Saturday, October 24, 2020

 IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Distant Cousin books have been reissued in new editions under new titles, and reorganized (with shorter chapters, for one thing, as well as minor changes to fit as YA stories), at the same low price. New readers and rereaders will find them as exciting and cheerful as ever, and doubly so during these parlous pandemic times. Best wishes to us all!

In order:

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Free for Kindle Unlimited! Such a deal!

Four of the Distant Cousin books are currently free on Amazon's Kindle Unlimited!

This seems a particularly good time for a series about which one reader wrote "What a nice surprise 'Distant Cousin' was - quite unique.  It has humor, moves along at a pleasant pace, and the main characters have realistic flaws and faults that I could identify with.  ...I found myself smiling the entire time I was reading it.  There is a subtle wisdom and numerous life philosophies throughout this book.  To sum it up: good story - thoughtful, comfortable, and fun!"

Thursday, February 22, 2018

An apology

Visitors to this blog have enjoyed many of the poems extraterrestrial Ana Darcy loves. Her preferences are not as sophisticated as, say, an English professor's, but she's a sensitive, tender-hearted person and enjoys less abstract poems in English as deeply as native speakers do. This blog must contain links to two dozen or more of her favorites.

But now we owe Ana's readers an apology. To reproduce copyrighted poems here without permission is not fair, not to mention illegal. Instead, we give links to other sites which do have permission. Ana used to subscribe to a daily email from The Writers Almanac (TWA), which always offered a daily poem that Ana often loved. Probably the majority of the links to poetry in this blog are to TWA. Now, unfortunately, TWA has been closed and removed from the web, so readers who click those links now see a disclaimer page and no poem.

Here's an idea that might overcome that problem:

Last February, for example, many readers tried to click on Ana's favorite Valentine's Day poem only to come up with a disclaimer page. As it happens, however, if you search the web for "Being in Love, by Chungmi Kim" you will be taken to a page at The Poetry Foundation , and there is the lovely poem!

If this method does not always work, then you could search to buy the book, or, of course, try the library--always a good idea!

Ana's poems are listed way down the right column under the LOVE sculpture

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Another Distant Cousin scoop: sexual harassment!

The Distant Cousin stories, while contemporary--set in today's world, more or less--are not meant to be predictive. Yet because they do deal with and around current affairs, sometimes they might seem predictive. This blog has already collected over eight such examples, and later several more.  Now there is another. The scene excerpted below comes from Distant Cousin Two Worlds Daughter, first published in 2014.

In it, Ana is attending the Davos Conference in Davos, Switzerland, where politicians, corporate magnates, and billionaire big shots are thick on the ground. One of the latter, a billionaire playboy publisher, wants Ana to agree to his offer to make a multi-million dollar, authorized version movie of her life on Earth. Ana has zero interest in such, quite the reverse, in fact. Here is what happens then. (We blank out two words in case our host might object to them.)


Sensing it was now her turn, Ana professed herself flattered and delighted with the concept and promised to recommend it to the board of directors of the Second Planet Foundation at the earliest opportunity.

Bianchi, ruddy cheeks glowing, stood and demanded a group photo to commemorate the beginning of the glorious project. A publicist and an aide produced cameras and associated hardware, and the principals lined up behind the table, Ana and Bianchi in the center. While the camera person focused, Bianchi laid his arm behind Ana's back and surreptitiously pulled her closer, squeezing her breast from the side. She instantly moved his hand away. No one seemed to notice her flash of anger. The camera clicked several times.

Bianchi, smiling and undeterred, announced, "And now a kiss, to seal the deal!"

With the same hand, he pulled her neck to him and planted a kiss square on her lips. Or rather, he began to plant a kiss: at the same time Ana brought a hand up and gave his right ear a hard twist.

"Oww!" he bellowed, "S__t!"

The room went deathly still, except for Bianchi, grimacing in pain.

She stepped back, her eyes like daggers.

"God d__n!" he said, hand to his ear.

"You, sir, have no honor," she said through clenched teeth, and stormed out of the room.

Her assistant couldn't exactly follow her unobtrusively, but he did the best he could.


We have yet to see reported any instance of a woman doing something like this these days...but perhaps it's not far off. When it does happen, our congratulations here can be yet another scoop of the future.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

MORE music! A World Premier composition!

Announcing an original composition for Ana Darcy, a five movement suite for harpsichord (or piano), with each movement based on the style of a different baroque composer: Partita on Simple Gifts, by Larry Wallach, of Simon's Rock College of Bard.

Bruce Adolphe, the creator of hundreds of Piano Puzzlers for NPR, has called this piece one of the best such puzzlers he has heard. Ana's editor thinks the second one is in the style of J. S. Bach, but Mr. Adolphe says the third closely imitates another work of that gentleman. You are free to make your own guesses.

They are short. All five take less than seven minutes together. The first establishes the theme of the well-known Shaker hymn. The second offers it in intimate counterpoint. The three that follow employ increasingly elaborate and inventive variations, but no one need analyze too long. It's best to just enjoy and let them build.

We are honored to have the world famous harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky perform this first recording. (Composer Larry Wallach was the first to perform it in concert for a live audience.)  You may also like dozens of Ms. Pechefsky's masterful recordings at YouTube, on the Quill Channel.


You may also enjoy more of Ana Darcy's musical favorites under the music staff in the column on the right, towards the bottom.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Musical Interlude: Bach's Little Fugue, BWV 573!

Hollywood is still working out the business of the Distant Cousin series--after all, if each book took a year to be written, how long will a TV series of five of the seven books take? So here's a slight change of pace, just for fun.

Earlier we mentioned the first book that Ana's editor published was a book of over 40 baroque duets, arranged from works of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and others. It was intended to address the sad lack of challenging, fun music for two players. If there are are musicians reading this, I hope they have experienced the delight of playing well with a duet buddy. The duets in this book are mostly advanced with a fair number of intermediate ones mixed in. There are many delights.

 My own duet buddy, back when I was lively enough to play them (and also, alas, before the ubiquity of cell phone videos and digital sound recording.), called the book "Killer Duets," because they usually left us puffing.

In another post we offered one of those duets in printable form for duet buddies to actually try out. Now it is our great pleasure to present two outstanding musicians playing this very duet: Drs. Scott Hagarty and Mary Thornton. They said they had fun making it. You may click on that link and follow the music with them!

NOTE: This "Little Fugue" is counterpoint; that is it has two melodies at the same time, back and forth all the way through. Listen for them!  Ana Darcy loves this. Many people do. WHY?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Amazon's Package Deal!

May 9, 2017
Just in, a terrific deal from Amazon: the entire seven Distant Cousin volumes to date, in one neat, highly affordable set!

Only Amazon knows how long it will be offered, but for entertainment value as well as convenience, right now it's hard to beat this offer from Amazon. It's a summer reading bonanza!

(Yes, it could, in fact. Episodes have been scripted and seasons laid out. Watch this space for future developments!)