Cory Barclay's Blog - Posts Tagged "author-spotlight"

Author Spotlight: J.R.R. Tolkien

I'm going to start doing a monthly little "Author Spotlight" with fun facts about writers I like. Here's the first installment, with some little-known tidbits about one of my favorite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien.

* Though he taught at Oxford for 35 years, he was far from your typical professor: He often appeared at parties as a polar bear or axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon warrior and would chase his neighbors.

* He also often gave shopkeepers his false teeth as payment.

* He was a codebreaker during World War I. He also created a secret language to communicate with his wife (later becoming the basis for many of his invented languages).

* After the War, he worked at the Oxford Dictionary in charge of words starting with the letter W.

* Born in South Africa, he was once bitten by a baboon spider which many believe is echoed in his future work (think Shelob the spider, from Lord of the Rings).

* By age four, he could read and write fluently (and ultimately fluent in 19 languages).

* The Hobbit began unceremoniously one day on a blank piece of exam paper when he wrote the line: "In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit." The rest literally became history.

* Many of Bilbo's adventures came from his own experiences through Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss Alps.

* Gandalf's famous phrase "You shall not pass!" came from a commonly used World War I propaganda slogan.

And that's it for now. More "Author Spotlights" coming soon!

And for more free books, I've made a list of some of my favorite instaFreebie giveaways at:

Finally, if you feel so inclined, you can buy my full novel at: It's just 99 cents for a limited time, or free with Kindle Unlimited. It's called Devil in the Countryside, and is based on a real life werewolf investigation that took place in the 16th century.

Thanks so much, and happy reading!
-Cory Barclay
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Published on March 08, 2017 00:37 Tags: author-spotlight, bilbo, gandalf, hobbit, j-r-r-tolkien, lord-of-the-rings, the-hobbit, tolkien

Author Spotlight: Mark Twain

Ernest Hemingway once said, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Huckleberry Finn.’ It’s the best book we’ve had.” Besides being an American legend, here are some other interesting tidbits about Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain.

1) He tried out two other pen names: W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab, and Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, before finally settling with Mark Twain.

2) He worked as an apprentice steamboat pilot as a young man, until the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.

3) He got his younger brother, Henry, a job on his steamboat. But on June 13, 1857, 19-year-old Henry was killed in a deadly boiler explosion, devastating Twain.

4) Clemens’ pen name, Mark Twain, comes from a term signifying two fathoms (12 feet), which is a safe depth of water for steamboats to maneuver.

5) Served in a pro-Confederate militia, the Marion Rangers, for two weeks at the onset of the Civil War. When the Rangers learned Ulysses S. Grant was headed their way with a Union force, the group disbanded.

6) Twain became a friend of Ulysses S. Grant later on in life, and published the former president’s memoir in 1885, which became a best-seller and rescued Grant’s widow from poverty.

7) In 1864, Twain challenged a Nevada newspaperman to a duel, but fled before the fight took place to avoid being arrested for violating the territory’s anti-dueling law.

8) He based Huckleberry Finn on a real person, Tom Blankenship, who was a boy four years older than Twain when he was growing up in Hannibal, Missouri.

9) After finding success as an author, he made a number of bad investments and went bankrupt. When offered a chance to invest in a new invention, the telephone, he turned Alexander Graham Bell down.

Here is a list of more awesome free and bargain books:

And if you feel so inclined, you can buy my novel, Devil in the Countryside, here:

Thanks so much for tuning in, and happy reading!

Cory Barclay
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Published on April 01, 2017 22:07 Tags: american-literature, author, author-spotlight, huckleberry-finn, mark-twain, writing