Posted in Monday blogs, Writing

Writing in the Age of Digital Books

Authors have always been challenged by change. Through words, they’ve sought to describe it, defy it, and even design it. The writers of today face a new challenge – gaining the attention of multi-taskers, screen skimmers, and eBook readers most of who are looking for instant fulfillment. If they don’t receive it in the first paragraph, they’re likely to put down their tablet, switch to another window, or close the book. However, there are still people who read traditional print and enjoy savoring a novel or work of literature. How do authors today satisfy both audiences?

As a librarian, as well as an author, I’m keenly aware of the shift in content from print to digital. When I started working at my public library twenty-five years ago, reference questions were answered by consulting thick books, indexes, and manuals. Today, those are replaced by online databases and search engines such as Google. The information profession has changed to meet the needs of those who want their queries met quickly. The writing profession has also had to adapt to this fast-paced quest for knowledge and entertainment.

The way that librarians and information professionals have dealt with this issue has been to offer materials in several formats including eBooks, audiobooks, large type print, and traditional print. Circulation has shown that each of these formats has significant borrowing numbers and that patrons often check out books in more than one. For instance, if a print copy is not available, many patrons will take out the large type or audio edition. In some cases, patrons prefer to borrow a book in two formats such as print and audio to help them get the most out of the material. As a reader myself, I have borrowed eBooks when a print copy was out and then switched back to the print version when it was available. Not every book, however, is published in a variety of formats. Small publishers generally only offer paperback and eBook releases. Some books today are also only published digitally.

Writers face the same challenges as librarians in meeting the changing demands of readers. Both need to address the needs of the public they serve. Authors should evaluate their marketing strategies, whether they promote their works themselves or along with their publisher. Their focus should be as diversified as possible. Even those whose books are only printed in one or two formats should promote their writing to audiences who might enjoy reading material in various ways.

To attract time-strapped readers, authors don’t necessarily have to shorten their writing, but it’s vital that they edit for conciseness without losing important content. Editors and agents usually make publishing decisions based on the first few pages or initial chapter of a manuscript. That’s because readers, crushed for time, need to be hooked by a story’s start or they will abandon the book.

Another technique that traditional, as well as Indie and self-published authors, can use to draw readers is to keep their chapters short and fast-paced. Many popular authors such as James Patterson know this trick.

When the middle of a book tends to drag, adding sub-plots can boost interest. They should enhance but not detract from the main story. Whether an author writes romances, mysteries, general fiction, or another genre, twists are also always appealing to readers. To execute them effectively, a writer should be sure to drop hints or red herrings to foreshadow the later revelations.

Another way that authors can gain the attention of today’s easily distracted reader is to develop relatable, multi-dimensional characters. There’s a current trend toward multiracial, LGBT, disabled and other diverse protagonists. That doesn’t mean a writer can’t feature a white heterosexual man or woman as the main character, but the fellow or lady should have some hobbies or idiosyncrasies. Maybe he’s an FBI agent and an ornithologist who spots a criminal while he’s bird watching or she’s a doctor with a black belt in martial arts who falls in love with her karate instructor. In my recent novella, one of my main characters is a CPA and a jewel thief who also likes cats.

Another factor to consider when trying to hold a reader’s attention is research. Most authors realize its importance even in fiction books. In our information-driven society, research poses no problem for writers. However, as a librarian, I’m aware of the dangers of websites that post unverified data. Writers should be wary, too, because the current plethora of sources allows readers to quickly catch false facts. Research also needs to be incorporated into the text without the use of lengthy or technical jargon. Readers desire to have their curiosities appeased but don’t want to be drowned in unnecessary details. A quick but accurate fix is what they demand. Tell them why specific plants flourish in a certain soil but don’t provide step by step instructions on how to plant the rest of the garden. Explain why a particular poison was used for the murder but don’t classify all the others.

What else can draw easily-bored readers to a book? While it’s true that books aren’t judged by their covers, having an appealing one can help but far from guarantee that it will be chosen from among all those on the shelf, website, or catalog. Having experience in reader’s advisory by selecting books for my library’s homebound patrons and editing and reviewing our monthly staff picks, I’ve found what I believe is a magnet that can attract readers to a certain title regardless of whether they are twenty something or eighty years or older, whether they rush through a book or read every word. I call that magnet, “emotional realism.” A book may be edited excellently. It can contain beautiful prose. Its characters can be unique; its storyline compelling; but if it can’t touch the reader, make them laugh or cry, feel surprise or fear, then that book can’t compete for a reader’s time with television or the movies.

How does a fiction author create emotional realism in their writing? They need to write about a situation that they’ve experienced and fictionalize it. There are many ways to do this. In between writing my novels, I started working on a collection of short stories from different periods in my life. As I composed them, I made subtle changes to the characters, setting, or plot, but I kept the basic experiences intact. I wrote the scenes as fresh and with as much feeling as I had lived them and embellished them to make them even more interesting and impassioned. My memories provided the realism that I hoped would ring true for readers and my imagination took those feelings and strengthened them.

Emotional realism is a strong weapon in the war against apathetic readers. If you write a love story, is it yours or someone else’s? If you can’t visualize the emotions your character is feeling, then neither will the reader. What if you read a love story? Does it help you recall your own romances or are you drawn into the embraces created by the author?

While escapism is often a goal of today’s readers (as are video games, television shows, and other such activities), the best escapism is often into one’s soul. That’s not to say that books can’t take you away to a sun-drenched beach, a 1920’s flapper dance, or even another planet. However, while settings can transport you in space and time, emotional realism provides the most rewarding escape. Once you’ve drawn in readers, emotional realism is what keeps them turning the page, swiping the screen, or listening to the audio. They need to feel involved, part of the action and experiences you’ve created for them. Stun them with incredible revelations. Break their hearts with tender, unrequited love. Keep them guessing and feeling until the end of the story and then make them sorry it’s over.

After writing a book that will appeal to readers on the different levels I mentioned, the final step is to promote it. This may be the most difficult task an author faces. There are so many advertising opportunities that a writer can practically go broke purchasing them. Those promotions that are low-cost or free still require a great deal of time to research, implement, and maintain. Which ones are worth the time, effort, and expense? The key, of course, is to know your book and the best audience for it. If your book would interest eBook readers, marketing it online might be best. You could check out Facebook and Twitter ads. Look for blogs where you could guest post or be interviewed about your book. There are also companies that host blog tours and Facebook groups where readers and writers can interact. I created my own group where the characters in my cozy mysteries take turns hosting each month and answering questions from my readers. Giveaways are also popular and can be part of a contest or for subscribing to your newsletter or blog. These don’t need to be costly. If your book is sold primarily on Amazon, a reader would appreciate an Amazon gift certificate—or you can give away an eBook copy of your own book. Most publishers will give authors a free PDF and/or Mobi (Kindle) file of their works, while print copies usually are only available for a discount.

If, on the other hand, your audience prefers traditional books, your best bet for promoting your writing could be through author appearances at Barnes and Noble stores, local author talks at libraries and community centers, small bookstores, and other venues that welcome speakers. There are groups that also host book signings, and authors can also sell their books and/or speak about them at writer’s conferences.

When creating marketing plans for your books, keep in mind that your focus interest group may overlap between reading platforms as was mentioned earlier. Many eBook enthusiasts also read print books. Audio listeners sometimes also use eReaders or read regular or large type books. The best promotional approach is through trial and error. Keep track of your sales and see what ad or appearance favorably impacts it. You can check your royalty statements and/or online sales through Amazon and sites such as Novel Rank. Timing is also important. Many authors offer holiday promotions for readers who might purchase books as gifts for their friends and family. Just remember that the market will be crowded with these offers at this time. You might try a campaign during the middle of the winter when people are staying indoors and looking for something to read. The summer can also be a good time for paperback beach reads and those who are traveling by car listening to audiobooks. Don’t rule out the spring and fall either. Avid readers seek books all year long.

Facing the changing world of the written word can seem overwhelming to fiction authors, but taking these ten steps can help:

  1. Start off with a bang. Make sure your first paragraph, page, and chapter are compelling.
  2. Write fast-paced chapters. Keep them concise and end with a mini cliffhanger to maintain reader interest.
  3. Add sub-plots and twists for more depth.
  4. Create multi-dimensional characters who jump off the page and into a reader’s heart or nightmares.
  5. Research details accurately.
  6. Touch your readers with scenes packed with emotional realism based on true but fictionally-enhanced experiences.
  7. Set your story in an interesting locale and/or time period.
  8. Determine your audience and design a flexible marketing plan.
  9. Check out online and in-person promotional opportunities.
  10. Evaluate your success by your sales figures.

It’s a brave new world for authors as well as information professionals, but remember that the variety of platforms for books today means more chances to showcase your work in different formats to a wider audience.

Posted in Books, Monday blogs

Why Most Indie Books Don’t Get Shelf Space in Libraries

A fellow author suggested I write this post to let other Indie authors and those who publish with small presses understand how books are selected for purchase by libraries. The reason I’m qualified to write this is that I’m a librarian at a public library and am in charge of ordering the fiction titles for our collection.

As part of my job, I select books from reviews written in publishing journals. Our library uses Booklist. Other popular professional journals include Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. The books reviewed in these journals tend to be from the traditional Big 5 publishers. However, Booklist and Library Journal have both started adding sections devoted to self-published books. Kirkus offers an Indie Review service for a fee. Library Journal offers a database for local authors, Self-e by Biblioboard, that includes free downloads of self-published eBooks. Our library had previewed this database but did not feel it would be useful to our community at this time because we already use Overdrive, a popular library database for free eBooks.

How are print books selected for libraries? At our library, we divide ordering among the reference librarians. Books are primarily chosen through library journals as mentioned above and by patron request. We also order high-demand titles from the New York Times Bestseller List. Orders are placed through Baker & Taylor’s online ordering system. We receive a library discount for the books ordered. Unfortunately, most Indie books are not listed on B & T. For those we can’t obtain through them, we use Amazon.com. Some libraries use Ingram. Ordering budgets are set up for different types of books and materials – fiction, non-fiction, Audio, Video, Periodicals, etc. Depending on a library’s size, these budgets can be small or large. Our library serves a community of 40,000 people. However, not all our residents are library card holders, and we also welcome residents from neighboring libraries.

Even if a library stays within its budget, another factor needed to consider when ordering books is how much room is available on their shelves. Librarians are constantly weeding out damaged, old, or low circulating books to make room for new and bestselling titles. For this reason, they have to be selective. That doesn’t mean libraries don’t order any self-published or small press books. I often have local authors send me or bring in literature about their books. Some offer to donate the book if we place it on our shelves. The problem is that these books, if added to the collection, are rarely borrowed unless they are put on display or reviewed in our staff picks newsletter that is distributed in the library and also posted online. The reason is obvious. Without a name like Patterson, Grisham, Clark, Roberts, etc., a new author doesn’t yet have a following. These authors started out in the discard pile when they began and now some of their books are being reprinted to a larger audience.

So what should an Indie author or one who publishes with an Indie Press do to get their book in libraries? This is a question that I, as a librarian and author, have asked myself. While I’ve managed to have my books purchased by my library (of course, I’m the one in charge of ordering fiction), I haven’t had as much luck with other libraries. A few of the libraries in my county have purchased my books after I’ve made calls to fellow librarians, advertised in my library association’s newsletter, participated in an interview by my local paper, and done some author talks for nearby libraries. Since I haven’t had much success, I can imagine how difficult it would be for those authors who aren’t librarians.

But is having a library buy your book an important goal? Although some of the patrons at my library and also staff members who have heard me talk have purchased autographed copies of my books, most of them just borrow my books. That doesn’t do anything for my sales rating or my royalty checks. If I could get libraries across the country to buy my book, that would be another matter. There are 9,041 public libraries in the United States according to statistics from the American Library Association. This figure was last updated in 2014, so there may be more or less at this time. I wouldn’t mind 9,000 sales. But since many libraries are part of larger systems as my library is, there would be no need for each library to buy a copy when they could interloan or share it among their system libraries. That’s if there’s even a demand for it beyond the library that purchased it.

I figure that the reason libraries don’t purchase many Indie books is the same reason they purchase very few textbooks. According to a Bowker report, 700,000 Indie books were published in 2015. With these figures growing annually, it would be impossible for libraries (and bookstores, too) to keep up with the demand and find room on their shelves for these titles. However, if your book is of local interest, if it’s appeared in your local paper, or been reviewed anywhere (Amazon usually doesn’t count), or if you are a regular patron at your home library, you could give it a shot. It never hurts to try, and you never know, your book might be chosen for your library’s book talk group or staff picks newsletter. At the very least, it might end up shelved between some popular authors or in the local author section if your library has one.

 

Posted in Contest, Monday blogs

Are Writing Contests Worth Entering?

If you’re an author, even an unpublished one, you may have submitted your work to a writing contest. There are many different kinds of competitions with various fees, prizes, and awards. How can you choose ones that you have a good chance of winning and that will further your career as a writer? There’s no easy answer to this question. It’s a matter of what you are willing to spend, what type of writing you do, and what you hope to achieve by winning. Like submitting your work to a publisher or agent, winning a writing contest usually involves the right mix of talent and luck.

Why do authors enter writing contests? Are they worth the time and expense? Shouldn’t published authors concentrate their efforts on writing and submitting to publishers and publications instead? There are many benefits to entering contests even if you don’t win. Some provide feedback and constructive criticism to entrants. Others consider non-winning entries for future publication. Learning how to follow contest rules and gear your writing toward a specific topic or audience is also a good experience for an author.

What type of contests are there, and how do you find them? There are many types of writing competitions. Some are sponsored by popular writing magazines. Writer’s Digest offers a large number of contests including those for short stories, popular fiction, self-published books, non-fiction, and poetry. The Writer Magazine hosts a monthly contest on a specific writing theme. Both these magazines also include lists of other competitions in their print and online versions. For their own contests, they charge a small entry fee and offer publication in an issue as a prize. Writer’s Digest also awards prize money to the top winners of their annual competition along with a feature article on the author and a free ticket and travel expenses to attend their annual writing conference in New York City. The deadline for this year’s contest is May 5. While magazine contests are highly competitive, the promotion and recognition winners receive make entering worthwhile for new as well as established authors. I have submitted to both these contests and have not yet won (my current submission, an Essay for the June issue of The Writer, is still under review ). Another good source of listings for contests, grants, and awards is Poets & Writers a magazine that you can subscribe to online and receive as a print subscription.

The highly coveted Muse Medallion Prize in the Cat Writer’s Association Contest (photo courtesy of the Cat Writer’s Association website)

Organizations also host writing contests. These are usually announced in their membership newsletter and/or on their website. Costs vary depending on the prizes offered. While competition is still tough, entries are restricted to members. A group I belong to, the Cat Writer’s Association, sponsors a contest each year of non-fiction and fiction writing as well as media related to cats. The entries are judged by professional members and are limited to those published the previous year. Last year, I won the special Glamour Puss award from the Hartz Corporation for my article, Brush Your Cat For Bonding, Beauty, and Better Health in Catster Magazine. I received a monetary award along with a beautiful engraved glass plaque that I treasure. This year, I’d hoped to win the MUSE medallion, the highest award the association awards to the finest writing. Although my three entries did not score high enough to be eligible for this coveted prize, it has motivated me to strive to improve my work to one day meet this goal.

For those who are self-published or write for small publishers, there are many Indie Awards up for grabs. I recently came across a list of the best ones according to the Non-Fiction Author’s Association. Here is their list with links to the contests:

Ben Franklin Book Awards
Recognizing independently published books.
http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/

Global Ebook Awards
The first awards program exclusively for ebooks, founded by self-publishing godfather Dan Poynter.
http://globalebookawards.com/

Foreword Book of the Year
Hosted by Foreword magazine, this is an indie-friendly awards program.
https://www.forewordreviews.com/services/book-awards/botya/

Nautilus Book Awards
Recognizes books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living, and positive social change. http://www.nautilusbookawards.com/

National Indie Excellence Book Awards
Many categories to choose from and honoring independently published titles.
http://www.indieexcellence.com/

The Eric Hoffer Awards
Recognizing excellence in independently produced books.
http://www.hofferaward.com/

Winning “badges” from the Reader’s Favorites contest.

Other popular online writing contests include the Kindle Book Awards and those sponsored by Reader’s Favorites and Authorsdb. This past year, I won 2nd place in the P&E Reader’s poll for my mystery, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and 4th place in the Fantasy Short Story category for my story, The Path to Rainbow Bridge.

Social media writing contests also abound. I’ve participated in Twitter’s Pit2pub hosted by author Kristin D. Van Risseghem. By participating in this event, I found my first and current publisher. The first 250 pages of my unpublished novel, Sea Scope, was among the 50 entries also recently selected in a lottery for Miss Snarks’ First Victim contest where a secret literary agent will critique all entries after fellow contestants comment on them. During Other Twitter writing competitions include PitMad and Pitch Wars. Information and dates for each contest can be found on various blogs, the most popular one written by Brenda Drake.

Publishers also hold their own contests for their authors. My publisher, Solstice Publishing, is currently hosting a cover contest. My mystery, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is one of the entries. Voting takes place here, and those who vote are eligible to win prizes donated by authors.

If you know of any other writing contests I haven’t included in this post, please list it below. I wish you luck on your winning entries.

 

 

Posted in Cozy Mystery, New Releases

New Release: Written in Stone: Cobble Cove Mystery #3


Welcome to book three of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. This book continues the adventures of Alicia and John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Follow them as they face their third mystery that involves threatening emails and texts from a person pretending to be one of the characters in their novels. Is the sender a crazy fan or someone they know?

Written in Stone

By Debbie De Louise

Published by Solstice Publishing

 Universal Purchase Link (eBook): myBook.to/CC3ebook

Universal Purchase Link (Paperback):  myBook.to/cc3paper

BOOK TRAILER

Alicia McKinney is confused . . . .

Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?

Cat vs. Dog . . .

After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?

Alicia is worried . . .

While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.

When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.

Will they survive . . . .

or is their ending written in stone?

Check out the first two Cobble Cove Mysteries:

A Stone’s Throw, Cobble Cove Mystery #1

By Debbie De Louise

Published by Solstice Publishing

Universal Purchase Link (eBook): myBook.to/Stonesthrow2

Universal Purchase Link (Paperback): myBook.to/stonesthrow2paper

 Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers… 

 After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past… 

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered… 

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Cobble Cove Mystery #2

By Debbie De Louise

Published by Solstice Publishing

Universal Purchase Link (eBook): myBook.to/CobbleCove2

Universal Purchase Link (Paperback): myBook.to/CC2paper

Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her…
Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged…

Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.

John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse…

When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare…

The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?

 About the Author:

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her three novels include Cloudy RainbowA Stone’s Throw, and Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Debbie has also written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DebbieDeLouise

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debbiedelouise

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.com

Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog: https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com

Cobble Cove Character Chat FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/748912598599469/

Posted in Authors, Monday blogs

A Taxing Task for Writers

Most people dread preparing their taxes each year. If you write professionally, even if it’s part-time, you should know that the IRS considers it a business and requires you to account for your income and expenses. I found out, the hard way, that records should be kept monthly to avoid the last-minute rush of trying to locate the information for filing. I’m including links to some articles on tips for writers on what they should claim on their taxes and also a list of what I claim on mine.

‘I see here you’re a professional writer. That explains the touch of whimsy in your return.’

Although as a new writer, my expenses far outweigh my income at this point, I still need to account for both. My income this year came from three library talks, an article I published in a magazine, an award I won in the Cat Writer’s Association contest last summer, and my royalties. Since publishers often pay royalties on a quarterly or monthly basis, the dates the amounts are deposited are later than when the author earned them.

One of the categories that I listed for expenses included my annual membership fee in writing organizations. I pay for all of them except International Thriller Writers because they offer free membership to authors who publish with a publisher on their approved publisher list. I’m lucky that my publisher, Solstice Publishing, is one of these publishers.

Other expenses included:

Book Tours

Prizes (gift cards as well as books)

Bookmarks/Business cards and other promotional material

Conference Fees (travel, hotel, registration, etc.)

Postage costs

Contest Entry fees

Subscriptions to writing Magazines

Books on writing and publishing

Copyright Fees

Ads

Miscellaneous costs (Book trailers, Editing, Teasers, etc).

Here are links to some articles about taxes that might be helpful to authors.

https://www.thebalance.com/taxes-and-the-book-author-2799907

https://janefriedman.com/author-taxes/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/get-published-sell-my-work/tax-advice-for-writers

Writers, please also feel free to comment on any other expenses or income you have claimed that isn’t mentioned in this post.

Posted in Anthology, New Releases, Solstice Publishing

New Release: Renewal of Faith Easter Anthology

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ; a renewal of the faith so many hold so close. Those who believe take the time to reflect on their blessings and honor their Lord. These stories show faith tested and renewed during this special season. Will they hold dear to that faith or stumble?

Old friends… New danger

Pioneer Easter, new beginnings

A Heaven sent smile to believe

Bereft of faith Anton returns home

The Story of Faith and Courage

Some things can be changed

Will Melinda discover her inner strength?

https://youtu.be/M4hIIJHK2FM3

Faith tested and renewed in many different ways. An abandoned child; two people must trust all will turn out right. A family moving west following bigotry. Hope lost; a yearning to believe. A return home to discover faith. Faith and renewal versus loss and grief. Her rocky path leads her home. A teen struggles for answers.

April Erwin, Eden S. Clark, Donna Patton, E.B. Sullivan, J.E. & Carla Holling and Jeannie Anderson, Leah Hamrick, and K.C. Sprayberry present stories of strength and hope, of struggle and desolation, of returning to what has always sustained them.

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06XY6ZZHX

As an extra special added bonus, we also present Notes On A Cowslip Flower by Solstice Publishing author Chrystal Vaughan.

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06XXZYN3R

Where do you put your faith?

When ChrissyBell loses the only father she has ever known, will his teachings and faith sustain her? Childhood can be such a confusing time, especially when your biological father is absent. Christina (ChrissyBell to her closest friend) never knew hers, but Universe sent a replacement in the form of Indian Jim, who taught her the ways of his people. Her life path, and spirituality, were written in the lines of his hands and the words on the petals of flowers.

Posted in Authors, Monday blogs

Wordup at Long Island Litfest: A Tribute to Authors and Storytellers

Yesterday afternoon, I attended Wordup: Long Island Litfest at the Madison Theater at Molloy College with two author friends, Kimberly Amato and Lisa Diaz Meyer. This annual event, in its third year, featured popular Long Island authors and was kicked off with a choice of two free writing workshops. My friends and I selected the Storytelling Workshop presented by Tracey Segarra of the Now You’re Talking Show. After treating the attendees to one of her own stories, Segarra broke down the structure of a story and invited everyone to try two storytelling exercises. The first consisted of prompts to help generate ideas. The second was a group activity involving object description and active listening. Although the workshop was short, it was quite informative. Segarra also invited everyone to her May 6 event, The Tipping Point, at the Merrick Theater and Center for the Arts at which several authors and storytellers will share stories.

Cathi Hanauer Interviewing Gail Sheehy at LI Litfest

The main event of the Long Island Litfest commenced at 1 pm and ran to 4:30 pm. It consisted of two sessions of speakers followed by questions from the audience, book sales, and author signings. The Emcee and first speaker for the event was Barry Dougherty, author of How To Do It Standing Up, The Friars Club’s Guide To Being A Comic and other books on comedy. The first-session speakers included Caroline Leavitt, author of the novel Cruel Beautiful World and New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, and many other works; and Steven Gaines, co-founder and a past vice-chairman of the Hamptons International Film Festival and author of numerous books, including Philistines at the Hedgerow and his memoir, One of These Things First. The last two speakers of the session were  Cathi Hanauer, New York Times bestselling author of three novels and editor of two anthologies, The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage and the recent The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier; and Gail Sheehyauthor of seventeen books, including internationally acclaimed best-seller Passages, named one of the ten most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress. Hanauer and Sheehy spoke alone, and then Hanauer interviewed Sheehy about her recent memoir, Daring: My Passages,.

Alan Zweibel and Dave Barry answering audience questions at LI Litfest

Session two featured George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, writer, actress, producer, monologist, and Internet radio host, and author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George ; Bill Scheft, Emmy-nominated and long-time staff writer for David Letterman and author of five humor novels, including his latest, Shrink ThyselfAlan Zweibel, an original Saturday Night Live writer, who has won multiple Emmy and Writers Guild of America awards for his work in television, which includes It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Late Show With David Letterman, and Curb Your Enthusiasm and has also won a Tony Award and the Thurber Prize; and Dave Barry, Pulitzer-Prize winning humor writer whose columns and essays have appeared in hundreds of newspapers over the past 35 years who has also written a number of New York Times bestsellers including the recent, For this We Left Egypt, a parody of the Passover Haggadah, co-authored with Alan Zweibel (and Adam Mansbach). After Barry spoke, he and Zweibel opened the floor to questions.

Book sales for Litfest were handled by Turn of the Corkscrew bookstore. Other sponsors included The Madison Theater, Long Island Pulse, Now You’re Talking, and East End Fringe Festival. It was nice to be able to buy the presenters’ books and have them autographed on the spot. It was a very entertaining afternoon and an opportunity to listen to some great stories and storytellers.