Friday Feast, The New Years Edition: Books are Back! Writers’ Manifest for 2017, The Art of a Nation Will Outlast its Governments, Using Scene Cards to Eliminate Struggling with a Blank Page, 11 Cheapest Destinations

We at Dead Darlings are aware that it is 13 days past New Years, but some of us are just recovered from our annual Bacchanalia, and others are so sad with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that it’s taken us this long to stagger over to the happy light never mind turn it on. And then certain November events have exacerbated. Anyhoo. Only now are we rising to the occasion.


Hat Tip

First things first. After 120 give-or-take weekly Friday Feasts, the inestimable Kelly Ford of the smart, southern, occasionally ribald voice, is taking a deeply deserved break. We hope she will spend her free time, feet up having cupcakes and wine, celebrating the spring 2017 release of her debut novel, COTTONMOUTHS. Can’t wait for Kelly ‘til spring? You can visit her at As well as subscribe (bottom left side of page to sign up) to DeadDarlings to get her (and all the other darlings’) latest posts in your inbox.


Just when everyone said print books were dead, they’re back, according to Book Trends 2016. Turns out that the 1,260% boost in e-book sales between 2008 and 2010, which caused mega-chain Borders to up and die in 2011, has plateaued. “Ebook fatigue” is a thing. Paperback sales are up 8.8 percent in the first half of 2016. Better yet? Bookstores are up!! Across the U.S., the number of bookstores went from 1,651 in 2010 to 2,311 in 2016. Or from 33 per state to 46.22. That still seems a shockingly small number—but we’ll take it.


From across the pond, Roz Morris, author of the NAIL YOUR NOVEL series and blog of the same name, eschewed her usual New Years post about how to publish wisely in 20-whatever and instead channeled Bryan Eno with her Writers’ manifesto for 2017 – take your imagination seriously. “What we do,” she writes, “is about creation. Listening to what interests us, moves us. Growing as artistic, communicative beings finding things that seem to peel back something we must say about our world and our lives.” That’s it. Take your imagination seriously. Nothing more and nothing less.

Scott Esposito sees artists, writers, in lofty terms in The Art of a Nation Will Outlast its Governments, Part II. The artistic community can be an “unbreakable bulwark” against subversion of the “goodness of this great nation.” He cites Sartre “hammering out existentialism” while in a Nazi jail and Dorthea Lange’s famous photos taken during the depth of America’s Depression. “It is often in the most inhumane of times that art grows ropy-thick and deeply rooted.” If that relationship holds true–more inhumanity breeds more art, make way for more bookstores!

If the exhortation to take your imagination seriously and the call to be an unbreakable bulwark exhausts, and all you’re looking to do is turn on your happy light and fill a blank page, Cas Blomburg at Almond Press has a practical, brief excercise to get words on a page pronto and catalyze your imagination. She tells how in Using Scene Cards to Eliminate Struggling with a Blank Page.


If all else fails, and you’ve had enough of blank pages and bulwarking, These are the 11 cheapest holiday destinations in the world. Admittedly, most of our readers are on the Americas side of the Pond, and most (but not all! Chile!) of these vacations are on the European continent, still, a writer can dream. Bonus? For each destination, the price of a beer is included. In Sofia, Bulgaria, beer will run you $1.12. In Lviv, Ukraine, 52 cents will get you a pint.

Cheers. And Happy New Year (plus 13).


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