Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rocky Road now available

Need something short and sweet to read while you're on the go? Check out my mini-collection of four short stories, Rocky Road, now available on Smashwords:

You can download a free sample in just about any format (.pdf, .html, nook, Kindle, etc...). Let me know what you think!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Author Interview: Lisa Logan

Lisa M. Logan is a North Carolina native who loves to write short stories, screenplays, and novels. Death by Clogging is her collection of short stories, which you can find on Smashwords and Amazon. Currently, she's working on her first novel, to be published later this fall.

Please tell us a little about your collection. What sort of style or tone is it?
It's about a variety of people from all walks of life, thrown into challenging situations. The tone is maybe dark comedy. The style ... well, I don't know if it has a style at all! It includes the story "Uncle Frank," which is about a Vietnam War hero who is now a cross-dressing farmer. Another story is "Dandelion Wish," the story of a mother driven by desperate circumstances to live as a fugitive with her young son. "Angry Nipple," is a cautionary tale of extreme jealousy. And the title story, "Death by Clogging" is about exactly that.

Are the stories primarily set in the South, and if so, do you consider yourself a Southern writer?
They are all set in the South. "Angry Nipple" could be set anywhere, though. Yes, I consider myself a Southern writer. I try to set my stories in Southern locales because the South has always been a unique place to live, where people still hold on to old-time traditions, and not everyone has been culture-washed by television shows like MTV and VH1.

You have a master's in creative writing. Do you think those who want to write (and get published) should go to school for it, or is it more about learning as you go?
I think it's more about learning as you go. I know of successful writers who didn't earn their master's degrees, and they did just fine. I think you need to study the authors in your favorite genre and see what they're doing -- what techniques they are using to draw the readers in. What are they doing right? I ask myself when I'm reading my favorite authors' works, "Why do I like this story so much? What is this author doing to get me to feel this way about this passage? How is he/she pushing my emotional buttons?"

Why did you decide to publish your collection on Kindle?
I read about a young author Amanda Hocking who has become an indie ebook sensation. She's become a millionaire in, like, 10 months by selling her vampire adventure/romance novels. Reading about her success made me decide to just do it and see how many I can sell online. Plus, there's a lot more freedom to publishing on Kindle, Nook, and other epublishing venues. You have more control.

Who are some of your favorite Southern writers?
Truman Capote is my favorite of all time. His descriptions and scenes are so vivid. I can only hope to write half as well as that. I also like Flannery O'Connor's work.

What's your "guilty pleasure" reading?
Anything Stephen King. He's a wonderful writer and really draws you into the story.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Banned book week

Okay, I'm piggy-backing off Marianne Wheelaghan's blog entry and am talking about Banned Book Week next week. Every year, this event "highlightes the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States."

Some of the books challenged in 2010:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

What's the difference between a challenge and a banning?
According to the American Library Association, "A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection."

Can you imagine a world without Aldous Huxley, Judy Blume, or Toni Morrison, all of whom have been challenged? Scary!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Deep South Lit. Mag

Have you heard of Deep South Magazine? I just discovered it today: "an online magazine connecting the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and parts of Texas and Florida." They have a Southern Voice literary section that accepts submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Worth a try!