Stand for Something or Stand for Nothing
Stand for Something or Stand for Nothing
When Sharon Maas first made it known to her then-agent and then-editor that she was thinking about writing a book set in her native Guyana, she met with blank incomprehension and utter rejection: "Guyana? Whyever would anyone write about that little backwater country; a place nobody knows anything about and which probably at least half her projected readership wouldn't even be able to correctly point out on a map? No no no," she was told, "stick with what is safe and what people know. And if you want to write a book set in an exotic location, write something set in India. You know India, right? You've lived there – so you can just as credibly write about that. And there are plenty of people out there who do want to read books set in India. It's even a sort of literary trend these days. You'll fit right in."
Sharon's response, after actually having published three books in which Indian settings played a crucial role, was to refuse to work with anybody who was not open to her own ideas about the construction and settings of her books; even if that meant not having any literary agent at all, nor a publisher, for the foreseeable future. The one thing she did not do, however, was stop writing. And looking for a new publisher, who would accept her without any preconceived notions about which niche to fit her in. Over a decade after the publication of her third novel, The Speech of Angels, she finally struck gold – so now here it is, the book (or first of several books, hopefully) that might never have gone to print if its author had not finally found a publisher willing to take her on solely on the strength of her writing, and accept the chosen setting as an asset rather than a burden.
‘Minerva’s Fox’ is a captivating story of one woman’s journey to understand herself and come to terms with her past.
When Malorie Ellsworth finds herself in a small village in France, she finally seems to be finding her way. With a traumatic childhood and a rough spell of graduate school behind her, Malorie looks forward to a future in garden design and a full life back in the States. Although she is a success in her field, she is facing difficult times at home and when an old lover resurfaces, she must stop running and meet her past head on.
Kristina Baer’s story of a woman finding her way is beautifully written, finely balanced and impossible to forget.
The Butterfly HouseMarcia Preston
Published June 1st 2006 by Mira, (first published January 2005)
Marcia Preston's The Butterfly House is a good read. The basic storyline is 2 single mothers, each with their own past, each raising a daughter, and the daughters become best of friends at a very young age. Preston's writing flows well and her characters are well defined. She bounces between the present and the past, with Roberta being the narrator. The transitions between the two timeframes are easy to follow. All the characters, flaws and all, I found to be likeable and I finished the book rather quickly. There is a slight chick lit feel to the book, but I did not find that as defining of the story. Preston gives us a good, well written, enjoyable read.
I did an interview recently with Colleen O'Grady. Colleen has over 20 years experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is also a mom in the trenches with her own teenage daughter. In order to help other parents, Colleen created the Power Your Parenting program, blog and book: a guide to help parents foster healthy relationships with their teens.
Being a mother of a teenage daughter can be difficult. Colleen and I work with teenagers professionally. On the other hand, many parents are confronting, for the first time, issues we see every day. Which is why it takes a village. Those of us who work with adolescents have a lot to offer parents.
Our conversation focuses on the pervasive issue of sexting. The behavior starts earlier than most parents want to believe, and it involves many more kids than most people imagine. If you're the parent of a teenager, you'll want to listen to the podcast: Could Your Teenager be Sexting?
The issues we discuss in the podcast can be explored more fully in my article Sexting at School and in Colleen's work. If you need help building honest and open communication with your teen go to poweryourparenting.com and sign up for Colleen's free ebook, 7 Ways to Help Your Relationship with Your Teenage Daughter (and Yourself).