Friday, July 4, 2014

Authors Changing the World, One Book at a Time

I'm lucky enough to know Drusilla Campbell, but I was a fan of her books long before I met her. I'm a lover of clear and simple prose—you know, like Steinbeck and Cather wrote, the kind that is so hard to write. I found one of Drusilla's books in the library—I think it was Little Girl Gone, and I was hooked. (I reviewed her newest book, When She Came Home, on the SPH blog; you can read that post here.)
Recently, I re-read Bone Lake—it had been years since I'd read it, and I saw on Dru's blog where it was on sale in a Kindle ebook version, so I bought it. It blew me away, all over again. Not only does Dru get into the heart and mind of a little girl who's been raised by white supremacists, but she makes that girl, and her life, and her whole-hearted support of their racist beliefs quite believeable—truly, scarily, believable.
Another book I just read is The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona—who just happens to be another author I know and admire. That book is also about a young girl raised in a world whose beliefs clash with her family's and her own. The character and setting couldn't be more different—the girl is a Spanish Jew, "passing" for Catholic, in the years just before the Inquisition. (You can find out more about Laurel and her books on her blog, here.) But what struck me about the two books is how they made me feel about, and feel for, their characters.
No one sets out to have hateful ideas, or to be a hateful person—everyone's upbringing probably starts with their mom and dad teaching them to share and be kind. But somewhere along the way, that instruction becomes adulterated (yep, double-meaning intended) to something like "Share with, and be kind to, only those who look like us"—or worship like us, or love like us. And until we understand how we ourselves do this, how our own children are being "carefully taught," as the song says, then how can we criticize others for doing the same?
The only way we can change the world for the better is to change our way of thinking—hopefully, we can, one book at a time.
So, why not buy books—and support and promote books—that promote peace and understanding?
It can't hurt.
Here's a very short list of some other authors I admire that you might not yet know about, whose works are helping to make a difference: Matthew Pallamary, Marla Miller, Midge Raymond, Robert Yehling, Helen Landalf, and Cate Shepard.
hasta pronto!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Don't Self-Publish!

Writing is hard enough, and very little of the work of writing can be shared—and that's without trying to do-it-all-yourself as an author-publisher. A lot of aspiring author-publishers are looking into "team publishing" right now, so they have the support of professionals and don't have to do it all on their own. My latest blog post on the Social Publishing House blog is all about that; find the "Don't Self-Publish!" post here.
Also over at SPH, the submission period is over for their first writing contest, and the second round of judging will begin soon. The next writing contest begins July first, and will be limited to first chapters of military memoirs. More about the contest here and on the Facebook group page.
I'm busy editing, blogging and traveling the California Coast. Life is good.
hasta pronto!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Free Short Story Competition Starts May 1

As you all, no doubt, know by now, I am working with Social Publishing House as an editor, blogger, and all-around publishing maven...And SPH is hosting a writing competition—for short stories in the category of memoir—and it's free to enter.
The best part is that all the entries will receive ratings and comments from the judges—I am one of the judges—and it's all free...This will be a great opportunity for a beginning/emerging writer to get some feedback on his/her writing without spending anything. Their upcoming competitions will be very affordable, so it will be a super chance to be part of an ongoing learning process.
The competition will also help SPH to find some memoir writers out there who have exciting stories and good writing skills, to possibly publish.
They are especially interested in seeing writing from current or former military personnel, so if you know someone like that, please pass this on.
There will be a Google On-Air Broadcast about the competition on May 1st, check out all the info about the broadcast here
Hasta pronto!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Big news, and Fifty Shades of Twilight, Anyone?

The big news is that I'll be teaching at the Sunriver Writers' Summit in Oregon this Summer...The inaugural weekend is June 7-8. A great new extension of the SCWC conference brand, but an exclusive weekend intensive this time. More on that very soon!
As I said in my last post, I'm blogging at Social Publishing House now. Also have lots of editing work to do (yay!) AND we're getting ready to set sail for another northern-bound "work meets play" voyage on the coast of California.
Here's my latest post on writing fan fiction, or just plain re-hashing successful stories. The site has some other great stuff on it, so look around—check out Rafael Gamboa's review for Divergent for example. And a free short-story writing competition is coming soon...
hasta pronto!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I'm Blogging at Social Publishing House

Yes, it's been awhile since I posted here...I'm (happily) quite busy, with five books in various states of editing on my "desk" at the moment. Yay!
But I'm also a professional blogger now, working at Social Publishing House. They are going to be hosting an ongoing series of writing competitions soon, and the first one will be free! More on that subject soon.
You can link directly to my latest blog posts, one about Drusilla Campbell's latest book here, and about writing good narration here. Another post is coming soon, so keep checking back!
That's all the news, now I'm going back to editing...(happy sigh)...
hasta pronto!