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Sunflowers by Neetu

January 26, 2022 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , , ,

Sunflowers

I will plant sunflowers
in the hollows we have dug
with a rusty spade

it is time to pull old roots
rotten with dead habit
in this neglected garden
long-choked
by winter’s breath

it is time to till the soil
let it soak in fresh April rain
steam in this year’s sun

and exhale pungent fumes
until its pores are free
to seed new grass
and soft beds for my flowers.

© Neetu Malik


Some of Neetu’s Books

THE OCOTILLO REVIEW SUMMER 2018 VOL 2.2

THE POETIC BOND V

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THE POETIC BOND V

THE POETIC BOND VI

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THE POETIC BOND VI

THE POETIC BOND X

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THE POETIC BOND X

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The Only Road: A Review by Veronica Jorge

January 22, 2022 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , ,

THE ONLY ROAD

by

Alexandra Diaz

A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

2016   

ISBN 9781481457507

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When you’re a kid, the most you should have to stress over is doing your homework, and the biggest fear should be a zit in the middle of your forehead just before your birthday party. Not so for 12-year-old Jaime and his 15-year-old cousin Angela.

The Alpha Gang has targeted them to become new members–an order, not a choice. The death of Jaime’s cousin and Angela’s brother Miguel remains engraved in their memories, fresh and tangible proof of what will happen to them too if they refuse to join.

Alexandra Diaz’s realistic and tense drama takes us into the heart of Guatemala and the depths of despair as one close-knit family makes the gut-wrenching decision to send the two children away–in order to save their lives.

The money for the “fees” to travel to El Norte, sewn into the waistband of Jaime’s pants, weighs heavily upon him, along with the realization that his family has plunged deeper into debt for his sake. Now their future–and his–depends upon his making it to the United States.

Jaime and his cousin dodge rogue border guards and endure hunger, thirst, fear, prejudice and hostility as they travel illegally from Guatemala into Mexico and then, hopefully, into the United States.

In an age of peoples displaced due to wars and catastrophes, and controversy over immigration issues, this title serves as a reminder of the reasons why many leave their countries for the dream and promise of America. The Only Road, a Pura Belpre Honor Book, reminds the reader that sometimes flight is the only option, and that love, at times, demands great sacrifices.

(My review originally published by the Christian Library Journal; used with permission.)

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on February 22nd!

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Featured Author: Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

January 21, 2022 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Contests, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , , , ,

About Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC

The Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC (BWG), is a community of mutually supportive fiction and nonfiction authors based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The members are as different from each other as their stories. BWG also publishes quality fiction through their online literary journal, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and their award-winning  A Sweet, Funny, and Strange Anthology series.

Each anthology has an overall theme—broadly interpreted—but includes a variety of genres. All but the first anthology include stories from the winner(s) of The Bethlehem Writers Short Story Award.

Their first anthology, A Christmas Sampler: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Holiday Tales (2009), won two Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Best Anthology and Best Short Fiction.

Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales is the latest in A Sweet, Funny, and Strange Anthology. BWG is proud to report this title also won two Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Best e-Book and Best Cover Design (Fiction).

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About Fur, Feathers and Scales

The award-winning “Sweet, Funny, and Strange” series of anthologies from the Bethlehem Writers Group, continues with this collection of twenty-five tales about real, legendary, or imaginary animals. From snakes to ducks to unicorns, there are tales here to match any mood, provide a chuckle, or warm a heart.

Among our tales, Peter Barbour recounts a legend in “Why Bats Live in Caves,” Jerome W. McFadden asks the question of what animal to choose to be in “Recycled,” A. E. Decker shares an appreciation of cephalopods in “Tipping Point,” Ralph Hieb imagines an unconventional pet in “Buttons,” and Diane Sismour, in “Critter,” reveals that mules are not the only equines that can have a stubborn streak.

In addition, we are happy to present the winning stories from the 20 I 9 and 2020 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Awards. Angela Albertson, our 20I9 winner, shares her heartfelt “Oranges and Roses,” and our 2020 winner, Brett Wolff, gives us a good laugh in “Hubbard Has a Fancy Bra.”

This eclectic assemblage of stories includes terrific tales from beloved BWG authors including Courtney Annicchiarico, Jeff Baird, Jodi Bogert, Marianne H. Donley, DT Krippene, Emily P. W. Murphy, Christopher D. Ochs, Dianna Sinovic, Kidd Wads­worth, Paul Weidknecht, Carol L. Wright, and Will Wright.

So cuddle up with your favorite pet-real or imaginary. No matter. You’ll find just the right story to share.


Next up for BWG

BWG is working on their Seventh anthology, An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of Intrigue.

In connection with this anthology, they are hosting The Bethlehem Writers 2022 Short Story Award

A bird on a tree branch

The 2022 Short Story Award will open on January 1, 2022. The theme will be An Element of Mystery (broadly interpreted).

BWG is seeking never-published short stories of 2,000 words or fewer.  First Place will receive $250 and publication in their upcoming anthology: An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of Intrigue or in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable.

The final judge of the 2022 Short Story Award is New York Times best-selling author Kate Carlisle


Books from Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC


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Hello Hattie

January 19, 2022 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as ,

A long-term client has an eight-year-old granddaughter who wants to be a writer “just like Grandma”. My client asked me to give this young aspirant some advice about writing. I didn’t want to; I couldn’t think of the last time I’d talked with an eight-year-old – 20 years ago? Of course, I couldn’t say no–I ‘m very fond of this client – so I gritted my teeth and pulled up a blank page. I didn’t want even a note of condescension in this–she’d see through that like the Emperor’s clothes – so I carefully launched into the usual stuff like ‘write what you know’. I surprised myself at what came out.

Hello Hattie,

I think it’s wonderful that you want to be a writer. There’s no time like the present, so you’d best get started. The more you write, the better those words will be. Just like pull ups for your biceps or crunches for the abs, your brain is a muscle and it needs constant sweaty workouts to become the kind of buff story machine every reader wants to read. You got a story in your head? Get it down on paper – just sit down and let it rip. No one but you needs to see these early attempts – not until you’re ready to share – so there’s no shame here. It’s all about trying and doing and then trying and doing all over again. It won’t be long before you start to feel as one with this process of putting ideas and thoughts on paper in a way that reads like a story.

The most common advice to writers is to “write what you know”. Don’t think you know much yet? I’d say you do. You know what it’s like to be a smaller person in a world with a lot of really big people who seem to have lots of rules about what you’re supposed to do and you know how you really feel about some of those rules. Write about that. You know what it’s like to be one of the shortest people at the zoo where getting up close to the animals can be challenging. Write about that. You know what it’s like to be in a group of classmates during recess; you know what goes on amongst you on the playground. Oh yes, write about that.

Best of all though, you have your imagination and you know what’s in there. If it’s an imaginary world only you see and know what goes on there, get it down on paper and see where that takes your story. It can be life in outer space or under sea or in a world that you’ve built yourself. You see, you really do know a lot. Start writing about those things your imagination has crafted.

And read read read. If you love a story then ask yourself why, what made this tale touch you so deeply, how did the author present the beginning, the middle and the end in such a great way? And learn from those writers. Pay attention to how a particularly fantastic character is described, how the words tell you this is a character you will always love or always fear or want to run laughing from. Build you story telling skills by learning from the masters. After all, that’s how they learned much of the craft of writing. Never stop reading.

And never stop writing. I look forward to your first publication.

I’ve printed it out, signed in red ink and put it in a hand addressed envelope. I used a very pretty frog stamp. I’ll put it in the post tomorrow. This young lady may not long remember my advice but I’m betting she doesn’t forget her first snail mail letter.

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Twitter For Authors

January 18, 2022 by in category Ages 2 Perfection Online Class, Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Online Classes tagged as ,

Twitter for Authors

Presented by: Cassandra Carr

Date: February 1 – 28, 2022 (one month)

Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15

Non-A2P Member fee: $30

 About the Workshop:

Twitter – If Twitter or “tweeting” is a mystery, join multi-published author Cassandra Carr in a workshop that will help you become a Twitter beginner to a Twitter pro. The workshop will teach you everything you need to know to use Twitter as a valuable piece of your book marketing.

About the Presenter:

Cassandra Carr is a multi-award winning writer. When not writing, she enjoys rooting for her beloved hockey team – the Buffalo Sabres, taking her daughter on grand adventures, and binge watching TV shows. Cassandra’s books have won numerous “Best Book Of” awards and her novella Power Shift (former title Unexpected Top) was nominated in the E-book Erotic Romance category of RT’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

She thinks the best part of being a writer is penning stories in her made-up worlds while most others struggle with commutes, micro-managing bosses and cranky co-workers.

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