We live and breathe books, but often we are so consumed by the latest release we forget to go back and visit the books that have broken down barriers and paved the way for today’s writers.

From author birthdays to book anniversaries, this month has a lot to offer! So celebrate the New Year with a blast from the past. The classics are calling this month.


January 1, 1963 – A Wrinkle In Time is Published

At SparkPress, we are all about strong female pioneers and Madeleine L’Engle is a great by any standards. Still hailed as one of the top women in science fiction writing, her story A Wrinkle In Time is still produced and poured over today.

Inspired by a ten-week, cross-country camping trip with her family, Madeleine experienced the alien terrain of the continental U.S. and thus was born the idea of her classic novel.

Even more remarkable is the slew of rejection she faced trying to publish this prized piece. She was turned down 26 times before finding a publisher by means of a family friend. We like to think that had she been trying to publish today, she may have considered being an indie author. At any rate, 54 years later, we’re still loving Mr. Whatsit and Mrs. Which.

How to celebrate A Wrinkle In Time’s anniversary: Get inspired by your own family trip. Write a short story from a childhood journey. If you’re so inclined, send it to us and we’ll consider publishing it on the SparkPress blog!


January 3, 1892 – J.R.R. Tolkien is Born

Happy 125th birthday to the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s hard to imagine classic literature and modern day fantasy without Tolkien’s work. A veteran of World War I, a scholar, an orphan and a hopeless romantic, Tolkien at times was as interesting as his characters.

A large range of occurrences in his own colorful life inspired his now well-known universe. Bilbo’s journey through the Misty Mountains was born of his own hiking adventure in Switzerland. The Shire was reflection of his childhood home with his mother in a rural part of England. The Dead Marshes Frodo faces in LOTR bears a striking familiarity to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme, admits Tolkien.

How to celebrate Tolkien’s birthday: If you can’t take a last-minute trip New Zealand and reading the trilogy sounds a little daunting, we triple dog dare you to go on Tolkien movie binge! The three Lord of the Rings movies and the three Hobbit films are a combined 17 hours of book-inspired, cinematic awesomeness. Give it a try if you dare… you just may come out speaking Elvish.


January 15, 1985 – Ender’s Game Originally Published

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card may be turning 32 this year, but it is still as relevant as ever. With the annual release of a Star Wars film, and big blockbusters like Passengers, Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy, modern day story lovers are all about space, and for many millenials, Ender’s Game was a big kickoff to this http://laparkan.com/buy-vardenafil/ passion for interplanetary adventure.

Though Card’s most famous series is the center of both major science fiction acclaim and critique, there’s no denying it makes a splash. For writers though, perhaps the most interesting fact about this series is that the first novel was written in a mere matter of weeks. As writers, we frequently make the mistake of thinking great works are tolled over for decades, but not in this case!

How to celebrate Ender’s anniversary: SparkPress is a community of independent writers and renegade indies. Take a page from Card’s book this month and attempt to produce a manuscript in short order. You may just find it is your best work yet!


January 16, 1964 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is published in the U.S.

What kid didn’t drool over the idea of being handed a chocolate factory that came with it’s own chocolate waterfall?

An amazing 53 years later, Roald Dahl’s classic is as tasty as ever. Just one among a slew of classics, this little treat was inspired by… well… chocolate. According to RoaldDahl.com, the famous author and his fellow boy’s boarding school classmates were the lucky guinea pigs for Cadbury’s chocolate experiments. Each year they’d be sent chocolates to test and it was during this time that it occurred to Dahl that “fully-grown men and women in white overalls spent all their time playing around with sticky, boiling messes, sugar and chocs, and mixing them up and trying to invent something new and fantastic.” Thus planting the seed that would become his famous novel.

How to celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s anniversary: Surely you have some holiday candy still lying around. Before you throw it out and commit fully to your New Year health plan, indulge for just one more day in chocolate-covered something that Willy Wonka himself would envy.


January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898 – Lewis Carroll was born and died in January

A legend of children’s literature was born and lost in the month of January. Few have to be reminded of his famous work, Alice in Wonderland. Still being adapted into film and new fairy tales today, Carroll’s cerebral and sensational work of art is an adventure that stands the test of time.

Even SparkPress was touched by this classic teller of tales. In 2014, Colleen Oakes originally published her Alice-inspired book Queen of Hearts, based on the young life of Carroll’s infamous villain. Now Oakes series is being re-published by HarperCollins. Her second book in the series, Blood of Wonderland, is set to be released January 31st, just four days after Carroll’s 185th birthday!

How to celebrate Carroll’s birthday: Well with a tea party of course! Curl up with a pot of your favorite blend and blow out a candle on your very own un-birthday cake. We’re all mad here… so share a picture of your Alice-esque tea party and tag SparkPress on Facebook and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to support Colleen Oakes this month by ordering her new book, available at all major retailers!