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




 

 

 


 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Writers4Higher features Tim Dorsey


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
 
Tim Dorsey

 

 

Hi, Tim. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
 
 
Note to readers: Tim's answers come from a blog post
he modified for Writers4Higher. 
 
He's hard at work on the next book. A special thank you to Tim!

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

I write a series of surreal Florida crime novels in the footsteps of my heroes, Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry and Kurt Vonnegut, and my readers couldn’t be more rabid. My main character is a lovable serial killer who cherishes history, the environment, and community fabric. In other words, he kills predators, scam artists and exploiters of the elderly. And since he lives in Florida, he’s busy.


This creates an "embarrassment of riches" conundrum. They started calling my readers a "cult" following, which connotes a strong loyalty. They want absolutely everything autographed. But I’m on the New York Times list, which pisses off cults. What to do?


Enter e-books.

So now I’ve got all stripes of loyalty trying to keep up their collections, and this tour more than any other represents the dilemma of my "signing" paradigm.



Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
 

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, "What’s the book tour like?"

Well, I’ll tell you.

I’m out on the road right now, somewhere in fabulous Fort Myers, Florida. And as we all know, the economics of the book industry are changing by the hour. It’s time to evolve and adapt. Or become extinct. But what few people know besides authors is how this affects book tours. Let me tell you from where the rubber meets the road, it is not insignificant. It starts with big breasts. Allow that to sink in.

Actually, breasts come later, but I’m a professional writer and know how to hook various readers with the same bait. For women readers, there’s the outrage over gratuitous exploitation of the female anatomy. For male readers, there are big breasts. Stick with me.

The most massive sea change is the e-book phenomenon, which couldn’t be embodied more morally, heroically, and in All Things American than the Kindle, iPad and Nook. Here’s the rub (breasts still coming):

So they showed up dazed, with their Kindles, wondering which way are the directions on the compass.

Then came the woman with the triple-Ds. "Would you sign one of my breasts?"

I’m thinking, Who do you think I am, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith?

I wisely declined, and she asked, "Are you too embarrassed?"

"No," I replied. "I’m too married."

So liked all big-breasted organisms asking non-thought-through questions, it was time to evolve and adapt. She avoided extinction by asking me to sign something else instead.

Then she walked away with my name in an indelible marker on her forehead.

And that’s pretty much the book tour.


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

I will answer this one, Tim.

You make us laugh. You remind us to see the absurd side of life--especially life in the Sunshine State. We thank you for that pure, undiluted escapism.


 
Would you like to find Tim Dorsey?

 
Check out the links to this talented author:


Tim Dorsey's website

Tim's website contains complete ordering information for his books, tour dates, links, and a cool store filled with everything a Tim Dorsey fan might desire.


Tim Dorsey on Facebook


Tim Dorsey's author page on HarperCollins





 
 
 
 

 
Publication order (with publication dates) Florida Roadkill (1999), Hammerhead Ranch Motel (2000), Orange Crush (2001), Triggerfish Twist (2002), The Stingray Shuffle (2003), Cadillac Beach (2004), Torpedo Juice (2005), The Big Bamboo (2006), Hurricane Punch (2007), Atomic Lobster (2008), Nuclear Jellyfish (2009), Gator A-Go-Go (2010), Electric Barracuda(2011), When Elves Attack (2011), Pineapple Grenade (2012)

Chronological order (linear story order) Triggerfish Twist, Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, The Stingray Shuffle, Orange Crush, Cadillac Beach, Torpedo Juice, The Big Bamboo, Hurricane Punch, Atomic Lobster, Nuclear Jellyfish, Gator A-Go-Go, Electric Barracuda, When Elves Attack, Pineapple Grenade



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


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Writers4Higher features Julie Cantrell



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
 
Julie Cantrell

 

 

Hi, Julie. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!




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

I am a very busy mom of two active kiddos, I teach English as a Second Language to elementary students, and our family operates a sustainable farm where we have laying hens, dairy goats, honey bees, Katahdin hair sheep, and organic fruits and veggies…plus tons of furry friends.


Although writing has always been my way of processing the world around me, I never took a writing class in college. Instead, I earned a master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and became a certified speech-language pathologist. Because I am an avid reader, I’ve always wondered if I could write a novel. One day, I decided to give it a shot. I’m so glad I did.


I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of responses I’ve received from readers of my debut release, Into the Free. Many of them tell me how much the story has helped them heal deep emotional wounds. For me, that has been the most rewarding part of this entire journey, and their positive reactions have inspired me to write a second book in the series which will hit shelves Fall 2013.


2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?


I hope my writing will reach those most in need of inspiration and courage. I hope it helps connect readers across the world so each individual understands s/he is not alone. And I hope it promotes cross-cultural communication, helping us all find our common bonds.


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


I am passionate about improving the lives of others through literacy outreach. I serve as an active volunteer on the board of the Lafayette County Literacy Council in Mississippi and enjoy working with families across our region. I also volunteer with my children’s various activities and am committed to serving as a liaison between our community and the families I serve through the English Language Learners program in our school district.



 
 

 
Would you like to find Julie?

 
Check out the links to this talented author:

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 



New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, Julie Cantrell was the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review. She has been a freelance writer for a decade and has contributed to more than a dozen books. Julie and her family now live in Oxford, Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm. A speech-language pathologist and literacy advocate, Julie also was honored to receive the 2012 Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship and is working on a creative nonfiction book about her family’s adventures as first-generation farmers. Her second novel will be published by David C Cook and is set to follow her bestselling debut, Into the Free.

 
Spent Three Weeks  on USA Today Top 150 List (March 1 – March 14, 2012): http://books.usatoday.com/list/search-results?t=author&k=Julie+Cantrell
Spent Three Weeks on NYT Bestseller E-Book Fiction List
Spent One Week on the NYT Bestseller Combined Print and E-Book List
·         Debuted at Lucky #13 on NYT Bestseller E-Book Fiction List:  http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2012-03-11/e-book-fiction/list.html
·         #21 on NYT Bestseller Combined Print and E-Book Fiction List: http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2012-03-11/combined-print-and-e-book-fiction/list.html
·         #35 on NYT Bestseller E-Book Fiction List (Second week): http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2012-03-18/e-book-fiction/list.html
·         #32 On NYT Bestseller E-Book Fiction List (Third week): http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2012-03-25/e-book-fiction/list.html
 
Thank you for joining us, Julie! Congratulations on your success, hon!




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


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Writers4Higher features Sam R. Staley

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
 
Sam R. Staley

 
 

 

Hi Sam. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
 
 


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



Anytime someone opens one of my young-adult novels, they will read about characters and stories that inspire me as a writer and parent of teenage children. It’s taken a while, and a lot of trial and error, but my “voice” as an author has emerged most forcefully through character-driven stories that don’t shy away from the gritty and all too real dilemmas facing our children and adults on a daily basis. To some extent, they are allegories for modern problems. Even Isabella, the ex-slave captaining a pirate ship in the 18th century Caribbean in The Pirate of Panther Bay, can’t escape the challenges of leadership, or the ethical quandaries presented by her “profession” as a pirate, or the nihilist time in which she lived. Luke, the lead character in A Warrior’s Soul deals with the fundamental question of whether we have the courage to act in the right way, at the right time, even with tools we’ve already learned. In Renegade (due out in October), Maria, the misunderstood and reluctant school bully, runs full throttle into the scary contemporary problems of endemic violence in some of our schools and communities. As in the real world, these characters take responsibility for their actions (although not always willingly) and are held accountable for their decisions, good and bad.


I’ve worked for three decades around the edges of power and politics, and my stories, while targeted for the young-adult market, personalize our problems, embrace the complexity of the real world, and grapple with the risks and responsibilities assumed by individual initiative. And violence always loses. And forgiveness defines character.


2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?


I’ll restrict my answer to my fiction because I’ve already published five nonfiction books on public policy problems, ranging from the ravages of the illicit drug trade in our cities to traffic congestion. My young adult novels are now my creative passion and outlet.


My stories, both published and non-published, have consistently centered on individual responsibility, social accountability, and violence. I believe these are crucial issues facing our children today, and they need tools for coping with the challenges these problems face. Fast paced, action dramas are an intellectually challenging but potentially great vehicle for addressing them.


I’m realistic enough to know that I won’t be able to financially support myself on my fiction writing alone, but I hope my novels continue to inspire discussion and provoke more realistic thinking on these topics. Both A Warrior’s Soul and Renegade were conceived as a five book series exploring the seemingly gray line between self-defense and aggression, and I hope these stories pave the way to complete the remaining three books. The Pirate of Panther Bay was also conceived as a series, and I think the lead character’s struggle with her own identity as an ex-slave coming to grips with her responsibilities as an adult and leader can carry forward through another book or two. I also have several other manuscripts in various stages of completion, including a quasi-science fiction tale that recasts the myth of Santa Claus for a modern, skeptical audience.


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



I’ve been involved with community service since the 1970s through volunteer work with dozens of nonprofits, schools, and community organizations, including the National Ski Patrol, coaching speech and debate, serving on civic boards and commissions, and starting nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy think tanks. I am currently on the Board of Directors of the Bicycle House Tallahassee (
www.bicyclehouse.org).


I am now teaching undergraduate and professional masters students at Florida State University in part because I believe my professional background and experience can be used to prepare the next generation for the practical realities of governance and policy implementation. Thus, through my writing and a reorientation of my professional interests, I have dedicated the “end stage” of my career to providing support to young people and giving them the practical tools they need to be successful. I also enjoy supporting my fellow authors, both through my blog on the “business” of writing and publishing (
http://blog.srstaley.com), through my work with the Tallahassee Writers Association (www.twaonline.org), and joyfully hawking their creative output at Tallahassee’s Downtown Marketplace. 
 

Would you like to find Sam?

Check out the links to this talented author:
 
 

Facebook: A Warrior’s Soul (book)
Twitter: SamRStaley
Youtube: SamRStaley
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Renegade” will be out at the end of October!

 

Thanks for joining us, Sam!
 

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...