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text 2018-04-21 05:04
Eco-Fi: Writing as a moral act

"True art is moral. We recognize true art by its' careful, thoroughly honest search for an analysis of values. It is not didactic because, instead of teaching by authority and force, it explores, open-mindedly, to learn what it should teach. It clarifies like an experiment in a chemistry lab, and confirms."

- John Gardner, On Moral Fiction, 1978

 

Okay, so this is a bit high-minded, but still it's something I aspire to in my writing.

 

I've tried to write strictly commercial fiction, but my characters and plots won't let me. At some point they tell me, "Hey, I'm not that shallow, superficial person and I won't let you portray me as such." At this point the vapid story I've been writing takes an unexpected direction and everything gets out of control and I'm back dealing with three dimensional characters in complicated situations that test their integrity.

 

Or at least I'm trying to.

 

How then does a writer, if so inclined, build their fiction on strong, ethical ground?

 

I subscribe to the method suggested by Carol Bly, Author of The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart’s Truth into Literature. She suggests that even before beginning to write a story, consider composing a “Values Listing,” a written record of the things that are most important to you.

 

Then, throughout the writing process ensure these values continue to be identified in your work. That means these values are present in the issues and conflicts your characters confront and that they themselves are grounded in or address these same principles.

 

Here's the Value's Listing Questions. My answers are in capitals

 

VALUE’S LISTING:

 

1. Two goals or values which make life good or bearable or would if they were in operation. PRESERVING ENVIRONMENT/ ENCOURAGING THE HUMAN SPIRIT

 

2. Two goals or values which cause injustice and suffering or lessening of joy. WEALTH/MATERIALISM and the NEED TO CONTROL

 

3. Two missing goals or behaviors. As a child, you thought grown-up life would have these. Now that you are an adult you don’t see them around. HONESTY/INTEGRITY and RESPONSIBILITY/CREDIBILITY

 

4. Two injustices you see about you and should keep an eye on, even on your wedding day. RACISM/DISCRIMINATION and DESTRUCTION OF WILDERNESS

 

Considering my the list of my values, it's not surprising four of my novels could be categorized as Environmental Fiction, interpreted as a story of any genre; romance, mystery, literary, etc., with a subplot that addresses an important environmental issue.

 

In writing ECO-FI my hope is readers will be entertained by all the elements of a good story and will also come away a little more wiser about the environmental issues important to me and that effect us all.

 

ECO-FI TITLES:

SAVING SPIRIT BEAR - What Price Success?

LOVING THE TERRORIST - Risking it All

MAD MAGGIE - And the Wisdom of the Ancients

FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend

 

This stand-alone series will be part of my back-list promotion throughout 2018 and 2019 that will include upcoming FREE book days on Amazon. To be included in free offers of my existing books or the opportunity to receive Advance Reading Copies on new work, consider joining my ADVANCE READING TEAM at http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

Buy links for these books include:

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com

Draft2Digital - https://www.draft2digital.com

 

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review 2018-04-19 21:14
Ghost of the Innocent Man by Benjamin Rachlin
Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption - Benjamin Rachlin

Willie "Woot" Grimes was wrongly convicted in 1988 for the rape of an elderly white woman in North Carolina. Ghost of the Innocent Man by Benjamin Rachlin is the true story of his conviction, trial, and incarceration. Woot Grimes spent 25 years waiting to be exonerated. He was found guilty of first-degree rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. Woot had several people to give him an alibi for the time of the crime, but this did not matter. Instead the prosecutor took the ever changing word of a witness and was able to get a conviction. 

 

Christine Mumma, a cofounder of North Carolina's Innocence Inquiry Commission, took on Willie's case and fought tirelessly to free him. 

 

Benjamin Rachlin has done an amazing job of telling Willie's story as well as how the Innocence Project begins and how they fought to free an innocent man. 

 

I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

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review 2018-04-17 03:30
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Bittersweet (True North Book 1) - Sarina Bowen
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had such a good time listening to Griff and Audrey's story! I recently discover Sarina Bowen's work when I listened to and fell in love with Bountiful. As soon as I finished that book, I knew that I was going to have to go back and listen to the rest of the series. As soon as I realized that this book was about Griff and Audrey, I almost jumped for joy since they were key characters in Bountiful. I went into this book with pretty high expectations and they were met. This really was a fantastic romance.

I loved Griff and Audrey. Griff was a bit of a grump which I found completely adorable. I guess he had a few things to be grumpy about since he gave up his chance at football to come back home and run the family farm after his father's death. Farming is hard work and a lot to manage. He has taken on the responsibility of making sure that all of his family's needs are met. Audrey is passionate about cooking. She is a chef and has excellent skills. Unfortunately, her employer doesn't let her use those skills. Her current assignment is to visit farms in Vermont to get produce for the restaurants. She is determined to do what it takes to prove herself so that she can get her chance at running a kitchen.

Griff and Audrey knew each other in college. It is obvious from their first meeting that they haven't forgotten each other even though their relationship was extremely brief. These two were perfect together from the very start of the book. I loved the way that Audrey just kind of fit into Griff's world even when he didn't think she would. Audrey didn't seem to mind Griff's grouch like behavior and seemed to really understand him from the start. They had fantastic chemistry and seemed so much better together than they were apart. 

This was the first time that I have listened to both Saskia Maarleveld and Tad Branson and I thought that they did a fantastic job with this audiobook. I do really enjoy romance novels that utilize dual narrators and thought their narration styles really worked well together. They were really both able to capture their character's personality and make them come alive. I think that they were able to bring a lot of emotion into the story as well. I would definitely listen to either of these narrators again in the future.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This was a really well done story filled with characters that I grew to love over the course of the story. I had a really great time listening to Griff and Audrey find their happily ever after. I can't wait to experience more of this wonderful series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book! Griffin and Audrey were both great characters and I loved seeing them together. Griffin was such an adorable grouch and everyone seemed to love Audrey. The narrators did a fantastic job with the story. I can't wait to listen to more of this fantastic series!

Book source: Library via Hoopla
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text 2018-04-16 22:32
Reading progress update: I've read 30%. - how peculiar
Odd & True - Cat Winters

"Odd and True" is, as one GR reviewer put it, "supernatural but historical fiction with sisters".

 

I'm 30% of the way through the book and so far nothing has happened except that I am completely fascinated.

 

It seems to me that this is a book that is about the nature of knoweldge, the ambiguity of truth and the power of the bond between sisters who grew up with only each other to rely on.

 

It is a truly peculiar book that can only be defined in reference to itself.

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review 2018-04-16 05:25
Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook - Christina Henry,Samuel Roukin

 

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan. Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter's idea of fun is sharper than a pirate's sword. He wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He'll do anything to be that sun. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever. Peter will say I'm a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. Peter Lies.

 

What if you heard the story from another character's point of view? Would it change who you thought of as the hero??

 

If the story was anything like this, then I would say yes. This is the true story of Captain Hook. In this version, Peter is a trickster with no conscience who only cares about staying young, having fun, and getting what he wants. Before he became Captain Hook, Jamie was a strong, determined young boy, even though he was more than a bit naive. 

 

Peter brought Jamie to the island so they could stay young forever, together. And no one had better stand in the way of Peter getting his way. Is Peter magic? Is it the island? And what will happen when Jamie finally figures out the truth?

 

OK, so we all know the end, but we don't know how they get there. And that is where this story hooks you. 

 

It is bloody, violent, sad, chilling, and even sentimental at times. I loved the narration. Samuel Roukin (British accent and all) set the scene and had me immersed in the world of the lost boys.

 

Highly recommended - if you don't mind violence. The concept of "never growing up" isn't as appealing as it once was...

 

It's not such a wonderful thing

To be young.

It's heartless and selfish.

- Jamie

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