Monday, July 5, 2010

A fabulous fourth at the farmers’ market

Fleeing the beach, long lines and traffic was easy for this Newark resident as the Newark Coop and Farmer’s Market was in full swing on July 4 (since it was a Sunday). The Coop and the Newark Arts Alliance have both begun to take advantage of the crowds who shop at the Newark Farmers’ Market. The Newark Arts Alliance opens on Sundays at 12 and hosts Sunday music jam sessions from 2 to 6 p.m. This month they have an exhibit of their members’ works and, as usual, have jewelry, art and handmade stationery for sale.

Out in the sunlight of the market, Captain Blue Hen Comics had set up their rows of items any Star Trek groupie would be proud to own.

In the background, Kevin Neidig was performing on guitar – singing his personalized brand of folk music which was amplified just enough to be heard but not enough to annoy. His gentle strains made me think of James Taylor, with that soft but piercing message in his music. Perhaps Mr. Neidig would have had more attention had he been louder, but the music resonated on this gentle wave of sound and I enjoyed standing nearby, listening to the music as I shopped for the perfect peaches, berries and green vegetables.

Of course, a trip to the Newark Farmers’ Market also means a meet and greet with all of the more hip population of Newark. An Alexander Technique teacher was relaying philosophies from a recent workshop in Virginia and a Transition Town enthusiast was planning their fall concert/lecture series intended to draw attention to the crisis of peak oil.

And all of the solar heating vanguards, organic vegetable enthusiasts and slow food promoters can be seen and heard at the Coop as well.

For a total world change, nip into Wang’s Oriental Market where you can find everything Asian you ever wanted, including fresh vegetables and prepared e dishes.

The Newark Farmers’ Market runs until fall; trust me, you should get there. Buying local and celebrating life, friends and music doesn’t get much better than this.





Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Interview with a Delaware Author

By Guest Blogger, JM Reinbold
JM Reinbold is the Director of the Written Remains Writers Guild and the co-editor of Stories from the Inkslingers, a collection of short fiction by Delaware authors. Sherry Thompson is the author of the recently published epic high fantasy, sword and sorcery novel, Earthbow.

JM Reinbold: Sherry, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Sherry Thompson: I’m in my sixties, retired, and fairly unconventional. Storytelling is my second career but my first love. I’m servant to two cats: Khiva, the seal-point Siamese, and Vartha, a black foundling with Maine Coon mixed in. I have a variety of hobbies, including jewelry-making. I love filk (folk music of the science fiction and fantasy community), world and folk music. I also enjoy virtually all forms of guitar music, Celtic music and most Christian music.

JMR: Your book, Earthbow, has received excellent reviews. What is it about?

ST: Earthbow Volume 1 has gotten great reviews, because only half the book is out. Gryphonwood Press decided that Earthbow was too long to be published as a single book. Earthbow Volume 2 will be published later this summer. Earthbow tells the story of the 2nd Narentan Tumult, just as Seabird, my first book, related the story of the 1st Narentan Tumult. Tumults are cataclysmic periods of plotting, murder and battle during which parts of Narenta, my fictional world, are threatened by various forces of evil. Frequently, these include sorcerers, and the 2nd Tumult is no exception. Madness, the blind striving for power, the possible destruction of whole ecosystems are also involved. Because the Earthbow story is so complex, parts of the tale are experienced by certain characters, while other parts are experienced by others. Consequently, Earthbow has an ensemble cast and several plot threads. It all comes together near the end of Earthbow Volume 2.

JMR: Earthbow is a high fantasy work. Describe what that genre is for those who may not know.

ST: Backtracking to my first book, Seabird is high fantasy because it is set in a fictional location. In the case of Seabird, this other world of Narenta may or may not be part of our universe. Occasionally, Earth inhabitants or people from other worlds are brought to Narenta—otherwise Earth would know nothing about it. Seabird is also “epic” in that a major part of the plot involves two or more forces struggling against each other. Earthbow certainly fits these definitions up to a point. That particular point is when the sorcerer, Mexat, and a young fighter named Coris strolled into my group of characters. Coris took a nearly instant dislike to Cenoc (Lord of Latimus) and Beroc (leader of Cenoc’s guards), while they didn’t much like him either. In the meantime, Harone (an initiate enchanter) caught on to Mexat’s machinations and knew he had to be stopped. Voila: Sword and Sorcery. So, just to confuse things, I look at it like this: the world of Narenta is definitely an epic high fantasy setting. However, the plot of Earthbow has strong characteristics of Sword and Sorcery, in which individual battles between wizards and/or fighters take place.

JMR: What other authors or books have significantly influenced your writing?

ST: My influences have been George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. Also, Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series. Barbara Hambly’s excellent and out-of-print fantasy series, Lewis Carroll and Poul Anderson.

JMR: What inspired you to write Earthbow?

ST: I was inspired to write Earthbow at the same time I was inspired to write Seabird. I had finished reading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and C.S. Lewis’ the Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy. I was just starting on the other Inkling, Charles Williams, with his seven urban fantasy novels and his Arthurian poetry. But I was running out of fantasy to read. In danger of running out of subject matter, I wrote some for myself at first, just as I used to tell myself stories. I very specifically began with an audience of one, then expanded to see how other people might like theses stories, too.

To learn more about Sherry Thompson and her books, visit her website at

Read an exclusive extract from Earthbow: and an interview with Sherry Thompson discussing the Art & Symbolism of the Earthbow covers on the Written Remains Writers Guild blog:

Jazz at the Newark Free Library

E. Shawn Qaissaunee and Sharon Sable gave a beautiful jazz concert at the Newark Free Library on Wednesday, June 30.

The two work seamlessly together, Qaissaunee’s beautifully lyrical guitar introductions can be so fanciful that it is hard to know which tune he is introducing. But Sable seems to like that fine and knows just when to bring in her cooing jazz lyrics and when to stop for more of Qaissaunee’s interludes. Their music is quietly melodic, yet they step out of the box whenever they can.

Qaissaunee’s guitar work is highly polished technical finger work with a jazz spin or even a hint of blues and country. He seems to let his fingers do the wandering which makes his performance unpredictable and exciting. For example, when he played his introduction to the Beatles’ song And I love her, he managed to work in a quote from Blackbird.

Sable’s voice is rich and yet she holds back just enough to keep you on edge. She has that cool, quiet jazz style which is like a feather in your ear…you just have to pay attention. She is solid on her lyrics and is able to bend the lines in a funky way. Her delivery of the ridiculously erudite lyrics of You fascinate me was smooth and unpretentious.

The library was one of the more formal settings for the duo, who have just made a new CD together called Comfort Me, and the quiet and formal setting was a new experience for them and a nice thrill for the audience.