THIS SUMMER: FOR THOSE WHO LOVE TO WANDER AND WRITE

May 10th, 2017

New Wanderess Literary Tour & Writers’ Workshop Launches in the Mediterranean

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Head to Croatia this summer to live the life of a wanderer or wanderess and create your own story in the process.  For a few select weeks this summer, a maximum of six passengers (per week) are invited to spend seven days with Roman Payne, the author of “The Wanderess,” exploring the Adriatic Sea aboard the luxury sailing yacht, “Gold One.”  

Fans of “The Wanderess” will enjoy literary discussions with its author, while writers of all levels will receive expert guidance to help them advance on their own manuscripts.  “It is a sailing adventure meant to inspire and set your creativity free,” says Payne, “and by the end of the week, I will make sure you are on your way towards finishing your novel!”

His novel, “The Wanderess,” is highly-praised for its exceptional literary quality.  It has influenced everything from pop music in America, to film in England, to Bollywood and Fashion Week in India.  Payne’s poetry is considered first-class and has inspired thousands (people around the world even tattoo his words on their bodies!)

The Roman Payne literary cruise dispatches from the Croatian city of Split, and offers some of the best sailing in the world (Croatia is home to over 1,000 islands!).  Passengers also visit Italy on the tour.

        For those who love wining and dining in addition to literature, Wanderess Tours offer something doubly-delightful: the best quality natural foods and exotic delicacies (truffles, saffron, gourmet cheeses), together with the inexpensive cost of buying direct from the farmer at the village market.  Each port city that you stop at, the Gold One drops anchor and you’ll have the pleasure of exploring city sights, shopping, and buying the freshest ingredients for your daily meals which you may prepare yourself on board in the yacht’s gourmet kitchen.  If spectacular wines help your creativity and inspiration, you are in luck: Croatia, the birthplace of Zinfandel, has some of the best wines on earth.  Sample some aboard to add festivity to your literary adventure. 

Other activities besides the literary discussions and writers’ workshops include sunbathing, swimming, and kite surfing.  There are double cabins available.  The cost is 1,300€ per person. To book a week’s Wanderess Tour, please send an email to contact@wanderess.com.

 

Tours are organized in part by Travel Writers’ Network.

 


 

Protected: Interview with Author, Gilbert Cross

April 13th, 2015

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Author Roman Payne Discusses Wandering and His New Novel, “The Love of Europa”

April 12th, 2015

Reprinted from GreatNovels.org

“To wander is to be alive.”

– Roman Payne

The wanderer stops to take respite as he roams about.

“Wandering is the major theme of both my life and my work – and they are the same thing.”

– Roman Payne

On April 10th, 2015, William Sheller at GreatNovels.org asks Roman Payne:

“Mr. Payne, your new novel, The Love of Europa, was just partially published – that is, the first 13 chapters were released to give readers a taste for what to expect.  Do you intend to serial publish more of the book?  Or will the next release be the entire book?”

Roman Payne:  It will be the entire book, it should come out this summer.  I have to finish writing it first, though.

William Sheller:  It is an amazing beginning, I have to say.  Personally, I enjoyed reading those first 70 or so pages more than anything you’ve ever written.  I like it even more than The Wanderess, which some people believed would be your masterpiece, and perhaps your final work.

RP:  Did they think I would drop dead?  Or just take up watercolours instead of writing? …No, but I see what you mean.  I hesitated to start a book after writing The Wanderess because I was worried that I couldn’t outdo The Wanderess.  I thought that was the best writing I was capable of, and I didn’t want to make a slipshod performance to follow it.

WS:  Well The Love of Europa is anything but slipshod!  It is a beautiful story, beautifully written, and it will find a large market because it speaks primarily to “young women who love to travel.”  And there are a lot of young women who love to travel, and those who love to travel tend to have the time to read a lot.

RP:  Yes, well like all my books, it is written for the wanderers of the world.

WS:  That is something I wanted to ask you… your thoughts on travel vs. wandering.  May I print the first paragraph of The Love of Europa so people reading this can see what I’m talking about?

RP:  Be my guest.

WS:  You wrote: “She called herself Europa, and wandered the world from girlhood till death. She lived every kind of life and dreamt every kind of dream. She was wild in her wandering, a drop of free water. She believed only in her life and in her dreams. She called herself Europa, and her god was Beauty.”

RP:  Do you like it?

WS:  It’s excellent.  You are like a classical composer who reuses bits of his own melodies in multiple symphonies.  You take one of your quotes – one of your “wanderess” quotes, for example – and spin it into a new phrase, into a new literary quote, into a new poem.

RP:  If you hit on something you like, why not create variations on that theme?

WS:  Exactly.  But my question here is about your use of the word “wandering” and “wandered” (“she was wild in her wandering”)… doesn’t wandering mean, sort of, walking about aimlessly!

RP:  Not at all!   (He punches the table)

RP:  You know, “wandering” is the major theme of both my life and my work – and they are the same thing.  Let me find something in my manuscript for The Love of Europa that I wrote to explain this.  Somebody else asked me what “wandering” really means, and why I don’t use the word “travelling” instead.  And I’ll tell you why.  I wrote this to explain to that person why I use “wander” and not travel”; and then I thought, you know, a lot of people reading The Love of Europa are going to have this question, so I decided to include this paragraph in the book:

The word “travel” comes from the Old French word “travail” (or “travailler”), which means “to work, to labor; a suffering or painful effort, an arduous journey, a tormenting experience.” (“Travel,” thus, is “a painful and laborious journey”). Whereas “to wander” comes from the West Germanic “wandran,” which simply means “to roam about.” There is no labor or torment in “wandering.” There is only “roaming.” Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both at one with and separate from the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries, Dear Reader, are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.

Get the first 13 chapters of The Love of Europa for Kindle right now… click here!
The “eternal wanderer,” Roman Payne, beneath the Parisian sky at the Jardin du Luxembourg (2014) | Photograph © Marta Szczesniak

 


 

Will Facebook Win the Next Nobel Prize for Literature? Will Wine Intoxication Ever Become Mandatory for Shepherds? …An Afternoon with Authors Pietros Maneos and Roman Payne.

February 22nd, 2015

They are both Americans, both highly-literary: Payne is the author of five novels that take place in Europe and follow the lives of itinerant dreamers who wander the world in search of adventure, meaning, and the “poetic life.”  Like his characters, Payne, 38, is an itinerant dreamer who lives in Paris, wanders in Europe, and devotes his time to “living the Homeric life,” and “inventing the next novel.”  Payne and Maneos are both published by Aesthete Press.

Above, Left: Roman Payne (Photo, copyright 2014: Marta Szczesniak, Photography) | Above, Right: Pietros Maneos. NOTE: SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE FOR FULL-SIZED PHOTOS OF THE AUTHORS.

Maneos, 35, is no less a son of the divine Homer.  He seeks aesthetic perfection in all things: his life, his Ancient Greek body, and his literature, which, like Payne’s, marries Classicism and Romanticism.  Unlike other professional authors who seek the cliché in mid-life of some kind of professorship at a university, or a pay check in exchange for scholary pursuits in a library, Maneos chose a life that few have managed to live since the decline of the Ancient Roman aristocracy: he purchased 40-acres of Eden in North Carolina where he is constructing a vineyard to live his own version of a life like the one lived by one of his heroes: the Roman literary-patron Gaius Maecenas.  “Bramabella” is the name that Maneos chose for his vineyard—a construction of two Italian words that, assembled, mean “yearning for beauty.”

The two authors and the editor Jean Sitori are sitting in the office of the newspaper Literature Monthly in Paris.  Jean is entranced as he watches Maneos stand and demonstrate how to properly hurl the discus. After a moment, Jean turns his attention to Payne…

JEAN SITORI:  Roman, speaking of hurling the discus, you just got back from Greece where you were living for about four months…  Are you happy to be back in France?  Were you writing well in Greece?

PAYNE:  I am always happy to be back in France—that is why I almost never leave France to begin with.  When I get tricked into leaving France, I almost always regret it afterwards.  I initially went to Greece this trip to research my next novel at a place on the beach just outside of Athens.  But the weather got bad, the sea turned cold and violent—fault of Poseidon!  I can deal with nasty weather.  But when the inspiration to write disappears, I lose my mind.  Here I was in Greece: the birthplace of the muses, and they had abandoned me.  I tried all the tricks to get literary inspiration back: yoga, running, hard alcohol, nothing worked.  My thoughts were so black that I became convinced that writing was something that was no longer a part of me at all.  Now, back in France, I suddenly feel like writing again; and my work is going well.

JS:  Are you reading at present?

PAYNE:  No.  When I am writing well, I do not read.  Reading takes valuable time away, and it puts another man’s or woman’s style in your head to mar your own.  What are you reading at present, Jean?

Jean makes a wholehearted laugh at this and says, “Let’s see… what am I reading these days?”  With that, he begins leafing through a copy of the woman’s magazine Grazia, which he said, had “mysteriously” appeared in his briefcase that day.  After scanning a blonde woman smoking a cigar for a moment, his eyes light up.  He’d found an article worth commenting on to his guests. Jean summarized the article…

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg told Grazia that he made it his 2015 New Year’s resolution to, quote, “read more literature,” and to finish a book every two weeks.  This resolution, he said, inspired him to make reading “chic” (we didn’t know that Zuckerberg had a magic wand for making things chic, but why not?!), so he has created a Facebook page called “A Year of Books.”  It currently has just over 350,000 likes.

JS:  Pietros, what do you think of Zuckerberg’ public display of affection for reading?

MANEOS:  Well, I think that it is noble of Mr. Zuckerberg to do so, especially as the head of a technology company, since society seems to be awhirl over technological platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and others, which has perhaps led to a decline in the written word. Not that there aren’t a plethora of authors flooding the marketplace, but it seems that modern man has lost the ability to sit quietly with a book for an extended period of time without succumbing to the lure of online ephemera’

JS: Some of the books Zuckerberg said he is reading are excellent titles.  Perhaps his publicist thought them up to make the Facebook founder seem complex and interesting, or perhaps he really is interesting.  Anyway, many of the titles delve into the Baroque, others into Romanticism, others into Ornate Gothic Style… since your own books are complex and ornate, and explore Baroque Romanticism, do you foresee that pop-culture is going to lean more in your direction and away from current trends, like Philip Roth ?

MANEOS:  Well, I think popular culture and literary culture are two disparate entities. With regard to popular culture, I think that it is enamored with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and other such works, no?

But now transitioning to literary culture, I don’t think that there has been much cultural shift from the irony, cynicism, and anti-aestheticism of the previous epoch. I still think that many writers and artists are busy declaiming ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so?’, while writing in short, spare, suburban sentences. I, of course, have rejected this trend for a Baroque aestheticism that one finds in personages like D’Annunzio and Kazantzakis. I embrace epithet, adjective, apposition and heightened musicality, which are despised by many moderns. So, I certainly consider myself part of a burgeoning counter-culture of To Kalon in modernity along with such movements in the visual arts such as Post-Contemporary.

JS: Pietros, just what is it about “Baroque aestheticism” that you embrace? And can you explain the term a little for our readers who have turned a blind eye to that phrase up until now?

MANEOS:   An example of Baroque aestheticism might be, ‘The light, soft and sensuous, brushed across the crest of the Brushy Mountain,’ where spare, suburban 20th century minimalism would simply say, ‘The light hit the Brushy Mountain.’

The great Matthew Arnold once noted, ”The instinct for beauty is served by Greek literature and art as it is served by no other literature and art,’ and I am striving to continue this Hellenic sensibility in the 21st century.

JS:  Pietros, when one reads your work; or talks to you personally, and listens to your music playlists, one feels that you are more Greek than any full-blood Greek currently alive in Athens, or in Sparta, or Macedonia… How come you didn’t start Bramabella in Greece instead of America? Or at least, why don’t you live six months of the year in North Carolina, and six months of the year in Greece?

MANEOS:   Well, although I am Greek by descent and sensibility as an ardent student of classical antiquity, I do not speak demotic Greek, so that alone would be a challenge. Additionally, Greece is suffering under dire economic conditions, so if I ventured there, I might end up starving to death, ha!

Also, similarly to the orator/philosopher Isocrates, I have always believed that Greece or rather Hellenism is not so much of a language, or a land-mass as it is a world-view, a philosophy, if you will. Figures like Oscar Wilde, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Paul Cartledge, John Boardman and many other Artist/Scholars are as Hellenic as any Greek whose last name happens to end in ‘os’ by happenstance. You too, my friend, are Hellenic even though you were born in America, and have elected to reside abroad.

Though, I must make a final confession to you – Traveling to Greece to raise a classicizing army to battle ISIL in Syria-Iraq does intrigue me, as it is perfumed with both Herakleanism and Byronism.

JS:  Pietros, our poor friend Roman is starting to daydream over there in his chair—one can tell because his eyes look like Lucy in the Heavens with Rhinestones—maybe he is bored because we are so interested in your work right now.   To ask you a question about Roman’s work… His first novel was a Parisian thriller in the Dostoevsky style. His second, Cities and Countries, was a Bildungsroman set in an imaginary world.  His third was a tragic love story.  His fourth was a diary of seducing women in Paris—everyone from impoverished seamstresses without breeding and a ripe age that can be counted on three hands, to blue-blooded countesses cheating on their husbands.  Then his fifth novel, “The Wanderess,” well that is more hard to define.  The question is… you, Pietros, are a literary scholar and, if I may flatter you by saying: a literary visionary.  What do you think Roman’s sixth novel will be about?  What do you think it “should” be about?

MANEOS:  Roman is a great genius, and I think that for Rooftop Soliloquy and The Wanderess he should be considered for the Nobel Prize, but to speak of your question, I think that he should continue in the Heroic and Aesthetic vein. Perhaps, since he is descended from the ‘Chian Nightingale’ – Homer – in such a pronounced way, he could write a Modern Odyssey akin to what Kazantzakis attempted.

JS: You make the distinction between two phrases: ‘The light hit the Brushy Mountain,’ and one that I believe you appreciate more: ‘The light, soft and sensuous, brushed across the crest of the Brushy Mountain.’ …Mark Zuckerberg would probably claim to agree with your tastes. Do you think this is an anomaly—the preference of a well-educated billionaire matching the preference of a Homeric poet who is most likely a descendant of the immortal poet Sappho ? Or do you think that we may be entering a new literary age—a time when people are, frankly, sick and tired of “spare, suburban, 20th Century minimalism?”

MANEOS:  Well, I am not sure about a new literary age, but one can only hope! I think that my kinship with figures like Roman Payne, Tomasz Rut, Michael Newberry, Sabin Howard, Graydon Parrish, Michael Imber and others is indicative of a cultural paradigm shift. I am always hesitant to use the term ‘movement’ – but – there is certainly a shared sense of aesthetic values.  And one of my aims is to have Bramabella stand as an expression of this aesthetic.

JS to PAYNE: Pietros Maneos is a poet, novella scribe, and satirist… he is a writer of many styles, many genres. What is your favorite genre of his at present?

PAYNE:   Maneos has arrived at a sacred mastery of certain literary forms (I am not fond of the word “genre”).  I would say, these “sacred forms” are my favorites of his, since no one does them better than he does.  The forms that come to my mind first is what I would call his “Bramabella Pastorales.”  In these poems, Maneos is able paint a landscape like Renoir or Monet, construct a exquisite virgin like John Williams Waterhouse, sing of the youthful love of a troubadour, or the old man’s lament of a Cavafy poem.  He can prepare the body to fight like a Homeric hero, fall to tears like a Nocturne of Chopin.  They are all that is life: his Bramabella poems are the laments of a poet intoxicated with wine, and the joys of a madman sipping the sweet fumes of the poppy.

JS:  And what is the literary style that you would like to see Maneos work on next?

PAYNE:   I would love to see him write a 200 page “roman d’amour” in the French tradition… an old style novel about a couple’s first love, and their last.

JS:  (To the readers)… This concludes our all-too-short interview, but we at Literature Monthly hope to have Maneos and Payne with us again soon!

Author, Pietros Maneos

Find out more about Pietros Maneos at www.pietrosmaneos.com

Author, Roman Payne (Photo copyright: Marta Szczesniak)

 

Find out more about Roman Payne at www.romanpayne.com


 

The Dawning of the Age of the Wanderess: How Modern Culture is Encouraging Young Women to Travel the World Alone and Free

August 29th, 2014

“The Wanderess,” Roman Payne’s latest novel, is experiencing a boom in viral activity.  The subject of the book resonates with our internet culture, which allows and encourages women to brave the world on their own

 

In the world of literature, it is extremely difficult to find novels with titles like: “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.”  And even if a woman comes of age in a novel, she may be an artist, but never an adventuress.  Writers of coming-of-age novels about young adventurous men have a well-worn, established path to follow through the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.”  This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience (usually involving solitary travel), becomes a mature man who is successful in the world.  Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel.  Up until now, it was a social taboo for a woman to travel alone.  Beyond concerns for their safety, there was the general opinion that “women just don’t do that.”  Fortunately, times have changed.

“A girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of Roman Payne’s new novel “The Wanderess” (Aesthete Press, November 2013).  Payne coined the term: “wanderess,” which before the novel’s release was unfound in Google.  Now, a popular quote from Payne’s novel containing this word is found in Google on over 200,000 webpages.  The quote reads:

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

“This quote especially resonates with young women,” says Payne’s publisher, “They post this quote on their WordPress and Tumblr blogs.  Many are even titling their blogs ‘The Wanderess’ now.”  The infatuation with this quote is partly due to the jealousy women feel towards men who travel alone.  Editor of Salon Magazine, Sarah Hepola, described her jealousy in an article in Salon titled “Every Woman should Travel Alone.”  In it, she recounts a scene in a movie that inspired her to travel the world:  A dying mother tells her daughter, “I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life […] I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone else’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.”  Later, after traveling the world, Hepola wrote that it was “the best thing she had ever done.”

Besides literary and magazine claims supporting this lifestyle, our culture and society as a whole has changed in a way that urges women to go alone on the road…  “Women have never experienced the freedom they do today,” says social anthropologist, Sophie Reynolds, “As menopause onset and marriage customs have changed, women are no longer expected to get married and have babies at a young age.  And due to workplace globalization, corporations have begun to put high value on world travel in candidates for positions within their firms.”  In addition to those points, women have more financial independence than they used to, airplane fares are now cheaper than ever, and safety concerns for woman travelling alone have relaxed because there is more emphasis now on women’s quality of life than before.  As Payne argues, “An increase in safety risk is a small price to pay where it concerns depriving women of their right to experience a life that is as beautiful and meaningful as the lives we men experience.”

Critical reception to Payne’s novel has been entirely positive.  The average Amazon review gives it five stars, and claims it is his best novel ever.  Like any great novel, “The Wanderess” has a great romance.  It begins when the life of the book’s heroine, Saskia (the “wanderess” in the novel) gets tangled up with the life of an adventurer named Saul, whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune is abandoned to help Saskia’s quest for her long-lost friend and her own “fortune.”

The back cover description reads:  “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”

Writer, photographer, and adventurer, Lauren Metzler writes on the subject:

“If I had let the fact that I was a woman keep me from traveling, I would’ve never lived in Thailand for nearly three years or traveled to Australia on my own, backpacked around Europe, wandered Southeast Asia, motorcycled across Italy or trekked across the Great Wall in China! I would have missed out on the most incredible adventures of my life!  I believe that everyone can and should travel alone, at least once in their lifetime. Rewards from traveling are such that you will never be the same, and you will never view the world in the same way again.”

Payne receives numerous fan letters everyday from readers, mostly women, who say that “The Wanderess” has been an enormous inspiration in their lives.  Many say that they take the book with them on their travels and read and re-read the novel several times, each time they need to refuel their inspiration.

“The Wanderess” is available in many bookstores worldwide, as well as on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle formats.  Roman Payne greatly welcomes reader feedback.  You can email him directly at roman@wanderess.com.

 

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013.  Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013. Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

 

 

 


 

The Age of The Wanderess

August 23rd, 2014

The Dawning of the Age of the Wanderess: How Modern Culture is Encouraging Young Women to Travel the World Alone and Free

 

“The Wanderess,” Roman Payne’s latest novel, is experiencing a boom in viral activity.  The subject of the book resonates with our internet culture, which allows and encourages women to brave the world on their own

In the world of literature, it is extremely difficult to find novels with titles like: “The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.”  And even if a woman comes of age in a novel, she may be an artist, but never an adventuress.  Writers of coming-of-age novels about young adventurous men have a well-worn, established path to follow through the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.”  This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience (usually involving solitary travel), becomes a mature man who is successful in the world.  Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel.  Up until now, it was a social taboo for a woman to travel alone.  Beyond concerns for their safety, there was the general opinion that “women just don’t do that.”  Fortunately, times have changed.

 

“A girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of Roman Payne’s new novel “The Wanderess” (Aesthete Press, November 2013).  Payne coined the term: “wanderess,” which before the novel’s release was unfound in Google.  Now, a popular quote from Payne’s novel containing this word is found in Google on over 200,000 webpages.  The quote reads:

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

 

“This quote especially resonates with young women,” says Payne’s publisher, “They post this quote on their WordPress and Tumblr blogs.  Many are even titling their blogs ‘The Wanderess’ now.”  The infatuation with this quote is partly due to the jealousy women feel towards men who travel alone.  Editor of Salon Magazine, Sarah Hepola, described her jealousy in an article in Salon titled “Every Woman should Travel Alone.”  In it, she recounts a scene in a movie that inspired her to travel the world:  A dying mother tells her daughter, “I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life […] I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone else’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.”  Later, after traveling the world, Hepola wrote that it was “the best thing she had ever done.”

 

Besides literary and magazine claims supporting this lifestyle, our culture and society as a whole has changed in a way that urges women to go alone on the road…  “Women have never experienced the freedom they do today,” says social anthropologist, Sophie Reynolds, “As menopause onset and marriage customs have changed, women are no longer expected to get married and have babies at a young age.  And due to workplace globalization, corporations have begun to put high value on world travel in candidates for positions within their firms.”  In addition to those points, women have more financial independence than they used to, airplane fares are now cheaper than ever, and safety concerns for woman travelling alone have relaxed because there is more emphasis now on women’s quality of life than before.  As Payne argues, “An increase in safety risk is a small price to pay where it concerns depriving women of their right to experience a life that is as beautiful and meaningful as the lives we men experience.”

 

Critical reception to Payne’s novel has been entirely positive.  The average Amazon review gives it five stars, and claims it is his best novel ever.  Like any great novel, “The Wanderess” has a great romance.  It begins when the life of the book’s heroine, Saskia (the “wanderess” in the novel) gets tangled up with the life of an adventurer named Saul, whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune is abandoned to help Saskia’s quest for her long-lost friend and her own “fortune.”

 

The back cover description reads:  “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”

 

Writer, photographer, and adventurer, Lauren Metzler writes on the subject:

“If I had let the fact that I was a woman keep me from traveling, I would’ve never lived in Thailand for nearly three years or traveled to Australia on my own, backpacked around Europe, wandered Southeast Asia, motorcycled across Italy or trekked across the Great Wall in China! I would have missed out on the most incredible adventures of my life!  I believe that everyone can and should travel alone, at least once in their lifetime. Rewards from traveling are such that you will never be the same, and you will never view the world in the same way again.”

 

Payne receives numerous fan letters everyday from readers, mostly women, who say that “The Wanderess” has been an enormous inspiration in their lives.  Many say that they take the book with them on their travels and read and re-read the novel several times, each time they need to refuel their inspiration.

 

“The Wanderess” is available in many bookstores worldwide, as well as on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle formats.  Roman Payne greatly welcomes reader feedback.  You can email him directly at roman@wanderess.com.

Above: Roman Payne on the bank of the Seine in Paris, December 2013. Photo credit: Mimi Bildstein Photography.

 

 

 

 

 


 

“ODE TO SPRING” (from the novel, “Rooftop Soliloquy”)

March 12th, 2014
Roman Payne Quote Image

Click to Enlarge

 

“Did I live the spring I’d sought?

It’s true in joy, I walked along,

took part in dance,

and sang the song.

and never tried to bind an hour

to my borrowed garden bower;

nor did I once entreat

a day to slumber at my feet.

Yet days aren’t lulled by lyric song,

like morning birds they pass along,

o’er crests of trees, to none belong;

o’er crests of trees of drying dew,

their larking flight, my hands, eschew

Thus I’ll say it once and true…

From all that I saw,

and everywhere I wandered,

I learned that time cannot be spent,

It only can be squandered.”

― Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

www.parisquest.com


 

“THE ITALIAN PLEASURES OF GABRIELE PATERKALLOS”: MANEOS HEROICALLY REVIVES THE ITALIAN “GRAND TOUR” WITH POETIC PROSE THAT ONE DOESN’T FIND IN OUR POST-WASTELAND LITERARY ERA.

July 16th, 2012

Painting of Author, Pietros Maneos

Pietros Maneos produced this beautiful little book based on his correspondence with me (Roman Payne) while I was in Paris, and he was in Italy.  I was suffering a summertime illness that kept me in bed and too weak to work on my fifth novel, The Wanderess.  He inspired me and helped shorten the sentence of my illness.  Writers usually hate other writers—not that catty hatred of two fashion models trying out for the same cover photo; among writers it’s more an “annoyance” than a hatred.   Writers tune themselves to the clock of their own egotistical creation, and it’s maddening to fight your clock when another one is ticking beside you.

The times I have seen writers become friends—Fitzgerald and Hemingway, for example—is when they share a similar style, belong to a similar “school” of thought, or movement, similar values, same goals.  Their clocks tick at the same time.  This is what drew me to enjoy my correspondence with Maneos.  Like me, he is a “lover of the word,” a Romantic, a Classicist, heroic and Homeric, not of his time.  Maneos is beyond his time.  Like Keats, his reputation shall only grow stronger over the coming centuries.

In the fashion of the heroes of my novels, Maneos is devoted to living the aesthetic and poetic life.  These are novels I wrote before I knew Maneos existed.  While I was ill but consoled by the knowledge that my “poetic life” theory existed in practice, I asked Maneos if he was working on a novel, instead of just poetry.  This question, he said, was what made the hypomanic spark surge in his brain compelling him to sit and write The Italian Pleasures of Gabriele Paterkallos; and he didn’t rise from his chair until it was complete.  There is a strange beauty in books written this way—during a phase of hypomania—characters remain vivid, convincing, and all-too-real, from beginning to end.  The reader feels the inspiration on a deep level.

I would later meet Maneos in person on the Island of Cyprus where he introduced me to the dangerous and lucrative profession of selling guns to the Greeks to be used to get the Turks off their island.  We talked for hours about Homer, Greek myth, and both maintained that the “literature” being published today is weak and hopeless.  We were going to change that.  We were going to start a new school of literature, and only admit kindred souls like Mark Helprin and Doctor Praz.

After the drama of selling guns to the Greeks, Maneos ended up in a POW camp and the publication of his novel was put off until he could return to his native Florida this spring (2012).  The Italian Pleasures of Gabriele Paterkallos is an epistolary book, all letters written to “Odysseus Pane” (When I publish my responses to his letters, they will come from “Odysseus ‘Payne’”). The reviews of his novella are deservedly great.  The book  is remarkably short (160 pages) and is reminiscent of The Sorrows of Young Werther, the letters of Lord Byron, and Laclos’ Liaisons dangereuses.  But he uses such fine poetic devices that the 160 pages take on an epic scope.  The poetic imagery is better than that of Goethe’s “Werther” as I have read it in translation only. He entertains us with the seductions of nymphs using a language more beautiful than Laclos’s masterpiece (which I have read in the original French).  Maneos’ sentences are such a pleasure to read, one imagines he labored over them—although I know that the book was written effortlessly.  It flows like a waterfall, guided only by nature, with the grace and simplicity of nature.  This is the beauty of his genius.  We, as readers, experience the inner-workings of the mind of a masterfully-created hero (Gabriele) who lived passionately and for the moment. Part autobiography, part parody, the hero is now a dashing Lord Byron, now a sensitive John Keats… now a dreamer, like Dostoevsky’s Idiot, and finally reminiscent of a nutcase straight from a Charles Dickens novel. Always the waterfall flows, changing colors only as the sun changes position in the sky.  There is humor in the book, but beyond humor, the book speaks of that most important concept: Beauty.

Maneos is a poet with a beautiful cadence, and one would be happy reading his novella if only for the sensual phrases and sublime plays on word. But as a classical scholar and literary provocateur, his novella subtly attacks the modern wasteland of “literature.”  You can tell that in his soul exists all the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome.  This is why I respect Maneos as a great writer and friend.  His literary aims are my literary aims.  There is no competition between us because we are building a new literary school together.  With the firm belief that his current oeuvre contains greatness, that his future works will be even more glorious, I will risk my own literary career to defend his.  That his words be read!

 

–         Roman Payne, July 2012


 

Five Authors Out-of-the-Mainstream – Author Awards from Literature Monthly Magazine

November 6th, 2010

|Will Christopher Baer | Roman Payne | Charlotte Roche | Stephen Graham Jones | Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt |

Will Christopher Baer

Baer’s Phineas Poe trilogy, three loosely-connected novels about their titular dysfunctional detective, ache with Baer’s precise analogies, knife-like turns of phrase, and literary experimentalism that is so à propos as to make the novels unimaginable otherwise. Baer doesn’t stop there: His novels are deeply rooted in both the modernist and the noir traditions, and he marries both the solid storytelling and plot-centricity of the pulp novel and the language-driven psychoanalysis of James Joyce at his finest. Baer is a literary mastermind fit to usher in our favorite “authors out-of-the-mainstream.”

Roman Payne

His novels have the intensity and thunder of Dostoevsky, the poetic lyricism of an English Romantic poet, and the aesthetic sensuality of a old French novel. The biography of this expatriate American author living in Paris is as interesting as any fiction. A traveler himself, his books focus on the quests individuals make in pursuit of living heroic lives. Payne’s fourth novel, Rooftop Soliloquy, was released in 2010 and secured for this young writer a place in Literature Monthly’s gallery of the Best Writers Out-of-the-Mainstream. Payne is at home with all sorts of literary genres, exploring the Bildungsroman, Classicism, the Picaresque Tradition, the European Adventure Novel. Payne is exciting to read and an author to watch in the future.


Charlotte Roche

It’s conceivable that Wetlands, Charlotte Roche’s debut novel, might be misshelved in “young-adult” fiction – but one would hope that only those young-adult readers with strong stomachs, “mature” attitudes towards sex, and a premature taste for “literature” would find it. Roche, formerly a VJ on German MTV, published her so-far-only novel in 2008 to shock and consternation in the German press, and it was only a matter of time before something so gross, funny and, ultimately, moving made its way across the Atlantic. The novel comes in the form of the digressive and explicit ramblings of an eighteen-year-old girl who, confined to her hospital bed, proceeds to try to get her parents back together. What Chuck Palahniuk did for disenfranchised manhood in Fight Club, Wetlands does for femininity – in all its wonderful and disgusting details.


Stephen Graham Jones

His style borrows from bygone genres, but his intelligence and pure literary voice make him one of our picks for the best authors “out-of-the-mainstream.” Stephen Graham Jones is an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder – not all that unusual for a literary writer. But he is also Blackfeet. He is also an avid player of Dungeons and Dragons and a fan of ‘80s hair metal. All of these disparate interests and influences come together in Jones’ novels, most famously exemplified by “All the Beautiful Sinners,” an American epic about three FBI agents and one reservation sheriff on the trail of a serial killer. But throughout Jones’ oeuvre, cultural strata, ranging from kitschy Americana to post-modernist style games, blend and mingle to create a truly original voice in American fiction.


Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

It’s not just the young authors who are out-of-the-mainstream. French author, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, has been writing plays and novels since 1991, but it’s only now that he is becoming famous in the English-speaking world. But fame is coming quickly enough. His plays have now been staged in over 50 countries. His works are translated into over 40 languages. Schmitt covers a variety of topics in his works but one of his major focuses is world religion. A convert to Christianity, Schmitt has, in the past, dealt with a variety of different religions and the relationships between them in his works. His novella, “M. Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran,” was adapted into an award-winning film in 2003 and, more recently, one of his short-story collections, “The Most Beautiful Book in the World,” was translated into English. Be prepared for great things from this author.



 

Awards: Top Ten Books Out-of-the-Mainstream

September 20th, 2010

Ten literary-fiction novels of the 21st century that you may not know, but should.

Now, more than ten years into the 21st century, we’ve seen the world change in the political, scientific, and academic fields in ways that few thought possible. Linguistic and communications advances have led to technological progression and easy international interaction, despite the odd language barriers. Amidst all this lie the books that tell the stories of our lives. Literary novels both deal with the issues of today while taking into account the influence of the past. Fictional works portray characters that echo our own lives. Given the tight relationship of our own life experiences with our understanding of literature, have the standards by which we judge a good book changed along with the times? Is there any validity to the claim that awards and prizes don’t accurately represent the truly good books today? You be the judge: read on for ten literary-fiction novels of the 21st century that you may not know, but should. These books are rated “Top Ten Modern Books Out-of-the-Mainstream” by Literature Monthly and Literature Weekly magazines.


The Thirteenth Tale
We start off our review with what may become one of the most influential books from the beginning of the 21st century. Diane Setterfield’s debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, is a gothic-style novel reminiscent of the Bronte sisters. The protagonist, Margaret, is the daughter of a bookstore owner. Her hobby is writing biographies of lesser-known writers. She’s also a twin, though her sister died in childbirth.

The story isn’t actually about Margaret, though. It’s actually about Vida Winter, a famous author who commissions Margaret to do her biography. The thing is, everyone who has interviewed Vida Winter in the past got different stories, none of them the same. Is Vida Winter actually telling Margaret the truth? What kind of stories is she hiding?

Like most good books, the story is multi-layered. What began as a story about Margaret and turns into a story about Vida Winter becomes again in the end a story about Margaret as she comes to understand both Vida and herself. But does she understand everything? What, really, is truth? These are the questions that this book grapples with – similar to other literature, yet entirely different. At once a novel of literary fiction yet a readable modern fiction book. Diane Setterfield as both a first-time writer and novelist has won numerous novel awards, including recognition by the Quill Awards and Galaxy British Book Awards. The Thirteenth Tale will soon take its place among the 21st century’s great literary novels.

The Thirteenth Tale on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0743298039/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


Juliet

Juliet
Ann Fortier walks a well-trod path when she starts yet another rewrite of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This time, however, it’s 600 years later. We’re in Siena, Italy with the descendants of the famed Capulets and Montagues. The author was there with her mother, and got her inspiration from the city itself—yet another testament to the poignancy of our sense of place in an increasingly international world. Juliet stars protagonist Julie Jacobs, who inherits a key to a safe deposit box that supposedly holds an ancient family treasure. History sweeps her off as she discovers the depth of a 600-year-old feud. Juliet challenges us to reconsider the way that we view such monumental stories as Romeo and Juliet by leading us to reexamine the impact today of stories told long ago.

Juliet on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0345516109/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


Agincourt
Their victory against the French in the Battle of Agincourt marked a major turning point for the English in the Hundred-Years War. King Henry himself fought and led his armies. As such, the Battle has long been immortalize in literature – it is featured in Shakespeare’s Henry V, a number of fantasy and science fiction novels, and was even the subject of a mock trial held in Washinton, D.C. With such a background, it takes a brave novelist to again tackle the battle.

Bernard Cornwell is that author. In the novel Agincourt, he tells the story of a fictional archer in King Henry’s army, Nicholas Hook. “English longbowmen” were key players in a number of battles of the era, largely because the French had no comparable weapons. We see the battle through Hook’s eyes. Because of Cornwell’s brilliant writing, we not only read about it, but almost actually feel the sweat and blood of this brutal time. When Hook starts hearing voices of long-dead saints, we, too, are entranced by their words. Cornwell is a stickler for historical accuracy, and as a writer prefers the brief and concise.. If you haven’t yet, read this book – not only will you come away with a bit more historical knowledge, but you will feels something akin to kinship as you put the book down and think on the soldiers.

Agincourt on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0061578908/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


The Hittite
Just out in April of 2010, Ben Bova’s novel The Hittite Makes for another fascinating reading. You may not have heard of this book because Bova’s background as a novelist is different than most in this genre – he is best known for his prolific science-fiction writing. Here, however, he takes on retelling of The Illiad, one of history’s most well-known literary epics.

As a writer, Bova does well in this switch-of-genre. His writing is traditionally clear, yet he isn’t stuck to one particular style. Perhaps slightly overusing the flowery language, Bova depicts the world of Lukka, a Hittite warrior who returns home to find his family gone and his city torn by civil war. He goes searching for them, and arrives at Agamemnon just in time to catch the final portions of the Trojan War. Bove doesn’t pull any sly ones – his characters are true to the time. Women are more property than they are people, and brutality isn’t condemned. As a work of art, a work of history, and a work of literature, this book will continue to be important as part of Homer’s continuing odyssey.

The Hittite on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0765324024/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


Roman Payne - Rooftop Soliloquy

Rooftop Soliloquy by Roman Payne

Rooftop Soliloquy
Voted one of the ten best novels of the 21st century. Rooftop Soliloquy, the fourth novel by Paris-based author Roman Payne, is a beautifully-written story of love, pleasure and seduction in the city of Paris. The style reminds one of a great 19th century novel, although the humor, sexuality, and poetic eroticism in its pages make the novel a true, ultra-modern work.

The narration follows the travels and life of an eccentric artist and composer—a character who changes residences as most people change clothes—who drifts around Paris frequenting women’s bedrooms, luxury nightclubs, and jet-set parties. All the while, he composes his masterpiece: an opera, or “Hero’s Tale,” based on Homer’s Odyssey. When the pleasures of Parisian life threaten his creative production, the narrator decides to orchestrate an ingenious love-intrigue, for the sake of his art, that results in a murder. The effect is an extremely creative and complex (though easy to read) literary masterpiece that is worthy of being compared to Dostoevsky. Roman Payne’s novel could be considered a high-brow, more intelligent and sophisticated version Brett Easton Ellis’ jet-setter novels; or a continuation of American Francophile prose begun by novelists Henry Miller and Ernest Hemingway. Whatever the comparison, Roman Payne’s Rooftop Soliloquy is great fun to read, a flashback in the past to the “Golden Age of the Novel,” and a flash-forward to the future of high literature.

Rooftop Soliloquy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0578032813/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


Blonde Faith

Mystery novels rarely qualify as literary works of art, yet Walter Mosley’s novel Blonde Faith goes beyond the bounds of a run-of-the-mill mystery. His detective Easy Rawlins is a black man who lives in Los Angeles in the 1960s – not an easy place nor time for anyone to make a living, let alone a person of color. But Mosely doesn’t fall into the trap of letting concerns about race overtake his novel. Blonde Faith isn’t about race, though as an honest writer the injustices still figure prominently; the book is about the character. This transcendence allows any reader of his literature to go beyond surface observations to a real look at the life that Rawlins lives. Rawlins himself isn’t perfect, either. He deals with his past mistakes, current pride, and a refusal to get in touch with his almost-wife who he threw out for having an affair. It’s one fear that he can’t overcome.
Mosely as a novelist doesn’t just write works of pulp fiction. He writes books with characters that you can care about, with questions you can think about. This book isn’t just a good read – it’s a book worth sharing.

Blonde Faith on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0446617903/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


EverlostWhat is a teen novel doing on a list of serious literature? Pick up Neal Shusterman’s Everlost to find out.

Schusterman was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At age 16, however, his family moved to Mexico City. He went with them. This international experience at a young age significantly influenced the way that he looked at the world – not as a Brooklyn teenager, but as an international citizen. He has been a writer since he was young, at one point as a child he even wrote E.B. White telling her that Charlotte’s Web needed a sequel. She wrote back, and he kept writing. Recently, his books have won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the California Young Reader Medal. His books keep winning their novel awards, and Schusterman the writer keeps writing literature that is important not just to teen readers, but to everyone.

The novel Everlost is a story of the spirits of dead children trapped in this world who don’t know how to “get where they are going.” In simple language, Schusterman the novelist addresses age-old existential questions of life, meaning, and significance.

Everlost on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1416997490/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


Hidden Talents

Hidden Talents by David Lubar is another work of literary fiction masquerading as a teen novel. This book centers on 13-year-old Martin, who is at the last resort Edgeview Alternative School. Lubar frequently quotes poems and pieces of famous literature, include Emily Dickinson’s Death:

Because I could not stop for death
He kindly stopped for me.

While some might say that this makes the book a bit heavy for literature inteded for young readers, it sheds light on young people’s experience in a more ‘grown-up’ world. Writer David Lubar defly juxtaposes the formal and the informal, the old and the young, the used and the new. The book takes an almost fantasy-like turning as the children discover that they have psychic powers. What is really real? Pick up novelist David Lubar’s book Hidden Talents.

Hidden Talents on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0765342650/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep And Never Had To

Ironically, the novel: The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep And Never Had To stands to take the place of Catcher in the Rye as the American coming-of-age literary novel, despite mocking it predecessor within its pages. Young novelist D.C. Pierson (who is also a comedian and actor) picks up on the language and attitudes of high schools today, never pulling punches. The creative crowd is outcast, but form their own friendships that carry them to success, despite the disdaining crowds. The book itself can be seen as a metaphor for the interaction of different groups in society today, especially those that challenge the status quo with their unacceptable genius. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book of literature by novelist D.C. Pierson.

The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep And Never Had To on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0307474615/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


The Darling by Russell Banks

The Darling by Russell Banks

The Darling

Russell Banks wrote another book in 2004 worth looking at: The Darling. Inside you’ll find a story about an empty girl – one who doesn’t act for herself, but is led around by whatever man she happens to be attached to at the time. Eventually heading to Liberia, she gets involved with government officials and shady deals, eventually ending up in a laboratory doing experiments with chimpanzees. An authentic look at African and immigrant life, novelist Russell Banks lives up to his reputation as a writer and delivers literature this will be important not just now, but in the future as well.

The Darling on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0060957352/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


Arslan

M.J. Engh’s novel Arslan may not technically be a book of the 21st century. It was first published in 1976, went out of print, was republished in 1987, went out of print again, and was republished yet again in 2001 – making it a newly-published book in the 21st century.

Why would a book go into and out of print so many times? Engh herself states that the book is “about fathers and sons, about power, about a genuinely ruthless (but not unfeeling) mind in pursuit of a practical solution to the world’s problems.” As such, the writer begins the book with the rape of two children, then ends it on a comparably brutal and gruesome note. As a work of literature, Arslan stands at the top. It is not necessarily, however, a pleasant read. It is a fascinating examination of power in the modern world, of family interactions, and of the psychology of a Genghis Khan-like mind in a small town in America. Not any novelist can write a book such as this, but Engh carries the burden proudly.

Arslan on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0312879105/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwmbmaonlinc-20


Picking-up any one of these books for a read will lead you to contemplate your own place in our 21st century world. Interestingly, many of these novels are set in the past. What does our frequent contemplation of the past in literature mean for our understanding of the world today? As we constantly gather and process the stories of our lives, sometimes we need to look outside of the popular and common to find the stories that help us understand our own unique experience.

Reprinted with permission from: www.greatnovels.org

– Gabriel Hemingway
Editor – CityRoom, Inc.