Volume 1 Issue 2 March 2018
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e n t h r a l l e d
Editor: Susan Day
Contributors: Stephen Axelsen, Barbara
Avon, RJ Simon, Demetra Tsavaris-
Lecourezos, Nanci Lee Woody, Audrey
Kalman, Brydie Wright, Giordano R.
Lavoratore, Susan Segovia-Munoz.,
Michelle Wanasundera, Karen Hartley,
Layout & Graphic Design: RJ Simon &
Images: Stock Photo Secrets
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Published In: Dunolly, Victoria, Australia,
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This month’s theme is reflect.
“to replicate, imitate, echo or mirror; to reveal,
expose signal, and manifest”
We hope you enjoy ‘reflecting’ with us.
A word or two about words…
Contributions made to this publication came from all over
the world. So as not to get bogged down or begin a trans-
Pacific war on words, the editor has made the decision to
leave each article in its original format. You may see
different forms of English used in different articles. This may
to some seem inconsistent, but we believe in the
universality of the written form, and wish to engender a
wide tolerance of its use.
enthralled magazine creates a place for
authors and writers to share their ideas
and journeys. A place where they can
speak and be heard. It will be the role of
enthralled to empower, educate, inspire
and challenge all writers and authors with
articles, news, tips, advice and more.
While its initial creation was the idea of a
few people, each issue will be a
collaboration of ideas from writers and
authors from across the globe.
from the editor
Welcome to the latest issue of enthralled magazine.
With the help of some amazing creative souls this
magazine continues to thrive.
This month I received a lot of wonderful submissions.
They came in the form of articles, poems, stories, and
one very clever reflection on Stream of Consciousness
writing. I can’t wait for you to read them, and share
your thoughts about them on our Facebook page and
Again, many thanks to RJ for being the best sounding board, and ideas generator
any editor could wish for.
The theme reflect was chosen for this issue because it encapsulates what we
authors do. We hold a mirror to society, and using our imaginations and skills,
we reflect back what we see. We imitate life; we replicate scenarios and play
them out on paper. We also reveal untruths, and we expose the cracks in
seemingly perfect lives. We also reflect on our own work when it comes to
editing and proof-reading.
Our feature article celebrates the 40th anniversary of one of my favourite
children’s stories, The Oath of Bad Brown Bill. I interviewed the author /
illustrator, and reflected on how much has changed in the 40 years since the
In order to make this magazine free forever, the team and I have decided to not
only ask for subscriptions, but donations too. You can donate as much as you can
afford, and everything helps with the hundreds of hours that goes into creating
this publication. So, if you find this issue joyful, useful or interesting then please
consider supporting it.
Well, I think that’s enough reflection from me; enjoy!
- Susan Day, Editor
30 The Oath of Bad Brown Bill - 40 years on we talk to
author, Stephen Axelsen about his journey as an author /
50 Ten Signposts to Guide the Artistic Life
20 A Reflection on an Author’s Journey of
12 Stream of Consciousness Writing
42 Giving And Receiving Feedback The Smart
24 Why "Trigger Alerts" Shouldn’t Precede a
Work of Fiction
58 Authors Do You Need a Rest From Social
76 A Short Reflection on What it Means to Be a
book of the month
62 Looking to read something different? Check out our
book of the month.
66 Enjoy the talent of this month’s poets.
news & competitions
International Read to Me! Day - don’t forget to get your kids
involved 19 March. To find out how to go Read to Me! Day
Top 5 Best Overall Sellers in Print for March 2018:
Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff
Crushing it! Gary Vaynerchuk
Dark in Death, J.D.Robb
12 Rules for Life, Jordan B. Peterson
Dog Man and Cat Kid, Dav Pilkey
News and Updates were obtained from Publishers Weekly and Goodreads
The Stockholm Writers Festival
The Stockholm Writers Festival is accepting submissions for their first inaugural
First Pages Prize for the first 5 pages of a longer work of fiction, creative
non-fiction or poetry. Open worldwide, the competition is for writers
who are currently un-agented, whether previously published or unpublished.
Entries must be unpublished, original and written in English.
Closes: March 13, 2018
Word limit: 1250 words (first 5 pages)
Click above for prizes
The Sheila Malady Short Story Competition
In honour of the Shakespeare on the River theme this year, the 2018 Sheila
Malady Short Story Competition has a theme of ‘For the love of…’ and is
open to all nationalities and ages.
Closes: March 20, 2018
Word limit: 2000 words
Prize: $300 cash prize
Entry fee: $5
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Stream of Consciousness Writing
Stream of Consciousness
By RJ Simon
The last edition of enthralled I wrote a small piece called ‘The Conversation’. It was
an inner dialogue between two voices in a writer’s mind; a fun little nod to Stream
of Consciousness writing.
Not everyone is familiar with Stream of Consciousness writing. It could be
mistaken for gibberish. After all, the purpose of writing in such a way is to, give
voice to one’s consciousness. Again, for ‘The Conversation’, I chose a very simple
glimpse – similar to two people having a quiet conversation in a park without any
distractions, of course, minds are not always such quiet places...
Sometimes the stream of consciousness is
much more like: listening to Swedish
death metal whilst sitting at the train
station platform during rush hour
trying to finish your algebra
homework, surrounded by road works,
trying to ignore the flashes of
lightning in the windows from the
thunderstorm, and the hordes of
people screaming about the
impending meteor shower, during an
apocalyptic frog plague, while ten
thousand zombie clowns claw up from
the sewers and start gnawing on fellow
passengers ankles - so hard to pay
attention to those things when you’re
laughing at cat memes and you spot a
toddler who has managed to grab hold
of a huge piece of cake, and they are
giggling as they rub chunks of butter
cream flat handed down one side of
their face... For some reason that got
the jingle of a shampoo ad stuck in
your head. You couldn’t help but
wonder if you turned the oven off or
how the world would be different if
mud crabs had wings. Yes, I like that
but how can I possibly write a scene
where that would make sense? Never
going to meet my deadline like this I
need coffee. Pastry yes croissants I
need to run away to France.
“In three, two, one.” His words broke in through my ears my like a sumo
wrestler with a broken parachute smashing through the glass ceiling of my
Of course, we’re writing a magazine article here, not a piece of literature for
posterity. Also, everyone’s stream of consciousness is probably unique. But, it’s fair
to say that most of us learn to sift our thoughts. We convert them into a logical
sequence of words before we do things like speak to other people.
And as writers, most of us write and rewrite to neatly order our words. We often
even employ the services of multiple editors, if not us then our publishers certainly
do. Editors have studied the art of organising words for maximising communicative
impact. We value their skills. Maybe another day we’ll talk more about editors. Today
let’s get back to Stream of Consciousness writing.
Why would any self-respecting
writer jump down a rabbit hole into
Stream of Consciousness writing?
Why would you throw off writerly
discipline and dance like a crazy
naked person in the rain? Why would
a writer step aside and allow the
reader to have a direct line to the
character’s thought processes? How
does that even make sense? What
good could come from such
few places where it’s okay for us to
read minds and hearts.
Also, let’s remember writing is an art
form. By all means, study the age-old
devices; Read the latest ‘How to’ books,
and listen to advice yelled from
bestseller lists. But above all: don’t lose
Do you know what this article was
about? Me either. Thank you and
Well... Steam of Consciousness writing
is a literary device that's been around
for over a hundred years. Its value is
worth considering, even in this modern
era of “Show don’t tell”. Trends come
and go, but books remain one of the
RJ Simon occasionally describes herself as an artist, writer, nature lover,
cat whisperer, and an average cook. She is a regular contributor to
enthralled. Read about her fantastic books at Books by RJ Simon
Have you ever tried stream of consciousness writing?
Wanna share your ideas or tell us why not?
Facebook or Blog
Stream of Consciousness Quotes
Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, William Faulkner used the
stream of consciousness technique. Excerpt from ‘As I Lay Dying’ - “Nonsense you look
like a girl you are lots younger than Candace color in your cheeks like a girl A face
reproachful tearful an odour of camphor and of tears a voice weeping steadily and
softly beyond the twilit door the twilight-colored smell of honey suckle. Bringing empty
trunks down the attic stairs they sounded like coffins […]”
be abroad alone, by unknown ways, in the gathering night, with a stick.” – Molloy by
headwaiter’s And to follow? and often rising to a scream. And in the end, or almost, to
“What shall I do? What shall I do? now low, a murmur, now precise as the
“If you take, for instance, the antithesis of
the normal man, that is, the man of acute
consciousness, who has come, of course,
not out of the lap of nature but out of a
retort (this is almost mysticism,
gentlemen, but I suspect this, too), this
retort-made man is sometimes so
nonplussed in the presence of his
antithesis that with all his exaggerated
consciousness he genuinely thinks of
himself as a mouse and not a man. It may
be an acutely conscious mouse, yet it is a
mouse, while the other is a man, and
therefore, et caetera, et caetera.” – Notes
from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“...she took her hand an
Where to begin?--that w
to innumerable risks, to
complex; as the waves s
steep gulfs, and foaming
"If he had smiled why would he have smiled? To reflect that each one who enters
imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a
preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be
first, last, only and alone whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a
series originating in and repeated to infinity." - Ulysses by James Joyce.
"He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare
smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five
times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole eternal world for an instant, and
then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you
just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe
in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your
best, you hoped to convey." — The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
d raised her brush. For a moment it stayed trembling in a painful but exciting ecstacy in the air.
as the question at what point to make the first mark? One line placed on the canvas committed her
frequent and irrevocable decisions. All that in idea seemed simple became in practice immediately
hape themselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but to the swimmer among them are divided by
crests. Still the risk must run; the mark made.” ― To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A Reflection on an Auth
or’s Journey of Survival
A Reflection on an Author’s Journey of Survival
By Demetra Tsavaris-Lecourezos
My late husband and I were high school sweethearts in Astoria, NY. We le
years after graduation. A year after that we were engaged.
The next year, we were married, and a year after that our daughter was b
lost my husband to pancreatic cancer. Mom was in one hospital, while m
when they passed.
She and I then moved to a small town in Florida, where I opened a boutiq
neuropathy and fibromyalgia. In the meantime, I have been plugging aw
The thought of leaving her an orphan, gave me the push I needed to fina
published books under my belt, with the fourth one due out later this yea
I keep plugging away, living one day at a time, and making the most of e
While chemo and radiation are over now, I am suffering from the residua
cell tissues surrounding my knee and spread into my femur bone.
I take one day at a time and push myself to move forward every single da
Magical Crystal Globe, is the story of a group
historic sites in Queens, using their imaginati
Book two, Ready, Set, OPA! was published ea
I have had book tours through Illinois, Indian
Please join Demetra online at her website and
ad separate lives until bumping into one another on a street in Manhattan 21
orn. Three years later, we lost my mom to leukaemia. Six months after that, we
y husband was across the street in another hospital. My daughter was only four
ue which I had to close last year. I am now battling cancer, suffering from
ay at my book series which I had started just after my daughter was born.
lly get published. I wanted to leave a legacy behind for her. I currently have three
very single day! It's better than nothing.
ls of neuropathy, fibromyalgia and bulging discs. My cancer started in the soft
y. Born and raised in Queens, my first book, Young World Travelers and the
of friends from a small Florida town, Tarpon. They set off on an adventure to
ons and Mrs. Eva's magical crystal globe. "Close your eyes..." she says.
rlier this year, and is getting rave reviews!
a, Louisiana, Michigan, New York and Washington, DC.
support the sales of her books and book tours
Why "Trigger Alerts" Shoul
Work of Fiction
dn’t Precede a
Why "Trigger Alerts" Shouldn’t
Precede a Work of Fiction
referring to that born of a dedicated
and passionate individual. One who
creates something beautiful from their
soul and not something that is created
for sheer shock value or for the sole
purpose to make a profit off of
something sordid or wicked.
By Barbara Avon
If you're unaware "trigger warnings" are
intended to alert very sensitive people
that some content might set off, or
"trigger", their post-traumatic stress
disorder or simply deeply offend some
Recently, I was shocked to find these
warnings preceding works of fiction.
Fiction is art and I don't believe art
should be censored, nor should any
type of warning precede it. For the
record, when I refer to "art", I'm
In conversation with a friend and fellow
author, he brought up an interesting
point for debate. "As authors, we have
a certain amount of responsibility
because invariably, fiction represents
reality in some way, shape or form." I
adamantly disagree, in that, I personally
believe that as an author and artist, my
sole responsibility lies in entertaining
the reader and touching their heart.
It goes back to something presently
circulating the Internet, "We don't drop
anvils on people's heads because we
grew up watching Road Runner
cartoons." Should a psychopath mimic
my most recent character, a serial killer,
the onus and forthcoming
consequences lie entirely on the
perpetrator. I cannot be blamed for the
actions bred of an unstable and
I am in no way diminishing someone's
past trauma. We all have our "triggers'.
However, fiction is one of those
wonderful categories that is universally
regarded for what it is. i.e., makebelieve.
A means of escape. A story, to
put it simply.
The reader also has a responsibility to
read the synopsis of a novel and decide
whether they are intrigued enough to
buy the book. To rate the book poorly
based on something in it that caused
the reader to think of "X" when they
were "X" years old is unjust (Yes, this
has happened, and specifically to my
aforementioned author friend.)
A book review must be based on the
merits of the writing, the flow of the
story and the imagery it paints in one's
mind. To rate it poorly because it may
remind one of a past trauma is unfair to
the author. I can't bridle my
imagination any more than I can stop
Imagine a world where everything
before our eyes may need a "trigger
alert" label. Is this the type of world we
want to live in? Sounds quiet Dystopian
to me. It seems that the only "safe"
place to be is in bed, with eyes shut off
to the world.
Readers, much like writers, need to turn
into someone else for a moment and
get lost in the story. A reader must
forget reality and everything related to
grief, sadness and pain. Or at the very
least, a reader must do their research,
as stated earlier, and purchase a book
that is less apt to "trigger them".
I wonder what the great authors think of this. Stephen King would need a warning before each
As the world turns and changes, I find solace in writing and hope to bring the reader the same
statement or 'trigger alert" at the beginning of my novel, I may as well go out and buy myself
Let's hope that never happens.
Barbara Avon is a Canadian author and regular contributor to enthralled magazine.
Meet Barbara Avon Online - Barbara Avon On Twitter - Barbara Avon On Facebook - Barbara A
Barbara was awarded FACES Magazine - Female Author of the Year 2018
Do you publish tr
Do you think we are being over sens
and every book. Shakespeare, in his day, would be ridiculed and possibly even jailed.
joy and peace. If the day ever comes where a law is passed that forces me to publish a
a few hundred anvils.
itive? Join us to discuss this further.
The Oath of Bad Brown Bill 40 years on -
While I have been an editor of enthralled for only two issues I soon discovered
that the position held a lot of power. Sure, there were a lot of jobs and huge
responsibilities, but power too.
I have used that power to choose this month’s feature article. I was lucky
enough to be found by the author of one of my favourite books of all time, The
Oath of Bad Brown Bill, Stephen Axelsen. Sadly, the book is no longer in print,
but it’s memory, not unlike Bill’s, lives on.
So, here is our first author interview with an author who is funny, talented and
whose verse would make the great Bard himself sit up and take notice.
Also, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Australian term ‘struth’ here is
what the Urban Dictionary has to say about it:
1) An example of australian slang, 'struth' is used to denote an exclamation.
2) 'my goodness' (I think this is be better choice)
- Susan Day, Editor
Stephen Axelsen being
Many of our readers are authors who
are embarking on a new adventure.
Speaking as someone who has been
a published author for 40 years could
you please share your wisdom,
thoughts and your wit – especially
Talk to us about the process of
creating children’s books. In
particular, The Oath of Bad Brown
Bill. Where did it all begin?
My career? Well since you ask and
copy space is not an issue, I was a
miserable student at university,
studying completely the wrong thing
(economics). But one tutor had a
friend who worked in a children’s
bookshop, so I used to hang around
there looking at books and not
After university (which I did finish) I
was painting houses for money.
One house happened to be that of a
book publisher. I showed him my
It was a totally unprofessional bunch
of scraps – a collection of cartoons
and odd and ends, some of them
drawn on uni folder dividers. He gave
me a book to illustrate, amazingly.
This is a fine example of serendipity.
The book was The Oozlum Bird by
W.T.Goodge. It was not published
due to my own utter ignorance. For
example, I drew the pictures on heavy
board, being ignorant of the drum
scanning technology of the day.
Also, I was vague about page
numbers, so I did 24 double spreads
as opposed to the required 24 single
pages. (In my defence the publisher
did not supply a contract, or even a
letter of agreement).
However, I lugged this bunch of
heavy boards around until I got some
more work, illustrating three Blinky
Bill books for Angus and Robertson.
The Oath emerged while I was doing
the second Blinky Bill book, I think.
Was the process smooth or difficult?
The writing of The Oath and making
the dummy, and later the finished art
were all pretty easy and enjoyable.
What challenges did you face and
overcome, if there were any at all?
Finding a publisher was much harder.
Eventually someone was bold enough
to spend money publishing a book
by an unknown author/illustrator with
overly long hair.
Mind you, back in the 1970’s there
weren’t as many books being made,
so there was less competition.
I can thank Ron Brooks for sending
me to the people who did publish it.
(Thomas Nelson Australia)
The old slab hut, 44 years after I did some of the early work
on the book. It has aged since then, with many slabs missing.
It sits on a piece of raggedy bush between Uralla and Barraba.
Some friends and I bought it in our early twenties. The
property is being used by the next generation now. It’s a kind
of bush fairy story. Two of the originals, both my best friends
(if you can have two), have their ashes scattered there now.
Both were artists; one being Kim Gamble of Tashi fame.
“But sometimes, in the dead of night …"
The rhyming is quite outstanding.
How long did it take to get the
rhythm and the meter right? Were
there lines that took a long time to
get right or did the whole poem just
flow? Which are your favourite lines?
Luckily the rhyming and meter came
quite easily. I have a love of words
and could remember a lot of them, in
those days. Also, I had been reading a
lot of the Australian ballad writers
like Banjo Patterson.
I do remember being quite pleased
with “turned his teeth to toast”
That is my fav too. Tell us Bad Brown
Bill. Was his physique modelled on
someone you knew or wished you
didn’t? Were you drawn to
bushrangers with beer guts?
Beer gut!? That’s solid muscle, beg
I think I just enjoyed drawing
ratbaggy figures. Pirates would have
done just as well, but I had spent
time in the bush where Captain
Thunderbolt used to ‘work’ and was
inspired by him, and the landscape of
the New England Tablelands.
All those lovely giant granite
boulders! I like ratbaggy types
because I’m not one, but would
secretly love to have a ratbaggy
fortnight or two, one day.
Was research important in this book
or did impede the creative flow?
Oh, research can never impede! It is
half the fun. Research enriches
pictures and stories, giving your ideas
more substance, and creating brand
Also, it is a wonderful way of
procrastinating without full blown
anxiety or guilt.
Why do you think The Oath of Bad
Brown Bill is still popular today?
Mostly because people remember it
fondly from their own childhoods, or
reading it to their children.
I hear from people now who are
reading it to their grand-children. It’s
an old, old book. (I wonder who that
could be ;)
What new projects are you working
I am working on a graphic novel set
in a medieval village in France. Also I
am sculpting figures - art dolls they
This involves sewing, or used to, until
I found hot glue guns. I have some
minor burns now, but no more
needle stab wounds.
Stephen’s daughter, Lauren, in his hat at the
original OoBBB table. She could have been an artist
if she wanted to, but has chosen to help people in a
more direct way, as a counselling psychologist.
How has The Oath of Bad Brown
Bill helped you?
The Oath made me think that I could
make a career in making books for
children. I was untrained and selftaught,
and very unsure about
whether I had the right stuff to be
illustrator and writer.
The relative success (relative to some
multi-story treehouses, for example)
of The Oath gave me the confidence
Random Questions all Interviewers
should Inflict on Interviewees :
Favourite planet and why?
That would have to be the one I’m
sitting on right now (Earth, by the
way). It’s the only one I can nap on.
Are you supported by a pet, and if so
what kind and what is its name?
I am supported by Waldo, a very old
dog, going deaf and blind but his
nose and tummy work fine.
Apples or oranges? What’s your favourite snack fruit?
If you could be president or Prime Minister for the day what one thing would
you do or change?
I would make myself taller. Can presidents do that, or just fairy godmothers?
I have another bushranger story, a graphic novel, called The Nelly Gang (Walker
Books Australia) and it is still in print.
Check out The Nelly Gang Here
eviously, unpublished illustration and verse from the Oath of Bad Brown Bill.
Giving And Receiving Feedb
Giving And Receiving Feedback The
By Nanci Lee Woody
It’s not pleasant hearing your writing doesn’t sit well with a
reader after you’ve spent countless hours - maybe even days,
weeks, possibly years - on the piece.
A publisher or an agent or a member of your writing group
says, “This part of your story isn’t believable.” Or, “Have you
checked your facts? I think the Bay Bridge opened in 1936.” Or,
the worst, “What is it you’re trying to say here?”
After spending seven years researching, interviewing, writing
and re-writing every word of my novel, Tears and Trombones, I thought it was nearly
perfect. I sent it off to a publishing house, envisioning it in the top one hundred at
However, it turned out it wasn’t perfect. The publisher sent it back with a terse letter.
“This story just doesn’t grab me. It needs more narrative. I suggest you read these
novels to get some insight into . . . blah blah blah.”
After I had time to think about it and admit that maybe she was right (my novel did
resemble a stage play), I read her suggested titles. They were not books I would
normally read, but I got the idea.
It wasn’t my nature to go on and on about what kind of house my characters lived
in, how they wore their hair, what they ate, what kind of dog followed them around.
Upon reflection, I thought, “So, what does the dog look like?”
I hoped I had it in me to alter my dialogue-heavy tendencies. I spent another twelve
months going through every page of the book and adding narrative wherever it
would enhance the story.
When I sent the novel to the same publisher the following year, I got not a letter,
but a phone call. “OK. Let’s go with it!” I signed my contract and finally, I was
Well, as it turned out, not quite. My perfectionist nature (criticism from myself)
forced me to go over every word in the book again, and not just once. Even after
publication, I made changes for the next reprints.
What I’ve painfully learned is, when a writer asks for feedback, she or he must be
open to receive it. It will not all be positive, which is a good thing. Without honest
feedback, how can you improve your work?
The worst response from a writer is a defensive one. Thank your critics for their
insight. When you’ve had a chance to reflect on the criticism, you may or may not
find the suggestions relevant. Some ignorable criticisms I have received include,
“There’s enough sadness in the world, can’t you make your story happier?” or “I got
so mad at your protagonist, I wanted to throw the book across the room.”
You get the idea.
Such criticisms actually make me feel good. I want my readers to have strong
emotions. If they don’t, I think I’ve failed. One of the greatest reviews I ever got is, “I
locked myself in the toilet so I wouldn’t be disturbed. I couldn’t put the book down.”
I spent a few thousand dollars once to attend a four-day workshop in San Francisco
with nine other writers and a well-known editor. He was brutal in his criticism, had
no problem letting his teary-eyed
attendees know they weren’t bestselling
authors like Jennifer Egan, Joyce
Carol Oates or Tobias Wolff, all of
whom had attended his previous
workshops. I felt like a fool for having
paid so much money to be treated like
an unaccomplished novice, to have my
writing flaws spread out on the table in
front of all present.
Yet, when I got over my considerable
anger with Mr. Head-Chopping Editor, I
remembered his pointed question
about one of my main characters. “You
don’t like this guy at all, do you?” He
hit on something important I had
missed. I had written the perfect
caricature of a drunken, cruel father.
The next few months I spent going over
every father scene in the book, adding
new chapters to make him multidimensional.
Nobody, it is said, is all
bad, though this father is still not
Mr. Expensive Editor didn’t like my love
scenes, either. As he so crudely put it,
“These wouldn’t make any reader hard
or wet.” I’m quite sure you would find a
better way to convey that sentiment,
yet I did work over all the romantic
encounters and I’m proud to say that
now . . .
So, while my costly San Francisco
workshop was painful at times, my
novel was better after it than before.
Still, I think the most constructive
feedback is given with positive
comments first, followed by a carefully
worded, thoughtful, non-hurtful
critique. Imagine yourself on the
Giving criticism requires thought and
compassion. Receiving it requires little
of you other than a thick skin. Here’s
what I’ve learned.
1) Consider carefully the source. Not
every reader wants you to succeed.
2) Do not defend your writing or make
3) Listen carefully with an open mind.
4) Solicit feedback from people who are
familiar with your genre.
5) Make changes where you think the
critic’s suggestions will improve your
work. Ignore the others.
6) Pay close attention to comments
about historical inaccuracy.
7) If you are criticized for grammar or
spelling, you haven’t done your job.
And finally, remember that nobody
knows what needs to be said better
than you. Also, remember that
sometimes we, as writers, are so
familiar with our story that we fail to
see the holes in it. Be thankful when someone else
sees them before you send it off for publication.
A footnote to the story is that Tears and
Trombones, my tale of a boy’s struggle to
overcome his boozy father’s cruelty to become a
classical musician, went on after publication to
win an IPPY (Independent Publishers) medal for
“Best Fiction in the Western Pacific Region,” and
got a 5-star review and a silver medal from
In my acknowledgements, I thanked the people
who read and offered suggestions for
improvement. There were a lot of them.
You can discover more about Nanci Lee Woody
on her website - Nanci Lee Woody and on
vs. Nurture: Ten Signposts to
Guide the Artistic Life
Nature vs. Nurture: Ten Signposts to
Guide the Artistic Life
by Audrey Kalman
I recently watched the
is Believing” about
musical prodigy Rachel
Flowers. Her story is amazing.
Accomplishments that would take
ordinary mortals years - like
mastering jazz flute or rock guitar -
took her months. Her ability to play
at the top level in multiple musical
genres, on multiple instruments, is
But as I watched, I began wondering
what feelings her story might evoke
in a mere mortal musician. Maybe the
urge to throw her instrument across
the room and give up.
Rachel Flowers highlights an ongoing
debate evident in many professions
but particularly pernicious in the arts:
is success born of native talent or
We call a musician “brilliant” or say a
writer has a “way with words” or
praise a painter’s “artistic gift.” At the
same time, we urge aspiring artists to
practice, telling them that getting
good at something is 99 percent
effort and hard work.
Well, which is it? Both.
Most people don’t have what Rachel
Flowers has. I certainly don’t. If you’re
one of the lucky few, you can stop
reading right now. But there’s hope
for those of us who come to our art
with only a love of craft, a small
measure of aptitude, and a whole lot
I’ve been writing for nearly 50 years
(yes, I started as soon as I could hold
a pencil). I’ve gone through many
overlapping phases in my journey to
becoming a writer, which may be
instructive for anyone who doesn’t
possess a freakish gift and wants to
know what that road of hard work
might look like.
Absorption. Age two (or whenever my parents began reading to me) to
present. I can’t remember a day in my life when I haven’t been reading a
novel. Stephen King confirms the necessity of reading in his famous book
on writing, On Writing, which begins “If you want to be a writer, you must
do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” For musicians, the
equivalent is listening to music; for artists, studying art.
Blatant plagiarism. Age seven. I was obsessed with horses and stories about
horses. I wrote a story about a girl who lived on a ranch and defied her
parents to train a spirited horse. Oh, wait… that’s My Friend Flicka. If
imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also the easiest way to learn
from a master.
Practice, practice, and more practice. Age seven to present. I wrote many
more plagiarized stories. I began writing original stories. I wrote horrendous
poems and eventually passably good ones. I wrote four novels, all of which
are in drawers where they belong. Eventually I wrote two that were
publishable. Much of what I write today I still consider practice.
Dogged adherence to rules. Ages 18 to 25. I had a charismatic college English
teacher who excoriated his students for using the verb “to be.” He was
merely trying to encourage us to use more vigorous verbs and to avoid the
passive voice. However, I
followed his advice so literally
that for years my writing sounded
stilted and convoluted. Finally, I
realized that “is” and “was” are
not evil spawn of the devil but
functional words when used
judiciously. Still, that period of
made me a better writer. Learn
the rules of your craft, make them
your own, and then let them go.
Formal training. Age 18 to present. After
getting a bachelor’s degree in creative
writing and a master’s degree in journalism, I
left formal training aside until I got serious
about novel writing. Recently I’ve attended
workshops and writing conferences, proving
that it’s never too late to learn. If you can’t
enroll in a full-length program, there are
many online classes and even one-hour
Webinars that can help you hone your craft.
Listening to criticism. Age 18 to present. I
began working on this in college. After
learned not to curl into a ball and die every
time someone commented on my writing, I
learned how (usually) to sort out what
advice I should act on and what I can ignore.
No matter what, I always listen. This is a skill
like any other. Develop it.
Discovery of a unique voice. Age
39. Hallelujah! Writing my novel
Dance of Souls was the first time I
felt like the words on the page
truly came from me, not from
some concept of what I thought a
writer of literary fiction should
sound like. Be patient. This takes
Internalizing craft. Age 50 to
present. In the last few years,
writing has come to feel like
driving a car. I can execute the
mechanics without conscious
thought, which leaves me free to
look at the road ahead, plan my
journey, and navigate to new
places. Again: practice.
Teaching others. Age 50 to present.
Recently I’ve begun to teach
others, both through editing and
through a workshop I’m creating
with a long-time friend and
fellow writer. Not everyone can
teach formally, but even
exchanging editing services with
a fellow writer teaches you things
you can’t learn just by looking at
your own work.
Always returning to the work. Every
day. I’ve kept a journal since I was
12 and have written nearly every
day since then—sometimes
formally, sometimes just notes to
myself. Do I write a lot of crap?
Sure. But that doesn’t stop me
from going back to write the next
day. When you’re not born
perfect, you need to look at
creation as a process—and
Even after a lifetime of commitment, I realize I’ll never be the Rachel Flowers of
writing. But I love what I do and I’ve gotten better at it. And that’s all any artist
Audrey Kalman writes literary fiction with a dark edge, often about what goes
awry when human connection is missing from our lives. She is the author of two
novels: What Remains Unsaid (Sand Hill Review Press, 2017) and Dance of Souls
(2011) as well as numerous short stories.
She lives in northern California with her husband, two children, and two cats,
and is working on another novel. Find out more at her website - Audrey Kalman
and on Facebook. You can also follow her on Twitter - @audreykalman
uthors, Do You Need a Rest
from Social Media?
Authors, Do You Need a Rest from Social Media?
Authors, whether you like it or not,
posting, tweeting and sharing
content is an integral part of your
marketing and promotion efforts.
And, while there are many automated
platforms you are still required to
manually create the post, add the
image and then schedule it.
This is great if you are away on
holidays, and you want your social
media to continue to work for you,
but when does it stop?
The effort alone can take hours of
your time. Time that could be spent
writing, drinking coffee and, well,
doing just about anything that is
How long is too long on Social
Many authors have been sharing and
posting about their books for years.
They have been creating hundreds, if
not thousands, of posts promoting in
an effort to sell copies.
But, where does it end?
Where does it stop?
What happens if you need to step
away from your computer for a long
time? What then?
What Happens When You Stop
Posting and Sharing on Social
Have you ever stopped posting and
sharing on social media?
Have you noticed what happens?
Nothing – everything stops.
Within a few days your analytics
begin to drop off. Your post shares
and likes slowly diminish, and you
stop getting followers.
After a few weeks it is as if you
haven’t existed at all.
How depressing is that?
All that time spent on promoting
your fabulous book and it disappears
What Content Does Last Online?
However, there are posts you can
create online which will last, and can
be shared on a regular basis.
Blog posts and articles published on
your website live forever.
automatically saving you a lot of
So, the question is:
Authors, why are you wasting your
time posting on social media when
you should be creating compelling
content that has the potential to live
forever and attract readers to your
This article was gratefully borrowed
from, and first appeared on:
Authors, Get Online Fast
Creating blog posts which are
formulated to appeal to search
engines, and which attract your kind
of readers are evergreen.
They can also be reposted using
different WordPress Plugins to all of
your social media platforms
ook of the month
ook of the month
Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales
of Brave Young Women
This month’s book review is brought to you by
Brydie Wright - Check out Brydie’s work on her
Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave
Retold by Kate Forsyth and Illustrated by
Published by Serenity Press 2017
Enter a world of faeries, enchantment, mythical creatures and… feminist
heroines? Yes, that’s right. Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young
Women is not an anthology for fans of the Walt Disney world view.
This is a collection of folklore retellings for those drawn to literary fairy tales.
These are origin stories, handed down orally from mother to daughter, then
recorded in print by scribes, the most famous of which were the Brothers
This book is a visual treat as much as it is an engrossing read. The look and the
feel of the hard cover is a sensory experience that beckons the reader to
discover the treasures within.
We have the magical union of storyteller Kate Forsyth, artist Lorena Carrington
and Serenity Press, to thank for this special publication. It brings the feminist
origins of long-forgotten fairy tales, from all over the world, to life.
The Vasilisa collection includes seven legends, alternatively chosen by Kate
Forsyth, PhD in Fairy Tale Studies and Carrington, photographic artist and
illustrator. I loved this approach. I knew I would be rewarded at the end of each
story with an insight into why the
story was chosen, and how the
illustrations were brought to life. You
get a sense of Forsyth and
Carrington’s passion for folklore and
All the stories are well-written,
engaging and surprising, with strong
young heroines who save themselves,
against impossible odds.
Fairy tales were originally told orally
for daughters transitioning from
girlhood to womanhood and it is
wonderful to read and celebrate
female-focussed coming of age
The reading age for this collection is
wide and I would suggest it is a book
young women and mothers could
enjoy equally, with positive messages
of taking charge of your own destiny.
There is no reason why, however,
male readers would not also
appreciate these universal tales of
triumph over adversity.
Every reader will have their favourites
and mine were The Singing,
Springing Lark, a clever variation on
the Beauty and the Beast story and
Vasilisa the Wise, a fairy tale of
Russian origin, which has captivated
me since childhood.
The combination of the macabre
and the wonderous in these, and all
the retellings in the anthology, sum
up the appeal of the genre. Where
there is darkness there is light and
where there is adversity, there is a
By clicking on the links and the images in this magazine you can purchase
your own copy. Doing so will help support enthralled magazine via our
affiliate links. Thank you.
I lost my father when I was fairly young just a ten-year-old little boy,
But I had to tell the world his story about how he filled my heart with so
We used to go to the creek together and one time we found a small island
in the stream,
We came back the very next day and he had left a 20-dollar bill laying
there to surprise me.
From that day on we called that spot Treasure Island and we used to go
on adventures there all the time,
No one will ever mean more to me than he did in my eyes.
He taught me how to do front handsprings, he got me lifting weights,
He showed me how to throw a rock and make it skip across the lake.
I used to always look up to him, I thought he was the greatest man alive,
But when he left this world there was nothing I could do for months, but
For years after his death, I looked for a father figure to follow, but no one
could ever take his place of being my role model.
He never got to live to see the day when I became a man, but I promise
that because of him I will always try to be the best I can.
One day I will have a son to take to Treasure Island in the sand, just like
him and I did when I used to have a dad.
Copyright 2018 by Giordano R. Lavoratore . All Rights Reserved
I’m just sitting here thinking about my past and it’s draining my entire soul...
I never thought I’d make it out
Much less attain a goal...
The sky’s the limit
Let me fly away
You can’t stop me now
Goodbyes are just hellos to me
So let me take a bow...
I don’t need a big stage
Or a bright marquee
All I need right now
Is simply just me
And that’s free...
No chargebacks or deliveries
No hassle stress or pain
I’ve seen it all
No thanks you all
There is no loss just gain...
Copyright 2018 by Susan Segovia-Munoz. All Rights Reserved
Tree-walk by Michelle Wanasundera
Today I’m perched on a bough of a tree,
my legs hanging and dangling free.
I hear my friends happy laughs far down,
a dog ruff-ruffing, lawns being mown.
I inch along the tree’s bendy arm,
all sound fades, but for a cockatoo’s alarm.
Creeping deeper under its canopy,
the only sound now - lovely leaves rustling.
Finally at the trunk, warm, smooth and strong,
it seems to hug my back, murmuring a sleepy song.
It’s then I melt into its comfy embrace.
The world is silent — until my heart starts to race!
My arms slide easily into the branch’s sleeves!
My toes into the roots, my hair a pile of leaves!
Hoping no one sees, I try a few sneaky steps,
then shake my lanky limbs with a playful flex.
Soon a boy stops frozen in his tracks,
oops I’m spotted! Now there’s no going back.
One by one the kids stop their skips and runs,
excited faces saying, ‘This will be fun!’
They reach up and they jump, they clamber and they climb,
swinging like monkeys, having the best time!
I can feel their beating hearts, see their eyes pop wide,
it’s so much fun to take them all for a ride!
Gleaming in the sun I spot a puddle up ahead,
should I go around it or jump in it instead?
There’s squeals of delight on this super hot day,
SPLASHING in the puddle, showering cool spray!
Wow these kids are heavy, I stop for a rest,
when a magpie thinks my hair is the perfect nest!
Catching my breath I see the kids crouching low.
Ah ha! They’ve found my secret hidden hollow!
Knobbly and gnarly, and fairy-like inside,
an enchanting place for little kids to hide.
A perfectly cute and cosy little nook —
for parties or plottings, or to curl up with a book.
Hold tight everyone for another tree-walk!
Happy squeal, squeal, squeal! Happy squawk, squawk, squawk!
While all of us are having a day filled with wonder,
our Mum’s and Dad’s hear a sort of distant thunder.
The mysterious rumbling on this cloudless day,
was really me jumping and stomping while we play.
Yes at the back of the park away from view,
the grownups don’t have the slightest clue!
They sometimes miss the magic we can see and hear,
but soon they’ll worry because we’ve disappeared!
Then from afar, we hear a well-known shout,
as one by one all of our names are called out!
Time to let my friends climb down to the ground,
then slip from the trunk without making a sound.
Next I’m skipping home, happy with my friends,
all keeping the secret till I tree-walk again!
Bubbles and Puddles
rs are for the most part, solitary people. We constantly
about our next story, poem or even book. We walk to
, we think every moment of every day. We are often in
own world and even when we sleep, words and ideas
and visions crowd our mind.
We are writers.
Karen Hartley Website
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