Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Holidays from Writers4Higher!

 

Happy Holidays from Writers4Higher!

 
Whatever you celebrate...
 
The Writers4Higher family of authors
wishes you the very best.
 
We will return in January
with more fun posts from
our featured authors.
 
Till then...
 
Be safe, be happy, be merry.
 
Ho. Ho.
 
 
Rhett DeVane

 
 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Writers4Higher features Darryl Bollinger


Welcome to Writers4Higher

 

 

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

 

 

This issue, Writers4Higher features
 
Darryl Bollinger
 
 
 

Hi, Darryl. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
 
 

1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
 
I’ve always loved to read. Growing up in a decidedly middle-class setting in Georgia, my idea of an exotic journey was a family car trip to visit relatives in Florida. For me, reading was an escape, a way to go places and do things that I never thought I’d get a chance to do.
 
I’ve been blessed, and have traveled the world and been able to do a lot of things that as a child I could only dream of doing. But I still remember the magic of being transported to other worlds by a good writer. And I’ve always wanted to be able to pass that along. I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing, in fact, started my first novel over twenty years ago. A couple of years ago, I finally finished it and it’s sitting on the shelf! I’ll revisit it at some point, but didn’t feel like it was ready for prime time.
 
I spent most of my work life in the health care industry. Health care is fascinating, representing the largest single portion of our GDP and touching everyone in one way or another. Yet, most people have no clue as to the inner workings. So I chose to present my stories with the health care industry as a backdrop, trying to give the reader a feel for what goes on behind the curtain.
 
I love fiction; it gives the writer the freedom that I enjoy. At the same time, I always felt like I learned something from the good fiction I read, so I’m a stickler for details on the components of my books. I do my homework and take the time to research things that I’m unfamiliar with. I want my readers to be able to take away something they didn’t know before they read my book, some new knowledge.
 
The Medicine Game, my first novel, is a story about greed and corruption in health care involving a corporate cover-up. In an effort to cut manufacturing costs of an expensive heart drug, the effectiveness has been compromised. Yet the profit motive drives the corporate players to hide the facts.
 
My newest book, A Case of Revenge, gives the reader a frightening glimpse of what is possible in a world where computers and technology reach into every corner of our lives. Coupled with the age-old motive of revenge, it makes for a suspenseful who-done-it.
 
2. Where do you see you writing taking you in the future?
 
I don’t claim to have any deep, moral messages in my books – they’re meant to be entertaining. Although I’d like to be able to make a living from my writing, my real reward is the feedback I get from readers. As a writer, I think that is the greatest satisfaction. My goal is to publish ten books in ten years.
 
3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
 
Hopefully, my writing is encouraging others, both to read and write. I get lots of inquiries from aspiring writers, young and old, which I enjoy. I also enjoy interacting with my readers, especially in person. I’ve had the chance to speak to college English classes, and I love doing that. I find it energizing. I’d like to do more speaking on the subject of writing, and hope that in the future, I get more opportunities to do that.
I’m a member of the Florida Writers Association and actively involved with the Tallahassee Writers Association, and again, see that as a way to give back. I’ve always liked encouraging and motivating others.

 

Would you like to find Darryl?


Check out the links to this talented author:
 
 


The Medicine Game on Amazon

A Case of Revenge on Amazon

Darryl on Twitter



 
Thank you, Darryl!

 


Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Writers4Higher features Stephen Wetta

Welcome to Writers4Higher

 

 

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

 

 

This issue, Writers4Higher features
 
Stephen Wetta

 
 
 
Hi, Stephen. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!


1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
 

My life is the usual human mess, and I've made it worse by wanting to write books. I have no grand plan as a writer, I simply put things down as they come to me.


I grew up in Richmond without making any mark on the town, and I moved to NYC when I was in my thirties. I did in New York what most people do: worked and struggled and pretended to be involved in interesting things. I wrote a novel about 1950s rock and roll and tried to sell it and almost did. I got a Ph.D. and began to teach and somehow that became my career. To my surprise, Amy Einhorn agreed to publish another novel I wrote (called If Jack's in Love), which has sold modestly and gotten some good reviews. It won the 2011 Willie Mitchell Award for Southern Fiction.


2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I have several novels on my hard drive. One involves a hostage situation, a Louisiana hurricane, William Blake and Old Testament prophecy. My rockabilly novel still stands: I've rewritten it, and I hope that it (and my Louisiana hurricane novel) will some day see the light of day. At the moment I'm attempting a narrative set in Brooklyn, although I'm not sure I'm committed to it.


3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I can't say I see myself as being much of a help to anyone. With my 57-year-old back I can't even help others lift furniture. The best I can do now is serve as a cautionary tale for young people.

Would you like to find Stephen?

Check out the links to this talented author:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks so much, Stephen! Look forward to more of your writing!
 


Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Thanksgiving Note from Writers4Higher

Welcome to Writers4Higher
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanksgiving...our time to stop for a few moments of peace.
 
Peace is a wonderful concept, but most creative ventures depend on the lack of peace. As writers, we need to remain unsettled, to question, to strive for answers.
 
 
Here's a little ditty I wrote at a recent writers' retreat, Fiction Among Friends.
 
Pearls arise from irritated oysters.
Writers depend on life to provide challenges;
 we look for the grains of sand
to burr beneath our spirits.
Remember the lesson.
Have gratitude for the sand.
And may you always stay irritated.
 
Rhett DeVane
Fiction Among Friends
November 2012
****** 
 
It's been an interesting few months on this blog. I've learned some amazing things about my writer friends. Boy, are they one talented and caring group of folks.

 
As a Southern woman, I was raised to be somewhat retiring...not that the training "took." Mama said, "while it is okay to toot your own horn, don't start up the whole band."
 
On this blog, I am happy to be the one prodding these authors to at least toot a few notes. We never know the golden qualities of those around us. At least, I have the opportunity to showcase those qualities on the Writers4Higher blog.
 
At this season of Thanksgiving, I urge all of you to pause and take the time to do something for someone else. Even a small stone skipped across a big pond can send ripples in every direction. You never know who you will touch.
 
My best to all of you! And may you stay irritated in a good way.
 
Rhett DeVane
Moderator, Writers4Higher
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Writers4Higher features Pat MacEnulty


Welcome to Writers4Higher

 

 

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

 

 

This issue, Writers4Higher features
 
Pat MacEnulty
 
 

 

Hi, Pat. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

 
Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
 
I have six books published (four novels, a short story collection, and a memoir). My most recent book is Wait Until Tomorrow: A Daughter's Memoir, which I sometimes think of as a sequel to my first novel, Sweet Fire. I grew up and lived most of my life in Florida, but now I live and teach in Charlotte NC. I have a “checkered past” which, I think, means periods of dark and light, but which also winds up as material in my books. My mother was certainly an inspiration to me. In fact, my memoir is about her in the last years of her life. She died in 2011.
I guess my work always inspired by love in some way whether it’s love of place or love of a person or even of some particular time in my life. Many of my stories are set in Florida though I’m finally getting around to writing some things based in North Carolina where I live for the time being. If you were to look for a common theme in my works, you might say they are about redemption. Lord knows I’m counting on redemption in real life, too.
Barack Obama tells us that no one get there (wherever there is) alone. That’s true of writers as well. My literary mothers (Sheila Ortiz Taylor, Lynda Schor) and my literary fathers (Harry Crews and Les Standiford) exemplified a commitment to writing that keeps me going -- even during those periods when I wonder, who the hell is ever going to read this???
In addition to the six books, I have created a small publishing company and published two of my books ( a children’s book and a self-help book) and a wonderful book called Leah’s Journey Home by a 92-year-old man named Gil Ballance.
 
Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
 
That’s the thing, isn’t it? The thing that every writer asks himself or herself every time a piece is put away -- poets, essayists, song writers, novelists. We all wonder: is there more? Do I have more to say? We always hope the answer is yes.
Right now, I am working on a book about Transformative Writing which is based on my blog: www.theartoftransformativewriting.com. The title changes every few weeks, but my goal is to have something in print by early next year at least for my workshops. Then I’ll see about sending it off.
I’m also working on a mystery novel. I love to write mysteries even though I’ve only finished one -- my third book, Time to Say Goodbye. My intention is to have a draft of this one finished by next summer.

How do you use your talents/time to help others?
 
Well, I give workshops in transformative writing. I think that’s the most important thing I can do because I really believe that writing not only transforms us, but it can transform the world. I think it’s spiritual work we do when we write. It’s connecting. It’s exploring the shadow. It’s creating art. I don’t mean to sound pompous. I just know that I’ve found treasures hidden in my own shabby life that I never would have known were there if I hadn’t picked up a pen and put some words on a piece of paper.
 
 
 

 

Would you like to find Pat?
 

Check out the links to this talented author:

 
Pat's blog

Pat MacEnulty's author page on Amazon.com
 

 

Thanks so much for joining us, Pat!
 

Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Writers4Higher features Marina Brown




Welcome to Writers4Higher

 

 

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

 

 

This issue, Writers4Higher features
 
Marina Brown

 

 
 

 Image of Marina Brown
 

Hi, Marina. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!


Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
 
To tell you about myself is to string together one seemingly less fortunate event to the very fortunate one that could only follow if the first one occurred.
I was born with ‘flat feet’. The doctor suggested dancing as a therapy. And thus I entered the world of ballet. Eventually, at 15, I would dance solo roles with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and American Festival Ballet .
And then I had an injury. In my early twenties, while dancing, I broke my Achilles tendon. But a wonderful nurse somehow encouraged me, and I went to nursing school.  Having an RN enabled me to continue traveling and to live in NYC, LA, and Boston. It was in Los Angeles that I met my husband and moved to Florida.
We didn’t have children of our own, but adopted three wonderful ones.  And while home being a mother, I had the time to develop some other skills. I began to paint more and show my art work in juried shows, winning a number of Best of Shows and Honorable mentions for watercolors.  And I took up the cello, later playing for 14 years with the Tampa Bay Symphony. I hired a teacher and polished my French. Then started Italian. 
And then my marriage ended. But amazingly, in the orchestra I had joined, I met a violinist. He turned out to be an amazing man who owned wonderful boats, and soon, I too became a sailor.  It was on one of our trips sailing through the islands to Venezuela that we visited the island off the coast of Trinidad where my first novel takes place. I also began to write for the St. Petersburg Times and other newspapers, doing travel and features pieces; dance pieces for Dance Magazine; sailing articles for Sailing Magazine.
I now live in Tallahassee. I have discovered Argentine Tango and Flamenco dance. I play with the Big Bend Orchestra. My art is in the 1020 Gallery. I write for the Democrat on an ad hoc basis and for several magazines, including Florida Design, Tallahassee Magazine, Palm Beach Magazine.
So those are the facts. But the astounding thing about living them is that like Russian nesting dolls each must fit within the other…except that I sense I’ve done things from the inside out!
Land Without Mirrors is my first effort at writing a book. I had won awards for short stories, but the experience of living with characters for a long time was unique.  Each morning when I would sit down to write felt like opening a door on a room peopled by interesting folks who’d been "planning" things all night long. God knows what went on in that room…but as I began to type, the characters chatted and chastened and had their way.  I’m sorry to leave them for now.
Inspiration is…well, everywhere. It is in wonderful words that pout if not used. It is in the spotted red leaves I look out on as I write. It’s in music—the sound of words’ rhythms, the cadence of a man’s walk, the half-formed conversations I snap off and take with me as I walk through a train station. It is also in the people I’ve known, and lost, and forgotten, and wish I could resurrect.          
Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
Impulsively, following a return from sailing in Greece, I submitted a long travel/feature article to the St. Petersburg Times. It was my first venture in writing for money…before that envelopes covered with poems, character studies, and short stories filled boxes and the corners of closets. But then the Times bought the article and asked for more.
Over the next years I wrote whenever I traveled--India, China, Turkey, Peru, St. Lucia, Columbia, and so on.  I wrote about my hospice patients. I did ballet and music reviews. And many, many feature stories for the paper. I wrote about Ballet Russe for Dance Magazine; about sailing the Med for Sailing Magazine; about perfume for Tampa Bay Illustrated; America’s Cup helmsmen; Greta VonSustren’s yacht; Tamara Mellon’s Jimmy Choo shoes, and Venus Williams’ design studio.  Always learning from truly wonderful editors, who molded and tightened my writing, each one became a loving and caring professor and hopefully….my writing improved.
Now I have written my first book, a novel that takes place off the coast of Trinidad, on the island of Chacachacare, a now abandoned leper island where from the late 1920s over 300 patients, their uninfected caregivers, and a convent of Dominican nursing sisters lived. Hansen’s disease was effectively cured in the 1980s and the Chacachacare colony’s patients dispersed back into society on medications that rendered their disease non-infective.  However, it was those living there for nearly 60 years that caused me to reimagine their lives.
Today, one can walk through the abandoned buildings…the convent, the church, the infirmary, and the tiny cottages of the patients. It’s as though these people had gotten up and left "yesterday." Though the jungle is now reclaiming many of the buildings, one can still pick up tubes of medicine, read the name cards with the treatment someone received, see the rusting iron beds lined up side by side. It was in the infirmary that I found scrawled on the wall in tiny, childish script, the words, “When I grow up I want to be a teacher.” It is to that child, and others like him, whose forlorn hopes were likely never fulfilled, that I dedicate Land Without Mirrors.
 
How do you use your talents/time to help others?
Like most of us, I serve on a variety of committees: the FSU Friends of Dance Board, chair of the Publicity Committee of the Big Bend Orchestra, among them. I do pro-bono writing for several other worthy organizations.
I hope I am a help to my three grown children with motherly advice and understanding.
I bake Christmas cookies for the homeless…
And hopefully, next year I will publish a book of Hospice stories that lets Death enter with beauty and not with fear.




Would you like to find Marina?
 
Check out the links to this talented author:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you, Marina!
 

Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Writers4Higher features Shelagh Watkins


Welcome to Writers4Higher

 

 

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

 

 

This issue, Writers4Higher features
 
Shelagh Watkins


 

 

Hi, Shelagh. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!


1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
 
Hi Rhett, Thank you for inviting me to Writers4Higher and giving me the opportunity to talk about my involvement in writing. I began writing fiction in 1998 when I wrote my first novel, The Power of Persuasion. After the receipt of a stack of rejection slips from publishers, I soon realized that finding a publisher was not an easy task. Some of the rejection slips contained hand-written notes suggesting that I should find a literary agent, since most publishers do not accept unsolicited work. Finding an agent proved to be just as difficult a task as finding a publisher. So, I gave up. I didn’t write for four years, until my brother died at the age of forty-three in 2002. He left two young children, then aged eight and five years old. I began writing again and produced my first children’s novel, Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine. From that point on, my writing career continued to the present day.
 
2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
 
I have just completed what others consider to be my best piece of work to date: a short story, A Family Arrangement. The setting for the story is nineteen-twenties, rural Lancashire. The theme is the struggles that single mothers faced in the twenties without the support of a husband. This might form the basis of a family saga. It depends upon how well the story is received and whether readers would be interested in reading more. The story is available on Amazon here: A Family Arrangement.
 
3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
 
In 2007, I set up the Published Authors Network on Ning (social networking platform). The site was free and amassed over two thousand members. In 2008, I set up the Published Authors forum, www.publishedauthors.org for members of the Network. I also set up the Published Authors Network group on LinkedIn, which now has 9,290 members. Published Authors also has a group and a page on Facebook.
Apart from the groups and forum, I also run the Literature & Fiction blog for author interviews.
In 2008, I decided to rewrite my first unpublished novel, The Power of Persuasion, which I then self-published. The same year, I put together Forever Friends, an anthology of short stories and poems written by writers from around the world. To do this, I set up my own small press publishing company, Mandinam Press.
Although I do not accept submissions because of the small scale of the company, I have published two more anthologies in the Forever series, Forever Travels (2010) and, more recently, Forever Families (2012), and three books by individual authors: Living by the Swamp by Alice Crooker (2011), On the Way to Siberia by Hermann Frech (2012) and An Introduction to Mechanics of Human Movement by James Watkins (2012).

Somehow, I know not how, when I am not networking, administrating, publishing or editing, I do find time to write.


 
Would you like to find Shelagh?

 

Check out the links to this talented author:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Thank you for joining us, Shelagh! On a personal note: I know Shelagh through my involvement in two of her delightful anthologies. Isn't it wonderful, how the Internet has enabled writers to connect from across the world? I love it! Best to you, Shelagh.

 

Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 


 

Writers4Higher features author and blog master Darrell Laurant

  Hi Darrell. Welcome to Writers4Higher. Tell us about yourself. I am something of a hybrid creature, geographically speaking...