Thursday, September 17, 2020

Culture Days 2020 - Ontario - CANADADA:TAKE-TWO

SUPER EXCITED to be part of the upcoming month-long Culture Days 2020 Celebration across Canada, from Sept 25th to Oct 25th. --- Shouting out from Southern Ontario! Link to:
Look for province-wide events, self-guided tours, a
and interactive videos on the main page via the link above. 

 I'm offering up FREE access to my 

spoken-word & music album: CANADADA: TAKE TWO

'Who are we? Where have we come from? 

Where are we going?' --  Have a listen! - via mlh

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Niagara Novel, TRILLIUM, on Fire!

Renee Sferrazza Instagram Wine Influencer
When an international wine #influencer on Instagram, with a following of over 10K, gives a super 5-star rating for your novel, expect a swift reaction from her attentive audience. Within one week, Renee Sferrazza's positive post about TRILLIUM  has 600 likes with over 125 comments and commitments to purchase, voiced by #winelovers from all around the globe! - Now, that's social impact!! 

Her rating is also a tremendous boost for the real life setting of the novel, the  #winemaking region of the #Niagara peninsula, sandwiched, as it is , between the southern shore of #LakeOntario, #LakeErie and the grand meandering Niagara River, (yes, the location of famed #NiagaraFalls. 

THANK YOU RENEE!! - - and to all the other great gals affiliated with Instagram @sips.aroundtheglobe & @wineandbubblelover. I am most humbled, grateful and honoured that you found TRILLIUM "captivating"!

Booklytical TRILLIUM review
Equally, when a more traditional #bookreviewer at Booklytical criticizes, in detail, the failings of the novel from their perspective, and then goes on to give the work an 8 out of 10 rating, that's really not too shabby either. Certainly, the criticism hurts, but the overall book rave as - "a stand-out gem"-  does compensate. With that rating, I know that the story did work its magic ... eventually!

Book reviews really are the circulating life-blood of an author's efforts. It tells #writers what does and does not resonate. It tells us where work may be needed, and where too one excels at the craft. It has been mentioned, as example, a couple of times now, how my capacity to generate imagery is "like a painter." As a highly visual person who believes that the use of colour, form, and design intimately expresses our current humanity, this comment is always very welcome. I know my imagination has successfully grafted onto the reader's imagination.

I have also heard that some readers long to know more about one of the central characters, Anna Di Angelo.

Dear Anna IS an integral part of the evolving story. In fact, the story wouldn't have its name or have even come to fruition without her experimental childhood mucking about.

In response, I have just finished an interview with a very engaging website, The Protagonist Speaks, where I've given more rein to Anna's thoughts and motivations. That's releasing October 24th.

It was a difficult task to exude her personality in written form because Anna, as an illiterate character in the novel, neither reads nor writes.

Yet, to my mind, she is the epitome of a free spirit. Her thoughts, I believe, ought to exhibit the same kind of tendency. She goes where the wind blows. She responds to what the wind is doing. She reacts, she responds, she interacts. She dips, she dives, she swirls. She is a child of the Earth. She also has this uncanny ability to observe Nature in a unfiltered and unbiased state. As a result, Anna has an incredible knack for growing things. There will be more from her at the end of October ... 

In the meantime, please do pick up & enjoy 
the "epic!" & "gorgeous!" TRILLIUM 
as either an ebook or paperback. 
Your thoughtful reviews are always appreciated. 
Thank you. - mlholton

Monday, August 17, 2020

Fantasy Map Done for Historical Fiction: TRILLIUM by Margaret Lindsay Holton

Growing City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Southern Shore of Lake Ontario c
It has been my desire for quite some time to DO A MAP that would somehow convey 250 years of evolution on the Niagara peninsula where my third novel TRILLIUM is set - while, at the same time, convincingly convey the fictional aspects of the story about three diverse families who are inescapably intertwined over land, lust and loot ... It was a nagging writerly-type problem ....

Detail from TRILLIUM book MAP
I searched and searched for the Right Person able to undertake this demanding commission, then stumbled, quite fortuitously, on Dutch artist, Chaim Holtjer. 

I was first introduced to Chaim Holtjer's 's inventive work via Twitter. He followed me at @TrillLINDSAY and I followed him back ...

I started to look around his posts and thought "YES .... great fantasy - yet grounded in a believable realism."

We soon connected via FIVERR, and the rest, as they say, is history. Literally.

The fantasy of #HistoricalFiction ... Chaim started with my word premise of what I wanted and needed. (I supplied about 200 words of same, and attached a Google map of the area.)  He responded with a rough sketch that incorporated the basic points as I'd requested.  I responded with a 'mark-up' on that sketch. And then, left him to it ... It took him 2 weeks from start to finish.

(Calligraphy is NOT his strong suit)

Granted, Chaim is not the best calligraphic artist I've ever known ...
But he does SUPER EXCEL  in interpreting landscape, real & imagined. And the price is right.

His FINAL map - uploaded into the paperback and ebook editions of TRILLIUM today - is a wonderful compliment to the story! It will most certainly assist new readers to place those three dynamic fictional families into the ever-evolving region of #Niagara ...

Dive into TRILLIUM !! 

Deepen your understanding of the fascinating history and unique people of the area. Explore the unique times we've lived in. Gain better understanding of the challenging times we live in now. As many readers and critics say:
(And SOON expect an amazing #audiobook rendition, narrated by fab actor > Jens Hansen!)

P.S. If any past readers of TRILLIUM would like a copy of the map, let me know! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wonderfully Thought Provoking - The Gilded Beaver, SecondEdition

 A wonderful Amazon Review shout-out! 
Thank you dear readers! 
Plus, a wonderful profile of the title & author - from #Ireland.

Author & Fine Furniture Designer, MLHolton
Cover Design - The Gilded Beaver E-book

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Writers as Performers: Some thoughts by MLHolton

Instagram: @thelesliejordan
Over the last few months, as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, everyone is adjusting as best they can through the proliferating portals of #screenculture.

... Some are more adept at adapting than others ... 

Many have jumped onto ZOOM, Facetime or similar video platforms to compensate for the current lack of 'LIVE' social interactions. This phenomenon is especially evident on Facebook and Instagram where short clips are shared by nearly everyone - including a larger array of professional and amateur actors.

As a result, some surprising 'old school' performers are experiencing sudden break-away 'social media' success, like former B-List actor, Leslie Jordan, (Instagram @thelesliejordan), who has sky-rocketed to 4.9 million followers (!), with his quaint and amusing 'pillow chats' ... A close second is Sir Patrick Stewart (of former Star Trek fame) who has begun a series of Shakespeare sonnet readings under the hashtag #ASonnetADay on his Instagram feed @sirpatstew.

Instagram: @sirpatstew
... It got me thinking about this whole idea of PERFORMING ... of going 'LIVE' .... 

For those who are introverted by nature or unaccustomed to 'acting' for a living, all this jumping on the 'New Normal' screen-culture bandwagon is a somewhat bewildering twist on Everyday Reality ... I mean, must we all become part of the BORG now? 

I, personally, am not comfortable 'performing on-demand' for anyone. Not family, not friends, and certainly not a bunch of unknown strangers from anywhere on the planet ... It's just not the way I want to engage with people, near or far.

Still, during this unprecedented pandemic, 'Necessity has become the Mother of Invention'.

Recently, I was invited to read for the Oakville Public Library's Author Series. The following video was the result...

Sigh. And Arg. ... Let's not kid ourselves. I am not a very comfortable or an inspiring 'performer' ... Why? Because I am a WRITER, not an ACTRESS!!! And yet, such is the Nature of the Beast these days. Acting - aka selling - is not just a requirement anymore, it has become a Necessity ... 

#Bookem Hostess with the Mostest
The following link is from an writer I very much admire, Veronica Cline Barton. Veronica has stepped into this Brave New World by recently launching, with two other women writers, a YouTube book channel, #Bookem, to promote their writing as well as written works by others.

Is dear Veronica a 'good actress'? In truth, I think that depends a great deal on what one might expect from someone not trained in the discipline, (like me!), but who clearly understands the Necessity of self-promotion.

I think it safe to say that my darling friend is no Katherine Hepburn ... BUT - Veronica is very much her Self. And, at the end of the day, surely that IS the greatest of accomplishments. Veronica is very much, and authentically, her Self.  

In the following clip, Veronica  offers a very kind and generous shout-out for my 3rd novel, TRILLIUM.  There is a curious moment when she slides from 'performing' to 'thinking aloud' at the conclusion of why I undertook this latest work ... WATCH it HERE. 

It's a revealing little tidbit. Because, for all her effervescence, tiaras, bright lights and southern charm, Veronica is clearly a thinking writer who is working very hard to fit in with the never-ending array of Hollywood/YouTube/Facebook/Instagram and TikTok performers. To my mind, it is brave and a courageous undertaking. It is a fearless 'get-it-out-there' endeavour ... And it deserves the greatest respect from this admittedly performance-shy author ... Thank you V! 

p.s. Amazon link for TRILLIUM

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Two more shout-outs for novel TRILLIUM by MLHolton

It's always so gratifying when readers resonate with the efforts that an author makes!

A 'GirlfromNiagara', (on Instagram & Twitter), recently tackled TRILLIUM and emerged with -

"TRILLIUM is beautifully written ... the story captivates and mesmerizes." She goes on to describe "some characters are endearing, some repulsive - all compelling." She closes with "Holton's imaginative voice and rich verbiage produces vivid imagery in the reader's mind."  

Authors can't ask for much more than that!

University College at the University of Toronto also gave a shout-out in their mid-July e-mailer to Alumni. Identified as an 'Alumni of Influence' beneath the boost of Canadian director, David Cronenberg, I've been tagged as the artist and author of TRILLIUM.

"Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy TRILLIUM" that "portrays the intertwined evolution of three families in the Niagara wine-making region." - YES, that's what it does! - Drink up!

Have you added TRILLIUM, a southern Ontario saga to YOUR reading list yet? Available as an ebook or paperback on Amazon  - find your preferred link below -

TRILLIUM in Canada  

For alternate e-book editions
go HERE 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Canada Day ... 2020

Canada  - A GOOD IDEA

Yup, still here, still at it. And still enamored by this fine and good country that I am fortunate enough to live in. Is #Canada perfect? No, not by a long shot. But, seriously, what is?

And, perhaps more important during these troubled and troubling times, where else in the world is BETTER? China? Russia? The United States? .... What about the Netherlands? Sweden? South Africa? New Zealand? Vietnam? Germany? Turkey? Sudan? Ethiopia? Iran? Pakistan? ...

All in all, Canada is doing pretty well for a youngster on the global stage. That's due, in no small part, to the millions of immigrants who have come from all over the world seeking a BETTER life for themselves and their families ... Kudos to you all!!

It is the DREAM, and the DESIRE to WORK HARD to BUILD a BETTER place that drives us on.
We know we are not perfect, but we do try our best, most often.

Enjoy this wonder-filled day: Enjoy your lives. Live Well -
And thank you Canada and all Canadians for being such Good People.
 - mlholton

p.s Still not convinced this is a fantastic country? Consider these statistics:

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Gilded Beaver by Margaret Lindsay Holton, Second Edition - June Release, 2020

It is with both sadness and delight that I can now able 'reveal' that yes, I, Margaret Lindsay Holton, am the author of the award-winning 1999 novel, 'The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous'

It's sad, because the 'verbal deal' that I made with the antagonist of this quasi-fictional work died this March of natural causes in his 80th year. Yet, I am delighted because, now, I can rightfully claim this 'story' as my own.

Why did we make this 'deal'? 
It's complicated, but suffice it to say, that on successful completion of an ambitious design commission, I wrote about the nit-grit of what REALLY happened during the process. When I asked the client for permission to publish our story, he agreed, on one condition: we were both to remain anonymous, until, quote, "one of us dies."

'Anonymous' 1st Edition  
- I agreed to that, and soon released 'The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous' in a limited-edition paperback under my own artists' imprint. It did well enough, even though, at the time of release, no-one had any idea where it had come from.

Newspaper reviews, at the time, had some fun with it, calling it 'a mysterious psycho-sexual tug of war in the design world' and 'a dance of intellect and eros that expertly unfolds ... closes with panache'I was eventually outed as the author by The Ottawa Citizen, but by then, the initial interest had subsided, and life went on. For all intent and purposes, the title remained 'anonymous' and has sold that way for the past twenty years. However, overtime, I began to regret my 'anonymous author' decision. Why?

Because, in simple terms, very few people understand what transpires when an artist - or designer - interacts with a client. It is often so much more than just a financial transaction or a power dynamic exercised by one - (who has money over one who does not) - to 'do what they want'.

Carving Detail on the Winter Chair
When a self-professed mover & shaker, (in this instance 'G'), offered an ambitious designer, (in this instance, me), the opportunity to do BETTER than their BEST, the design dynamic changes dramatically.

'G' did offer an opportunity to do something spectacular to ADD to 'Canadian Material Culture', and I did just that. But, on route, there were bumps, lumps, periodic disagreements, confusion and personal upsets.

We did manage it in the end, but, believe me, it was not easy. As a client, he was imperious, moody, petulant, demanding, and in the end, a bit of an a**hole primarily because of the money issue ...

Money is an on-going concern for small business owners to keep 'cash flow' going. (It's not of such concern for big-wig financiers who always have easy access to bank credit.) One of my reasons for initially writing this work was to articulate - and demonstrate - what a fine line it is between feast and famine for those who live, out of necessity, paycheck to paycheck.

Autumn, The Four Canadian Fireside Chairs by MLHolton
When the anonymous first edition come out in 1999, I was not able - or permitted  - to 'claim' the good work that was done by so many skilled craftsmen. Nor was I able to promote these new furniture pieces for their good design and exemplary workmanship that would have legitimately positioned them in the international global arena of FINE #DECORATIVEARTSI was just not permitted to speak about them because of the aforementioned 'deal'.
Admittedly, this is all very obscure to most, but for those 'in the trade', they understand that fine decorative objects artfully reflect the culture from which the items spring. Ultimately, well-designed decorative art works honour the precise hand-skill traditions of solid eye-hand-and-heart co-ordination. My hired hands did an exemplary job - and those craftsmen deserve the recognition and reputation for doing so - even if it is 20-years late.

My specialty, at that time, was the designing and making of 'Canadian Fine Furniture'. I had learned the rudiments of this craft from my cabinet-making father, Luther Janna Holton II, and had refined my skills and interest with further self-study and application. By the time I was doing this 'commission' for 'G', aka Gordon, I was, without exaggeration, one of the best 'fine furniture designers' in Canada. I always worked with the best hands I could find to make beautiful 'things'. The revealed chairs in this post, and other items that I produced in the 1990s, attest to that.

'Winter' Chair, The Four Canadian Fireside Chairs by MLH
But, again, life goes on ... I finally left this discipline, after spending 10 months on another high-end commission, when the client ran their hand down the beautifully french-polished and intricately-carved mahogany 16-foot dining room table and asked if it was 'oak' ...

That was it for me. I just lost interest in designing and making 'things' for people who had absolutely no idea what they were getting, or what was involved in the design and crafting process. I soon left the 'business' of designing 'Canadian fine furniture'.

That's not to say that my own interest in fine craftsmanship and good design waned. It did not. I still swoon over a beautifully made object - from any culture or from any era. I am just no longer willing to do it - or sell it. 

In the late 1990s, I started to do other things and developed other marketable skills, like my ever-popular pinhole and photo-collage photography, and, as always, I continued on with my signature paintings and my writing, found all over this site.

'Autumn', Four Canadian Fireside Chairs by MLHolton
So, that's the backstory ... 

The final - and most relevant - reason for releasing this title again - with my name on it - is to DIRECTLY and DELIBERATELY tie this book to 'The Four Canadian Fireside Chairs'.  These four well-made chairs now exist in Time & Space. This book, The Gilded Beaver, intimately explains how they came to be. There is, finally, some faint hope that someday, someone, somewhere will finally 'get it'. It is hoped that a few decorative arts connoisseurs will recognize this #Canadian #design contribution for what it really is ...

There are no other chairs on the planet like this set of four.

The Four Canadian Fireside Chairs are a  fusion of English-French and Inuit IDEAS that place them squarely IN CANADA at the end of the twentieth century. Made of blemish-free hardwood, selected from a private mill in Ancaster, these black walnut chairs should easily last for 300 to 400 years, with, perhaps, a restoration or two on route.

I know, without any doubt, that they are GOOD chairs. They will stand the test of time. In the end, I was happy to have designed and created them. I am now, with this new release - with my name attached - willfully putting them into the broader arena of the DECORATIVE ARTS FROM CANADA at the end of the TWENTIETH CENTURY.

2nd Edtion - E-book -NOW AVAILABLE
Yes, they were designed FOR Gordon, but more importantly, they were done FOR CANADA and our own 'material culture'  heritage. 

I hope you will now consider this revised title, by yours truly. Give the story a read, or even a re-read, knowing now that it is a 'true story'.

Consider what when on, and why. Consider this title knowing that what artists and designers build - as 'cultural artifacts' - comes from inherited and invented narratives that manifest in material form. Yes, we artists 'make things', that not only mark our time on the planet, but we also make things to WITNESS and DOCUMENT the dominant stories of our own times for future generations.

Have a read. Learn more about this grand & beautiful country of ours, Canada, on this amazing planet, Earth.

Now Available as an E-book on Amazon
The Gilded Beaver, Second Edition, 
by Margaret Lindsay Holton

BOOK LAUNCH of The Gilded Beaver by Margaret Lindsay Holton