Spring Is a Time for Inspiration

I feel so blessed. New England has just been hit with another late winter blast, though the calendar says it is spring. Outside my door, birds are singing and jumping about on my newly mowed lawn. The bright March sun smiles down and I feel inspired to do greater things than ever.

At St. Clair Publications a lot is going on. I have recently put the final polish on the last revisions of Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions. It is at maximum length, and I have added a number of new entries once again. Since it came out in March, 2013, the paperback version now has about 100 additional phrases. Each time I add new ones I have found improvements to make and myths to burst..

I also have my first travel book out, Exploring Our Exciting World, Book I, which covers the Greater Southeastern US. I have done considerable work on Book II, the completion of which I have decided to postpone until we return to New England and visit some important sites which will be featured. This trip is now scheduled for this September – October.

Another volume is largely done, the writing of which is being accomplished by three wonderful ladies. It covers a lot of ground in Europe. Another trip by one of the authors is scheduled for this May.

Right now I am working on another research volume: How 200 Celebrities Changed Their Names and Built Amazing Careers.  This book deals with authors, singers, movie stars, magicians, sports stars and others who have adapted  pseudonyms in order to improve their images and further their careers. The book deals with  why and how these names were selected and how they reached their heights of fame. Several of those selected are individuals with which I have some personal or family connection. It is a lot of pleasure bringing out books of interest to the masses.  It will be out later this year. I hope all are enjoyed and cherished by the readers. Visit us today at stclairpublications.com and on Amazon.

 

Elton John, Kanye West, Lionel Riche and Frank Ocean

The headline acts have recently been announced for Bonaroo, the mega Music and Arts Festival held near my home and office every year in June. In normal times I could make the drive in 20 to 30 minutes. During Bonaroo, however, it would likely take that long to get in the gates. A lot of others will be there as well. Lots of folks travel hundreds of miles to get there, spend big bucks and stay up long hours.

But this venue is not my ‘cup of tea’ (a common phrase found in Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions). The new and improved version is now being sold in paperback on my website at stclairpublications.com and on Amazon around the world. I have been waiting over a week for my first order of them to get here from my printer in South Carolina, and it seems like it’s been a ‘month of Sundays.’ UPS assures me that they will arrive day after tomorrow, and I am waiting ‘with bated breath.’ My friend, Kelly, from the radio station called me this morning just after I had returned from my aerobics class about another matter, and informed me that one of his other friends had borrowed his copy of my book and would likely be in touch soon. They are ‘selling like hot cakes,’ and I’m ‘tickled pink.’ 

My deepest appreciation

Most Comprehensive of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions is surpassing my wildest expectations in sales for this Christmas season! It is great to go to the Amazon printer’s website and look, then again in just a while and see that 10 more have been ordered. My deepest appreciation to Amazon for their promotion and to those who have selected this book as the one in its field that stands out above the others to order for their loved ones for a gift.

Positive reviews

I have been elated at the positive comments that readers of my most recent phrase origin book have posted on Amazon. Everyone so far has rated it five out of five stars. Earlier this afternoon I was mulling this over and the thought came to me to check and see if any new reviews had been posted since I had looked at the site. I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found. It was a new review by a minister whom I was to find lives and works in Ohio.

He stated that this is “truly the best book of its kind”. I am humbled. He added the comment, “Buy it!”

The secret in writing a book that will sell is to find a subject that a lot of people want to read about, but not everyone has already written about. Then make your work the best that all of your time and effort can develop. That is what I tried to do with Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions. It took between two and a half and three years to bring together and polish up for publication this unusual tome. It is 730 pages in very fine print with wide margins and no illustrations. All of the long hours were worth it. It represents my finest work to date, and others seem to appreciate it.

If you don’t have your copy yet you may order one today in either paperback or Kindle on Amazon worldwide. Email me for instructions on getting an autographed copy at stan@stclair.net .

 

Making lemonade

We’ve all heard the adage, “When life passes out lemons, make lemonade.” This stems from an earlier metaphoric expression (in my latest phrase book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions, to be sure, on page 327 in the paperback) lemon for an inferior product. Here is the excerpt:

Lemon (auto)

A lemon is an automobile which is found to be defective after it is purchased, and may apply to either new or pre-titled autos. The word ‘lemon’ in this fashion goes back farther than its usage as relating to cars. It was coined early in the twentieth century in describing any defective item. Then, Julian Koenig, a highly acclaimed ad executive, used it in his 1950s Volkswagen ‘Think Small’ advertising campaign.

In the 1970s economist George Akerloff, a later Nobel Prize winner for this work, used the term in his 1970 paper, “The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism.”

The attention Akerloff gave to the problem was instrumental in first ‘lemon law’ being proposed in California in 1980.

But a lemon as described in the proverb also means any unforeseen unfortunate circumstance. This past week, my lemon started after a visit to one of my doctors, who is, by the way, a fan of my writing. Dr. S. assured me of my great physical shape and how well I was doing on my meds. Unfortunately, that afternoon I went into my back yard to resume work on the patio area I am constructing there and did a lot of strenuous work in the heat of the day. Not a wise plan for someone subject to bouts of exertion-induced asthmatic bronchitis. Needless to say I began feeling the effects immediately, and they only worsened into the weekend. By Saturday evening I relented to visit the ER. My oxygen level was very low, my blood pressure greatly elevated  and I was wheezing, rattling and gasping for every precious breath. I was given two breathing treatments and put on an IV with antibiotics and given steroids and pain killers. I am still on regular meds but able to be at my computer some. It’s difficult to keep me down.

This morning I lingered at the TV longer than the norm and was glad I did. CBS This Morning had two guests on who peaked my interest. Rock legend John Fogerty, who formed CCR in 1960, said that one of his inspirations was Howling Wolf, a now all but forgotten best selling performer of his day who was a personal friend and inspiration of my friend, Phil Ward, (pseudonym Israel Stuart) as a child, with whom I very recently co-wrote The Prince of Kings, an exceptionally moving and revealing true story. Howling Wolf has a prominent part in the book.

The other guest was NY Times best-selling Colleen Hoover. A few short years ago she was a housewife in Texas trying to raise 3 kids in a mobile home. She just wanted to be a writer. She got the idea of writing ebooks and publishing them on Kindle, never imagining what the result would be. Her first romance novel was called Slammed. Now her venture is owned by Simon and Schuster and she makes big bucks.

Like Colleen, I used my downtime to become inspired to do this blog entry. If writing is your dream, St. Clair Publications can put you “in the driver’s seat.” Yes, that one’s in my book, too. But you can get this and all of them at http://stclairpublications.com or this ground-breaking work can be yours on Amazon Kindle “for a song.”

 

 

Today’s hectic pace

In the ‘good ole days’ everything seemed to move at a much more relaxed pace. Not as many people around me were stressed by deadlines or anxious about shedules.

As a youth I was fortunate that we even had a television in our home. The worst problems in the schools were chewing gum and throwing ‘spit balls.’

As a young man, though I was task-oriented and strived to reach my goals, there was no email to check, no texts to send and no need for the latest electronic device. 

I don’t want to return to ‘the thrilling days of yesteryear,’ to quote the announcer’s booming voice on one of my favorite childhood shows, “The Lone Ranger,’ but I sometimes lament the changes which have made us more tense.

I am having a very busy week, accomplishing goals with the business and meeting with authors by appointment on two days, then leaving for a few days in Kentucky for a conference and the poetry reading next Monday by my friend, Lee Pennington. 

Here’s hoping you all have a pleasurable week. Just download one of our books, perhaps my new one, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions, to your Kindle, and relax. It will make you think and at times, smile. ‘Life is what you make it’–Where did this originate? See the book!

A poet and don’t know it

I am wrapping up phase one of my final phrase origin book. The original, On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms, continues to sell daily on Amazon both in America and also a number in the U.K. On the Origin of the Cliches, All New, Book II is also selling well.

The effort of the new book continues to consume much of my time. But the result is definitely worth it. I am now doing corrective formatting to agree with my new, larger page, smaller text version. It will approach 800 pages and is intended to be a trend-setter and standard-bearer for future books of its type. It will contain the phrases in my earlier books and many hundreds more. After this stage I shall begin first proofing, then two of my associates will also go over it carefully before I begin the final editing and proofing for publication, hopefully in late spring, 2013.

One of the entries is “Poet and don’t know it.” If you’ve ever made a rhyme without trying you may have had someone rattle off these witty words to you. Here is my entry for that phrase:

Poet and don’t know it

This sordonic statement is invoked when someone has apparently made an unintentional rhyme. It has been around in varying forms since the late-nineteenth century. The earliest known citation is from Niagara University’s (New York) Niagara Index, page 27, 1 October 1895:

“The author of that German poem, placed under our door must come to our office and identify himself with no less than three witnesses before we will pass judgement on its merits for publication.

“’We have a poet and don’t know it. If he had whiskers he’d be a go at.’”

The fact that the entire expression was in quotes leads to the opinion that it was already in use. Then in 1926 the following variation, which became more popular, appeared in Volume 20 of the Washington, DC, literary journal, Gargoyle Magazine as a part of a ‘Pat and Mike’ joke:

Pat: “You’re a poet and don’t know it, your feet show it; they’re Long- fellows.”

At St. Clair Publications we actually publish poets–the kind that KNOW IT and want to be read. Recently a friend made it known that she had a book of poetical prayers that she wanted to someday publish. We will be the ones with the honor of putting out her book.

If you have some poems that you believe are worthy of appearing in print, let me know and I will be happy to discuss it with you. I do have the option of accepting or rejecting anything, of course. We have guidelines and standards. Here’s wishing our readers a very merry holiday season.

 

In Pursuit of Excellence

It is my personal goal to make every book published by St. Clair Publications the best it can be. Much time goes into quality conrtrol; editing and proofing.

My best-selling book online, by far, is On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms. While continuing my painstaking work on the ultimate tome on phrase origins, one which will hopefully set the standard in this genre for the Englsh-speaking world, I have made improvements on this original title several times since it was released just over a year ago. As new facts become evident I have made updates to the master file and submitted them to our printer so that future copies ordered will reflect these changes. That is what pursuit of excellence entails. And that is one great feature about our method of publication. Of the thousands of books that we have sold, every copy ordered was printed on demand.

If you are considering publishing a worthy book, contact me at stan@stclair.net. I still review every submission and make a decision as to its publication–why? Because I want our new authors to be successful, and I want to select those which I feel will return the author a notable profit. However, if you don’t want to write and publish a book, you likely have a loved one who would enjoy receiving a HIGH QUALITY paperback–one which has acid-free heavy-bond pages and is perfectly bound for lasting pleasure. Visit our website and set up an account or go to any Amazon store in the US, UK, continental Europe or India. You’ll like what you see! Christmas will be here ‘before you can say Jack Robinson.’

A place for everything and everything in its place

I have been expending so much time in research on my upcoming comprehensive dictionary of proverbial, figurative and curious phrase origins that I have had few additional posts on the blog of late.

One recent item I felt compelled to post. Have you ever heard the old saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place”? Well, it kind of reminds me of the ”Odd Couple,” which went from a major motion picture to a popular TV series. Those of you old enough to recall Felix and Oscar are aware that Felix was a ‘neat freak’ while Oscar was much the opposite, and living together after they both split from their wives drove them both crazy.

Here’s what I discovered about the origins of this proverbial saying:

This quote, indicating that being well-organized is important, is attributed often to The Book of Household Management by Isabella Mary Beeton, 1861. But it was around before Ms. Beeton’s book. It was most likely a quote from Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790), but the earliest printed nod for his coining the proverb seems to be on page 2 of Niles Weekly Register, Baltimore, 5 February 1820. The first known reference to the actual saying is from a book published by the Religious Tract Society in 1799 titled The Naughty Girl Won:

“Before, however, Lucy had been an hour in the house she has contrived a place for everything and put everything in its place.”

A number of publications contained the proverb in the nineteenth century and then in 1857 a book titled A Place for Every Thing; and Every Thing in Its Place was published in New York by Alice Bradley Haven.

In Chemical News and Journal of Industrial Science, Volume 33, by Sir William Crookes, 1876, page 38, it has exact wording and calls this a ‘good old motto’:

“The pervading idea of these tabular studies is the good old motto — ‘A place for everything, and everything in its place’ but it is extremely difficult to construct any.”

 This is only one of many hundreds of sayings which will be in this 800 page tome scheduled for publication next year.

Indian giver

Have you ever wondered where phrases came from? I have, as mentioned in earlier posts, been researching and recording this information for the past two years and have published two books on my findings. But sometime in 2013 I plan to publish a definitive work from this indepth research. One recent listing for the new book hit me as something many might want to know now, so I’m using it in today’s post. It’s ‘Indian giver.’ Here’s what I learned:

Indian giver

The figurative definition is a person who gives something then takes it back. The term evolved from ‘Indian gift’ which was first coined by Massachusetts Loyalist politician, Thomas Hutchinson, in 1765 during American colonization when Natives gave gifts to the white Europeans in anticipation of receiving a gift in return.

In 1848 historian and linguist John Russell Bartlett published his Dictionary of Americanisms which first cited the phrase ‘Indian giver’:

“INDIAN GIVER. When an Indian gives anything, he expects an equivalent in return, or that the same thing may be given back to him. This term is applied by children in New York and the vicinity to a child who, after having given away a thing, wishes to have it back again.”

Note the figurative application already existed by 1848. It is likely that some Europeans accepted gifts from Natives who expected something in trade, and when nothing was received, demanded the return of the gift. 

But many hundred other cliches, idioms, and catch phrases are in my first two volumes: On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms, and On the Origin of the Cliches. All New Book II. Hope you get them either in paperback or on Kindle ebook format.