Archive for July, 2007

Paid a visit to one of my favorite watering holes this past weekend. Bellied up to the bar and plopped 5 copies of “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road” next to me as the bartender slid a cool one in front of me.

Of course, my friends bought them eagerly and began reading excerpts of it. “Hey, this really looks good! Can’t wait to read it!” each of them said. I smiled and thanked them. I know they are going to LOVE it. More than they know.

Then, a guy catches my eye at the corner of the bar. He’s staring at the book and has a haircut that indicates he might be in the military. He asks me, “Is that book sort of philosophical?” I nod yes. “Why do you ask?” He nods and says that he went to Chiang Mai to find himself.

“The countryside is gorgeous. Very primitive in sections. But it gives you such a sense of being able to look within.” I smile and know he’ll enjoy the book.

“I began every morning by jogging on Loi Kroh Road. The bars were closing down from the previous night, there were still some party revelers stumbling home and there were some like me listening for answers. I even saw The Mango Tree Cafe. It’s true what you said in that book.”

“What do you mean?” I ask. “The legend is true. You’re changed forever when you go on that street. Scary stuff….” He shakes his head and buys me a beer.

I get the impression he still searches for answers.

Want to buy the booK? Click here: http://www.lulu.com/content/1019489#
Taryn Simpson is a freelance ghostwriter who recently co-wrote “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road” with her co-writer, Alan Solomon. Read about the novel: http://www.MangoTreeCafe-LoiKrohRoad.blogspot.com

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Actually have a couple of social issues…

Coming Together for the Cure releases August 13 in e-book and comes out in Print in September.
Cure JPG

The anthology includes my story Angel on the Wall. The book blurb: At some point, virtually everyone’s life is touched in some way by breast cancer. Whether it’s a friend or family member, or even yourself, the journey is one of courage and compassion. Phaze continues its tradition of fundraising for this cause with Coming Together: For the Cure, an anthology of erotic romance edited by Alessia Brio. Royalties from the sale of this edition of Coming Together will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Coming Together has never felt this good !

Next years anthology is currently accepting submissions: Coming Together with Pride. I am assisting Alessia Brio in selecting stories for this antho. All proceeds will benifit HIV/AIDS research. All geners and pairs are accepted… AIDS hits everyone regardless of class, race and sexual orientation. This is my first foray into quazi editorial aspects and Alessia was kind enough to take my suggestion and allow me to be a part of it.

K.M. Fontaine is donating all of the e-book sales from Loved him to Death to Gai Écoute a French-Canadian organization that helps gay teens who have been turned to the streets by thier families.

There is also the Dreams and Desires Anthology from Freya’s which benifits battered women’s shelters.
Okay… and the crappy shit that has me all depressed…

My mom works at Childrens’ Hospital Los Angeles. Tomorrow my spawn are spending the day with her. She has arranged to take them and another child on a field trip via MetroRail.

-The child is 6.

–She is an abandoned foster child.

—She is Afican American, in a wheel chair and cannot walk right now. The doctors say when she has a transplant, she WILL BE NORMAL.

—-She is on dialisis 3x per week.

—–She has LIVED at the hospital since she was 5, because no foster family is willing to make that level of commitment. This will be her fist trip out of the hospital of more than a few blocks in months.

Small stuff foks.

Yeah, we’ve been talking about “could we do a kid in a wheel-chair on Dialisis” talk tonight. And with us, social services might not let it happen and we’re not sure we could give that level of care. My partner grew up with foster kids. 3 of them along with his 4 natural brothers and sisters. I have an adoptive sister… from Mexico, when she was 12 and couldn’t speak English. Both his maternal grandparents were deaf. We’re both upset.

But, there’s something else small…My mom walks by the “Visit Board” every day… “Please visit with this child, they’ve had no visitors in x months…” insert your poison.. three, six, eight in some cases. The teenagers sometimes go for a year.

I am reminded of an act of my brother’s friends. One of them was diagnosed with kidney failure. Only about 1/2 of his “good friends” showed up to be tested. The “Bitch” that everyone hated, tolerated in thier group… she got tested. She was a perfect match (no relation, wrong ethnicity… 1 in 100 million chance) and they told her. She showed up, let hersefl be cut in half (and the surgery for dontation is FAR more drastic then the person who gets it). 1/2 his GOOD FRIENDS couldn’t be bothered… and she went the distance.

I can get a TB test and background test to read a lonely 10 year old Harry Potter. I can arrange so that my 9 year old does pathetic Majic Shows for cancer kids with my SexyGuy. I can make a small difference in a child’s life…

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biggereverythingseventual.jpg (Click to purchase)

I recently went to see the movie version of “1408,” based on the short story featured in Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King, and here is my comparison of the two:

Whereas much of the short story takes place in the office of the hotel manager, Olin, and (after a short stint in the hotel room) follows Mike Enslin throughout the aftermath of his experience, the core of the movie takes place in the room 1408.

The author, portrayed to excellence by John Cusack, is self-assured, even a little cocky. His journey through haunted places in the world is more of a search for the supernatural for personal reasons rather than stemming from any real belief in the afterlife.

In the short story, the author is even more arrogant in his disbelief of the supernatural, though there is no personal connection for his search—he simply writes books on the subject and they have made him a great deal of money. But most of his bravado takes place in Olin’s office, out of the reach of “the thing in that room.” The hotel manager tries everything to convince him not to stay in 1408, and it seems that the long talk does have some impact on him; when he first reaches the infamous room, he believes that his eyes are playing tricks on him. The door looks crooked, then normal, then slanted again in the other direction until it is once again normal.

Things begin to happen almost immediately once he is inside the room. The paintings move, “something” tries to come into the space through the walls. To escape he finally decides to set himself on fire and is fortunate enough to escape, the flames put out by a passerby.

After the occurrence in room 1408, there is an obvious transformation in the main character. A sense of sadness and loneliness emanates from Enslin—a sense of defeat. It reminds me of the feeling that permeates another story in the collection, “Luckey Penny.” Through the second half of the story, Mike Enslin carries himself as a man that will forever be looking over his shoulders at the shadows, imaging that “they” will somehow drag him back into the confines of the hotel room to finish off the job.

In the movie, this is not the case. Cusack, as Mike Enslin, portrays a sense of increased strength, the will of the fighter that has seen the true horrors and survived to tell the tale. Whereas in the story the character tries to immediately forget what happened, in the movie he is shown playing the tape of his trusty mini-recorder, listening to what is arguably one of the most horrifying moments from his stay in the hotel–his encounter with his dead daughter. When his wife walks into the livingroom, she is stunned, and the look on Enslin’s face seems to say “Yes, it’s all true.” No fear, just a resignation to the fact that there is something else, and he’s not entirely sure that is a good thing.

The story and the movie are both executed smoothly, though the horror in the story (aside from the few pages that take place in the room) is far more psychological. It’s the type of fear that doesn’t necessarily get the adrenaline gushing; rather it’s the type of fear that puts an unsettling chill to the bones. The character experiences symptoms of someone that has lost his battle with life and perhaps with sanity–bad blood pressure, poor sight, bad nerves–he is old before his time. And as Enslin waits for his final days, he has the distinct feeling that whatever was in that room may be waiting for him on the other side.

In the film, the 70 minutes in the room are filled out with all sorts of nightmarish horrors—dead people appearing and disappearing, blood gushing from the walls, two particularly terrifying scenes in which Enslin sees himself die. At one point, he believes that he has escaped from the room, that is was all a nightmare brought about from a hit on the head with a surf board. Just as he believes that things are back to normal, he is thrust back into that nightmare of a room. However, instead of giving up, he keeps fighting. In a dramatic turn of the tables, he sets the room on fire and frees himself; in that action he makes sure (or does he?) that no person will ever be subjected to the inhuman presence in that room ever again.

I liked both versions, for different reasons. While for some the short story of “1408” may play out as a biting-your-nails type of horror, I felt that there was something of the scare tactic of mind over matter at play. As if the experience was something that could have been a hallucination brought on by a little too much to drink and the clever wordplay of a desperate hotel manager looking to put the scare into someone that doesn’t scare easily. It was something of a quiet horror that consisted more of Enslin’s health problems resulting from the event and the very real manifestations of something that could have all been in his head. In the short story, even when the main character wins, he loses. The movie, on the other hand, consisted of edge-of-your-seat horror, the thrill ride that goes faster and faster. If you haven’t yet viewed the movie, or read the short story, I suggest you do both and compare the terror for yourself.

Nancy O. Greene

sellsheet_cover.jpg (Click to purchase)

Portraits in the Dark on Barnes and Noble.com.

Portraits in the Dark through BookSense.

Portraits in the Dark

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Welcome to the June 26, 2007 edition of writers from across the blogosphere!

Hungry Writer presents R-E-S-P-E-C-T posted at Writing For Food.


Ashok presents Rethink.: What Constitutes Plagiarism Exactly? posted at Rethink., saying, “How should we judge what is plagiarism and what isn’t, and what should guide our sentiments on the matter?”

book reviews

GrrlScientist presents Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Headaches? posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “by Mike O’Connor, this delightful little book answers a whole flock of offbeat questions posed by people who love birds.”


Dawn Xiana Moon presents Kid-Friendly Food posted at Dawn Xiana Moon: Randomness.

politics/current events

Sheppard Salter presents Does T.V. Make You ?Soft In The Head?? posted at salterblog.com.


Elvis D presents Interview posted at 365fiction.

Elvis D presents Uprising posted at 365fiction.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
writers from across the blogosphere
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

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I know that title sounds awfully conceited, but I assure you, I am truly blessed to have had this project plop into my lap as it did. I feel like I just co-wrote the best book of my career. And, this magical book has provided some opportunities and surprises along the way:

1. The book was shipped to New York last week and is on its way to the Beijing, China International Book Fair. Hopefully, the book sellers in this region will request to carry the book in their stores which will increase the book’s popularity.

2. Someone created a Yahoo group for the Book! It’s called “MangoTreeCafe” and everyone reading this blog is welcome to join by CLICKING HERE

3. As I mentioned before, the book is for sale and you can order a copy (or several hundred!) by CLICKING HERE

4. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank everyone here at the Writer’s Block for being patient while I blabbed incessantly about “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road”! Its an important book and I believe will be very successful (From my mouth, to God’s ear as my grandmother always said).



I would love to hear from anyone who has bought the book. Now to continue Marketing the book. A writer’s job is never done. 🙂

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Just a quick post: Does anyone know of an example that details this type of writing? My well-known author contact suggested I familiarize myself more with this type of writing.

Are there any links you know of? I’ll be lurking to see if there are any thoughts.

Thanks so much!
Taryn Simpson

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My partner and I have decided to self-publish and with good reason. The Beijing Book Fair is coming up in August and my partner would like to pander our wares to book sellers.

We also decided to self-publish because of a newsletter I received yesterday. It was from a well-known author that stated she published with Lulu.com because no one, including agents and publishers would pay attention to her because she was a “nobody”. She began self publishing her book and sent it to another author with better connections and she was blown away.

This blown away author sent it to her agent who in turn sent it to a large publishing house who decided to buy it. That’s the way it is these days…unless you have the collateral to appease a Simon and Schuster or Random House, authors have to fend for themselves and show that “the proof is in the pudding”.

This powerful book (if I do say so myself) will be offered shortly on Barnes and Noble and Amazon as well as the blog. When that happens, you can rest asuured that I will blab all about it right here.

Just think; 1 author in Beijing, China; the other in Nashville, TN, 1 internet connection = 1 helluva good read.

Taryn Simpson is a professional ghostwriter and has recently completed a novel with her writing partner, Alan Solomon, “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road”. Keep up with the latest on the book and how it fares at the Beijing, China Book Fair. http://www.MangoTreeCafe-LoiKrohRoad.blogspot.com

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2007 Tour of the Southland by the numbers:

Miles traveled: 4000+
States visited: Seven
Colleges toured/visited: Four
Scorpions sighted: Zero
Days on the road: 11
Days it rained: Seven
Hotels: Four

DAY ONE: June 27-DC-Bristol, TN
DAY TWO: June 28-Bristol, TN-Nashville, TN (visited UT) dinner Bosco’s with Jeff and Miramichee girls Kellye & Betsy.
DAY THREE: June 29, Breakfast at Noshville with old friend, Emily, Nashville-Memphis, TN, dinner at Cafe Ole with many delightful Miramichee girls and assorted others of all ages and sexes.
DAY FOUR: Memphis, reading at National Civil Rights Museum, lunch at the Rendezvous, H.S. reunion in evening with fabulous-looking former classmates.
DAY FIVE: Memphis to New Orleans, tour of French Quarter


DAY SIX: Tour of Tulane and the Garden District, drive to my brother’s ranchette near Wimberley, Texas.
DAY SEVEN: Tour of San Marcos and the Aquarena, a strange nature center that used to be a water amusement park featuring mermaids and Ralph the Swimming Pig. I remember this from childhood. We took the glass-bottomed boat to see the springs and then the boardwalk over a swamp and saw herons and scissortail flycatchers.
DAY EIGHT: Toured San Antonio, childhood home, and River Walk. Watched fireworks from my brother’s deck


DAY NINE: Toured Austin, University of Texas. Headed out after tour returned and made it to Texarkana by 11 p.m.
DAY TEN: Texarkana to Nashville.
DAY ELEVEN: Nashville to D.C.

New Orleans

We went to New Orleans on the 2007 Tour of the Southland. The first time I had been back since Katrina. I had been there for a week in June 2001 staying at the Ritz Carlton for a convention where I was on the staff.
Physically where we were this year (the French Quarter and the Garden District) we saw little obvious damage. The Super Dome is rebuilt of course. We saw lots of construction and a couple of burned houses in the Garden District, near Carrollton Ave. Otherwise it was as beautiful and exotic as it has ever been, hinting of so much. But but but … the energy has been sucked out. The streets are not as crowded.

dscn0644.jpgA sign at Cafe du Monde on Jackson Square says, “Please seat yourself.” The last two times I was in New Orleans the lines were blocks long to get a seat. Bourbon Street had people, we saw a crew of tap-dancing kids leaving, there were eccentrics and freaks, but not so many, not so flamboyant. The old black man with a white beard singing “Sitting on a Dock of the Bay” on Jackson Square was really good, but he didn’t have much money in his guitar case.


I was born in Texas, in San Antonio. We moved to Memphis when I was six. This trip we went back to San Antonio, saw the house where we lived and went downtown to the Alamo and the River Walk. I thought I would remember it, have that emotional kick of memory. Nothing. We saw Joske’s, the department store whose jingle I remember perfectly. Nothing. It was like I had never seen it before. Same with the Alamo. I only remembered it as if I’d seen it in pictures.


We went through the Villetta, the old city where my brother tells me I always begged to go to the old glassblowers shop. ??? Really? The glassblowers shop just closed last year. It had opened a few years after I was born. Strange, strange. The River Walk was lovely though.
And in Austin, I couldn’t get a sense of the city at all either. The coolness doesn’t hang in the air. I think I missed trees. I’ve lived so long in the East that the absence of big trees is oppressive.
But the part of the University of Texas we saw was wonderful. We went to see the dormitory our mother lived in when she was at Texas for one year in the 1930s. Littlefield Hall. Totally enchanting


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Hello from the newest writer moving onto the block! I’m thrilled to be part of this great group of writers. Let me set down my things and introduce myself.

My name is LaShawn. I’m an African American stay-at-home mother of a 3-year-old little boy. I’ve been making up stories since kindergarten, but it wasn’t until college that I took the first steps in becoming a writer. My favorites stories had always been in the fantasy genre, a favorite I share with my grandmother. However, back then, there were very few books, if any, that had African characters in it. I wanted to change that, so I started working on my first fantasy novel I titled “The Weeping of the Willows”. That was at the beginning of 1994.

Yesterday, I finally finished the first draft of that novel.

It’s a pretty hefty novel–over 460,000 words. Granted, I’m not that slow of a writer. Out of the thirteen years between when I first started the book and when I typed “The End”, there was at least seven years where I didn’t write a thing. No stories, no novel, nothing. Part of that was due to graduating college, adjusting to married life, and working as a full-time secretary for an African mission office. But part of that also stemmed from being just too drained of creative energy. After spending all day in the office, I’d come home too pooped to do anything but veg. There was a tiny part of me that wanted to write, craved to write–during the first couple years of my marriage, I kept up my writing skills by doing fanfiction, which didn’t require creating original characters. It satisfied my writing bug a little, but soon I was too exhausted to even work on that (plus, back in those days, our house only had one computer–and when you have two techno savvy people fighting for it all the time, things can get pretty ugly).

So for seven years, I did not write. The story inside me faltered, then dwindled to a wisp. Occasionally, I journalled. But mostly I moped. I used to brag that I could take anything and make a story out of it, but I couldn’t do that anymore. Nothing came out. So I worked, came home, and pretty much figured I wouldn’t write anything again.

All that changed when my son was born.

My husband and I had agreed that I would stay home with him. So I left my job, intending to take on a part-time secretarial job with our church. But it didn’t pan out as well as I thought. For one thing, it ain’t easy trying to breastfeed a screaming six-month-old and type on the computer when your pastor is in the next room trying to work on a sermon (I gotta give props to my pastor, though. He was pretty patient and never once complained about the noise). When I realized it was too much for me to handle, I stepped down. I wanted to work, but I wanted to do it on my own terms in a way that would help me to be with my son.

Then, out of nowhere, this little voice nudged me: Say, didn’t you always wanted to be a writer when you grew up? Don’t you think that time is now?

For the first time, I thought about that novel I didn’t finished. Well…yeah. I guess I am all grown up now, aren’t I? So I pulled it out of the file cabinet I’d thrown it into, intending to finish it…and that’s when I realized that I had written about sixteen chapters worth of crap. I had completely forgotten my characters and plotlines, some of the stuff I written were physically impossible, even for a fantasy world, and there were so errors in the text that if I was to write it again, I needed to start over from scratch. A very daunting prospect indeed for someone who hadn’t written a thing in several years.

But here’s something–all those years of not writing did teach me a lot. Working in an African mission office, I learned much about African culture–I even had a chance to go to Africa with my boss in 2002. When I read my story over, I saw that what I had assumed was African culture was false. What I knew now gave me ideas on how to flesh the story out, making the story a lot stronger than it was when I started. I also was able to approach the story with a fresh, new perspective of being older and (presumably) wiser.

I didn’t start rewriting the book right away, but I did start taking steps into becoming a writer: I started writing more. I did practice exercises. I wrote a short story and sent it off, and it got picked up by Mytholog. I attended a Writer’s Festival in Aurora and got to speak to many authors who gave wonderful advice. And after that festival, I started rewriting my book from scratch. That was six years ago.

So now that I’ve given you all this history on the novel I wrote, I’m letting you know that I’m not going to work on it anymore. I’m putting “Weeping of the Willows” on hiatus.

Oh, don’t worry. I don’t intend on letting it sit for another seven years. Seven weeks is more like it. While it’s good to involve yourself in a work, sometimes, it does wonders for your creativity to let a work sit and simmer at the back of your mind for a while. What I want to do is let my book rest for a couple of months while I focus more on short stories and just some fun writing for a while. Then, when I am ready to return to it, I’ll be able to look at it with fresh eyes, be able to figure out what needs to stay, what needs to go, what needs to be revised, and what needs to be added (though I do hope that when I finish the second draft, the word count will at least be cut in half).

Even though I’ve accomplished writing a book, I still feel that I’m just starting out as a writer. There’s so much I have to learn, not just honing my skills, but also learning the technical side, and of course, enduring rejection after rejection after rejection. I don’t know if this book will ever make the bestseller list–I don’t even know if a publisher will take it. But I’m going to try my hardest to make it so. And I am deeply honored that you get to share this journey with me, all the trials and tribulations, and all the joys and jubilations, too.

Because in the end, it’s all about the stories, right?

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It’s funny, sometimes the obvious can hit you right in the middle of your face and until someone points it out, you don’t really notice it.

I was chatting with my writing partner who happens to live in Beijing, China and he mentioned that he was trying to steer business my way. You gotta love that Alan Solomon!

Anyway, he typed in an instant message last night the following:

“…I have a couple of mates that look like they will be interested in your services…”
My Response:

…”Ghostwriting? Articles? what do you think they are interested in?”

Alan’s Response:

...”You know, what you do best. Creating those Book trailers, Book Doctoring and Book Promotion.”
I stopped tippity tapping on my keyboard and stared at the screen. Sure, I created a Book Trailer for our novel and have been promoting “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road” like crazy, but I did it because it is OUR novel.

Then it hit me, many people that approach me to ghost for them don’t have the experise of marketing themselves nor the patience or program to make Book Trailers. I realized that I just might be really good at the Trailers when I began to get so many positive comments from people stating how powerful the images, music and written text, etc. was on The Mango Tree Cafe trailer on You Tube.

In fact, writing colleague of mine who I respect a great deal scrapped her existing trailer and hired me to create one for her newest book.

So, here are the newest services I offer: Book Trailers, Book Promotion, and Making Banners for websites/blogs. To take a look at my Book Trailer, v=aQD0R5IXOhs”>CLICK HERE

To check out my Book Promotion, type in the following phrase: “The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road” on any of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo or AOL.

Who knew I could do these things? It was as plain as the nose on my face.

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