Updates

Writers Support Writers

Mid-December, 2021

Being a writer is like so many things, both complicated and simple. First the simple – writers write. The biggest difference between a ‘real’ writer and everyone else is that others may want to write, but they don’t actually write. It isn’t enough to want, one must do. Just as one cannot be a lumberjack if they do not cut down trees, or a rancher if they never own cattle, one cannot be a writer without writing.

The 2016 shortlist for the prestigious PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for debut fiction was filled entirely by writers of color.

More complicated though, is first – who gets an opportunity to write? Who has access to the mentors, time, access to agents and publishers? Many of us who write have to do so alongside working jobs that pay the bills, many are also raising children and/or caring for other vulnerable family members. Writers have many obstacles between themselves and finding readers. Writing is in many ways the simple part, everything that comes afterwards is much harder.

When one doesn’t see published writers who seem similar to one’s self, it is easy to believe that publishing is a dream beyond reach. Or if one does not see other writers acknowledging the struggles one faces one’s self, then one may not believe that others would be interested in the kind of stories one has to tell. Or one may believe they do not belong.

Roxane Gay’s Book Club on Literati: https://literati.com/book-clubs/roxane-gay/

As a writer who has several identities that are typically marginilized, I like to spend at least part of my time and money supporting other marginilized writers – or writers who started from a marginilzed position and have worked so hard they have become successful (by publishing standards at least. Personal life is just that – personal. We don’t necessarily know the struggles a writer continues to face.)

If you don’t know Roxane Gay, then you need to. She will be remembered as one of the significant literary figures of our time. And she’s just a very good writer.

2017 Bestseller

Next to writing the most important thing a writer can do is read. Personally I think it helps to read good writing by great writers, which is another reason I recommend Dr. Gay’s work. She is both a writer of color and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, so she will either expose you to viewpoints you may not otherwise encounter, or share viewpoints that you already share.

I am among the many writers who live with mental health challenges; our community has a powerful advocate who informs and entertains with her humor. Jenny Lawson is also the owner of a thriving independent bookstore in San Antonio, Texas. (The staff is very responsive to online orders, of which I have made a number.)

2021 Bestseller

Of course there are many more writers who write from positions in marginlized communities. Some have had the opportunity to become known, others are still trying to breakthrough. What I would like to see is the sharing of names and book titles so that we can help build each other up.

If you are a writer who is part of a marginilzed community, please say hello, so we can begin to recognize your name. If you have a book out, please share the title. And if there is a writer you particularly enjoying or that you’ve recently discovered, please share their name/book here in the comments. The more recognition we give each other, the more likely we are to connect with new readers.

Writer feature

Writer’s Showcase: Karen Eisenbrey

Genre: High Fantasy and Comic Urban Fantasy.

Background: I have always loved stories and wanted to be a writer from an early age. In college I was an English major, but after I graduated, I had no ideas and didn’t write much of anything until the “chaos years” when my kids were small. Once I had kids it seemed like a good idea to just start writing. A fateful dream with two wizards and three plot twists sent me into the fantasy genre.

Writing Highlight: my first published novel, The Gospel According to St. Rage, is a book about a girl who starts a garage band and gains superpowers; that book actually got me writing songs! I’ve always sung but I’d never had much success with songwriting. Writing this book I discovered that if I wrote songs from the point of view of my protagonist, I was more successful.

Next Project: I am pegging away at the third Daughter of Magic book in my fantasy trilogy. The first two are Daughter of Magic and Wizard Girl.

To follow Karen’s blog: https://kareneisenbreywriter.com/blog/

Or you could connect with her as I first did, on Twitter: @KarenEisenbry

She also has a nice page featuring not just her novels, but all the anthologies she’s contributed to: https://kareneisenbreywriter.com/my-books/

A note about Karen is that she has contributed to a number of anthologies; in fact it was the Paws and Claws anthology from Cake & Quill which first caught my eye. This is one of nine (and counting) anthologies that Karen has contributed to!

Cake & Quill, 03/17

Proceeds from Paws and Claws go to Bob’s House for Dogs, which offers hospice care for elderly dogs.

Not a Pipe Publishing, 11/18

Note Karen is featured as the writer on the top margin, left, on the cover of Strongly Worded Women.

Writer feature

Writer’s Showcase: Margret Treiber

Genre: Speculative/Science Fiction (and one horror story).

Background: I’ve been interested in writing since I was in elementary school.  I remember writing a terrible romance story, and my mom finding it.  I was mortified.  I didn’t write again until I was a teenager. 

I then wrote on and off until I hit my early twenties.  I sent one story into Aboriginal Science Fiction magazine.  I got a personal rejection, which I was pretty proud of.  Unfortunately, it got lost in time.  I stopped writing for a while, dealing with real-life and all that crap, but started again in my 40’s.  I wrote a novel I wasn’t happy with, then started writing short stories.

Writing Highlight: I’m good at writing morally ambiguous characters.  I also live with a  science consultant who has been known to point out when my science makes no sense.  Usually, I listen.  Sometimes, I go with bad science and call it Science Fantasy. 

I used to think I was unique in my flagrant use of curse words, but apparently, there are others of my ilk.  I was very proud of my last two novels until I realized how typo-ridden they were.  I liked the short story I published in LampLight, “Atmospheric Pressure”.  It’s creepy and dark.  It didn’t hurt that they edited it well.  My short in The Weird and Whatnot, “Dance, Monkey, Dance!” is another of my favorites.  It is especially better after they illustrated it and formatted it very fancily.

Next Project: My next story, “Better SAF Than Sorry,” is due out in the anthology Imps and Minions at the end of August. I’ve been writing shorts that tie-in to that story and may eventually create a collection of them in the future. While I see my greatest strength in shorts, I am working on a hard corp Science Fiction novel that I’m about a third of the way into.

To keep up with Margret Treiber follow her website: http://www.the-margret.com/

You can also follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margret.treiber

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B0052U63BI

A note about Margret is that she has a wonderful sense of humor, which I appreciate. Under the “don’t ask” column she confessed she once wrote a ‘cell phone porn’. Since I can’t ask, we’ll let it go at that, but clearly this is a writer who is willing to explore the corners of Speculative Fiction!

Short fiction is an art form that isn’t always popular with writers; I was very excited to discover a writer who is using the format so successfully. For readers, anthologies allow the satisfaction of a complete story in a short period of reading time, as well as the variety of sampling multiple writers in one publication. If you aren’t reading anthologies, you should be!


Writer feature

Writer’s Showcase: Iris Chacon

Genre: Romantic Mystery, Cozy Mystery

Background: My grandmother read to me from an early age, so I was in love with clever words from the beginning of my life. As a preteen I wrote plays and poems and won my first writing prize for creating lyrics to a school fight song at age 13. In my young adulthood I wrote screenplays and after that, I wrote short documentaries for non-profit organizations.

One day I pulled out a favorite movie script that hadn’t sold and decided to see if I could use it as an outline for a novel. Within a year I had published my first three novels and was working on the fourth. Nobody has been as surprised as I have, to see how well received my books have been.

Writing Highlight: For decades I’ve been working to produce high quality entertainment with the kind of wholesome worldview my peers and I enjoy. I know the real world contains profane words and sordid events sometimes, but neither I nor my friends and family live in that atmosphere, therefore, we don’t find those things entertaining.

I’m driven to give audiences and readers as much joy as I can pack into every page. Life is hard. What we all need is more good, clean, fun. Writing for stage and screen taught me a lot about dialogue. Here is a link where people can listen to a half-minute of dialogue from the audiobook version of Duby’s Doctor: https://youtu.be/5DajIrIBXO8

Next Project: I’m nearly finished with the long-awaited, much-requested sequel to my first book, Finding Miranda. All the quirky denizens of Minokee, Florida will be back and in rare form in The Mammoth Murders: The Minokee Mysteries, Book Two. The first book has won awards and fans; I’m embarrassed it has taken so long to answer fan requests for a second book.

A note about Iris is that I chuckled when I read that while she doesn’t ‘mind’ cat and dog people, she’s a rabbit and horse person herself. As a current rabbit owner and former horse person myself, this spoke to me. Rabbit-loving-readers unite!

Iris Chacon webpage and blog: https://www.authoririschacon.com/

Iris Chacon book page: https://authoririschacon.com/get-the-books/

Irish Chacon book trailers: https://authoririschacon.com/book-trailers/

Writer feature

Writer’s Showcase: Mary Ramsey

Genre: LGBTQ Romance & Fantasy

Background: I served in the United States Air Force and earned a BA in cinema. While I was born in California, my work in the USAF took me all over the world – including the Midwest. I have a fondness for unique and underrepresented superheroes and characters. I love an inspiring story that makes me cry; my favorite movie will always be 13th Warrior.

How Did you get into Writing: I have always been drawn to overly dramatic stories featuring people on the fringe of society. As a teen, I wrote about drug addicts and the mentally ill; people who were so lost they needed to find a light. I then moved into fanfiction, playing around with characters from comics and videogames. Finally came my first novel, Dakota Son, where I took a step back and learned to combine my sense of drama, and a bit of helplessness, with a sense of reality. I then went on to create a series based on LGBTQ characters from that novel.

Writing Highlight: I find video games are able to tell a compelling story without holding the reader’s hand and explaining too much: that inspired me. Each of my stories takes place over a long period of time but is told in a way that introduces the reader in an organic manner.

Next Project: I’m in the process of re-publishing Dakota Son. I’m also working on something new, with a protagonist named Leonardo Riveria. This will be an LGBTQ-paranormal-romance about an immortal demon hunter, which I’m planning to make a series.

A note about Mary who is blessed with a generous heart; she not only is an artist but on the website for her art offers to do artwork for others. She has a vibrant style, available under the label Deviant Art, that you can check out here: https://www.deviantart.com/dourdan

More information about Mary’s books can be found here: https://dourdan.wordpress.com/