"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

September 21-27, 2014 is "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read". This is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
For more about books challenged as well as information about classic novels that have been challenged and/or banned, please see this list of  frequently challenged books.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chicken Soup Connections

I just enjoyed a luncheon with the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher - Amy Newmark. I had the pleasure of meeting 20 other talented authors, and learning about some of the exciting projects the company is now working to complete.

Did you know they have their own line of soups which can be purchased at many HEB and Wal-Mart locations?

Right: Poet Laurie Kolp, Publisher Amy Newmark, and Sylvia Ney at Hotel Za Za in Houston, Texas.

Below: Publisher Amy Newmark and 20 contributing authors. Some of them have only been in one volume, and some have appeared in more than one dozen Chicken Soup books since the company first began.

Have you ever contributed to, or been published in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? Which one(s)?

Do you enjoy reading them? Why, or why not?

What projects are you working to complete, or what books have you enjoyed lately?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You Can Reboot Your Life

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life arrives on stands today! This volume shares stories about how you can find a new path to happiness, and I am proud to have a story included.

Claire Cook, of CSS,  was sitting with a group of parents at her daughter’s swim practice when she realized she needed to change her life. “I was in serious danger of living out my days without ever once going for it. Without even trying to achieve my lifelong dream of writing a novel.”

So Claire started writing a book in her minivan, on a lined pad, while her daughter swam. Claire published her first novel at age 45, followed by the bestseller Must Love Dogs. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie based on her book! Now she’s a bestselling author of twelve books.

“Not many days go by that I don’t … remind myself that this is the career I almost didn’t have,” she writes in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life. “Anything can happen. It is never, ever too late.”

Are you stuck in a rut? Looking for purpose and meaning in your life? Ready for a new job, a new hobby or new relationships? You’ll feel empowered to take chances, follow your dreams and reboot your own life as you read the 101 inspiring stories by people, just like you, who did just that in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC; Amy Newmark and Claire Cook; Sept. 16, 2014, 978-1611599404, $14.95).

You will be inspired to pursue your true passion as you read stories like the one from ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes. He didn’t like where his life was headed and literally ran out of his 30th birthday party and didn’t stop for 30 miles. Shortly after that pivotal moment, Dean quit his corporate job and his partying lifestyle. He wanted to make his living by running. And he did. “Now, some two decades later,” Dean writes. “I’ve realized more happiness and greater fulfillment than I ever dreamed imaginable.”

Within these pages, you’ll find the tools and the advice you need to solve your problems, use positive thinking, find your purpose, follow your dreams and start over. The 101 role models in this collection of revealing personal stories will help you change your life, and become the person you are meant to be. 

ABOUT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL Chicken Soup for the Soul publishes the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. In 2007, USA Today named Chicken Soup for the Soul one of the five most memorable books in the last quarter- century. With over 100 million books sold to date in the U.S. and Canada alone, more than 250 titles, and translations into more than 40 languages, “chicken soup for the soul” is one of the world's best-known phrases. Today, 21 years after it first began sharing happiness, inspiration and wellness through its books, Chicken Soup for the Soul continues to delight readers and fans with new titles, but has also evolved beyond the bookstore, providing wholesome and balanced pet food, a line of delicious, nutritious food that makes it easier to bring people together around the table for healthy meals, movies, television, licensed gifts, and digital offerings, all of which are inspired by stories. Chicken Soup for the Soul is “changing the world one story at a time.®” For more information visit www.chickensoup.com.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Markets and Submission Opportunities

THE PAYTON JAMES FREEMAN ESSAY PRIZE http://drakewriterscritics.submittable.com/submit/14296  NO ENTRY FEE. Deadline September 30, 3014. Submit unpublished non-fiction essays of up to 3,500 words on the subject AFTER THE UNHAPPY ENDING. The winner will be awarded $500, publication in The Rumpus, and brought to Drake University in February 2015 to read from the winning essay and speak at a public event. Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident and must agree to attend and participate in the reading at Drake University in February 2015 to receive the award. 

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom - We are collecting stories of thanks written by sons and daughters of all ages about their moms and stepmoms. Tell us what your mom has done for you and why you are grateful to her. Is she always right? Do you still turn to her for advice? Have you turned into your mother even though you vowed you never would? Share your best stories-ones that will make us laugh, cry, or nod our heads in recognition. We are not looking for general tributes (we know your mom is terrific) nor are we looking for biographies or eulogies. We are looking for specific anecdotes about what your mom or stepmom did for you-something you want to thank her for. The deadline for story and poem submissions is September 30, 2014.
 
Insecure Writers Support Group ebook: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/2014/09/insecure-writers-support-group.html  Due in October

 
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope and Miracles Everyone has experienced events in their lives that cause wonder and astonishment and give them hope for a better future. Why did these things happen? Were they answered prayers? Did divine intervention have something to do with it? Share your inspirational true stories with us to remind us that each day holds hope and that a miracle can happen at any time. The deadline for story and poem submissions is October 30, 2014.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Watchers: Knight of Light Giveaway!

I'm a part of  a blog tour for Deirdra Eden's:


The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light



 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.


The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions




About the Author


"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Editor Stella Riley

It's September and fall is only a few weeks away! Today also marks the release of a new Southern Writer's magazine issue.

In this issue, I talk with editor Stella Riley. I first met her at a writers conference last year, and absolutely enjoyed talking with her. Originally from Greece, Stella has a fresh outlook on the industry, and an open willingness to help authors reach their full potential on each project. 

To learn more about this magazine or to order a copy, please visit: http://www.southernwritersmagazine.com/

How are your manuscripts or other projects coming along? Are you reading any great books or magazines?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Reboot Your Life!

Look what finally arrived today! My story "Family of Rejects" appears in this Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life edition. The official release is set for September 16, 2014.

The truth is... "We all fall into ruts at times, with our jobs, our relationships, our lives. This anthology is a collection of 101 personal stories of change. They are meant to inspire, invigorate, and empower you to break out of your own rut. With its powerful stories of taking chances, positive life changes, and finding new paths to happiness, you will be inspired to find the courage to reboot your own life! I hope they will motivate you to find your own new path to happiness."

You can already order this title from most major retailers. If you wish to buy a copy directly from me, simply send me a PM.

Interested in submitting your own stories for publication in future Chicken Soup titles? Keep an eye on their Possible Book Topics page.


I hope you all enjoy a safe and happy holiday weekend!