Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Power of Friends

Ever feel like you’re all alone? Like you have to do everything yourself? A lot of writers do, but that’s not my friend, Barbara M. Britton’s, experience. She’s a good friend and a gifted writer, who knows how important writing buddies, critique partners and being part of groups, chapters and organizations can be. Here’s what she has to say--

One of the best pieces of advice I received when I first started writing was to join a professional organization. I am so glad that one of the first organizations I joined was RWA, Romance Writers of America, and subsequently I joined their local chapter WisRWA-Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. That’s where I met Mia many years ago. Yay!

I met my critique partner(CP). Betsy, through WisRWA and she has been my CP through four books now. Mia and several of my WisRWA pals made up my launch team for Providence. One lone person tweeting in today’s social media world just doesn’t cut it. You need a team of tweeters and Facebook sharers.

WisRWA was instrumental in my book deal. I received an e-mail from my fiend Liz S. (we have several Lizzes in WisRWA). She e-mailed me and wondered if I was doing Pitch Wars because an author wanted to mentor a pre-pubbed writer writing Bible-themed YA (Young Adult). I knew nothing about Pitch Wars. But Liz had my back and she knew what I wrote.
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program and I was chosen by New Adult author Molly Lee. Molly and I tweaked Providence, and it happened that Molly had another mentee who was an acquiring editor for Pelican Book Group. The rest they say is history. Pelican contracted my debut novel, and they contracted my second book which will be out this spring--“Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey.” So being involved in a professional writing organization has been a tremendous help to me.
I mentioned above that I was writing Bible-themed YA. That genre doesn’t actually exist. If you walk into the teen section of a bookstore, you won’t find any Bible characters there. Sad, but true. My novel was placed in Pelican’s adult line for action and adventure, Harbourlight Books. But I still tackle a first love, a first kiss, and dealing with parents. Here's the blurb--

As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.
Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.
Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.
Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal an enemy commander.

Hannah’s story came from the Bible. I had finished teaching a chapel series on young people in the Bible who did brave things and I wondered what happened to the confident and outspoken servant girl in II Kings 5. The captured servant girl became my Hannah, and of course, I had to give her a love interest and a happily-ever-after.

I hope you enjoy my Biblical fiction as much as I enjoy writing it. Thanks for having me on your blog today Brenda. We have traveled this writing journey together for several years and now we both have books coming out. What a blessing!

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicks off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

If you'd like to find out more about Barb or her new release Providence, you can visit any of these links.
Book Trailer

If you'd like to purchase Providence, you can use these links. Amazon  B&N  or Pelican

Book of Yokai

Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore
by Michael Dylan Foster

Those of you who know me know that I co-present a series of workshops looking at myths and legends around the world and how each changes depending on region (for those curious, it’s the “Silk Road and Beyond” workshops, looking at dragons, vampires, werewolves/shapeshifters, angels, demons, ghosts, bigfeet, and even faeries, with “The Seven Seas” entry looking at water myths and creatures). The challenge on occasion has been finding reliable sources of information that doesn’t dip into someone’s gaming lore or comics or some such, all of which are inspired by but doesn’t necessarily adhere to the traditional lore. Fortunately, between my co-presenter Jacquie Rogers and me, we managed to find clean sources.

And only after all those workshops we scrimped and scraped for data did I discover this work. Timing is everything, and I don’t got it! But just in case this can help you, I’ll tell you about Michael Dylan Foster’s book. According to his bio, Foster is an associate professor of East Asian folklore at Indiana University. So he’s got academic chops in the topic (and I am so jealous!). He observes that the Japanese tend to hold their myths and lore closer to their lives than other cultures do, part of their everyday lives, so that in itself shapes the culture.

Foster dives into detail about the differences between two similar examples of folklore, separated by regional differences; considering that Japan isn’t that big a country, it’s remarkable the variations you can suss out if you look, and Foster looks. If you find yourself forgetting the great variations of nature and culture, this book will give you a great big honking reminder. A fun read overall. Highly recommended!