Enthralled Magazine Vol 1 Issue 2 - Reflect


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,

Susan Day

Layout & Graphic Design: RJ Simon &

Susan Day

Images: Stock Photo Secrets

Editorial enquires:

Susan Day:





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Published In: Dunolly, Victoria, Australia,

March 2018

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ef lect

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.

Mission Statement

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

our blog.

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

book’s publication.

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



feature article

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


70 Tree-walk

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

unfiltered freedom?

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

your voice.

Do you know what this article was

about? Me either. Thank you and

good night.

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 […]”

Samuel Beckett

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

unhealthy mind.

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.


igger warnings?

itive? Join us to discuss this further.

or Blog

feature article

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

your wit.

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

buying any.

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

your pardon!

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

new ideas.

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

on now?

I am working on a graphic novel set

in a medieval village in France. Also I

am sculpting figures - art dolls they

are called.

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

to continue.

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

Smart Way

ack The

Giving And Receiving Feedback The

Smart Way

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

receiving end.

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

“Readers Favorites.”

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

documentary “Hearing

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

hard work?

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

of dedication.

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

single-minded rule-adherence

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

practice self-forgiveness.

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

can ask.

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

more interesting.

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

website: www.brydiewright.com

Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave

Young Women

Retold by Kate Forsyth and Illustrated by

Lorena Carrington

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

photographically composed

illustrations were brought to life. You

get a sense of Forsyth and

Carrington’s passion for folklore and

it’s contagious.

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

strong woman.

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

much joy.

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!

Michelle Wanasundera

Bubbles and Puddles






Karen Hartley

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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