J. S. Anderson
BOOK OF HOURS: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios, published by Lucky Bat Books (luckybatbooks.com), is now available as an e-book from the following e-book retailers, priced at $6.99:
BARNES AND NOBLE
SMASHWORDS (Discounted to $4.99 as an introductory special, through December only.)
BOOK OF HOURS will be available shortly in paperback from these retailers, with a selling price of $16.95.
A severely damaged fifteenth century Book of Hours, a man starving to death in a sumptuous art deco flat, an architect searching for the unconventional, a demonic old man, the tragic death of an infant and her father, a stolen human heart—
When Brother Alphaios comes to a great American city to recreate the Book of Hours, he must discover its origins and the heresies that kept it hidden away for six hundred years.
Finding himself an unwelcome guest in a cold, dour monastery, he becomes beguiled both by the audacious fifteenth-century illuminator he calls Jeremiah and the characters he encounters in the vast, chaotic city. Reflective and experiential, Brother Alphaios is drawn to make his own bold statement—one final touch with his finest sable… Continue reading
If one has even a passing interest in architecture or history, one cannot ignore churches and cathedrals—monuments built to honor something greater than mankind itself. One such building is the Mission San Xavier del Bac, located just south of Tucson, Arizona.
I had photographed the mission a number of times, but was frustrated that my efforts only duplicated the many tourist postcards available throughout Tucson. That changed one evening when I set out on nothing more than an evening drive. It was early summer and already quite warm. The sky was cloudless, the light unusually soft. I had brought my camera. As the sun began its descent over the land of the Tohono O’Odham nation, the white mission church began to turn the golden colors you will see below.
This Catholic mission to local Indians was begun in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino (long beloved in Southern Arizona), but his order, the Jesuits, were expelled from what was then called New Spain. Their work was taken over by the Franciscan Order, which started building the present structure of clay bricks and stone in 1783. The church was beautifully conceived and constructed, European in style… Continue reading
In Out of the Flames, authors Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone (Broadway Books, 2002) suggest that without the printing press, the Protestant Reformation could not have occurred. They provide for us some history.
Tens of thousands of books were printed in the decades following the mechanical marvel of the Gutenberg Bible in the mid-1450’s. They were large in size, cumbersome and costly (though less expensive by magnitudes than the hand-scribed and illustrated books which preceded them). But it was not until the early fifteen hundreds, the authors relate, that two concurrent developments made books truly portable, and thus nearly ubiquitous. They both seem simple enough, but they took almost fifty years after Gutenberg to accomplish. Aldus Manutius, an entreprenuerial printer in Venice developed (copied from a competitor, actually,) an alphabet typeface made of tiny, uniform letters that could easily be read. This made it possible for the second development to occur.
Until Aldus, books were printed on paper sizes referred to… Continue reading
Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios
The e-book is expected to be available on Amazon Books for all you e-readers before the beginning of the holiday season.
PAPERBACK COPIES TO FOLLOW! We are also on track to have the paperback version in hand and ready for purchas by the holidays.
In Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios, Alphaios visits a cardinal’s residence for the first time:
“They moved up a circular driveway in front of an expansive brick house with a green lawn and towering shade trees. For one house to occupy so much land in this city was astounding. Alphaios could see an abundance of beveled glass set into dark wood. The house and the neighborhood whispered age and enormous wealth. When the driver opened the door, Alphaios asked him where they were. “Cardinal Fleet’s residence. The maid will let you in.”
Inaki led the monk up the stairs and onto a wide veranda, where he rang the doorbell. As promised, a maid greeted them. She led them across glossy wooden floors into a large, sedate room… Continue reading
BOOK OF HOURS:The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios
The e-book is expected to be available on Amazon for all you e-readers before the beginning of the holiday season.
PAPERBACK COPIES TO FOLLOW!
We are also on track to have the paperback version in hand and ready for purchase during the holidays.
Thanks to LUCKY BAT BOOKS and especially Jud Harlan for their enthusiasm for the novel and the invitation to publish it on the Lucky Bat imprint.
If you haven’t already, be sure and download your free chapter.
It is near the end of the Northern War of Aggression, and General Sherman’s troops have begun their fiery sweep toward Atlanta. Virtually all able white Southern men and boys have been pressed into the Confederate cause. Any certainty about Southern social order, about the relationship between master and slave, slave and master is slipping away into social and economic chaos.
Rumors of freedom, of a coming Emancipation Proclamation, circle in the eddies of this maelstrom. Freedom—an impossible hope—is forever pushed back out of the consciousness of slaves born of slaves born of slaves, for hope breeds greater hope, which is certain to be crushed like a butterfly under a boot. Crushed with malice, carelessness, or complete indifference, but crushed. It is better not to hope. Now, though, there is the real possibility of freedom, whatever that might mean, but it is to be born in a world of nearly complete social, moral and economic breakdown.
It is a terrible, sobering story told wonderfully by author C.D. Harper.
Seth Harper, Jr., is the owner of a vast Kentucky plantation pulled from the wilderness by his grandfather and completed by his father. He… Continue reading
In verse and in song, in prose soaring and long,
His grandfather told stories in village and town.
In swales and plains and mountains he roamed
Led by the sun where the weather fit his clothes.
Traveling south in the winter, north when hot,
West to east, east to west was as good as not.
Stopping to sing, to tell a story for a pence,
To lift a draught, to give a laugh, to court a wench.
His voice was pure and amber and sweet.
At every stop, townsfolk gathered round to hear him sing,
And listen to stories of presidents and kings,
Knights in armor and ladies with braids,
Cracked mirrors and iguanas and damsels afraid.
Now he, the grandson, hitches rides in trucks and cars
Carrying a knapsack, bottled water and two guitars.
Cities and suburbs and townships he covers
Led by visions of stardom and being discovered.
He croons in clubs and casinos and small town bars.
Stories he tells are of missed chances and second-rate stars.
In cities, he plays on the streets for nightly rent
For dimes and quarters that are quickly spent.
Few stop to listen, many more stride past
Talking on cell… Continue reading
When one turns to the Photos page on this site, one can be forgiven for first believing the pictures are representational of Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios. They are not, at least not in a literal sense. But Brother Alphaios, the book’s protagonist, not only is drawn to colors and a student of them (and I think he would enjoy these) but master of them as well. Master I’m not, but drawn I am.
Gallery One is an assortment of images harvested mostly in and around Arizona, Portland (Oregon) and two museums in Washington, D.C.: The Corcoran, and the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. They are not grand landscapes or themes, but mostly of details noticed, arrangements of color and pattern. One might say that these shapes and their play of color and light were conscious byproducts by the creators of the buildings and bridges and objects, but perhaps not quite from this minimal perspective. What is here is not the whole, but the careful detail from the making of the whole. That, plus light and shadow and the curious eye. Something that Brother Alphaios might appreciate.
Elsewhere on this website is a word game I invite you to play and submit your best efforts to me. I will post them, barring vulgarity, etc., and give credit where credit is due. I call it “Warped Words”. (Origin and attribution are posted.)
The best of my own? Gracism: An entirely positive approach to others in the world who are of different races, religions and circumstances, based upon mercy, generosity and goodwill.
It was this impulse, I suppose, which led me to create the character of a sentient monk experiencing life outside the cloister for the first time, and write the twelve short stories and more that I’ve weaved into Book of Hours: The Beguilement of Brother Alphaios. I found myself wanting to write a good-natured story in a market where there seem so few, and where, if there is violence it is not deliberate or gratuitous. Where the worst, most vulgar of the modern vocabulary does not have a pedestal upon which simply to shout, shock or sound hip. Where experience is paired with reflection. Where there is recognition of the base instincts of humankind, but also… Continue reading
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