Hi ho, everyone. Paul here, from kleimansays.com, the blog that gives you more!
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I realize I haven’t done a blog or vlog post since July 15, which tragically ended my consecutive hit streak at 86 weeks (beat that, Joltin’ Joe). But it wasn’t because of COVID and it wasn’t a long summer vacay at the beach either (sigh).
Here’s what you probably think I was doing instead of the blog:
Okay, we did do this, which of course did take some priority:
Thanks for the good wishes!
But here’s what really took me away from the blog: putting the finishing touches on my next novel, An Honorable Death. It has an alternate title: Red Paint on White Paper.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LET ME KNOW WHICH TITLE IS MORE INTRIGUING TO YOU. The first has been the title for years. The alternate was one I came across and think may be more visceral and catchy for the contemporary reader? Not sure.
I’ve been carrying this story around for literally decades and it is finally finished. The original story is from a short chapter in Life on the Mississippi, an excellent book (some say his best) by Mark Twain, that I was assigned to read in college. I highly recommend it. I took that story, which is a tragic tale of murder and revenge set in the Civil War south and also in Hamburg, Germany, and as I fleshed it out, new characters emerged and plot twists and turns and it became an entire world. And of course, in the Twain tradition (one I try to keep up because I have no choice), even in tragedy, there is humor, and some of the best laughs come at a funeral.
Here’s my well-read paperback copy that I’ve had since college:
Still don’t believe me? You think I was just lazing around by the pool, not working hard on my novel? Well, I’m not about to post the whole thing here, but here’s a taste: the preface. Actually, it’s a disclaimer. Please enjoy responsibly.
The characters in this book are all fictional, except a few, including the occasional fiction writer, steamboat pilots, a general or two, and one particular book publisher. Some of the stories are also real. Sort of. The towns named all exist, or once did. As for historic or geographic accuracy, however, the author fancies himself a novelist, not an historian or researcher. Therefore, while certain pages contain references to notable non-fictional personages, locations, and Civil War battles and officers, and the author’s intent is to convey the individual, place or event as accurately as possible, or at least provide a feeling of authenticity, these descriptions are largely assembled from little bits and pieces found all over the place, word of mouth, books, and memory (the author’s own, and at least a few other persons’).
This is largely (all right, entirely) due to the author’s rather sloppy and lazy research skills and his desire to avoid the academic exercise of properly citing any specific details gleaned from sources other than the author’s own somewhat warped imagination. Bibliographies simply do NOT belong in a novel. Or indexes. Or indices. Or footnotes, really. So on the whole, it is based on reality, and it’s all made up. Even the order of otherwise perfectly real-life events has been rearranged where necessary to serve the story, for example, by making it more exciting! And as we all know, exciting is good. So you history buffs, if something sets off the urge to run and do some research, try to let it go and instead just grab a tasty beverage and keep on reading.
And yes, the story is borrowed, some might prefer “stolen,” from a chapter or so in an excellent book by a brilliant writer (ask him, he’ll tell you himself and relish the opportunity), Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. Embellishments, slight fact bending and downright created-from-scratch elements may or may not be found in any particular section. When in doubt, while reading a particular passage, assume fiction.
This should take care of any possible legal repercussions, as well as unwanted correspondence from Civil War buffs, Twain scholars and linguistics experts pointing out where I… that is, the Author, got something wrong, which you will notice is practically all over the place. As for the English language used herein, the story is told in the present tense, when possible, and so all words used by the author or any of the characters are in common use in 1860, according to sources.
Of course, being a writer, even in 1860, my vocabulary is better, not to be immodest, than the typical American. That’s just the truth. So there will be some fancier words than you might expect from the general public. As for syntax? Give me a break. If you think I’m spending an additional year checking up on 1860’s southern U.S. syntax, you’ve lost your marbles. (Now, go ahead and look up if “losing one’s marbles” is a metaphor in common use in1860. I’m too busy writing this damn book.)
 No seriously. Footnotes should never be in novels. Well, most of the time. There are exceptions.
 Just trust me. Better you should trust me than waste your time researching English usage in 1861 and then bothering me with your findings.
 The fact is, it’s pretty borderline. Some say mid-1800’s some say late 19th century, which begs another question: do you say 1800’s or 19th century? And what about “give me a break?” You see what a pain in the ass this can be?
Well, I hope you enjoyed that enough to want to read the book. Please let me know if you like the alternate title better or not. Thanks for reading this week, and I promise to do another video blog soon so you don’t need to read too much. Have a great week, everyone! And REGISTER TO VOTE!