I’m SUPER excited to have Cora Carmack by the blog today with a post on 5 historical events Kalli saw happen and brief thoughts on each in celebration of her newest release, INSPIRE, which is awesome and I’m half way through.
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.
What happened: The City Dionysia was a huge Athenian festival for Dionysis, the god of wine, theater, fertility, and “ritual madness.” People would perform dithyrambs, which were Greek hymns of song and dance, and awards would be given to playwrights. The very first City Dionysia produced the first “actor” in the modern sense of the word, when Thespis stepped out from the chorus and spoke lines on his own.
Kalli says: Imagine lots of theater people, lots of drinking, lots of singing and dancing, and maybe a sacrifice or two – those Greeks really knew how to throw a party. Thespis was one of the first artists I ever took on. He was an extremely talented actor, but at the time, plays were performed by choruses of people speaking in unison, so he was never going to get a chance to shine if something didn’t change. I’m not saying I made him step out and create his own character….but I’m not NOT saying it, either. ;)
- The Painting of the Sistine Chapel, 1508-1512
What Happened: Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Pope originally asked for twelve larges figues of the Apostles, but Michelangelo negotiated a much larger scheme that took four years to complete and had a total of 343 figures.
Kalli says: Getting Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was a labor of love to say the least. “But I’m a sculptor!” he whined. “I don’t know anything about painting frescos!” He was so frustrated by the whole ordeal that he actually wrote a poem about it (every artist thinks he’s a poet at some point in their career). But in the end, he was pretty pleased with the outcome. I was, too.
- Assassination of President Lincoln, 1865
What Happened: President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. President Lincoln was shot and killed by a well-known stage actor, John Wilkes Booth, as part of a larger conspiracy to revive the Confederate cause.
Kalli says: I had been working with the actor who played Sir Edward Trenchard in Our American Cousin, and went to see his performance that night upon his request – “My performance is best when you’re in the audience,” he said. The energy in the crowd had felt strange, but I couldn’t put my finger on why, and I spent the majority of the performance trying to calm my growing unease. By the time I identified the cause – an artist gone mad – it was too late. I didn’t go to the theater for a long time after that.
- Elvis Presley releases Heartbreak Hotel, 1956
What Happened: Elvis Presley began working with Sam Phillips of Sun Records in 1954 and became an early trailblazer of “rockabilly” music. RCA Victor acquired Presley’s contract in 1956, and his first RCA record, Heartbreak Hotel, topped the charts and became Presley’s first million-seller. Popularity skyrocketed after Presley performed it live on Stage Show in February 1956, and he went on to become one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.
Kalli says: Elvis was magnetic and energetic, and a real treat to be around. He was extremely talented as a musician, and equally as talented as a ladies’ man. We had a short fling of sorts, he started to get uncharacteristically clingy, and I left him stranded at a Holiday Inn. Kind of a bitch move, I know, but it worked out okay for him.
- J K Rowling publishes Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 1997
What Happened: Joanne Rowling first had the idea for the Harry Potter series in 1990 on a train from Manchester to London. After being turned down by several publishers the first book in the series was published in 1997 by Bloomsbury. J K Rowling is now the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, and the seven book Harry Potter series has been made into eight movies, has been translated into 65 languages, and is beloved by millions around the world.
Kalli says: I wish I could take credit for this, but I can’t. I only interacted with Ms. Rowling a couple of times, when I was working as a barista at The Elephant House in Edinburgh. I had just ended a relationship with a writer that wasn’t the healthiest for either of us, so I was hesitant to take on someone new. She was always very sweet and polite, but when I asked her what she was writing, she was very quick to say it was “nothing.” She would write diligently and I would refill her coffee, and we had a silent understanding that I wouldn’t ask to read her work, and she wouldn’t ask me how many days old the pastries were.
Kalliope lives with one purpose.
As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.
Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.
Her presence may inspire genius.
But it breeds madness, too.
Now be sure to enter the giveaway for the tour as well!