Friday, September 30, 2011

Rebecca Writes: THINGS MY MOTHER TOLD ME

By Rebecca Forster
http://www.rebeccaforster.com


My parents made a pact to stand on every continent in the world. When my dad passed away, my mother went to the Antarctic for both of them. That’s when I figured there was a lot I didn’t know about mom.

When she returned with a bright orange jacket that she got ‘for free’ (don’t count the cost of the cruise), she had lots of stories to tell. Yet, when the excitement of the trip wore off, we both had the sense that we were still standing on a pitching deck with no way to sail to calm seas. A big piece of the puzzle – my dad – was missing.

“Write your memoir,” I said.

“My life wasn’t interesting,” she answered.

But the idea must have taken hold. Not long after this conversation, she called. She was done with her memoir.

“Impressive,” I mused.

 It takes me months to write one novel and she finished hers in a week. When I saw her manuscript, I understood why.  It was five pages long and she was eighty-five years old. There had to be more.

So began a year of weekend sleep-overs as we poured over photographs for inspiration. She had twenty beautifully documented photo albums, a box filled with pictures taken when cameras were still new fangled things.

There was mom in waist-length braids and Mary Jane shoes standing in the German village she called home.

She was a teenager in the U.S. while war raged in Europe, threatening the grandmother she had lived with, cousins and friends.

Here was mom, posing in a swimsuit she bought with the dollar she found on the street.

Mom in her twenty-five dollar bridal gown perched in the back of a hay wagon beside my father, a skinny, wide-eyed farm boy who would become a doctor.

Mom with one child. Two. Three. Five. Six of us all together. Dark haired and big eyed, we were her clones dressed in beautiful, homemade clothes. I remember going to sleep to the sound of her sewing machine.

And there were words!  I bribed my mother with promises of Taco Bell feasts if she gave me details. Funny, what came to her mind.

 To keep body and soul together when my father was in med school, he was a professional mourner and bussed tables for a wealthy fraternity. My mom worked in a medical lab where the unchecked radiation caused her to lose her first baby. They ate lab rabbits that had given their all for pregnancy tests.  They were in love and happy and didn’t know they were poor. But St. Louis was cold, she remembered, and they couldn’t afford winter coats. Still, she insisted, they weren’t poor.

 She typed, I edited; I typed, she talked. My youngest brother almost died when he was 10. She didn’t cry for a long while; not until she knew he would live.  The captain of the ship that took her back to Germany was kind.  She dreamed of becoming a missionary doctor. In 1954, she had two toddlers (me and my brother) and another baby on the way when she and dad drove to Fairbanks, Alaska where he would serve his residency at the pleasure of the U.S. Air Force. Her favorite outfit was a suit with a white collar. She loved her long hair rolled at her neck in the forties.  In the fifties she made a black dress with rhinestone straps and her hair was bobbed. In the sixties she made palazzo pants and sported a short bouffant.  She looked like a movie star in her homemade clothes. I wanted to grow up to be as glamorous as she was. She still thought she wasn’t interesting.

Mom wrote the forward to her memoir herself. It began:

A great sense of loneliness fills the house as twilight approaches. In the silence, I can almost hear the voices of my grown children as they recall their childhood years, the laughter of grandchildren and the quiet conversations of friends who have gathered here in years past, echoing through the empty rooms.

You see, she really had no need of my help as a writer.

We had seven copies printed. On the cover was a beautiful picture of a sunset. She called her book In The Twilight of My Life and would not be swayed to change it. Mom thought it perfect and not the least depressing. It was, she laughed, the truth. It was her laugh that made it right. She gave my brothers and sisters a copy for Christmas. My older brother had tears in his eyes. Everyone exclaimed: “I never knew that”.

Now I have a book more treasured than any I have written. I learned a lot about my mom and I realized why I create fictional women of courage and conviction, strength and curiosity, intelligence and, most of all, spirit. It’s because, all this time, I’ve been writing about my mother. 

         


#Fantasy QUEST FOR NOBILITY is #FREE


I'm thrilled that QUEST FOR NOBILITY is now free at all outlets. It's an outstanding opportunity for Dave and I to reach new readers.  The book has 10 in-depth reviews for a 4.2 ranking.


Book Blurb: The parents of royal Otharian twins Darius and Dyla have been murdered; their cousin is stealing their throne, and they are falsely accused of murder. Their only choice is to flee to the forbidden and quarantined planet Earth, but it could turn out to be a one-way trip. 

To return home, they must find an ancient crystal, that once belonged to Merlin, to power the return portal. When the twins stumble upon the location of the crystal, the local crime boss sends out his assassin to retrieve it. Can Darius and Dyla use their PSI powers to open the portal home and reclaim their throne before the assassin catches up to them?


REVIEWER COMMENTS:
"...this fantasy tale is highly imaginative and quite engaging..." Grace Krispy

."..science fiction/adventure novel has a lot going for it: believable lead characters, a classic coming-of-age narrative, and an interesting mixture of both high-tech science fiction and fantasy elements..." Isabela Morales

"...The end is fantastic when all the threads that run through the tale are uncovered..." Robert J. Duperre 



Here are all the links:


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nobility-Fantasy-Adventure-Otharia-ebook/dp/B003CC1KI4


Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003CC1KI4


BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/quest-for-nobility-debra-l-martin/1100113548


iBookstore: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781452312606


If you enjoy the book, you can continue the journey of royal twins, Darius and Dyla Telkur, in the next volume THE CRYSTAL FACADE:
 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003CC1KK2


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do you need a good chuckle? Thursday Funnies!

Every now and then, I like to post a few funnies.  Everyone is so busy these days that it's good to have a chuckle or two. Here's some of the latest that I've come across.






And here's my all-time favorite:


Cats are so dramatic, aren't they? 

I hope I've started off your day with a smile. Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

World of Symbols: An Ancient Star


World of Symbols:  # 8:  An Ancient Star
Michelle Snyder, the Symbologist
White Knight Studio


Knowledge of the heavens is a decisive factor in survival, and for millennia humans have studied and recorded astronomical cycles. Lunar, solar, and stellar calendrics were inscribed and painted on stone, bone, and ivory through the ice ages. One particularly stunning example is the six pointed star composed of two opposite, overlapped, equilateral triangles. This star has a long and telling history.

According to Duncan-Enzmann, the beginnings of this beautiful star are seen as far back as 77,000 BC in South Africa, where the yearly southern extreme of the sun’s position was recorded using an upward pointing triangle r for winter solstice sunrise and sunset. A downward pointing triangle s later recorded the summer solstice event. To “read” this symbol place yourself at the point, looking toward the wide end where the sun rises and sets, northward for summer solstice, southward for winter.

By 60,000 BC sundial shadows were being used to measure the daily movement of the sun. The shadow made by the sun and the center pole, or gnomon (Greek for the one that knows), traces the movement of the sun across the sky, creating a V shape; divisions of the circle indicated time of day. Later the gnomon was tilted for greater accuracy. In beautiful renderings during the Lascaux period, ca. 14,500 BC, summer and winter solstices were represented by overlapping the triangles Y, creating a hexagram, or six pointed star. The horizontal center line created by the intersecting triangles denotes the equinoxes.

Megalithic observatories emerged from the tradition of sundials, and records of the movement of the moon and sun were improved by the accuracy of stellar observation. Astronomical patterns were recorded using symbols like the six-pointed star. Calendric notations from sundials, the six pointed star, and stellar observations combined to create the seasonal wheel symbol: a hexagram surrounded by a circle, around which animals are arranged. This and other calendrics recorded the seasons of animal migrations - what could be hunted when, and where. The megalith observatories became a continental utility; symbols for when to plant, reap, gather, weave, build, and hunt were inscribed on the observatories, placed according to season.

Oral tradition, mythologies, and images like the hexagram were used to pass on knowledge of the heavens for thousands of years. Out of these “picture stories” grew a world of traditions, some centering the hexagram, such as the story of Solomon ’s Seal. Hindus know the star as a Yantra (mystical or astronomical diagram), to Buddhists it is a symbol of the Sacred Marriage, in China it represents Yin and Yang, and it is found among the symbols of Pre-Columbian and Central America. In spite of its astronomical origins, in the 18th century the hexagram was commonly used as superstitious protection against evil (the “hex” also comes from this tradition). Alchemists used it to symbolize the union of opposites, and it is considered by some to be the symbolic epitome of “as above, so below”. Known as the Star of David, or the Magen David, and commonly associated with Judaism today, the six pointed star is actually a relatively new symbol of the Jewish faith. One of the most fundamental and attractively scientific symbols, it was well chosen in 1948 for the flag of Israel. This ancient star also has contemporary meanings including male and female, fire and water, the personal and impersonal, and the perfect balance of opposites: the hermaphrodite.

Article and artwork © 2011 Michelle Snyder, MPhil., author of Symbology: Decoding Classic Images, available at Amazon, and at The Book Rack in Arlington. Her website and blog are www.whiteknightstudio.com.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spotlight: SPELLBOUND by Tallulah Grace


Book Blurb:

What would you do if you discovered that you’re a witch? Not just any witch, but a powerful enchantress descended from a line of impressive magickal healers. Roni Myers, beautiful, talented and passionate about finding natural remedies from herbal mixtures hides her insecurities behind a charming, gregarious fa├žade. 

Follow Roni’s journey as she learns secrets that she never before imagined were possible and finds love in the most unexpected place.

Can she learn to trust the magick of her birthright before evil claims it as its own? Will she open her mind and her spirit to the power of three in time to save her legacy and her life? Acceptance, faith and love are the keys to her salvation, if she can only believe.

Buy Links:

Spellbound Trailer:

Author bio:
An aficionado of anything paranormal, Tallulah Grace pens romantic suspense novels with a paranormal flair. Tallulah was born and raised in a small southern town located in the foothills of the vibrant Blue Ridge Mountains. When she's not developing characters and weaving stories, Tallulah enjoys reading and bead-weaving.

   

Monday, September 26, 2011

Interview with Cynthia Echterling


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
Scavengers is a post-apocalyptic novel set in Georgia where evacuees have returned to North America after it was devastated, to rebuild. Dr Thomas Martin is an anthropologist who studies the savages who survived, and who is forced to live among them after being accused of treason by the military. His coworkers try to find out what happened to him and get caught up in the government's plot.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, and was told that, although well written, it didn't fit anyone's list. I tend to cross genre borders.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I've belonged to several groups and have taken classes. Some groups have been helpful, others not so. What I find most helpful is getting people's gut reactions. What did they like, what didn't seem clear enough, how they respond to different characters. Do they laugh at my jokes? But with groups, you need to be careful that they don't try to change your vision or style to fit theirs, or insist their is only one way to did it right. Also, groups can help one another with group marketing, learning to read aloud, doing public readings. If you're phobia is public speaking, this may be helpful. I fortunately don't have that problem, but I know great authors who are terrified of reading.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I've been published by traditional publishers in the past, but I've gotten very frustrated with the submission process -- sending to one publisher at a time, waiting sometimes for years before they reject the manuscript. I'm still interested in submitting to traditional publishers, but if they don't buy right away, that doesn't mean there are no readers who would enjoy the work. Also, with the e-book revolution, print publishers seem to be taking on fewer new authors. It may be that in the future, they will be more interested in signing contracts with indie authors who have proven they can sell.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
That didn't fit in my budget, but that's another area where writers groups come in handy.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
When it comes to e-books especially, there isn't much that a small publisher can do that you can't do yourself. I am also an artist, so I was also able to do my own cover. If you're not, try to get the best, most compelling cover you can -- not just plain with words on it. If you want to get something more original than the template, clip art ones, you might try finding an artist on deviantart.com. Covers can sell books. You still have to market, whether you're traditional or indie, and you have to schedule your own events. You do have more control over how your book will look. I also like being able to view my own sales data too. that way I can tell what marketing efforts are working,

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I'm on Smashwords and the third party vendors they distribute to as well.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I use the social media sites, other peoples' blogs, reviews.  I've also made contacts with reporters for the electronic versions of local newspapers. I have had some success with forums where I am already a member anyway. You need to be careful with social media. Go in being actually social and interested in making friends -- not just, hi, buy my great book! as some people do. People hate that. Also find people or groups with common interests, not just other writers. (A bunch of writers selling books to each other doesn't make a lot of money.) On Twitter, for example, since my main character in Scavengers is an anthropologist, I follow people who are interested in anthropology and the apocalypse.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Very. And it's even harder when you have two books, out, one coming out, one finished and one on the way. So I'm marketing to readers, querying, editing and writing. All those things take different skills. Makes my brain hurt. I try to do a little of everything every day if possible.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Don't think you're book is the greatest thing ever written and don't expect that just because you put it out there, people are going to find it and buy it in droves. There is a lot of competition and it takes a lot of work to get the word out. It may be slow at first, but if you keep at it, you can build a following. Then, as you write more books, that following will be ready to buy your new work. And! I've never done it, but I've seen people go up in flames because of it. No matter what readers or reviewers say about you or your work, don't argue, piss people off or burn bridges. Just smile, thank them for their feedback and keep on writing.

What’s next for you?
I have a book coming out in April. Help Wanted, Human: Paid Holidays. It's the second in the Help Wanted, Human series under my other identity, Stephen Wytrysowski, from Whiskey Creek Press. I have a third for that series I need to do the final editing on. I'm just about finished with a young adult/adult humorous sf/dark fantasy/fairy tale mash-up called Torqed that I'll be sending out to publishers. I'm working with writers groups I belong to, setting up group readings. I'm also working on an animated web series and I have more ideas for more books. Like I said, my brain hurts.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interview with Michael Meyer


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
I have published two novels on Amazon Kindle.
THE SURVIVAL OF MARVIN BAINES is a short novel about real life and whimsy, as they collide head on with a man's midlife crisis. The book is fast paced and filled with colorful characters. Marvin Baines' humorous adventures take him on a journey through which he finally realizes what is really important in life. Funny at times and yet serious too, a winning combination about life, marriage, and coming to terms with one's own quandaries and foibles as midlife suddenly rears its head.

THE FAMOUS UNION is a tongue-in-cheek look at the dismal economic situation currently taking place on a small California college campus, where tough financial decisions bring about severe disruption and hilarity to a once very proud institution of higher learning, the home of the Famous Union Fighting Orchids, whose motto is and always has been, "Just wait until next year." It is a rollicking romp through the halls of academia.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
My wife recently purchased me a Kindle, and I thought it would be great to get my work our there immediately and see what happens. I am 64 years old. Traditional publishing could take a long time to see my work in print.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
No, I don’t, but I spent 40 years teaching writing on the college level. I am recently retired. I am now able to show rather than to tell.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I had read that Kindle sales were quite a bit stronger than those of opposing e-readers.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
As a retired English professor, I did all my own editing.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Writing is fun, but marketing is work.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Presently, my two books are only at Amazon Kindle.

What’s next for you?
I am presently at work at a thriller set in both Germany and Saudi Arabia, two of the many place in the world where I have lived.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing Romantic Comedies & GIVEAWAY

Great characters, great comic moments, great romance
By Elizabeth Aston

I treasure that quote from a review in the Chicago Sun Times, and it sums up for me what writing romantic comedy is all about.


I love reading and watching romantic comedies, from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Legally Blonde and Meg Cabot. That’s an important factor for an author, especially, if like me, you find it impossible to write the kind of book you don’t want to read. Literary agents and publishers have from time to time urged me to turn my hand to whatever is the hot genre of the moment and I’ve always resisted, however tempting the offer. For instance, I don’t like reading about desperation and disease and depression and I certainly don’t want to write about it. Dostoyevskian darkness of the soul is one thing, the sentimental pornography of doom and despair quite another - as Jane Austen famously said, Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.


And writing romantic comedy is the exact opposite of dreary misery. It must sparkle and scintillate, it must end happily and it must be written with an underlying optimism - not a Panglossian ‘All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’ - but in a spirit of mirth and the belief that even in difficult times, the vital human gift of a merry heart will delight readers and audience.


I’ve written quite a few romantic comedies under the Elizabeth Aston name, both near contemporary (the Mountjoys series) and historical (the Mr Darcy’s Daughters series). I’ve also written several books under my other name, Elizabeth Edmondson, which are much darker and more serious.


How can I do both?


I can’t imagine not doing both.


Think of food: we like to balance a substantial and savoury main course with a deliciously wicked dessert. Think of wine: sometimes we enjoy a serious burgundy and at other times we fancy a glass of champagne. Think of clothes: today we want to dress in pink boots and have a dash of pink colour in our hair but tomorrow we feel like elegant tailoring and sleek high heels.


I alternate my books for the most part, a serious historical mystery or gothic such as The Frozen Lake or Devil’s Sonata by Elizabeth Edmondson, and then, in complete contrast, a light-hearted RomCom like Mr Darcy’s Daughters or Volcanic Airs under my Elizabeth Aston persona.


Mind you, the same writerly truths apply. You must have fascinating characters  (and, in my novels, far from ordinary ones), and these are the nerves of the storyteller’s art. You need a strong plot, with twists and turns – these form the bones of a story. And drama, emotion and action are the fictional muscles essential for any good novel.


Then, for romantic comedy, you also need a worthy pair of opponents in your heroine and hero, and you have to write about them and their romance with wit and humour - and finish it all off with a flourish in the shape of an upbeat, amusing and completely satisfying ending.


Easy? No.

Enjoyable? Yes, tremendously so. If we don’t enjoy what we write, then why do it? And, here’s the moral - if I don’t enjoy writing it, people won’t enjoy reading it.

Links for Elizabeth Aston:

The Giveaway:

Please comment below about what you like about romantic comedy and enter to win a copy of Children of Chance, the prequel of the Mountjoy series. Elizabeth will pick a winner of this ebook next week! Available in all ebook formats. 

Giveaway Grand Prize: Everyone who comments is eligible to win a lovely hematite bracelet and earrings seen here (http://www.charmsoflight.com/bracelets/Hematite_Hearts_Bracelet_Br-He-001.html; http://www.charmsoflight.com/earrings/Hematite_Heart_Earrings_E-He-001.html).

Elizabeth will pick a lucky winner for the Grand Prize in mid-October and can ship anywhere in the world. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spotlight: FATE by Tallulah Grace


Book blurb:
Is precognition a prescription for happiness or disaster?

The good things in life are coming together for Kristina Collins. She’s found her ideal home, her career is on track for mega success and the man of her dreams has finally come back into her life.

In Fate, the first installment of the Timeless Trilogy, Kris Collins discovers the benefits and risks of having precognitive visions while being stalked by a serial killer. Her friends can’t help her, the FBI can’t save her; she must save herself.

The Timeless Trilogy heroines, Kristina, Veronica and Cassandra, each deal with paranormal abilities as they discover and rediscover eternal love.



Buy links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0054QZNRA

Fate's Book Trailer:  

Author bio:
An aficionado of anything paranormal, Tallulah Grace pens romantic suspense novels with a paranormal flair. Tallulah was born and raised in a small southern town located in the foothills of the vibrant Blue Ridge Mountains. When she's not developing characters and weaving stories, Tallulah enjoys reading and bead-weaving.

   

Monday, September 19, 2011

Interview with Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield


Briefly describe your journey in writing your first or latest book.
My latest book to be published is “Hide and Seek”, which is a murder mystery told in reverse: the murderer narrates his story, and is trying to find out who the detective is who is after him. He’s invited to a murder mystery weekend where everyone is pretending to be a detective, but our anti-hero figures out someone there is a real detective.

The book I’ve recently finished should be ready for publication later this winter is a cross between Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code that takes place at Boston College, where I’m an English professor. The book hasn’t a title yet; the first draft is done and I’m editing it. I had the idea for a long time to write a book set at BC, and finally got around to reading the first of the Harry Potter books. They’re fine for 12 year-olds, the ambience wonderfully English, but I thought what the world might like is such an adventure for more mature minds, and college students these days were weaned on HP. Knowing something of the Grail legend, I was struck by how commercial and inchoate really the Da Vinci Code is in its treatment of the legend, so I thought I’d set the record straight with my own made up version, which includes scheming Jesuits (BC is a Jesuit college), and addresses one of the most important themes of our day—the shift away from the old heroic model which we are now experiencing, to a new era of cooperation and so forth. The images are everywhere, and it’s the writer’s job to address the great preoccupations of the day. The internet of course is the primary image for our connectedness but so is global warming, which is our test, as one of my characters puts it, of our ability to imagine ourselves as part of a connected ecosystem.

Did you query agents and traditional publishers?  How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract?
I did query agents and about 20 years ago got a manuscript for a book accepted by one at Wm. Morrow. The book sat with them for years with nothing happening. Eventually I queried small publishers and found a very small literary press, Kepler Press, in Cambridge, Mass. After having published short stories and essays in various publications over the years, I saw my first novel (not the first I have written) brought out by Kepler Press in 2005, “Memoirs of a Shape-Shifter.”

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
Kepler Press offered to publish my book, and my agreeing to their contract arose out of desperation and cynicism about the system as it existed, as well as an understanding that the entire publishing industry is changing. The means of production are now in the hands of every one of us. Friends who have had books published by major publishers have seen their books languish for lack of publicity, so even the big boys can’t be counted on to promote their own titles. Publicity—the money to pay for large ad campaigns—is the one thing that large traditional publishers apparently can do better than a small press or an individual, but when they do not, that would seem to take the large publishers out of the equation entirely.  So while Kepler Press didn’t have the budget for a lot of publicity, I was fine with that and did much of my own. They did such a great job of producing a beautiful hardback that I was willing to take on a lot of the rest of the work.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will publish directly for Kindle?
I am not under contract of any sort, although Kepler Press has published my latest novel this past spring, “Hide and Seek”, which is available in hard copy (as is my first novel) as well as in downloadable format.

What lessons have you learned being an indie author vs. being traditionally published?
Really those stated above. If you have an in with a publisher or agent, then by all means use the traditional system. Humans always work by connection—as I mentioned above, it’s the great lesson of our age, and so knowing someone in publishing will always help with the traditional route. The rest of us must find small presses or publish ourselves. I’m a great believer in small presses, as most of them are most emphatically not in it for the money. They are now carrying the torch of a love of literature for its own sake, as the large publishers once did, before the graduates of all the damn management schools took them over and decided that their god was and shall remain Mammon.

Did you design your cover art?  If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
My wife is a book editor and designer who works independently, and she was able to get the contract from Kepler Press to design both my book covers. She’s an excellent, award-winning editor and designer, and I leave her to do her work. Her website is www.middleofthenight.org.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I stayed out of it, except for minor input.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner publicity for your book(s)?
I don’t have a facebook page, but will have one soon to promote the books. When my books were published I was able, working with Kepler Press, to organize readings in various bookstores and other venues. My website is: http://tkaplanmaxfield.com/

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books are available for Kindle as well as the Nook at Barnes and Noble, Smashwords.com and Googlebooks.

What is the best advice you can offer new authors?
As a writing teacher, I regularly tell students that the single most important thing I learned as a writer is to ignore the voices that tell you what you are writing is not worth the effort. Every artist has to deal with these voices, and to listen to them is like trying to vanquish ghosts in the Underworld with a day world sword, as Hercules did. You can’t insist what you are writing is actually good; that’s thin armor which wears out and puts one in a defensive posture. You can’t believe the voices, no matter how certain they seem, for that is suicide to whatever you are writing. You simply have to persist, which the demons hate. It’s irrelevant anyway whether the voices in your head say what you are writing is good or bad, and in that sense it’s just as dangerous to love your own work too much as it is to hate it too much. Your job is simply to get it down as best you can. What’s important is not you; it’s the work at hand.

What’s next for you?
After finishing editing the rough draft of my present book, I’ll get back to “Belongings”, which is my novel about the issues I raised above and is set immediately after 9-11. It’s a satire about our consumer culture being the mirror and reverse image of our need to wake up to our interconnectedness. To come full circle in this discussion, this book is rooted in the primary feeling I had when I wrote my first fictional story, in 5th grade. I was struck by the power and magic of entering the fictional world, but most primarily I was filled with a longing to enter that world and stay there, for I had a profound sense that that world was my real home, this one being merely where I sojourn. Thus a desire to belong has characterized my entire life as a writer. I’m trying, like Ulysses, to get back home.

Thanks for the chance to speak a bit about what we all love and long for.

Author bio:
Novelist Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield (www.tkaplanmaxfield.com) is an English professor at Boston College, where for over twenty years he has taught courses in Detective Fiction and in Love, among others. In addition, in 2005 he published Memoirs of a Shape-Shifter to wide acclaim (see reviews on www.keplerpress.com), which is in part a historical novel set in New England during the Salem witch trials; it is available in both print and e-book versions. A friend of the late writer Lawrence Durrell, his writing was referred to by Durrell as "direct messages from the script."

He is currently at work on a novel that is a cross between Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code, set on the B.C. campus. He is also a green residential builder in Greater Boston.