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review 2017-05-07 22:40
Toni FGMAMTC's Reviews > Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West

4.5 stars

 

A lot of the material in this really hit home for me. She talks about feminism and body image issues in a way that I completely get. I think she gets the point across in a positive and interesting way also. She isn't preachy or attacking. She's honest and humorous. She gives some important points so I recommend this to everyone.

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review 2017-05-01 14:35
Release Day ARC Review: Nightsong (Notes From Boston #2) by A.M. Leibowitz
Nightsong (Notes from Boston Book 2) - A. M. Leibowitz

If you've read the first book in this series, you'll remember Nate.

I disliked him intensely in the first book after he cowardly outed Trevor out of jealousy and spite, and I wasn't quite sure that the author would find a way to redeem him.

I should've had more faith.

Nate Kingsley is a rather complex character, someone who has patched his wounds with band-aids, and whose self-esteem issues are rooted in past heartbreak. He's lost, so lost, when this book begins, because he misses Trevor's friendship, and he doesn't know how to apologize and how to make up for what he did. His cowardly actions are haunting him, and he's unhappy but doesn't know how to fix what he broke.

Not even his work can pull him out of the doldrums, and in his loneliness, floundering without the friend he hurt so badly, he again makes a huge mistake that costs him dearly later on in the book.

Izzy Kaplan is an EMT whose drag queen alter ego, TaTa Latke, has caught Nate's eye. Unbeknownst to Nate, Izzy harbors a similar crush for him. Izzy has trust issues, much like Nate, and he keeps parts of himself hidden from view. He has reasons, of course, even if those reasons perhaps only make sense to him. He realizes that something is going on with him, but doesn't want to deal with it, and thus makes like an ostrich - head in the sand.

I really loved how this book showcased the variety of the rainbow, and how non-judgmental the author handles all the different flavors of sexuality and gender identity. While the characters may favor one over the other, it's always very clear that this isn't what the author believes to be true. This was similar to the first book, and we get to visit with Trevor, Andre, and Marte again in this book.

What also stands out is that both MCs hide their true selves from their friends, at least for a long while, and that they both learn to be more open by the end. Both are dealing with some devastating health issues, and trusting each other, and their friends, is a hard-won battle.

There's a ton of angst inside, some of it external to the relationship, and some of it self-induced, but none of it ever felt unreasonable. Both Nate and Izzy have their own personal demons to slay, and they both still have some important lessons to learn. The book touches on some really heavy yet important topics and handles them with sensitivity and honesty, without becoming preachy.

The romance is really subdued here and takes quite some time to develop and then come to fruition, but that also made sense within the overall time line. Neither Nate nor Izzy are ready to confront their demons early on, and a more rapid development would likely have sent them to crash and burn. The author includes intimate scenes, but none of them felt superfluous or gratuitous, and all were furthering the plot. While I would classify this as a romance (because there is a happy ending for Nate and Izzy), it's actually a lot more than that. It's a character study of two rather flawed and often frustrating men, who find exactly what they were looking for when they didn't even realize they were looking for it.

This book could be read as a standalone, but probably shouldn't, as it's built on the events of the first book, and a reader is better served knowing the history between Nate and Trevor, which is one of the main catalysts for Nate changing himself in this book.

By the way, I wanted to junk-punch Rocco. Repeatedly. Once you've read this book, you'll know why.

This isn't your typical M/M romance fare, and I was glad for it.

Highly recommended.


** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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text 2017-04-20 07:37
Introduction to Memoir Writing - workshop outline FREE

A dozen people turned up to my free workshop, Introduction to Writing Memoir.

 

I spoke for an hour - flat out. In the end there was applause and a few participants bought my books, nicely displayed on a table near the door (so they couldn't miss them).

 

A lot of participants who attend the Creative Writing Circles I facilitate are writing memoirs. A lot of them don't know where to begin, how to structure or write their stories. I thought a workshop that addressed these issues would at least get them started off right, saving them a lot of time and frustration revising.

 

They might even be grateful enough to buy a book. Some apparently were.

 

Here's the workshop outline I distributed to those who attended. You might find this information helpful if you're considering writing about an event in your life. If you do (and your feeling grateful) sign up for my Advance Reading Team and I'll send you a FREE E-BOOK edition of my latest novel The LOCAL RAG.

 

Here's the link. http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

 

Introduction to Memoir Writing

Facilitator: Rod Raglin

Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Website: http://www.rodraglin.com

E-mail: rod_raglin@yahoo.com

 

This short program is designed to set you on the right path to writing a memoir.

 

What is a memoir?

A memoir is not the story of your life (autobiography) but rather a story of one of your life experiences. It has a distinct beginning and end.

 

How to plan your memoir

Your memoir should be structured like any good story. Before you begin writing you should decide the story's Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

Goal: What did you want?

Motivation: Why did you want it?

Conflict: What was stopping you from getting it?

 

Be specific about your Goal

It's best to be specific and not generalize - I wanted to be happy is a generalization. I wanted out of the marriage I was in with an alcoholic so I could be happy is specific. Rather than wanting a good job which is a generalization; write I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon.

 

Motivation

Dig deep to discover why you wanted what you wanted. You might think you wanted to start your own business because you hoped to make a lot of money but was there more - the prestige, the power, the independence?

 

Conflict

These are the challenges that are preventing you from attaining your goal. Here again dig deep. What was stopping you from writing that novel - the responsibility of a family, lack of time - or fear of failure?

 

Where to start

Start with the inciting incident. The moment you decided things were going to change, or the moment something happened that changed the status quo.

Don't start with backstory - your personal history - fill that in as the story unfolds and only what is necessary for the reader to understand your motivation. Always make it minimal and relevant to this memoir.

 

Story structure

The story arc - begins with the inciting incident and the tension rises as you are confronted with one obstacle (conflict) after another that you have to overcome to achieve your goal. The highest point of the story arc is the climax - the final battle that will resolve whether or not you achieve your goal.

 

Then denouement - wrap up loose ends and finish.

 

Some tips about writing

Always ask Why and How - and answer these questions honestly

 

Evoke emotion - how did you feel about the person, the event, the award, the death? Reading is an emotional experience and if you don't tell the reader how you felt about the events you're writing about your memoir will be uninspiring and not entertaining. Remember the paradox of writing - the more personal you write, the more universal the appeal.

 

Show don't tell

You want your reader to feel like they're actually experiencing the event not being told what happened. One of the best way to do this is to use lots of dialogue. Dialogue is action and action is showing not telling. It doesn't matter if you don't remember exactly what was said - this is your story.

 

Consider the writing technique Scene/Sequel.

Write an action scene and then a sequel reflecting on the action.

 

Use specifics - don't generalize

 

Revision

Once you've written your memoir you need to put it away until it's out of your system. You need to get perspective on it. That could take anywhere from a minimum of three months to? Then take it out and re-read and revise. You'll likely have lots of revisions.

 

Once you've done the re-write, you need to find as many "objective" people as possible to read, proof and comment on it. Try to find people who can be honest and do not have a conflict of interest.

 

Consider joining a local writing group or register on an online critique site. Then revise taking their comments and corrections into consideration.

 

 

Once you've done all the revising you can decide to self publish on Amazon - free with a 70-30% royalty split or begin the submission process to publishers.

 

Books that are helpful:

The Writer's Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne Janzer 

Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life,

by Jerry Payne

 

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review 2017-04-20 00:00
The Authentic Swing: Notes From the Writing of a First Novel
The Authentic Swing: Notes From the Writing of a First Novel - Steven Pressfield Pressfield said some interesting things about being a writer/screenwriter but it was mostly a promotion of his first novel (The Legend of Bagger Vance) that turned into a movie.
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review 2017-03-19 22:41
Notes on Adaptaion: Paterson/Tulsa Kid Rating
Tulsa Kid - Ron Padgett

Generally, I post a "Notes on Adaptation" column after seeing the adaptation, but this one's going to be a little bit different. 

 

After seeing the trailer for the film "Paterson" three or four times (in various theaters), I wanted to see this film about a poet. Being a faithful reader and sometimes writer of poetry made the urge even stronger. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8pGJBgiiDU

 

So I read William Carlos Williams' collected "Paterson" (more about that in another post), and I sought out something by Ron Padgett, the poet who contributed work to the film "Paterson." 

 

I have access to three libraries, two community, and one university. Among those three, only one had any Padgett books (the university), and the only one of Mr. Padgett's books they had was "Tulsa Kid."

"Tulsa Kid" was published in 1979, and I wish any of my local libraries would have had a more recent volume, because this one was an immature work. I guess that's all there is to say about it. 

 

Except to note that it is doubtful the film "Paterson" will ever be shown in my city. 

 

-cg

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