Olympic Writing Events

Fully recovered from asphyxiation after laughing your asses off at the opening ceremonies? Great. Now we can get on to the more serious business of the Olympics: the events. Because I’m still pissed that softball and baseball were eliminated after Beijing, I’ve decided to start my own Olympic-style competition. This is for a group of athletes who have been training hard, putting in the time, the effort, the blood, sweat, and tears, and are deserving of some well-earned recognition. They’ve broken land-speed records in coffee brewing and set new endurance milestones for keeping one’s rump in one’s chair. This is for…the writers. Continue reading “Olympic Writing Events”

An Experiment of One…Hundred Thousand

I am a social media experiment. No, Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t plastered electrodes to my head to test my brainwaves while I look at adorable, spelling-deficient baby animals on Facebook, although his calls are getting more insistent and frankly, a little disturbing. I think somewhere in the depths of his underground California lair, he’s training newborn badgers to sing Justin Bieber tunes. But I could be wrong. Since I read it on Wikipedia. Continue reading “An Experiment of One…Hundred Thousand”

Not So Little Women

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” -Louisa May Alcott

As a thirteen-year-old bookworm following in my feminist mother’s footsteps, I tossed aside white-gloved girl detective Nancy Drew and her ilk for pioneering female authors of an earlier age: the Victorians. The writing was lovely, but after plowing through a few of the classics, oh, how it rankled. Despite Jane Austen’s relatively high-minded Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice (even though she ended up with über-hot Mr. Darcy), it still bugged the pants off me that these women were so…dull. They played the piano and did needlepoint. They spent a mind-numbing amount of time fussing with their frocks, nattering on about dances, and waiting, all that WAITING, to be introduced to men who might make suitable matches, after which they would probably die in childbirth or become young widows married off to skeevy dudes old enough to be their fathers because everyone knew they could not possibly survive without a Y chromosome in the house.

Read the rest at Indies Unlimited…

Guest Post by Nicole Storey: Making a Difference for Kids with Autism

(Today, author Nicole Storey visits to talk about a cause very dear to her and her family’s hearts. I hope you will consider making a purchase to help support this very worthy organization. Besides, Nicole’s stories are delightfully magical. See my review of her first book, Grimsley Hollow: The Chosen One.)

by Nicole Storey

When my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, I was devastated and lost.  I had no idea who to turn to for help.  Thankfully, a dear friend advised me to go on the web and search for autism support sites.  I did, and found many parents treading the same turbulent waters.  I was no longer alone.

It is charities such as The GreaterGood Network at The Autism Site that help parents to believe their children can do more, be more, than the doctors dictate. This charity helps to fund therapy for children with autism: Speech, Sensory Integration, Cognitive/Behavioral, Diet, and so many more.

For the month of July, a percentage of the sales from my books will be donated to The GreaterGood Network to help provide autistic children with the help they need to thrive.  I would love it if you could give just a few dollars and download an eBook or perhaps buy a paperback.  Together, we can make a difference for children with autism! Thank you so very much!

The GreaterGood Network:  http://bit.ly/N0y9cr
Nicole Storey’s Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/KThYif
Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/84094

Guest post: LB Clark and MusiCares

Lovely and talented author LB Clark joins us to talk about her latest project, Music Speaks, an anthology of short stories about music and musicians, the foundation she helps support, and the vital role music plays in our lives.

MusiCares
Guest post by LB Clark

Think for a minute about some of the roles music has played in your life.  Have you ever used a silly song to help you remember something (if you learned your alphabet as a child by singing the “ABC” song, then you’ve done this one!)?  Have you witnessed music bringing people together or bonded with someone over music?  Have you seen anyone using music to rally people?  Has a song ever changed your point of view?  Made you think?  Lifted your spirits?  Made you feel less alone in the world?

Now imagine for a moment a world without music.  No “ABC” song.  No background noise during the daily commute to work, no ambiance for a romantic dinner, no epic soundtracks for the summer blockbusters, no upbeat tunes to motivate your workout, no mix-tapes or shared playlists of romantic songs that tell someone everything you can’t find the words to say, no wedding march, no lullabies.  No concerts, no dance clubs, no piano bars, no jukeboxes, no karaoke.  Imagine, too, that those songs that made you feel less alone or lifted your spirits never existed.

Can you imagine it?  I can’t.  I don’t want to.  The very notion frightens me.  Without the music that has gotten me through so many dark days, would I even still be here?  Best not to think about that one too deeply.

While music isn’t a basic necessity, it is still a vital part of our lives.  In turn, the folks who make music—not only the musicians but the entire music industry—are an important part of our lives.  What would have happened if one of the musicians whose music helped me stay strong and sane had run into tough times himself (or herself) and not had anyone to turn to for help?  That music might not have ever been made (and therefore wouldn’t have been there when I needed it).

Now imagine that there is an organization that helps musicians and others in the industry when they run into hard times.  An organization that makes sure these folks have medical care and a roof over their heads, ensures they have access to resources to help them overcome addiction, and helps them recover after a major catastrophe or natural disaster, like the massive flooding in Nashville in 2010.  This one is easy to imagine, because that organization exists.  It’s called MusiCares.

Just as music is a vital part of our lives, MusiCares has an important role to play.  By helping music industry people in need, they in turn help all of us to get pass the small and large roadbumps in our lives.

Imagine now that you can do something to help support the MusiCares Foundation and all of the programs it funds—without breaking the bank or even leaving your chair.  Imagine, too, that by donating to MusiCares you also got a couple of hours of entertainment, gained a little insight, and—just maybe—had something touch your heart or inspire you in some way.  This, too, is easy to imagine; with a couple of dollars and a couple of clicks, you can help MusiCares help musicians, and maybe even help yourself in the process.

Music Speaks is a collection of short stories about music and musicians.  The authors don’t earn a single cent.  Neither does the publisher.  Or the cover artist.  Or the editor.  Or that one poor woman who had to format the thing.  Every penny that doesn’t cover print and distribution costs goes directly to MusiCares, and from there on to those music folks who need help.

Click a link, take a look at what’s on offer, and consider supporting MusiCares by purchasing the Music Speaks anthology.  For less than the cost of a cup of gourmet coffee (ebook) or a fruitiful mixed drink (print), you can change a life—a life that just might end up changing, or saving, other lives.

You can purchase Music Speaks on Amazon, Barnes&Noble.com, or Smashwords.

LB Clark is an indie writer, editor, and publisher currently residing in an East Texas college town. She is the author of the Jukebox Heroes series—a music-inspired urban fantasy/romance series. Learn more at http://www.lonestarbookworks.info.

Why I Love Mainstream Fiction

I’m an omnivorous reader, but mainstream fiction owns my heart. Call it general fiction, mainstream, or commercial, but don’t call it a “default” genre for everything that doesn’t fit into the tidy, Amazon-approved taxonomy! Mainstream fiction is, at its core, about the art, tragedy, and comedy of being human. Mainstream novels are set, mainly, in a realistic world. Most are contemporary and many are historical, set in a time that was particularly transformational in the life of the protagonist. This is why you see so many “coming of age” novels, like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Life of Bees, The Ice Storm, and Cutting for Stone written against settings of great social, cultural, and political upheaval. Most mainstream novels are driven more heavily by character than by plot. Most have themes. Story arcs. Protagonists, often in a guise of a comfortable life at the beginning of a story, are shaken from their lethargy by events large and small. Or, like John Irving’s The World According to Garp, one of the first mainstream stories to capture my writerly attention, Garp enters life at a great disadvantage and must find his own way and make his own family. Characters in some of the best mainstream novels want something badly. They are willing to move mountains to get it. Save the world, save a life, save a tree…all can be worthy goals if they are difficult for a character to obtain. A character’s journey can be as broad as reinventing one’s life after the loss of a loved one, or as small as taking a first step from an uncomfortable place. While they don’t always have happy endings, and even though some may consider me a literary dinosaur for writing in this genre, I enjoy the journey, the feeling of sinking into a universe of characters, a place, a time, knowing it will transform me, as well.