Want New #Blogging #Friends ? Join the #CHERISHED Blogfest Today!!


Blogging is all about making connections, sharing information, emotions, opinions, memories.

How to make Blogging Friends

Blog Friendships

In the spirit of blog friendships, my good blog friends, Dan Antion , Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat and yours truly at Daily (w)rite, invite you to take part in the CHERISHED Blogfest:

Often, objects lead us to memories.

The objects we hold most dear, harbor the most cherished memories.

For the CHERISHED Blogfest, we invite you to talk to us about one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your post to below 500 words.

Join us on the 24th to 26th of July 2015 in sharing memories, emotions, information: we’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships.

Cherished Blogfest

Cherished Blogfest

For those with new blogs, adding your blog to the linky list below, and posting on the 24th-26th July would help you increase your comment love, and followers. Visit and leave comments to everyone on the list, so we all get loads of comment love!

Place the CHERISHED Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends and followers at the end of the blogfest.

Sign up in the CHERISHED Linky List below which would open in a new window for signups. (WordPress blogs don’t allow linky lists.)

 Powered by Linky Tools

CHERISHED LINKY LIST: CLICK HERE to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

If you have any queries, drop me a mail at meringue dot p at gmail dot com.

The name ‘Cherished’ and the image is courtesy Cheryl KP, who posts brilliant images and writing on her blog. I would also encourage you to check out the blogs of my cohosts: Dan Antion (the designer of the badge), Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, bloggers with genuine and fascinating takes on everything from life, travel, fiction, and the writing rigmarole.

Paul and Peter  are short story writers and novelists, whereas Dan and Sharukh are excellent non-fiction writers. Follow them right away if you haven’t already!

How long have you been blogging? Have you taken part in any blogfests? Organised them? If yes, have blogfests helped your blog? Do you have many blog friends? Do you share stories with them? Are you signing up for the CHERISHED Blogfest?

If you’re reading this, but don’t have a blog, head over to the discussion on Daily (w)rite’s Facebook Page, where we’re talking about online friendships.

EDIT: We’ve changed the dates to 24th-26th July– I was scatterbrained and didn’t notice 25th/26th was a weekend. My apologies.

12 Guidelines You Need to Compile a #Fiction #Charity #Anthology


You're not Alone : Macmillan Cancer Support

You’re Not Alone: Charity Anthology

Continuing the guest post series on Daily (w)rite, today it is my pleasure  to introduce to you Ian D Moore, author of Salby Damned, who is here to give us a few tips on how to set up an anthology to support a charitable cause. He speaks from experience, having recently produced the anthology You’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology, due out soon.

Take it away, Ian!

———

In the last few months I’ve helped compile a charity anthology inspired by my mother-in-law who battled cancer for 8 years and finally began to succumb to it. A distressing time for everyone around her, that made me feel pretty useless, not being able to make her better or to help in any way. I began to think about what I could do in order to help. I chose my writing as the means to make a difference, perhaps not to the inevitable passing of a woman I had become so fond of, but certainly to anyone in the future unfortunate enough to have to go through what our family had at that time.

Should you be trying to compile a fiction anthology for a charity of your choice, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

  1. Pick the charity you want to support before you go looking for people to help you. My mother-in-law’s cancer prompted me to consider what I could do to make a positive difference. Motivation is a key factor in compiling any anthology.
  2. There has to be a leader in any group, the creator. They have final say. Form a team to assist you. You’ll need editors, proof-readers, cover designer, formatting wizard and an overall editor-in-chief. Put the essentials in place before you begin.
  3. Discuss the maximum word count of your stories, based upon maximum word count for the completed work. Remember the cost rises to produce larger works, affecting sale price and profits to the charity.
  4. Formatting rules: Set basic rules for contributors. Font style, size, no page numbering/borders. Keep the text justified. Initially, format for kindle.
  5. Stay legal with regard to copyright: It’s important for you, the Project Leader, to do your homework with regards to copyright law and the wishes of the charity. Each submitting author retains copyright for his or her own story. It cannot have been published anywhere else – no exceptions. The Project Leader holds full copyright for the completed, assembled work.
  6. Liaise with the charity for any rules that they have, such as logo use or content. It took weeks for me to get permission to use both charity logo and the name of the charity to promote You’re Not Alone. Permission MUST be protected.
  7. Story content: No excessive profanities, scenes of a serious sexual nature, religioun or faction related material or enhanced political agendas within any given entry. Be aware of possible misinterpretation by the reading public.
  8. Story order: Try to arrange them in an order of readability that will make subtle changes to the mood of the reader – the ultimate critic.
  9. Once you have your stories, format the whole document. Insert styles menu headings, titles, fonts etc. E-mail your file to your kindle device, using the kindle address – to see how it will look to the reader.
  10. Cover design: If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to design your own cover. For You’re Not Alone, we had the amazing artist Christine Southworth to draw our cover, and the inestimable expertise of Nico Laeser to digitise the images. Make your cover relevant and striking. Your book cover is the first impression that any reader will see.
  11. Set up a pre-order on Kindle: You can make changes to the cover and files as you go along. Meanwhile, drum up interest via social media and advertising in order to get sales generated before the launch.
  12. Approach the bloggers of this world – they can drive sales traffic. If you ask, in most cases they will be happy to help promote any good cause. Worthwhile having a few copies of the finished product to use as giveaways – bought and paid for, of course.

What can you do to help?

Macmillan Cancer support: Charity Anthology

You’re Not Alone: Book Cover

Spare a thought for Macmillan Cancer Support: They provide nursing staff to the 1 in 4 of us likely to suffer from some form of cancer in our lives. Help us to raise money and awareness.

You’re Not Alone is available to pre-order on Amazon Kindle here. Available in print via Createspace from 11th July 2015. Every penny of profit made on either purchase will be donated to the charity.  Follow us on Facebook, and please help us spread the word on social media by taking a second to join our Thunderclap Campaign.

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Ian D Moore, editor You're not Alone

Ian D Moore

Ian lives and works in Selby, North Yorkshire. A father/stepfather to four children and full-time truck driver for a national televised haulage firm, his life tends to be pretty busy. To date, he has published Salby Damned. He has taken took time out from writing the sequel to get involved in the creation of You’re Not Alone: An Indie Author Anthology in the hope of raising a lot of money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

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Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support

Having lost family members to cancer, I know the suffering that not only the patients, but also their family members go through.

Is anyone you know affected by this disease? Would you like to lend a hand to Macmillan Cancer Support? Would you take part in the Thunderclap Campaign?

Ian would like to give away a paperback copy of this book to one of the commenters on this post, so please make sure your profile link leads to your contact details.

Not a blogger, but have a comment on cancer, supporting those affected by it, or about editing a Charity Anthology? Head over to the post on Damyanti at Daily Write’s Facebook Page, and join the discussion there.

Do You ever Wonder about Your Own Death?


Do you walk in Beauty?

Brief life, Long death

I’ve wondered often about death, for as long back as I can remember. I’ve thought quite often of the cessation of life– of what happens when I cease to exist. Probably because I’ve seen quite a few deaths up close and personal, lost family members to illness or accident.

What gloom and doom, I can hear some of you say– but the fact is, if you’re reading this, you’re alive. And if you’re alive, you’re going to die, just like me or anyone else, all living creatures must die.

This morning I read an article by journalist and philosopher Stephen Cave who wonders about a fly he has accidentally swatted to death.

“…it seems to me quite reasonable to think that the death of the fly is entirely insignificant and that it is at the same time a kind of catastrophe. To entertain such contradictions is always uncomfortable, but in this case the dissonance echoes far and wide, bouncing off countless other decisions about what to buy, what to eat – what to kill; highlighting the inconsistencies in our philosophies, our attempts to make sense of our place in the world and our relations to our co‑inhabitants on Earth. The reality is that we do not know what to think about death: not that of a fly, or of a dog or a pig, or of ourselves.”

He goes on to wonder at length about the significance of death, our own and that of the people and living beings around us, and I think the entire article is well worth the read.

 I’m not entirely sure what I think of death, mine, or anyone/anything else’s. I’ve written, briefly, about death on this blog. About the death of my fish, the cyclic death of fish babies, and their mating parents, of my betta and his suffering.
From the post about my dead betta, written three years ago:
But then, what do I know of suffering, and how do I know whether a short suffering is any less hard to bear than a prolonged one? Does a small fish suffer? Does it suffer as much as a human? Is the suffering of the human more evident to me because a human is bigger than a small fish, and the fact that I am a human myself?
I’ve blogged less often of the loss of family members and friends, and then not directly, because this isn’t really a very personal blog. But as anyone who has read my fiction would know– my preoccupation with death and suffering has remained– be it accidental, suicide, or murder and a variety of deaths in between.
My thoughts might change, but as of today, I believe a death hurts as much as the attachment to the dead person or animal or plant.
  • Which is why a friend’s death is devastating, whereas a man dying on the opposite side of the world, who you read about in the news, causes much less alarm. A pet’s death is painful, but the death of a random fly or snail isn’t.
  • Following from this, the prospect of one’s own death is the most scary to some of people, because they’re most attached to themselves, or their survival instincts are alive and kicking. Which isn’t a bad thing.
  • The bad bit, according to me, at least, is not confronting death at all, keeping it taboo, a faraway topic to avoid. No point in trying to ignore the inevitable. Not that thinking about death day and night is the solution, but thinking about it once in a while can’t be all that bad.
What about you? Do you think of death? Your own death? The death of those you have lost? How significant is a fly’s death: is it a tragedy, or a catastrophe, or both?
For anyone reading this post without a blog account– the discussion is also up on my Facebook Page: Damyanti at Daily Write . Would love to have your Facebook comments there.

Have You Seen Anyone Being Cruel to Animals?


Damyanti:

Donatella Versace Sunday Morning thoughts

Cruelty to Animals

Each morning I read the news, I’m astonished by some of the ill-advised stuff people do.

I read this post (you can read it below) and had to snort with laughter: what part of “Do not approach a wild animal” is difficult to understand?

I’m happy that in this case the humans are punished for their stupidity– and can’t go unscathed as they do on various instances of wanton cruelty to animals.

I’ve been reading about a few of those on my Facebook, and writing a story that involves this. Nothing gives me a bigger smile than when I witness nature punishing human stupidity, or worse, viciousness.

Far away from the practice of compassion I’ve been working at, I know. I just don’t feel very forgiving of people kicking puppies or ‘hunting’ animals for sport.

Have you seen anyone being cruel to animals? Have you been witness to any animals giving humans their just dues? Any links to videos of people being a little dense around animals– and suffering for it?

Originally posted on Old Road Apples:

I spent a few summers working in the tourist industry in Wyoming a few centuries ago, and I’m looking forward to taking my kids there to see the sights and meet some of my great co-workers for a reunion this summer.  It’s good to see some things haven’t changed–like killer nachos and tourists doing really, really stupid things that could–and inevitably do–get them killed. Bison attacks are perhaps the most ridiculous–in almot all cases, the 1500lb+ animals are standing around, like cows, chomping on grass, while tourists get closer and closer and closer.  The bison snort, their nostrils flare, they scuff the ground with their hooves…and the lady with the camera says “get a little closer….”

Yellowstone bison attack seriously injures Australian man, second park tourist hurt in 3 weeks

I’m curious.  What parts of this are unclear?  Anybody?  (Note the blood on the bison’s horn, and the splatter from…

View original 35 more words

Do You Submit like a Man?


Writing tips

Rejections and Acceptances

Writing fiction is for the insane.

If, and only if, you have a slightly kooky brain can you keep writing, sending your work out for publication, have them slugged back on your face, and write again. Most of it for less than a pittance too: it doesn’t earn you back money for the coffee you chug down while writing.

Have had a spree of acceptances lately– starting from the Lunch Ticket, The First Line, and all the way to the Griffith Review. But, looking back on the frequency of submissions– the 20-odd stories I’ve had accepted by journals and anthologies have taken hours of time, and yes, tons of Rejections.

My approach is this:

Writing, and acceptance for publication are two different things. Writing is from a white-hot place of emotion, then pruning from a place of balance. Submitting for publication is just where the process ends– just like cooking ends at the table, and in someone’s stomach. No point getting emotional about it. All that would do is convince you that your short story or novel sucks.

When writing, I write for myself, and one ‘ideal’ reader. When submitting, I look around for who might be hungry for what I’ve cooked on the page. If someone doesn’t want it, I offer it to others, and keep offering it, till at long last, it gets accepted. If a piece gets rejected, I turn around and submit it to others on my list of ‘places to submit.’ If someone rejects a piece, but asks for more, I submit it as soon as their reading period allows.

According to this article, by Kelli Russell Agodon, this method is called submitting ‘like a man.’

When we send a rejection to a man and ask a man to resubmit, he thinks, “They like my work and they want more; I better get it to them soon before they don’t want it anymore.” And the submission is sent. (Right now, there’s that cliche’ line about men “wanting to spread their seed” going through my head.)

When we ask a woman to resubmit she thinks, “When would be the best time to resubmit? I don’t want to seem pushy, but I do want to get them my work. Maybe I should wait a few months so I don’t seem desperate or so I don’t irritate them by submitting so fast. Do they really want to see more work, or were they just being nice? I’m sure they want to see more work, but I should probably wait a few months, I wouldn’t want to be an imposition and it would be better manners and more respectful to wait a bit. Or should I? Yes, I’ll play it cool and wait a few months. I wouldn’t want to impose.”

And then the woman writer waits or forgets or send her submission out a few months to a year later. (The generalization of women over-thinking things is going through my head right now.)

Not a fan of generalizations or gender bias, but must admit I used to think like the ‘woman’ in the above excerpt. Over the years, as I’ve detached ego and emotions from the process of submitting work, I’ve become more like the ‘man’ Kelli Russell mentions.

Maybe there are two ways of thinking on this ‘submission issue’– not necessarily dependent on gender, but quite different, anyway. One is emotional, involved, and the other, straightforward and unemotional.

So, the writers in my audience (and I know there are many) how do you deal with rejection? How soon do you send out a novel or short story after being rejected? Do you submit like a ‘man’ or ‘woman’?

Would You Consider South Africa a Gift to Writers?


The guest post series in this blog has been on a hiatus, but today I introduce with great pleasure Melissa de Villiers, the South African author of The Chameleon House, a collection of short stories recently long listed for the Frank O’connor award. She answers questions on various topics of writerly interest.

The Chameleon House: Melissa de Villiers

The Chameleon House: Melissa de Villiers

1. Tell us about your writing journey. When and how did you start writing fiction?

I grew up in a house full of secrets. My maternal grandfather, for instance, lived an hour’s drive away down the road but we never knew or met him – my mother had cut him out of her life as a young woman and there was so much she never seemed to want to tell us about her background. As a child, I’d make up stories to explain the questions that went unanswered.

Also, I grew up under the last years of the apartheid system, which imposed its own code of silences. Making up stories – the wilder and more absurd, the better – became a kind of private test to see whether I was starting to become a typical ‘product’ or not – whether I was getting sucked in.

2. What aspect of writing a short story do you find tough, and which one do you find easy? Why?

Starting out is the worst. That’s when the sense that you might fail can press down, or even threaten to become so overwhelming that you never start at all. You have to hold your nerve, laughing hysterically at your own insane self-absorption and just get on with it.
Easiest? Cutting back – that final cull once you’ve finished a draft.

3. If you had to give just three pointers on ‘writing technique’ to aspiring authors, something general creative writing books don’t tell them, what would they be?

  • Live a full and varied life and write about life. You need to keep your well of ideas brimming.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration to strike – treat writing like a job. Turn up ‘for work’ every day and just do it, even if it’s only for an hour and has to be fitted around career, children, and other commitments.
  • Writing fiction isn’t primarily about ‘self-expression,’ though that might be a useful by-product. Rather, you’re making a construction for people to read – an artifice based on effects. You need to be crafty, patient and careful as you manipulate the possibilities. It’s hard work. I like what Zadie Smith had to say on the matter: “You want self-expression? Go ring a bell in the yard.”

4. If you had to choose three of your favorite authors and their best works, which would they be? Why did you choose these in particular?

  1. The strength of Penelope Fitzgerald’s fiction is that it leaves out just as much as it leaves in. Her last novel, The Blue Flower – probably her masterpiece – is spare, droll and utterly distinctive. And written when she was 79! A lesson to all us procrastinators.
  2. The British-Sri Lankan writer Romesh Gunesekera’s first collection Monkfish Moon is a book I’m very fond of. The style is lyrical yet the stories are war-haunted, tinged with the sadness of lost things. It’s wonderfully done.
  3. Suchen Christine Lim’s The River’s Song is my favourite Singaporean novel. The song of the river is also the song of Singapore’s underdogs – ‘unsung and uncelebrated.’ It’s a brave and skillful book.

5. Tell us more about The Chameleon House, your recently launched short story collection. Is there a target audience? What did you have in mind when you chose the stories to go into the collection?
My stories mostly deal with a South Africa in transition, in the years immediately following the end of the brutal and bloody apartheid system. Many of the white characters are still in a state of some confusion and denial about the whole process – they’re monsters, really. South Africa’s a gift to writers in some ways. The political landscape requires strong reactions to things – you’re never far from a drama.

6. Which is your favorite story in the collection and why?
I’m fond of ‘A Letter to Bianca’ because somehow the first draft came very quickly – that’s most unusual for me. Ironically, the heroine is someone with a paralyzing case of writer’s block.

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Melissa De Villiers

Melissa De Villiers

   

Melissa de Villiers is a writer and journalist. She grew up in South Africa but now lives between Singapore and London. Her debut short story collection ‘The Chameleon House’ has  been longlisted for the Frank O’connor award.
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         Have you read any of the books Melissa mentions? Have you read her book The Chameleon House? Do you have questions for her?

Been to the Twilight Tales in #Singapore ? #reading


I’ve been a hermit lately, but today I want to talk about an event I was recently invited to, one which featured one of my favorite Singaporean authors, Suchen Christine Lim.

You’ve heard from her on this blog before (here and here). I’ve learned much from her workshops, her novels, and the wisdom she has shared with me during the occasional encounters in the past few years.

This was a new literary arts initiative organized by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), called Twilight Tales.

Even with an audience of about forty, it felt like an intimate affair, because the venue was someone’s home, one of Singapore’s ‘elite’ as Mr. R Ramachandran, the affable Executive Director of NBDCS, jokingly put it.

Suchne Christine Lim reading from The River's Song

Reading by Suchen Christine Lim

Suchen took over, and despite having admired her for years now, I felt in her thrall as if for the first time when she began to read from her latest novel: The River’s Song.

She’s pixyish in build and demeanor– vibrant, kind, wise. But when she reads, she transforms into an oracle, who demands your entire attention and wouldn’t settle for less. She seems to grow taller, her voice alternately rings with conviction and rage, and then caresses with softness and laughter. I enjoyed this part of Twilight Tales very much indeed– and would have loved it if she kept reading the entire evening. The audience chorused with her, and clapped their hands off.

She answered questions from the floor, and the moderator, Jane Wong Yeang Chui. The questions from the audience ranged from the usual queries like how many of her stories are true to life, where does she find inspiration from, how does she get inside the head of a character. Though Suchen must have fielded these kind of questions ad nauseam, she answered with grace and playful humor, and even responded to someone who asked her if she felt ‘lonely’ as a writer!

Jane Wong asked interesting questions, for instance, the role of a writer in creating (alternative) history (I long for the times when history was still written by crazy professors and not by committee, was Suchen’s candid response) and whether the author felt the need for self-censorship (I make sure I get my facts right, Suchen said).

Suchen Christine Lim and R Ramachandran

Suchen Christine Lim and R Ramachandran

From his earlier experiences heading the National Library of Singapore, Mr. R Ramachandran spoke briefly about the initiatives by Lee Kuan Yew, the recently deceased and much-revered first prime minister of Singapore.

“Without LKY’s support and vision, libraries in Singapore would’nt have developed this far – to be one of the best in the world. LKY opened the first Branch Library in Singapore, the Queenstown Library in 1969.  He believed in the significance of libraries at a time when no head of state of a developing country gave it any importance. I’m proud to say that I’ve served our PM a couple of times when he came to the library to borrow books. Today, if he’d walked into this room he would’ve been very proud to see so many of you here to listen to an author. In those days it was difficult to have even a couple of people attend a literary evening.”

The evening continued. Author copies were signed, snacks were eaten and wine was drunk– authors, aspiring writers, book lovers and Book Council officials exchanged cards and smiles.

All in all, a lovely literary evening. I left, quite eager to attend the next edition, which I’m told would be held in July. The only question: how do they plan to top Suchen Christine Lim’s act?

Have you been to a literary event recently? Ever listened to a beloved author read? Does the author have the same voice as the book when you read it yourself? Does the Literary or Book Council in your country support literary events like this one?

If you live in Singapore, have you been to Twilight Tales? What sort of literary event do you like the most?