More About Jill…

24 05 2010

So yesterday I posted about Jill Williamson being up for the Christy Award.

You can find out more about Jill at her website or her Amazon page, where I lifted the opening sentences of her bio to whet your appetite:

“Jill was raised in rural Alaska. Alone with her thoughts and the moose, daydreaming was a favorite pastime. As was reading…”

And now she’s turned her passion for reading into a passion for writing, and a fine job she’s done of it. Here’s her latest book cover from Marcher Lord Press:

You can get a copy at Amazon or at the Marcher Lord site.

And if you’re wondering just how good this book is, here’s a review about Book One:

“This thoroughly entertaining and smart tale will appeal to fans of Donita K. Paul and J.R.R. Tolkien. Highly recommended for CF and fantasy collections.” —Library Journal

And the praise continues for Book Two:

The second installment of the Blood of Kings series will thrill, surprise, and delight readers just as much as the first. With stellar craftsmanship, the author continues to thrust her characters into a myriad of plot-driven obstacles that will have readers biting their nails late into the night.”

Christian Miles (Amazon review)

With her first book up for a Christy and her second garnering well-deserved praise, you’ll want to grab a copy quickly before they all sell out. And if you want to get an autographed copy, you can get one at Jill’s website.





Big News…

23 05 2010

We interrupt this regularly scheduled broadcast of BEA happenenings to cover some fabulously exciting news. My friend Jill Williamson is up for a Christy!!

Christy Award

How cool is that? So I just have to do a happy dance, and then plug this terrific book that’s been garnering all kinds of praise and winning multiple honors and awards. But now she’s up for one of the biggest awards in the Christian book world.

If you aren’t familiar with the Christy, it started in 1999, and from the website:

“The Christy Award is designed to:

  • Nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview.
  • Bring a new awareness of the breadth and depth of fiction choices available, helping to broaden the readership.
  • Provide opportunity to recognize novelists whose work may not have reached bestseller status.”

And Jill’s book certainly qualifies for the “quality and creativity” part. So what’s the fab book that’s snagging so much attention? It’s By Darkness Hid, the first book in The Blood of Kings trilogy.

Book Two, To Darkness Fled, is out now. And I’m eagerly awaiting Book Three.





Multicultural Tales for Children’s Book Week

14 05 2010

Two authors who are appearing at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC, on Sunday, May 16, write stories of other lands. Caroline McAlister has two picture books, one set in Mexico, the other in Italy. Maryam Tabibzadeh’s poetic book reflects Persian culture.

Caroline McAlister
¡Holy Molé! (August House)
www.carolinemcalister.com

Inspired by the Mexican folk tradition, Holy Molé! explains the origins of mole sauce, the popular national dish that combines chocolate with spices and nuts. Young Carlos tries to stay out of the way as lunch is prepared, but his curiosity gets the best of him. His eagerness results in a moment of crisis, followed by what the brothers can only assume is a miracle.

Set in Renaissance Italy, Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief is based on a legend about the real Duke Cosimo de Medici. With enchanting illustrations it explores the dangers people are willing to face in the name of love.

Caroline McAlister lives in Greensboro and teaches writing at Guilford College. Her travels to Italy and Mexico early in life inspired these two books.

Maryam Tabibzadeh
Persian Dreams (Dream Books)
http://www.persiandreams.org

Persian Dreams is the fascinating family saga of life in Iran that spans a century, revealing one family’s unforgettable story against the backdrop of a country in constant turmoil. Persian poetry translated from divan-e-shams flows smoothly throughout the story line, adding an element of romance and nostalgia to the already haunting tale of love, family, and revolution.

Maryam Tabibzadeh graduated from Pahlavi University and then completed studies in 1983 at SUNY Binghamton in Advanced Technology. She is the chief editor and founder of “Persian Corner” a bilingual Online Magazine, and served as the chief editor of the Iranian Cultural Society of NC newsletter for several years, both as a contributor and a translator of articles. She is the author of several short stories and has now published two books.





Grammar Grrrs…

26 04 2010

Hate seeing misspelled words? Misused expressions? Poor grammar?

You’re not alone. Some of us grammar geeks have been enjoying the wisdom and humor of Hyperbole and a Half. Not only does it contain rants on subjects dear to my heart, but Allie Brosh, the author, also draws pics.

Ever wonder what an Alot looks like? Check out her blog to find out.

BTW, if you’re not a grammar geek like me, put need help with that part of your writing, her pictures will help you remember what words to use when.





Writing a Bestseller

23 04 2010

by Darvin Atkeson

All speeches need an inspirational takeaway. So I asked my Muse for something eternal, unique, and beautiful. In what way could my life or my words be inspiring?

One of the greatest inspirations is hearing how others overcame the odds to reach success. That’s why author talks are so successful (and why people clap even if you mess up–most attendees have always dreamed of being a famous author). But that success is ordinary, although it may not seem so.

Anyone can become an author if they study hard, learn the craft, put hours of sitting in a chair and spilling their guts, keeping submitting in the face of rejection, and never, ever give up. But that’s so NOT what people want to hear. They already know that. And many of them have given it a shot. They want a magic pill they can take that transforms their idea into a runaway bestseller.

And so what do I, an author who has written for 20 some years have to share that will inspire the audience eager for pearls of wisdom? Persistence and perseverance are the keys? Never giving up? OK, let’s be honest: maybe published authors are more stubborn or perhaps more thickheaded?

So that won’t make my speech inspiring. What will? I decided to talk about how I overcame obstacles in my path and went on to conquer them. Some seemed insurmountable at the time, but I have a secret that keeps me on track. I’ll share that secret and the source of my inspiration in Friday’s post.





I Survived… I Think

21 04 2010

So, one day after the event, I can look back with equanamity. If you read my public speaking post, you might have gotten the impression I don’t like to speak in front of groups.

That’s partially true. And I’m a procrastinator who avoids thinking about the presentation until the last minute, then…gulp!…realizes that it’s time to go out the door, and I have no time left to prepare. Why do I do that? It means I panic as I rush to pull some thoughts together as I drive to my destination and pray that I’ll come up with an interesting and inspirational topic. Yes, I was asked to talk about myself, but every talk should be structured like a story, with a beginning (inciting incident), middle (rising action), and ending (dramatic conclusion).

Luckily for me, my muse works well under pressure. I came up with several exciting (at least I hoped they were) events in my life and made them steppingstones, using an underlying theme of how I jump into careers, then learn on the job, often after I being forced to change directions by a tragedy or a roadblock. That helped me choose my anecdotes.

But I also like to give each audience a takeaway, something meaningful that they can apply to their own lives. My muse, my creative mind, my subconscious didn’t fail me. It dredged up a wonderful idea–one I’d heard years ago in someone else’s speech that had a powerful effect on my life…

Stay tuned for: Seeing the Other Side





Public Speaking: Worse than Death?

18 04 2010

More people say they fear public speaking more than death. Is that true? And why is it authors get asked to speak in public when their forte is the written word? My post on the subject has been moved to the Susquehanna Writers blog.





An Author’s Dream Come True

3 02 2010

Author Bonnie J. Doerr’s made no secret of the fact that she’s a Carl Hiaasen fan. So how cool is it to walk into a bookstore and see her book face out, next to the likes of Hoot, Flush, and Scat. Talk about a thrill!

Even better, Bonnie isn’t just writing books about saving the environment, she’s doing something about it, too. Today she helped the wildlife center release pelicans. She’s on tour in Key West right now, so if you’re in the area, stop by to pick up a copy of her book, Island Sting. Visit the Key West Wildlife Center on Sunday, February 7, 2010 from 1-4 pm. You can not only meet Bonnie and get an autographed book, but proceeds from the books will be donated to the center.

Here’s Bonnie’s schedule if you’re lucky enough to get away to the Keys or if you live in the area:

February 4: US 1 Radio 104.1 FM Morning Magazine with Bill Becker 7:50 am
February 4: KONK AM 1680 AM “ECOcentricView” with Erika Biddle 2-3 pm
February 5: Walk on Winn Dixie, Big Pine Key 7 – 9 pm, National Key Deer Visitor Center
February 7: Family Fun Day Fund Raiser, Key West Wildlife Center 1-4 pm
February 9: Florida Keys Community College Library 5:30 pm, “Manuscript Makeover/What Not to Dare”
February 11: Café con Libros, Key West Public Library 9:30 –11:00 am, “Evolution of a Novel/Survival of the Determined”
March 2: Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables, FL 7 pm

Oh, and if you want to find out more about that Pelican Release, check out the Leap Books blog.





Gruesome Halloween Treats

31 10 2009

deadladyfingers1Need a last minute Halloween recipe? How ’bout Dead Witches Fingers? They’re suitably ghoulish. See the Wolfy Chicks blog. Author Judith Graves shows you how to make these delightfully gruesome treats.

Pair them with Blood-flavored Ice Cream–a recipe by author Kitty Keswick.

Two treats sure to make your guests howl.





Guilty Pleasures

29 10 2009

journal with penOften writing is an opportunity to free yourself from the chains of the past. To loose the bonds holding you captive, preventing your spirit from soaring. But for me, that freedom always comes with a price tag—guilt. Writing is fun. Losing myself in another world, becoming brave and strong, fearless in the face of danger, is a guilty pleasure. I avoid writing because I enjoy it so much.

When I indulge, my conscience whispers, “Anything that feels this good must be a sin.”

So I put duty before pleasure and crowd out the siren call of the empty page. It’s easier to clean closets or scrub toilets than to pour out my soul on the page. It’s easier to meet deadlines for copyediting or to critique other people’s work than to free my heart. It’s easier to engage in busywork or to cross off items on my to-do list than to let my imagination soar.

Now what’s your excuse?