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Saturday, May 25, 2019

 

What an Election in India Taught Me About Never Giving Up



Somewhere in India - Pune, India, to be exact - a man is contesting a parliamentary seat. The most interesting thing about him? Well, he has lost 24 different elections. Yet hope is still alive because Vijayprakash Kondekar wants to become prime minister. How is that for an example about not giving up?

As a writer, when I saw this, I wondered about my stories waiting in the wings for acceptance. The ones I'm no longer as sure about anymore. If my story had been rejected 24 times would I give up? Or keep persisting? You see, in writing, it's not uncommon to face a lot of rejections. In fact, one article I read recently recommended aiming for 100 rejections a year (fun fact: I'm not even close to submitting that much).

Despite the rejections I have received (and those not yet to come) I know one thing - I'm better than I was and one day I will be better than I am today.

So after 24 rejections - or hundreds - what can you tell yourself? How do you lick those wounds? And aside from the fact that writing itself can be a form of masochism, how do we explain the need to continue on and keep trying?

Well, when I was a kid, I always said that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. Somewhere along the way, I promised myself that I wouldn't give up on that dream (or goal, as a mature write may call it). And with each rejection, each passing day where writing fails me, I tell myself that it's all about that promise to myself of not giving up.

What this man in India who has lost 24 times has taught me this - don't give up. If you believe in your cause (as this man believes in his cause), then you must continue. You see, each writer has a cause and that is to share their story with the world. And much like democracy, it isn't that simple nor is that easy to win (and we don't always "get" the ones that do). It's like our readers are a bit like voters. We don't always understand them and they don't always understand us. However, we must persist in trying to reach them.

So, as you sit down to write, and maybe even read another rejection letter, think of the Mr. Kondekar who walks around Pune, India with a signboard trying to convince people to vote for him. Sure, there are those who laugh but there are those - like me - who see the bigger picture. If you believe in yourself, you cannot give up.

Now go on, write. Revise. Get critiqued. Submit. Rinse and repeat. Write in spite of every rejection you've received. Prove the rejectors wrong. In fact, be deliriously determined. Aim to get the world record for rejection letters. Because you may surprise yourself. You may hear the "yes" you've been waiting on.



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Friday, May 24, 2019

 

Friday Speak Out!: Why Memoir?

by Deborah Tobola

There’s nothing like falling into a well-written memoir. How thrilling to travel to Kate Simon’s vibrant post-World War I immigrant neighborhood in Bronx Primitive, to Dominika Derry’s enchanted childhood in a Communist-occupied Czech village in The Twelve Little Cakes, to Patricia Lockwood’s hilariously unconventional household in Preistdaddy. Because of the skills of the writers, each of these books transports the reader to a specific time and place, rendering the book’s world completely.

Memoirs like The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and Wild by Cheryl Strayed are among the titles that have legitimized the genre and created an appetite for more memoirs.

Why are readers drawn to memoirs? We are searching for authenticity. In a world heavy with spin, there’s a hunger for the real. We want the truth of the writer’s life, even if it’s hard to bear sometimes.

Memoirs are intimate in the way other writing is not. There’s a deep dialogue between writer and reader. Reading a well-written memoir is like having coffee with a best friend, rather than a new acquaintance. We get to ride shotgun with the writer in her search meaning in her life.

Finally, memoirs help us put our own experience in context. I have a chapter titled “911” in my memoir, Hummingbird in Underworld: Teaching in a Men’s Prison. My experience of that day is particular—spending the day in prison after hearing on the radio that morning what sounded like the end of the world. Most readers will remember precisely their experience of that day. In that way, some moments in memoirs serve as touchstones, reminding us that although we are individuals with unique experiences, we are also connected by the joys and sorrows of our shared human experience.

This is the kind of connection that we long for in literature. There are elements of memoir in writers of other genres, such as Lucia Berlin’s gritty and incandescent stories in A Manual for Cleaning Women and Norm Eisen’s The Last Palace, a breathtaking panoramic chronicle of the history of Eastern Europe, with his mother’s escape from the Nazis during World War II woven in to the history of the building.

For the writer, memoir presents challenges that fiction does not. We use the same tools as novelists, short story writers and poets in telling our stories—a compelling plot, complex characters, vivid language and a coherent theme. But we must also give up artistic license in service of the truth. A memoirist’s experiences are filtered through memory, and people remember the same events differently. The best memoirs, I think, resonate with the ring of truth.

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DEBORAH TOBOLA is a poet, playwright and co-author of a children’s book. Her work has earned four Pushcart Prize nominations, three Academy of American Poets awards and a Children’s Choice Book Award. Tobola retired from the Department of Corrections at the end of 2008 to begin Poetic Justice Project, the country’s first theatre company created for formerly incarcerated actors, where she serves as artistic director. Tobola returned to prison work three years ago and currently teaches creative writing and theatre at the California Men’s Colony. She lives in Santa Maria, California. www.deborahtobola.com
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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Thursday, May 23, 2019

 

For reading out loud

Besides being a teacher, I have worked in public relations for several years, promoting other peoples' products, services, and ideas. So, it just makes sense that I can promote my own work just as effectively, right? Well, that's where you would be wrong.

I am not comfortable tooting my own horn, and would rather clean the bathroom than get up and talk about myself. This also goes for reading my work, which sometimes turns me into a trembling mess, not unlike the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz as he walks down the long hall to ask the Mighty Oz for "Courage." Jumping out a window seemed like a perfectly normal response to me.

As a speech teacher, I am comfortable talking about ideas other than my own, or at least presenting my own ideas as a way to help other people, which is what I try to do to take the focus off me. There are still times when I feel a sudden self-awareness when everyone is looking at me, and I have no idea what to say next.

During moments when I can't gather my thoughts, I may take off my glasses and rub my eye like there is something in it, or cough and take a drink of the tea I always carry with me, or ask if there are any questions. By the time I get back to the topic, I can usually remember what I was going to say, or just ask "What I was talking about?" and at least one person remembers. And if not, I just go to my next topic.

David Sedaris, the humorist and author of many funny books including "Me Talk Pretty One Day," once said he has the easiest job in the world because all he has to do is stand up and read. Reading out loud does sound easy because I've been doing it since I was in the first grade.

However, a couple of months ago I forced myself to read one of my short stories at an open mic night. I had practiced, and wasn't terrified before I began, although the nerves did announce their presence as soon as I stated the title. As I began to read, I felt like I couldn't catch my breath by the end of every sentence. In addition, my mouth turned into the Mojave Desert, complete with sand and cacti. I believe I saw a vulture or two circle overhead, and my tongue shriveled like a snakeskin that had been shed a few days earlier. I was so uncomfortable that I never looked at the audience. Although I was not happy with my performance, I got through it.

So, what did I do? Just the opposite of what you might think. I took the next opportunity that came along to read again. Was I nervous? Yes. But this time, I planned ahead. I brought some water to the podium, and took a drink right before I began. I also talked to some of my friends and family beforehand, which helped me relax. Some performers practice breathing or vocal exercises, but I just breathed deeply for a few minutes. I also started by reading a couple of very short poems, then moved on to something a little longer. I knew once I got through the short ones, the longer one would be easier.

I also made a point to look at the audience and smile before I began, and between each poem or short story. As scary as that may sound, it actually helps. Remember, they want you to succeed just as much as you do. And some of them may smile, and some may nod their heads, and some may do nothing at all. But taking a moment to acknowledge them with a smile can turn that scary unknown audience into a friendly group of supporters.

So, the next time you need to promote your work through a public reading, practice, breathe deeply, and take a moment to acknowledge your audience with a smile. Who knows, they may end up being your biggest fans!


Mary Horner teaches public speaking, but still gets nervous reading her own work in front of an audience.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

 

A 5 Star Review of Michelle Dim-St. Pierre's "Bloody Coffee"

Bloody Coffee is a complex, suspenseful, and engrossing tale of doubts, trust, budding romance, and two bullets.

Eighteen-year-old Leigh arrives at a Tel Aviv hospital, seeking information about her probable father, Dr. Sloan, who had a cardiac arrest right after they met for the first time. As she stands next to her father's bed and watches him, her past, present and future collide. Despite the advice of those around her, Leigh decides to face the challenges of the legal system in Israel. She obtains a court order for a paternity test and confronts Sloan. During her quest to find the truth about her biological father, Leigh is exposed to violent religious intolerance, faces life in a country where church and state are not separate, and meets the man who may be her first true love. Will she change her view of the world she thought she knew? Will she forgive her mother? Will a gunshot change her attitude towards her probable father? And, what will she say to Steve, the only father she ever really had?

Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Mountain Abor Press; 1st edition (April 22, 2019)
ISBN-10: 163183522X
ISBN-13: 978-1631835223

Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and the publisher's website.

*****The 5 Star Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto !*****


Bloody Coffee is a fast-paced, character-driven novel, set in war torn Tel Aviv with a storyline and characters you can’t help but love! Leigh is a character I related to from the very first chapter of Bloody Coffee. I admire anyone who seeks answers and is brave enough to leave their comfort zone to find those answers. Leigh is just 18 and yet she set out alone to an unfamiliar country. She focused on her goal and didn’t let fear stand in her way. Michelle Dim-St. Pierre has written her main character with such depth that readers will be sure to fall in love with her. She’s strong yet unsure of herself - confused and searching. She’s perfectly imperfect and very approachable. I was cheering for her through each twist and turn in this suspenseful story of trust, doubt, and romance. Even protests, rockets, and death wouldn’t be enough to deter Leigh from finding her biological father.

Leigh’s character may have initially drawn me into the story, but the storyline of Bloody Coffee is interesting and unexpected. Just when I thought I had it figured out, another plot twist came into play and had me questioning how things were going to end. A combination of my love and admiration for the characters in the book as well as my inquisitive nature kept me glued to my seat wanting more. This was a fast read because I didn’t want to put the book down until I had all the answers I was searching for. Michelle Dim-St. ‘s use of sensual details and dramatic scenes drew me in as a reader and made me feel as if I were involved in Leigh’s journey. I felt what she felt, and had the same desire for answers and closure. The suspense kept me engaged throughout the book. When friendships fell apart and people started dying I thought for sure Leigh was going to give up and she forged forward even more intent on answers.

A favorite scene for me was at a low point for Leigh – she was questioning if she had made the right decision. Her maturity and ultimately her tenacity and decision to push forward is admirable.
(pg 168)
My mind was busy churning over her past and my present.

I traveled back to the pages of my mother’s journal, thinking how her affair with Sloan actually tore us apart. I believe that sharing her secrets created nothing but distance between us. My relationship with her seemed insignificant in comparison with the one she had with Sloan. I felt as if I’d entered a competition that I could never win. I sensed that he didn’t have enough love for the both of us, that I would always be on the outside looking in. I didn’t want to get hurt any more than what I already had, so I took the easy road, rejecting him. I didn’t need him anyway. Suddenly, the realization hit me – it had been a mistake to come looking for him.

Will I ever be able to put this dismantled gigantic puzzle together or will I live the truth of having no place among them, forever an outsider?

There wasn’t any point in Bloody Coffee where I felt the pace slowed. The author used just the right amount of detail to keep things interesting without being either boring or tedious. Dim-St. Pierre brought to life the sights and sounds of Tel Aviv during a tumultuous time. This is a fast-paced story and even the secondary characters are relatable and intriguing. The relationships and alliances were lifelike and fluid throughout. Leigh’s introspective scenes felt very real; her authenticity was a breath of fresh air. When I was wondering how much more she could bear, Leigh was asking herself “is this confrontation necessary right now?” and it was easy to experience the frustrations in her quest for truth. As Leigh navigated the relationships in her life (old and new), she was cautious while still being open to the endless possibilities – she’s an incredibly believable main character. This is a beautiful story with a flawed and very human main character I couldn’t help but love.





Praise:

“Michelle Dim-St.-Pierre is proving to be a major talent in epic romantic drama!”
~Grady Harp, Amazon Top 50 Hall of Fame Reviewer

“A thrilling and emotional psychological mystery-thriller.”
~Detroit Free Press

“This book grabbed me at page one and wouldn’t let me go!”
~Pamela Gossiaux, award-winning author and journalist.

About the Author:

Michelle Dim-St. Pierre was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, where she spent more than half of her life before relocating to the United States.

She lived through four wars and served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. Unlike her first year of service in an armored division in the Golan Heights, she served her second year serving in the medical corps where she interacted directly with the injured soldiers of the Peace of Galilee war and their families. This interaction, along with the exposure to the hospital atmosphere, fascinated Michelle and further touched her heart. She went on to get a BS degree in Nursing in Tel-Aviv, and practiced internationally for 32 years in various positions in the surgical field and quickly advanced into health care administration. During her career she worked in the Operating Room, Recovery Room, and CCU—along with many other duties.

Writing was Michelle’s outlet at first, but it soon became her passion. Now, she is a full-time writer. Her international background, along with her military and nursing experience is always at the tip of her pen. Her first novel, Pinnacle Lust, started the Pinnacle trilogy and won the Beach Book Festival in the Romance category, as well as received several honorable mentions in other book contests. It was published to rave reviews.

Michelle is a world traveler who enjoys cooking epicurean food and creating original recipes. She currently splits her time between Florida and Georgia, where she is at work on her next two books.

Find Michelle Online:

Website: www.MichelleDimStPierre.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDimStPierre/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pinnaclelust


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Michelle_DimStPierre

LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-dim-st-pierre-1b9691106





----------Upcoming Blog Tour Dates


May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina
Fellow author Anthony Avina gives a raving review after reading Michelle Dim-St. Pierre’s thrilling mystery Bloody Coffee – readers won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear Anthony’s insight into this must read novel!
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 27th @ Beverley A. Baird
Michelle Dim-St. Pierre has done it again with another best seller – this time it’s a mystery/thriller called Bloody Coffee and Beverley A. Baird can’t wait to tell readers all about it in her review! This is a complex and suspenseful mystery readers will be excited to get their hands on!
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 28th @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Vicki, the Deal Sharing Aunt, shares her thoughts after reading the latest novel by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Readers won’t want to miss the opportunity to learn more about Bloody Coffee!
http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/

May 29th @ Margo Dill
Editor and Author Margo Dill couldn’t wait to read Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Stop by her blog today and read her review about this thrilling new release!
https://margoldill.com/

May 30th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith
Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre travels all the way to France today as Sreevarsha Sreejith reviews this mystery and shares her thoughts with readers at her book blog!
https://sreejithsreevarsha.wordpress.com/

June 3rd @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles couldn’t put down this 5 star read – let’s hear her review of Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Readers will delight as they put this mystery/thriller on their TBRPile!
https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

June 5th @ Bring on Lemons with Tara Forst
Wisconsin business woman and mother, Tara Forst is a friend of WOW! and is excited to talk about her thoughts after reading Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Don’t miss this review and giveaway!
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

June 6th @ Cassandra’s Writing World
Stop by Cassandra’s Writing World to hear more about Michelle Dim-St. Pierre and her latest best seller Bloody Coffee as Cassandra shares her review with readers!
http://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

June 7th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
The author spotlight at Choices today is Michelle Dim-St. Pierre with her latest bestselling thriller Bloody Coffee – readers won’t want to miss an opportunity to learn more about this fabulous novel!
http://madelinesharples.com/


***** Thank You for Stopping - We Love Comments! *****


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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

 

The Number One Thing You Need in Your Author Talk

School is almost out for summer! If you live in the United States, you probably have anywhere from one week to one month left of the school year. (If you live other places, I’m not sure how much school time you have left. Let us know in the comments.) But, I digress. I’m writing about school getting out because this post is about writers who are also teachers or writers who are also parents with kids coming home for the summer or anyone who loves the long hours of daylight in the summer and gets a lot of writing done! (Plus, I just attended my stepson’s graduation from high school on Friday, and I wanted a chance to share this photo with you of him and my cute daughter, his sister. I’m super proud of them both.)

 Some of you who are teachers and writers under the same hat use summer to catch up on your writing that might have taken a backseat during the school year. I know when I was teaching in an elementary school, I also used the summer to attend workshops and go to writing conferences. For those of you who are children’s writers or young adult authors, you may also be taking time to create new school visit workshops. Part of being a children’s or young adult writer  is finding opportunities to get in front of those audiences, and this is often done at schools. (By the way, you could also do it at Bible schools and summer camps, depending on where you live and what your book is about. I have done all of these places.)

 I know it’s not always the easiest speaking event—a gym full of zK to 2nd grade students, for example. So I will tell you what I believe to be the number one element you need to have in your workshop. Really, this could be for any writer who has to give any workshop or presentation. But I think it is especially true if your audience is 18 or under.

That number one element is… Connection. That’s right, connection. Connection is what every presentation that you give to kids needs to have. The problem is that it’s not easy to connect with kids who are not the same age as you, who may not have the same interests as you, who may be attending your workshop because they are being forced to by their teacher, or who may have never heard of you or your books when you step in to their school. But it will be completely worth it if you figure out some way to connect with your audience and to make yourself relatable to them before you share your message—whether it’s about your books, your writing career, or your illustrations.

Here are three ways that children’s or young adult authors can look for ways to connect with their under 18 audiences:

1. Start your presentation with a personal story from your life when you were a kid. Make yourself vulnerable. You can use humor. You can be serious. But find a universal story about your childhood or your teenage years that will let your audience know that you can understand some of the issues they may be facing as a young person.

2.  Get to know your audience before you start selling to them. Even though you will not be hard selling at a school visit, you are realistically still trying to get these kids to like and read your books. Before you do this, have an activity where you are asking questions to find out about your audience. For example, you can ask kids to stand up if they like a certain baseball team. You can ask kids to raise their hand if their birthday is in the summer. You can ask kids to raise their hand and tell you there favorite foods. You will have to revise this activity, depending on if you are talking to a classroom of kids or a gym full of kids. But you will know plenty in advance before you get to the school. And if you are a teacher, then you will know what kinds of activities relate to many of these kids already because you are around kids every single day.

3. Just be real! It’s not as easy as it sounds. But kids can spot someone who is not sincere and genuine 100 miles away. So don’t try to be funny if you are not actually funny. Don’t try to be hip. Just be yourself—whatever that is. You have a message to bring to these kids. You wrote a book for them. Now you are there; and in order to connect with them, just be yourself.

If you are a children’s or young adult writer, and you have a tip for school visits, let us know in the comments below. If you give a lot of author talks to all ages of audiences and you have some tips, let us know below. Or if you are a teacher looking forward to getting out this summer to do some extra writing, let us know that, too.

Margo L. Dill is teaching a new class for WOW! titled School Visits and Author Talks for Children’s and YA Authors:  http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/MargoDill_AuthorTalks.php , and it starts on August 6! Check it out at the link!

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Monday, May 20, 2019

 

Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman - Blog Tour and Giveaway

Born Under Fire is a historical novel that tells the story of a girl coming of age and her drive to excel despite the devastating effects of long-term war. Born in Jerusalem under British rule in 1928, Shula grows up in a world in turmoil as Hitler rises to power and nations enter into war. Amid a landscape of ancient stone ruins next to modern Bauhaus architecture, and desert scrub ending at newly verdant farmlands, Shula grows into her independence as the State of Israel is born. Based on historical documents and events, Born Under Fire is also about the context surrounding the founding of the State of Israel, as well as the horrors and dangers of growing up in a conflict zone. Shula battles grief and depression due to the shattering events affecting her, her family, and the entire world. Despite this struggle, her resilient spirit enables her to reach great heights as a concert pianist.

Print Length: 258 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN-13: 978-1986349147
ISBN-10: 1986349144

Born Under Fire is available on Amazon, Barnes and NobleThrift Books, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest

To win a copy of the book Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman, please enter via Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on May 27th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author, Rina Z. Neiman

Rina Z. Neiman is a writer, event producer and public relations professional. Born Under Fire is based on the true story of her mother, Shulamit Dubno Neiman, a Sabra, a musician and one of the first generation of modern-day Israelis. Rina lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son. This is her first novel.

You may find out more about the author and her book by visiting the website https://www.bornunderfire.com/.

Also, you may find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your book Born Under Fire! What inspired you to write this book?

Rina: Born Under Fire was inspired by my mother’s story. She was born in Tel Aviv in 1928 and came of age as the State of Israel was established. She died when I was eleven, and I was not old enough to ask her questions, nor at that age, did I even know which questions to ask.

Several years ago, I uncovered her belongings including a large collection of embroidered dresses and personal letters, photos and papers. We knew she had an older brother, Avraham, that she was very close to who died before we were born, but never knew much about him. Within this box of papers, I discovered a sketchbook that he wrote and illustrated describing a trip that my mother and he took to the Galilee in 1947. It was a gift to get this illustrated manuscript that beautifully and eloquently describes the time, place and their relationship. That’s when I knew I had to write this book.

WOWThat sounds absolutely incredible and what a gift that you found that. What type of research did you do for this novel?

Rina: I read a lot of academic books including ones that focused on fashion, the Sabra generation and the British Mandate of Palestine. I also found a wonderful firsthand account written by one of the first female foreign correspondent in England. (Reporting from Palestine by Barbara Board).

In-person interviews were important to verify certain facts in my mother’s story, but also to get a feeling for how things felt at the time. I have letters to and from my mother, and was able to read some of them. Walking the streets where certain action took place was great when I could do it.

Whenever possible, I searched for film clips from that time period. The director, Steven Spielberg’s The Spielberg Collection, is an invaluable source for Jewish themed films and newsreels. Newsreels can include narration which gives a sense of the public perception of a particular event.

Other web resources included first person accounts, product sites, online libraries, documentaries, and newspaper archives. You can find my exhaustive list here: https://www.bornunderfire.com/links

WOW: I'm impressed with the extensive research you did! So, why did you decide to write a historical fiction rather than a biographical account?

Rina: When I began to research my mother’s story, I realized that it would be hard to impossible to verify many of the facts of her life. Not only did she die when I was 11 years old, but her entire immediate family was gone by the time my sisters and I were born.

I tried to keep the story based on the facts, but with so many holes, the narrative wasn’t holding together.

I wanted to create scenes and characters based on the historical situation at that time. At this point it was clear that the book was about not just about my mother, but the birth of the State of Israel and the first Sabra generation.

WOW: And you really have done an excellent job in recreating this time period! How did the clothes your mother wore play a part in the story you told and what you found out about her in your research?

Rina: When I was growing up my mother sang and played the guitar, representing Israel at events around the world. When she performed she usually wore something from her extensive collection of Bedouin, Yemenite and Arab outfits. After she died when I was 11, the dresses were all packed away and stored in the attic. When my father passed away years later, my sisters and I rediscovered the dress collection.

As a collection, the dresses reflected my mother’s sense of style and her connection to the cultures of her homeland. In the 1970s, she pushed the style by ordering a minidress with Yemenite embroidery and a midi-length dress with Arab designs. In the book, Shula’s sense of style develops alongside her identity.

WOW: Your mother sounds like an amazing lady and I love how she shaped your character. You have an extensive career in writing in a professional capacity. How did that background help you write this novel?

Rina: I spent many years in public relations, which requires a lot of writing, and in many cases a lot of description. I once had to write 1-2 sentence descriptions for 500 bands. “A mix of…” and “Their own special blend…” were, unfortunately, overused.

When I worked for a large retailer, I became adept at describing furniture, food and fashion. And a snappy headline helps. The years spent writing descriptions gives me a strong skill set when it comes to the descriptive passages in my writing.

WOW: It's so interesting how one writing can influence another form! So, Do you have any advice for writers seeking to transform their family's history into fiction? 

Rina: Start with the facts as you know them, then let go and serve the greater story and character arcs. Is this a family immigrant story? Where did they come from and how did this group acclimate to life in a new place.

Change the names! This helps to divorce yourself from your family’s narrative and lets you enter into the mindset of the times. The decisions made by your fictional characters should not be swayed by your family’s hindsight.

How do the outside political and social forces affect your characters? Put them in a situation and see how they react. You may be surprised!

WOW: Excellent advice! What do you hope readers take away after reading your book?

Rina: I hope readers finish my book with a better understanding of what led to the establishment of the State of Israel and what this first generation of modern day Israelis were like. I also hope that readers get a sense of what it is like to grow up in a conflict zone, and the heavy price that war extracts from society.

WOW: I think that's such an important message! What are you working on next? Can we expect a sequel? 

Rina: I am currently working on a sequel to Born Under Fire. It will follow my mother’s journey to NYC from Israel and her studies at the Manhattan School of Music. My mother also worked at the first Israel Consulate in Manhattan and was trained as a diplomat.

The larger issues I hope to explore in this book will be the relationship between American Jews and Israelis, race relations in NYC in the 1950s and the influence of music on the protagonist’s life. And, since this is my mother’s story, there is more tragedy and loss that disrupts her from her chosen path. 

WOW: I can't wait to read the next book. Thank you so much for chatting with us today and best of luck on the tour! 

--- Blog Tour Dates

May 20th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin! So, grab your coffee and join us today as we celebrate the launch of Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

May 21st @ Karen Brown Tyson Blog
Make sure you stop by Karen's blog today where you can read Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about how to manage time and distractions during the book writing process. If you are writing a book - or thinking about writing one - this one is a post you don't want to miss!
https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 22nd @ Coffee with Lacey
Grab some coffee and visit Lacey's blog today where you can read her review about Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire.
https://coffeewithlacey.com/

May 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey
Stop by Lacey's blog again where you can read the author Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about why researching primary sources is so effective.
https://coffeewithlacey.com/

May 23rd @ Bri's Book Nook
Looking for a new book? Make sure to stop by Bri's Book Nook and find out why you need to add Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire to your reading list.
https://brisbooknook.com/

May 24th @ One Sister's Journey
Today is a can't miss review by Lisa over at One Sister's Journey blog. She's sharing her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman's historical fiction book Born Under Fire.
https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 26th @ Reading Whale
You won't want to miss today's stop at the blog Reading Whale where you can read this Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about when you can finally start writing your book after all that research.
https://readingwhale.com/

May 27th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
Fill your bookshelf with good books! Stop by Veronica's blog and read author Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about writing biographical fiction and when to dramatize real events.
https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

May 28th @ Helen Hollick's World of Books
Join Helen Hollick's Tuesday Talk over at her blog and read Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about how videos can reinforce your historical novel.
https://www.helenhollick.net/

May 28th @ Book Collab Blog
Make sure you stop by Morgan's blog Book Collab where you can find out what she has to say about Rina Z. Neiman's historical fiction book Born Under Fire.
https://morganbray15.wixsite.com/mysite

May 29th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
If you love historical fiction, make sure you visit Anthony Avina's blog today where he features author Rina Z. Neiman's blog post about how she researched her historical fiction novel Born Under Fire. You won't want to miss this!
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 31st @ Jess Reading Blog
Are you interested in writing history for young adults? If you are, you will absolutely want to visit Jess' blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman talks about writing history for young adults and what grabs them and what loses them.
https://jessbookishlife.wordpress.com/

June 1st @ The World of My Imagination
Come by Nicole's blog today where you can read her review of Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire and enter to win a copy of the book.
http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

June 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Can't resist a good book? Visit author Anthony Avina's blog today when he reviews Rina Z. Neiman's incredible historical fiction book Born Under Fire.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Looking for your next great read? Make sure you stop by Bev's blog today and catch her opinion on this fascinating historical fiction novel Born Under Fire.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 4th @ Amanda Diaries
Today's stop is at Amanda's blog where you can read what she thinks about Rina Z. Neiman's historical fiction book Born Under Fire. 
https://amandalsanders1989.wordpress.com/

June 5th @ The Frugalista Mom
Visit Rozelyn's blog today where you can not only read her review of Born Under Fire but also enter to win a copy of the book!
https://thefrugalistamom.com/

June 7th @ Bookworm Blog
Feeling bookish today? Make sure you stop by Anjanette's Bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman's powerful historical fiction book Born Under Fire plus read an interview with the author.
https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

June 8th @ Jessica's Reading Room
Today's tour stop is a fantastic guest post written by author Rina Z. Neiman about how to make stories interactive. A must-read for all the writers out there!
http://jessicasreadingroom.com/

June 9th @ Jess Bookish Life
Need a new book in your life? Stop by Jess' blog today where she shares her opinion about the historical fiction book Born Under Fire.
https://jessbookishlife.wordpress.com/

June 10th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog
Are you doing research for your novel? Make sure you visit Bev's blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman is talking about top 5 ways to research secondary sources.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 12th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Get to know author Rina Z. Neiman at today's stop over at author Anthony Avina's blog where he interviews the author.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 14th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette's blog today and read a guest post by the author who talks about making your story interactive and why adding music is so effective.
https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

June 15th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog at Strength 4 Spouses where you can read Rina Z. Neiman's guest post about the importance of writing during deployment.
https://strength4spouses.blog/

June 17th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog over at 12 Books and find out her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman's book Born Under Fire.
http://www.12books.co.uk/

June 21st @ Choices Blog
Interviewing someone for your book? Make sure you visit Madeline Sharples' blog today where Rina Z. Neiman talks about how to conduct interviews with people who are (and who are not) willing to talk with you.
http://madelinesharples.com/

June 23rd @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog
Need a new book? Make sure you stop by Wendi's blog where she reviews Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman.
https://strength4spouses.blog/


***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

To win a copy of Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman, please enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on May 27th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Sunday, May 19, 2019

 

Interview with Ashley Memory: First Place Winner of the Q2 2019 Creative Nonfiction Contest

Ashley Memory finds inspiration in the ancient Uwharrie mountains surrounding her home in rural Randolph, County, N.C. She enjoys preserving what she grows in the garden she tends with her husband Johnpaul. She’s learned the hard way about wearing gloves when making jalapeno pickles!

Ashley’s poetry and prose have recently appeared in The Birds We Piled Loosely, Gyroscope Review, The Ginger Collect’s 2018 Halloween Mini-Magazine and numerous other literary journals and anthologies. New work is forthcoming in Okay Donkey and Coffin Bell. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a two-time recipient of the Doris Betts Fiction Prize sponsored by the N.C. Writers’ Network. A previous story, “Eula Dare Hampton Agrees to Edit the Quaker Ladies’ Cookbook,” earned honorable mention in the WOW! Winter 2018 Flash Fiction Contest.

Ashley loves sharing what she’s learned as a part-time instructor for Central Carolina Community College’s Creative Writing Program in Pittsboro, N.C. Follow Ashley on Twitter @memoryashley or visit her fruit-inspired blog at ashley-memory.com.

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on your first place win in our Q2 2019 Creative Nonfiction essay competition! What inspired you to write your essay, “How to Chop an Onion Without Crying?

Ashley: A weepy December night chopping onions after an emotional telephone conversation with my son was the catalyst. But no matter what I do, or what’s going on in my life, I always cry when chopping onions. Once my son and I mended fences, I decided to channel my angst into some research on the history of the onion, as it’s always fascinated me. And because I like to cook and bake, this essay has opened the door to many other possibilities for creative nonfiction, from ruminations on my lemon juicer to Grandma Wilma’s bread pans. Curiously, I recently read a memoir by Kathleen Flinn about her days at a French cooking school and she explained that if you use an extra-sharp knife and resist pushing down on the onion, you won’t release the chemicals that make you cry. This may be true but I’m not sure I could handle a real sharp knife very well if I’m wobbly with emotions! Don’t try this at home…..

WOW: You’ve also won one of our flash fiction contests, and write long fiction and poetry. Do you find one form of writing more challenging than the others? Are you drawn to one form more than the others?

Ashley: Wonderful question! The more I write, the more I see connections between ALL of them. More than one of my ideas for nonfiction have actually morphed into fictional short stories. And a good short story sometimes turns into a poem (and vice versa). It’s all about the language. Coincidentally, just this week I learned that my poetry collection, "Waiting for the Wood Thrush," was accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press in Kentucky. Several of the poems for this collection, which includes about 30 poems on love and longing, actually got their start as flash fictions. Needless to say, WOW's May/June 2019 ezine, Loving the Lyric, particularly the article on promoting your poetry collection by Marybeth Niederkorn, is just what I needed. Talk about timing. Thank you WOW!

WOW::  How cool that some of your poems started out as flash fiction! What is your writing process like? Please describe a typical day.

Ashley: While I’ve always admired those who can crank something out in the midnight hour, I do my best work in the morning, the earlier the better. So while still in this semi-lucid, semi-dream state, I crawl out of bed and write, roughly from 6:30 – 9:00 a.m. The rest of the day, trusty notebook in hand, is given to my work for the day, which these days means gardening, cooking cleaning, or chasing after my dogs. I can edit and revise at any time of day, which is what I may do in the afternoon or evening. But only that precious morning time yields those ephemeral moments, the best metaphors, insights, and the truly magical.

WOW: What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?

Ashley: Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, a memoir of her time as a New York Times food critic because I’m clearly in a foodie writer phase right now! On the fictional side, I’m reading Going to Graceland, a terrific new collection of linked short stories published by St. Andrews Press by my longtime friend and mentor, Ruth Moose, because I love everything she’s ever written. Her sense of humor and surprise are unmatched.

WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Ashley! Before you go, can you share a favorite writing tip or piece of advice?

Ashley: Everybody says this but it is so true, and I didn’t start doing it religiously until recently. Carry a notebook wherever you go, whether the dentist, hardware store, even the flea market (especially the flea market!), and use it to jot down descriptions, observations, overheard conversations, etc, that you can mine for details in your writing later on. It is so important to record these moments as soon as they happen because those delicious little tidbits of life can so easily get swallowed up by the business of life. And for me, it’s almost impossible to conjure them up again unless I stop what I’m doing and make a note at the moment. The other day, I saw a woman at a gas station in a Subaru with one of those car wraps advertising a zombie hunting business! That’s going to end up somewhere one day, I promise you. And yesterday our cat Little Puss crawled up in the wheelbarrow and took a nap. I’m pretty sure that “Cat in a Wheelbarrow” is going to end up as a poem AND a short story one day Probably an essay too. See the picture I attached—she just woke up!

****

For more information about our quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Essay contests, visit our contest page here.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

 

Six Reasons to Love LiveBinder

      Two years ago, I surrendered. In the past, I'd resisted. I'd seen no real reason to delve into Live Binders, even though a couple of my friends swore by it. Technology is never my friend.

     This time, it is.

     Imagine a user-friendly site, where you can digitally organize your notes. Photographs. Websites. Documents. Resources. In fact, it's so user-friendly, even I can easily use it.

1. At the time of this writing, 190,473 trees have been saved. Not only is it green, it's easy. Think of the stacks of paper you would not have cluttering up your desk... if you had all the articles digitally saved.





2. It's free. With the free version, you're limited to 5 binders. However, you can jam a lot into those binders. A binder for every manuscript? A tab for each character, for each major event in your story? With Livebinders, you can do it so simply. 

3. You can keep things straight with a single keystroke. I'm currently working on a historical middle-grades novel. I've waded through so many articles and videos, it could have gotten overwhelming. However, with this handy-dandy organizing tool, you can organize videos, articles, websites and documents with ease. 

4. In the binder I'm keeping for my WIP, I have a tab for videos about the historical event. I have a tab of obituaries. There's a tab of articles. There's a tab of editors and publishers. (As I find one that I think might be appropriate to query, into the livebinder it goes. Keep everything in one pot.)

5. Maybe you're going to meet some writer friends at a coffeehouse. You want to share some research materials you've used. Do you need to lug bulging-at-the-seams 9 x 12 envelopes or piles of magazines or huge 3-ring binders? Nope. All you need is your laptop or tablet or whatever device is your favorite. It's so portable. 

6. You can make use of other people's Livebinders. Admittedly, most of the writing binders have been created by teachers. However, there are history ones (Are you writing a story that takes place in the Middle Ages? I searched on the Livebinder site. There are 60 binders devoted to that era.) and poetry ones and art ones... along with all sorts of other binders. Most people keep their binders public, which means you can put other people's binders on your shelf for quick referencing.

I've tried Scriveners. Okay, I admit it. It flummoxed me so quickly, I probably didn't give it a decent try. But I didn't find it user-friendly. (It has to be so easy, my golden retriever could use it. Otherwise, it's too complicated for me.)

Here are a few videos you can watch, if you're curious: 

A Quick Video Rationale

How to set up a Livebinder

How to add content to your Livebinder

As a writer, can you envision the possibilities? A binder for submissions. A binder for resources. A binder for publishing possibilities. There's no limit to its uses.

How do you organize your writing "stuff"? Do you use Livebinder? If not, what do you use? (And don't expect me to try it unless it's extremely user-friendly and user-easy.)


Sioux Roslawski is a middle-school teacher and a freelance writer.  She's currently trying to snag a publisher or agent for her middle-grades historical novel. In her occasional moments of free time, she rescues dogs for Love a Golden Rescue. If you'd like to check more of her writing out, head to her blog. 






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Friday, May 17, 2019

 

Friday Speak Out!: Allowing Procrastination to Make Your Story Better

by D.L. Gioe

As a writer, putting words together makes me come alive. But some days, it’s just not happening. No matter how much caffeine, sugar, ritual, or will power – it seems the cosmic schedule and all the forces of nature are determined to block me from translating the words in my brain onto the screen.

This is when I have to remind myself that procrastination is my inner voice’s way of screaming at me that I’m pushing the process too hard. It’s time to slow down, and let my mind unspool the thread at it’s own pace. THIS is where the good stuff comes from – the AHA moments and the plot twists that even you, the author, didn’t see coming.

So I strike a deal with myself: I can slack on the writing as long as I’m doing something that advances my broader writerly ambitions. Here are five of my favorite procrastination techniques that always leave me more excited about my work in progress:
1. Set the mood. I love the gorgeous story aesthetics some authors develop and post on Twitter. I, however, have NONE of those skills. What I groove on is music. I love curating a playlist to capture the tone of my work. I find it really gets the creative juices flowing, and sometimes a close listen to the lyrics even reveals insights into some of my characters.
2. Journal. It’s writing but without the pressure. My favorite way to do this if I’m stuck in a story is to journal from the point of view of one of my characters. I always learn something new about that character, and frequently about some of the other characters, in addition to unearthing underlying plot dynamics.

3. Research. I LOVE research. With a variety of internet search engines awaiting your questions, all from the privacy and convenience of your desk (or couch, or bed – no judgment), there’s really no excuse for not doing a little digging. If nothing else, you need to know what else exists out there that might be similar to your idea. Which brings me to…
4. Hit the library. Because not everything is online. You may need to check out an actual book. While you’re there, check out the titles in your genre. Talk to the librarians about what’s hot in your field, or simply enjoy being in the presence of other book nerds.
5. Read! It’s may be THE best part about being an author, so indulge! Read widely in your genre. If you’re afraid that reading in your genre right now may mess with your idea, then read in other genres to get fresh, new ideas. Synthesize what’s out there in the collective unconscious and distill it into your genius voice. There’s also all the craft books, the magazine articles, the blogs…. In short, read all the time, in all different formats. If you’re not writing, the best thing you can be doing is reading.
* * *
D.L. Gioe writes novels for YA and MG audiences, when she's not traveling, gardening, building her consultancy, walking her dogs, re-learning the important things in life from her kiddo, or otherwise procrastinating. She's the co-creator of The Space Between – a blog for parents who are also pursuing their creative ambitions. You can follow her @DLGioe and/or join The Space Between community on Facebook.


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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

 

Take the Plunge


I have a bad habit of putting things off.

In my day job, I put off telling people I can’t meet deadlines because I don’t want them to see I’m struggling. Even if the reason I’m struggling is because I’m a one-person department.

In my day-to-day life, I put off telling friends and family that I need help because I don’t want to be a burden, or show people how vulnerable I really am.

I also put off those “big” dreams I have, because I somehow feel like I’m less deserving of them than other people. Who am I to think I could ever earn money off those big dreams?

But lately I feel like there are puzzles pieces I keep finding and turning over, and each one takes me just a little closer to my “big” dream. I have more than one big dream, though. However, I’m now starting to see they can all be connected if I do things right.

So what is my big dream that I don’t feel like I have the right to pursue? Podcasting. I want to be a podcaster. It makes sense. When I was younger, I thought I would try and be a broadcast journalist and report the news on TV. But in college, I had a professor steer me toward the student newspaper and that’s where I ended up finding a home. But now, I find myself listening to podcasts multiple times a day, and I know what makes a good one. I also know the genre of podcasting I’m drawn to—true crime and missing persons cases.

Once I finally got honest with myself, I sat down and did some brainstorming this past weekend. I looked up all the equipment and software I would need to start up a podcast, and I already have most of it here in my home. I have the writing skills necessary to produce a good script. I’m a confident public speaker. I’m a journalist and know how to interview people. I have a family member who is good at audio editing. I have a clear outline of the podcast I want to produce because I had to write up a simple proposal for one a few months ago when I entered a local radio station pod “quest’ contest. (I didn’t advance to the finals because I didn’t have a huge network of people choosing to vote for me every day on Facebook—so that was understandable). I already have a website, and a blog where I write posts related to what my podcast would be about. I write thriller/suspense fiction stories and novels, which I can also share with my audience.

I’m as qualified as anyone else to start up this type of podcast. I just have to do it, put it out there, and start promoting the heck out of it. I know there is a market for this type of podcast, or ones like “Up and Vanished,” “The Vanished,” “Over My Dead Body,” and so many others wouldn’t be binged by listeners like me on a weekly basis.

I’m putting aside the negative self talk and taking the plunge. I’m writing about it here to hold myself accountable. My next step is to put a launch date 4-6 weeks away on my calendar, record at least four episodes and hope to find the audience it deserves. Wish me luck!

I challenge you to take steps to pursue your own “big” dream, if you aren’t already. Where will you start?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who knows how to tell a good story. Visit her website at FinishedPages.com.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

 

Relationships Matter

The relationships between the characters in a book matter just as much as the relationships we have in real life. The most popular stories involve characters we relate to and a believable story line. Sometimes the most relate-able moments in the book are the ones happening beyond the story line. Readers love to hear about a mother and daughter who have a close-knit relationship, but if you don't add a bit of conflict and the occasional disagreement readers will have a hard time connecting to your characters. Similarly, if a couple is constantly fighting and the story lacks moments of tenderness and caring, the reader will feel you've left something out. I find myself writing those little "human" details in after my first draft. The first draft includes the major moments in each relationship, but it's during the edits that I find I'm lacking those believable relationship happenings.

The closer attention I pay, I find myself doing this same sort of faux pas in real life. I love my husband dearly, but I don't always talk about how he leaves crumbs on the counter every time he has a piece of toast. I fail to mention that he gets his dishes to the sink but can't seem to load them into the dishwasher. I want people to see how amazing he is, so I leave out anything that could be construed as negative. What happens then is, people leave a conversation thinking "he's too good to be true - I wonder what's going on?" None of us are 100% hero or villain. Even the darkest of villains may have a soft spot for his mother and even the best daughter may let her mother's call go to voicemail while muttering cuss words under her breath. To have real relationships or a believable story line, we need to sprinkle in those times that make us human. The tender moments. The moments of frustration. Those ugly crying in the shower or can't get out of bed moments.

Have you ever read a story you couldn't relate to because the relationships didn't feel real? Because the characters were either too good or too bad? Are you a writer who has advice about making those relationships work? Share your reader and writer thoughts here - help make the rest of us better when it comes to real life relationships AND book relationships!

Thank You!

Hugs,
~Crystal

PS - my adorable, good at sports, funny son got kicked off the bus for the rest of the week. I don't like to talk about or write about that kind of stuff, but it's what makes us real.  (dripping ice cream, poor park jobs, and muddy feet make us pretty real too!)

Crystal is a busy Wisconsin mom and auntie and wears many hats.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other 
stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!



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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

 

Current Projects: Are You Working on One or Many?

Are you a writer who works on one project at a time? Or do you have several projects ongoing at once?

At the moment, in addition to blogging, I am working on three manuscripts. The key, at least for me is to work on three very different projects.

Graphic novel. One of my current projects is a graphic novel for picture book age readers, i.e. grade schoolers. This one is juvenile fiction.

Novel. I am also still drafting my cozy mystery. Like the first, this is fiction but it is adult fiction.

Memoir. And last but not least I am working on a family memoir. Nonfiction is my strength but memoir is new to me.

One of the reasons that I can work on three projects at once is that they are quite different. There are two pieces of fiction, but one is for young readers and the other for adults. There are two pieces for adults, but one is fiction and the other nonfiction. This means that each project has a different audience and a different voice.

It also helps that on most days I work on only one in terms of actual writing. For example, I’ll spend the morning writing a spread (two facing pages) on the graphic novel. Then I let it sit. I noodle the individual panels while I weed or fold laundry. Panel 2 sounds way too much like Captain Marvel. And Panel 3 has appeared in so many super hero movies that it is practically a cliché. When I’ve worked out more interesting details for those two panels, I rewrite them.

But it may take a day or so to solve the problem. Meanwhile, I write up a chapter of the memoir. Memoir days tend to be good days because I can rough out 1000 words or so with very little effort providing that I remember the appropriate details. If I don’t, I fire off e-mails and messages to various cousins and my aunt. Hopefully someone will remember the name of the park or which ranch we were visiting when a certain event occurred.

The cozy is another dance entirely – two steps forward, one step back. Last week, in Save the Cat terminology, I was working on the second beat, a scene which brings the theme into play. I thought I had figured out the essential details, but the chapter bogged down. I spent several days noodling it over only to realize that the problem wasn’t in what I had just written but back in Chapter 1. My set up for beat #2 was wrong so I have to rewrite the set up as well as beat #2.

Working on three different manuscripts at a time doesn’t mean that I am writing on each one every day. I work on one until I get stuck then I let it sit while I work on another. Rotating from project to project is one way to fend off writer’s block and keep making progress, step by step.

--SueBE

To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins May 20th, 2019.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

 

Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre - Author Interview and Giveaway

Bloody Coffee is a complex, suspenseful, and engrossing tale of doubts, trust, budding romance, and two bullets.

Eighteen-year-old Leigh arrives at a Tel Aviv hospital, seeking information about her probable father, Dr. Sloan, who had a cardiac arrest right after they met for the first time. As she stands next to her father's bed and watches him, her past, present and future collide. Despite the advice of those around her, Leigh decides to face the challenges of the legal system in Israel. She obtains a court order for a paternity test and confronts Sloan. During her quest to find the truth about her biological father, Leigh is exposed to violent religious intolerance, faces life in a country where church and state are not separate, and meets the man who may be her first true love. Will she change her view of the world she thought she knew? Will she forgive her mother? Will a gunshot change her attitude towards her probable father? And, what will she say to Steve, the only father she ever really had?

Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Mountain Abor Press; 1st edition (April 22, 2019)
ISBN-10: 163183522X
ISBN-13: 978-1631835223

Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and the publisher's website.

Book Giveaway!
Scroll to the bottom of this post and enter the Rafflecopter form to be entered in a random drawing. We will choose a winner May 20th!



Praise:

“Michelle Dim-St.-Pierre is proving to be a major talent in epic romantic drama!”
~Grady Harp, Amazon Top 50 Hall of Fame Reviewer

“A thrilling and emotional psychological mystery-thriller.”
~Detroit Free Press

“This book grabbed me at page one and wouldn’t let me go!”
~Pamela Gossiaux, award-winning author and journalist.

About the Author:

Michelle Dim-St. Pierre was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, where she spent more than half of her life before relocating to the United States.

She lived through four wars and served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. Unlike her first year of service in an armored division in the Golan Heights, she served her second year serving in the medical corps where she interacted directly with the injured soldiers of the Peace of Galilee war and their families. This interaction, along with the exposure to the hospital atmosphere, fascinated Michelle and further touched her heart. She went on to get a BS degree in Nursing in Tel-Aviv, and practiced internationally for 32 years in various positions in the surgical field and quickly advanced into health care administration. During her career she worked in the Operating Room, Recovery Room, and CCU—along with many other duties.

Writing was Michelle’s outlet at first, but it soon became her passion. Now, she is a full-time writer. Her international background, along with her military and nursing experience is always at the tip of her pen. Her first novel, Pinnacle Lust, started the Pinnacle trilogy and won the Beach Book Festival in the Romance category, as well as received several honorable mentions in other book contests. It was published to rave reviews.

Michelle is a world traveler who enjoys cooking epicurean food and creating original recipes. She currently splits her time between Florida and Georgia, where she is at work on her next two books.

Find Michelle Online:

Website: www.MichelleDimStPierre.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDimStPierre/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pinnaclelust


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Michelle_DimStPierre

LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-dim-st-pierre-1b9691106


--------- Interview by Crystal Otto

WOW: Thank you so much for choosing WOW to help promote Bloody Coffee. I can honestly say that each interaction has been an absolutely pleasure and I'm happy our paths have crossed. Thank you especially for being here today to share with our readers. Let's get down to business!

You reference writing as your outlet—when did you decide writing would be your outlet and how did that morph into publishing?

Michelle: This is true. For me writing began as an outlet, though that wasn’t a conscious decision. I think it all started when I was a young girl. I buried all my secrets, anger and dreams in a diary—like most girls. However, I never outgrew the habit. I kept writing in my diary. I often wondered, was it that I never grew up or did I simply have more secrets to hide away?

Later, when I became a nurse, and throughout my successful career, my diary served me well. It was a vehicle to unload all of the emotional baggage created from my work. You can imagine the things I saw and heard—many of which were confidential of course. I dealt with sexual abuse victims, child abuse, homicides, affairs, corruption, mistakes, and disagreements. These crimes happened regularly and affected the lives of everyone—ordinary people, politicians, celebrities, officers, rich people, poor people, the educated, the uneducated, and you get the idea. The list is endless.

Then came my colorful life, as a successful, young, single woman. There was always something that I couldn’t and shouldn't talk about, so I wrote about it. I unloaded everything into my diary, and I still do to this day.

WOW: It's great when you put it that way; I guess we can choose to fill our journal pages with stories instead of our friends ears with gossip, right? There's always most definitely a story to tell—and speaking of which, what have you learned during the writing, editing, and publishing process that you'd like to share with other budding authors?

Michelle: You should write for your soul and not for the fame. Write what you love to read. Create characters you want to know, and maybe some you want to hate. Draw from your life but don’t be limited by your experiences.

Spend the time to polish your craft. No one expects someone’s first violin lesson to sound like Johann Strauss. You can’t expect the first thing you write to be Shakespeare. Give yourself time and patience.

On editing side: don’t be your own editor. Hire a reputable editor that suits your writing genre. Remember, a good editor is not someone that teaches English in college. While an editor looks into the grammar, he or she also looks at many other things like: transitions, sequence of events, consistency etc.

Then use a different editor for proofreading. The more eyes that review your work before it gets published the less chances for errors. However, keep in mind that editors are human, and can and will make mistakes or will miss something. With that being said, always be the last person to approve your work. Read your manuscript as many times as you can…it’s never enough.

Last but not least, the publishing process: All I can say is be patient. It’s a long process that involves many steps, and it takes time. Don’t rush it or cut corners for the sake of a deadline. Do it right.

WOW: Your writing is a direct reflection of the great tips you give above. I was impressed with how polished Bloody Coffee was—even the early reader copy I had first!

You are certainly busy and I know there's a work in progress. So, tell us, what's next for you?

Michelle: I am currently working on the last book in the Pinnacle trilogy. This novel will bring the story of my two, leading characters to a close, and will reveal the truth behind Leigh’s mother’s journal. I also hope to get back to my blog and to bring the Pinnacle companion cookbook back to the front burner. I started this project as a collaborative effort with a chef. However, along with his busy schedule, my personal life placed more demands on me and I no longer had the flexibility to work my schedule around someone else. Unfortunately, that pushed the cookbook project to the back burner. However, my inspiration still has a spark for this project. And right now, I’m deciding whether to continue and complete this project solo or to search for a local chef.

WOW: That certainly sounds like something I'd love to get my eyes and taste buds on! How exciting!

On the flip side, I know you've been very successful in all areas of life, but what advice do you give others about dealing with rejection and/or negative reviews—there have likely been one or two along the way?

Michelle: Here is where I really grew up. I don’t let rejection or negative reviews get to me. Everyone has their own opinions and views, including me. I try to stay positive and learn from some of the constructive comments. If you dwell on the negative, it will only bring you down. You just have to let it go. I finally understand that it’s not about the rejection and failures, it’s all about the fulfillment and success. Chasing my dreams is what its all about for me.

WOW: Great advice again, Michelle. Thank you! Speaking of growing up: What would your current self say to your younger self?

Michelle: There is so much to say, I hardly know where to start.

About love: It doesn’t always conquer all. But some loves burn bright and long and are hard to extinguish.

About writing: patience is the key. Give yourself time to learn. Try not to get frustrated with yourself. Believe in yourself.

About editing and publishing. Patience is even more key here. Be realistic in your expectations. The publishing process is not quick.

Of course I could ramble on for days but these are the things that first come to mind.

WOW: Such excellent advice all around—especially for those of us who aren't so patient when it comes to writing. Now, last but not least, let's talk about the future of Bloody Coffee. I loved the trailer, but if Bloody Coffee were made into a movie, what would be the theme song and why?

Michelle: This is a great question. It is the first time I’ve been asked this question—and I love it.

There are so many great songs out there that it’s hard to choose. I’m not sure I can easily point out one song. Maybe a “mash up”… here is what comes to mind: Defying Gravity from Wicked, Fight Song by Rachel Platten, and Butterfly Kisses. For me, the first two songs paint a picture of a strong character. The songs reflect Leigh’s determination to find the truth behind her mother’s journal and her ambivalence towards her mother’s past and present decisions. Now, when I think about Leigh’s relationship with her stepfather, the only father she knew, all that I can think of is the song Butterfly Kisses. But let’s say this, if Bloody Coffee is ever made into a movie, I’ll agree to any theme song that the screenwriter or producer would come up with. It would be such an honor.

WOW: Thank you again for choosing WOW, and thank you for sharing so much with us today, Michelle. It has been a pleasure and I just know we will be reading more books from you in the future. I can't wait until your next tour!




----------Blog Tour Dates

Launch Day – May 13th
Michelle Dim-St. Pierre launches her tour of Bloody Coffee with an interview and giveaway at the Muffin!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

May 14th @ Jill Sheets
Jill Sheets hosts Michelle Dim-St. Pierre with a guest post about Michelle’s writing process. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about Bloody Coffee and this successful author!
https://jillsheets.blogspot.com

May 16th @ BreakEven Books
Today’s author spotlight at BreakEven books is Michelle Dim-St. Pierre with her latest bestselling novel Bloody Coffee – a psychological thriller!
https://breakevenbooks.com/

May 17th @ Reviews by Deb
Deb Blanchard reviews Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre and shares her thoughts with friends on Facebook and Goodreads!
https://www.facebook.com/Reviews-by-Deb-1737715249887520/

May 20th @ Coffee with Lacey
Lacey delights her readers with her review of Bloody Coffee – this is thrilling novel readers can’t get enough of – find out more about Lacey’s thoughts and Michelle Dim-St. Pierre’s book by stopping at Coffee with Lacey today!
https://coffeewithlacey.com/

May 21st @ Amanda Diaries
Amanda L. Sanders offers her review of Bloody Coffee. Readers will delight in learning more about this fast-paced mystery!
https://amandadiaries.com/

May 22nd @ Review @ The Muffin
Crystal Otto from WOW! Women on Writing couldn’t put down Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre and she can’t wait to tell readers of the Muffin about this absolute must read thriller! Today is Michelle’s birthday – will Crystal give her a 5 Star Present? Stop by to find out!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina
Fellow author Anthony Avina gives a raving review after reading Michelle Dim-St. Pierre’s thrilling mystery Bloody Coffee – readers won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear Anthony’s insight into this must read novel!
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 27th @ Beverley A. Baird
Michelle Dim-St. Pierre has done it again with another best seller – this time it’s a mystery/thriller called Bloody Coffee and Beverley A. Baird can’t wait to tell readers all about it in her review! This is a complex and suspenseful mystery readers will be excited to get their hands on!
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 28th @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Vicki, the Deal Sharing Aunt, shares her thoughts after reading the latest novel by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Readers won’t want to miss the opportunity to learn more about Bloody Coffee!
http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/

May 29th @ Margo Dill
Editor and Author Margo Dill couldn’t wait to read Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Stop by her blog today and read her review about this thrilling new release!
https://margoldill.com/

May 30th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith
Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre travels all the way to France today as Sreevarsha Sreejith reviews this mystery and shares her thoughts with readers at her book blog!
https://sreejithsreevarsha.wordpress.com/

June 3rd @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles couldn’t put down this 5 star read – let’s hear her review of Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Readers will delight as they put this mystery/thriller on their TBRPile!
https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

June 5th @ Bring on Lemons with Tara Forst
Wisconsin business woman and mother, Tara Forst is a friend of WOW! and is excited to talk about her thoughts after reading Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre. Don’t miss this review and giveaway!
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

June 6th @ Cassandra’s Writing World
Stop by Cassandra’s Writing World to hear more about Michelle Dim-St. Pierre and her latest best seller Bloody Coffee as Cassandra shares her review with readers!
http://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

June 7th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
The author spotlight at Choices today is Michelle Dim-St. Pierre with her latest bestselling thriller Bloody Coffee – readers won’t want to miss an opportunity to learn more about this fabulous novel!
http://madelinesharples.com/


***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

To win a print copy of Bloody Coffee by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre, please enter the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends on May 20th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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