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Need a Getaway? Here's Your Chance!

Summer is coming and we have big things planned for the May 19th release of the long-awaited final book in the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy-- The Summer's End.

First up... The Summer's End Sweepstakes.
We have our biggest sweepstakes to date launching March 24th on my Facebook page.
One lucky winner will enjoy a Lowcountry island getaway here in Charleston, SC.  This grand prize package includes:
  • Three-night stay at a three-bedroom, marsh view cottage on Dewees Island
    (Check-in date: Sunday, May 17, 2015; Check-out date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015*)
  • Courtesy ferry boat rides to/from Dewees Island
  • Personal nature tour on this pristine private island by master naturalist Judy Fairchild
  • Private cocktail event hosted by Dewees Real Estate
  • Sunset dolphin cruise for two courtesy of Barrier Island Eco Tours
  • Two tickets to the official book launch party for The Summer's End at the South Carolina Aquarium

TO WIN: Pre-order my new novel The Summer's End.  Then, enter your name and receipt number in the comment box of the sweepstakes post on my Facebook page.  That's it!

Every week new prizes will be awarded-- you can enter every week with that same receipt number.  All entries are eligible for the grand prize Lowcountry Island Getaway.  If you've already pre-ordered, don't worry-- your purchase qualifies too.  Just enter your receipt number in the comments box of the sweepstakes post on my Facebook page.  

Details will be posted on my website and my Facebook page. Remember, this contest launches March 24th on my facebook page, so order a copy of The Summer's End today.  Have fun and good luck.

Summer is just beginning for The Summer's End!

*Grand prize winner will be announced April 28th on Facebook and  Winner must claim prize in 48 hours after the announcement.  If grand prize winner cannot redeem weekend prize during the May 17-20, 2015 dates aforementioned, Dewees Real Estate will make every effort possible to accommodate the winner with an alternative getaway date but the selected cottage on the island cannot be guaranteed.
*Grand prize winner is responsible for transportation to and from Charleston, SC.




On this, the birthday of Nobel Prize winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I'm sharing with you the article written by The Writer's Almanac.  Why this one?  Because the way that Marquez pursued learning writing is a marvelous study of great writers and thinkers.  For all writers and readers-- Enjoy!
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It's the birthday of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who said, "I've always been convinced that my true profession is that of journalist." That's Gabriel García Márquez (books by this author), born in Aracataca, Colombia, on this day in 1927. He's the author of one of the most important books in Latin American literature, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967).

He once said, "I learned a lot from James Joyce and Erskine Caldwell and of course from Hemingway ... [but the] tricks you need to transform something which appears fantastic, unbelievable, into something plausible, credible, those I learned from journalism. The key is to tell it straight. It is done by reporters and by country folk.''

He worked for a newspaper in Bogotá for many years, writing at least three stories a week, as well as movie reviews and several editorial notes each week. Then, when everyone had gone home for the day, he would stay in the newsroom and write his fiction. He said, "I liked the noise of the Linotype machines, which sounded like rain. If they stopped, and I was left in silence, I wouldn't be able to work."

He learned to write short stories first from Kafka, and later from the American Lost Generation. He said that the first line of Kafka's Metamorphosis "almost knocked [him] off the bed," he was so surprised. In one interview, he quoted the first line ("As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect") and told the interviewer, "When I read the line, I thought to myself that I didn't know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories."

It was from James Joyce and Virginia Woolf that he learned to write interior monologue, he said, and he prefers the way Woolf did it.

And it was from William Faulkner, he said, that he learned to write about his childhood surroundings. Just after college, he went home to his early childhood village of Aracataca, a place he hadn't been since he was eight years old. On that trip home, he felt that he "wasn't really looking at the village, but . experiencing it as if [he] were reading it." He said: "It was as if everything I saw had already been written, and all I had to do was sit down and copy what was there and what I was just reading. For all practical purposes everything had evolved into literature: the houses, the people, and the memories." And he said: "The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner. . I had simply found the material that had to be dealt with in the same way that Faulkner had treated similar material." His birth town, Aracataca, is the model for the fictional village Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude.

It was from his own grandmother that he learned the tone he used in One Hundred Years. His grandmother told stories, he said, "that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness . what was most important was the expression she had on her face. She did not change her expression at all when telling her stories and everyone was surprised."

For a long time, he had tried telling the fantastic stories of One Hundred Years without believing in them. He said, "I discovered that what I had to do was believe in them myself and write them with the same expression with which my grandmother told them: with a brick face." And he said, "When I finally discovered the tone I had to use, I sat down for eighteen months and worked every day."

One Hundred Years of Solitude begins, "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

His other novels include of Love in the Time of Cholera (1988), The General in His Labyrinth (1989), Of Love and Other Demons (1994), and Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2005).

He started a journalism school in Colombia in 1995. He reads most of the important magazines from around the world each week. He says that he really only feels comfortable in Spanish, but speaks Italian and French. And he said in a 1980s interview: "I know English well enough to have poisoned myself with Time magazine every week for twenty years." He writes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., but says he can only "work in surroundings that are familiar and have already been warmed up with my work. I cannot write in hotels or borrowed rooms or on borrowed typewriters."

He said: "One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily. In the first paragraph you solve most of the problems with your book. The theme is defined, the style, the tone. At least in my case, the first paragraph is a kind of sample of what the rest of the book is going to be."

And he said: "Ultimately literature is nothing but carpentry. Both are very hard work. Writing something is almost as hard as making a table. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood. Both are full of tricks and techniques. Basically very little magic and a lot of hard work involved."

[Note: Gabriel García Márquez quotes are from The Paris Review interview conducted by Peter H. Stone. García Márquez's then-teenage sons translated his answers into English.]



"...and the Coast, the seductive and sultry Lowcountry where the sea caresses a vast carpet of swaying marsh grass and warm sandy beaches."  
Win a copy! 

That is an excerpt from "A State of Awe and Wonder," the foreword I penned for Reflections of South Carolina, Volume II.  When the director of University of South Carolina Press, Jonathan Haupt, contacted me with this opportunity and I was honored to accept the task.

Reflections of South Carolina, Volume II is a beautiful work of art. We are so fortunate to have so much of the ancient beauty, historical charm, and alluring culture preserved in 250 pages of sterling photographs and poignant descriptions.

When you hold this book, you will sense its value and importance.  The photographs by renowned photographer Robert C. Clark and descriptions by Tom Poland capture more than landscape, but our state's culture, traditions, and the people. They will will take you on a journey to the Upcountry, the Heartland, and the Lowcountry.  Anyone who lives in South Carolina or once called this great state home will treasure this book.  And too--anyone who has visited, wants to visit, or just loves all things southern will thoroughly enjoy this book.

I love how my friend and fellow author Dorothea Benton Frank described the book, "...a gorgeous tour of our state's endless treasured landscape. The words of Tom Poland and the photographs by Robert Clark will thrill you.  It's that good."

I couldn't agree more. I'm giving this book to friends and family for Christmas! And, I'm really excited to share this book with you!  Thanks to USC Press, for the holiday season I am giving away five copies of Reflections of South Carolina, Volume II (one copy each week) through my Facebook fan page.  To enter the giveaway, simply CLICK HERE and follow the instructions.  It's easy and I hope you'll share the contest link with your friends!

I'll announce the first winner on November 28th.

Best wishes and Happy Holidays! I know you'll enjoy the book just as much as I do.