"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Still Writing for Veterans

Thank-you to all veterans and active military. We may not show it enough, but you are so very appreciated!
A few years ago my interview of Vietnam War Veteran and author Tim O’Brien appeared in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 2. Since then, the publishers have continued the tradition of supporting our troops.

This yearly anthology presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families. It is an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council's Veterans Projects and the Warriors Arts Alliance.

"The stories and poems of service and sacrifice are essential in understanding what has so broadly been termed 'the American experience.' For me, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors is required reading and worthy of a thousand tears."     ―St. Leger Monty Joynes, veteran, Vietnam
Books can now be ordered from the Southeast Missouri State University Press and Amazon. 

Interested in submitting to Volume 8? They are already accepting submissions which are due by March 1, 2019. Contests and prizes will be awarded in each of the five categories. To learn more, please visit:  http://www.semopress.com/events/proud-to-be-writing-by-american-warriors/

Interested in more "support America" reads? Chicken Soup for the Soul publishers have several books honoring veterans and their families as well. Try some of their titles such as: Military Families and The Spirit of America.

Interested in reading more veteran related material? Try Noir and Returning War Vet Sub-Genre, or Being a Veteran.

Have you written with our military in mind? What military reads would you recommend?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Creativity

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive. Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

NOVEMBER QUESTION: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

MY ANSWER: I feel like my creative abilities are in a constant state of flux. A lot of that has to do with how busy I am and what trials I am enduring. I feel like the more emotional periods of my life (pregnancy, divorce, losing my house in a flood, death in the family, etc.) have elicited more creative and emotional pieces from me. During the tamer periods, I seem to lean more towards nonfiction. I've only recently realized and lamented this fact. It will be interesting to see if that pattern holds. I'm also curious to see if I will be more creative during the holidays this year. 

How about you? How has your creativity evolved?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

No NaNoWriMo for Me!

I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo this year.

There are less than 9 weeks left of 2018, and I need to spend it finishing up some of my incomplete projects and submission goals - not to mention all of my work for the high school and college courses I teach.

If you are participating, let me know so I can stop by to cheer you on in your progress. I wish you the best of luck!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Fall Fun

It's Halloween and time to enjoy some thrills and chills! 

To the left is my oldest daughter. This year she decided to make her own costume. In case you can't tell, she's a "ceiling fan" :-) She's so much fun, and I wish I'd had half her spunk when I was her age.

This weekend we've been enjoying Fall Fun - scarecrow festivals, costume contests, Halloween dances, and more Fall fun coming tomorrow (you can see more photos on some of my social media sites.)

I'm curious how you're spending this haunting time and cooler temperatures. If you're not sure how to get into the spirit of the season, I recommend trying something new like "Black Cat Magazine". I've also suggested these hauntingly fun reads.

If you're looking for something a little lighter, try my romantic Halloween short story (about 800 words): Madame Tooshkas Spell.

What scary reads do you recommend? 


HAPPY FALL!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October Reads

A few of the reads we're enjoying in my house this month...

The Fall of Jericho

The Third Release in an Epic Bible Adventure Series for Kids

The last thing fourth-grader Jake Henry remembers (before the world as he knew it disappeared) is napping at summer camp. What happens next can't be explained as Jake finds himself surrounded by massive stone walls that rise up all around him—in ancient Jericho! Imagine. . .The Fall of Jericho is the third release in an exciting epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today's kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

Don't miss Book 1 in the Imagine Series--Imagine...The Great Flood or. . . Book 2--The Ten Plagues!



Stratagem


A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder
 
Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.



The Crucible

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller's play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

"I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history," Arthur Miller wrote of his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.

Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch-hunts" in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing, "Political opposition... is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence."


What are you reading this month?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Good Times at a Bridge to Publication

Yesterday was the 14th annual "Bridge to Publication" conference hosted by the Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I truly enjoyed meeting several authors I've followed for a while as well as getting to know several more.

L Diane Wolfe: Owner of Dancing Lemur Press who published my short story "WIN" in 2016. I was so glad to finally get to meet her in person. I enjoyed her crash course on how to "Market Your Books Like a Professional" and I hope to work with her again in the future. If you'd like to learn more about her, check out her blog http://www.spunkonastick.net/  If you'd like to submit, check out http://www.dancinglemurpressllc.com/

I've been following John M Floyd and Michael Bracken a bit from their joint ventures with https://www.sleuthsayers.org/ It turns out these men have known each other for years as their paths have crossed numerous times over the years. Both men are experts in the genre of short stories. I believe Floyd has published more than 900 stories while Bracken has had more than 1200 short stories published. I can only imagine how many more they have had rejected, sitting in a drawer somewhere, or currently out for submission. They also both happen to have a story featured in this years "Best American Mystery Stories".

Floyd spoke with us about "Writing & Selling Short Stories" and then Bracken spoke with us about "Decision-Tree Story Creation". To learn more about these inspiring gentlemen, check out http://www.johnmfloyd.com/ and http://www.crimefictionwriter.com/

This was my first time meeting Gina Ardito and I'm amazed that I'd never heard of, or at least I don't remember hearing of, her. She is a true writing force and a great presenter. I thoroughly enjoyed her informative two part boot camp for writers. She provided so much useful information in the span of just a couple of hours. I will definitely be following her from now on. If you'd like to join me, you can find her at https://ginaardito.com/

The other author I really enjoyed meeting is Jerica Guillory. I almost left the conference early because I was so very tired. However, I am so glad I did not. Guillory's energy, enthusiasm, and worldly wisdom in her "Key to Publication, Inspiration, & Motivation" presentation was the perfect way to wrap up the day. 

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable and inspiring day spent with dozens of authors. I'm energized and anxious to get back to my own WIP's. I hope I have he chance to meet with all of these speakers again.

A very special thank you to the Bayou Writers Group for putting together another great conference. If yo'd like to learn more about them. head over to https://bayouwritersgroup.com/

How about you? Have you been to any great conferences lately? Are there any particular writers who continue to inspire you?

Monday, October 8, 2018

IWSG: Dates to Remember

Don’t forget that the IWSG has partnered with Write…Edit…Publish

This month’s challenge - Déjà vu or Voodoo. 

Add your name to the list, write your story, post on your blog or Facebook, and visit others. 
And there are prizes! 
Full details at the WEP site regarding genre, length, etc. Déjà vu or Voodoo – do you? 


Here are the prompts for the IWSG Instagram the next two months:




This is the last month to submit to the IWSG Anthology Contest. 

Young adult romance is the genre and masquerade the theme. 
Entry is free, you just need to be a member of the IWSG on some level. See the site for details. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to be in a royalty-paying anthology!



We have a date for the next #IWSGPit Twitter pitch – January 15, 2019! 

Visit the IWSG site for details. 

You don’t want to miss it. 


Finally, IWSG member Christopher Votey has created a cool course and program and IWSG members get a discount! 

My course is Digital Notes Organizer – Making Your Personal Encyclopedia. The first part will teach you how to put a wiki on your computer that is 100% private and secure and can be integrated with Dropbox for backup purposes and being able to share with others. 
The second part of the course teaches you how to use wiki software, great for your installation and for being able to edit any online wiki (ie, Wikipedia, Wikia). 
My course is $49.99, but I want to do something special for all of those who’ve show support for this site. When you check out, enter the following codes: 
IWSG80 – Get Course for $9.99 (10 Available) 
IWSG50 – Get Course for $24.99 (20 Available) 
IWSG25 – Get Course for $36.99 (50 Available) 

Get the full details at Christopher’s site and take advantage of his generosity! 


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG: Major Life Events

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

OCTOBER QUESTION: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

MY ANSWER: There have been times when major events interfered with my writing, causing me to go months at a time without producing any new content other than for work. Other times, my writing has served to help heal from and proceed through major events. Here are a few examples:

To Get Creative Juices Flowing, Prevent Writers Block, or to Deal With Rejection and other major events:

Six Words Are the Way In
Leaving Out the Dull Bits
Take A Chance
New Experiences
First Writing
Science Fiction Challenge
Feeling Overwhelmed
Writing
Reborn
Year-End Review of Your Writing
Audience of None
Dealing With Worry
5 Reasons for Vacation
Reevaluatingthe Plan
7 Things Successful Authors Don't Do
New Year, New You
Four Lessons From NaNoWriMo
5 Writer Faults
Starter Kit for Writers
To Write or Not to Write
7 Common Fears and Advice for Writers
Curing Blogging Blahs
20 Quotes of Inspiration
More Quotes
7 Tips for Overcoming Writers Block
Never Give Up
10 Tips for a Better Writing Environment
5 Keys to Unleashing Your Imagination
Writing Through Adversity
Title Tricks
The Art of Chaos
Zen Writing
The Empty Pages
Creativity Chips and Four Other Exercises
Inspiring Authors
Interview Exercise
Jung, Carl
Loglines
Universal Themes and Concepts
Rejection Infection
Inspiring Daily Rituals
Status Seekers vs Storytellers
Fresh or Frazzled
To Whom Shall I Tell My Grief
Holiday Writer
Elusive Ending
Don't Stop
Creativity, Inc.
I QUIT!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 3

Congratulations to my friend Melinda Pouncey and the other 12 authors selected for this year's horror anthology! The official release took place today: 

Road Kill 3: Texas Horror by Texas Writers
Publisher: Hellbound Books
Launch date Sept 29, 2018

Everything is bigger in Texas - including the horror! A Piney woods meth dealer clones Adolph Hitler. A nightmare exorcist meets an inexorable fined. An eyeball collector gets collected. The apparition of a lynching victim tracks down his executioners. A Texas lawman is undone by shades of his past. A Baphomet recruits converts as a local summer camp. The tales of the baker's dozen who appear in this anthology demonstrate why everything is scarier in Texas… Including tales of terror from Jeremy Hepler Madison Estes Bret McCormick James H Longmore ER Bills Shawana Borman And many more...

The previous two volumes of this anthology are also for sale on Amazon. For more information click here.

Have you read any of these volumes, or other works by these authors? What are some of your favorite Horror or Halloween reads?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Banned Books Week

September 23 is the beginning of "BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2018". Below is a couple of lists of ten of the most frequently challenged books.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged books list is compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and is based on or derived from communities across the United States. According to their data, the ten most challenged books of 2017 were:


1) Thirteen Reasons Why - Challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianChallenged because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.

3) Drama - Challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered "confusing."

4) The Kite Runner - Challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to "lead to terrorism" and "promote Islam."

5) GeorgeWritten for elementary-aged children, this book was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.

6) Sex is a Funny Word - This informational children's book was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to "want to have sex or ask questions about sex."

7) To Kill a MockingbirdChallenged and banned because of violence and the use of the N-word.

8) The Hate U GiveChallenged and banned because it was considered "pervasively vulgar" and because of drug use, profanity and offensive language.

9) And Tango Makes ThreeThis children's book was challenged because it features a same-sex relationship.

10) I Am JazzThis autobiographical picture book was challenged because it addresses gender identity.


TEN OF THE MOST FREQUENTLY CHALLENGED BOOKS IN HISTORY:

Some books have been repeatedly banned or challenged throughout history. This is a list of books that appear the most often on banned books lists.































If you would like more information about banned and challenged books, contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4220, or oif@ala.org. Another god source of information on banned books is the "Libraries and Center for Academic Technology" site by Butler University: https://libguides.butler.edu/c.php?g=34189&p=217684