Saturday, August 01, 2009

Conversations about Writing ~ Creating Characters

Authors Shon Bacon (editing guru) and Miki Starr Martin (graphic guru) are back with episode two of their new project, Conversations about Writing as they continue their conversation from June on character. Come read their thoughts on creating characters and share your OWN thoughts!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Got a Great STARTING OVER Story to Tell?

Got a Great STARTING OVER Story to Tell?

Laurene Williams, writer, director, and independent filmmaker, is looking for articles to post on the "Starting Over" section of our the website,, coming this fall.

Perhaps you have a compelling tale to contribute or you know other writers who may wish to contribute. The site will promote a new indie comedy/drama, "Phil Cobb's Dinner for Four." The goal of is to build a community of readers who can empathize with Phil Cobb's on-again/off-again life. Writers who have an inspirational or entertaining take on some of the pain, heartache, and heartburn they've been through as a result of a break-up, divorce, pink slip, new career, alcohol addiction, cross country move or relocation, may submit. The film is about cherishing the relationships in our lives and living beyond our losses.

You can view the trailer for "Phil Cobb's Dinner for Four" on YouTube or on Facebook.

Writers should include bio and byline (or pseudonym). Bios can include links to your website or any pertinent webpages. You can mention upcoming works or previous works, note any upcoming events such as a book signing or speaking engagement. You may submit a photograph for us to spotlight. We encourage you to promote yourself to make this worth your while.

Since our website is not a literary site and because film typically engages such a wide ranging audience, we're hoping writers can reach and cultivate an entirely new group of fans.

New and student writers can use the opportunity to explore their voice.

SUBMISSIONS: Web publication. Creative non-fiction, fiction, first or third person accounts. Submit query or complete ms as an MSWord file with bio by email. Byline or pseudonym. Up to 1,000 words. Format single or double-spaced. Bio, up to 50 words, can include links to your website or relevant webpages; include any notices.


USE: Submissions will be posted on in the "Starting Over" section for one to two week intervals.

DEADLINE: Rolling submissions. Next deadline, August 23rd.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Speaking Culture w/ Activist, Author, Filmmaker Elisha Miranda

For the months of June and July, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) is looking at how culture plays a role in writing. This week, I'm featuring a woman I have come to admire; her passion and compassion to fully represent herself and her culture in a positive way ignites me to want to do the same: activist, author, filmmaker Elisha Miranda! You cannot read her feature and not taste the love she has for her culture and its representation in the media.

About The Sista Hood: On the Mic:

4 Girls, One Mic and Lots of Drama

When Mariposa (aka MC Patria) meets Ezekiel Matthews (aka MC EZ1) they quickly become best friends; together they have the best summer tossing lyrics and rhymes. After the summer ends, Mariposa realizes the only thing she really cares about -- besides becoming the best emcee around -- is getting Ezekiel to love her. Unfortunately, this realization comes at the same time Ezekiel gets a girlfriend -- Jennifer Hoffman (aka J-Ho 5), an emcee with a huge buzz.

When her school announces a talent show, Mariposa understands that this could be her last chance to impress Ezekiel. She decides to form a hip-hop crew -- enter the world of the Sista Hood -- MC Patria, Soul Siren, Pinay-1 and DJ Esa, all divas in their own way. While coming together isn't easy, they're forced to collaborate and their lives are changed forever.


Elisha gave heartfelt, in-depth responses to all the questions; we asked how important is it for her to integrate her cultural experiences into her writing, she responded:

Before heeding the muse and pursuing a career as a filmmaker and writer, I had been an educator, community organizer and emergent urban planner, working with people of various ages, classes, race and ethnicities, sexual identities and national origins and learning about a range of issues from criminal justice to public health. I have worked for the struggling nonprofit organization, and I have served the public as a teacher in public education. I have volunteered for the activist collective, and have taught classes at the university. My professional life has brought me to China and Japan, Wooster College in Ohio and the juvenile facility in San Francisco, California. I have abandoned the tourist bus to hike the back roads of Cuba, Colombia, and Mexico precisely because I’m a Latina who is not Cuban, Colombian nor Mexican.

All these different experiences have brought me a more expansive viewpoint of Latinadad in the United States. I’m a Puerto Rican who grew up in public housing between a working-class Mexican/Chicano community called the Mission and the African American dominant Hunter’s Point. I went on to earn multiple degrees at elite universities, and experienced a creative “recovery” in my late twenties in which I pursued my dream of becoming a professional storyteller.

My mother raised in public housing – herself a native of San Francisco whose father was a merchant marine from Puerto Rico and whose mother settled there from Puerto Rico via Hawaii’s sugar cane fields – raised me and my siblings by herself. I toughed out the failing public elementary and junior high school down the block where all the other kids looked liked me. But when high school arrived, I endured a daily bus ride from my neighborhood to a magnet high school where I was both a racial and economic minority.

I’m an openly bisexual woman who speaks out against racial injustice when others hide behind their fair skin. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and am now a practicing Buddhist who identifies as “spiritual but not religious.” I am a modern Latina, and this is why my body of work resonates not only across the differences within the Latino community but also speaks to audiences beyond it.

It is these experiences that give me the stories I wish to tell, and because I have crossed borders of so many kinds, people of all backgrounds see themselves braided in my yarn. Today many people want to write books and make films about the Latino experience. I have lived that experience and there are many stories to tell. This is not merely something I do as a writer and director. It is how I live and these experiences are very integrated into my art.

Come by AtBaP to read more of Elisha Miranda's wonderful comments on culture and writing...and to check out an excerpt of her novel, The Sista Hood: On the Mic!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Me and Some Faith-Based Poetry ~~ A Podcast

July marks the second installment of CLG-E's Once Upon a Time... podcast series.

This month, I'm showcasing three faith poems: "On Soft, Tender Knees," "I'm Sorry," and "Loose"!

You can listen below and also take the time to check out my podcast site (CLG-E Podcasts) for future podcasts on writing and storytelling!

Please leave comments - let me know your thoughts!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Author King Dhakir Gets REAL on Culture & Writing

For the months of June and July, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) is looking at how culture plays a role in writing. This week, I'm featuring an author that I love as much for his realness as for his talent as a writer, King Dhakir! His responses to my questions on culture and writing are real, in-depth, and worthy to be read.

About I Hate My Job:

Surviving while earning scraps and living under the roofs of others, Justice King is a college graduate who struggles with finding his calling in life. Unruly customers, demanding managers and sophomoric co-workers push his patience to the edge as he earns a steady pay-check that only lasts until the next. He faces the challenge of steering away from the temptation of fast money and thinks about the future once rent and property increases evict long-time residents from their homes. As smiles and laughter come in the form of side hustles, skirt chasing, and passing jokes with a close friend, the temporary high outside the workplace is what keeps his mind from exploding. The story of I Hate My Job is the vision of people who inspire to live the life of their choice with the sacrifice of getting out their dreams and creating their own vision. It’s the story of laughs, cries, pain, and joy, and the battle of lifting the spirits of the inner self.

Among the many questions asked, King Dhakir was very open about this one: In viewing media - TV, movies, books, radio, etc., how do you see your culture being conveyed?

His response? The question is broad, so I’ma break it down to books since that medium is the primary focus.

Street-Urban fiction is the genre that’s catching the most flack because it’s the most visible, at least when it comes to Blacks and Latinos. Street fiction is the dominant genre in the African-American book section in mainstream stores as if the Black experience is nothing but living in the ‘hood and underworld stories. This is not a direct shot at the authors of that genre, it’s just an observation.

Not for nothing, but if I was a foreigner who traveled to America, I’d think that most Blacks, if not all, were a community of over-sexed, violent, ignorant, and materialistic group of people based on most of the book covers and storylines flooding street vendors and the African-American book section.

I can care less what people write and their motives. I say, “Do you.” However, there’s a difference between exploitation and exploration, especially when I see the same storylines with little to no creativity involved. And what kills me is when Black authors say, “Well, white people write the same stories, too.” What they fail to realize is that white authors are heavily marketed across the board in their respective genres. So if a Stephen King gets burn, best believe Danielle Steele, Jackie Collins, and John Grisham will eat, too.

I’ve lived amongst white folk in the suburbs, and I know that most of them did not live vicariously through characters on TV, music and books as opposed to many young brothers and sisters when I used to live in the projects. So once again, there lies a difference, especially when you have parents who aren’t responsible with their duties to raise their children, and when the youth is searching for a role model that represents strength in their eyes.

So the problem is a lack of balance. I think authors who write other genres need to step up their grind and create their own industry just like how street fiction did in the early 2000’s. Therein comes another problem because once a section of the Black experience becomes popular, it automatically cancels out other explorations of our community in the mainstream.

It seems as if the WHOLE Black community cannot be marketed at the same time. It’s either one or the other, and just like how street-urban fiction knocked the chick-lit-sista-girl books of the 90’s out the box, I wouldn’t be surprised if another genre does the same to the former in the future.

Come by AtBaP to read more King Dhakir's insightful thoughts on culture and writing!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing


Monday, July 06, 2009

Culture & Writing w/ Author Angela Henry

For the months of June and July, All the Blog's a Page (AtBaP) is looking at how culture plays a role in writing. In June, we talked with erotic author Dapharoah69 and women's fiction author Wendy Tokunaga. Up next is an author I have enjoyed for a while now, Angela Henry!

Part-time GED instructor Kendra Clayton's spring break is proving to be anything but relaxing. First her best friend, Lynette, suffers a major panic attack days before her wedding and vanishes. Then her sister, Allegra, who craves attention the way Kendra craves chocolate brownies, arrives in town determined to land an interview with screen legend Vivianne DeArmond for the TV show Hollywood Vibe.

But Allegra's interview plans hit a glitch when she discovers the diva's lifeless body in her dressing room, stabbed in the back with a letter opener. The police peg Allegra as the prime suspect, but Kendra knows her sister is no murderer, even if she is guilty of acting a little too friendly around Kendra's man lately.

As Kendra starts to investigate and whittle down the list of Vivianne's enemies, she uncovers some surprising Hollywood secrets. But she'll need to act fast. Because every step toward the truth puts her in danger of becoming a victim of a ruthless killer's encore performance...

Come by AtBaP to read more Angela Henry's thoughts on the African American culture and writing...and to also read an excerpt from her book, Diva's Last Curtain Call!

ALL THE BLOG'S A PAGE (AtBaP) - Where everything relates to writing

Friday, June 26, 2009

Taste Mississippi in Patricia Neely-Dorsey's Poetry

Patricia Neely-Dorsey's Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems is "a true celebration of the south and things southern." The author states, "There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south in general. In my book, using childhood memories, personal thoughts and dreams, I attempt to give a positive glimpse into the southern way of life. In my book I try to show that there is much is more to Mississippi and the south than all of the negatives usually portrayed. I invite readers to Meet Mississippi (and the south) Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word."


If you want a glimpse of Southern life,
Come close and walk with me;
I'll tell you all the simple things,
That you are sure to see.
You'll see mockingbirds and bumblebees,
Magnolia blossoms and dogwood trees,
Caterpillars on the step,
Wooden porches cleanly swept;
Watermelons on the vine,
Strong majestic Georgia pines;
Rocking chairs and front yard swings,
Junebugs flying on a string;
Turnip greens and hot cornbread,
Coleslaw and barbecue;
Fried okra, fried corn, fried green tomatoes,
Fried pies and pickles too.
There's ice cold tea that's syrupy sweet,
And cool, green grass beneath your feet;
Catfish nipping in the lake,
And fresh young boys on the make.
You'll see all these things
And much, much more,
In a way of life that I adore.

Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems