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Post-weekend Poetry 031: Lies by Alison Strange-Green

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the thirty-first poem in this series. This week’s piece is by Alison Strange-Green.

Lies

Quite unsure of her smile
Uncertainty plain to see
Vivid memories untrue
Of what had never been?
Desperate to attract with lies
Mischievous stories told
Twisted words of innocence
her smile remained unsure
Cross examined, yet arrogant
she misled the eager throng
Leashing untold chaos
to never right the wrong?
Tearing at the fabric
Vague truths inside her lies
Accepting penance with rigour
No longer could she smile
Her past was such a lonely place
Full of foolish fantasy
Circumcised by corrupt lies
all innocence had vanished

Brewing with neglect and need
her story unearthed a tale
of dangerous lies, spun sinfully
destroying friendships through the tears

***

I asked Alison what prompted this piece…

The poem “lies” was inspired by actual events. The poet was caught up in a web of deceit and lies. Finding her self in a position where by legally she was unable to expose the truth. Reeling from her anger and disgust at the out come of the situation she penned the poem “Lies”. It reveals the ugliness of human nature and lengths a person will go to achieve their ultimate goal of misguided revenge. Completely disregarding thoughts and feelings of others. Showing no remorse for the consequences of their actions. Destroying families and communities forever. A deeply personal and thought provoking piece of poetry as life seen through the eyes of the poet Alison Strange-Green.

Thank you Alison.

Alison Strange–Green was born during the 1970s in the sleepy coal mining community of Caerphilly, South Wales. Her early childhood memories mostly consist of life in the nearby village of Ystrad Mynach, where she attended the local girl’s school, until her family uprooted and moved to nearby Blackwood. Being an only child and finding it hard to adjust, she led a solitary existence initially, spending hours absorbed in her own imagination and thoughts. During this time she first explored her unique creative nature. Slowly gaining confidence she made friends with ease, although still a very introspective and shy creature.

An above average student at school, she provided more enthusiasm than talent in most subjects. It was only during her later years that the emphasis of education was realised, resulting in many academic achievements during her 20s. Unfortunately, a complex neurological condition was then diagnosed and work seemed unlikely. This however only excelled Alison’s thirst for knowledge. Longing for the acceptance of her peers she moved out of the family home in the late 80’s, only to return a few years later more confident and self-adjusted. Her more creative nature was in full flow, as was the poetry and short stories she had begun to write.

During the winter of 1993 she made a life-changing decision. Without warning she moved to Wigan, Lancashire at the tender age of 23, where she continued her combined Honours Degree in Sociology, Psychology and Forensic Psychology at UCLAN. She also established and managed a mental health unit for several years, which was both inspiring and rewarding.

As quickly as she arrived she left Lancashire. Even after 15 years she yearned to return to her native Wales. Wales often being the inspiration for many verses. Soon after returning home she married and is now happily surrounded by her family, husband Michael, Alexander 6 years and Isabella 10 months in Newport, South Wales. Alison’s creative streak shines throughout “Nocturnal Sunrise” displaying her own thoughts and imagination laid bare. Her website is www.strange-green.com.

***

If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with novelist and short story author Marc Nash – the four hundred and fortieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2012 in ebooks, poetry

 

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Author Spotlight no.94 – Sheriff Garba

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the ninety-fourth, is of Sheriff Garba.

Sheriff Garba is the author of the poetry anthology, Aries, Aphrodite, and Aries. He is a Nigerian novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist. His numerous works span the disciplines of literature, history, philosophy, and science. At present he is working on Nigeria and Her Leaders – a chronology of people and events that have shaped the life of Nigeria since independence from the British in 1960; Roses in the Twilight – an anthology of love poetry; Iskókí the Essaylogue – anthology of essays on humanities and socio-economic dialectics in Nigeria, Africa, and the world; and Legend of the Wakili Tales a multi-cultural YA novel.

He is the recipient of the 2006 Centre for Environment and Science Education, CESE of the Lagos State University, LASU Best Essayist prize. He is also a member of the Lagos State branch of the Association of Nigerian Authors.

In his leisure time, he loves to battle it out on Mortal Kombat, listen to music especially rap, and watch movies.

He was formerly an active contributor on the Canadian news website, Suite101.com and now writes a column, Sheriff’s Shelf in the Nigerian online magazine, Ayaka. He resides in Ogun state, Nigeria.

And now from the author himself:

If I could describe myself in two words, those words would be unconventional and versatile. Unconventional has a lot to do with my personal worldview and actions but versatile is what best describes my relationship with the arts. I love the evolving, the exciting and perhaps that is what led me to poetry. The unconventional part of me decreed my choice of free verse as the predominant vehicle to express my creative verve.

Coming from a multiethnic background and growing up in a multiethnic city like Lagos also played its own part in the fashioning of my versatile self. Little wonder that even though I started with the prose form, I subsequently branched out to other genres of literature.

I wrote my first book, a storybook when I was eight or so. The book unfortunately got lost in edition. I got over that awful experience and later went on to write a novel at the age of twelve / thirteen. However I had to wait till when I was eighteen before I was able to finally savour the euphoria of seeing my poetry anthology in print.

Unfortunately another attribute of mine with particular regard to the literary arts is laziness. On the one hand it is a good quality actually, for a writer to exercise patience and let his creative muse dictate his writing pace but on the other hand it is the major reason why I have only published one book to date.

As unconventional as I am, there is a part of me that remains obdurately conservative. That probably explains my weak social media presence. Nevertheless I still maintain some semblance of that. I am still an outsider to the e-book revolution but I manage a blog at http://sheriffgarba.wordpress.com and http://sheriffgarba.blogspot.com. I post articles rather infrequently – usually articles on socio-political and economic discourse from Africa and the rest of the world – but when I do, I ensure they are incisive and informative.

My choice of literary hangouts is the Association of Nigerian Authors monthly meet, which comes up second Saturdays of every month at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

I strongly believe that a writer should never dissociate himself from the socio-political and economic happenings and or discourse in his immediate and larger society at any given time. As such I lend my voice to issues that crop up in this regard: politics, race relations, gender relations, and LGBT rights.

Having lived in Lagos for nineteen years, I now live in a rather rowdy but otherwise pleasant town in Ogun state, Nigeria.

You can find more about Sheriff and his writing via… Suite101.com, Ayaka Online magazine, and his blogs http://sheriffgarba.wordpress.com and http://sheriffgarba.blogspot.com.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Christian author Henry Miranda – the four hundred and third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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Author Spotlight no.82 – Jaidis Shaw

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the eighty-second, is of Jaidis Shaw.

Jaidis Shaw currently resides in a small town located in South Carolina with her husband and beautiful daughter. With a passion for reading, Jaidis can always be found surrounded by books and dreaming of new stories. She enjoys challenging herself by writing in different genres and currently has several projects in the works.

Her short story, ‘The Tower’, is published in the Twisted Fairy Tales Volume II anthology by Wicked East Press. Another short story, ‘Blind Justice’, has been accepted for publication in the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales anthology, also by Wicked East Press.

Having previously only had short stories published, Jaidis entered the exciting world of self-publishing when she released her debut YA paranormal romance Destiny Awaits – book one in the Juniper Grove Chronicles. Although there are plans for other books in this series, each book is stand-alone.

When not reading or writing, Jaidis fills the position of Book Tour Coordinator for Nurture Your Books™, maintains the Juniper Grove blog and loves encouraging her daughter to let her imagination run wild.

And now from the author herself:

I began my writing journey with a timid attitude and being extremely self-conscious. I have always struggled with confidence issues where my writing is concerned and I allowed the fear of failure to rule over me, keeping my writing in the dark. After some much needed encouragement from friends, I submitted a short story to a publisher that was having an open submission call. Did I expect to be accepted? No. In fact, I was almost certain that my short story would be rejected but the mere act of submitting the story was my goal. I was a nervous wreck because I knew that someone would be reading and judging it. The courage to actually submit my story was what I was trying to achieve so that I could accomplish my goal of becoming a published author. When I received the email stating that my story had been accepted it was a beacon of hope. Maybe I could do this and it gave me the fuel to push ahead.

For me, the next step was to search out various open submission calls and find the ones that interested me. I was accepted to participate in a writing challenge where I would be given a prompt and genre and would have to build a story around it. I faced the challenge head on and created a story that I feel as though readers will enjoy. That short story, will be published in the upcoming Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales anthology by Wicked East Press.

With two acceptances under my belt and numerous hours spent building a platform on various networking sites gave me the confidence to pick up the manuscript that I had started while still in high school. Since I had grown as an individual I knew the story needed to grow as well and I did a complete rewrite, trying to create a world that readers would enjoy while being able to relate to the characters. On April 21st, 2012 I decided to self-publish, turning my manuscript into my debut YA paranormal romance novel Destiny Awaits – book one in the Juniper Grove Chronicles. Am I nervous about how the book will be received by readers? Of course! I think that concern crosses the mind of authors everywhere but for me, it is a life goal checked off of my list. I have released a book that I am proud of and can officially be called a published author. Now I only hope that I can remain open-minded and use the feedback received on Destiny Awaits to sculpt my writing so that I can improve not only myself but my writing as well.

Critique is how we learn, isn’t… that and lots of practice. :) Thank you, Jaidis.

You can find more about Jaidis and her writing via… Juniper Grove, GoodReads, Amazon Author Page, YouTube Channel, Facebook Fan Page, TwitterDestiny Awaits on Amazon.com.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Christian teacher, non-fiction author and spotlightee Deborah McCarragher – the three hundred and sixty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
 

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Short Story Saturday 010: Sexy Shorts charity anthologies

Welcome to the Short Story Saturday review slot and the tenth review in this series. This week’s is of the Sexy Shorts charity anthologies by Accent Press.

Anyone who knows me or has been following this blog will know how much I love my short stories and none more so than funny ones (and dark ones) and the Sexy Shorts series are just my thing. Although the stories are predominantly written by women (and quite probably for women), Robert Barnard, Bill Harris and David Wass to name three of the male contributors, they have something for everyone. Each book is themed and I have…

  • Sexy Shorts for Summer: including stories by Cathy Kelly, Fiona Walker, Adele Parks, Carole Matthews, Jane Wenham Jones, Lynne Barrett-Lee and over thirty others. One of my favourites (and not because she’s a prospective interviewee but probably because it’s about two writers :)) is short story author, novelist and writing guru Della Galton’s story ‘Waiting’. As you would expect these stories are written with a summer theme but in most cases this is just timing and with titles such as Julie Cohen’s ‘Whipped Cream Dreams’ (I’ll never see Sainsbury’s and stationery binders in the same light :)) and Sara Sheridan’s ‘HP Sauce’ just make sure you’ve eaten before you start reading them. Julie Cohen did a talk last weekend, by the way, at the Chipping Norton Literature Festival, on writing sex scenes – it was fantastic! :)
  • Staying on the topic of food is the Sexy Shorts for Chef collection, foreworded by Anthony Worrall Thompson. As you would expect they revolve around food but are so varied that you get caught up with the story not the theme. Top names such as Adele Parks, Sophie King and Veronica Henry mix with lesser known authors and that’s what I love about these collections, even if you think you know an author’s writing, there are still pleasant surprises in store… occasionally perhaps where a novelist is outside their comfort zone (although this is not a bad thing).
  • Jane, Katie Fforde and Sue Moorcroft appear amongst many others (including better-known-for-her-crime-writing Lesley Cookman) in Sexy Shorts for Christmas and although you would expect all the stories in this collection to be Christmas-themed (and best read at that time of year) surprisingly they’re not; Jane’s (hilarious Carla’s Gift) and Lesley’s (Wedding Day) being two of the exceptions and like the others in the series they’re so varied that they needn’t be themed at all.
  • Sexy Shorts for the Beach is another light read and as ‘Woman’ magazine put it, “A fine collection of heart-warming stories”. Of course there are levels of heart-warming but suffice to say they all have a degree of ‘sexy’. Regular short story authors in this collection include Jan Jones, Linda Mitchelmore and Sally Quilford.

With each story averaging less than 10 pages they’re perfect for a coffee (or my case, tea) break. Whatever your taste in short story, there’s something for everyone here and with a contribution from every new copy sold going to Cancer Research, even if the book sits on your shelf you’ll have had a warm glow from knowing you did your good deed for the day… or in my case four of them. :)

If you’d like to submit your story (50 to 2,500 words) for review take a look here.

Mystery / suspense author and interviewee Patricia Gligor’s spotlight follows shortly then the blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with short story author, article writer and 30-day challengee Christopher Starr – the three hundred and fifty-forth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are also now on Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2012 in ebooks, short stories

 

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Author Spotlight no.60 – Germaine Shames

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the sixtieth, is of Germaine Shames.

Germaine Shames, has written from six continents–soon to add the seventh–on topics ranging from Aboriginal land rights to Nazi art looting, from the struggle to save the Amazon to the plight of street children.

Shames is author of the critically acclaimed novel Between Two Deserts  (Macadam/Cage Publishing), two earlier nonfiction books, and three feature screenplays.

Her articles have appeared in such publications as National Geographic Traveler, More, Success, Hemispheres, Byline and many others.  Her essays and short fiction have been widely anthologized.

Shames holds a Masters degree in Intercultural Studies.  As a global executive, and later as a foreign correspondent, she has lived and worked in such diverse locations as the Australian outback, Swiss Alps, interior of Bulgaria, coast of Colombia, Fiji Islands, and Gaza Strip.  She brings a tender acuity to her journalism and has made a mission of covering under-reported stories of grassroots activism and everyday heroism.  Her fiction writing reflects the breadth of her worldview and fascination with the interplay of cultures, often drawing on events and settings from her sojourns abroad.

In her forthcoming novel, You, Fascinating You, Shames returns to her roots in the performing arts to reveal the hidden epic behind a timeless love song.

And now from the author herself:

My grandfather gave me my first library card when I was three years old. By the time I entered kindergarten, I had taught myself to read.

While most children read Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, I was grappling with the erotic undercurrents of Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, the mammalian allegory of The Metamorphosis, the literary nose-thumbing of Ulysses… These stories helped me situate myself in the world and planted inklings of things primal and infinitely mysterious.

Flash forward half a century…

Having traveled much of the world, having written from combat zones and tourist meccas, I am a magnet for stories. A select few have become novels or screenplays. None are wasted. They remind me of that inquisitive three year-old who couldn’t wait to read and who found in reading the gateway to limitless imaginings. My life has been vaster, deeper, and more audaciously lived both for the stories I’ve read and those I’ve told.

Morgen: I do remember going to the library as a child but it took me 30+ years to really discover how thrilling writing it is. :) Thank you Germaine.

You can find more about Germaine and her writing via her website http://germainewrites.com.

Reviews of Between Two Deserts:

“Shames, a former Middle East correspondent, handles the complexities of Eve’s visit to war-torn Jerusalem with a subtlety seldom seen in this genre. She is careful not to pass judgment on either side of the political equation as she skillfully intertwines the lives of this diverse cast of characters to produce a tightly executed, emotion-filled work.”   Publisher’s Weekly

“(The novelist) creates the intense atmosphere of an unstable world with grace and a sort of lyric power.”   National Public Radio

“One might expect the journalist and novelist to approach this story quite differently, but in Between Two Deserts, foreign correspondent Germaine Shames has realized a combination of these crafts, lucidly capturing those immutable qualities that speak to our souls.”   Rain Taxi

“In Jerusalem where rhetoric and revenge rule, Shames shows us humanity and insight.”   Bloomsbury Review

Advance Praise for You, Fascinating You:

“A love story reminiscent of that of my grandparents.  I could not put it down.” Kinga Nijinsky Gaspers

“Compelling, heart-wrenching, and heroic.”  Jim Bencivenga, Christian Science Monitor

“Germaine Shames’ beautiful depiction of the life of Margit Wolf and Pasquale Frustaci is told with such vivid and haunting detail, it’s as if the reader is propelled back in time to witness a devastating journey of shattered dreams, juxtaposed with the strength and courage of the human heart.” Susan Jaffe, ‘America’s quintessential ballerina’

“Germaine paints a vivid and accurate portrait of the world of ballet in pre and post-war Europe.  The epic drama expected on the ballet stage is dwarfed by the tragic real life events of her ballerina heroine, Margit Wolf.  Penetrating descriptions of political brutality and the prepossession of romantic love, an ever present theme in classical ballet, make for a page-turning, impelling read.” Janet Panetta, Ballet Master Pina Bausch

“Shames captures the essence of a ballerina with such expertise in her riveting story.  Dancers succeed by creating beauty from effort; this book, too, shows that exquisite art can be made from history’s hardships.”   Elana Altman, soloist dancer, San Francisco Ballet

“An epic story and a true story.  Margit Wolf’s life is the kind of character journey that makes for great movies.” Howard Allen, ‘the Script Doctor’

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with children’s author Colleen Robley Blake – the two hundred and eighty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).

 

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Author Spotlight no.28 – Persis Granger

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlights, the twenty-eighth, is of multi-genre author Persis Granger.

Persis Granger never dreamed that farming would play a role in her life after leaving her family’s New York dairy farm to pursue an English degree at the College of Wooster and the University of Massachusetts. She married and had two daughters. It was in 1970 that she and her husband, Richard, fell in love with the Adirondack Mountains of New York and bought the first of two old farms they would own there. In 1976 they moved to the second, a 160-acre farm with overgrown fields and woodland. The rundown 1800s house and barns required major restoration while the couple raised chickens, cows and pigs, and grew huge gardens. They canned, cured, dried, froze and root-cellared food to last through the long mountain winters.

As their children approached college age, the couple began hand-building log cabins from pine trees harvested on their farm. One cabin became their home when they moved from the farmhouse, and several were sold as vacation cottages. Persis earned a master’s degree in education during that time, and her study of young adult literature reignited her long-dormant interest in fiction writing, eventually resulting in completion of two YA works of historical fiction and a teacher’s guide, as well as an adult nonfiction anthology about living with Alzheimer’s disease. Another novel is in progress, vying with her freelance work for time. Inspired by and enamored of the writing community, Persis also created “Fiction Among Friends”, a mini-business which hosts readings, workshops, signings and retreats for writers.

And now from the author herself:

In the 1970s my husband and I, parents of two young daughters, unwittingly stumbled into subsistence farming. Living on a 19th century farm in the Adirondack Mountains of northeastern NY, we learned how to annihilate cabbage moths with tennis racquets, pluck poultry, scald hogs, skin cows and eviscerate anything living intended for the table. We heated with wood, thawed frozen pipes on days when the thermometers registered 30 degrees (F) below zero and sent our children to bed with hot water bottles that, if kicked onto the floor, froze solid. I found myself wondering what farm life was like before conveniences like chainsaws and electricity, and I set out to learn. I knew I had to write about those days and tell about the important role children played in early farm families and the responsibility they shared for the success and well-being of the family. I wanted today’s youth to read about our forefathers’ strong work ethic and about the strength of a united community and close-knit families.

Most of all, I wanted readers to enjoy an engaging story. I created Adirondack Gold, the story of Hollis Ingraham, forced by circumstances to go live on the 1890s farm of grandparents he barely knew. He stumbles across information about his dead father that helps him bond with his embittered grandfather and mend a family rift. In 2003, with a grant from the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council, I completed the work, with accompanying teachers’ guide. During the same period, I coordinated the writing of an anthology of eleven autobiographical stories of women dealing with a parent’s Alzheimer’s disease, Shared Stories from Daughters of Alzheimer’s: Writing a Path to Peace (paperback and ebook: iUniverse in 2002; iUniverse Star 2004).

But Hollis Ingraham still occupied my mind. I knew the rosy glow surrounding the first novel’s ending was burning low. It was time to revisit this young man’s life as he teetered on the threshold of manhood. Through a complex maze of subplots, Hollis is forced to make difficult decisions, set against the backdrop of a summer in which personal tragedy overwhelms his family while the Spanish-American War, the budding environmental movement and difficult economic times are front page stories. Adirondack Gold II: A Summer of Strangers was born in 2008.

I’m now working on a contemporary mystery in which bodies begin appearing during a writers’ retreat held at a remote Adirondack Great Camp. When I’m not conjuring up bodies, or writing about the Adirondacks for freelance magazine assignments, I actually do organize and host annual writers’ retreats (http://www.persisgranger.com)—one in the Adirondacks, and one on a Florida beach on the Gulf of Mexico. Aspiring writers (all live ones) hunker down together for several days to polish works in progress and hone skills through workshops and discussions led by talented writers. The network established through the retreats enabled me to organize monthly readings in a local coffee shop, helping rural writers connect and share their work with each other and the public.

You can find more about Persis and her work by clicking on the above links and visiting her website. Thank you Persis!

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Glen Gamble – the one hundred and seventy-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found at here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. My eBooks are now available on Smashwords (Amazon to follow).

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 2, 2011 in ebooks, interview, non-fiction, novels, writing

 

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Guest post: Creating an Indie Chicks charity anthology by Cheryl Shireman

I’m delighted to bring you tonight’s guest blog post, a Monday night extra, on the topic of creating an Indie Chicks charity anthology, by Cheryl Shireman.

Is Your Life Whispering to You?

I believe life whispers to you and provides direction. I call that life force God. You can call it whatever you want, but there is no escaping it. If we are open, and brave enough to say yes, life will take us in directions we never expected, and you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams.

Those whisperings often come in the form of a “crazy” idea or a nudge to move into a certain direction that seems odd or silly or daring. Then there is that moment when you think, Well, that’s weird. Where in the world did that come from?

And then there’s the second moment, when you have to make a choice. You can dismiss the crazy notion, and probably even come up with a dozen reasons why it’s a bad idea. You don’t have the time, the money, or the resources. Besides, who are you to do such a thing? What in the world were you thinking? So, you dismiss the idea. We always have that option – to say No.

But it comes back – that whisper. Sometimes again and again. But if we are practical, and safe, we can squash the notion until it is almost forgotten. Almost.

Such a notion came to me a couple of months ago. I began to think of an anthology composed of women writers. An anthology that would be published before the rapidly approaching holiday season. The title came to me almost immediately – Indie Chicks. It was a crazy notion. I was working with an editor who was editing my first two novels, and was also in the middle of writing a third novel. Working on three books seemed to be a pretty full plate. Adding a fourth was insane.

But the crazy notion kept coming back to me. It simply refused to be dismissed. So I sent out a “feeler” email to another writer, Michelle Muto. She loved the idea. I sent out another email to my writing buddy, J. Carson Black. She loved the idea, too, but couldn’t make the time commitment. She had just signed with Thomas & Mercer and was knee deep in writing. I took it as a sign. I didn’t have the time for the project either. Perhaps after the first of the year, when final edits were done on my own novels. I dismissed it, at least for the present time. I’d think about it again in another couple of months, when the timing made more sense.

A week later I surrendered, started developing a marketing plan for Indie Chicks, and began sending out emails to various indie writers – some I knew, but most were strangers. I contacted a little over thirty women. Every one of them responded with enthusiasm. Most said yes immediately, and those who could not, due to time commitments, wished us well and asked me to let them know when the book when the book was published so they could be part of promoting it.

One of the first writers I contacted was Heather Marie Adkins. Earlier this year, while I was browsing the internet, I came across an interview with Heather. The interviewer (oddly enough, Michelle Muto) asked Heather, When did you decide to become an indie author? Heather’s answer was:  About a month ago. My dad had been trying to talk me into self-publishing for some time, but I was hesitant. One night, I sat down and ran a Google search. I discovered Amanda Hocking, JA Konrath, Victorine Lieski; but it was Cheryl Shireman that convinced me. This is the field to be in. I was shocked (Astonished! Flabbergasted!). I had no idea that I had ever inspired anyone! To be honest, it was a bit humbling. And,okay, yes – it made me cry. So, of course, I had to invite Heather to be a part of the anthology. Heather not only said yes, but she also volunteered to format the project – a task I was dreading.

As Heather and I exchanged emails, I told her about how I had been similarly inspired to become an indie writer by Karen McQuestion. My husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas of 2010. Honestly, the present angered me. I didn’t want a Kindle. I wanted nothing to do with reading a book on an electronic device! I love books; the feel of them, the smell of them. But, very quickly, I started filling up that Kindle with novels.

One day, while looking for a new book on Amazon, I came across a title by Karen McQuestion. I learned that McQuestion had published her novels through Amazon straight to Kindle. Immediately, I began doing research on her and how to publish through Kindle. I had just completed a novel and was ready to submit it through traditional routes. Within 48 hours of first reading about McQuestion, I submitted my novel, Life Is But A Dream: On The Lake. Twenty four hours later, it was published as an eBook on Amazon. Within another couple of weeks it was available as a paperback and through Nook. Did I jump into this venture fearlessly? No! I was scared to death, and I almost talked myself out of it. Almost. The novel went on to sell over 10,000 copies within the first seven months of release.

As I shared that story with Heather, another crazy notion whispered in my ear – Ask Karen McQuestion to write the foreword for Indie Chicks. Of course, I dismissed it. We had exchanged a couple of tweets on Twitter, but other than that, I had never corresponded with McQuestion. It was nonsense to think she would write the foreword. I was embarrassed to even ask her. Surely, she would think I was some sort of nut. But, the idea kept whispering to me and, with great trepidation, I emailed her. She said yes! Kindly, enthusiastically, and whole-heartedly, she said yes. Karen McQuestion had inspired me to try indie publishing. I had inspired Heather Adkins. And now the three of us were participating in Indie Chicks, that crazy whisper I had been unable to dismiss.

The book began to develop, and as it did, a theme began to form. This was to be a book full of personal stories from women. As women, one of our most powerful gifts is our ability to encourage one another. This book became our effort to encourage women across the world. Twenty-five women sharing stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. We began to dream that these stories would inspire other women to live the life they were meant to live.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted the proceeds of this charity to go to some sort of charity that would benefit other women. While we were in the process of compiling the anthology, the mother of one of the women was diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost immediately upon learning that, Michelle Muto sent me an email. Hey, in light of *****’s mother having an aggressive form of breast cancer, can I nominate The Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer? I mean, one of our own is affected here, and other than heart disease (which took my own mother’s life), I can’t think of anything more worthy than to honor our sister in words and what she’s going through. A daughter’s love knows no bounds for her mother. Trust me. I know it’s a charity that already gets attention on its own. But, that’s not the point, is it? The point is there are 25 ‘sisters’ sticking together and supporting each other for this anthology. I say we put the money where the heart is. We had our inspiration. All proceeds would go to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research.

The stories started coming in. Some were light hearted and fun to read. But others were gut-wrenching and inspiring – stories of how women dealt with physical abuse, overwhelming grief, and a host of bad choices. It was clear; these women were not just sharing a story, but a piece of their heart. I felt as if I were no longer “organizing” this anthology, but just getting out of the way so that it could morph and evolve into its truest form.

Fast forward to just a few days before publication. Heather was almost done with the enormous task of formatting a book with twenty-five authors. We were very close to publishing and were on the homestretch. That’s when I received an email. An unlikely email from someone I didn’t really know. Beth Elisa Harris and I were involved in another indie project and Beth sent an email to all of the authors in that project, including me. She attached a journal to that email. For whatever reason, Beth had been inspired to share a journal she wrote a few years ago. She cautioned us to keep her confidence and not share the journal with anyone else. I tend toward privacy and don’t tend to trust easily. This is a HUGE step for me. I’ve only read it once since I wrote it. Intrigued, I opened the journal and began reading. It dealt with her diagnosis, a few years back, with breast cancer! Before I was even one third of the way through the journal, I felt I should ask Beth to include this journal in the Indie Chicks anthology. It was a crazy notion, especially when considering her words about privacy and trust. We didn’t even know each other, how could I ask her to go public with something so personal? I tried to dismiss the notion (are you noticing a pattern here?), but could not. I wrote the email, took a deep breath, and hit send. She answered immediately. Yes. Most definitely, yes.

Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories, with foreword by Karen McQuestion and afterword by Beth Elise Harris, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. The book includes personal stories from each of the women, as well as excerpts from our novels. And it began as a whisper. A whisper I did my best to ignore.

What whisper are you ignoring? What crazy notion haunts you? What dream merely awaits your response? I urge you, say Yes. Live the life you were meant to live. Say yes today.

Stories included in Indie Chicks:

Foreword by Karen McQuestion

Knight in Shining Armor by Shea MacLeod

Latchkey Kid by Heather Marie Adkins

Write or Die by Danielle Blanchard

The Phoenix and The Darkness by Lizzy Ford

Never Too Late by Linda Welch

Stepping Into the Light by Donna Fasano

One Fictionista’s Literary Bliss by Katherine Owen

I Burned My Bra For This? by Cheryl Shireman

Mrs. So Got It Wrong Agent by Prue Battten

Holes by Suzanne Tyrpak

Turning Medieval by Sarah Woodbury

A Kinky Adventure in Anglophilia by Anne R. Allen

Writing From a Flour Sack by Dani Amore

Just Me and James Dean by Cheryl Bradshaw

How a Big Yellow Truck Changed My Life by Christine DeMaio-Rice

From 200 Rejections to Amazon Top 200! by Sibel Hodge

Have You Ever Lost a Hat? by Barbara Silkstone

French Fancies! by Mel Comley

Life’s Little Gifts by Melissa Foster

Never Give Up On Your Dream by Christine Kersey

Self-taught Late Bloomer by Carol Davis Luce

Moving to The Middle East by Julia Crane

Paper, Pen, and Chocolate by Talia Jager

The Magic Within and The Little Book That Could by Michelle Muto

Write Out of Grief by Melissa Smith

Afterword by Beth Elisa Harris

Indie Chicks is available for your Kindle on Amazon and your Nook on Barnes and Noble. You may also read it on your computer or most mobile devices by downloading a free reader from those sites.

Stop by our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/IndieChicksAnthology

Follow our Indie Chicks hash tag on Twitter!  #IndieChicksAnthology

Thank you Cheryl, I hope it sells really, really well!

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with romance author Chris Karlsen – the one hundred and seventy-fourth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in ebooks, Facebook, short stories, writing

 

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