Guest Post at Kathryn’s Inbox: Birthing a Book

It looks to me like I forgot to post this excerpt from a guest post I did over at Kathryn’s Inbox in January.  If this is a repeat post, I apologize.  I’m only showing a bit of it here, but click through to read the whole article if you are interested in hearing about the labor pains involved in Birthing a Book.

Today, I am bringing you a guest post by the wonderful Debra R. Borys whose most recent novel Box of Rain was released in December 2014. Debra is talking with us about the process of birthing a book. I found this post to be quite inspirational and hope that you do, too.

 

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how much work you do beforehand to prepare for the new arrival. You take Lamaze classes, read books, plan decor for the nursery. You pack your suitcase, take the multi-vitamins your doctor prescribes, and faithfully attend scheduled wellness checkups.

When you are anticipating the creation of a new book, there are several stages all writers go through. Methods may vary, but the general framework remains the same: conception, research, development, labor, and the final reward, holding your newly birthed book in your eager little hands.

via Kathryn’s Inbox: Guest Post: Author Debra R. Borys on Birthing a Book.

Advertisements

Looking For a Reason

EHAn essay I wrote quite a while ago has been published on the Effectively Human website.  It’s a piece about a young man I knew when I was volunteering, one that I often think about and hope he is doing well.  It still breaks my heart to think he might not be.

Here’s a small piece of it but I hope you will click through to read the rest.

Maybe the question I need to answer is not what went wrong, but what might go wrong. How long before the young boy’s eyes in the young man’s face grow cold? Will the day come when he will look at me with a glazed gaze: wild, cruel, daring someone for a reason to vent his anger and frustration at what he has become? He will sit on our stained blue couch and I will mix hot cocoa for him, or maybe pour coffee, extra cream and extra sugar. He will stuff packages of cookies in his pockets and ask if we have any clean socks, any hygiene kits, any sandwiches, any more coffee. Anything? The dark hair will be streaked with gray, the zipper on his coat will not quite close and he will carry a plastic shopping bag with the corner of a frayed airline blanket poking out from its tightly packed interior.

If this is Eric’s future, will I find courage enough then to look past his rage to find the human being inside? Will there be one there? Which would be the worst case scenario: a cardboard box or a coffin?

A cardboard box, and then a coffin?

No, I think. The worst case scenario would be not looking for the human being. If I stop looking, if everyone stops looking, the human being dies while the body continues to breathe. And the little boy in the church pew, the face he makes as he tugs at his tight top shirt button, the wide-eyed dream of someday drawing comic books, or pitching for the Yankees, or winning the Indy 500, dies also.

via Effectively Human: Homelessness, The Night Ministry in Chicago and A Reason to Care.

Love Me, Love Me Not? Then Pimp My Book

I risk ostracism by my friends and family and tell all in a hopefully humorous guest post today on www.bookbrowsing.wordpress.com.  I’m not sure if my intent was to guilt people into buying my book or to sabotage my chances of ever becoming a successful writer so that I have an excuse to not finish the book I’m working on.640px-PIMP_MY_SWAGG

Click through the read the whole post and tell me if you know the answer. Thank you, P.J. Nunn for the opportunity.

The thing about friends and family and spouses is that both you and they have a handicap called Unconditional Love. Normally a virtue, UL has a dark side. The people who best love me are so assured of my success it never occurs to them I might need their help to achieve it. I am so confident they support me I expect them to know my expectations and hopes without my saying a word.

via I Would Like to Thank the Academy… by Debra Borys | bookbrowsing.

An Author Spotlight

Me-smilingM.J. Joachim, who did a thoughtful review of Bend Me, Shape Me recently, invited me to do a guest post about who I am, a theme you may have seen a few times here in this blog.

I wouldn’t be the woman who can now look at the darkness and deal with it if I hadn’t first been the woman who believed there is love and laughter and grace in the world.

I feel blessed to have “double vision” like this. While I still don’t see the whole elephant, knowing that there is more to life than just the trunk I am blindly clinging to has made me a more curious, more accepting person than I feel I would be otherwise. At least I know the truth of how we all see “but a poor reflection as in a mirror” and I fully look forward to seeing “face to face.” “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Read more on M.J. Joachim’s Writing Tips

Worldly Possessions or Hoarding?

Shopping cartLetting go is hard. I wrote a guest post at Digital World Today a few months ago that went live today.  I hope you will click through to read the whole thing, but here is a small bit you can perhaps relate to.

If you’ve ever watched the show Hoarders, you probably sat there wondering how anyone could have their head so screwed up that they would find it distressing when asked to throw away things that most people could recognize as unhealthy trash. Yet when my Mom and I spent a few days trying to clean out her basement, I saw a similar uneasiness at work in her mind.

The longer we worked, the more difficult it became to make a decision about each object. Which bin to put the thing in, trash it, donate it, or keep it? I could see the angst and confusion as she weighed the matter like it was something vastly important, like there would be a grade given at the end of the test and dire consequences for not passing with flying colors

via Worldly Possessions or Hoarding? – Digital Book Today .

Switching Gears- Guest Post at Indies Unlimited

I recently wrote a guest post at Indies Unlimited about my fears that changing genres from dark suspense under Debra R. Borys to cozy mystery as Deb Donahue might put readers off.  It’s generating some interesting comments.  I hope you will click through to read the whole post and see what people have to say.

I pour my love of the city into my Street Stories suspense novels. When I was writing and editing the recently released second novel in the series, Bend Me, Shape Me, I was in high gear, flat out and fully immersed in that world I was creating. I sent it off to my publisher with high hopes. Then I hit the hill.

I wasn’t blocked. I could still write, still chugging along even if there were a few fits and starts along the way. My internal engine, the complicated, many-valved, pieced-together heart of me that makes me unique, was signaling it was time to switch gears. My country girl needed her share of traction as well.

No problem, I thought. I’m a writer. I write. Ideas, both good ones and really stupid ones, abound in my head. I have had a cozy mystery idea in mind for years, based on the farmstead I once lived on in rural Illinois. My small mother-in-law house resided across the driveway from a huge farmhouse that had been the home of a family who raised twelve close-knit children who were friends of mine. Think The Waltons on the open prairie.

via Switching Gears | Indies Unlimited.

Postcards from the Streets

Bend Me, Shape Me

Somehow in the flurry of moving, I missed the fact that Judith Kirscht posted my guest post over at her blog about some of the real life street stories I experienced which inspired my suspense series.

Words paint pictures, evoke memories and move hearts.

It was late at night and summer when I used to walk the streets of Chicago near LaSalle and Hubbard. I was volunteering once a week with Emmaus Ministries then and accompanied by a staff person. Armed with business cards, we would make sure people without homes knew where they could go for a home cooked meal, clean clothes and conversation.

These are examples of the many reasons I chose to write about street people in my STREET STORIES suspense novels. Not to exploit them, or sensationalize homelessness, or advocate social change, but just to engender awareness. If we open our eyes and our ears…

View original post 22 more words

Meet Carla Anderton

carla1New Libri author Carla Anderton recently got the exciting news about the ebook release of her historical thriller The Heart Absent. The book explores the question which consumes us all as we watch today’s headlines: what drives murderers to commit unimaginable acts?

The book will be out soon in paperback as well.The guest post below speaks to her inspiration and her obsession: Jack the Ripper.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How do I sleep at night? Not well…

More often than not, when I tell people – particularly my community college students – that I’m an expert on Jack the Ripper, I get at least a handful of strange, bemused looks. I’m never surprised by it. Despite the fact that Jack the Ripper is perhaps the most infamous serial killer of all time, the study of his crimes has a name – Ripperology – and has spawned an entire industry devoted to discovering “whodunnit,” it remains an unusual and admittedly morbid period of history with which to be engrossed.

And I am that, thoroughly engrossed. Since my earliest encounter with the spectre of the Ripper on a “Jack the Ripper Walking Tour” in 1995, I’ve been fascinated by the man and the myth. I’ve read perhaps every reputable book on the subject, and a few that were less than credible. I’ve heard all the pet theories, ranging from the believable to the absurd, as to the identify of the elusive killer we call “Jack the Ripper,” “Leather Apron,” “The Fiend of Whitechapel,” etc. The list of monikers is almost as long as the list of suspects.

I’ve studied the autopsy and crime scene photos from every angle. Wake me up from a dead sleep and ask me to recite the names and nicknames of the five canonical victims and I can do so without hesitation. Every year, on the anniversaries of their deaths, I pause to honor their memories, whether with a moment of silence or a Facebook posting commemorating the same.

As previously stated, I am far from alone in my interest in all things Ripper and yet it never perplexes why I get bewildered looks when I tell others of my love for my main man, Jack. There’s an old adage that appearances can be deceiving, and I’m certain my own appearance is misleading.

Diminutive in stature, I’m not particularly menacing, nor do I necessarily convey much of an aura of authority as it pertains to a century plus old crime. Unlike many students of serial murderers, I don’t dress the part, since with two grey and white cats I’ve (mostly) banned dark colors from my wardrobe. I wear glasses, but I’ve never thought they made me look studious or like someone who’s spent whole days poring over the case files. And, yet, in spite of my deceptive exterior, inside my mind I fear I retain too much tragedy.

Inside my head are statistics so horrifying it actually alarms me how easily and unemotionally I can rattle them off. From the number of stab wounds sustained by the first –albeit non-canoncial victim–Martha Tabram, to the count of organs the Ripper removed from the body of the alleged last victim, Mary Jane Kelly, I can vividly picture each of Jack’s “Unfortunates” in situ.

An early reviewer of my debut novel, The Heart Absent, a tale of Jack the Ripper in love, begged the question of how I manage to sleep with all these ghastly facts crowding my psyche and the answer is simply: Not well. Not well, at all.

Still, I continue on as an amateur Ripperologist, and despite my concerns about overexposing myself to evil, I likely will remain fascinated by the Whitechapel Fiend until the end of my days. With the advent of advanced technology and automatic communication, new theories are constantly being put forward, some based in (pseudo)science, others based on cold facts, and even those derived from a fleeting observation or emotion. All these theories provide opportunities for expansion, elaboration and reflection.

Which brings me back to The Heart Absent, a fictional novel in which I tried not to answer the question “Who was the Jack the Ripper?” but rather “What sort of man could Jack the Ripper have been, and what sorts of events might trigger such chaotic violence?” Further, I sought to create complex characters, set against a realistic, meticulously researched historical backdrop, and to put those same characters in situations where my reader would be forced to alternately cheer and condemn them.

Was I successful? Only my readers can respond to that and, if you like stories about heartbreak and horror, passion and loyalty–or even if you just like a good whodunnit or a complex romance–I think you’ll enjoy The Heart Absent. I welcome your comments here, via email at carla@jozart.com, or over on my web site at www.carlaeanderton.com. You can also add me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AUTHOR BIO

theheartabsentcoverFor as long as she can remember, Carla Elizabeth Anderton aspired to become a professional writer, a desire that’s been applauded and supported by her parents, her late grandparents, and nearly every English teacher who’s ever counted her as a student. A voracious reader from an early age, she’s fascinated by history and the human condition, and prefers to read/write fiction based on fact. Her pet subjects include European history, specifically England during the Tudor and Victorian eras. A recognized expert on the infamous serial murderer Jack the Ripper, she made the elusive killer the focus of her debut novel, The Heart Absent, which was published by New Libri Press in April 2013.

Anderton earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from California University of Pennsylvania.
In addition to writing fiction, Anderton has published poetry, essays, articles and plays and has an extensive background in small press journalism. For nearly five years, she was Editor-in-Chief of a regional monthly newsmagazine, California Focus, and since 1994 has edited/produced a literary arts magazine, Peer Amid, at varying intervals. Currently, Anderton is an adjunct professor of English. She also serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Jozart Center for the Arts in California, Pennsylvania where she lives with a tall, talkative computer repairman and her 15-year-old son.

NOVEL SYNOPSIS

14-year-old James Nemo spent most of his youth motherless and under the thumb of a father who hates him. These injustices he quickly forgets, however, in the arms of a beautiful young prostitute named Nelly. Reality conspires against the young lovers, and James is left, alone and angry, to confront the truth behind his mother’s abandonment. Twenty years pass. James, now a respected artist, meets Mary Jane Kelly, an Irish prostitute who bears more than a passing resemblance to Nelly. Convinced his redemption lies in her, James slowly ensnares her into his ever darkening world. His passion for her escalates to a frenzy, amidst the backdrop of Victorian London, and threatens to consume them both.

WEB SITES –
www.carlaeanderton.com
www.theheartabsent.com
www.facebook.com/carla.e.anderton
twitter.com/birdoutofacage

Guest Post: Gordon Hooper’s blog

Recently I posted a guest post by Gordon Hooper, author of Alex and Katija.  Well, Gordon has returned the favor and asked me to write something for his page as well.  So I did a little reflection on how important a great writers group is, no matter what your goals or level of expertise.  Check the link to read the whole article, but here’s a little excerpt.

The purpose of a writer’s group should match your needs. If you are tentative about whether you can write well or not and shy about what people might think of your words, you won’t want a group that is trying to help you make the work publishable by offering blunt, honest criticism. Yet there is nothing more frustrating than hearing “I love it, keep going, you’re a great writer” when you know there is something not working in what you’ve just presented but no one to help you figure out exactly what.

via Gordon Hooper — WORDS OF WISDOM.

Guest Post on Acacia Awai’s Blog

Acacia Awai invited me to do a guest blog for her website so I did a little reflecting on what it’s like to be a bit of a split personality: City girl vs. country girl, dark urban suspense vs. light county cozies.

StreetStories-w-COVERSVisit Acaica’s beautiful site to visit everything I said.  Here’s a small bit of it.

So what happened to the country girl I used to be? She’s still there, reveling in the sun reflecting off a vast expanse of water, a crystal blue sky filled with dense, intense billows of white clouds. Her presence makes it easier for me to contemplate moving back to small town Illinois to be closer to family. City girl and country girl live in complete harmony, a split personality that has mellowed and learned to cooperate after years of comfortably accepting each other.

via Meet Debra Borys – Acacia Awai.

Omnimystery News: Guest Post

My guest post for OmniMystery News posted today.  I talk about writing the Street Stories suspense series and how it relates to my experiences with volunteering with the homeless.  I hope you enjoy.

Click through to read the whole article.

I chose to write suspense novels about events that happen to street kids because their homelessness adds an unexpected, little used, and huge obstacle for my protagonist to overcome. That’s just good storytelling. And if, while riding the twists and turns of the plot my reader begins to develop an awareness that street kids are people, are human beings not that different from themselves, am I going to complain?

Not a bit. Because influencing the minds and opinions of readers is something all good fiction should do, as long as it’s not at the expense of entertainment. Tell me you’ve never been enlightened by a book you picked up just because the plot sounded like fun? I bet you can’t.

via Omnimystery News: Please Welcome Back Author Debra R. Borys.

Meet Gordon Hooper

GordonAnd you thought you were weird?  Author Gordon Hooper did a little research into the oddities of some famous authors that is bound to make us all feel a little better about ourselves.

Gordon’s novel Alex & Katija has been described as “warped and as dark as the deepest depths” but also “explosive, wild, funny, and truly insane.” And if that doesn’t make you want to check out the book, try this: there are zombies and zombie queens!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Peculiar Writing Habits of Famous Authors

Hej

My name is Gordon Hooper. Like Debra, I am signed with New Libri Press. My book “Alex and Katija, High and Mighty” was published as an ebook on November 06 2012.

But enough self-promotion! [ed note: you can never have too much of that!  Look for buy links for Alex and Katija below.]

It is my belief that most writers are weirdos. Mere mortals are considered strange, whilst the famous are called eccentric. So let’s have a look at some of the strange writing habits of these famous weirdos:

Victor Hugo – Wrote both Les Misèrables and the Hunchback of Notre-Dame nude, so he couldn’t leave his house. He even went so far as to instruct his valet to hide his clothes.

Demosthenes (ancient Greece) – would shave half his head, so he, like Victor Hugo, would remain at home.

I have to say that I’m a bit envious of the writers of old, as most distractions nowadays seems to come from within the home – TV, internet, computer games etc.

Honoré de Balzac – would guzzle black coffee, so he could write for long stretches. Once for 48 hours straight! (Makes one suspect some other kind of substance, but never mind)

Ernest Hemingway – Stood and wrote. His writing regime of “done by noon and drunk by three” might sound fun, but I doubt it would increase one’s productivity in the long run.

George Orwell, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, Marcel Proust and Truman Capote wrote whilst lying in bed.

Charles Dickens – Would go for a walk and try to get lost, in order to stimulate his creativity.

Hunter S. Thompson – would write drunk and on all manner of drugs.

James Joyce – would write three sentences a day. And that was on a good day!

Vladimir Nabokov – wrote on index cards in no particular order. One of his books could be made up of 2000 of these cards.

P.G Wodehouse – would pin finished pages to the wall. Good ones close to the ceiling, and bad ones at waist height.

William Wordsworth – would recite his poetry to his dog while taking a stroll. If the dog barked or was upset as he read, he would rewrite the poem.

So, do you have any strange writing habits? Weirder than the above?

Mine are hardly strange, but important. When I write I need loud, fast moving music. Often Techno or Rock. When I edit I need absolute silence. I prefer to write in the morning when I have lots of energy. But due to having a day job, my writing schedule is somewhat erratic at the moment. And yes, I laugh out loud at my own jokes

The fast moving music, and a current addiction to caffeine and nicotine clearly influences my writing. The result is the breakneck pace and wild roller-coaster ride of the “Alex and Katija” series.

How is your writing influenced by your habits?

For more rubbish:

http://www.gordon-hooper.com/words-of-wisdom.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO

AlexKatijaGordon Hooper is a novice writer who usually bungles his way through the literary bog of his own creation. Most of his work is created solely to make people laugh, or at the very least smile. He tries to be offensive as often as humanly possible. When not – then he is most likely being semi-blackmailed by his publisher, who has a hell of a job in keeping us all out of jail and preventing the premises of New Libri from being torched.

He is a nasty little bugger that Gordon. And why write about himself in third person? Well, it seemed a suitably ostentatious way to reveal his delusions of grandeur.

You can visit Gordon’s website here, or check him out on Facebook.

Alex and Katija can be downloaded at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Meet Cathy Adams

CathyA45Cathy Adams is a southerner who is a long way from home.  Her novel, This Is What It Smells Like was published last year by New Libri Press, but she is also an award-winning writer with short stories and essays in her repertoire.

Cathy writes about how such a big change in her life is changing her writing voice as well, but I have to admit I am a little envious of Cathy’s adventurous life right now.  I think we should all be encouraged to spread our wings and dare to explore the world a little more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Being a Southern Writer When You’re Not in the South

I’ve been a southern writer all my life. I was born in Alabama and have lived in Georgia and North Carolina. I’m still a southern writer who is no longer in the south. I’m not even in America. For the past seven months I’ve been living in China, on the opposite side of the planet from my southern heritage, and now I have to figure out what it means to be a southern (American) writer in China.

I wear my southern culture like a little birthday suit. It is that thing I understand the nuances of through sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste even if I can’t tell you what makes something southern. I know the taste and texture of a glass of tea the way we (meaning the great southern WE) drink it. I’ve tried to duplicate it with the ingredients I can get here in Xinzheng, but I can not make sugary, filled to the top with ice, sweet tea even in my own apartment the way I did back in North Carolina. The granulation of the sugar is not the same texture. The ice from the filtered machine does not taste the same. The tea is not the same brand or strength. It does not “set” properly the way tea did on humid afternoons in Alabama, leaving the sugar slightly syrupy against the flavor of the tea leaves. Even the color of the liquid is not the right orange/amber/brown. So, I keep settling my taste for the tea of “home” to the altered tea of China, which is, in truth, my home now, and when I sit down to write, the flavor is never quite the same either.

For me, home and voice are intertwined. Where you come from determines, in part, how you see the world, and how you see the world affects voice. I can’t speak for all southerners, but for me Southern culture has created a fiercely unapologetic spirit and a sometimes unforgiving nature. We’re all responsible for ourselves but at the same time we’re all obligated to help one another along and at the very least not put obstacles in the way of others. The latter ideals have served me fairly well, the former has been a burden I willfully try to shake off but never quite lose. I see those worldviews when they come into my writing; if they’re not being funneled directly into my characters they still affect my language choices. I can change my voice to some extent, depending on the character, but that “fingerprint” of my voice always manages to come through, even if only a little bit.

Bringing my southern writing voice to China means it’s going through changes, and I can’t help but wonder, if I spend enough time here in central China will it be altered to the point that I will no longer sound like a southern writer? (Is there even a place in the literary world for hybrid Alabama/Xinzheng writers?) The discomfort seems to lie in the fact that before I came to China I was rather settled into my voice. Over the past few years we’d become familiar chums; it was recognizable, predictable. Now all this growth and change leaves me increasingly uncertain in my writing style. The smart, confident part of me thinks I should jump in and embrace it, run with it to see where it takes me. The fearful part of me thinks I have to sit down and pull it apart to figure it out before I can continue writing. It’s clear which one I should be listening to.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO

This is What it SmellsLikeCathy Adams’ short stories and essays have been published in Utne, The Philosophical Mother, Ghoti Magazine, Heliotrope, and WNCWoman, among others.

Her writing awards include the Mona Schreiber Award for Fiction, a National League of Pen Women’s Prize, and a National Public Radio News Director’s award.  Her work has been aired on Georgia Peachstate and  Isothermal Public Radio networks.

She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, and is busy at work on her next novel. Cathy is a wine and chocolate connoisseur and has dabbled in designing her own clothes.

You can visit Cathy’s Tumblr bog here.

This Is What It Smells Like can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or ordered from your local bookstore.

Meet Judith Kirscht

Judith KirschtJudith Kirscht is not only a fellow New Libri author, she is also a current Pacific Northwest resident and former Chicagoan, just like myself.  Her book, The Inheritors, tells a story about a different era of Chicago than my Street Stories novels do, and a different societal structure.  But her love of Chicago is the same as mine and her book brings the city alive just the way I hope my books do.

In today’s guest post, Judith reflects on how the city gets beneath your skin, even if you no longer reside there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chicago Stories

I’m a Chicagoan. After more than a half century away from the city, I still think of myself that way and hold the Chicagoan’s belief that “we” are more civilized than our competitors on the other coasts. Unlike New Yorkers, we don’t shove each other to get on the subway; unlike Los Angelians we don’t drive the freeways as though we won’t get there unless we beat everyone else. We are the heartland.

How I manage to sustain such beliefs in the face of the news from the murder-capital, I don’t know. Nothing in my experience leads me to believe it was less violent in the Thirties than it is now. After all, Chicago is best known for Al Capone, and Debra Borys’s Painted Black brings to life the raw underbelly of today’s city. Indeed, her story brings back the days I did casework in the city’s near South-Side.

In those icy winters I roamed the pre-housing project streets where open wires hung in the halls of ancient apartment buildings without heat, and I heard rats in the walls as I brushed cockroaches off the couches to sit down. At least one of those horrid structures burned to the ground every winter, killing scores. But I found stories there, just as Debra found them, among the homeless. The richest and most memorable were those pockets of hope that somehow survived, despite the dirt, the rats, the L thundering outside the window.

My own Chicago, in Hyde Park, was a gentler place, though just as cold and dirty, for the city then heated with coal, and frequently our six-flat was also without heat. I think both influences combine in the picture of Chicago that comes through in my book The Inheritors. The characters are neither the very rich, living in immunity on the Gold Coast, nor Painted Dark’s castoffs, buried under its overpasses. They are descendents of waves of immigrants who struggled to raise families in the burgeoning industrial growth of the Twentieth Century and are the result of that struggle.

They are the descendants, I hope, of Carl Sandburg’s Chicago, for he is, without compare, the voice of the city. I was, in fact, going to use his poem, “Phizzog” as a frontispiece for the book. I can’t reproduce it here, but “phizzog” is a Twainism for “face” and the gist of it is that we never asked for the face we got: “Here’s yours, now go see what you can do with it.”*

* Carl Sandburg, Good Morning America poems, 1928. Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1950, p.390.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR BIO
inheritors-NL website thumbnailI was born, raised, educated and married in Chicago, and raised my family in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I went back to school as an adult and began to write, winning two writing awards from the university—one for a novel and another for an essay.

Following a divorce, I began teaching academic writing at the University of Michigan and continued at the University of California, Santa Barbara where I was active in developing career paths for non-tenured faculty. Though I continued to write fiction during those years, I published largely professional articles and, finally, a textbook with colleague, Mark Schlenz.

I have now moved to Washington State to write fiction full time and have published several novel excerpts and short stories in addition to the novel and the essay that won the awards back in my student days. I share a house overlooking Puget Sound with an old friend, four basenjis and a drawer full of yet unpublished work.

Read more about Judith at www.judithkirscht.com

You can buy Judith’s book The Inheritors in print or ebook from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com.

Meet Nancy Canyon

nancyCanyonNancy Canyon is a fellow New Libri author who is an artist and writer.  Her ebook of short stories, Dark Forest, was published last year.  Each story is under 1000 words and evokes 60’s nostalgia.  Here’s what a couple of her reviewers had to say about the collection.

“This collection of stories captures memories of a childhood punctuated with air raids, scorching summer nights, and a dark secret.”

“A dark spectre haunts each narrative and prevents you from succumbing to the lure of innocence, BLT’s and bubblegum.”

“This collection was especially effective and enjoyable due to Canyon’s adroit talent with the short story form.”

Nancy wrote a short piece on making setting come alive in your writing.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s Alive!

People ask me how I make “place” come alive in my stories. My answer: I imagine the landscape as if I’m there. In my mind, I’m walking a ridge in the mountains, sitting by a lake in Eastern Washington, or out paddling a kayak in Bellingham Bay. I find nature so intense, the smells, sounds, surfaces, heat and cold. And the colors: turquoise water, dark tree silhouettes against an orange sky, light reflecting off the sea. If I were to paint everything I see I’d have to move, as the volume of canvases stacked against the walls would take over. Writing about place is more practical in this way, getting down the beauty of nature in a neat paragraph at the beginning of a scene, carrying the scenery throughout the story, bringing along the reader through repetition, grounding the reader in place.

If I can’t recall details that bring the image to life, I spend time in the landscape I’m writing about, jotting down the “Here & Now.” I spent two months on the Spokane River while writing my first book, WHISPERING, IDAHO. I’d missed much by relying only on my memory of the river: Mayfly hatches, Osprey fishing in the current, Common Mergansers swimming upstream, their feet paddling like cartoon characters, and the smell of the water, fish and mud.

AUTHOR BIO
Dark ForestNancy Canyon lives and creates in Historic Fairhaven, a small community situated along Bellingham Bay. She is part of an artist co-op, working in her art/writing studio in the Morgan Block Building on Harris Avenue. She and her tuxedo cat, Sid Canyon, live in a tiny condo across the street from her studio. Nancy is the author of DARK FOREST, published by New Libri Press, a book of short stories based on her childhood growing up in Spokane, Washington and available at Amazon.com . The cover of her book is her painting, “Reflection on Padden Creek”. Read more about Nancy Canyon at http://nancyloucanyon.blogspot.com/

You can download Nancy’s book from Amazon.com.

Meet Acacia Awai

I know, I haven’t been very active on the blog here lately.  One reason is because I’ve been finalizing proofing and promotion ideas for the new book, Bend Me, Shape Me, which will be out very, very soon.  Very!  Because of that, and because I don’t want anyone to get sick of listening to me, I have invited my fellow authors over at New Libri Press to guest post for me if they’d like.

Acacia Awai is, appropriately, the first author to do so.  It’s appropriate because she and I had our “babies” born just days apart, in the next room from each other, you might say.  Acacia’s Scales was the first ever book published by New Libri Press and Painted Black was the second, released just a short time later.

I hope you enjoy learning more about her.  I know I certainly hope to meet her in person some day.  Any excuse will do to get me to visit her beautiful Hawaii.

Alo-alo-Aloha!

HawaiiI love Hawaii. I was born here, raised here and am now rearing my own family here. It sounds so cliché but it’s none-the-less true. I am an island girl through and through.

I took this picture of Rabbit island in Waimanalo after pulling on the side of the road on my way home. This view is part of the reason my heart sings a happy beat…even on a busy Monday morning.

The drive from Waimanalo where we live to Hawaii Kai where my daughter’s school is, boasts scenery like this for the entire fifteen to twenty minute drive making the daily drag a lot less, well draggy. The blue water is absolutely something I look forward to seeing everyday.

It’s in my DNA, well not really, but you know what I mean. So when I decided to write my first novel, Scales, I knew I had to include touches of the beautiful ‘blue’ that I love so much. Some of the scenes that I’ve described in the Scales series so far have felt like it became a character of its own. Blue, my main character, was named after the salt-laden watery stuff.

Odd? Perhaps. Obsessive? Quite possibly. But really can you blame me?

——————

About Acacia:

In addition to being hard-wired biologically to the beautiful blue, Acacia Awai was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii. She loves French fries, diet Pepsi and ABSOLUTELY without a doubt she LOVES happy endings. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she earned a BA in PR Journalism. Acacia chose the backdrop of Hawaii to be cast alongside her modern day dragons because she hoped the combination of the two would be…magical.

Synopsis: Scales 2: Hope Mates

Magic, power and dueling clans are what fairy tales or really bad dreams are made of. So when Vivian Blue, a rare mixed breed, wakes up in Dragonkind instead of the Napili, Maui beach scene she was raised in, her life as she’s known it spins completely out of control. Will Blue stay away from the only family she’s ever known or make the ultimate sacrifice and leave her Hope Mate behind? Follow Blue and Hatch as their love is tested and their fates sealed.

Follow Acacia on:

blogFacebook_32x32Tumbler

Get Scales 1 at Amazon.comAmazon

Scales 2 at YouTube