my favorite artists: Joao Ruas. If you live anywhere near Culver City, California get yourself over to see this stuff. His work is incredible.

I Am Hello Kitty
Very beautiful and fascinating look into the people behind the iconic characters in New York’s Times Square.

Random:

So the new Space Shuttle is amazing…
Meet the next Space Shuttle. It’s tiny. It only needs one rocket, and it can be towed behind a pickup truck.

Art of the Title: Black Sails
Art of the Title interviews the creators of the Black Sails title sequence. I love it, the music, the motion, basically everything. It’s awesome to know the creators were inspired by Kris Kuksi.

Please Advise
Letters of Note shares this quick memo sent in 1969 by record producer Teo Macero to executives at Columbia Records over Miles Davis’ album: Bitches Brew. (In my humble opinion: one of the best jazz albums ever.)

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Temple
A german u-boat and its cruel captain face terrors under the sea.

Farewell Gif of the Week:

Mine! Minemineminemineminemine...

Travelin’

mark twain

I’ve been traveling this weekend for my 10 year anniversary. Kari-Lise and I have been doing our share of hiking, eating, drinking, and exploring. While out and about a quote from Mark Twain came to mind, one of my favorites:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

— Mark Twain

Get out there. Abroad., nearby, doesn’t matter. Experience what you haven’t experienced. It’s important.