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OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “SID,” BY ANITA FENG, “ART, SEX, POLITICS,” BY WILLIAM EATON AND “LABOR,” BY LISA DeSIRO, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHORS PAGE.
Writers rarely compete with one another, at least not overtly. That’s one of the things I like about us.
Wouldn’t it be nice if politics were conducted the same way, candidates striving to win votes on the basis of their own merits, rather than taking out adds warning how awful it would be if their opponent was to win?
I suppose it’s true that we are involved in a contest, millions of books hoping to grab the attention of a finite number of readers. And sure, there are times when a struggling writer might look at a more successful one and mutter: “I don’t see what’s so special about what he/she is doing.”
But we generally don’t say that to the world, and most writers are — quite literally — an open book. If they’ve discovered some tricks of the trade, they will gladly share them. If they have the chance to call attention to someone else’s book, they’ll do it.
As an example, I cite one of this week’s Snowflakes in a Blizzard authors, Kathleen Gerard (“In Transit”). Her blog, Reading Between the Lines (kathleengerard.blogspot.com), offers a wide range of in-depth reviews, and that’s a real service. Given the glut of books currently on the market, an author’s main challenge is simply getting noticed. Blogs and Websites like Kathleen’s are a step in that direction.
The main character in “In Transit” is a woman who becomes a New York City transit cop. Kathleen writes: “Police work is often over-dramatized and glamorized in books, movies and on TV. The reality is that those who carry the badge, day in and day out, are just ordinary people who have passions, hopes, fears and insecurities like everyone else. That’s why personal dynamics and the psychology of those who wear the NYPD uniform became as intriguing to me as the details surrounding police work, and I wanted to explore those creatively on the page.”
Herta Feely’s novel “Saving Phoebe Murrow” flips that dynamic and tells its story from the point of view of a victim.
In 2008, says Herta, “I read an article in the Washington Post style section about Megan Meier, a 13-year-old who was cyberbullied and then committed suicide. The boy she’d been flirting with on MySpace (Josh Evans) turned out to be a 47-year-old woman, the mother of a former friend of Megan’s.
“It was shocking to me that a mother (Lori Drew) was capable of such meanness, and I thought I might want to write a novel to understand how someone could do this. As a latecomer to social media, I was also intrigued by this method of communicating: how MySpace or Facebook or Twitter (and all the rest) could go from being a friendly venue to a vicious and destructive one, and how easily people can make nasty comments when not having to face the person they are aiming their darts at. The idea gestated in my conscious and subconscious mind for three years, but took only nine months to complete the first draft, then several more years before the final draft could be submitted to agents and publishers. Perhaps it should be noted that although Megan’s story ‘inspired’ my novel, Saving Phoebe Murrow is not ‘based’ on that event.”
Finally, we have the second Snowflakes offering from poet Rodger LeGrand, “Two Thirds Water.” His is poetry that is earnestly and eloquently trying to say something important — and succeeds.
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JUNE 17-23.
“SAVING PHOEBE MURROW,” BY HERTA FEELY
A cyber-bullying episode, which targets 13-year-old Phoebe Murrow, is at the heart of Saving Phoebe Murrow, told through the eyes of five characters, including Phoebe and her mother. Set amidst the complicated web of adolescent relationships, the novel tells a story of the devastating impact social media can have on teen girls. Isabel, a DC lawyer, does everything she can to keep Phoebe from harm, but fails when the mysterious Shane appears on Facebook and flirts with her teenage daughter. Mother-daughter relationships, teen girls, self-harm, bullying, and modern society’s attachment to electronic devices are topics I explore. Thematically it’s about love and betrayal. Especially the latter.
“TWO THIRDS WATER,” BY RODGER LeGRAND.
Two Thirds Water extends naturally from LeGrand’s previous collection, Seeds. Without water, a seed can’t grow. Transitions are often difficult. The growing in this collection is revealed through inverse relationships. These poems imagine the “Sea Without Water”, setting aside unfulfilled dreams in “Sleepwalking”, and the negation of self in “Spilled Moon”. Seeds is a collection about embarking upon transitions. This collection, Two Thirds Water, is about how we try to find our way while in transition.
“IN TRANSIT,” BY KATHLEEN GERARD
When a psychic in a shopping mall tells Rita Del Vecchio that she is “destined for greatness,” and she will “marry a man in uniform,” the restless, wet-behind-the-ear 22-year-old decides to finally take control of her life. Rita sets out on a quest to become a New york City Police Officer. But can a spry, feisty, single woman thrive in the gritty world of New York’s finest?