Posts Tagged ‘bookstores’

Support Black Writers

WE ARE WRITERS. Which means we are readers. We read, in part, to understand the lives of others—both the lives of fictional folks and those of our flesh-and-blood kin, past and present. As POETS & WRITERS so eloquently put it: [W]riters … help us understand ourselves and our times, deepen our capacity for empathy, and imagine a better future.

The current uprisings in our country have pointed out to me that I have not grasped the realities Black people in our communities live with every day. If this is true of you, too, know that there are many ways to address the gaps in our awareness and to support our fellow Americans. But for the purposes of this forum, I’m focusing on what you and I share: We read. And our reading can both deepen our understanding of the lives of Black citizens and support the livelihood of Black writers.

READ BOOKS BY BLACK AUTHORS

Want to start with the classics? PBS‘s Black Culture Connection lists 10 Black Authors Everyone Should Read, which comprises “prominent Black authors who have left a mark on the literary world forever,” starting with Maya Angelou and ending (alphabetically!) with Richard Wright.

If you’re familiar with the authors on the PBS list and want to read some contemporary Black authors, here are two more resources for you to peruse.

Penguin Random House lists 25 Books by Contemporary Black Authors: Their list includes “… some of the best fiction and nonfiction by contemporary black authors, including books in every genre from literary fiction to personal memoirs.”

HUFFPOST has compiled an even more extensive list: 50 Amazing Books by Black Authors from the Past 5 Years: “From Roxane Gay to Michelle Obama to Ta-Nehisi Coates, these writers are making an impact.”

READ BLACK POETS AND ESSAYISTS

For the rest of the summer, the Academy of American Poets will be dedicating their Poem-a-Day to Black poets and engaging a number of Black curators for that project. They will also create a new series for Poets.org that features essays by poets of color. They are also in the process of adding biographies of Black, Indigenous, and all poets of color who have contributed to shaping American poetry to Poets.org.

In addition, they offer these protest poems and this Black Lives Matter anthology.

BUY BOOKS FROM BLACK-OWNED BOOKSTORES

AfroTech has made purchasing books from Black-owned bookstores as easy as ordering from Amazon. Check out 10 Black-Owned Bookstores to Support While at Home.

Literary Hub shares their list of 60 more Black-owned bookstores, all of which are taking phone orders today! You can browse their virtual shelves, then purchase a big stack of new understanding—and great reading—while having a real, voice-to-voice conversation with another human!

Read on, dear writers. Read on.

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching and manuscript review! And check out Should I Hire a Writing Coach” in THE WRITER magazine.

Give YOURSELF These 12 Gifts for the New Year, Writer!

DAYS SPEED BY, BUT WRITING GOES SLOW. It’s in its nature. We pre-write, draft, redraft, review, revise, edit, and proofread—just to get 500 decent words where we want them. Instead of railing against the constraints time puts on our writing process, we can choose to drop below time’s dictates and give ourselves an opportunity to move at the pace of writing, rather than demanding our writing perform at the hectic pace of life.

To that end, here are twelve gifts to give to your writerly self this coming year. You might want to unwrap one a month between now and next December. May each of these exercises nourish your writing needs and give your creative self a chance to breathe.

1. Visit a used bookstore. Browse dusty shelves for treasure. Settle on the floor in the picture book aisle and allow your inner kid to journey through the illustrated worlds you find there.

2. Journal. Curl up on the couch one Sunday morning and write with no agenda, no goal. Take this time to discover what you think, what you feel, what you mourn, what you hope for … all by writing it down.

3. Discover a new-to-you author. Ask writing pals to recommend writers they think you’d enjoy. Check out the new releases section of your local library. Or read THE NEW YORK TIMES Book Review, join a book group, or sign up for Goodreads. Let other writers share their gift with you this year.

4. Start a manageable new writing project. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to create a kids’ book about a favorite toy. Or compile your grandmother’s recipes, updated to make the most of today’s kitchen gadgetry. Or collect photographs of your cats, caption the images, and produce a few copies just for you and your cat-crazy friends (or is that just me?). A new project can add fuel to your writing life. Just make sure it’s the right size to bring to completion this year. Because writing “The End” on a draft is a sweet reward for a (small) job well done.

5. Make a date with a writing pal. A cup of coffee, a croissant, and congenial company create the perfect ambiance for a few quick, free-writing sessions. (I’ve got about a zillion writing prompts on my blog that you’re welcome to use for this purpose! Just search “prompts.”)

6. Take a walk. While you’re strolling, keep an eye out for interesting sights and occurrences. Maybe snap a few pictures along the way. When you get home, take just ten minutes to write about what you saw.

7. Record your dreams. Keep a notebook by your bed and jot details from your dreams a few mornings in a row. This lets your unconscious know you’re listening, making it more likely that it will offer up the fresh goods next time you need access to its wild, imaginative leaps.

8. Nap. Or, if you’re not a napper, steal an hour out of an otherwise busy day for horizontal couch time. Flick through a magazine (check out THE SUN MAGAZINE!), or read a short story or personal essay. Snuggling with an available cat, optional.

9. Take a writing retreat. Depending upon your resources, this might be a month-long writing residency on Martha’s Vineyard, four days at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers retreat, or a weekend holed up in your own cozy den with no interruptions and no other plans but to read and write.

10. Follow your nose. You know how sometimes you’re online looking for one thing and something else catches your eye? And reading about that next thing, you see something even more intriguing? Great! Indulge that! Follow your nose from interest to interest, filling the thirsty well of your mind with tidbits that may come in handy in some future writing project—or may not. Even if you never use any of that cool stuff, I bet your writing self considers the time well spent. (Brain Pickings is a great place to start your nose-following quest!)

11. Earmark November. Each November, writers around the world take on the NaNoWriMo challenge. Short for “National Novel Writing Month,” NaNoWriMo provides support to get bigger projects done. While the NaNo official goal is 50,000 words on the first draft of a new novel, you might piggyback on NaNoWriMo’s energetic community to complete a more modest project—a short story, for instance, or one of those manageable projects you started back at number 4!

12. Throw your writer self a party. Pull out all the writing you’ve created this year and celebrate the sheer number of words you got on the page. Raise a glass, bake a cake, fling confetti. You’ve done good. Congratulations!

* * *

Marina Shemesh has released this “Balanced Stones On White Background” image under Public Domain license CC0 Public Domain. I appreciate the opportunity to use it here.

Posted in News, Notes & Quotes | Comments Off on Give YOURSELF These 12 Gifts for the New Year, Writer!

Congratulations Station!

HUGE CONGRATS TO PUSHCART-NOMINATED AUTHOR LINDA DUNLAP on the 51NyDtXrNlL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_publication of her short story collection, RAIL WALKING! Featuring stories set in the South, Dunlap’s theme is man’s battle with himself [in situations such as] the guilt over an imperfect child, the disruption of a marriage, and the almighty task of loving the unlovable. The glue that binds these stories is hope, a gift that saves Dunlap’s characters from despair, as they struggle to make sense of their imperfect world.

Join Linda Dunlap for the launch of RAIL WALKING on Wednesday, December 16th, from 6-8 p.m. at Writer’s Block Bookstore, 124 Welbourne Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789.

  * * *

A SHOUT OUT JudyMug2 TO MIDDLE RIVER PRESS for garnering two silver medals from Florida Authors and Publishers Association, one each for RIGHT SMART TO SAY, by Robert Gore III (best adult non-fiction) and LEA, THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL, by Brenda Sue Thompson, illustrated by Kayla Olson (best children’s picture book). Founded by Judy (pictured) and Bruce Borich. Middle River Press includes an extended group of editors, proofreaders, designers, illustrators, printers and photographers. Their recipe works! In five years, MRP has received more than ten awards!

 * * *

37bce274-be5e-4446-b1b4-667fd2efa284A ROUND OF APPLAUSE, TOO, TO CHRISTINA BENJAMIN, on the success of her YA series, THE GENEVA PROJECT. To thank her fans, Benjamin has made the first book in the series, TRUTH, a free download on all platforms! Click for *Free Download for Kindle *Free Download for Nook  *Free Download for iTunes *Free Download for Kobo

5 Paths to Amazon Success!

REMEMBER WHEN AN “AMAZON” search retrieved an aerial photo of the Amazon River, first? It wasn’t that long ago, folks! Now, intrepid authors must navigate Amazon.com—as much a challenge as navigating the river whose name the mega-bookseller bears.

As with the river, if you’re going to launch your (literary) raft on Amazon.com, it’s good to have an experienced guide! I’ve beat the bushes and found a backpack’s worth of articles by writers who know how to swim—not sink—in the shifting Amazonian rapids.

  1. In “How to Get a Truckload of Reviews on Amazon,” author-marketing guru Penny Sansevieri shares ways to find quality reviewers for your book—important because more reviews = greater visibility!amaindex
  2. In “How to Launch Your Book,” Tim Grahl, author of YOUR FIRST 1000 COPIEStakes writers through a step-by-step process to turn your own contacts into reviewers.
  3. On Savvy Bookwriters, there’s a discussion on book covers and book category placement: “How to Improve Your Amazon Sales Page.”
  4. Novelist Lindsay Buroker offers strategies for maintaining momentum in “How Do You Maintain Steady Books Sales.”
  5. And if your book is languishing online? Indie book distributor Smashwords’ post on “Six Tips to Bring Your Book Back from the Doldrums” might help!
* * *

lexi_leaderboard_728-90And speaking of reviews, writer pal Jon Fore’s latest fantasy adventure, SCROLLS OF THE HARLEQUIN, has just been released! He’s offering free e-copies to any of my readers willing to give it a review. If you’re interested, contact Jon at jon@jonathanfore.com.

 

The Guilty Pleasure

c400318c-a294-4015-ae62-2c1545d20240WRITER’S BLOCK BOOKSTORE has partnered with Rollins College to bring master thriller writer David Baldacci to Central Florida! Baldacci, who has published 30 international bestsellers, will appear in Mills Memorial Hall, on the Rollins College Campus, on Friday, December 1st, at 6:30 pm, to promote his latest book, THE GUILTY.

davidBaldacci is also the founder of Wish You Well Foundation, an organization that provides books—as well as food—to those in need, through Feeding Mind and Body. Donate new or gently used books at the signing! Contact Lauren Zimmerman at Writer’s Block for more info.
Call: (407) 335-4192 Email: info@writersblockbookstore.com

Writing Prompt: Cool Tools

I LEARNED TO PLAY BASS on an old, semi-hollow body—devoid even of a maker’s name. With her short-scale neck (and the constellation of diamond-esque rhinestones I glued to her chunky black self), she was perfect for me. Sure, she fed back, but I just stuffed her full of newspaper and thrummed away.

Once I joined a band, I needed (I thought) a cool, grown-up bass—a Fender Precision bass, to be exact, like the one Aimee Mann played. So I bought a too-big, too-heavy bass that I never enjoyed. And gave the little black bass away.

Sometimes, an imperfect tool is actually just perfect.

The 2009 rockumentary IT MIGHT GET LOUD is a paean to the perfect tool: In it, Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack (Oh-My-God) White spend ninety-seven on-screen minutes playing dueling guitars and reminiscing about Axes of Christmas Past.

But more to this point: As the film opens, a black-and-white Holstein moos at Jack White as he hammers nails into a plank, secures a length of wire down the plank, shoves a juice glass under the wire, and attaches an electronic pick-up to the contraption.

Plugging in to a handy front-porch amp, Jack whacks at the newly-created thing. As the resulting fine, big, garage-worthy noise sends his bovine onlooker galloping, JW glances at the camera and gruffs out, “Who says you need a guitar?”

When writer/designer/bookstore co-owner/technophile/nano-shaman Writing Wench found herself stranded at work, tarot-less and needing answers, she, too, improvised. Imagining the objects scattered across her desk as symbols, signs, omens to be read, Wench invited a response. What called out was a tiny, broken-handled, toy-sized pair of pliers she’d found in the office parking lot. MsgAttachment

Giving this awkward little tool her attention, WW heard: Use the tools that are given to you—even if they seem too small, even if they appear broken—because the tools that come naturally have been designed especially for you and your work.

Writing Prompt

Start by making a list of tools in your life that don’t quite fit the bill: Car window stuck in the down position? Monitor too small? Still using a not-very-Smart phone? Let your annoyance to rise as you create your list—then pick the most irritating not-quite-right tool in your life and give it a voice. Allow it to tell you why it’s exactly what you (or your character) need at this moment.

UCF BookFest: Go!

WONDERING ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN a book festival and a writing conference? A book festival showcases authors and their books, and typically includes presentations, book-signings, and readings. We attend to support authors and celebrate literature and writing. (Interested in presenting your work at a book fair? You might enjoy Making Book Fairs Work for You.)

A writing conference, on the other hand, is designed to educate writers about their craft via workshops and panel presentations, as well as providing opportunities to pitch work to agents. (Interested in attending a writing conference? You might like this Writer’s Digest article, How to Make the Most of Any Writing Conference.)

Now, head on out to the UCF BookFest! With thanks to Liz Rash, who reminds us that the 2015 Annual UCF Book Festival will be held this coming Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the UCF Education Complex.

* * *

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching and manuscript review!
Click to read Should I Hire a Writing Coach in THE WRITER magazine.

* * *

Two Indie Bookstores Offer Writing Groups

ST. AUGUSTINIANS? JACKSONVILLIANS? LOOKING FOR A COZY SPACE to host a literary event? Indie bookstore Read (Think) Books is the perfect spot for you! Located in quaint-and-teensy downtown Palatka, Florida, just south of Jax on the St. Johns, R(T)B welcomes writers, writing groups, and book clubs. They’ll even brew up a fresh pot of coffee just for you!

Co-owner Kristin Pegler says, Writers and writing groups are the spirit of a bookstore; we wouldn’t be here without them. Sharing ideas with other writers adds joy to a writer’s life and helps build that vital “networking muscle.” When writers seek out our store to inspire and enrich their writing process, I know we’re doing something right.

Central Floridians? Seeking the same? Check out the charming new Writer’s Block Bookstore in downtown Winter Park. Owner Lauren Zimmerman hosts oodles of author and other events—and I bet she’ll toss on a pot of brew for you, too.

* * *

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching and manuscript review!
Click to read Should I Hire a Writing Coach in THE WRITER magazine.

* * *

New York, New York: Love Your Bookstores!

NEW YORK, NEW YORK! BROADWAY? WELL, YES, I SUPPOSE. But, really, isn’t the romance of New York, for writers, at any rate, shoe-horned into the stacks in the city’s independent bookstores? In a series of cartoons titled, “The Endangered Bookstores of New York,” published in THE NEW YORKER in October, Bob Eckstein, writer and illustrator (and snowman expert), celebrates New York’s  bookstores in image and text.

* * *

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching and manuscript review!
Click to read Should I Hire a Writing Coach in THE WRITER magazine.

* * *

The Geneva Project: Young Adult Novel Reveals Truth and Secrets

MOST COOL AUTHOR-GIRL CHRISTINA BENJAMIN, CREATOR OF the YA series THE GENEVA PROJECT, was in town to celebrate the release of Volume Two, SECRETS. She and three other YA authors—Jaimie Engle, Christina Farley, and Amy Christine Parker—chatted about their books and their book-writing/publishing journeys at Bookmarkit, Orlando’s newest indie bookseller, located in the East End Market.

It was great fun to meet Kim Britt, Bookmarkit owner, chat with Darlyn and Brad Kuhn, and see Racquel Henry, of Writer’s Atelier! I look forward to more Lit-lando events at Bookmarkit—and I hope to see you there!

* * *

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching and manuscript review!
Click to read Should I Hire a Writing Coach in THE WRITER magazine.

* * *

Posted in News, Notes & Quotes | Comments Off on The Geneva Project: Young Adult Novel Reveals Truth and Secrets
Copyright ©2021 Jamie Morris LLC, Writing Coach | Contact me | 407.644.5163 | Privacy Policies | Terms & Conditions