Archive - August 2015

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Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #4
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Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #3
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Review— DEVIL’S BREATH by Robert Thurston (VENEZUELA)
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RPCVs and CDs from the Dominican Republic Speak UP
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Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #2
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A Wonderful Story About RPCV Mary Myers-Bruckenstein RN and Ethiopian Berhane Daba
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Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #1
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Review — Ellen Urbani’s (Guatemala 1991-93) Novel LANDFALL
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Lenore Myka (Romania 1994-96) New Collection of Award Winning Stories: King of the Gypsies
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The Future of Books, E-Books, All Books, Your Books!

Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #4

The #4 Key Step: You need to set a schedule of how much time you have in each day to write and how many words you want to write. You don’t have to write a lot. Ernest Hemingway wrote his first book, The Sun Also Rises in seven weeks—that’s approximately 1,500 words a day, but for more of his life he averaged 50 words a day when, as he would say, “the going was good.” Set a goal for yourself. For example. There are approximately 250 words on a printed page. So your goal is to write 1,000 words. Or four pages. Some days you’ll only manage to produce one page, other days you may write 15 pages. If you maintain this routine, you will have a 240-page book at the end of 60 days. That’s your first draft. Now, you start to rewrite. And that is what writing a . . .

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Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #3

The # 3 Key Step: Choose your characters first as they are harder to imagine than the plot, and they are the keystone to your book. As you write, your plot may or may not change, but your characters will develop and have a life of their own. As the characters develop, they’ll take on distinct personalities, and, as with good friends, you will know in certain situations what they will or will not do. Listen to your characters. Listen to their demand, who if they were to come to live, would have a different fate than what you are planning. They will tell their own story, and if the story they tell surprises you, will it will surprise the reader, too.  As Somerset Maugham says, “you can never know too much about your characters.” In writing my last novel Long Ago and Far Away, I started the book thinking . . .

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Review— DEVIL’S BREATH by Robert Thurston (VENEZUELA)

Devil’s Breath (Peace Corps novel) by Robert Thurston (Venezuela 1968–70, Staff: Belize 1972–75, Honduras 1975–77) CreateSpace September 2014 176 pages $8.99 (paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) • Review by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964–66) WE GET TO MEET GRINGO MATEO, the volunteer from Mission USA, an organization like Peace Corps in many ways. Mateo is sent to a small village in the remote area of Vainazola to assist the local farmers and the community COOP. But what happens is he gets caught up with the bad guys that do not want a Gringo, especially Gringo Mateo to find that they have been stealing money from the community, lots of dinero! Mateo is framed for the murder of a young lady and the fact that he is the son of a prominent US Congressman causes problems for the American Embassy. This gets better, as we see the local CIA Station Chief involved in gun . . .

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RPCVs and CDs from the Dominican Republic Speak UP

Thanks for the ‘Heads Up’ from Sally Collier  (Ethiopia 1962-64; CD Swaziland 1995-96; Zimabwe 1997-2000) AUGUST 18, 2015 by NEIL H. BUCHANAN An Avoidable Human Rights Disaster in the Dominican Republic For far too many people in the United States, the issue of “illegal immigration” evokes visions of people crossing the border from Mexico, intent on taking American jobs and using government services without paying taxes. Those images are either gross exaggerations or outright lies. For example, it is now well established that undocumented immigrants pay tens of billions of dollars in taxes in the United States each year, at the federal and state-and-local levels. Nonetheless, right-wing politicians in this country continue to stoke fear and hatred, and opposition to a “path to citizenship” has become a litmus-test issue in the Republican presidential contest. As depressing as that ongoing problem is, it is important to remember that xenophobic, race-based discrimination also continues to . . .

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Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #2

The # 2 Key Step I’m a great believer in having the last line or last paragraph of my novels in mind before I start. I don’t know exactly how I’ll get there, but I have a destination. Joe Heller who wrote, as you know, Catch 22, said “I can’t start writing until I have a closing line.” The short story writer Katherine Anne Porter put it this way: “If I didn’t know the ending of a story, I wouldn’t begin. I always write my last line, my last paragraph, my last page first.” In fact, she wrote the last page of her only novel, Ship of Fools 20 years before she finished the novel. Interestingly, in the summer of 1962 she gave a talk at a writer’s conference at Georgetown University. Our Peace Corps Training for Ethiopia was also being held at Georgetown at the same time so I . . .

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A Wonderful Story About RPCV Mary Myers-Bruckenstein RN and Ethiopian Berhane Daba

In 1966, Mary Myers Bruckenstein, RN and Peace Corps Volunteer was teaching in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, when she was introduced to a tragic little girl, Berhane Daba. Four year old Daba had polio and couldn’t walk. Her family was unable to care for her. An operation to strengthen her legs left her in a full body cast. The orphanage would not take Daba back because they could not care for her. Mary Meyers-Bruckenstein took Daba into her home and into her life. A life long relationship began.  Merle English describes this beautiful story in an article in the Sunday, August 16, 2015 issue of Newsday. Here is the link to read it. http://origin.misc.pagesuite.com/pdfdownload/c72baa3a-5fc3-4ae2-980f-21248b8e93e9.pdf From the article: “On June 6, in an auditorium at the University of California, Berkeley, Myers-Bruckenstein, 69, a retired registered nurse and former Peace Corps Volunteer beamed like a proud mother as Berhane Daba, an Ethiopian orphan whose . . .

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Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #1

TEN KEY STEPS IN WRITING YOUR NOVEL Opening Page and Paragraph We are all familiar with famous opening lines and first pages of famous novels. Well, lets see how many we do know. What book begins….. a. Call me Ishmael. b. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. c. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it. d. Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton Twins were. e. When he finished packing, he walked out . . .

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Review — Ellen Urbani’s (Guatemala 1991-93) Novel LANDFALL

Landfall By Ellen Urbani (Guatemala 1991-92) Forest Avenue Press August 29, 2015 304 Pages $15.95 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) • I haven’t read Ellen Urbani’s 2006 memoir, When I Was Elena, but I will certainly do so now after having lived in the world of her stunning debut novel, Landfall. Urbani is an extraordinary writer with an exceptional gift for entering the consciousness of both black and white characters in America’s South.  In Landfall, she vividly portrays the milieu in which they live, comparing, contrasting and showing how culturally entwined the two races are.  She knows her contemporary southern life inside and out, and depicts its people in language imbued with the rich vernacular of place. “He was as country as cornflakes,” she says of a character. “You be stuck on that boy like hair on a biscuit,” a girl teases. “Girl, them boys ain’t . . .

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Lenore Myka (Romania 1994-96) New Collection of Award Winning Stories: King of the Gypsies

Lenore Myka is the author of King of the Gypsies: Stories, winner of the 2014 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, that will be published by BkMk Press this September. Her fiction has been selected as a notable short story by The Best American Non-Required Reading of 2013, and a distinguished story by The Best American Short Stories of 2008. She was the winner of the 2013 Cream City Review and the  Booth Journal Fiction Contests, a finalist for the 2013 Glimmer Train Open Short Story Contest, and a semi-finalist for the 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Contest. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Booth Journal, West Branch, Massachusetts Review, H.O.W. Journal, Upstreet Magazine, Talking River Review, and the anthology Further Fenway Fiction. King of Gypsies is described this way: Set against a wild and haunting landscape, the short fiction in this collection spotlights the struggles of everyday individuals to . . .

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The Future of Books, E-Books, All Books, Your Books!

Mike Shatzkin has been involved in the publishing business for nearly 50 years. He has written or co-authored six books that have been published by established companies and just issued his first self-published ebook, a collection of two years of his blog posts called “The Shatzkin Files, Volume 1.” For the past two decades, he has been a thought leader and among the most prominent observers of the industry’s transition to the digital era. He founded and leads The Idea Logical Company, a consulting firm working on strategic issues for publishers and their trading partners and he is co-founder, with Michael Cader, of Publishers Launch Conferences. PLC stages industry education events exploring digital change from a global perspective. The publishing world is changing, but there is one big dog that has not yet barked. Posted by Mike Shatzkin on August 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm · Recent data seem to . . .

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