Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Enjoy the show!
As a field radio operator, Lloyd Lofthouse was a walking target in Vietnam in 1966. He has skied in blizzards at forty below zero and climbed mountains in hip deep snow.
Lloyd earned a BA in journalism after fighting in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. Later, while working days as an English teacher at a high school in California, he earned an MFA in writing. He enjoyed a job as a maitre d’ in a multimillion-dollar nightclub and tried his hand successfully at counting cards in Las Vegas for a few years. He now lives near San Francisco with his wife, with a second home in Shanghai, China. Lloyd says that snapshots of his life appear like multicolored ribbons flowing through many of his poems.
This link takes you to Lloyd's 'Vietnam Experience' page filled with photos. He took many of them. Since Lloyd still has to edit the photos so they load faster, this page may load slow for older computers.
This link will take you to a media piece from a Southern California newspaper that Lloyd copied and posted on his Website that will give you an idea about his teaching years.
If you are interesting in learning more about Lloyd's teaching experience, you are welcome to read about it at AuthorsDen. 'Word Dancer' is a memoir of the 1994-1995 school year. He kept a daily journal that year. He is using that journal to write 'Word Dancer'. Everyday, when he arrived home, Lloyd wrote an entry in that journal. It sat on a shelf in his garage for fourteen years gathering dust. Spiders moved into the binder and built a nest. After all those years, Lloyd forgot he'd written it. When he was cleaning the garage, he found it again. Lloyd started reading, remembering and writing. Everything he writes in 'Word Dancer' happened. He's using a primary source as his guide. Memory may be faulty, but a daily journal written the day an event took place is as accurate as it can get from the author's point-of-view.
Accomplishments: Lloyd's short story "A Night at the Well of Purity" was named a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.
As a teacher, Lloyd found satisfaction in the number of students that published nationally and internationally while attending his English and journalism classes.
You can visit his website at www.mysplendidconcubine.com.
Driven by a passion for his adopted country, Robert Hart became the “godfather of China’s modernism,” inspector general of China’s Customs Service, and the builder of China’s railroads, postal and telegraph systems, and schools, but his first real love is Ayaou, a young concubine.
"Love for ones wives' sister is typically forbidden by most Western religions, but the most successful Westerner in Chinese history is faced with this conflict. "My Splendid Concubine" is the tale of Robert Hart who deals with matters of his lust and how to deal with them the Chinese way, which so conflcit with his upbringing. The Taiping Rebellion doesn't help matters, him making enemies of established and skilled mercenaries in the process of protecting his interest and the women he loves. "My Splendid Concubine" is packed cover to cover with intriguing characters and plot, a must read for historical fiction fans and a fine addition to any collection on the genre."
--Midwest Book Reviews
"What makes this story something other than a cliched period piece is the fact that Lofthouse drew his narrative from fragments of Hart’s own diaries which Hart himself was supposed to have burned before his death. Hart was a prodigious correspondent, and the 40 odd volumes of letters he left behind became a foundational document for modern Sinologists-including John King Fairbank-who sought reasons for modern China’s highly problematic entrance into modernity.
If even half of Lofthouse’s narrative is true, it’s a stunning work that enmeshes imperialism, modernity, miscegenation and plain old desire in a sweaty matrix of destruction and painful birth."
--City Weekend Magazine
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
My journey into the world of fiction started in 2003 when I originally wrote Bleach. I would go on to self-publish this book and promote via press releases and email. During this time I also wrote many short stories that found their way into literary journals and online writing communities. A couple of these stories found their way onto Silverthought.com. In 2004 I wrote my second novel, Corporate Porn, and was fortunate to be considered (and chosen) as part of the first books published by Silverthought Press. To promote Corporate Porn, postcards where printed and distributed, I promoted via online channels (blog, MySpace, etc…), and also coordinated a book signing.
During this time I also started writing a sequel to Bleach, later to become Blackout, and published through Offense Mechanisms, an imprint of Silverthought Press, in April 2008 as a double novel (complete with topsy-turvy covers). For promotion this time around I have focused very heavily on online websites featuring authors, promotion through my website (http://www.davidsgrant.com), and approaching local bookstores, introducing myself, and gauging interest on selling my books and/or hosting a signing isn’t easy, but necessary. Most books will not be sold through bookstores, but it’s still important to make your work available whether through purchase or consignment basis.
Online I have utilized the social network MySpace as well as the writing social network Author’s Den. My website (http://www.davidsgrant.com) serves as a portal to all of my works (publisher websites), reviews, articles, and contacts. Craigslist and EBAY are two additional online avenues that are free and allow authors to sell their work to a much larger audience than would typically be available through traditional channels.
I have found much success through Pump Up Your Books virtual (online) book tours. I am currently on my third virtual tour (this is one of the stops!) and am able to promote across multiple channels via interviews, reviews, and articles.
My next novel, Blood-The New Red, is scheduled to be published in 2009. I expect to utilize many of the areas I have used in the past as well as build on the network I have created and create new opportunities.
Thank you for having me. I do believe anyone that reads Bleach|Blackout will enjoy themselves. The humorous story, littered with pop culture throughout, will have you knee deep in the characters addictions before you know it. Thanks again. -David
About the Author:
David S. Grant is the author of Corporate Porn, published by Silverthought Press in 2006. David's first novel Bleach and sequel titled Blackout are now available through Offense Mechanisms, an imprint of Silverthought Press. Also, newly published in 2008 the novel The Last Breakfast and short story collection Emotionless Souls through Brown Paper Publishing. David lives and works in New York City.
About the Book:
Fans of fluffy romance novels and that all-too-familiar, over-hyped, edge-of-the-seat crap should steer clear. This is life at its most jaded. Offense Mechanisms is proud to present Bleach | Blackout by David S. Grant, two novels about drugs, sex, revenge, the corporate crunch, and the inevitable unpleasantness of life and death.
You can visit David's website at www.davidsgrant.com/ to read an excerpt!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART, though not my first published book, is my first published novel. It’s the story of Don Fisher, a middle-aged misfit—just about everything has gone wrong in his life—who finally meets the sort of woman he’s given up on ever meeting. This happens while he’s on vacation in Venezuela. The woman, Ana, is Colombian, working as a waitress in Caracas, and while the two don’t exactly have a storybook romance, a child is conceived during Don’s vacation. He doesn’t learn this until he’s back in the States, but from that point on his energy is directed toward marrying Ana and bringing her to live in the US. Little does he realize the obstacles US Immigration is about to put in his path.
As to the road TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART and its author traveled en route to publication, it’s been long, bumpy, and often uphill. But if a writer writes about what he knows … from his own unique perspective … he’ll end up with a book no one else could have written. Whatever else happens, he’ll have something to be proud of … and I am proud of this book.
I plan to be around for the long haul doing whatever it takes to carve out a significant writing career. I appreciate every little step along the way, and I appreciate every little bit of support I get. For information about TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART or about Steven Verrier, visit stevenverrier.com, and drop me a line telling me what you think about this book.
Advice? Develop a thick skin. Be The Little Engine that Could. There are few successful writers that couldn’t paper their walls with rejection letters. Whatever your long-range plans may be, set little goals along the way, and be patient when even the tiniest steps take far longer than you’d imagined. And, of course, grit your teeth and be ready to outlast every obstacle you face.
Steven Verrier, born in the United States and raised mainly in Canada, has spent much of his life living and traveling abroad. He is the author of RAISING A CHILD TO BE BILINGUAL AND BICULTURAL (a prizewinning book published bilingually in Japan) and various short dramatic works for the student market. His first novel, TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART, was published in the summer of 2008 by Saga Books. Currently he is living with his wife, Motoko, and four sons in San Antonio, Texas. You can visit his website at www.stevenverrier.com.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Allen Drury won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1960 with his book Advise and Consent. He went on to write many other novels, science-fiction and non-fiction before his death. Allen was a frequent visitor to Puerto Vallarta, and we became friends. Allen used to tell me, “Jenny, you have a book in you. Keep notes.” I would tell him that nobody would believe it, even if I did write a book. His response was always, “Just keep notes.”
I kept notes, or rather copies of reports I made on the more far-fetched cases. I retired from my position, but I kept that bag of notes for about ten years. And then one day I decided to clean some of the clutter from my life, so I burned the notes. That is when I got serious about writing a book.
Unlike Dr. Roberta Islieb, author of Preaching to the Corpse, I didn’t do enough researching about publishing, literary agents or editors before jumping into the frying pan. I was eager to get my book out there. I sent out a few queries. I couldn’t say I was devastated by the number of rejection slips I received. I was never even sure my query was received, so I don’t know the feeling of dejection.
I was introduced to a retired literary agent who agreed to read my manuscript and give me tips. She corrected the name of the town where she lived and told me, “One of the first things you should know is that you never bind a manuscript!” She told me literary agents like to lie in bed at night and read, throwing page by page aside as they are read.
The only reason I had bound it was an editor friend of mine had offered to read and give me suggestions. I used up a ream of paper printing out my cherished manuscript, only I called it My Book, not a manuscript. She started reading it and wrote me that she went to bed with a smile on her face and woke up laughing the next morning at the antics described on the pages. She laid my work on the night table. The cat came along and knocked it to the floor. She couldn’t put it back together in order again. I had not bothered inserting page numbers. I knew in what sequence they should be read and I figured that job was up to the printing company.
I trusted spell check on my computer, but since I was working with a keyboard configurated in Spanish and I was typing English, I decided it should be proofread. The retired literary agent had suggested that my husband read the manuscript out loud to me so I could hear how it read. He reads very well so we gave it a try. He read; I changed text around. He read and I caught some errors and he caught some. I re-typed and we both read again. Once we were absolutely positive there were no typos or misspells, we were ready to share with the rest of the world.
I knew several authors who had successfully self-published, and I thought maybe that was the way to go. I knew a young man who had been visited by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents when he was a kid because he had hacked his way into some high security files in Washington, D.C. I promised him I would never divulge his true identity or whereabouts if he would design the book cover and he agreed.
The first edition was a success. The Senior Editor of Mexconnect.com, the one whose cat knocked my unnumbered pages off her night table, came to the fancy book signing held in the luxurious seaside Villa Verano. The retired literary agent came to help her collect money from the sale table. Many of my characters wandered through the gardens and became reacquainted; some of whom had not seen each other in twenty-five years. I was Alice in Wonderland.
And then someone pointed out that I had misspelled Colombia, not once, but twice. Be careful of the automatic correcting toolbar. It seems that some of the chapters were in a different font size. Paragraph formatting is very important, I discovered.
As I was going through the throes of birthing Drama & Diplomacy, some of my friends suggested I would be able to write a How to Write a Book when I finished. They were wrong. Drury was not around to guide me, but I talked to him on a daily basis. John Huston was not around to encourage me on, but the man who wrote his biography, An Open Book, was. William Reed, author of Rocks & Shoals: Memoir of a Navy Mustang and the Cuban Submarine Crisis, Mexican Odyssey, and Huston’s bio encouraged me to revise and publish the second edition, which I have done. It has been edited by two editors.
My secret tips are do what any good writer should do, not what I did. I’m working on a historical novel, which I may self-publish, but I think I would go with Publish on Demand. I would still confer with my thug book cover designer. I would number the pages and not bind the manuscript. I would still ask my husband to read out loud to me, but I would find six or seven or more proofreaders, and DEFINITELY ask my editor to put my manuscript in, and not on, the night table.
Jenny McGill grew up in the
Jenny and Howard, moved to
Upon retirement, the McGills sought out the tranquility of the western Sierra Madres in the small