Promote Your Book Party!

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Hello to everyone! I want once again to offer an opportunity for all writers who follow this blog to share information on their books. It can be very difficult to generate publicity for our writing, so I thought this little effort might help. All books may be mentioned, and there is no restriction on genre. This includes poetry and non-fiction.

To participate, simply give your name, your book, information about it, and where to purchase it in the comments section. Then please be willing to reblog and/or tweet this post. The more people that see it, the more publicity we can generate for everyone’s books.

Thank you for participating!

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Celebrate and promote your writing! Shout it out to the world! Let everyone know about your work!

Feel free to promote a new or an older book!

I hope this idea is successful, and I hope many people share information on their books!

I will continue to have this party every few weeks.

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Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

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Available on Amazon

Quotations From Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir in Books

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I have been reading an extraordinary memoir Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. In this wonderful book, Nafisi writes about her experience as a Professor of English Literature in Iran and the women who were her students and whom she taught in secret. Her writing is honest, compelling, and a text that all teachers and professors should read. It is an educational inspiration. I give this excellent book a complete recommendation.

For this post, I want to highlight a few quotations from the book:

“what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.” (3)

“Don’t go chasing after the grand theme, the idea, I told my students, as if it is separate from the story itself. The idea or ideas behind the story must come to you through the experience of the novel and not as something tacked on to it.” (109)

“A novel is not an allegory, I said, as the period was about to come to the end. It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don’t enter that world, hold your breathe with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won’t be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. That is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience.” (111)

 

Works Cited

Nafisi, Azar. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. Random House. New York.

2004.

 

The Unique Blogger Award

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Earlier this month, the wonderful artist and blogger, Miss Gentileschi https://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com nominated me for The Unique Blogger Award.  I admit that I sometimes take longer than I should in replying to such honors. For the delay, I apologize. For the honor, I thank Miss Gentileschi, and I recommend you visit her wonderful site.

THE RULES:

  • Share the link to the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 15 people and notify them.
  • Ask them three questions.

 

THE QUESTIONS:

1.) What (or who) inspired you to get into blogging?

I have attended several writing conferences, and an emphasis was placed on having a web presence, so after investigations of possibilities, blogging was suggested as the best way to begin, and I agree. I have enjoyed both producing the blog and learning in the process.

2.) Describe your ideal three-course meal? 

This is a little difficult, because I love so many kinds of foods.  Here is one possibility:

A cheddar-beer soup, followed by a hearty beef stew, and finished with bread pudding. This is not the healthiest of meals, but it would be delicious.

3.)  Would you consider naming any future children after fictional characters, if so which characters? (Or if you already have children, did you gave them names after fictional characters?)

While I have never named any children after fictional characters, I have named several pets–cats–from characters in Shakespeare: Ariel and Miranda.

MY NOMINEES:

Karina Pinella Karina Pinella Writing the Wrong, Right, and Rediculous

Amanda Amanda Writes

Storyteller Stories A Part Of Life

Chape Chape blog

KD Dowdall K.D. Dowdall Of Pen and Paper

James J. Cudney IV This Is My Truth

Artimas Delmar Palabras Delmar

Jennie A Teacher’s Reflections

KC Redding-Gonzalez Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues)

Kim Peace, Love, and Patchouli

Linda Linda’s Book Obsession

Goldenbrodie heartclosetblog

Khaya Ronkainen Khaya Ronkainen Writer

Didi Oviatt Didi Oviatt

Andrew Reynolds Andrew’s View of the Week

 

MY QUESTIONS:

1.) What is one goal you hope to achieve with your blog?

2.) If you could travel anywhere, with money as no issue, where would you go?

3.) If you could have a conversation with a character from a work of fiction, who would it be?  What would you like to talk about?

 

Once again, thank you very much to Miss Gentileschi https://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com/eine-seite/

 

 

 

Neil Gaiman’s The View From The Cheap Seats: An Early Recommendation

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I do not usually recommend books before I finish them, but I will make an exception now. I have begun reading The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, and I am taken with it. In this book, Gaiman discusses a variety of topics, including books, reading, and writing, and he does it with great perspective, wit, and insight.

Here are a couple of selected quotations from this book:

 

“We writers–and especially writers for children, but all writers–have an obligation to our readers: it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were–to understand that truth is not in what happens but in what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all.” (13)

“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. ‘If you want your children to be intelligent,’ he said, ‘read them fairy tales. It you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.'” (15)

 

As I said, I have barely begun this book, but I am thoroughly enjoying it, and I recommend it highly. Read his book to explore a great writer’s thoughts on writing, books, fantasy, and more.

 

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Classroom Trials!

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I frequently end some of my college classes with courtroom trials, and this semester I was able to incorporate this activity into both a traditional day and an evening non-traditional First Year Writing class.  In both classes, held at different schools–Lehigh University and the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College, the students conducted criminal trials of characters from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

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From having my students perform this exercise over many years of teaching, I have found that it gives the students a dynamic path into understanding the text. By having them produce, what I name a living paper, they gain a very deep comprehension of many aspects of the book; among them are theme, motif, character development, and social critique.

I serve as the judge, while students are prosecutors, defense, characters, and, in the traditional class, jurors.  Because the class size is smaller in the non-traditional class, I had various people from the Wescoe School act as jurors.  To the guest jurors–thank you! You did an excellent job in judging the charges.

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The traditional class was conducting their trial against the Creature, while the non-traditional class was trying Victor Frankenstein.

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http://eng10frankenwiki.wikispaces.com/franken+pics

Both classes performed lively and informed events.  In both, the prosecutors presented a list of potential criminal charges, and the defense challenged them.  I made the final decision and eliminated some so that we would have a manageable number of charges to handle in a short time. These are not law classes, so the jury judged on who did the better job of making and supporting arguments not on issues of jurisprudence.  I was deeply impressed with both classes and the effort they invested in their respective projects. They did excellent work, and they all seemed to enjoy the project. I am convinced that adding a creative component to a class almost always adds to students’ comprehension of the material being learned.

In both classes, the decisions on the charges were split.  Both defendants were found guilty on some charges and not guilty on others.  I find it interesting that in all the years I have done similar trials, there has never been one with a unanimous sweep either for the prosecution or the defense.  While the verdicts were split, my opinion on my students’ work is definitive–they did an excellent job!

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Revision, Revision, Revision!

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When I teach my First Year Writing English classes, one of the points that I emphasize heavily is the need for writers to revise their work. Many beginning college students assume that writing should appear magically finished and correct after the first draft, an assumption that I attempt to dispel quickly. I speak of how the word itself—revise—mean “to re-see, to re-imagine, and then to act on that re-viewing of the draft.” Included in their revision process is the use of peer evaluation of their drafts, in which they read and respond to each other’s work under my guidance. I have to say how proud they make me as a teacher, because most students take this work seriously and improve their writing as a result. With my first year students, I generally have them do 3-4 drafts of each paper before submitting it for a grade.

I thought of this process as I worked on the second draft of my future history novel, and I realized the enormity of work ahead. Like my students, as I read and considered the first draft of this novel, I recognized so many points that need to be evaluated and rewritten.

The first major task I had to complete was ordering the chapters into the proper sequence, which was especially challenging because I always draft all my writing by hand on legal pads. This first draft was a pile of tablets sitting next to my desk.

Then I started to examine each chapter to decide if it was needed or not. Some would be cut and some would stay. Then, I began the actual act of rewriting those remaining chapters, using the assumption that everything can be redone and improved. As I worked on this revision, I realized that there were also missing pieces, so I constantly noted where I needed to develop sections and where new chapters should be included.

At this point, I am approximately one third of the way through the second draft of this novel. I hope that I can complete it, the 2nd draft, by the end of this year. Then I will put it aside for a few weeks before reading it again and beginning work on the 3rd draft. At this point, I then ask several trusted people to read the text and give me unflinching critiques, an absolutely crucial part of the process.

In my academic side of writing, I am currently gathering material for an idea that is still in the very beginning stages as well as beginning work on an academic book that I will base on part of my Ph.D. dissertation. I will speak of this more during a later post.