CORINNE VAN HOUTEN

A FREELANCE WRITER

PRESS & MEDIA

RADIO INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS

Radio Interviews

Kellie in the Morning .................................................... Napa KVYN/KVON 1440

Hal Ginsberg ................................................................. Monterey KRXA-AM 540

Rob Kingsbury .............................................................. Kansas KCTE-AM 1510

Cliff Roles ...................................................................... Sarasota 96.5 FM WSLR

Paul Roberts ................................................................. Boston WNTN-AM 1550

Whitler/MacBlane ......................................................... Gainesville WOCA-AM 1370

Tami Koch ...................................................................... Seattle KPTK-Am 1090

Dr. Pat Bocilli ................................................................. Seattle KKNW-AM 1550

Tron Simpson ............................................................... Colorado KCBR-AM 1040

Dr. Rus Jeffrey ............................................................... Rochester, NY WACK-AM 1420

Mike McConnell ............................................................. National-inc. WLW-AM

Mary Jane Popp ............................................................ Cable Radio Network National-308 Stations

Review on Feast of Small Surprises

The links below will bring you to Amazon to view and purchase the products.

A Feast of Small Surprises

$9.64 Kindle Edition

Wine Tour CD

(Includes $40 tasting coupons)

$7.99

“With the publication of her novella, A Feast of Small Surprises, author Corinne Van Houten joins a group of feminine writers, like Susan Choi, Terry McNichol and Elizabeth Vaughn, who attempt, as Van Houten says, to make sense of an unpredictable universe.  I don’t use the term “female” or, God forbid, “feminist” but “feminine,” for that is the emphasis of her novella.  Van Houten takes no prisoners.  Either you get it or you don’t but most of the time you do and it is worth the effort.

 

Van Houten’s novella could be explored and appreciated in terms of three “in’s”: intelligence, introspection and indulgence.  Intelligence is exhibited in the references to Caravaggio, Raphael and Poussin and in the references to light, death and beauty attributed to the mysterious Edward Donant who seems to be the Magus for Maya Kelly and Anne Langlais.  Introspection is exhibited in the musings of the two women who are intensely self-absorbed, staring into their reflections, obsessing over their beauty, their desirability as mirrored in the eyes of men, and meditating on matters of mutilation, parents, and death.  This is not, however, an instance of Narcissus staring, fatally paralyzed, into his pool.  Their thoughts are mirrored in ways that invite the reader to consider his/her own image and to act upon it.  Self-indulgence is another, most attractive, aspect of Van Houten’s writing.  Her characters enjoy food, wine and the vibrant scene of Rome, as well as each other (although not always happily) and, on occasion if it suits them, sex.

 

One is tempted to call Feast a tour de force, like Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying but that would create a false impression.  The beauty and mystery that Van Houten alludes to in her acknowledgement of Irene Belknap, the artist who composed the lovely painting on the cover of Feast, are realized but there is also an intelligence and craft that makes Van Houten’s novella attractive and worth reading.

 

And so, carissima senora, we look forward to your next offering, a buffet of still smaller surprises to make us hunger for the prose out of which your feasts are composed.”

 

Robert Detweiler is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts (ILA) at Emory University, and served as the Institute's director for eight years. Detweiler has published extensively on the intersection of religion, literature and culture. Among his many books are John Updike (1972, 1979, 1984), Story, Sign and Self: Phenomenology and Structuralism as Literary Critical Methods (1978, 1984), Breaking the Fall: Religious Readings of Contemporary Fiction (1989), and Uncivil Rites: American Fiction, Religion, and the Public Sphere (1996). Breaking the Fall (reissued 1995) was honored with a 1990 American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in Religious Studies.

 

 

Down Under Dunder

Jack Ramsay

 

I love it when I pick up a book and find an hour has passed in the blink of an eye. Not all books grab my attention that way - far from it, in fact - but I had the pleasure of reading Corinne Van Houten's masterful mystery A Feast of Small Surprises just recently and I think she's got the recipe just right.

 

A wise reviewer / literary critic once said `...you only get out of a novel what you put in...' and I can tell you A Feast of Small Surprises proves that assertion beyond question: invest, and you will reap high rewards.

 

Set in Italy (Florence and Rome, to be precise) Feast sets its tone in the first few pages and sticks with it throughout. A newly discovered piece of baroque artwork claimed by some in the know to be a masterpiece by a long-dead bad boy of the seventeenth century; a vicious car bombing meant to kill; and a cast of self-centred characters each with hidden and not-so-hidden agendas makes this novel an absolute joy. Worried that there might be insufficient sub-text? Don't be - it's a cracker.

 

Now, I won't debase Corinne's novel by peppering this review with spoiler alerts, but let me just say as far as plot is concerned that everything hangs together and you won't be disappointed. That's down to the amazing balance of believable characterisation, believable use of the principles of cause and effect, and believable depictions of where the story takes place. Mix all three elements together as Corinne Van Houten has managed to do and the result is a joy to become a part of, however temporarily. The thing is - and this is the gauge by which I measure true quality in fiction - Anne Langlais and all her idiosyncrasies are still with me weeks after reading the novel, as are Maya Kelly and Edward Donant. And just about every one of the supporting cast of characters, each with their human strengths and human weaknesses.

 

I doubt there's a woman alive who won't recognise part of herself in Maya, or in Anne. Every person is flawed, after all, thanks to what has shaped us in our lives, and these two women silently demand that we ask ourselves - `what's she going to do now?' (actually, as far as Maya is concerned, I often found myself asking who's she going to do now...but that's perhaps giving away too much - read it yourself!)

 

When I think of `page-turners' I generally gravitate towards the Bond novels, or Dan Brown's offerings, or something along the lines of Matthew Reilly's Ice Station. Imagine my `surprise' then, when I caught myself at 3am one morning (and I'm an early-to-bed kinda guy) turning yet another page of Feast. The least likely looking page-turner it may be, but it's that, nonetheless.

 

Clearly, Corinne Van Houten has travelled; I'd bet she's been to Italy many times, visiting galleries, sitting by the fountains that she so expertly describes and taking dinner under the stars on the fringe of just about every bustling piazza. But her descriptions of place go far beyond the travelogues in which many writers of fiction find themselves mired. Somehow she manages to give meaning to each location, and I think that's due in part to her knowledge of the art history of each place she describes, and also because of her ability to relate that history to the people of the present day. I've never been to Italy, but after reading A Feast of Small Surprises I'm planning to make amends on that score. I just hope I find as many delights in the real thing as I found in Corinne Van Houten's brilliant novel.

 

One last thing to wrap up: I must pay homage to her choice for the cover of her novel. Irene Belknap's Continuum (oil on canvas, 1990) is not only stunningly beautiful to look at, its thought-provoking themes relate closely to those of the novel - focusing on character, heritage and the often absurd nature of humanity.

 

 

On Georgia’s Cosmopolitan Coast, An Author Explores Europe’s Treasures, Local Amenities

The Harbor Sound

Brunswick, GA

 

The group sat around a sidewalk table in perfect weather, the author, her graduate studies professor and his wife, another friend, and the author's publicist. The night scene could have been in Italy: the chef came out to check on the crab bisque, the waiter spooned sherry over it. All around, lighted up in the dark, beyond thick crepe myrtle trees dividing the avenue, pastel-colored buildings rose just two stories, as they had in 1910. Shops in a coastal village in Capri would be no taller.  But this was October on the corner of Newcastle and Gloucester Street in modern day Brunswick. The restaurant was Cargo Portside, the author was Corinne Van Houten, the occasion was her presentation at Brunswick's ample new library. Mrs. Van Houten spoke and showed slides on art and literature, introducing her book, aptly titled, A Feast of Small Surprises...Read More >

Reviews on Wine-Tasting in Carneros CD

Wine Business Monthly

New Products

Wine Tour CD for Carneros Region Released

 

Wine Tour CD, created by Corinne Van Houten, allows wine tourists to navigate the wine country in the Carneros region of the Napa and Sonoma valleys in a unique way. The CD allows wine tourists to learn about each winery and listen to the owners talk about why they make wine, what they love about living in Carneros and how their families became involved in winemaking. The CD comes with a map and tracks for each winery in the area, and each track is set to a musical interlude provided by the Baguette Quartette, a San Francisco Bay Area group led by accordionist Odile Lavault.

 

 

Pressings

TheWineBuzz

 

Planning a trip to Napa or Sonoma?  Consider packing a copy of Corinne Van Houten’s CD Wine Tasting in the Carneros Region of Sonoma & Napa Valleys.

 

This CD is meant to be popped into your car’s sound system as you embark on a tasting tour of the Carneros region, which straddles the two most famous wine valleys in the country.  (Van Houten is also working on an audio file for iPod-toting cyclists).

 

She begins with an introduction to wine tasting basics (she suggests spitting but confesses that she doesn’t) and tips for touring (bring a cooler in hot weather, and don’t tell the entire tasting room is you don’t like a wine).  There’s also a four-minute crash course on winemaking that packs in a lot of info.  Then you’re off to the wineries—11 of them—armed with background information on history, vineyards, wines and winemaking philosophy, often told by the winemakers or owners themselves.

 

Most of the wineries are small, such as Ceja Winery, owned by a Mexican family who once tended the vineyards as migrant workers.  But there’s also the large sparkling wine producer, Domaine Carneros.  Others include Cline, McKenzie-Mueller and Bouchaine.

 

Van Houten concludes with an overview of restaurants in the region.  Sound quality is good and background music by Baguette Quartet and others sets the tone for relaxation and fun.  Van Houten’s voice is pleasant, and her genuine love of wine and enthusiasm for these wineries shines through.

 

Included in the package is a map along with a listing of tasting fees at the various wineries and recommendations on some special wines not to be missed.  And there’s a bonus: $40 worth of coupons for tasting rooms along the route.  How can you go wrong?

 

Donna Marchetti

Editor in Chief

 

 

NapaLife

Carneros Wine Tour

 

Author and art historian Corinne Van Houten has released a new CD of a tour of the wineries of Carneros. Even if you’re reasonably familiar with the small wineries hiding in our cool southern hills, I bet you’ll learn many interesting facts as you listen to the CD, perhaps in your car as you visit.

 

It would be a great resource to lend to visiting guests to get them out of your hair for a day, or to give them before they come to Napa.

 

A map and tracks for each winery make it easy for anyone to pick and choose the wineries they want to visit.

 

The CD includes $40 worth of tasting coupons for wineries.

 

Paul Franson

 

 

Marin IJ

Cuisine Scene: Tour before you quaff

 

Corinne Van Houten loves touring the Wine Country so much she decided to turn her passion into a business.

 

The Terra Linda resident has just released a new CD, "Wine Tasting in the Carneros Region of Sonoma and Napa Valley".

 

It's an audio driving tour of 11 wineries: Roche, Cline, Schug, Robledo, Larson Family, Homewood, Domaine Carneros, McKenzie-Mueller, Bouchaine, Ceja and Truchard.

"Each one has its own track so you can choose which wineries you want to visit and in what order," Van Houten explains. The CD also comes with a map detailing their locations, and $40 worth of coupons for complimentary tastings at four of the wineries.

 

The idea, she says, is for people visiting Sonoma's Wine Country to listen to the CD in their cars as "something to whet your appetite for these wineries, and to get familiar with what each winery is about and what the wines are like when you want to tour Sonoma County."

 

Van Houten, who conducted interviews with either vintners, the owners or key personnel at each winery she briefly profiles, also does the narration. Music's part of the experience; a different tune is linked to each winery. Van Houten says she's particularly proud that the French group, Bagette Quartet based in Berkeley, donated songs to the soundtrack in exchange for credit.

 

With a doctorate in women's studies, art history and literary criticism from Emory University in Atlanta, one self-published mystery novel about art, "A Feast of Small Surprises," under her belt and a second novel in the works, Van Houten's no stranger to dreaming up projects.

 

"When we first moved out here five years ago from Paris, I couldn't wait to get to the Wine Country," she says. "My husband noticed I was up there all the time. He said, 'Why don't you do something productive?' I thought the idea of a CD would be cool."

 

Leslie Harlib

 

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