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Bye for now

It was decided back in March that after a few more posts, The Writers’ Block would go on indefinite hiatus. Alas, that time has come. I’m not sure when/if we will be back; it all depends on time and blah blah blah blah. 🙂 The bottom line is we’re all busy with other things right now, so it’s time to take a break. We all still have our individual blogs, so visit there for updates if you like. I will be posting blog carnivals and entries on my own personal blog and on Clary’s group blog, The Book’s Den, as time permits.

Speaking of carnivals, I’d like to announce that the Carl Brandon Society is hosting a blog carnival for Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month (which is this month). The deadline to submit for the carnival is May 15, 2008. Check it out and submit your related blog posts.

Over the next few days or weeks, there will be a couple of posts from some of the authors on The Writers’ Block, those that had some time to make “faretheewellfornow” entries. Make sure to browse around and check out the web pages and personal blogs of the writers.

Cheers!

May 10, 2008

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2008 seems to be the year of saying goodbye.

This Sunday, our church held a farewell party for my family. We had already moved all our stuff to Madison, so all that was left was the celebrating. It was good to hang out with friends, barbecue, sit and talk. But it wasn’t until some friends of ours we haven’t seen for a while showed up, that it really hit home for me–we are saying goodbye.

It’s not like I won’t see these people again. But give it a year or so. Occasionally, we’ll show up out of the blue, talk about old times, marvel at how tall our kids are getting. But our own lives have gone off on a tangent. Soon, we’ll slowly fade out of people lives, relegated to yearly Christmas card updates. Or for the more net-inclined, brief messages on Facebook.

I’ve been saying goodbye for a good portion of 2008. Goodbye to Chicago, goodbye to my old familiar life, goodbye to my stay-at-home mother status, since I’ll be starting a part-time job in Madison. So it’s a bit of a bummer to also say goodbye to The Writer’s Block.

I first stumbled across this blog with the interview of Ellen Datlow. I was quite impressed with the diversity of writers, so I was quite thrilled when I was allowed to join. Even though I have yet to published my first book, I considered it a privilege to write alongside published authors, who still had trials and tribulations like my own. I felt honored to be a part of that. Still do.

But you know what? It’s not like it’s all coming to an end. It simply means that it’s time to do something new.

As I’m typing this out in our new apartment, a chipmunk dances across our patio. I’ve never been this close to such a tiny creature before. There weren’t many chipmunks where I lived in Chicago. We had Canadian geese–lots of lots of honking, squawking, hissing geese. Chipmunks are so much cuter. Just the other day, I found this awesome teahouse that has free wifi. And my son got to visit his very first preschool, something he didn’t have in Chicago. He’s excited. I’m excited. It’s going to be an adventure for the both of us.

Thank you, Nancy, for all that you’ve done in getting the Writer’s Block together. And to all my fellow writers, thank you for inspiring me and all the readers of this blog. May all your ventures work out, and may you gain lots and lots of readers.

If you want to keep up with me and my latest work, you can visit me at the Cafe in the Woods. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s always peaceful at the Cafe.

I think I’m done saying goodbye. I’m ready to say some hellos. But I have to end this post somehow, so I’ll end it the way my father always ends his speeches.

Peace.

Posted for LaShawn by request

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It’s finally transcribed. Last month I interviewed Mr. Monteleone for the Maryland Writers’ Association’s 20th Anniversary Conference (which is this Saturday. There’s still time to register, and walk-ins are fine too). Tom is the Keynote Speaker for the conference, and he took some time out of his schedule to do this interview to promote the event. There’s a lot of great info, and I hope you find the interview as informative and fun as I do.
Borderlands Press

INTERVIEW WITH THOMAS F. MONTELEONE

1‭) ‬What was it like when you published your first book and how has the industry changed since then in terms of how authors are getting their books sold,‭ ‬both to publishers and to audiences‭?

TFM:‭ ‬You know,‭ ‬it’s a shame because it really has changed,‭ ‬and I think the industry has changed drastically.‭ ‬I’ve seen the marketplace go through some unbelievable changes.‭ ‬I started out writing short stories‭; ‬I think I published 20 to 25 stories in science fiction magazines in the early‭ ‘‬70s.‭ ‬One year I was at this convention,‭ ‬and I met this young agent who was looking for new writers,‭ ‬young writers,‭ ‬and he said,‭ “‬Have you written any novels yet‭?” ‬and I told him no.‭ ‬I couldn’t even imagine writing something that long.‭ ‬At that point 40 pages was‭ “‬wow‭!” ‬So he told me that he could get me some contracts with publishers that were looking for new writers.‭ ‬He said,‭ “‬If you can put in a proposal and learn how to write a novel while you go along,‭ ‬I’ll pay you for it.‭”

So long story short,‭ ‬the first few novels I did were paperback originals.‭ ‬I think I got‭ $‬1500,‭ $‬2500,‭ ‬which back then wasn’t good money but it wasn’t terrible.‭ ‬And back then‭ (‬this will show you how the industry’s changed‭) ‬back then if you wrote mystery novels,‭ ‬the hardcore fans would go to the bookstores, and whatever new mysteries were out the fans would buy them because the books were paperbacks and they were 35,‭ 40‬ cents,‭ ‬whatever they were.‭ ‬And this hardcore audience bought paperback original novels like crazy.‭

Whatever you were writing at that time,‭ ‬if you wrote mysteries or romance or Gothic or spy novels—whatever you wrote—the publisher knew there was a hardcore audience that,‭ ‬say,‭ ‬if he published a spy novel,‭ ‬he knew he was going to sell‭ ‬50,000‭ ‬copies of it,‭ ‬and that’s if it was by nobody they’d ever heard of.‭ ‬If it was by somebody known,‭ ‬it was going to sell a million.‭ ‬There was an audience for all this stuff.

Do you know what the midlist is‭?

NG:‭ ‬Yeah.

TFM:‭ ‬The midlist was very good back then,‭ ‬and you could make a living selling one paperback original novel a year,‭ ‬for $25,000 or $30,000 and another $15,000 in royalties.‭ ‬And you could make a living doing that.

The midlist is kind of fading away now‭; ‬a publisher’s thinking today is to either buy blockbusters where they try to knock it out of the park and do a movie and a DVD and a video game and a whole business,‭ ‬or they buy first novels from people for practically nothing.‭ ‬But people aren’t reading the midlist authors like they used to.‭ ‬And then the genres,‭ ‬science fiction and horror and thrillers and mysteries and all of those,‭ ‬half of that readership plays video games.‭ ‬Instead of reading about a pilot of a spaceship hunting a monster,‭ ‬or a spy thriller,‭ ‬they just get into the game and be the character.‭ ‬And that’s really hurt book sales.‭

So I’ve seen a really vibrant paperback original industry almost disappear.‭ ‬And one of the problems is—what I didn’t know getting into this—is that if you wrote paperback originals,‭ ‬you didn’t get reviewed in the newspapers,‭ ‬or the trade publications,‭ ‬or the library journals,‭ ‬none of them.‭ ‬So it was much harder to build an audience.‭ ‬So it took me a while‭; ‬I started selling in hardback in the‭ ‘‬80s and that really helped.‭

But then Stephen King came along and started selling horror novels for a hundred million dollars,‭ ‬and that cranked up the paperback original market again.‭ ‬So in the mid ’80s if you were writing a horror novel you could get $30,000,‭ $40,000‬ for it and it would go to the news-stands and sell like crazy if it looked like a Stephen King novel.‭

So I stopped writing hardcovers for about five or six years and went back to writing paperback originals again,‭ ‬and,‭ ‬you know,‭ ‬you lose your audience that way.‭ ‬You lose your reviewers,‭ ‬you lose everything.‭

It’s a very strange industry, and I’ve seen it go through all sorts or permutations in the‭ ‬30‭ ‬years I’ve been writing,‭ ‬and I don’t know if I want my kids getting into it‭!

NG:‭ ‬You want a secure future for your children.

TFM:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ ‬exactly.‭ ‬I’ve been in it all my life,‭ ‬it’s all I know.‭ ‬I’ve never really had a‭ “‬grown-up‭” ‬job—writing is what I do,‭ ‬it’s who I am,‭ ‬and I can’t do anything else at this point.‭

2‭) ‬You discovered a horror comic when you were a kid,‭ ‬and it sparked your interest in the macabre‭; ‬your father also shared the interest in speculative fiction.‭ ‬How did that help to develop your talent as a young writer‭? ‬What advice do you have for young writers that encounter opposition to their interest in speculative fiction,‭ ‬especially dark fiction‭?

TFM:‭ ‬Can I ask,‭ ‬where did you get that stuff from‭?

NG:‭ ‬I just read up on some interviews and stuff on the Internet.‭ ‬I wanted to make sure I wasn’t repeating too many questions.

TFM:‭ ‬These are good questions,‭ ‬good job,‭ ‬I’m very impressed.

NG:‭ ‬Thank you.

TFM:‭ ‬One of the things my father did for me was buy comics for me as a kid.‭ ‬This was back when I was 10 and there were only three channels on the TV‭; ‬you couldn’t throw in a DVD anytime you felt like it.‭ ‬Reading was a much bigger avenue,‭ ‬like comic books for younger kids.‭ ‬There was a lot of strange,‭ ‬interesting stuff out there.‭

My father was into that stuff too,‭ ‬and he had read pulp in the earlier generation,‭ ‬pulp magazines in the‭ ‘‬30s and‭ ‘‬40s,‭ ‬and he liked watching strange movies and he used to take me to horror films all the time.‭ ‬That really helped build my sense of wonder,‭ ‬sense of curiosity about the world.‭

I think if you want to write fiction,‭ ‬whatever it is—romance,‭ ‬mysteries,‭ ‬fantasies,‭ ‬spy thrillers,‭ ‬family sagas,‭ ‬whatever—you have to have this imaginative view of the world.‭ ‬You have to look at everything you see and ask questions about things,‭ ‬wonder where they came from.‭ ‬Ask questions about what it would be like if it was different.‭ ‬All the things writers learn to do unconsciously,‭ ‬we did when we were kids,‭ ‬looking at the world like,‭ “‬Gosh,‭ ‬gee,‭ ‬wow,‭ ‬what the heck is that‭?” ‬And I think we should keep that.‭ ‬The secret to being creative,‭ ‬and not just writing—music,‭ ‬dance,‭ ‬theater,‭ ‬painting too—is that you wonder about the world,‭ ‬what’s going on,‭ ‬how things tick,‭ ‬and what would happen if things changed a little bit or if they changed a lot.‭ ‬Always ask yourself questions.

I went to Jesuit high school at Baltimore Loyola,‭ ‬and I had some really good teachers that really challenged the way you think and the way you look at the world philosophically.‭ ‬One teacher told me that one thing you can always do is ask the next question‭; ‬don’t ever take any particular answer for your final answer.‭ ‬And that was a really amazing thing for me.‭ ‬I never forgot it.‭ ‬It allows the writer to trust his instincts when he’s telling a story.

I hope that makes sense.

NG:‭ ‬It does.‭ ‬I remember in high school some of the teachers that encouraged me,‭ ‬and it really does make a difference at that age.‭

TFM:Yeah,‭ ‬it makes the difference between somebody telling you‭ “‬are you crazy‭; ‬you’re just a dreamer,‭ ‬get your head out of the clouds,‭ ‬go get a real job.‭” ‬And I had people tell me that as I was moving along.‭ ‬It’s really funny.‭ ‬It’s like when you quit smoking and all of your friends are still smoking.‭ ‬They’re glad you quit,‭ ‬but they’re pissed off because they’re still smoking.‭ ‬It’s like,‭ ‬yeah,‭ ‬they’re glad you sold a short story to Playboy for‭ ‬$3000,‭ ‬but they’re pissed off because you’re accomplishing things that they’re not.

So there’s always that.‭ ‬You’re always going to have people that are going to tell you to forget about your dreams.‭ ‬But you have to know what you want to do and do it.‭ ‬If you want to be a writer,‭ ‬ask questions.

I was the first one in my family to go to college.‭ ‬My grandfather came over here from Sicily when he was 15,‭ ‬and he had a bakery in New York,‭ ‬but he didn’t go to college,‭ ‬none of his kids went to college‭; ‬I was one of the first kids born after WWII to go to college.‭ ‬So that was a big deal.‭ ‬I came from one of those families.

NG:‭ ‬You worked hard and found what it was you wanted to do.

TFM:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ my father‬ worked Bethlehem Steel in a shipyard for 30 years.

NG:‭ ‬Wow.‭ ‬Very cool.

3‭) ‬Borderlands has a boot camp for writers of dark fiction.‭ ‬You and your wife,‭ ‬Elizabeth,‭ ‬decided to start it after getting many submissions that needed some work.‭ ‬How was the camp received when it first started,‭ ‬and how has it evolved over the years‭? ‬Also,‭ ‬you just had one this past winter‭; ‬how did that go.

TFM:‭ ‬We just had our most recent boot camp,‭ ‬which was one of our most successful,‭ ‬I think.‭ ‬The way we do it is we have people send in samples,‭ ‬and we advertise the boot camp.‭

We try to bring out all the things that go into life,‭ ‬that separate good writing from bad writing.‭ ‬And one of the things Elizabeth and I try to do is find 20 writers of all about the same level and skill of accomplishment.‭ ‬You’re never going to see already hugely successful writers there‭; ‬if someone sends me something that’s so brilliantly done,‭ ‬what’s the point‭? ‬Or if someone sends me something that’s so‭ ‬.‭ ‬.‭ ‬.

NG:‭ ‬Bad‭?

TFM:‭ ‬Not bad,‭ ‬necessarily,‭ ‬but something that’s at a very,‭ ‬very beginning novice level,‭ ‬where they’re at the point where they barely understand subtext or dialog or what it is or how you even format it,‭ ‬then they’re going to get overwhelmed in the boot camp.‭ ‬So we don’t want someone that’s so behind the curve that they’re going to get pulverized by the level of criticism.‭ ‬We try to find writers that are in that mid-level,‭ ‬where the have skill but maybe haven’t polished their ability yet or they have gaps in their understanding.

And what happens is they come in on Friday‭ ‬and we do a panel discussion and pre-planned exercises.‭ ‬The heavy day is Saturday, where we workshop from about‭ ‬8am to‭ ‬2am.‭ ‬We really beat them up.‭ ‬The re-worked pieces submitted on Sunday are so vastly improved from what they originally submitted,‭ ‬it’s like sorcery.‭ ‬It’s like,‭ “‬How the hell did that happen‭?” ‬They really do learn,‭ ‬and they really are fun to watch because they want to absorb that information.‭ ‬They’ve never had feedback or interacted with other writers like that before.

Every boot camp we’ve done—it’s been going on for four years now,‭ ‬about twice a year—we’ll do a short fiction and novel workshop.‭ ‬And people get together and trade e-mails back and forth,‭ ‬critique back and forth,‭ ‬and a little support group forms.‭ ‬Isn’t that cool‭?

NG:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ ‬it is.

TFM: It really works.‭ ‬Out of‭ ‬140‭ ‬or so writers that have come through our program,‭ ‬I’d say we’ve had‭ ‬15%‭ ‬or‭ ‬20%‭ ‬or so that have gone on to become professional writers.

We didn’t always have this process all figured out‭; ‬we just kind of stumbled along and through trial and error figured out what works and what doesn’t.‭ ‬And we get great writers to come in as instructors.‭ ‬We’ve had David Morrell several times,‭ ‬the guy that did First Blood.‭ ‬We’ve had Peter Straub,‭ ‬F.‭ ‬Paul Wilson,‭ ‬Jack Ketchum‭; ‬we’ve had really good writers come in.‭ ‬And the participants really want to say,‭ “‬Hey,‭ ‬I hung out with Jack Ketchum this weekend.‭”

We have to have people send in writing samples so that we can get a gauge as to where they are.‭ ‬And it’s not cheap‭ [‬the boot camp‭] ‬because we have to‭ ‬pay a premium for insurance,‭ ‬and we have to pay our instructors.‭ ‬But it’s a good program.

NG:‭ ‬It sounds very rewarding.

TFM:‭ ‬It is,‭ ‬it’s a challenge.‭ ‬It’s a good program‭; ‬we like to spread the word about it and make sure people get what they pay for.‭ ‬People can apply at www.borderlandspress.com

4‭) ‬You’re the keynote speaker for the Maryland Writers‭’ ‬Association‭ ‬20th Anniversary Conference.‭ ‬How do you prepare for such events‭?

TFM:‭ ‬I’ve done a lot of public speaking and public readings,‭ ‬and I know this is going to sound ridiculous,‭ ‬but I do very little preparation beforehand.‭ ‬I basically write a few points on a card,‭ ‬then go up there and try to keep it like we’re on the front porch kicking stuff around.‭ ‬I can’t stand these canned speeches where these people read off of note cards and sound like someone stuck a broomstick up their butt.‭ ‬Or,‭ ‬worse,‭ ‬that they just read their speech.‭ ‬I can’t stand that.‭ ‬And I’ve found over time that I know so much crap about what I do,‭ ‬I can just turn it on and off.‭ ‬My wife has heard all this stuff a thousand times,‭ ‬and she says,‭ “‬Don’t bore them,‭” ‬or‭ “‬Don’t forget you’re not funny.‭” ‬And I’m okay with that,‭ ‬she’s heard it a bunch of times.‭ ‬I like to keep it informal,‭ ‬and open it up with questions.‭ ‬The worst thing you can do is come up there with this prepackaged thing that just lays an egg.‭

I don’t like to prepare.‭ ‬I have a lot of confidence in my ability to just get up there and wing it,‭ ‬so that’s pretty much what‭ ‘‬m going to be doing.‭ ‬Are you going‭?

NG:‭ ‬I’m thinking about volunteering so that I can go.

TFM: Have you written a lot yourself‭?

NG:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ ‬but I still feel I have a lot to learn.

TFM: Well,‭ ‬you know what,‭ ‬so do I.‭ ‬Don’t kid yourself.‭ ‬I’m not sitting here like I’m rolling knowledge down the slopes of Mount Olympus here.‭ ‬Every day I’m learning new stuff.

One of the things I tell new writers is that once you become a writer,‭ ‬once you learn what good writing is,‭ ‬you’ll never just read for pleasure again.‭ ‬Anytime you read something that really works,‭ ‬you’re going to re-read and deconstruct and try to figure out what that writer did and why it works.

NG:‭ ‬That’s so true.‭ ‬I find myself wondering why a writer used a certain word,‭ ‬or why they choose to write a sentence a certain way.

TFM:‭ ‬It’s an amazing process,‭ ‬the learning never stops.‭ ‬Once you get your own style,‭ ‬you don’t worry about the mechanics like you used to,‭ ‬but you have to continue learning.‭ ‬You have to always be willing to learn a new trick.

5‭) ‬This also goes with the previous question.‭ ‬What was it like the first time you were asked to speak at an event‭?

TFM:‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬God,‭ ‬I’ll never forget it.‭ ‬When I was going to grad school at the University of Maryland, I was living in a little town called Greenbelt,‭ ‬which is just outside of Maryland.‭ ‬I was at the library—they had a little library—and I was in there one afternoon doing research for a story.‭ ‬You know,‭ ‬I wasn’t one of those guys that went around telling everyone that I was an author or any of that crap.‭ ‬I was selling short stories to little digests and science fiction magazines.‭ ‬But the librarian asked me if I was a writer and then asked me to come in for the monthly talk,‭ ‬the book group they had.‭

Anyway,‭ ‬there was one older guy in the audience,‭ ‬this really cranky character‭; ‬he was apparently there to take issue with whatever I said.‭ ‬He really tried to make it difficult.‭ ‬And I’m an Italian guy‭; ‬when I was younger,‭ ‬I had a chip on my shoulder all the time—don’t mess with me.‭ ‬That was my attitude.‭ ‬I was always the skinny kid,‭ ‬the small kid,‭ ‬people always wrote me off.‭

So I’m trying to give this nice talk in this small town library,‭ ‬and this guy’s messing with me.‭ ‬So I had it out with him,‭ ‬right there.‭ ‬Not physically,‭ ‬but I called him out and said,‭ “‬Hey,‭ ‬what the hell is your problem‭? ‬You want to mess around with me‭? ‬You want to get up here and do this‭? ‬I’ll sit in the audience while you get up here and talk.‭”

So the whole thing was a disaster.‭ ‬I was 25-years-old at the time,‭ ‬and people were like,‭ “‬Who is this crazy kid‭?” ‬So my first speaking engagement was not great.‭ ‬It wasn’t like I went in and I was nervous and all that.‭ ‬I just figured I’d go in and tell them how I got started,‭ ‬here’s what I did—I beat my brains in for three years.‭ ‬I sent out stories to like 35,‭ 40‬ different magazines.‭ ‬I got 231 rejections before I sold my first story—and,‭ ‬yes,‭ ‬I did count them—I sold my first story for‭ ‬$30‭ ‬at a penny a word.‭ ‬Back then there was no e-mail.‭ ‬You put stamps on an envelope and mailed out your manuscript.‭ ‬And you kept doing it until someone noticed.‭ ‬And that was the message I tried to tell to 11 people at the library that day.‭ ‬The 12th didn’t give a shit.‭

NG:‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬I guess the heckler did learn something that day.

TFM: Yeah,‭ ‬don’t mess with Tom.

6‭) ‬Having been in the business for so long,‭ ‬what are some common mistakes that you see new authors making‭?

TFM:‭ ‬I think it depends on the stage in the career‭; ‬we make mistakes all the way through,‭ ‬just different mistakes.‭ ‬When writers are first getting started,‭ ‬the initial assumption is that’s it’s pretty easy.‭ ‬And this has happened more recently with online places like blogs.

Every once in a while,‭ ‬Elizabeth and I will get stories with cover letters that will say something like,‭ “‬Hello,‭ ‬my name is Mickey.‭ ‬I’ve sold‭ ‬183‭ ‬stories,‭ ‬and I hope you like this one.‭” ‬And I think,‭ ‬183‭ ‬stories‭? ‬Where the hell has he published‭ ‬183‭ ‬stories‭? ‬First of all,‭ ‬I’ve never heard of this guy.‭ ‬I’ve been writing short fiction for 30 years and I’ve published maybe a hundred.‭ ‬But they’re all real‭! ‬They’re in magazines and anthologies.‭ ‬So I’ll look these people up and see that they’re publishing on blogs or in online magazines that three people click on.‭ ‬And it’s sad.‭ ‬It’s a big mistake that writers are still making.‭ ‬They’re taking any phantom acceptance for validation of their professional status.‭ ‬They’re not learning anything when they do that.‭

I can’t tell you how many times people come into the workshop and get surprised by the criticism.‭ ‬And they can’t believe it.‭ ‬They’ll say,‭ “‬But this was accepted by‭ ‬Dark Intestines Magazine on the web and the editor said it was great.‭”

The other error that writers make,‭ ‬as they get more into it,‭ ‬is that they get discouraged because they don’t realize that rejection and criticism are part of the process of becoming a writer.‭ ‬And they get to a point where they just can’t take it anymore.‭

Or they think they’ve paid their dues and are beyond criticism.‭ ‬Once you start believing your own press clippings,‭ ‬that’s dangerous,‭ ‬because then you start to alienate other writers,‭ ‬editors,‭ ‬and publishers you work with,‭ ‬and that’s bad.‭ ‬I’ve gotten submissions where they’ll say they won’t accept anything less than 12 cents a word.‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬good for you.

NG:‭ ‬Bye‭!

TFM:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ ‬let me deal with that.‭ ‬That’s my decision,‭ ‬not yours.‭ ‬Let me read it,‭ ‬tell you what I’m paying.‭ ‬Then you decide if that’s something you want to accept or not.‭ ‬Don’t come in the door telling me what I have to pay you.‭ ‬That’s ridiculous.

NG:‭ ‬I think the publishing industry tends to be more forgiving to writers if they can learn from their mistakes.

TFM:‭ ‬Absolutely.‭ ‬One thing writers have to remember is that the more persistent they are,‭ ‬the more editors and publishers remember them.‭ ‬If a writer keeps sending stories in,‭ ‬after a while you start to remember their name.‭ ‬What happens—and I’ve talked to plenty of editors that say the same thing—you start to pull for these people.‭ ‬You want them do well,‭ ‬because you want to see that kind of persistence rewarded.

NG:‭ ‬This is getting a little off of the interview,‭ ‬but I was reading something a little while ago about people sending back rude e-mails to a standard rejection,‭ ‬and that always surprises me.

TFM:‭ ‬You mean they get pissed off because they get rejected‭?

NG:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ ‬like,‭ “‬Oh,‭ ‬what the f‭— ‬do you know,‭ ‬f‭— ‬you,‭ ‬man.‭”

TFM:‭ ‬Wow,‭ ‬not only is that counterproductive,‭ ‬it cements the fact that you’ll never get published by that particular magazine.

Every once in a while we’ll have proven pros submit,‭ ‬that have sold lots of stories and published novels,‭ ‬and they just assume that because of who they are you’re going to buy it.‭ ‬We’ve rejected stories from seasoned pros, and some will take it the right way,‭ ‬say,‭ “‬Eh,‭ ‬it’s all right,‭ ‬way it goes,‭” ‬and other ones will get unbelievably pissy.‭ ‬Wow,‭ ‬get some decorum.‭ ‬You’re supposed to be a pro,‭ ‬take it like a pro.

7‭) ‬You’ve mentioned before that it seems that horror is losing its fan base in the mainstream markets.‭ ‬Besides writing good stories,‭ ‬what do you think writers can do to turn the tide‭? ‬What are you seeing in the speculative fiction field that gives you some hope for future generations of horror writers‭?

TFM:‭ ‬It’s funny that you narrowed it down that way.‭ ‬I do think that of all of the genres,‭ ‬the Gothic has roots,‭ ‬and horror as well,‭ ‬in the beginnings of American literature—Poe,‭ ‬Hawthorn,‭ ‬people like that.‭ ‬I don’t think that horror will go away.‭ ‬People are constantly concerned with fear—fear of the unknown,‭ ‬fear of death,‭ ‬what’s beyond the closed door—these are almost animistic parts of us.‭ ‬That’s always going to be viable.‭

It’s‭ [‬horror‭] ‬just going to ride the roller coaster of what’s in and what’s not.‭ ‬And I think with most writers that achieve a certain status,‭ ‬the audience gets pissed off because they’re not doing the same thing.‭ ‬It’s like with bands—fans go to the concerts to see their favorite songs performed and start to get peeved when the band does their new stuff.‭

But I don’t think you can predict what’s going to sell.‭ ‬You have to write what you like,‭ ‬write what works for you,‭ ‬and believe you’re going to find your audience.‭ ‬If you try to tailor it to the market,‭ ‬you’re not going to be happy.‭ ‬You’ll end up writing dead prose that’s not coming from inside you.

NG:‭ ‬Right.‭ ‬By the time you finish it and get it out there,‭ ‬the tide will already have changed.

TFM:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ ‬you have to write what you like and hope you’re in a commercial literary movement.‭ ‬That’s how it happens.‭ ‬It’s not a science‭; ‬it’s the difference between art and science.

8‭) ‬For those that are unfamiliar with your work,‭ ‬what can they expect when they pick up one of your story collections or novels‭?

I think I write differently in the short form than in the long form.‭ ‬In short form I lean more towards less controlled language,‭ ‬more imagery and symbolism.‭ ‬Maybe surreal and odd.‭ ‬I’m not a literary writer,‭ ‬I’m a storyteller.‭ ‬I think that no matter what I’m writing.

I know that if I was born a thousand years ago, I’d be the guy running around the castle all the time,‭ ‬in that funny little hat with a puppet on a stick.‭ ‬That’d be my job.‭ ‬And I’d be okay with that.‭ ‬So that’s my first priority,‭ ‬to entertain.

With novels,‭ ‬I try to write a lean,‭ ‬mean story-oriented plot.‭ ‬I try to set up psychological characters that get mixed up in situations,‭ ‬and see where they take the story.‭ ‬I try to write cinematically—change point of view,‭ ‬change scenes,‭ ‬experiment with the narrative thread–to make the reader piece together what I leave out.‭ It’s like that old‬ cliche,‭ that‬ old trick used to keep th reader turning the page.‭ ‬They never know what’s coming next.‭

I always know how I want a novel to end,‭ ‬and I set up the beginning.‭ ‬Part of the fun for me is seeing how it’s going to get to the end.‭ ‬But with short stories,‭ ‬I never know where it’s going to go.‭ ‬I start with an idea,‭ ‬or question,‭ ‬and then I just let it go.‭ ‬Sometimes it doesn’t work,‭ ‬sometimes it takes me places I‭ ‬never thought I was going to go.

9‭) ‬Do you write every day‭?

TFM:‭ ‬Yes.‭ ‬If you don’t do that,‭ ‬you’re crazy.‭ ‬It has to be part of your everyday routine,‭ ‬like kissing your wife or eating food or whatever.‭ ‬I tell people the secret to this is to do three pages a day.‭ ‬Take time off on the weekend for good behavior,‭ ‬to do your chores,‭ ‬go to your kids‭’ ‬little league games.‭

That’s‭ ‬15‭ ‬pages a week,‭ ‬60‭ ‬pages a month.‭ ‬If you do that for six months,‭ ‬you have about a‭ ‬360‭ ‬page novel.‭ ‬It’s very simple.‭ ‬Three freakin‭’ ‬pages,‭ ‬that’s all I ever try to do.

Sometimes I do less,‭ ‬sometimes I do more,‭ ‬but I always shoot for three pages.‭ ‬If you don’t write every day you’re just playing around.

I lived up in New Hampshire for a while,‭ ‬my wife and I lived up there with our daughter,‭ ‬and we had a good time.‭ ‬But it was cold and when it came time for high school,‭ ‬we couldn’t find a good Catholic school for her,‭ ‬so we came back here.‭

I had a bunch of buddies there that worked at one of the universities there,‭ ‬and every once in a while I’d meet people in their English department,‭ ‬and they were writing a novel for seven years.‭ “‬Oh,‭ ‬yes,‭ ‬I’ve been working on a novel,‭ ‬bup-bup-bup.‭” ‬What a load of crap.‭ ‬What are you talking about‭? ‬Seven years‭? ‬These are the kind of guys that say,‭ “‬If I can write one sentence a day,‭ ‬I feel like I’ve done a day’s work.‭” ‬What‭? ‬No,‭ ‬you’ve just been crapping around.

When I was younger,‭ ‬those were the kinds of guys I ways wanted to pop.‭ ‬My wife has talked me down from that over the years.‭ ‬But what a joke.‭ ‬One sentence a day.

NG:‭ ‬One sentence‭; ‬everything they touch is gold.

TFM:‭ ‬I can’t stand that.‭ ‬Three pages a day.‭ ‬Grind it out,‭ ‬do your work.‭ ‬Even if you have a regular job.‭

Over the years I’ve known a lot of people that write for journals and newspapers but want to write novels.‭ ‬The problem with that is that they’re writing stuff all day,‭ ‬stuff they don’t like.‭ ‬And when they get home,‭ ‬they don’t want to write.‭ ‬I tell them to go get a job doing something else,‭ ‬get your mind off that writing so you can do the writing you want to do.

10‭) ‬You’ve also written screenplays.‭ ‬How do you think the process is different for writing screenplays verses novels or short stories‭?

TFM:‭ ‬One big difference is I get paid for my novels.‭ ‬I’ve written like 14 screenplays,‭ ‬and I got paid for a few of them,‭ ‬but they weren’t produced.‭ However, ‬I’ve had three or four television episodes produced.

The film industry is a different creature.‭ ‬It makes publishing look like a tea-and-crumpets party.‭ ‬It took me years to realize that it’s just a different planet.‭ ‬But I liked the process of learning how to write screenplays.‭ ‬It’s very different.‭ ‬It’s dialog oriented.‭ ‬The three-act structure—first act you expose the problem,‭ ‬second act you complicate the problem,‭ ‬third act you solve the problem.‭ ‬It’s good training.‭ ‬It doesn’t hurt anything to buy a few books and learn how to do it.

The problem with the industry is they look at writers like a necessary evil.‭ ‬They don’t want you around.‭ ‬And it’s a tradition that goes back to the old studio days when writers used to be staff.‭ ‬They had the writers come in for the day and write whatever they were told to write.‭ ‬Write a‭ ‬15‭ ‬minute comedy for Buster Keaton.‭ ‬Write me a PSA for bike safety.‭ ‬Write me whatever.‭ ‬And they were just looked upon as hired hands,‭ ‬like the guy that cut the hedges.‭ ‬And that attitude has persisted.‭

NG:‭ ‬Yeah,‭ ‬I went to film school.‭

TFM:‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬you did‭? ‬East Coast or West Coast‭?

NG:‭ ‬West Coast.

TFM: So you know what I’m talking about.

NG:‭ ‬I remember‭; ‬it’s totally different.

TFM:‭ ‬They drove me crazy.‭ ‬I used to go out there—I have a TV agent—and every once in a while they would drag me out there to pitch something.‭ ‬I actually sold a television series to Columbia Tri-Star about seven or eight years ago,‭ ‬and CBS was partnering with it.‭ ‬And I wanted to write the pilot.‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬they weren’t having anything to do with that.‭ ‬CBS said,‭ “‬Oh,‭ ‬no,‭ ‬we have our own writers.‭” ‬So they brought in these writers that trashed the pilot so terribly that Columbia Tri-Star backed out.‭ ‬I got to keep the money.‭ ‬But they don’t trust writers.‭ ‬If you can write a novel,‭ ‬they look at you like you’re a freak.

I sold screenplays that never got produced.‭ ‬And I’ve had them buy my books and have other people write screenplays that were almost unrecognizable.‭ ‬I said to one producer,‭ “‬Why did you spend all that money to buy my book‭? ‬It’s not even the same story.‭ ‬You changed only everything.‭ ‬If I saw this movie,‭ ‬I would never say,‭ ‘‬Hey,‭ ‬you stole my book.‭’ ‬It’s not even the same story.‭”

It’s a different reality.‭ ‬If someone asked me,‭ “‬Would you write a screenplay on spec‭?” ‬my first tendency is to say no.‭ ‬And then I say,‭ ‬well,‭ ‬give me some gross points or something.‭ ‬Because they all want to talk net.

NG:‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬yeah,‭ ‬yeah.‭ “N‬et.‭”

TFM:‭ ‬Net is just Hollywoodese for‭ “‬hide the money.‭”

NG:‭ ‬That money you were expecting‭? ‬Sorry.

TFM:‭ ‬The only net in Hollywood is the one they throw over you as they run away.‭ ‬But I continue to be seduced by Hollywood.

NG:‭ ‬It does have that quality.‭ ‬When I got into school,‭ ‬I was majoring in English.‭ ‬And by the end of my junior or senior year I was majoring in Cinema.

TFM:‭ ‬Are you a West Coast person‭?

NG:‭ ‬No,‭ ‬I was raised pretty much East Coast,‭ ‬though I’ve lived all over.

TFM:‭ ‬Are you a Balimore girl‭?

NG:‭ ‬I consider myself sort of one now,‭ ‬I guess;‭ ‬I’ve lived here for a while.‭ ‬The thing with the West Coast is it never felt entirely real,‭ ‬it felt like an office.

TFM:‭ ‬I totally agree.‭ ‬Especially in LA,‭ ‬there’s this‭ ‬über-culture of people making obscene amounts of money.‭ ‬They kind of wade through the regular people,‭ ‬and they look at everybody as if they’re only half there.‭ ‬But it would be like us living in a town where you buy a car for‭ ‬$180,‭ ‬or you go eat for 25 cents a night.‭ ‬They make so much money,‭ ‬prices don’t mean anything.

I was out there with a buddy of mine,‭ ‬an actor,‭ ‬and he was making a lot of money.‭ ‬So he wanted to go play golf,‭ ‬and it was‭ ‬$600‭ ‬a round.‭ ‬Are you crazy‭? ‬I lived in New Hampshire and paid‭ ‬$500‭ ‬a year to play golf.‭ ‬But they don’t even realize it.

Okay,‭ ‬I have to stop ranting.

11‭) ‬What other projects are you working on now‭?

TFM:‭ ‬I’m finishing a YA novel.‭ ‬I have about‭ ‬50‭ ‬pages left.‭ ‬Then I’ve got another novel,‭ ‬a‭ ‬600‭ ‬page thriller I’m working on.‭ ‬It alternates between the present and WWII.‭ ‬A historical thriller.‭ ‬It took a lot of research,‭ ‬and I had to do a couple of books in-between,‭ ‬so it’s taken me about two years to write—which I hate.‭ ‬I’m about‭ ‬40‭ ‬pages from finishing that.

I’m also doing a ghostwriting project.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬yeah,‭ ‬I’m very busy.

12‭) ‬Any other advice for writers‭?

TFM:‭ ‬The most important thing is that no one can stop you from becoming a professional writer besides yourself.‭ ‬You have to keep going after your dream.‭ ‬It takes a lot of hard work and persistence.‭ ‬You have to believe in your ability and in your dream.
###
Please visit Borderlands Press and check out the books by Thomas F. Monteleone and other great writers of dark fiction. While you’re there, look into applying to the upcoming Borderlands Press Bootcamp. And don’t forget that the Maryland Writers’ Conference is this Saturday, May 3rd. There’s still time to register.
Nancy O. Greene

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If you visit here often you’ve probably seen the link to GoodSearch.com in the sidebar. I’ve been searching through there for a while now (it supplements my Google addiction 🙂 ) and I figured I should do a post about it.

Basically, GoodSearch allows you to raise money for non-profits by searching the Internet. It’s Yahoo-powered so you get the same results you would with Yahoo. I personally have to search a little differently with it than I do with Google, but it’s a pretty good search engine and I find that I’m using it more and more now. The also have a site, GoodShop, that allows you to do your online shopping through retailers like Amazon.com and raise money that way for non-profits. A larger % tends to go to the charity if you use GoodShop.

How it works:

You type in the name of a charity (it has to be US based, they don’t do overseas just yet) and click verify. If the group is in there, you can start searching, and $.01 goes to your organization of choice for every search you do. The money that goes to the charity comes from GoodSearch advertisers. And that’s pretty much it, but you can get a very detailed description from their website.

Here are some non-profits you can search for:

Heifer International on GoodSearch.
Their website.
(Heifer International is one of the best charitable organizations around. They help people to raise themselves out of poverty and hunger by providing livestock and education on building businesses with the tools they’re provided. Also, they have a “pass-it-along” model in which those that receive livestock give to their neighbors. For instance, if a family receives goats, they provide milk for neighbors and sell milk at the market. If a female goat gives birth, that one is given to a neighbor. They have many programs, and they’re all described fully on their site.)

Save Darfur on GoodSearch.
Their website.

From their site:

The Save Darfur Coalition was founded in 2004 when our organizational members signed a unity statement demanding peace and security for the people of Darfur. We are an alliance of over 180 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations. The Coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur.

KIVA on GoodSearch.
Their website.

From their site:

How Kiva Works –
Step 1: Choose an entrepreneur
The loans on our site are always changing. They are being uploaded by our microfinance partners around the world. You can find a new loan on the home page or on the ‘Fundraising’ Loans page.

Step 2: Make a loan
When you have selected an entrepreneur, you can make a loan using your credit card (via PayPal). You can loan as little as $25 at a time. Checking out is easy and safe because of PayPal.

Step 3: Receive journals and payments
Periodically, you will hear back from the entrepreneur you sponsor. Partner representatives (often loan officers) write directly to the website to keep you informed on the progress of the entrepreneur. If you choose, you can receive these via email.

Step 4: Withdraw or re-loan
When your Kiva loan is repaid, you can choose to withdraw your funds or re-loan to a new entrepreneur.

# # #
Nancy O. Greene

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(Chaos at the Heart of Orion – NASA)

Welcome to the first edition of a carnival of speculative fiction! If you would like to submit to the carnival, click on the carnival submit link at the bottom. Enjoy!

books

Joana presents Sundays with Vlad by Paul Bibeau posted at The Symposium.

Peter Jones presents The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: New Mystery Keeps You Reading posted at Great New Books that Are a Must Read.

GrrlScientist presents Sixty Days And Counting posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “by Kim Stanley Robinson, is the third installment of his Eco-political thriller trilogy series about global warming.”

fantasy

CG Walters presents Searching (for a Soul Mate) posted at Into the Mist, saying, “No longer confined to material experience, Katerina crossed into the dimly lit room, invisible to its inhabitants. She had never visited this world before, never laid eyes on this person, yet Katerina’s bond to the lean, gray-haired man seated at the wooden table was so intense and immediate that she barely managed to suppress the impulse to reach out and embrace him.”

Justin Duval presents www.DarkGrin.com – mind TRIP posted at The Dark Grin, saying, “Imagine after 40 years, you had a chance to ‘do it all over again’ would you? Would it matter?”

movies

blue skelton presents Animated Terminator to be Released posted at Blue Skelton Publications, saying, “An Animated Terminator is being released in 2009 and I have posted an early teaser for the series.”

science fiction

M. Cruz presents The Secret History Of The Golden Horde – Worldbeater by MJ Cruz | NOIRLECROI.COM posted at NOIRLECROI.COM, saying, “Just starting work on a new short story and would love some feedback and constructive criticsm!”

Avant News presents Italy Pins Stability Hopes on Medfly posted at Avant News, saying, “Some speculative sci-fi political satire”

writing

Justin Duval presents www.DarkGrin.com – mind TRIP posted at The Dark Grin, saying, “Creative writing entry on the wild choices of life!”

Sol Smith presents Fictional Publications, Issue Number Four posted at Fictional Publications.

science fiction

Peter Jones presents Science Fiction Thriller: New Standard Set for Genre posted at Great New Books that Are a Must Read.

writing

mike mallowe presents Intersection posted at Mykey03’s Weblog, saying, “Thank you for reading. I am new and any feedback is warmly welcome.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
a carnival of speculative fiction
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
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Jeremy C. Shipp is an imaginative writer with a diverse fan base. He’s been praised by readers and fellow writers, stalked by mad gnomes, hunted by giddy mimes, and interviewed by the devil itself. Vacation, his first book published by the independent Raw Dog Screaming Press, is a surreal, fantastic trip into a futuristic underground world in which nothing is quite what it seems–including one’s own actions, or lack thereof. This unique and unforgettable work has amassed plenty of favorable reviews, and some of Shipp’s other stories have been published in popular lit magazines such as ChiZine and Cemetery Dance.

In this interview, Shipp entertains with his sharp wit as he answers questions about Vacation, his other endeavors, and the creative process.

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INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY C. SHIPP

NG: You started writing at the age of 13. What–or who–got you started?

JS: I think my thought process at the age of 13 was something like this: “I like books. Why don’t I write one? That would be fun.” And I’ve been writing almost every day ever since. But even before that, I had an assignment in 4th grade to write a short story. My story ended up not-so-short, and I really enjoyed the experience. And before I could write, I would play pretend with my brothers, with complex plots and characters. And before that, when I was a wee babe, my favorite toy was a pen. And before that, when I was just a twinkle in my father’s eye, I would flash stories about my past lives, in Morse code.

NG: What sparked the idea for Vacation?

JS: Vacation was a conglomeration of various ideas and passions about the world, that all sort of smashed together in my head at once. One of my major ideas, however, was the notion that a person could travel the globe, jump from resource bubble to resource bubble, and never really get a clear picture of what’s going on.

NG: You employ a non-linear style in the telling of the story. Was this a natural part of your writing process, was it something you intended, or both?

JS: Every aspect of writing Vacation felt very natural to me, and at the same time, my stylistic choices were made consciously.

I don’t think I’ve ever revealed this publicly before, but I used to be afraid of writing first person narratives of any kind. For most of my writing career, I avoided first person like the gnome plague. But then, deep down, I knew first person was the right choice for Vacation, so I gave it a try. And I’m so glad I did. I’d never felt so connected with my voice.

NG: What was your experience like in trying to get the book published?

JS: Getting Vacation published wasn’t too difficult, but the road leading up to Vacation was a crooked one, filled with potholes and swarming with killer mimes. As you know, I started writing books when I was 13, so I wrote over 10 novels before this one. I’ve received many, many rejection letters over the years. Which is actually a good thing. I’m very happy that Vacation is my debut novel, because I feel so passionate about the story.

Even though getting the book published didn’t take me years and numerous rejection letters, the events wouldn’t have unfolded the way they did if publishers like Raw Dog Screaming Press didn’t exist. I think it’s awesome that there are publishers out there who actually seek out outside-of-the-box/bizarro/weird stories.

NG: What authors have inspired you as a writer?

JS: When I was kid, I was very much inspired by HG Wells. Later on, I felt a deep connection with the works of Kurt Vonnegut, Arundhati Roy, George Orwell, Anthony Burgess. Right now, I’m really digging Haruki Murakami.

NG: You also make short films and compose music. What other projects in those fields are you working on? What other writing projects?

JS: The short film I wrote entitled EGG is currently in production (http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=25076212). It’s very strange, very atmospheric. I don’t want to say too much about it, but I will say that a mime dies. I’m working on a few other short film screenplays.

My short story collection Sheep and Wolves is being published later this year, via Raw Dog. There’s a good possibility that the DVD of EGG is going to come with the collection.

I’m also writing a new novel called Cursed. If all goes well, it should be published in 2009.

NG: Do you currently have an agent, and if so, what is your advice to writers seeking representation?

JS: I don’t have an agent at this point. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writers having agents, and I may have one some day.

I’ve heard it told that this is a great site for finding recommended agents:
http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubagent.htm.

NG: What other lit works of yours are available?

JS: Here are some works of mine that can be read online for free:

CAMP (http://chizine.com/camp.htm)
NIGHTMARE MAN (http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/Hub_29.pdf)
THE HOLE (http://www.angelfire.com/punk/theswallowstail/ISSUE_4.pdf)
LOSING (http://www.deepoutside.com/Fiction/story200208.shtml)
WASTEWORLD (http://www.theharrow.com/journal/index.php/journal/article/viewArticle/1994/571)
THE WANT (http://www.bloodrosemag.com/archives/sep_2003/want.html)
PARSNIP THE ARTIST (http://www.hauntedhousedressing.com/parsnip.htm)
METAL THE REBEL (http://www.hauntedhousedressing.com/metal.htm)

I also have stories in various print magazines and anthologies. All that info lives at my website: (www.hauntedhousedressing.com).

Also, I’d like to mention (because I’m excited as heck) that my short story “Inside” is set to appear in an upcoming issue of Cemetery Dance.

NG: How much of your own world view is present in Vacation and how much of it is the characters’? Are the two intertwined?

JS: Vacation is a book written from my heart, my soul, my gut, my spleen. Much of the passion that fueled this book came from my love for the life on this planet, and my disgust toward those systems that cause suffering. So, many ideas that are important to me found their way into novel. These ideas were, of course, interpreted by different characters in different ways. None of the characters believe what I believe, 100%. I don’t think I could ever write a character like that, unless it was an autobiography.

NG: What does it mean to you to be a writer, an artist?

JS: First of all, I want to say that I don’t believe there’s one right way to be an artist. Everyone has different experiences and different personal boundaries–which is all peachy keen to the extreme. But for me, being a writer means that writing is an important part of my life. I know that if I was stuck on a desert island (or a dessert island), I would still create stories, because it’s part of who I am. I am, however, very happy that I’m not stuck on a dessert island. For one, I’d lose all teeth within a few years. But more importantly, sharing my stories with others is a wonderful experience.

NG: What do you hope readers will take from reading Vacation?

JS: It’s always nice when a reader writes to me and tells me that the book affected them in some meaningful way. Maybe they see the world a little different. Maybe they see that adverbs aren’t always a necessity, after all. In any case, I hope the experience of reading Vacation is both weird and positive.

NG: Any advice for young, aspiring writers?

JS: Well, let’s see. You should know–first and foremost–that you don’t need anybody’s approval into order to become a writer. You don’t need a degree, and you don’t need your work published, and you don’t need validation. If you feel like a writer, then you’re a writer. Things were a lot easier for me, once I realized that. I actually accomplished a lot more once I lifted that co-dependent pressure off my shoulders. This may not be advice that anyone needs.

I suppose I just wish that someone had told me all that, when I was first starting out. Another bit of advice—don’t worry about rejection letters. They’re actually good for writers. They’ve got a high omega-3 content, and they’re delicious. But seriously, even if one editor doesn’t want your story, it doesn’t mean that another one won’t love it. The game is about finding those people who connect with your work. So, in conclusion, just keep writing and have a good time with it, and everything’ll be peachy.

You can visit Jeremy’s website at http://www.hauntedhousedressing.com and his Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/jeremywriter. You can purchase Vacation at http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/vacation.
###
Nancy O. Greene
http://www.portraits.bravehost.com

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Today is the paperback release of The Liar’s Diary by Patry Francis, which has accumulated a number of spectacular reviews, been translated into several languages, and eagerly read by many. And today, over 300 writers will blog about the book which was released by Dutton (hard cover), Plume (paperback), and Brilliance Audio. Patry Francis was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, and while the mother of four employs her grandfather’s motto of “No Kick” and continues to blog and to write, she can not yet take on the traditional amount of extensive promotion required of an author, so a large number of people are chipping in to help out.

The Patry Francis Blog Day is the brainchild of Laura Benedict and was put into motion by her; Patry’s editor, Julie Doughty; her agent, Alice Tasman; her publicist, Laurie Connors; Karen Dionne of Backspace; Susan Henderson of Litpark; Dan Conaway of Writers House; Jessica Keener of Agni; and Brilliance Audio. They’ve put in the legwork to bring together as many people as possible to help Patry and promote the book in almost any fashion, from blogging about today to reviewing The Liar’s Diary.

I haven’t read The Liar’s Diary yet, but will be getting the book soon. Having read excerpts of the work and listened to the audio excerpt provided by Brilliance Audio, I think it is certainly not one to miss.

But because of that fact, when Karen Dionne asked fellow Backspacers to participate, I contemplated joining in on the Blog Day for just a little bit. What would I blog about? I’ve never met her. I haven’t read the book. Sure, I’ve read her blog and excerpts of the work, but what would I say? Ultimately, it was a very simple decision. Like so many others, I wanted to help, plain and simple. Patry Francis has shown an amazing fighting spirit that most of us hope for in such times of pain and crisis, and her situation and the generous support from her family and friends has no doubt inspired us all. Now–for those of us that haven’t yet–it’s time to take it to the bank, further support a fellow writer and human being and purchase a copy of The Liar’s Diary. Without further ado:

The Liar’s Diary at Amazon.com.

From Backspace:

In support of Patry Francis and this remarkable blog initiative, Penguin Group USA would like to offer 15% off the paperback edition of The Liar’s Diary when purchased online from us.penguingroup.com until 2/15/2008. On the shopping cart page, enter PATRY in the ‘coupon code’ field and click ‘update cart’ to activate it.

Video Clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD31Ip3y3Gk

Audio (provided by Brilliance Audio and linked from LITPARK): http://litpark.com/mp3/LiarsDiaryclip.mp3″

Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Laurie Connors
A Plume Paperback Plume Publicity
212-366-2222
laurie.connors @ us.penguingroup.com

theliarsdiary2paperback.jpg

THE LIAR’S DIARY

A Novel
By Patry Francis

“The new questions and revelations just keep coming…Readers will be heartily rewarded.”—Ladies’ Home Journal

When new music teacher Ali Mather enters Jeanne Cross’s quiet suburban life, she brings a jolt of energy that Jeanne never expected. Ali has a magnetic personality and looks to match, drawing attention from all quarters. Nonetheless, Jeanne and Ali develop a friendship based on their mutual vulnerabilities THE LIAR’S DIARY (Plume / February 2008 / ISBN 978-0-452-28915-4 / $14.00) is the story of Ali and Jeanne’s friendship, and the secrets they both keep.

Jeanne’s secrets are kept to herself; like her son’s poor report card and husband’s lack of interest in their marriage. Ali’s secrets are kept in her diary, which holds the key to something dark: her fear that someone has been entering her house when she is not at home. While their secrets bring Jeanne and Ali together, it is this secret that will drive them apart. Jeanne finds herself torn between her family and her dear friend in order to protect the people she loves.

A chilling tour of troubled minds, THE LIAR’S DIARY questions just how far you’ll go for your family and what dark truths you’d be willing to admit—even to yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patry Francis
is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize whose work has appeared in the Tampa Review, Colorado Review, Ontario Review, and the American Poetry Review. She is also the author of the popular blogs, simplywait.blogspot.com and waitresspoems.blogspot.com. This is her first novel. Please visit her website at www.patryfrancis.com.

Praise for THE LIAR’S DIARY:

“Twists and turns but never lets go.”—Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“A quirky, well-written and well-constructed mystery with an edge.”—Publishers Weekly

“Outright chilling.”—New York Daily News

“Genuinely creepy…The unlikely friendship between a small-town school secretary and a flamboyant teacher proves deadly in this psychological murder mystery.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A twisting ride full of dangerous curves and jaw-dropping surprises. This is one of my favorite reads of the year!”—Tess Gerristen, bestselling author of The Mephisto Club

“Francis draws and tense and moody picture of the perfect home and family being peeled back secret by secret…Four Stars.”—Romantic Times

THE LIAR’S DIARY
By Patry Francis
Plume Paperbacks / February 2008 / $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-452-28915-4
Readers Guide available at www.penguin.com

For more information or to schedule an interview with Patry Francis, please contact Laurie Connors, Plume Publicity
212-366-2222 / laurie.connors @ us.penguingroup.com

###

The list of writers, editors, agents, and publishers participating in The Patry Francis Blog Day (from LITPARK):

Patti Abbott
Mario Acevedo
Susan Adrian

Samina Ali
Christa Allan
Anne-Marie
Joelle Anthony
Jorge Argueta
Vicki Arkoff – MAD Magazine, Nickelodeon, MW Book Review
Melanie Avila
Tricia Ares
Backspace

Backstory
Terry Bain
Gail Baker – The Debutante Ball
Anjali Banerjee
Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Elizabeth Bartasius
Carolyn Burns Bass
Brett Battles
Laura Benedict

Pinckney Benedict
Janet Berliner
William Bernhardt
Alexander Besher
Bev
Marcie Beyatte
Brenda Birch
Roberto Bonazzi
Bookfinds

Raven Bower
Laura Bowers
Beatrice Bowles
Tara Bradford
Gayle Brandeis
Stacy Brazalovich
Susan Breen – Gotham Writers Workshops
Heather Brewer
Eve Bridburg – Zachary Shuster Harmsworth

Sassy Brit
Heatheraynne Brooks
Debra Broughon
Josie Brown
Pat Brown
Ruth Brown
Ken Bruen
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Aldo Calcagno

Austin S. Camacho
Bill Cameron
Lorenzo Carcaterra
Vincent Carrella
Karen DeGroot Carter
Rosemary Carstens
Cynthia Clark – Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine
Jon Clinch
Kamela Cody

Oline H. Cogdill – Sun-Sentinal
Tish Cohen
Eileen Cruz Coleman
Myfanwy Collins
Dan Conaway – Writers House
Laurie Connors – Penguin
Eileen Cook
Richard Cooper
David Corbett

Auria Cortes
Bill Crider – Pop Culture Magazine
Kim Cristofoli
Ann Mare Cummins
Sheila Curran
Kristie Cutter
Jordan Dane
Josephine Damian
Daryl Darko

A.J. Davis
Kelli Davis
Alyssa Day
Alma Hromic Deckert
Jim DeFelice
Mike Dellosso
Katrina Denza
Bella DePaulo
Karen Dionne

Felicia Donovan
Julie Doughty – Dutton
Gerry Doyle
Terri DuLong
Firoozeh Dumas
Christine Eldrin
J.T. Ellison – Killer Year
Sheila Clover English – Circle of Seven Productions
Kate Epstein – the Epstein Literary Agency

Kathryn Esplin
Rachel Fershleiser at SMITH Magazine
Ryan Field
Michael A. FitzGerald
William Floyd
Natasha Fondren
Jamie Ford
Connie May Fowler
Heather Fowler

Therese Fowler
Jenifer Fox
Thaisa Frank
Michelle Gable
Gary Gach
Leighton Gage
Neil Gaiman
Colin Galbraith
Jayson Gallaway

Jane Ganahl – Red Room
Erika-Marie S. Geiss
Linda Gerber
Shane Gericke
Tess Gerritsen
Karin Gillespie
Anne Glamore
Kathi Kamen Goldmark
Jewelle Gomez

Susan Helene Gottfried
Deborah Grabien
Elizabeth Graham
Caroline Grant
Robin Grantham
Bob Gray – Shelf Awareness
Nancy O. Greene
Robert Grudin
Lisa Guidarini

David Habbin
Jim Hanas
Lynette Hart
Melanie Harvey
Michael Haskins
Melanie Lynn Hauser
Bill Hayes
Maria Dahvana Headley
Susan Henderson

Heidi the Hick
Georgia Hesse
Billie Hinton
Vicki Hinze
Lori Hope
Khaled Hosseini
Eileen Hutton – Brilliance Audio
Gina Hyams
International Thriller Writers

David Isaak
Susan Ito
Lisa Jackson
Arachne Jericho
Allison Johnson
Jen Jordan – Crimespree
Jungle Red Writers
Lesley Kagen
Polly Kahl

Jessica Keener
Charles Kelly
Lisa Kenny
Beth Kephart
Jackie Kessler
Merle Kessler
Kristy Kiernan – Southern Authors Blog
A.S. King
Jeff Kleinman – Folio Literary Management

Sandra Kring
Kyra
R.D. Laban
Rebecca Laffar-Smith – Writers Roundabout
Clair Lamb
Daphne Larkin
Larramie
Judy Merrill Larson
Caroline Leavitt

Leah
Virginia Lee
Leslie Levine
Mary Lewis
Richard Lewis
Liane
Sharon Linnea
Julie Anne Long
CJ Lyons

Jonathan Maberry
Amy MacKinnon – The Writers Group
Tim Maleeny
Ric Marion
Nancy Martin
Adrienne Mayor
L.C. McCabe
Damian McNicholl
Ellen Meister

Melba
Christa Miller
Kyle Minor
Jacquelyn Mitchard
P. A. Moed
Terri Molina
Pat Montandon
David Montgomery
Alexis Moore

Joe Moore – Inkspot
Amanda Morgan
Sarie Morrell
Murderati
Amy Nathan
Nathalie
National Post
Tia Nevitt
Nicole

Carolyn North
Aurelio O’Brien
Martha O’Connor
Andrea Okrentowich
Lori Oliva
Aimee Palooza
Pamela
Michael Palmer
Stephen Parrish

Marie Peck
Marcia Peterson – WOW! Women on Writing
Jason Pinter
Anthony S. Policastro
Douglas Preston
Publishers Marketplace
Terese Ramin
Jody Reale
Martha Reed

Janet Reid – FinePrint Literary Management
Kamilla Reid
Lance Reynald
Michelle Richmond
Maria Robinson
John Robison
James Rollins
M.J. Rose – Buzz, Balls & Hype

Renee Rosen
Jordan Rosenfeld
Russell Rowland
Anneli Rufus
Hank Ryan
Marcus Sakey
Harris Salat -Visual Thesaurus
Rachel Sarah
Maria Schneider – Writer’s Digest Magazine

Nina Schuyler
Dani Shapiro
Rochelle Shapiro
Charles Shaughnessy
Jessie Sholl
Robert Siegel
Clea Simon
Lynn Sinclair
Jen Singer

Shelley Singer
Sisters in Crime
Robin Slick
BPM Smith – Word & Bass
Bridget Smith
Claudia Smith
Kim Smith
Stephie Smith

Alexandra Sokoloff
Char Solomon
James Spring
Emilie Staat
Kim Stagliano
Maryanne Stahl
Bella Stander
Kelli Stanley
Marta Stephens

Bronwyn Storm
Jennifer Talty
Judith Tannenbaum
Mindy Tarquini
Alice Tasman – the Jean Naggar Literary Agency
Charles R. Temple
David Thayer
The Outfit
Theresa
Joyce Tremel
Danielle Trussoni
Louise Ure
N. L. Valler
Barbara Vey – Publishers Weekly
Bev Vincent
Brenda Wallace
Therese Walsh – Writer Unboxed
John Warner – Tow Books
Gary Wassner
Brenda Webster
Sarah Weinman
Kimberly M. Wetherell
Dan Wickett – Emerging Writers Network
Jennifer Weiner
Laura Wellner
Susan Wiggs
Liz Wolfe
Cheryl Wyatt
Stephen Wylder
Irvin Yalom
Belle Yang
Dawn Yun
Michele Zackheim
Victoria Zackheim
Ernie Zelinski
Crystal Zevon

###

Nancy O. Greene
http://www.portraits.bravehost.com

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Welcome to the January 29, 2008 edition of writers from across the blogosphere. Click, read, Enjoy!

writing

Vaibhav Gadodia presents Habitually Good » Blog Archive » Writer’s block – what is that? posted at Habitually Good.

GrrlScientist presents Today’s Adventure in The Land of Medicine posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “After a day like this, I would be crazy, if I wasn’t crazy already.”

Rebecca Suzanne Dean presents How To Kick Writers? Block posted at Rebecca Dean.

Richard Lee presents How To Write Magnetic Headlines posted at Richard Lee.

Brent Diggs presents Writing Prompts for the Not-So-Prompt posted at The Ominous Comma, saying, “Humor for writers”

Jessse Hines presents The Best Writing Advice I Ever Received posted at Vigorous Writing.

Jessse Hines presents Got Writer’s Block? Just Eat that Frog. posted at Vigorous Writing.

blue skelton presents The First Junkie Ninja Monologue posted at This Wasted Monologue, saying, “Scene: Present Day, Hospital Waiting Room – Blue Skelton is reflecting on the imminent birth of his first child.”

ScottG presents Notebook on a Passion: The Writer Begins with the Begiining posted at Notebook on a Passion, saying, “Writers write to influence their readers, their preachers, their auditors, but always, at bottom, to be more themselves.
–Aldous Huxley”

Steve Osborne presents First Things First posted at TheWritersBag.com, saying, “Steve Osborne, author of “Writing Tips for the Real World,” is a professional freelance writer and writing instructor with over 20 years of experience.”

Thursday Bram presents What If? Emergency Planning for Your Writing posted at thursdaybram.com.

GrrlScientist presents Bridge To Opportunity (Reprise) posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “This is just a story about the Brooklyn Bridge, as written by a non-native NYCer; me! Includes history of the bridge and Emily Roebling’s remarkable contribution to its completion.”

Steve Osborne presents “Are You Done Yet?” posted at TheWritersBag.com, saying, “Steve Osborne, author of “Writing Tips for the Real World,” is a professional freelance writer and writing instructor with over 20 years of experience.”

Ward Tipton presents Writing in Earnest | The Write Page posted at The Online Writing Resource Center, saying, “While freelance writing is great in many ways, wouldn’t it be nice to have your name on your writing and put the money it earned in your own pocket? I was finally able to get started doing this.”

Carol Bentley presents 4 easy steps to authorship. . . posted at Carol Bentley.

Steve Osborne presents The Well/Good Conundrum posted at TheWritersBag.com, saying, “Steve Osborne is a professional freelance writer and writing instructor with over 20 years experience. His blog teaches writing rules, strategies and techniques in a memorable, easy-to-understand way, spiced with a bit of humor.”

Alfa King presents Degree or experience? posted at Alfa King Memories.

Steve Osborne presents E-Mail Etiquette posted at TheWritersBag.com, saying, “Steve Osborne, author of “Writing Tips for the Real World,” is a professional freelance writer and writing instructor with over 20 years of experience.”

Sagar presents Rookie Mistakes: 15 Blunders New Freelancers Make and How to Avoid Them posted at Bootstrapper.

Alfa King presents Clarity and Brevity Make Good Blogging posted at Alfa King Memories.

articles

Orna Ross presents Planning Your Writing posted at WRITING ADVICE & PUBLISHING ADVICE from Font, saying, “Article on the importance of planning for writers”

Bela presents How to Catch a Mouse | House Chronicles posted at House Chronicles.

blogs

Michael Bass presents Hints for writing great blog posts. posted at Debt Prison, saying, “Don’t write junk, anything worth writing is worth writing correctly. Bad articles will leave readers with a negative impression of your site.”

Nick Cobb presents Felonious Ramblings: My First Day In The Joint posted at Felonious Ramblings.

Warren Wong presents The Different Types Of Website Visitors And Their Value posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “An article describing the different types of websites visitors such as search engine, direct, referring, and social bookmarking and the value they bring to your website.”

Bob Younce presents Setting posted at Writing My First Novel.

book reviews

GrrlScientist presents Speciation in Birds posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “by Trevor Price, is a wonderful review of the literature that reveals the process and nature of speciation in birds.”

GrrlScientist presents Attenborough in Paradise posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “A remarkable set of adventures to the South Pacific islands and beyond on DVD as David Attenborough pursues his most deeply burning passions. [educational DVD review]”

Peter Jones presents The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: New Mystery Keeps You Reading posted at Great New Books that Are a Must Read.

books

James DeLelys presents Am I the Only One? posted at Author James DeLelys, saying, “Prelude to a new book.”

Sarah presents Eugenides and Saunders read from My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead posted at SARAHSPY.

interviews

Marilyn Terrell presents The Inn at Little Washington Celebrates 30 Years posted at Intelligent Travel, saying, “Susan O’Keefe interviews the celebrated chef-innkeeper at the Inn at Little Washington, Patrick O’Connell, as his inn and restaurant turn 30.”

life

Madeleine Begun Kane presents One Car Guaranty I?d Gladly Forgo posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

Alex Blackwell presents And a Side Order of Positive Attitude, Too Please posted at The Next 45 Years.

Justin Duval presents www.DarkGrin.com – mind TRIP posted at The Dark Grin, saying, “Philosophical creative writing piece.”

Joshua Wagner presents Getting Your Ducks in a Row posted at Total Possibility.

Joshua Wagner presents Love and Fear posted at Total Possibility.

Alex Blackwell presents Feel the Music in You posted at The Next 45 Years, saying, “While allowing my heart to hear the words to the song, it occurred to me that I did indeed own my life. Regret and shame were just pieces of garbage I had been carrying around long enough. But there was still plenty of time and there was still plenty of hope and fight left in me.”

philosophy

Akemi presents Belief can Change the Course of Life posted at Gratitude Magic.

Samuel Bryson presents The Philosophy of Happiness – Accepting Yourself posted at Total Wellbeing.

Scholars & Rogues presents A human thinking trap (and how to avoid it) posted at Scholars and Rogues, saying, “Thank you for your consideration.”

politics/current events

Meggie Pace presents Craft Research: Craft 2.0 posted at Earthly Paradise, saying, “The arts and crafts movement is experiencing an incredible revival on the web. This article discusses the movement’s origins and future.”

Heidi Whitaker presents Viral Blogging: What is the Price of Profiting from the Politics of Bigotry and Hate? posted at Work from Home Choices, saying, “This article discusses how political blogs are stirring up hatred and bigotry.”

Cheryl presents Cop a plea: to criminal stupidity posted at Glob-a-log, saying, “Dimwitted cops and criminals”

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

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This Sunday marks the second “Lit & Art” reading and art display at the Watermark Gallery and sponsored by the literary blog Writeful. Local art and literature will be shared. The event is free and open to the public.

Best regards,

Eric D. Goodman
www.Writeful.blogspot.com

WRITEFUL PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Eric D. Goodman, Public Relations Director

DATE: January 15, 2007

EMAIL: edgewriter@gmail.com

Lit and Art in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

As winter winds blow, the harbor may not seem the warmest place to visit this time of year—unless you’re going to the Watermark Gallery to enjoy a gathering of literature and artwork.

This Sunday, six local authors will present fiction and poetry—and an original collection of art by local artist Manzar Rassouli-Taylorr will be on display.

The event takes place at the Watermark Gallery in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Sunday, January 20 at 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Wine and refreshments will be served.

The Maryland Writers Association (MWA) will be well represented at the event; five of the authors are members of the MWA.

Eric Kestler will read from his poetry.

Lauren Beth Eisenberg will read “Lust,” an excerpt from her book, Excess Baggage.

Eric D. Goodman will take the audience “Out for a Walk” with a story recently published in The Baltimore Review.

Caryn Coyle will share her story “Mom’s Memorial Mass.”

Nitin Jagdish goes madcap with his “Manifesto.”

Cliff Lynn will close the lineup with readings from his poetry.

A collection of surreal artwork by Manzar Rassouli-Taylorr, will be on display.

During the intermission as well as after the readings, members will have the opportunity to mingle with the authors, artists, and each other.

This is the second reading in this series, following the successful “Rumi-esque Reading” in October.

The Watermark Gallery is located in the Bank of America Center Skywalk Level, right across from the Inner Harbor, at 100 S. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland. The phone number is (410) 547-0452.

Learn more about the Watermark at their online gallery.

www.manzar.net

Learn more about the “Lit and Art” reading event at Writeful.

www.Writeful.blogspot.com

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Welcome to the January 5, 2008 edition of writers from across the blogosphere. Enjoy!

writing

M. Cruz presents Developing Unique Characters – Its The Little Things That Count! posted at NOIRLECROI.COM.

Steve Osborne presents Proofreading Tips posted at TheWritersBag.com, saying, “Writing tips for the real world, from a professional writer.”

Missy presents It may not be a traditional dance, but it’s a dance just the same posted at Incurable Disease of Writing, saying, “A musical revelation freed me from my self-doubt and writing is back on track.”

Sean-Paul Kelley presents Recreating Long Lost Drama: The Xiongnu and the Han, 200BC posted at The Agonist, saying, “The question I’m facing right now is how to bring out the inherent drama of an event that took place more than two thousand years ago and is little known in the West.”

Carol Bentley presents The power of words. . . posted at Carol Bentley.

Ward Tipton presents Coming Write Up | The Write Page posted at The Online Writing Resource Center, saying, “Many people would like to get into writing but either have no knowledge about where to get started or worse, they become consumed by “analysis paralysis” or feelings of insecurity because they doubt themselves. Doubt no more!”

Jason Mueller presents Poem of Pain posted at Over Ten Years Serving the Reading Public.

Rebecca Wallace-Segall presents Yay, Motivation! posted at a community of young writers in new york city.

Nicola Marsh presents Romance, rumours and rogues posted at Romance, rumours and rogues.

Carol Bentley presents Do your headlines grab your reader?s undivided attention posted at Carol Bentley.

Jason Mueller presents Plausible Denial posted at Over Ten Years Serving the Reading Public.

Tali presents THE NIGHT-CELL posted at Helium – Where Knowledge Rules, saying, “I’m trying to build up this character, while writing a few shorts, involving her. This is the first.”

authors

Jason presents ExecutedToday.com » 1849: Not Fyodor Dostoyevsky posted at Executed Today, saying, “We catch up with Fyodor Dostoyevsky — including some original translation of his “holy crap, I’m alive” message — on the anniversary of his mock-execution.”

Kilroy_60 presents Kilroy Fear & Loathing, A Hunter S. Thompson tribute – A business management consultant, spiritualist & writer looks at life – Sex Drugs Rock & Roll posted at Fear And Loathing – The Gonzo Papers.

blogs

Jeanie Marshall presents Blogging for Coaches, Consultants, and Other Professionals posted at JMviews Meditation and Empowerment, saying, “Over the years while coaching and consulting, I have encouraged many of my clients to write. Sometimes I suggest they write to sort out ideas, with no intention for publishing or even sharing the writing with anyone. Other times, I suggest they write so that they eventually publish something. More and more, I am suggesting that my clients write a blog. The blog is one of those very powerful mechanisms, readily available.”

Alfa King presents Blogging year, against all odds posted at Alfa King Memories.

Susan presents Monetarizing Your Travel Blog posted at The Innovative Traveler, saying, “Montearize Your Travel Blog”

Warren Wong presents How To Start A Successful Blog posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “Tips on how to start a successful blog and what it takes to succeed.”

articles

Joshua Seth presents Getting Lost in Istanbul posted at Joshua Seth Blog, saying, “A Voyage to feel the taste of Old Europe through Hippodrome, the site of chariot races in old Constantinople and the Egyptian obelisk.”

Jim Sansi presents PR What? posted at The Kaizen Business.

book reviews

John presents Review: Of a Feather posted at A DC Birding Blog.

Sean-Paul Kelley presents So, You Want To Travel The Silk Road? posted at The Agonist, saying, “In his new book, Shadow of the Silk Road, Colin Thubron makes clear the magnitude of the task for writers who want to tackle the Silk Road. (I’m one of those writers.)”

Tiffany Washko presents Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal! posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

GrrlScientist presents The Snoring Bird posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “This book by Bernd Heinrich, a noted biologist, is a memoir that documents his father’s life and their relationship, and how his father influenced the scientist and the man that the author became. [book review]”

Torrie presents Book Review: Father’s Aren’t Supposed to Die posted at A Time of Grief.

interviews

Jeanie Marshall presents Jeanie Marshall Interviews Peter Shepherd posted at JMviews Meditation and Empowerment, saying, “Jeanie Marshall interviews Peter Shepherd, who is the Owner of Tools for Transformation, a personal development site which he started in 1997. He offers a considerable amount of valuable information at his web site, in his products, and through his mailings.”

Jason presents 1962: Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin posted at Executed Today, saying, “This is an interview I conducted recently with Canadian journalist Robert Hoshowsky on his recent book “The Last To Die” — about the last men hanged in Canada.”

life

Joshua C. Karlin presents Why You Need to Ask posted at Marketing & Fundraising Ideas.

Edith presents How to Stay Focused posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act., saying, “Are you distracted? Are you thinking about 3 things at the same time? Do you have more than 3 screens opened on your computer right now? If you said yes to any of the questions above, please stay focused here and read on.”

Rebecca Wallace-Segall presents Poetry Slam–Now That’s a Competition posted at a community of young writers in new york city.

John Crenshaw presents “He Tells Me To Burn Things” posted at Dominate Your Life, saying, “How do you distinguish good advice from bad, how do you know when someone is just telling you to “burn things?””

Warren Wong presents Conversation Skills / Tips: How To Have A Good Conversation posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “Tips to improve your conversation skills and help you have a good conversation!”

Chickens in the Road presents The Slanted Little House posted at Suzanne McMinn, saying, “A writer at a turning point in her life picks up her laptop and moves to the country with her three children to find the real meaning of home–and life.”

Alex Blackwell presents Ask for What You Want posted at The Next 45 Years.

Justin Duval presents www.darkgrin.com – Why You Choose to Get Angry posted at The Dark Grin, saying, “Check out why you choose to get angry!”

Terry Dean presents Overcome Fear posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

Carol Bentley presents Invitation to birthday celebration posted at Carol Bentley.

philosophy

Meggie Pace presents A Beautiful House and Books–The Most Important Things in Life? posted at Earthly Paradise, saying, “William Morris’ philosophy integrated art, philosophy and “everyday life” in a way that almost seems impossible to today’s reader. He once argued that having a beautiful home and books were two of the most important things in life. Was he right? On reflection, I think he was!”

CG Walters presents Truth is But a Resting Place posted at Into the Mist, saying, “Many people are willing to accept that experiences and memories of the past become guides for our choices in the present, thereby dictating the future. Most people see these memories or experiences as defined once and never changing. I, on the other hand, am forced to view them as a more fluid commodity.”

Justin Duval presents www.darkgrin.com – The Spectrum of Extremes posted at The Dark Grin.

Pearl presents Spreading the Love via Compassion posted at :: Interesting Observations ::, saying, “Whats your definition of compassion?”

Matthew Spears presents Trusting Perceptions and Higher Communication posted at Loving Awareness, saying, “One of the most fundamental aspect of any growth or is the trust in one’s own perception. There is no question it is an incomplete perception; as a human, you will not see even a minuscule fraction of the totality of what’s out there, or that of your self. But it is still your perception. It is your link to your power. It is the basis for all growth, for if you rely on someone else’s eyes and intuition, you are not living your own life, discovering your own power, but are being a guinea pig for other’s experiments”

politics/current events

Jason Hughey presents The Assasination of Benazir Bhutto posted at Logical Consistency, saying, “Pakistan is emerging as a crisis. Read how the assassination of opposition leader, Bhutto, represents more serious and deadly problems, not only for Pakistan, but for the world.”

Sholom Anarchy presents Stumping for Ron Paul again posted at Anarcho-Judaism.

James K. Bashkin presents Kicked out of Cuba! “When crime fiction is a crime” by K Henkel: Fact and Fiction collide, with serious consequences. posted at Nearly nothing but novels, saying, “The fragility of free speech is indicated by this report of a Cuban writer’s exile in Germany.”

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Dear Editor: Enough With The Polls, Already! posted at Mad Kane’s Political Madness.

humor

Jason Mueller presents Beer, Bear, Body Bag: The Inspirational Story of What Not to Feed Yogi posted at Over Ten Years Serving the Reading Public.

contests

Susan presents New Podcast Documentary Contest posted at The Innovative Traveler.

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
.

Technorati tags:

, .

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