A Rough Fairy Tale: Thursday Redux on Rita Bay’s Blog

Long-time and thorough readers of Point No Point might recognize my contribution to the talented, lovely, and generous Rita Bay’s new blog feature, Thursday Redux. She invites authors to recycle favorite posts from the past. Mine is from early 2011, following a writing class I took at the amazing Richard Hugo House in Seattle. The workshop explored the fairy tale form as a way of telling stories for all readers, not just children; historically, fairy tales could be quite rough. I’m certain this practice wandered into the manuscript of You, Jane, with its fables that come true in uncontrollable and sometimes harsh ways.

Here’s an excerpt:

One exercise instructed us to take a favorite Disney-style tale and “rough it up,” making it into a more classic, adult-style fable. Well, my favorite Disney movie ever is The Jungle Book; here’s the moment where Mowgli meets Baloo, but, well, we’re not in Disneyworld anymore.

ROUGHING IT UP

One day a bear was out bathing in a stream. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a creature come toward him that he did not recognize as a usual resident of the jungle. This creature was a human child.

The bear sighed. He knew what would happen, having seen other small human cubs wander loose in the jungle.

Read the entire Thursday Redux post here.

 

Long and Short Reviews Anniversary Bash – Teaser

The good folks at Long and Short Reviews (LASR) are solid supporters of authors and readers, so I’m especially pleased to participate in their anniversary party. Coming up on August 25, they’ll be giving away all kinds of fun stuff, including grand prizes of $100 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift cards. Add in gift cards from publishers, author swag, and there will be dozens of winners.

LASR’s anniversary bash theme is summertime, so look for posts from your favorite authors riffing on that theme. I’ll link to mine when it’s up, but for now, just make your plans to check in on August 25.

Teaser: My post includes favorite summer reads from my childhood – anyone out there remember Misty of Chincoteague?

Lucky 13: A good luck story from Carol McPhee

This month I welcome award-winning author Carol McPhee to our Lucky 13 series. Carol is published with Wings ePress and Champagne Books. Her home is in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she lives with her husband of fifty-two years. Since their four children are grown and flown, Carol has plenty of time to let her imagination soar into stories of love and new beginnings.

Like many authors, Carol wrote for years before publishing her first work after a stroke of good luck. Her luck came with the help of the aforementioned husband – no wonder they’ve been together so long. 

My Good Luck Story

I had been writing for several years and submitting my manuscripts to every place that was open to publishing romance stories – with no luck. One day my husband and I visited the restaurant of a B&B that I had previously used as a setting in Something About That Lady. My husband, being the chatty person he is, mentioned to the hostess-owner that I had written a romance novel with a scene involving her home, but the manuscript had never been published.

Remarkable words came out of the woman’s mouth. “I have a publishing company; send me 100 pages.” Needless to say I hopped to the offer and days later she requested the whole manuscript. She published it in her online newsletter as a weekly series. A year later it was picked up by Wings ePress and years after I got the rights back, the manuscript was re-edited with a new cover and published by Champagne Books.

~*~

Carol’s web site: “Strong, smart, sensuous heroines; heroes to die for.”

ALASKAN MAGIC“An enchanting tale of romance, second chances and life in the rustic Alaskan wilderness” – best-selling author, Linda Rettstatt. 

UNDERCOVER TROUBLE - A tragedy sent her into hiding, a tragedy will set her free.

Cover and link to buy Undercover Trouble by Carol McPhee

Cover and link to buy Alaskan Magic by Carol McPhee

 

Summertime: On The Writers Vineyard

A few morsels of thought on weddings, road trips, fires, sunsets, and the images they provide to help tell the stories we hold inside in my contribution to The Writers Vineyard.

It’s August, time for all those wonderful long sunny weekends filled with picnics, gatherings, weddings, parties, camping, road trips, time outdoors. Sunshine and fresh air, and time spent gazing at beautiful night skies packed with stars.

Smoke from one of our fires competes with sunset.

Smoke from one of our fires competes with sunset.

Well, our night skies here in central Washington state are a little smoky. Fire season is underway, thousands of acres and dozens of square miles burning from lightning strikes in a hot, dry, windy summer. Homes lost, families relocating, animals chased out of their habitats, and firefighters spreading themselves thin.

Read it all here.

One book, one day: Index Arts Festival

There are lots of ways to measure success, I guess. You could look at number of books sold, royalties paid, hits on a website, comments on a blog. I love and welcome all those things. My favorite, the one that brings true delight, is connecting with readers and writers. In other words, humans.

The railroad trestle over the Skykomish river at Index, Wa

The railroad trestle next to Index, WA.

By that measure, my day at the Index Arts Festival brought spectacular success. I sold one book – yay! – to add to my contribution to the Red Cross. That book is now in the hands of the wonderful woman who organizes the spoken word part of the festival. Since the theme of An Alien’s Guide is staring the impossible in the face and doing it anyway, its arrival in the library of someone who herds writers, poets, and storytellers into some semblance of order is entirely appropriate. I’ll cherish my connection with Sabrina, who is a gifted writer and poet in her own right.

I also listened to enthralling spoken word performances, storytelling, and readings. Susan Schreyer read from one of her mystery novels; now I’m going to find out why so many people die in the fictional small town in Washington state she writes about. Young poets read their own and others’ work, and took my breath away. A local Indexian (?) told stories of his early days in the US after coming from Iran, and had us rolling on the floor with laughter at his tale of getting a magic bean stuck in his ear. His wife invited me to come talk to kids in a school program in the fall. I’m thrilled to do that. One beautiful lady read a poem written about her bird-watching honeymoon, in which she and her husband “forgave each other for not being birds.”

Outside, artists showed their work and musicians kept the air filled with the sounds of  fiddles, banjos, guitars, violins, and voices. The music competed with delicious smells of giant Cuban sandwiches on the grill, the whistle of trains roaring through town, and one or two thunderclaps that ushered in brief but refreshing downpours. A redheaded beauty, about seven years old, sold me two homemade cards for only a dollar. If I don’t recognize the crayon-drawn pictures on each scrap of paper for what they “really” are, it’s only because I’ve forgotten what she told me (bird? worm? fish?). They are still original pieces of art at a bargain-basement price. (I’d have paid a dollar just to watch her skip joyfully through the park.)

I’m already planning to attend again next summer. I hope to have new work to read, and will anticipate the new stories and poems from my fellow writers with glee. If you’re available, meet us there and share the delight.

Live Reading: Index Arts Festival

This Saturday, August 2, I’ll join the poets, musicians, and artists celebrating all things creative at the Index Arts Festival in the tiny town of Index, Washington. There will be live music, readings, an open mic, and art, art, art, art, art.

Wes Smith Bridge in Index, WA

Here’s a view of the Arts Festival venue. Photo Credit: Index Arts Festival website

I’ll be one of the featured participants in the spoken word program, which runs from 11am to 4pm (I’ll go on about noon). I’ll read from An Alien’s Guide and You, Jane, and will have copies of An Alien’s Guide for sale (proceeds will still go to the North Cascades Red Cross for fire relief).

And for those of you who are feeling the heat of summer, the weather forecast for Saturday in Index: 79 degrees F, sunny skies after early morning drizzle, soft breeze. If that sounds and looks like heaven to you, I hope to see you there!

 

 

The Courage to Be Myself: Real-Life Lessons from Fiction by Olga Godim

This month’s Fictional Lesson for an All-Too-Real Life is from Olga Godim, a freelance journalist from Vancouver, Canada. Her passion is fantasy fiction. Olga’s short fantasy stories have appeared in multiple internet and print magazines, and her high fantasy novels Almost Adept and Eagle en Garde were published recently by Champagne/Burst Books. As an indie writer, she self-published the urban fantasy short story collection “Squirrel of Magic” in 2014. In her free time, she collects toy monkeys and knits woolen socks for her family and friends.

But that doesn’t explain the talking squirrels, so read on.

The Courage To Be Myself

What I learned from my fiction? I would say the courage to be myself.

I became a writer pretty late in life. By education, I’m a computer programmer. I worked with computers for over two decades. I’m also a daydreamer, always have been. Since I remember myself, I’ve made up stories and played them in my head but I never told anyone about my daydreams. They were my secret. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed by them. I was a professional woman, a single mom with two kids. I couldn’t admit that I dreamt about magic, swords, and talking squirrels.

It felt like living in a stifling box, with a lid closed, crouching there in the darkness, hiding from everyone, including myself. Then I began writing my stories down, and the lid of my box broke open. I emerged as a fledgling writer, still wobbly and unsure but getting better everyday, learning to fly on the wings of my words.

In the beginning, I played down my writing, still ashamed, still afraid, still half-hiding. But then my heroes made me reassess my life. They were not afraid or ashamed. They knew who they were. Why couldn’t I be like them?

Eriale, the protagonist of my fantasy novel Almost Adept, is a magician. Magic defines her, informs her every choice. Even when it’s inconvenient or dangerous, she would never deny her true nature.

From Eriale I learned to value something that defines me – my vivid, fantasy-prone imagination. It isn’t something to be ashamed of. After all, it’s my imagination that provides nutrition for my stories. I should treasure it, admit to it openly, for all the world to hear. Like Eriale, I wield magic, the magic of words, and like her, I could affect people through my writing. Even when it’s inconvenient, I should never deny my true nature. I’m a writer.

Darin, the protagonist of my novel Eagle en Garde, is a swordsman extraordinaire. He trains for  hours to achieve perfection, through pain and despair, disregarding his injuries. In the end, his skills help him triumph against his enemies.

Like Darin, I work tirelessly on my writing skills. I take classes and enroll in workshops. I write for hours, disregarding my dusty house and empty fridge.

Writing liberates me. Now that I’m out of the box, writing allows me to escape the mundane. When I dive into my imaginary world, with its magic and its brave heroes, I’m one of them, free to explore and fantasize and create.

~*~

Connect with Olga via her Social Media links and find her books:

Website and blog: http://olgagodim.wordpress.com

Wattpad:                 http://www.wattpad.com/user/olga_godim

Smashwords:         https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/OlgaGodim1

Goodreads:             https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6471587.Olga_Godim

BookLikes:              http://olgagodim.booklikes.com/

Cover and link to Almost Adept by Olga Godim


Almost Adept

Burst Books http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php?id_product=341&controller=product

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Almost-Adept-Olga-Godim-ebook/dp/B00HPPNRUI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389036660&sr=8-1&keywords=olga+godim

 

Eagle en GardCover and link to Eagle En Garde by Olga Godime

Burst Books http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php?id_product=343&controller=product

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-En-Garde-Olga-Godim-ebook/dp/B00K4PIH3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399432952&sr=8-1&keywords=olga+godim

 

 

 

Squirrel of Magic

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/423740

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Squirrel-Magic-stories-Olga-Godim-ebook/dp/B00JNFG750/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1397367918&sr=8-2&keywords=olga+godim