Free Writing Workshops for Young Women Writers at The Carnegie Center
The Carnegie Center, located in Lexington, Kentucky, is taking applications for the 2016 Young Women Writers Program, a series of free writing workshops geared toward youth interested in expressing themselves through writing. A committee will choose 6 promising writers in grades nine to twelve to participate in six 4-hour workshops.
February 20: Creative Nonfiction with Journey McAndrews
February 27: Fantasy with Gwenda Bond
March 5: Spellbinding:The Art of Performance with Bianca Spriggs
March 12: TBA
March 19: Poetry with Kate Hadfield
Writers with professional literary backgrounds will teach the participants how to express themselves through different genres such as sci-fi, young adult fiction, and creative nonfiction. Participants will also master the methods of giving a successful public reading, as well as learn about different careers in writing and publishing.
I’m one step closer to accomplishing my goal as an aspiring writer.
My story, “The Loaner”, won the grand prize for the A.B. Betancourt Short Story Science Fiction Writing Contest. Another story, “The Visitor”, was selected as one of the seven short stories for a science fiction anthology.
I usually enter many writing contests and submit stories I’ve written before. Both times around, I went through the backgrounds of the contests and the judges to see which of my stories suited the contest. I also asked my husband, author of Blubber Island, to look at my stories and give me a critical critique. After I got his feedback, I went through the stories and fixed some of the story problems or grammatical errors I had overlooked. Last year, I entered many contests and won none of them, but I also didn’t put in at least one month of writing, editing, and researching into them. This made all the difference this time around.
You can find “The Loaner” on A.B. Betancourt’s blog. A.B. Betancourt is the author of The Key.
I’ll admit it: books about metaphysics are boring. They’re so abstract and non-committal, I feel like I’m ending a relationship rather than putting a book back on the shelf. Thank goodness there are some good books about metaphysics that don’t follow the same dreary format, and that book is Pedro Barrento’s The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale. The title is appropriate (thanks for being clear); the main character named the Prince decides to battle Greed and Revenge inside humanity’s core by delivering a message of peace to the world. Though his intentions are good, the Prince faces obstacles that keep repeating, just like the creation of the world.
Although many metaphysical tales use references and characters from the Bible, Quran, or other archaic sources, The Prince and the Singularity takes the messages from well-known texts and turns it into a new story, one that people today can relate to. The Prince doubts himself every step of his way as he watches people commit heinous acts, causing him to fall deeper into doubt until he rescues himself with his own resolve.
What I like the most about this book is that it has a soft flow to it as gentle as putting a hand into a crystal clear bath. It’s easy to read and the messages within the book are easy to understand. This book, if it were personified, would make other books jealous over its simplistically-written deepness. Within the deepness, there isn’t a condescending jerk waiting to “save” your soul or pretend that everything makes sense just because there’s a thing called religion. The author doesn’t try to persuade you with abstract ideals or promises of damnation. He lays out the message and gives you room to accept or reject what he’s putting out there.
For optimistic readers in need of a soothing relationship with metaphysics, The Prince and the Singularity is one of the best options out there.
Anything with white rabbits invokes a blond little girl in a blue dress, but Stuart Oldfield’s The One Who is Two ventures into an adult satire of Alice in Wonderland without jumping on Lewis Carroll’s toes.
The One Who is Two follows adulterer and failed father Simon Cadwallader on his adventures into a strange dimension where signs move, animals talk, and inanimate objects hold high opinions. After leaving his ex-wife’s home, he finds himself transported to another world. As he tries to find his way back home, he comes across many peculiar characters, some human, some not-so human. His travels reveal that he wasn’t the only person to enter the alternate dimension, and soon, he has to abandon his cowardly ways to save the new world.
The premise of The One Who is Two isn’t original, but the way newcomer Stuart Oldfield tells the story is well-done and easy to read. He paints the alternate reality with fresh and vibrant descriptions while maintaining his comedic voice as Loofah, Simon’s name when he enters the new world. In places where the prose is a little too well-done, readers can read slowly without feeling as if the story will drag into a dimension of boredom.
Throughout the whole book, subtle and obvious points bring the theme home: duality. The One Who is Two is relatable and un-relatable to adults; the sexual innuendos and the dreary office scenes (hovering overseer—I mean, supervisor—included) are understandable to working adults; the talking animals and murderous inanimate objects are completely foreign to sensible adults. Many readers will easily find the alternate reality’s duality as a satire (and unfortunate comparison) to society now. By the end, readers will want to get the next book from Oldfield’s White Rabbit series.
For readers who are looking for another Alice in Wonderland, The One Who is Two isn’t the same book. Still, open-minded readers looking for a quick read made for adults, The One Who is Two is such a book.
Cats have a soft spot in my heart, and so does WhyKimbaSaved the World, a book about cats. Well, not regular cats—though, they are amazing—but cats who have a collective secret mission. Kimba, an all-white cat with a rebellious streak, is enlisted into an agency of cats who can communicate through mirrors. They tell her of her real heritage, one where humans aren’t the loving caretakers of cats.
This book captures cats with amazing accuracy, and the interactions between the cats and their owners are realistic. Who doesn’t grab their cats and hug and kiss them like their own children? (I know I do.) It’s an easy read, and it’s suitable for the whole family. Children will love Kimba’s desperate need to accomplish ridiculous missions outside and inside her home. Parents can relate to Kimba’s owners. Cats may find themselves in Kimba or Hiro or…er, that’s right. Cats can’t read! Why Kimba Saved the World will make any reader believe that cats aren’t from this world.
You can buy on Amazon here! It’s available on Kindle and in paperback.
Placing God, Christ, JFK, and Fidel Castro into the same book makes for one blasphemous ride—and The Tragedy of Fidel Castro does that. The Tragedy of Fidel Castro puts readers into the shoes of JFK, the kingly leader of capitalistic U.S., and Fidel Castro, the tyrannical commandant of Socialistic Cuba, for one last battle over their ideals. Satirical comedy and “politics” ensue, giving readers a taste of an alternative history from the viewpoint of Portuguese author, João Cerqueira.
Although this book has an alternative history to Fidel Castro’s story, The Tragedy of Fidel Castro doesn’t take an alternative path to today’s problems. The Tragedy of Fidel Castro isn’t afraid to say, “There are issues with religion mixing with politics! There are capitalistic pursuits in government!” When the words aren’t saying it, the scenes—Castro meeting a power-hungry monk, JFK picking a spy’s brain, and the Padristas fighting the Putistas—yell it out like a battle cry. For venturing into honest comedy, Cerqueira deserves respect.
The original book, A Tragédia de Fidel Castro, may well be more satisfying than its English variant. The comedy is from a different cultural and linguistic nature. Many English-only readers won’t understand the jokes woven between Cerqueira’s metaphors. In Spanish or Portuguese, stories are laced with exaggerations and raw, poetic language. Serious English-only readers won’t get Cerqueira’s perspective either and questions similar to, “Why is Fidel Castro a hero?” will come up. For readers who take religion too seriously—especially extreme religio-lites—The Tragedy of Fidel Castro in Spanish, Portuguese, or English would create a mountain of hate mail. “How dare you put Jesus and God on the same level as those pagan gods!”
If readers are looking for a funny, political-edged book brimming with religious jabs, The Tragedy of Fidel Castro is one book to read.
I have discovered a writer who didn’t write a story with words, but wove a mysterious living thing from strands of his soul. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is a book that hardly requires additional praise. It was awarded the Nobel Prize, has been translated in every major language, and is considered one of the first major works of magical realism. What can I add that hasn’t already been said? It’s a waste of time to write a review, and so I’ll try instead to write about the experience I had.
To give you a little background, the story is about the founding and collapse of an imaginary town named Macondo, whose existence is intertwined with the bloodline of the man that founded it. Immediately the storytelling quality mixed with real historical events reminded me of the way my grandparents told us stories. It starts off as a realistic…