Classic Guest authors and new books

#GuestClassicAuthor, #MarkTwain, and new book based on a classic ‘King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court’ by Kim Headlee

Hi all:

As you know, on Fridays I like to bring you new books or guest authors. Recently I’ve decided to go back to some of the classic posts I had shared in the past (and to carry on with new posts), and one of my fellow authors had an excellent idea. She suggested a post on Mark Twain, and told me she’d written a book inspired by one of his novels. And I thought it was an excellent idea to combine both. So today, I share my vintage post on Mark  Twain, and something new…


Anti-Stratfordian Mark Twain, wrote "Is S...
Anti-Stratfordian Mark Twain, wrote “Is Shakespeare Dead?” shortly before his death in 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mark Twain or Samuel Langhorne Clemens (his real name). He was born on 30th November 1835, in a small town called Florida (Mo). He was the 6th child of his family. His father, John Marshall (this is an error. Thanks to Kim Headlee, featured in the post, for clarifying that his name was Marshall Clemens, named after John Marshall), was a judge and they moved a few miles East to Hannibal, in the banks of the Mississippi, a stop for steam boats (travelling from St Louis and New Orleans) when he was very young. His childhood home is now his museum. His father died when he was only 12 and a year later he left school to become a printer’s apprentice. After that he spent a fair amount of time involved in the letters business and joined his brother Orion’s newspaper as printer and assistant editor. He moved to another job as a printer in St Louis, and once there he became a river pilot’s apprentice and obtained his pilot’s license in 1858. His pseudonym comes from that period. According to his official website (link below): It is a river term which means two fathoms or 12-feet when the depth of water for a boat is being sounded. “Mark twain” means that is safe to navigate. (Other explanations exist.)

Due to poor trade during the Civil War he started working as a newspaper reporter all over the country. He got married in 1870 to Olivia Langdon and although they had 4 children, only one, Clara, survived them, and she never had any children.

His first story to gain recognition was ‘The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County’ published in New York in 1865. (You won’t be surprised to hear that in Calavaras, California, they celebrate the Jumping Frog contest.) His first novel The Innocents Abroad was published in 1869, The Adventures of Tom Swayer in 1876, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885…He wrote many other novels, sketches, articles, short stories, letters…

The cover of the first edition of Adventures o...
The cover of the first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was interested in science, modern gadgets and inventions and he invested heavily in some of them that resulted in him ending up heavily in debt, despite the money he obtained from selling his books and from his many speaking engagements.

He died on 21st April 1910. His childhood home is now a museum in Hannibal. His birth coincided with a visit by the Halley comet and he was convinced that his death would also be associated with it (he died the day after the next visit of the comet).


He’s renowned as a humorist and has many quotes attributed to him. Here a short selection:

On Babies:

A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.
– Letter to Annie Webster, 1876

On Economy. So true:

It isn’t the sum you get, it’s how much you can buy with it, that’s the important thing; and it’s that that tells whether your wages are high in fact or only high in name.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

I love this one about Genius:

Geniuses are people who dash off wierd, wild, incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility, & then go & get booming drunk & sleep in the gutter. Genius elevates a man to ineffable speres [sic] far above the vulgar world, & fills his soul with a regal contempt for the gross & sordid things of earth. It is probably on account of this that people who have genius do not pay their board, as a general thing.
Mark Twain’s Notebooks & Journals, vol. 1, 1855-1873, p. 250.

And a few on humour:

Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom.
– quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.
– “What Paul Bourget Thinks of Us”

Humor is the good natured side of a truth.
– quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read

Check the below link for more quotations…


Official website:

University of Virginia website about Mark Twain:

A page about his quotes:

More links:

Free links to his books:

How to tell a story and other Essays:

The Prince and the Pauper exits free but in 9 parts. There are cheap editions that might be a better option.

Sketches New and Old and Tales of the Mississippi are also available in several parts also.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (impressively enough between 4 and 5 stars and nearly 1000 reviews, that for a classic is pretty good. It’s one of the most accepted contenders to the title of The Great American Novel)

Roughing It

Tom Sawyer Detective

A Double-Barrelled Detective Story

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (I love many of his novels but I’ve always loved this weird mixture of modern and fantasy medieval and his characterisation in this one, and there have been pretty amusing film adaptations that I’d recommend checking.)

The Tragedy of Puddn’Head Wilson

Illustration of Jim and Huckleberry Finn, by E...
Illustration of Jim and Huckleberry Finn, by EW Kemble from the original 1884 edition of the book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And many more…

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed it remember to comment, share, and as it’s FREE, click! And also, remember that all this books are free thanks to volunteer transcribers so if you have a loved classic book that’s not already available and you’d like to share…What a great contribution to book lovers everywhere!

Also, many of his books are available in German, Spanish, French in free versions also…

I did mention in the original post that ‘A Connecticut Yankee’ was one of my favourites, and lo and behold, a fellow author, Kim Headlee, mentioned Twain and her own book, and I could not resist.

First, a bit about the author:

Author Kim Headlee
Author Kim Headlee

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins–the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century–seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of 20th century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the seventh-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and publishing other novels under her imprint, Pendragon Cove Press.

Check her Amazon author page if you want to read more about her, view her other books, and follow her.

Ah, and the book?

King Arthur’s Sister in Washington Court

King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court by Kim Headlee
King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Kim Headlee

Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball…and the human heart.

Here the link:

Ah, as I was checking Kim’s page, I saw that she has a novella FREE, so if you want experience her writing first hand, here I leave you with:

The Color of Vengeance by Kim Headlee
The Color of Vengeance by Kim Headlee

The Color of Vengeance (The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles)

Vengeance was the only burial gift he could bestow.

When Angli cattle thieves slaughter his wife and son, Dwras son of Gwyn vows revenge upon their murderers. But how can a mere farmer prevail against ruthless, trained warriors? For the answer Dwras must look not to his sword, but within his heart.

Thanks so much to Mark Twain, for his great books and his wit, to Kim Headlee for alerting me to her book, and thank you all for reading. And you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK! Ah, don’t miss Kim’s comments below, as she talks about the paperback version of this book and… it sounds unmissable!

Ah, and don’t hesitate to leave me links to your books if they are inspired in the work of classic authors, their novels or their lives. I’ll gladly share them here!


By olganm

I am a language teacher, writer, bookworm, and collaborator at Sants 3 Ràdio (a local radio station in Barcelona, where I returned in 2018), who lived in the UK for 25 years and worked for many years as a forensic psychiatrist there. I also have a Ph.D. in American Literature and an MSc in Criminology. I started publishing my stories, in English and Spanish, in 2012 and now have over twenty books available in a variety of genres, a blog (in English and Spanish), and translate books for other authors (English-Spanish and vice versa). In 2020 obtained the CELTA certificate as a language teacher, and offer Spanish and English classes. Writers and readers both in English and Spanish are my friends, colleagues, and allies, and after living in the UK for over twenty-five years, have returned home, to Barcelona, Spain, searching for inspiration for my stories. I also love owls and try to keep fit following fitness YouTube videos.
Do feel free to connect with me. Here are:
My website/blog:

27 replies on “#GuestClassicAuthor, #MarkTwain, and new book based on a classic ‘King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court’ by Kim Headlee”

Thanks Teagan. Mark Twain is an author that always makes me smile. And such an interesting man. I fully understand why Kim would find inspiration in her book to write a book. I’m planning on a few more of these type of posts, although I’m trying to keep my eyes open for relevant books.


I agree — and we’re not the only ones. Mark Twain has appeared as a character (central or secondary) in many many good books. What a legacy to have created. It would be fun to know what he thinks about it all. (He liked cats too. So he had my vote already. 😉 🐱 )


A magical post Olga neatly combining the old and the new. I also enjoyed the potted history of Mark Twain. How he got that name was no mystery but you left me with a puzzle. I knew his real name to be Samuel Langhorne Clemens ( no idea if Langhorne is a Christian name or not) but I didn’t know about his father being a judge nor that he was called Marshall, so why isn’t Mark Twain’s real surname Marshall?
xxx Massive Hugs as always xxx


That’s a good question, David. I’ll have to try and investigate the matter and come back with a third version of the post in the future. Maybe I’ll find an interesting biography (mind you, making Mark Twain sound boring would be quite difficult but there are very skilled writers out there!) that has all the data. I was always sorry that despite Mount Holyoke being quite close to Connecticut I never had a chance to go and visit his house-museum whilst I was there. I visited Emily Dickinson’s house and briefly (fleetingly, I’d say, as we couldn’t find accommodation) visited Salem, but missed some of the places I wanted to go to. Maybe I’ll have to organise a literary visit in the future. Happy weekend, David, and big hugs.


The =best= biography of Mark Twain (IMO of course! :D) and the one that served as not only a reference but as an inspiration for #KASIWC is:

Mark Twain: A Life by Pulizer-winning author Ron Powers (though he didn’t win for his Twain bio). The reason I love this biography is that Powers himself is a Hannibal native, and he captured the essence of Twain’s style, wit, and wisdom in his narrative — much as I have attempted to do with #KASIWC (its full title is “King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee” and was even edited to 19th century grammar & punctuation standards).

BTW, Twain’s father’s name was Marshall Clemens, who was named after John Marshall. (ref. Mark Twain: A Life, Ron Powers, page 9).


Thanks Kim for the recommendation and for clearing that out. I guess a wrong snippet (probably mine), or compressed two bits of information. It sounds as if you had great fun researching and writing this book. And your paperback is going to be something to behold indeed. Wow! Hats off! Please, remind me when it’s out and I’ll let people know.


Good morning, Olga….An excellent read filled with fascinating information about Mark Twain. Yes, his quote on the subject of Genius is very humorous…
Thank you for the review of Kim Headlee’s book…..another one to go onto the list…
Have a lovely weekend, filled with creativity and magic. Janet:)x


Thanks so much, Janet. I’ll be calling at your blog later on. So far your magical hummingbirds are helping. I hope your weekend is also full of joy and wonder. ♥


You’ve excelled this week Olga. Mark Twain is a favourite of mine, what a character he must have been. thanks to introducing us to KIm.


Good quotes from Clemens, and a very interesting look at his life. I had heard about the connection with the comet. Although I don’t believe in such things deep down, part of me likes to think that it heralds the birth (and sometimes death) of someone special.
Best wishes, Pete.


Thanks Pete. I don’t remember what movie it was, but I recall a movie about him that made a fair amount of emphasis on the connection with the comet, but I was a child so… I imagine it must make somebody feel pretty important and you have the story of baby Jesus and the star…


An exciting post today, Olga. I learned a few things about Mark Twain I had no idea about. Thanks.
Lovely introduction to Kim Headlee and her book. What a small world this is. I like the tie-in of her book with your post. ❤ ❤ ❤


Thank you so much, Olga, for featuring #KASIWC on your blog today! The e-book is available now, of course, and is currently a steal at only 99 cents, but the hardcover, which I hope to release in late November 2015, is going to be something really special. My layout designer has researched fonts to select those which were in use in Mark Twain’s day, and she has sized the trim, margins, line spacing, point sizes, and other details to come as close to the original edition of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court as possible! And my editor researched 19th century grammar and punctuation standards, as well as Twain’s own writings, to further my emulation efforts. The e-book edition features 15 illustrations, but the hardcover is going to have more than 100. (Twain’s had more than 200; the budget does have to bow to pocketbook economics on occasion. Anyway, I think my artists are going to lynch me if I suggest any more…! :D)


A great melding of the two authors, Olga. My dream conversation to be overheard would be one between Samuel Clemens and Will Rogers. Different eras but with the same sense of humor. They are both American treasures.


I love Twain. I just did a book review and interview on Andrew Joyce who has written a sequel to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn called, “Redemption.” He also wrote, “Molly Lee,” a sequel to that. He swears that Samuel Clemments was standing there with him while he wrote. Great post-Olga. You know I love the classics! ❤


Thanks Colleen. Good to know. I’m debating if at some point I’ll do classic books too, to discuss some of our loved ones (and the hated ones too, why not) in more detail and that that would be another chance to bring in more new versions. I remember studying Huck Finn at Mount Holyoke as part of a course called ‘The Great American Novel’ where we just read… great novels. Great teacher too. Fabulous course and a total joy. Looking forward to your review!

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I love the classics too, Olga. It opens a whole new world of possibilities to writers. Sequels are fun, I think. Do it! 💖 I will read it, if you write it! 😉


As always, it was a pleasure reading and getting to know more about a classical author such as Mark Twain. I enjoyed the way you combined both the classic and modern writers. Kim Headlee is brilliant to come up with a her very own spinoff of a Mark Twain classic and making one of his characters her own. She blew my mind––genius! Great post, Olga, as usual. ;D


Thanks Vashti. She’s utterly fabulous. I’ll for sure let you all know when her hardback is published, as it sounds like a must. 🙂


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