Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Spotlight Saturday, Writing

Spotlight Saturday: Interview With Writer Jordan E. Rosenfeld

Today’s Spotlight is author/editor Jordan Rosenfeld.

I have been following an online magazine for a while now: Sweatpants & Coffee.

Who doesn’t love those two things?

🙂

I must say that title caught my attention.

Then I read an essay she wrote, which was published on one I visit weekly:

Full Grown People.

After I read her there I decided to contact her, at her website, to see if she might agree to do an interview with me.

Lucky for me, she said yes, and here we are now.

Here is a sample of her writing, one of the most recent articles she has written:

http://www.rolereboot.org/life/details/2015-01-motherhood-broke-addiction-busy/

And now I welcome Jordan.

***

K: What can you say about yourself? If you wouldn’t mind introducing yourself a little first.

J: How funny is it that I draw a blank here? I guess most people know of me as the author of some books, two novels, some writing guides. I’m a writing teacher, as well as the mom of one 6 year-old boy and a teller of dirty jokes. I live in Northern California with my husband and son. I’m a born and bred Californian, in fact, though all my family hail from New York. Writing is the only thing I”m really good at and my one great love.

K: How long have you been writing?

J: In earnest, as in writing stories and such, since the age of 8. Yes, I still have those scribbled on binder pages and hundreds of journals. In pursuit of a career? About 20 years, since I was 20.

K: What education/training do you have in it? How important do you think formal education in something like writing is?

J: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, and a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Education is good and I never think you can go wrong learning more, but I have come to believe that the best education for writing is reading widely and writing a lot. Writing is a craft you learn best by doing it. 

K: Do you think, to be a good writer, you must open up and reveal as much as you can?

J: I think if you’re writing non-fiction, essays or memoir, you must strive to tell the emotional truth and be as vulnerable as possible. That means that you don’t write from a position of judgment or blame, but rather look at your own part and experience. I don’t think “confessional” writing is particularly interesting, either, unless there’s a lot of strong craft involved–imagery, language, and a goal of the writing. A good essay or memoir should take the reader on a journey. In fiction, which is actually what I’ve written most of in my life, it’s much different–then, you’re crafting experiences through the eyes of a fictional character. In which case, you want to make sure you understand plot/story structure and keep your language interesting.

K: What do you think is the most important quality for any writer to have and why?

J: Persistence. I’ve written an entire book on it, forthcoming in April, called A Writer’s Guide to Persistence. Why? Because if you don’t persist through the many challenges of being a writer, you will give up, or feel depressed, or waste time. Life’s too short to feel sorry for yourself.

K: It can be very hard out there, with so many writers and material for readers to choose from. How would you advise a writer who is just starting out, to get the experience often required for literary magazines and online publications to give them a chance?

J: Read the places you want to be published. Really read them and try to understand their aesthetic. My success as a writer in placing pieces went up exponentially when I finally started doing this. Otherwise, it’s like any craft: practice your craft. Keep at it. Don’t hurry. Rushing something to publication is a form of self-sabotage. 

K: Do you think writers must have a lot of struggles in their life to be good? Why or why not?

J: No. I think writers are often just people with a keen sense of observation, or born storytellers. Not all art comes from suffering. 

K: Which do you prefer: fiction or non fiction? What do you like about both?

J: To read: I’m drawn most to fiction, which is my first love, which rescued me from difficult things as a child. As such I wrote mostly fiction, predominantly novels, for years. But in the past year I’ve been writing personal essay (and reading them) and have fallen in love with the form, so I’d have to say I love them both for different reasons. I like taking the messy raw materials of life and shaping them into a crafted essay that makes meaning of them.   But I will always love a good page-turning story, to escape, to become another character, to travel to other worlds and places.

K: Can you explain a little about Sweatpants & Coffee and your role as Persistent Optimist over there?

J: We are an online magazine dedicated to inspiration and comfort in an often uncomfortable world. We share content that fits our mission. I pen a column called The Persistent Optimist, since I am a natural optimist, that tries to offer some of that optimism back to my readers.

K: What is your writing routine, if any? Do you work best on a deadline?

J: I am pretty self motivated, but I do work well under deadline, yes. My writing routine USED to be rise at 5:30 and write until 8 and then begin my paid work. But once my son was born 6.5 years ago that all changed. Now after my husband takes my son out the door to school around 7:20, I get to work on whatever is most pressing, be it paid work or my own fiction. When I start a fiction project, I write every day as is possible.

K: What tips would you offer a new writer? What is the best way to learn and to get your writing out there?

J: Write constantly. Read widely. Be open. Don’t wait for inspiration and don’t believe in writer’s block. Don’t assume you’re too talented or not talented enough–just keep writing. Persist. Love your writing practice. Ask questions and submit your work when it’s done, widely. 

K: Have you had anyone in your own life, a mentor of any sort, who has taught you about writing or supported yours? Or have you been that for someone else?
How can this benefit a newer writer? What does the mentor get out of the relationship?

J: I have had many mentors in and out of school. I always gravitate to people who can teach me. It behooves the young or new writer to ask questions, be open to feedback and realize that others have already trailblazed the path. 

K: How do you handle rejection in your writing?

J: I see it as a sign that I either need to go deeper into the piece that is rejected, or take it elsewhere. I used to have a thinner skin but quickly realized all that does is keep you from writing, so I got over myself. I mean, there are days, and occasional rejections that hurt worse than others, but overall, I’m okay 

K: How do you think writing has changed with the growth of the internet and social media?

J: I don’t think writing itself has changed all that much, though trends and genres go in and out of popularity, but how authors have to market themselves has changed. Social media is necessary if an author wants to sell books or share online pieces. 

K: What sorts of things are you working on now? What would you like to see happen in your writing in the future?

J: I’m working on half a dozen articles or essays and about to begin a new novel. I’d like to have a new agent soon and sell some novels. 

K: What do you love about writing? What do you like least?

J: I love everything about writing: the thrill of new ideas, organizing information, the lure of language and creating imagery, the power of making meaning out of things with my own brain…I love using it to connect to others, and to calm and soothe my own brain and heart. I love revising and I love drafting new material. I don’t think there’s anything I don’t love except maybe trying to write to the specifications of someone else when I don’t quite know what they want.

***

I love all those things about writing too Jordan. Thank you.

While some things about writing are fairly universal, I learn something new each and every time I interview a writer who has something valuable to share.

For anything and everything Jordan (list of all blog posts, articles, essays, books, and courses offered), visit her website at:

http://jordanrosenfeld.net

Follow her on her author page, on Facebook:

Here.

And on Twitter:

Here.

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Bucket List, RIP, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday, This Day In Literature

Solstice and the Big Red Dog

It’s December 21st and I feel something strange today.

I feel all the merriment approaching, but today is all about the natural world.

I am captivated by this occurrence, with the interest in astronomy I’ve always held, but of which was never meant to turn into more than that.

🙂

I am in awe at the earth and it’s rotation and found the information on the below website truly fascinating.

Today marks the beginning of winter here in the northern hemisphere, Winter Solstice.
For everything you might want to know about this phenomenon, because I never did study astronomy after all – go

Here!

Today the north pole will see no light and the south pole no night. I guess, as a child, this is how I could imagine Santa’s home. He would take off in total darkness, his red suit and the gleam of the white snow under foot.

Maybe some day I will get to witness, in person, the feeling of Solstice in either the north or south pole. I know that many people have trouble with the amount of darkness around this time of year, adding to feelings of depression, but it’s important to note that without night there can be no day, eventually.

I guess we here in the northern hemisphere cling to the fact that from here on out the days will slowly be growing longer, a thought necessary to get us through the coming winter days.

This planet of ours is endlessly mystifying and wondrous to me.

***

THIS WEEK IN LITERATURE:

Norman Bridwell, creator of the Clifford the Big Red Dog books dies at age 86

Last spring it was the author of another one of my childhood-defining books, Spot, who died.

Now another dog to live on through the magic of children’s literature.

One of my favourite books to be found in the school library or the one in my town was Clifford The Big Red Dog. I loved him for the two most obvious and simplistic reasons: he was big and he was red, but wasn’t that what they were going for with the name?

🙂

I loved his huge red presence on the page. He went on adventures with his friend, Emily Elizabeth, the female version of Winnie the Pooh and his pal Christopher Robin.

Bridwell was rejected multiple times before Clifford would go on to entertain and educate children, like myself, for fifty years.

I hope the character of Clifford will go on to draw young children into his bright red world for years to come.

Check out his books here.

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Book Reviews, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, NANOWRIMO 2014, Poetry, Spotlight Saturday, Writing

Review of One Word at a Time

“A successful writing career will humble you more than almost anything else I can think of.”
– Eric Vance Walton

Welcome to this mid-November edition of Spotlight Saturday.

I have several author pages on my Facebook newsfeed, but one such author stands out as I scroll through.

Eric Vance Walton, Author has written novel “Alarm Clock Dawn” (his debut) and, his newest book, “One Word At a Time: Finding Your Way As An Indie Author” is out now.

Being smack-dab in the midst of November and NaNoWriMo, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce a practical, how-to guide on how to reach for success as an author in the new, developing, and always changing world of indie publishing.

Author’s Publish Press knows all about that and they have brought, along with Eric, us some useful tips and advice and an insightful step-by-step guide for how to navigate through the world of writing and publishing.

Eric says:

“Writing isn’t just something we do. It’s something we are.”

Truer words have never been spoken and after reading this in the first few pages of the book, I already felt comfortable and able to relate to this writer and his experiences.

He tells his story to help others avoid mistakes he, himself has made. He knows about the struggle to manage the events of everyday life with the need to write.

Here is a frank, honest, and open account of the life of a writer. It is a refreshing look at the possibilities of indie publishing, straight from the mouth of one who has traveled the journey and come out on the other side.

All the years of unfocused writing while living life brought him to the awakening he had on turning forty. Sometimes this is just the sort of push we, as writers need, to take that step and he did..

He has been living the writer’s life and he speaks openly about how he climbed that ladder of success. This is a story of the adventure he embarked on, over the last twenty years and he has the firsthand knowledge any working writer can surely use.

He has written novels, children’s stories, poetry, and freelance articles. Many writers are doing this, getting by, but they lack the awareness and the push forward to truly tell the story they are meant to tell.

Eric has a blueprint that he is very willing to share. that is what this book is all about.

He shares achievable strategies such as developing structured blocks of writing time, the perfect writing nook, how to work through writer’s block by walking the dog and getting fresh air and jus the right amount of physical exercise, and ways to keep both mind and body healthy so that the best writing can be produced without the help of artificial substances such as alcohol, drugs, or caffeine.

He relays the tools he has found to be most useful in producing his best work: adequate amounts of sleep, the right environment for a peaceful night’s rest, and one of his biggest tips being meditation. Exercise and a reviving walk, meditative gardening, yoga or Tai Chi. These things that have worked to relieve stress for him are mere suggestions for any writer looking for ways to bring forth their best work.

He shares his battle to walk that fine line between a day job to bring in a steady paycheque and finding the time to truly devote to the writing life he wanted. It wasn’t all roses all the time and he shares his triumphs as well as his defeats.

He shares how the biggest mistake, to not have a concrete plan and set out goals, will leave you unsatisfied and unable to reach any attainable writing career success or fulfilment.

Sometimes, more often then not, sacrifice is required and compromise is the key. He makes it clear that you must decide what is your end goal and what are you willing to give up to get it, such as satellite television or material items and how to be frugal while walking the fine line of giving up something such as the steady pay from a day job, for the somewhat uncertain life of a full-time writer.

“Clear goals and dicipline,” he says. “Smarts, luck and persistence,” are, according to Eric, what it takes. HE is offering another path to the starving artist path a lot of writers and other creative types often go down. He shares his concrete plan that worked for him, exactly how to save enough money and to give a specific amount of time to get a novel written.

He compares novel writing to military bootcamp and proposes that writing can be a formula, with such tools as NaNoWriMo to help get the words down on paper or on the screen.

He shares tips for bringing in multiple revenue streams while walking the road of being an indie author, how the two big things to consider in this journey are time and money. His tips on making money through blogging and how to build confidence and experience through public speaking are direct and specific, with directions and clear-cut references to Google and other surveys, showing evidence on how to be successful as a writer. Having a budget and being mindful are his best pieces of advice on how not to be that dreaded starving artist.

Marketing and promotion are just as important as the writing. This book speaks on social media, on other authors who have done something right and have made a name for themselves, in this day and age and in the digital world we now live in, how important a blog can be in making a name for yourself in writing.

Motivation is an important topic he speaks about throughout and how the “non-writing” and the fear of never producing anything, by the end of his life, are the best motivators for him and perhaps for you too, to get the writing done now, and not to wait for tomorrow.

Mentioned are important tips on becoming a better writer: polishing, tweaking, and learning. He advices taking classes, reading books, and brushing up on proper grammar rules. It takes time to become a good writer and his years of practice have brought him to this book.

He talks about the fundamentals of fiction: proper story pacing, writing realistic dialogue and proper dialogue tags, and communication and body language. All this and more are the mechanics of writing and are at the heart of it all. With this, he includes actual examples to help anyone who wants to learn to grow as a writer.

Consistency. Continuity. Creativity. Characterization. Clarity.

One of the most important pieces of advice, in my opinion, is the one about not falling for the lure of social media and the urge to publish before giving a piece of writing all the attention and clarification it needs. this is the biggest problem with easy access to technology and the revolution of the indie writing universe.

He provides resources and offers tips on finding the right beta readers and the best editor to fit your needs, for your particular book project.

He quotes and refers to Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Maya Angelou, Veronica Roth, John Green, J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter and others when talking of creativity and how to tap into it. He lists reading, going to plays, and listening to music, all things that inspire to surround yourself constantly with creativity from all sides. This includes being around others in the creative fields, for a learning experience from others who have the same sorts of interests.

“Creativity is self-doubt.”

Here Eric quotes Sylvia Plath, and this single, simple line becomes an important topic throughout this book.

Voice, genre, brand. He offers a lot of advice on what is badly needed for creative people who can’t seem to get out what they want to say. This book outlines a strategy for discovering, developing, and growing an author’s brand.

It is easy, for most writers who are naturally loners, to stay hidden, but this last piece of becoming an author is key. Learning how to work with other people is strongly recommended and is the last thing to be discussed in this book.

It was a friend’s question about how his first novel was going that sparked something in Eric, a seriousness toward the task of completion.

He is honest about the reality, the highs as well as the lows, and he is grateful for all who have assisted him in his writing journey.

He provides real-life examples from his own life on what success in writing meant to him as a younger man and how that definition has changed over the years, offering practical advice on setting goals and adjusting expectations.

He is open about the fear and self-doubt that often plague writers. He is genuinely appreciative to his readers. Finding his niche audience, launching and releasing his novel, and receiving reader reviews; he speaks about all the stages of writing his first novel in a relatable way that any fellow writer can see themselves in.

Although he, like most writers, first dreamt of being published by a traditional publishing house, he lays out a writer’s alternate options: self-publishing or through a smaller, independent press.

He explains writing in a clear and concise way, with the help of quotes and websites for more information, he lets the reader know that it isn’t always a smooth road with self-publishing, that a writer must be all things: writer, editor, graphic designer, etc. However, this can only be the case up to a point, and then hiring experts becomes necessary for a more professional looking product. This, however, is becoming, more and more, the way to go if a writer wishes to hold control of their own work.

He is up front about the costs that still go along with indie publishing and the pros and cons of having both hard copies and ebooks created. These pros and cons still do apply to making the decision to go the indie route and then, in future, changing to the traditional route if it suits.

He speaks on technology and how it can be utilized in ways (Facebook/Twitter) that weren’t possible only a few years ago. He knows, realizing his responsibility as a writer, to offer advice to others who are where he has been and who hope to be where he is now.

Balance and gratitude are the two key elements, that stood out to me when reading, for success as an indie author or a traditionally published author. This book is part writer’s memoir and part mechanical writing guide.

I have enjoyed Eric’s Facebook page for a while before reviewing this book. Eric posts poems which are beautiful and moving and he has a lot to say on his many years growing and developing as an indie author himself, what it took him to get to where he is today.

On Saturdays he opens up his author page to others who want to share links to or bits of their writing: Showcase Saturday. He is generous enough to give others a chance to shine.

Find Eric at his website:

https://ericvancewalton.wordpress.com

You can check out his book here,

One Word at a Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author, on Amazon.

Or you can follow him on Facebook,

Eric Vance Walton, Author on Facebook.

I promise you won’t regret it.

I was given an early version of this book to review. I am sure there have been final touches and fixes since then and now this book has been released and I recommend it for anyone looking for a guide for writing success, especially in the indie world.

You can be a writer and produce your best work, one word at a time.

“Although writers spend lots of time crafting fictional characters, ironically, the act of writing develops the character of the author more than anything else.”

Thank you, Eric Vance Walton, for that and for this helpful guide on writing.

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Spotlight Saturday, Writing

Spotlight On Saltz

This week’s Spotlight Saturday I am lucky to have on my blog an interview with Writer, of memoirs, and musician Alana Saltz.

You can find her on her website:

AlanaSaltz.com

as we discuss such things as creativity and mental illness, whether it’s worth getting an MFA, and how to handle rejection.

And now I hope you learn as much about writing as I did from Alana.

***

KK: First, where are you located and what is your background with writing?

AS: I’m located in Los Angeles, CA. I’ve had an interest in words since my parents started reading me bedtime stories. I loved trips to the library and bookstore as a child. At my elementary school, there were some opportunities for students to explore creative writing, like our parent-run Paw Print Press. I got to write and illustrate a couple of stories, and then they were produced into little picture books with covers made out of cardboard.

I eventually majored in English as an undergraduate, took lots of writing classes, and was an active participant in my school’s literary magazine and writing workshop. After graduating, I decided to take the next step and pursue my MFA. I’ll be graduating from Antioch University, Los Angeles this December.

KK: What skills do you think are required to be an artist, either to be a writer, musician, or both?

AS: Passion and determination are the biggest ones. I also think it helps a lot to be naturally empathetic and sensitive if you want to create art that resonates with others. You have to be willing to look inside and look at others in a deep, meaningful way to be able to capture the world and reflect it back through words, art, or music.

KK: Do you believe in the connection between artistic talent and mental illness? What do you think that connection is and how does it manifest itself for you?

AS: I don’t really believe there’s a connection between talent and mental illness. If anything, mental illness can make you more internal and sensitive, which might in turn bring new levels of perception and power to your creative work. But you can be a thoughtful, insightful person without any diagnosable mental illnesses. While mental illness has given me something to write about, it hasn’t helped me actually write. It usually prefers to get in the way through discouraged, depressed outlooks and anxious, stressed thoughts that I have to fight in order to get back to work.

KK: Do you think writing talent can be taught or learned or do you think either someone has it or they don’t?

AS: This is an interesting question; I got into a debate with my boyfriend about it just the other day. I think everyone is born with certain inherent strengths and talents. Words and language have always come naturally to me, so I embraced that side of myself, and luckily felt a passion for developing it. I think it’s possible to be good at something you don’t want to do and be bad at something you wish you could do. Writing can certainly be taught, even if a person doesn’t have a natural strength with it. But it sure helps to have that. It’s much less of an uphill battle. 

I also think that empathy and insight play a role here as well. Not everyone is naturally good at looking inside themselves or seeing the world around them with clarity and understanding. You need that to create work that resonates, and I’m not sure that can be taught.

KK: What advice do you have for a writer just starting out?

AS: Every professional writer will give the same advice: Read. Read a lot, and read widely. But everyone who will ultimately make it as a writer doesn’t need that advice because they already do. You have to love reading and stories to become and be a writer. 

Besides reading, I would recommend finding a local writing workshop/critique group, maybe taking some classes, and writing whatever interests you without worrying too much about what it is or where it will ultimately take you.

KK: What does the term memoir mean to you?

AS: Memoir is a work of autobiography that has a theme, focus, or covers a select period of a person’s life. It’s creative nonfiction, meaning that it’s based in fact and experience, but some creative liberties can and will be taken in bringing it to life.

KK: What is the difference between a writer and an author? Do you think the words are interchangeable?

AS: I define “author” as someone who has published a book. A “writer” is someone who writes. I don’t think the words are interchangeable, although an “author” is certainly a “writer.”

KK: What is your writing or creative process? Do you have a routine or do you let the inspiration strike when it will?

AS: A lot of people would probably judge my creative process. There’s a lot of emphasis on the “butt in chair” routine: sit down every day, or a least several days a week, for a specified amount of time or amount of words, and make yourself write. Eventually, something will come out. They say this is how professionals work. It’s not how I work. 

I always have ideas floating around, incubating. I often write down notes and brainstorm. I typically set out to write in the mornings, but not every morning. Sometimes the writing is just thinking or note-taking. If I’m in the middle of a project, I work on that. I’ll go several days, even a week, without writing a word, then spend 10 days straight writing thousands of words a day. I let my interests, project, and ideas guide me. Deadlines will dictate it as well. 

I don’t wait for inspiration, exactly. I have to keep my mind open and searching so I have something to say whenever I do sit down. But I tend to sit down when I feel compelled to, although I do have a nagging sense of obligation that makes me force myself now and then.

KK: What is your experience with writing programs? Do you believe it is important to be trained or can there be other ways of gaining the same wisdom and experience?

AS: I have mixed feelings about writing programs. If you just want to write for fun, take some classes here and there, maybe join a local writing workshop. If you want to teach, get an MFA or PhD. That’s necessary. If you want to write professionally, it depends. Classes and workshops are a must, but I don’t think a degree is necessary. I wanted the option to teach, and I love writing classes and workshops and being part of a community, so that’s why I pursued an MFA.

KK: What do you think is harder to write: fiction or non-fiction/memoir? Why?

AS: For me, it’s probably memoir. In fiction, you have to create a whole world from scratch, but you can dictate and structure what happens in it. In memoir, you already have the materials, the enormous, misshapen pile of clay that is your life and memories. From that, and only that, you must sculpt a beautiful statue. You have to take a million little moments and turn them into a structured, cohesive, engaging narrative that makes sense and will connect with others. And if you don’t have an amazing memory, it’s even harder. I’m glad I kept journals as a teenager, or I’m not sure I could have written mine. But both genres are tough.

KK: How do you handle rejection and what tips can you offer for dealing with it for other writers?

AS: I don’t handle it as well as I’d like, but it depends on the rejection. Individually, they aren’t so bad. One after another can be discouraging and make me question everything. I’m one of those people who can’t not write, no matter how much I get rejected, no matter how low I sink in confidence. It’s part of me. If it’s part of you too, just remember that it takes rejection to get to acceptance, and becoming a successful writer will take time and perseverance. Try not to let it get you too down in the meantime. Editors, agents, and teachers are all subjective in their tastes and feedback. Take their advice seriously, but know each one does not represent the entire world of opinion.

KK: What is your feeling about traditional publishing vs self-publishing? What do you see for the future of both?

AS: This is a tricky question. I’ll start by saying that I’m an advocate of whatever path works for you and your project. I think self/indie-publishing has an interesting and promising future ahead of it. I like the idea of writers taking our work into our own hands, maintaining creative control, and publishing on our own terms. 

That said, traditional publishing still has its place. It’s very hard to get teaching or lecturing positions as a self-published author, if that’s your goal. Publishing houses also have more resources and money for promotion than you’ll most likely have on your own, unless you’ve developed a huge following already. People say publishers make you do all your own promotion, but that isn’t true. From what I can see, you’ll spend way more time promoting as a self-publisher than a traditionally published author. If you self publish, it’s all up to you. No one is helping. And that can be really, really tough.

KK: What do you have planned for the future for your own writing?

AS: Right now, I’m querying a memoir about my struggle to overcome anxiety disorder and depression as a young adult. I also have some essays in the works to submit to blogs and magazines. I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo in November to get a new novel going. I have a couple novel drafts in my virtual drawer that I occasionally look at and revisit. So, I have a lot of different projects in the works. I’m not sure which one will take off first.

***

Thank you Alana, for your candid answers to my questions. I wish you lots of luck with NaNoWriMo next month.

For more on Alana, visit her on:

Facebook,

Twitter,

and on

Instagram.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Spotlight Saturday

She’s The Bomb

Say what you wanna say. And let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
– Brave, Sara Bareilles

With all this talk over the past few days of feminism, what with the speech heard around the world by Emma Watson at The United Nations, I thought today was a good time to share this.

There is a website I like to read, which posts interesting articles by young women with unique points-of-view.

I would call myself a feminist, but I too have had a hard time defining what that meant. Here is someone who knows a little something about it.

She is the creator of

TheFBomb.org.

She is a feminist, a blogger, and an author.

I contacted her a while back about doing an interview with me, to find out what feminism means to her and what she aims to do with the website.

Welcome Julie.

***

K: What is the FBomb.org?

J: The FBomb is a feminist blog written by and for young women and men who believe in equality. While I founded and edit the FBomb, the blog is really an open platform and community based on submissions and exists as a space for a younger generation to define what feminism means to us.

The blog is called (the FBomb) to poke fun at the way the term “feminist” is often vilified, in the hope that socially aware and passionate readers and contributors could reclaim this negative stereotype and show the world that feminism is really a beautiful, positive movement that, at the end of the day, is about the pursuit of equality.

K: How did you decide to start this site?

J: I first became interested in feminism in 8th grade when I started to research the movement and specific feminist issues for a required speech. With the guidance of some great teachers my freshman year of high school, I discovered the world of feminist blogging. I was so inspired and excited by bloggers who took feminist issues seriously while maintaining a sense of humour. the only issue I had with such blogs was that the teenage perspective on most issues – even issues that directly impacted us, like sex education, for example — was missing.

Additionally, I really wanted to create a community where young feminist-minded women and men could come together, share our ideas and offer each other support and advice. It was important to me that an adult or a corporation create this community, but that it was authentically peer-driven.

K: What are your hopes for this site, its future, and what it can do for women and men alike?

J: The FBomb just partnered with the Women’s Media Center, the non-profit organization founded by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan, which aims to make more women visible and powerful in the media. I think this partnership will help this goal by allowing young women and feminist-minded men to develop and use their voices and giving them a platform from which they can add diverse and vital perspectives to the blogosphere and media at large.

On a more personal level though, I think the FBomb has and continues to allow young feminists to find a community and develop a stronger sense of identity as well.

K: What does feminism mean in your eyes?

J: Feminism is, on the most basic level, the pursuit of equality. Feminism as a worldview is about recognizing that people face a variety of different kinds of oppression due to their personal standing in the world (based on socioeconomic factors like race, class, religion, ability, etc.) that intersect to create unique experiences, but that any type of oppression is unjust and must be critically analyzed and pushed back against.

K: What do you think are still some of the biggest battles or issues women face in our world today?

J: I think it’s difficult to isolate certain issues because every woman, based on her perspective and place in the world — faces a unique intersection of challenges and this is why the feminist movement looks, feels, and serves a different purpose for everybody depending on where they’re coming from and who they are.

However, sexual assault and gender-based violence generally is an incredibly pervasive issue that impacts women young and old. For example, as many as 1 out of every 4 college women will experience attempted or completed rape during their time at school. Issues related to body image (including eating disorders, unrealistic standards of beauty in the media, etc.) are also incredibly pervasive amongst young women and an issue many teen feminists focus on.

K: Do you have any idols or role models in particular for yourself or for feminism as a whole? Do you see any women who are making positive changes and providing examples for young women to look up to?

J: Like most feminists, I always have and always will admire Gloria Steinem. She’s such an incredible icon for this movement. She’s an incredibly intelligent and charismatic leader and it’s undeniable that she completely changed and continues to change the way our society views women.

Female politicians – like Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren – are also doing fantastic work to advocate for women. and there are also plenty of women doing incredible things around the world – Leymah Gbowee’s work with Liberian women is astonishing, Zainab Salbi’s work with women for Women International is vital, and there are so many more.

the bottom line is there are plenty of people doing incredible feminist work and making positive change in the world: they just don’t always get the widespread recognition and media attention they deserve.

K: What do you think are the misconceptions people have about all things feminism?

J: In my experience, I’ve found that the biggest reason young women shy away from identifying as feminist is because they don’t feel that they really understand what the movement is or what that word means. Plenty of people still associate feminism with negative stereotypes, but I think more than anything else misconceptions about the movement stem from a lack of education about and exposure to it.

I find that my generation is more willing to identify with and support feminist issues than any other generation in the past (and the statistics back me up on that – according to advocates for youth, 74% of millennials support gay marriage, 68% support access to abortion and 88% support to comprehensive sex education) but more often than not, unfortunately, they don’t realize that that’s what the feminist movement is all about.

K: What’s your best advice for a woman with a disability like myself, or women with other additional challenges in general?

J: My best advice for women facing any challenge is to speak up about it. I started the FBomb so that young adults could find a place to feel that their stories and perspectives are valuable and that speaking out about our individual challenges will help us feel less alone and hopefully work to demystify and eventually eradicate prejudice based on ignorance. I truly believe in that mission: every voice deserves to be heard and the most radical thing one can do is to use theirs to advocate for change.

***

Thank you so much Julie for answering my questions and for everything you do to speak up for women’s rights and equality for all.

To find out more about Julie you can check her out

HEre,

or at her website:

http://juliezeilinger.com

and you can read more on The FBomb, on

Facebook,

or On

Twitter.

and I will be submitting something to the FBomb to speak up, just like Julie suggested because I too feel like I am tired of remaining so shy and staying so quiet.

BRAVE

What are your thoughts on feminism and what it means to be called a feminist in our world today?

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Fiction Friday

Featured Author Interview with Michael Espinoza

For this week’s Fiction Friday I was asked to highlight a gifted young man’s upcoming book launch. I am happy to introduce him to more readers and to showcase his soon-to-be-released novel, Blades of Cairndale.

Hi Michael and glad to have you here. Tell us a bit about your book. What is it about?

 I am in the process of concluding a novel entitled “Blades of Cairndale.” It is a fantasy piece, written under the inspiration of classic pillars of fantasy such as Robert E. Howard, with a bit of a nod to (relatively) more modern fantasy conceits such as magic in the Gygaxian sense of things. Not in the sense that my characters roll d20s and the like (though the idea would amuse me), but in the sense of its approach to magic as a very physical manifestation of unseen, arcane power.

Well, my only real experience with the fantasy genre is Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I will admit that I wasn’t really familiar with Robert E. Howard, having to do a bit of research about his life. I appreciate you bringing my attention to him. I am always glad to learn more about authors and writers. How does your novel fit into the fantasy realm? What makes it a clearly defined fantastical story?

In this case, that power is known as the Weave; a network of invisible veins which mages may link to with their minds, that their bodies may become conduits for Weave energy.

 I’d describe the tale as somewhat “dark” in nature, in that the protagonists are likeable, agreeable people, but it’s not a very clear-cut, black and white morality sort of thing. Azyriana the Witch-Queen isn’t evil, but she is a ruler and a brilliant tactician who will fight to preserve her realm and avenge wrongs perpetrated against her. That sounds fairly good in a classic sense, but the overall point is that the “good guys” aren’t knights in shining armor, they’re warriors too. They’ll behead their foes as needed, interrogate prisoners by force, and claw at their objectives with tooth and nail, just like a true warrior should. I try to shake off that notion that the “good guy violence is good and the bad guy violence is bad”; it’s all violence in the end, equally cruel and destructive, but we happen to agree with our protagonists’ end goals. Or maybe some readers won’t. That’s the fun of it.

I liked the strong female presence in your story. I’m glad to see less stories with the image of the weak helpless girls and women totally dependent on the stronger male characters, that you are making room for more female power and rule. Explain more about that element of things. What other topics of prejudice do you cover?

 The book has many strong female characters, and I felt that was important. Weakness has no place in a land of swords and sorcery. Females fight in battle, they lead armies, govern realms, and are in no way treated as lesser than their male counterparts. There are instances in the book where characters are discriminated against for gender or race, but these serve to illustrate the reprehensible nature of such dated ideology. The book addresses racism amongst fantasy creatures, particularly cross-breeding between humans and non-humans, as a metaphor of sorts for the divisive mindsets of our world: homophobia, nationalism, racial stereotyping, and so forth.

I detected a bit of Queen Elizabeth I in your main character of Azyriana. Would you say that is there at all?

 Ha, that’s a fantastic analogy for Azyriana, actually.
And if you are a Tolkien fan, I hope you will enjoy my work. It’s a bit more influenced by Robert Howard (the creator of Conan the Cimmerian), but there’s definitely a touch of Tolkien in there as well.

Have you always been a story teller? What first got you interested in writing stories?

That is a great question. Ever since I was young, I was the designated storyteller amongst my cousins. I remember when I would build a fort with my three male cousins, what we believed to be a fantastic structure sculpted of pillows and chairs. We’d crawl inside with sodas and purloined snacks, set up a flashlight, and then I’d be asked to “make up a story.” So, on the spot, I’d craft some new horror tale about an axe-wielding fiend from beyond the grave, or a sentient corpse hunting down its stolen arm which had been crafted into tools and sold to collectors of rare artifacts. It would just come out of my head, as naturally as talking. I’ve always loved to improvise. In addition to writing, I’m a heavy metal musician, and improvisation has been a crucial component of every concert I’ve ever played. So, storytelling was the precursor to that, I suppose.

I think the answer to this question is obvious, but I’ll ask it anyway: What is your favourite genre and why?

Fantasy. There are others tied for second place, but nothing touches fantasy for me. Everything from the dark tales of magic and savagery to the campy, over-the-top adventures with big, boisterous characters. I love everything about fantasy. It is my truth, the place where I feel happiest, safest, and most free to create. Why is that, you ask? In fantasy, no one can tell you no. You have to explain things, you can’t just say that a troll can’t resist staring at fire or that a succubus can walk through walls without giving it a little basis, a little explanation, but if you are willing and able to give even an in-universe reason for an occurrence, it can happen. The world is full of “no,” and fantasy is a great place to finally hear “yes.” I wanted a little fae creature with retractable claws in my story and no one can stop said character from existing. As long as I’m consistent about my reasoning, anything is possible. “Just because” is never a good reason, but given the right time and motivation, a writer can justify their wildest dreams in fantasy literature.

Do you feel your blindness effects your writing? If so, how? If no, why not?

It’s never an insurmountable obstacle, but it comes up at times. I sometimes have to ask sighted friends what colors go together for a character’s outfit, but after a while I get the hang of those sorts of things. I once tried to write a tale with a blind character and actually struggled with not describing the visual aspects of things. The images in my head are crystal clear, vivid in every detail, so it’s hard to write in such a way that conveys them by every sense other than sight. Good writing should appeal to many senses, of course, but writing from a character’s perspective who cannot see at all does impose a unique challenge.

Tell us about your favourite author or authors.

Robert E. Howard is my all-time favorite author. Under appreciated though he is, he is the grandfather of fantasy as we know it. To give any indication of his influence, a recent inventory of Tolkien’s library revealed a few Howard books on his shelves. Howard’s work is just so visceral, it’s like a good sword, it hits hard, fast, cuts deep, and does the job perfectly. People hear Howard’s name and they think of the awful Conan the Barbarian movies, terribly inaccurate comic book renditions, and overlook the original works of the Texan author who brought so much to our world of fantasy with his larger-than-life heroes and epic adventures.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so what music do you listen to?

That is context specific, actually. If it’s an action scene, I listen to my usual genre of choice: heavy metal. Loud guitars, virtuoso musicians, and soaring vocals set a perfect score for a clash of armies or a frantic chase. I also throw in a little Carly Rae Jepsen, but that’s less about setting the scene and more about my “secret” love of super fluffy pop music. (Note to self: As a writing challenge, write a scene that Carly Jepsen’s music would perfectly score.) For other scenes, I like softer music, usually of a Renaissance Faire style. Bands like Blackmore’s Night, or any of Blind Guardian’s ballads fit the bill perfectly.

What else inspires you to write?

So many things! Social issues always make good fuel for writing, whether it’s painfully tragic acts like genocide, disgustingly destructive thoughts like homophobia, or annoying bits of subcultural discrimination that we all experience every day. Another big motivator for me is religious discrimination. As my faith is not a well-known one, it often comes under fire or is misunderstood, and I want to correct the confusion and stop the discrimination brought on by ignorance or willful disdain. In other ways, my faith inspires my writing because I know its lore well and can inject ideas from it, hopefully with some subtlety, into my work. Not with any aim to “spread the word” or win followers, but just because I know it well and I do like the “write what you know” idea. Another big source of inspiration for me is reading. This may sound conceited, but I mean it in the best possible way. When I read other works, I see amazing scenes and grow to love new characters as though they’re my friends. But no single story has every element I want in it all at once, and why would it? It wasn’t written for me. So, I get motivated based on what I didn’t see. That sounds self-centered, but of course the things I do see give me ideas as well: new ideas for how to phrase things, new information about concepts or practices I’d yet to consider, and any other manner of innovations. But just as frequently, it can be a desire to see a scene you didn’t see that makes you want to start writing a tale of your own.

Do you have a process when you write?

It varies. It’s more of a mood than a specific process. I just have to feel creative, motivated to sit down, focus, and tune out distractions. I find a nice place from which to work, turn on my iPod, crank up a little viking metal, and just hammer out the images running through my head.

What do you hope to do in the future with your writing?

I want to write, it is my passion. Whatever I do in life, it has to involve writing and or creativity in some way. Regarding my fiction tales, I hope to have my novel published and will strive toward establishing a career as an author.

Why do you love to write?

Writing allows me to deliver the images in my head to other people. I can think out a plot and enjoy it, but writing lets me share that with others and get their input on all my crazy thoughts. It’s very validating to hear someone say they enjoyed or were in some way helped by a story of mine. To think that something I created could bring someone joy, satisfaction, or comfort is a truly joyous, exhilarating experience.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

I’m not sure all the time, to be honest. Sometimes dreams motivate my writing, sometimes other stories motivate me to shape my own worlds and populate them with my own characters, and sometimes the characters just walk into my head and tell me their stories. Occasionally, I’ll find that a thought won’t leave my head: a particular character or a fun scene, and I just can’t shake the thought until I give it life on paper.

What would you say this book is about? What are its themes?

That is a tricky question to answer concisely. “Blades of Cairndale” addresses a lot of themes: deceit, discrimination, and recovery from loss are the three biggest issues the characters must face. The characters themselves may, in a way, be indicative of certain ideas or beliefs. For example: three of the five protagonists are very physically and mentally strong female characters, one of whom is the ruler of a prosperous queendom. That has to have some significance for readers, or so I’d hope.

What’s your favourite part about writing? What do you like least?

I love telling a story, being able to convey exactly what I want, how I want it. Editing can sometimes be a bore, but there’s even fun in that. I’d say my least favorite aspect of writing is not a part of writing itself, but the occasional instance of working with other writers who are less interested in helping each other grow and more interested in stroking their own bulbous egos and reshaping the tales of others into their own image. That sort of creative infringement in the guise of criticism has always disgusted me, and I’m very glad it happens rarely.

What do you think of the publishing world right now, traditional Vs independent?

I think they both have their merits. I do really like that we live in a time where a writer won’t go unread just because they don’t know the right people in the industry. We live in an age of access, and everyone can be heard. Truly that is a beautiful thing.

***

CHARACTERS

Azyriana the Witch-Queen: A tall, imposing figure with black hair and ivory skin. Her fiery red eyes exude a ceaseless confidence and determination. She favors flowing black garments and elegant yet functional leather boots. Her most note-worthy physical feature is the pair of leathery wings extending from her back. Regarding personality, she can seem cold, calculating, and a bit harsh, but is in fact a good hearted woman with deeply felt emotion and as much hope and fear as any human.

Van the Anointed Subject: Physically, he is Azyriana’s opposite in many ways. He is short, light haired, and has wide, clear blue eyes. He is a timid young man, but devoted to Azyriana with a fiery passion. He spends much of his time sitting by her feet like a loyal pet, or lingering near at hand to carry out an order or defend her with his prodigious skill with a rapier-like blade. He seems docile, subservient, and dependent on his queen, but is valuable to her in every way for his dedication to aiding her in all things. Over time, they become lovers.

Zuna: A military leader in Azyriana’s army, the Bladed Scourge. Zuna’s family, the clan Urunzai, came from the east a few generations ago after some unknown matters knocked their clan from its high seat of respectability. She is a fearless leader, with a fiery personality to match her fiery red hair. She favors twin swords in combat, as well as flexible leather armor that accommodates reasonable movement while still offering good protection. Strategically-placed metal studs on her armor signify that hand-to-hand combat is also a favored weapon. She is a devoted soldier and a leader who genuinely cares for the well-being of her squadron. It’s safest to be on her good side, has she harbors no sentimentality toward anyone deemed a threat.

Esmera “Esme” Atlia: A nymphling, half nymph and half human. The nymphs of this universe are forest dwelling maidens who enjoy song, dance, nature worship, deadly hooked knives akin to the Nepalese kukri, and their carnivorous appetite can sometimes be startling. Equipped with sharp fangs, retractable claws, a matching set of knives, and a natural attunement to magical energy, Esme is a formidable and acrobatic combatant. She is also beautiful, and this can have its downsides. She can often be be treated poorly for her race’s reputation as purely sexual creatures, an unfortunate stereotype which she detests for its ignorance and falsehood. Her temper is fierce, but generally slow to awaken. Her compassion is easily her dominant emotion; she is a loving, nurturing person with a profound gift for empathy and understanding. She serves in Zuna’s squad and is close friends with the easterner.

Garyn Valenthir: The etnar race hails from the regions north of the Snowfang mountains. Valenthir was, long ago, a powerful family in the etnar region. Generations passed and many of the clan drifted southward into the lands of Cairndale and beyond. Garyn’s family settled in Cairndale and he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined up in the Bladed Scourge. He has his race’s natural love of chainmail and broadswords in battle. Unlike Zuna and Esme, he is newer to the arts of warfare and is still anxious about succeeding and impressing his superiors.

***

EXCERPT

 Seth imagined the sound of undergrowth being trampled under the charge of mail-plated boots. In his mind’s eye, a soldier clad in black plate armor, adorned with the crest of Cairndale, smashed through the wooded landscape, sword unsheathed and ready to slay. Seth envisioned himself breaking from his patrol to follow this servant of the Witch-Queen, moving soundlessly behind the wild charge of the enemy warrior. He knew the man was bound for Eastcliff’s wall, that he meant to assail the small town’s priest, Father Archibald, amidst the holy man’s speech to his people, and Seth would not stand for it.

As he doubled back on his patrol route, he continued to play out this fantasy in his mind. The forest-dwelling birds would scatter before the on-rushing warrior of the Bladed Scourge, the Witch-Queen’s mighty armed force. The soldier would break from the tree-line-still unaware that he was being followed–and Seth would pounce, driving a dagger into a gap between his target’s helmet and cuirass. The man would crumple to the ground in an armored heap, leaving Father Archibald to deliver his speech in safety.

So enthralling was his imagining that Seth never heard the swift footsteps behind him. If he did, he had no time to react before a dagger’s point was jammed sharply into the base of his skull. A firm hand pulled Seth’s head back, easing the passage of the dagger into his brain. Seth was momentarily aware of a burning sensation at the nape of his neck as his vision swiftly receded into darkness. But that awareness faded rapidly, leaving his body limp and lifeless.

“That’s the last of them.” Garyn said in a low voice, slipping his dagger free of the dead scout and letting the body fall to the ground.

“That is, assuming the others hit their marks,” Zuna replied, emerging from behind a tall tree.

Both warriors had foregone their primary weapons–Garyn his broadsword and Zuna her twin shortswords–in favor of daggers, which far more suited the subtle task at hand. The two warriors wore light armor, a patchwork of mottled green designed to blend into the woodland that bordered the southwestern edge of Eastcliff. Garyn much preferred his chainmail, but such armor was hardly suitable for moving quietly amongst the trees. Likewise, Zuna would have much preferred to wear her padded leather armor and to wield her shortswords, but that would have to wait for now; their assignment was not yet concluded.
“The Eastcliff priest should be taking to the wall shortly.” Zuna said, taking the lead as they moved carefully up through the trees.

 Garyn closely tailed his veteran comrade, hoping all the while that the other members of their detachment had successfully eliminated Eastcliff’s remaining patrols beyond the wall. An ambush was the last thing they needed.
“We’ll be fine,” Zuna said, somehow sensing Garyn’s trepidation, “Sergeant Tahlin wouldn’t have sent you if he wasn’t confident in your skill.”
Garyn nodded, but looked doubtful nonetheless.

They moved onward, northeast through the wooded terrain, stopping just short of where the tree-line had been cut back, well away from Eastcliff’s border wall. From their concealment, they watched the city’s wall: a tall construct of stone, broad enough for soldiers to walk upon, with watchtowers placed at even intervals along its length. Even from where they lurked, prone in the foliage, they could hear the dull roar of the ocean lapping against the cliffs east of the walled city. The air smelled faintly of the salty ocean spray, and gulls cried their shrill song in greeting to the slowly rising sun.

“Is that him?” Garyn made a subtle gesture in the direction of a section of wall just north of their position.

“Looks that way,” Zuna replied after a moment of observing the figure who’d ascended the wall. “Ready your weapon.”

Garyn unslung his bolt-rifle from over his shoulder and brought it into position with a fluid motion, staying prone all the while. Even a slight excess of movement could alert those watching from the wall towers. The weapon relied on two heavy springs to fire its projectile: a quarrel which tapered to a wicked metal barb. Garyn slotted a quarrel into place and drew back the priming handle, compressing the weapon’s powerful springs. His index finger rested just outside the trigger-guard while he sighted along the length of the rifle.

Zuna mirrored Garyn’s actions, though she targeted the nearest watchtower rather than the robed priest standing atop the wall. If Garyn missed, she could easily shift her aim to the left and strike Father Archibald, but Sergeant Tahlin had ordered Garyn to make the initial attempt. A test of sorts.

“Children of Eastcliff,” Father Archibald called in a smooth baritone voice that carried in every direction, “we have withstood the Witch-Queen’s forces for five long days. Twice they have struck our wall, twice we repelled them. By the glory and benevolence of the Gods Above, our wall shall hold.”
 A cheer rose up from the far side of the wall. Zuna and Garyn both smirked at the foolhardy words of this charismatic holy man.

“See now how I stand,” Father Archibald continued once the uproar of his audience had settled, “guarded only by the might of the divine, and unscathed by the Witch-Queen’s dark legion! They dare not strike me, they cannot strike me, for I am the beloved of the Gods Above, the chosen to guard you against the Bladed Scourge! We have cast off the shackles of servitude, we will not worship the loathsome witch or her feeble gods!”

“Enough of this,” Zuna ordered. “Fire.”

 Garyn’s index finger slid into the guard and he slowly applied pressure. Carefully, gradually he squeezed the trigger, keeping his sight fixed on the robed priest. With a sharp snap, the springs released their tension and the barbed quarrel hissed through the air. Father Archibald, facing away from his assailants while he addressed his audience, never saw the bolt that plunged into his body, punching cleanly between his shoulder blades. The moment Zuna saw Garyn strike his target, she unleashed her own bolt at the guard in the nearest tower. He had no time to duck below the rim of his tower and caught the quarrel squarely in his chest. The projectile punched into his armor, knocking him to his back. He’d likely survived the blow, but he’d be no immediate threat.

 Simultaneously, the snap of other bolt-rifles sounded from elsewhere along the tree-line. The other scouts were firing upon the wall’s watchtowers, not a constant barrage of bolts, just a single shot from each scout to occupy or incapacitate the watchmen.

 Father Archibald’s body toppled forward over the edge of the wall, driven by the force of the bolt. Garyn and Zuna heard cries of anguish from beyond the wall, but they did not linger to observe the disarray. Zuna led the way on a hasty retreat through the trees, Garyn close behind her, weaving sporadically in case any of the Eastcliff Militia hoped to follow and return fire. They did not slow their pace until they reached their encampment: a well-guarded forest of tents set up to obstruct the only viable road to Eastcliff.

“Good shooting, Garyn,” Zuna proclaimed, clapping him on the shoulder. “Tahlin will be pleased.”

Garyn beamed at the thought of his platoon sergeant’s pride.

***

I want to thank Michael for sharing and being a part of Fiction Friday. To read more of Michael’s writing, you can visit his blog at:

http://barbarianbard.wordpress.com/

And stay tuned for Blades of Cairndale, to be released very soon.

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Writing

Blog Hop

Today I am participating in something called a Blog Hop. I was invited to take part by the gentleman whose bio is below and I thought it would be a good way to be a part of something and to build relationships with other bloggers. Sharing others’ writing is as important to me, or even more so than my own writing. I rely on it from others and I believe in showing the same kindness you are looking for from other people.
I will share his information and then speak about my own writing. I will finish up with the bios of two other bloggers/writers. It was supposed to be three, but like others before me I could only find two. Oh well. Better that than none at all.

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Max Ivey is the owner of the Midway Marketplace, a company specializing in the sale of new and used amusement equipment and related items. He draws upon his own personal experience in the amusement industry along with that of his family that had operated traveling carnivals for three generations.

While totally blind, I perform this service with the help of family and friends many of whom I have met online. I also write a blog spotlighting the amusement industry and equipment I have for sale. I also write about my experiences as a blind person with blogging, podcasting, social media networks, youtube videos, and google hangouts. I believe that nothing is impossible with the right attitude and help from your friends.

I can be found online at:
website www.mr-midway.com
the midway’s blog http://midwaymarketplace.com/the-midways-blog-2
face book https://www.facebook.com/Mr.Midway
twitter https://twitter.com/mistermidway
google plus https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MaxwellIvey
***
What I’m currently working on:

I have a lot of things on the go these days, but mostly I am working on establishing a blog which represents who I am and what I want others to get when they read my words. I am also working on the novel I began last fall and I hope to get more work done on it in the future. I am constantly writing something somewhere. I am always looking for things to write about on Herheadache.

How my writing differs from others of my genre:

I believe everyone puts their own mark on any creative project they are working on. My writing comes from my own unique perspective and out of the experiences only I myself know. I hope my voice comes out through my writing and speaks to the reader as to a little of what can be found inside my head and in my own heart.

Why I write what I do:

I have learned if I want to be heard I must speak up. The best way I have learned to do this is by writing and sharing my words. I write to get through the ups and downs in life. I write to make sense of what is happening all around me. I also write to let others know something they might not otherwise have known.

How my writing process works:

I see the world a certain way and the things I go through and the stuff I observe around me filters through my own personal view. I write from the heart, is all I can say. If it interests or impacts me I write about it. If I want to speak up on an issue I write it down. I am always taking things in around me and then I sit down at the keyboard and let the words pour out of me. It’s often rough and raw and I hope it’s also real.

Thanks Max for asking me to join in on this. I hope my small link in the chain helps to build a long chain of bloggers helping other bloggers to get their name and their message out there.

***

Now here are the two lovely ladies I have invited to follow after me in the blog hop. One is an accomplished author and blogger. She has a lot to deal with in her life, but that only serves to make her voice all the wiser for it. Secondly there is a young woman who works hard to selflessly promote authors and their livelihoods. She does it all, from what I’ve observed, with grace and determination.

Joey is 32, disabled, an indie author and part time student in her last year towards an honours degree in Health and Social Care. She loves to write and is at the moment working on her eleventh and twelfth books, as well as preparing her seventh book for publication. She started writing when she was medically retired from her job at the age of 19. Her first book was released in 2005 and after a brief time away, her second one was released in 2011. In addition to writing books, she also enjoys reading them and can often be found resting in bed with a good book, a cat and an ukulele.
Links:
http://www.joeypaulonline.com/ – blog
https://www.facebook.com/BugBooks – FB
Photo is attached

~Writer, Student & Musician~
~Writer of 10+ books~
~Student @ The OU~
~1/3 of The Rocking Dodars~
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I am Brittany, I am 19, and I run Brittany’s Book Blog. I am a full-time student, studying music education. I am also a full-time blogger and reader.

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