by William Kenower
In October of 2008 I shot an interview with Somaly Mam following the release of her memoir The Road of Lost Innocence. I had never heard of Ms. Mam or her organization. I was the Editor-in-Chief of Author, then a fledgling online magazine for writers and devoted readers, for which I conducted three to four interviews a month. Her publicist called me directly and asked if I could fit her into my schedule. I had already booked my interviews for that month, but, after hearing the skeleton of her story, agreed to squeeze her in.
I received my copy of her memoir and read it quickly. The book describes her experience of being sold to a Cambodian brothel at the age of twelve by a man she describes as an uncle, surviving unthinkable conditions and treatment, and then leaving the brothels and founding her organization, which now rescues other girls from Cambodia’s brutal sex industry. After reading yet another account of the torture and rape Mam endured in the brothels, I thought, “I can’t believe I’m actually going to be talking to this woman. She should be dead.” more...
Death, Tragedy and Voice
by Jennifer Paros
Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
~ Rossiter Worthington Raymond
With Robin Williams's recent death came many articles and posts expressing sorrow over what is most commonly being called a great loss and tragedy. And though on the surface it is hard not to be aware of loss of some sort, the tremendous gain and contribution of his unique voice remains impossible to lose.
Though sometimes tempted to see events and experiences as tragic, I have, in honesty, gradually grown away from such thinking. Now what stands out is the integrity and uniqueness of each person's life's design. I see my inability to fully comprehend another's experience and choices – to wholly attune to their unique perspective and that which calls them forward. Yet I do have the ability to trust the integrity of their life regardless of how it presents or, for that matter, how it ends.
Though I recognize (and would like to ease) the pain we sometimes experience when someone dies, something within me does not see death as tragic – even under severe circumstances, even of one very young, even of one who takes his own life. My awareness of this different perspective that feels so truthful leads me over and over to listen for how it can be so. more...
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes
reviewed by A.B. Mead
Writers and scholars King and Klinger present an anthology of 15 stories inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes adventures. The tales cover a wide variety of interpretations, from comedic to dark, and range from straight pastiches in Watson's voice to modern settings with Holmesian investigators. There are several standouts. “Dr. Watson's Casebook” retells The Hound of the Baskervilles as a series of Facebook posts (“Dr. John Watson has joined the group Physicians Who Like Atmospheric County Houses.”), while “The Memoirs of Silver Blaze” reinterpret that adventure from the point of view of the stolen race horse. “The Problem of the Empty Slipper” is an eight-page comic strip. In “Dunkirk,” it's 1940 and an elderly “Mr. Sigerson” from the Sussex Downs helps with the repatriation of British soldiers from France. It's more of an adventure than a mystery, but it still hinges on Holmes' intelligence and is an evocative piece of historical fiction. Nancy Holder's “The Adventure of My Ignoble Ancestress,” a sequel to the “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet,” turns out to have a bearing on that best-selling author's own life. more...
The Author BLOG
How to Connect With Readers of The Digital Age Be Brief
by Kristen Lamb
In The Digital Age, human attention spans now rival an over-caffeinated fruit fly with bad a crack habit. This is good news and bad news.
The good news is readers love consuming blogs because they’re short and convenient. Blogs are perfect for capturing an audience, bonding emotionally and inspiring these microreaders to dive into something longer (like our books).
The downside is that we must hook early. Omit needless words. Get to the point. Avoid qualifiers like, “In my opinion.” It’s your blog so the reader already knows it’s your opinion.
Being brief doesn’t necessarily mean shorter blogs. Rather, it is how we condense material and maintain interest. If we can say something in one sentence, don’t use five. Choose powerful words and use active voice.
Since we are namely storytellers the best blogs and the ones most likely to be “sticky” are told in a narrative, engaging voice. Draw the reader into your “blog world” and it’s good practice for drawing them into your “fiction world.” more...
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