Cailin Briste Book Boyfriend Takeover FB Party

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You’re invited to join Cailin Briste as she takes over the Book Boyfriend Bed Hop for four hours of games, giveaways, and teasers for romance readers. 12 authors have donated books so far. Plus Cailin will giving away Amazon gift cards and more. I’ll be there talking about my Scifi Fantasy Romance, In My Own Shadow. cailinbbftakeover

 

If you’re into contemporary romance, sci-fi romance, romantic suspense, and anthologies, this takeover is for you. Come early. Come late. Come right on time. The games and giveaways will be open from the moment they are posted on August 17 through noon CDT on August 18. #CailinBBTakeover

 

The first giveaway starts now. Post a comment and tag your friends on the event page linked below to enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/836805059802203/

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Passengers

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PassengersPassengers is a move starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. If you went to see it, expecting something like Firefly or Star Wars, you were probably disappointed. It isn’t an on the edge of your seat action movie that takes place on some starship in outer space. It’s about relationships and what loneliness will do to you.

The starship Avalon is transporting hibernating colonists and crew to another planet where they will begin new lives. Just 30 years into their 120 year journey, a malfunction awakens mechanical engineer Jim Preston.

He’s got the whole place to himself, so Jim enjoys living like a rich man. He takes advantage of all the amenities offered on the ship. But after realizing he’ll be alone for the rest of his life, he falls into a deep depression. He can have anything he wants except for human companionship. He even contemplates suicide, but can’t go through with it.

Eventually Jim goes against his conscience and wakes another traveler, Aurora. He tells her that her pod malfunctioned. She’s devastated that she will grow old and die before the ship reaches their new home and tries unsuccessfully to find a way to re-enter hibernation.

They fall in love and are happy until Aurora finds out the truth. She accuses Jim for stealing her life and cannot forgive him. They avoid each other until they discover the ships systems are failing and must find a way to repair it and save the other passengers. This is where the action begins.

It was a touching movie about loneliness and isolation and the lengths someone would go to in order to find companionship. This is another side of Chris Pratt I’ve never seen, and I really liked the way he handled the role.

lobster dinnerLobster

If I was stranded like Jim Preston and resigned to enjoying all the gourmet food available onboard, I’d eat lobster every single day.

I’ve never cooked it before, but apparently there’s not that much to it. Pour the water into a large pot and add the onions, garlic, lemons, oranges, celery, black pepper, seasoned salt and jalapeno peppers. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil for 20 minutes. Add the lobsters and place a lid over the pot. Boil for 15 minutes (depending on the size). Cook no more than two at a time.

Makes me hungry.

Welcome Back, Robbi Perna!!!

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I’m delighted to have good friend and fellow author, Robbi Perna, back for another visit. For those of you who don’t know, she writes these wonderful books filled with just the right mix of Romance and adventure, not to mention a sexy Italian!! Robbi at the Victoriana Ball1 - Copy

Multi-published, awarding winning professional author, Robbi Perna, born and raised in Denver, Colorado, is the oldest of four children in an Italian-American family. As the only girl, she gained a unique insight on the Italian male psyche over the years. Her stories often reflect her Italian heritage and the traits many Italian men and women exhibit. At a recent reunion, a classmate approached Robbi and remarked, “I remember two things about you. You always wanted horses and you were always writing stories.” Robbi happily confirmed she had owned Arabian horses for a number of years before moving away from Denver and she still wrote stories. She now makes her home in Northern Virginia where she spends her time embellishing her townhome to resemble an Italian palazzo and crafting her stories.

Robbi brings a diverse perspective to her writing. Her degrees in Art History and a professional background in business, strategic planning and communications, and more than twenty years as a Senior Military Analyst provide a wealth of inspiration. She is the author of thirty-one published credits that include novels, short stories, articles, essays, and editorials.

Robbi’s genre fiction encompasses romance, the paranormal, history, adventure, and women’s literature. Her goal is to live up to one reviewer’s comments: “When you find a writer who can tell a wonderful story that captures your heart and can tell it superbly, well you simply have a great find. Robbi Perna’s stories fit the bill to a T!”

Robbi graciously agreed to provide us some interesting and fun things you usually don’t find out in a blog interview.

* An interesting fact you might not know:

The unification of Italy in 1871 made a country, but it did not make Italians. The general standard of living demonstrated little or no improvement with unification. Liberalism became associated with the rich while the common people remained outside the mainstream of Italian life. A successful completion of the unification process required their integration into the system—a lesson that remained unlearned for most of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth.It was not until Mussolini’s fascist regime that the inhabitants of the peninsula began to think of themselves as a unified people.

* One of Robbi’s favorite characters, who she patterned him after, and why

The hero, a soldier of fortune known only as Navarre is my favorite character. He is the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble and a Basque woman. I patterned him after the strong, silent prototypical heroes of Hollywood’s golden era—mysterious, competent in whatever he does, kind, but at the same time—someone who could be very dangerous in a given situation.

Why—seriously? What red-blooded woman wouldn’t find him attractive and want him to protect her?

(Ummm, yeah. Navarre is my kind of man!”)

* Robbi’s least favorite character and what makes him less appealing.

Carolina’s father, Aurelio the Conte DeSimone, is my least favorite character. While historians of the period would describe him as a man of his times, he is cruel, self-serving, controlling, and believes women are chattel. Since I do not believe there is any excuse for cruelty or controlling personalities, for me, he is the least appealing sort of man in any age. However, from the standpoint of the storyline, I wanted the contrast between the hero, the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble, who is the true gentleman and Aurelio, born a gentleman, who is a bastard.

(You are so right. The weakness of one character does help us see the strength of another.)

* One of Robbi’s characters  in a completely unacceptable situation. She describes what his reaction would be.

Navarre is an intelligence officer, a soldier of fortune, the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble—not a palace courtier. He has neither the polished manners nor the birth rank. When Prince Umberto tells him he wishes to have him serve as the fencing instructor to Princess Margherita and her lady-in-waiting, the Contessina Carolina DeSimone, Navarre is horrified. He respectfully objects, but the Prince is adamant…and Navarre, mysterious, competent, and dangerous becomes a fencing master serving at the command and pleasure of the princess royal and the lady he once watched from the distance of a cypress grove in Tivoli.

(An unacceptable situation, yet our hero rises to the occasion….sigh!!!)

Perna-MyHeartStillSurrenders-sm

Coming August 15, 2017  Available for Pre-order 

 

 

Now that Robbi has us all drooling over tall, dark and handsome Navarre, let’s sit back and enjoy an excerpt from her book.

“Cara mia, be sensible. You know we have no choice.” Carlo’s agonized voice broke the stillness of the cemetery. His tall, strong build, black hair, and dark eyes typified the Roman aristocrat. The red regimental dress uniform of the Pope’s Guardia Nobile intensified his good looks.

“Why does life have to be so hard? If my mother were still alive, she would never have allowed this to happen. She always liked you and we would have had her support. I would have had the hope of a better life, a life of my own choosing.” Her voice trembled with emotion and she clung to Carlo’s hand.

He looked down at her, his face full of the love she’d found there for all the years she’d known him. “Hope, what a laugh. There hasn’t been any hope for us since the day your father sided with the House of Savoy. No, Carolina, we have no hope and this is the last time I will risk meeting you. Go now, it is dangerous for us both, and you need to return home before the day gets much later.” He gave her hand a brief squeeze before he removed it from his arm and turned to escort her over to where the coach waited. Her companion, Maria, and Giuseppe, the coachman who had served her mother stood waiting by the door.

“Come, Ma’donna. We must return to Rome before the Count sends someone to look for you.” Giuseppe let down the steps and helped the two women into the coach. Carolina watched him give Carlo a long look before he climbed up to the box.

Carlo leaned his head into the carriage window. “Farewell amore mio. I’ll pray to our Heavenly Father for your safety. I leave tomorrow for my next assignment with the Guardia Nobile. I also have no choice. My family remains faithful to the Holy Father. Only those few misguided fools like your father fail to realize Victor Emmanuelle is an opportunist who

offers nothing except empty promises. The rest of us still believe the future security of Italy lies with Pio Nono. You’ll see—he will triumph in the end.” Carlo stepped back and spun away in the opposite direction to mount his horse.

“Ma’donna Carolina, don’t cry so. You will make yourself ill. Come, let Maria hold you.” The woman, a distant cousin of her late mother’s, had been her companion since childhood. She enfolded Carolina in her arms and held her against her amble, dark clothed bosom.

“Maria, I’ll never see him again. We’ve been planning to marry since we were children. How will I live without him?” She sat up straight and attempted to dry her tears. “What will I do so far away in Turin? Why must I serve a cause I don’t understand?”

“You must be patient. Perhaps your father will come to his senses.” The older woman stroked a hand down her back to comfort her, but Carolina saw Maria stare out the carriage window with a bleak, distant expression.

***

 Across the expanse of uneven ground, the man known only as Navarre standing in the shelter of the cypress trees lowered his binoculars. He tilted them so the sun would not reflect off the lenses and disclosure his presence. He retraced his steps to the horse he’d tethered in the shelter of the stone ruins at the edge of the cemetery.

“Come Compeador. The young lovers, whoever they are, will no doubt find their way through whatever troubles them, but their presence has delayed our journey long enough. I must deliver the King’s message to my contact in the Vatican before midnight.”

The Arabian stallion snorted and sidled when the man slid a black booted foot into the stirrup and mounted. Once settled deep in the saddle, he reined the horse’s head in the direction of the road toward Rome and set off at a canter taking care not to overtake the coach traveling along the Via Salaria. Once cleared of the town, the pair cut across the countryside and covered the distance at a pace designed to eat up the remaining kilometers. The need to break his journey to avoid detection had put him behind schedule.

Check out My Heart Still Surrenders as well as Robbi’s other books. You’ll be glad you did!

* Website: http://www.RobbiPerna.net

* Email: Robbis_stories@robbiperna.net

* Buy Links: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Still-Surrenders-Robbi-Perna/dp/1773622579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501439934&sr=8-1&keywords=My+Heart+Still+SurrendersAmazon  https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Still-Surrenders-Robbi-Perna-ebook/dp/B073PBKSY6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501439934&sr=8-1 Amazon Buy Link E-Book: My Heart Still Surrenders Amazon Buy Link Print Edition: My Heart Still Surrenders

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Dunkirk

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DunkirkLast Sunday my sister and I went to see Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Stark and gripping, the film allows viewers to experience the events set into motion the end of May and the first of June in 1940.

The movie is about the evacuation of 338,226 men (including 123,000 French soldiers) who were cut off from the rest of the French Army by the German advance and left stranded on On the set of the new movie 'Dunkirk'the beaches of Dunkirk. It was written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan and told from three perspectives—the land, the sea and the air.At first, it was difficult to follow the non-linear narrative, especially since the time frame varies from one week to one day to one hour and switches from one to another throughout the movie. On land, we see a week’s events through the eyes of Tommy, a young British private and Commander Bolton caught in the middle of a seemingly hopeless situation. By sea, we join Mr. Dawson and his son who volunteer to head to Dunkirk the day before. In the air, we see what happens in an hour when three Spitfires take on the German Luftwaffe.

On the set of new film 'Dunkirk'It contains little dialogue, projecting the suspense through the visuals and music. Written to accommodate the intensity of Hans Zimmer’s music, we heard the sound of a ticking clock throughout the movie. Thousands of extras were employed, and boats that had participated in the real Dunkirk evacuation were used, as well as using genuine era-appropriate planes for aerial sequences. Nolan was also adamant that the entire cast be British.

To those of you who like historical movies like this, I recommend Dunkirk. It’s the first WWII film I’ve seen from the British point of view. I saw a whole new perspective. It was an emotional journey with all the impact of Saving Private Ryan without the blood.

On the set of new film 'Dunkirk'The reaction of the soldiers on the beach, hoping to be rescued and wondering if they would ever see home again, the frustration of British officers trying to achieve the impossible, the resolve of the pilots, and the selfless courage of those men who piloted the little ships of Dunkirk.

(Note: no recipe this time. I don’t think I saw any eating in the movie with the exception of bread and jelly sandwiches, and we all know how to make those)

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Morning Glory

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morning-gloryMy sister and I stumbled across this movie years ago and it’s become one of our go-to films, because it’s such a simple little story of how two damaged people open up and learn to love.

It’s based on a book written by Lavyrle Spencer. I’ve read most of her stuff, and it was one of my favorites…the kind that makes you go “awwwww”. I was thrilled to learn it had been made into a movie. It stars Christopher Reeve and Deborah Raffin.  We watched it again just last week and decided the acting was his best ever.

Will Parker is a man with an unfortunate past. After serving five years in prison for manslaughter, he’s just trying to find work. While passing through a small town in Georgia, he sees an ad in the paper. Ellie Dinsmore, recently widowed mother of two small boys and another on the way is advertising for a husband.

Desperate, Will goes to her farm. Despite Ellie’s misgivings, she agrees to put him up in the barn. After discovering how much they need each other, Will and Ellie fall in love and marry. She gives birth to a healthy little girl, and they work together to make the farm profitable.

But something happens to threaten their happiness, and Ellie is forced to come out of her shell and fight for the man she loves.

honey-butter

Honey Butter

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup honey

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (about 2 minutes). Serve butter at room temperature.

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Sommersby

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Sommersby(Reviewed this movie a couple of years ago. Watched it again last week. Enjoyed it as much as the first time, maybe even more.)

Sommersby , a 1993 film starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. Adapted from the historical account of 16th century French peasant Martin Guerre, this version takes place in the Reconstruction period following the War Between the States. It’s a period movie, with a touching love story and the chance for redemption.

Six long years after leaving his farm to fight in the war, Jack Sommersby is presumed dead. In spite of the hardships, his young widow and son are content in his absence, because he was an unpleasant and abusive husband. Her neighbor has asked her to marry, but she’s strangely reluctant.

Imagine her surprise when her husband returns a changed man. He’s kind and loving to Laurel and their young son, Rob. He even reads from Homer to them, something the old Jack never would have done. When she asks him why he’s different, he claims “War changes you; makes you appreciate things.”

The neighbor has reason to believe Jack is an impostor. And he’s not the only one. Everyone says he seems completely different. After taking the townspeople’s money, he sets off to buy the tobacco seed claiming that the crops will raise enough funds to rebuild the town church. All those that bought in on the deal set to work, transforming the dull and lifeless plantation into a breeding ground of promise and prosperity.

Laurel gives birth to a daughter, Rachel. Shortly after her birth, two US Marshals come to town town to arrest Jack for murder, Once the trial begins, Laurel’s attempts to save her husband quickly focus on the question of his identity: whether this “Jack” is who he claims to be, or a lookalike who met the real Sommersby in prison.

Laurel and Jack’s lawyer agree to argue that her husband is an impostor, not the same man who left Laurel to fight in the war. This would save him from being hanged, but it would mean those people who believed him to be the real Somersby would lose everything. Although she tries to convince the jury the man she loves is not a murderer, Jack is determined to be noble.

This was another ‘sister’ movie. I’ve never cared for Richard Gere, but I do love a good story about the old south after the War Between the States, and this one did not disappoint. The scenery was rich and earthy, the colors were vibrant, the characters real and the love story between Jack and Laurel was touching.

Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken

Nothing personifies the south better than fried chicken. To make the best batter ever for chicken or anything fried, this is my recipe.

1 c. milk

1 egg

Salt

Pepper

1-2 c flour (depending on how much chicken you’re frying.

I either pull the skin off or use skinless chicken. Salt and pepper each piece and roll in flour. Dip in a mixture of milk and beaten egg. Roll in flour again. Use a cast iron skillet on medium heat with about a ½ inch of olive oil and fry on both sides. Makes a wonderful, crunchy golden brown crust. Take care to cook thick pieces long enough or they’ll be raw on the inside.

I like to serve it with mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green beans and homemade biscuits, dripping with butter.Add iced tea, of course, and lots of it. Makes my mouth water just to think about it.

Makes my mouth water.

Dinner and a Movie Monday ~ Sophie and The Rising Sun

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sophie_and_the_rising_sun_headerLast weekend my sister and I took the chance on another movie we hadn’t seen advertised and didn’t know anything about.  It turned out to be a very good choice.

Sophie and the Rising Sun is a 2016 American film based on the 2001 novel of the same name. The film was released at Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2017 by Monterey Media.

It opens in the autumn of 1941 in a small southern town. From the first scene I felt transported to Salty Creek, South Carolina. I could feel the cool air against my neck, bringing with it the rich smell of earth and subtle fragrance of hydrangeas and the sound of soft, southern voices rising and falling.

Sophie and the Rising Sun tells a compelling love story. Sophie, an artist who also fishes and sells crabs to the townsfolk, and an Asian stranger to town are swept up in the tides of history. Like all small towns, Salty Creek has it’s share of gossip. And people who are quick to judge, many while harboring their own dark secrets.

Mr. Ohta, appears in the town badly beaten and under mysterious circumstances. Sophie, a native of Salty Creek, quickly becomes transfixed by him and a friendship born of their mutual love of art blossoms into a delicate and forbidden courtship.

After Pearl Harbor is bombed, a surge of misguided patriotism, bigotry and violence sweeps through the town, threatening Mr. Ohta’s life. A trio of women, each with her own secrets – Sophie, along with the town matriarch and her housekeeper risk their lives to protect him.

 

Crab Cakes

~Crab Cakes~

  1. 1.  In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup bread crumbs, green onions, red pepper, egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder and cayenne; fold in crab.
  2. 2. Place remaining bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Divide mixture into eight portions; shape into 2-in. …
  3. 3.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat  – Serve hot and enjoy!

Note: Once again, I feel the need to apologize to my readers. When I retired the end of January, my intention was to post on my blog at least once a week. But the past few months have been even busier than expected. My time has been split between things I need to do (get my finances in order, finish the house remodel and landscape the yard) and things I want to do (attend critique meetings, spend time with friends and family and get ready for a new grandchild)

Soon things will change. Texas summer weather will be here. Heat and humidity. For me, it means hiding inside the house with a tall glass of iced tea and spending my time writing. Maybe I’ll get caught up. Fingers crossed.

 

Dinner and Movie Monday – The Dressmaker

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The DressmakerWhen my sisters and I were little, sometimes my parents let us stay up late to watch an old black and white classic. Other times they took us to the drive-in. There we piled into the back seat in our pajamas with pillows and blankets, watching a double feature.

The three of us love to get sit back, get comfy and lose ourselves in a good flick. All kinds. So, when we had lunch together recently, one of my sisters recommended one she’d recently seen. She said it was great and loaned us her copy. She was right.

The Dressmaker is a 2015 Australian film written and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, based on the novel of the same name, written by Rosalie Hamm. Kate Winslet plays a dressmaker, Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage, who returns to a small Australian town to take care of her mother. It’s a story of revenge and reckoning. Moorhouse has described the movie as “Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven with a sewing machine.

After being accused of being responsible for the death of classmate Stewart Pettybone, Myrtle Dunnage is sent away from her hometown of Dungatar. Twenty-five years later, she returns to take care of her mother and ends up unraveling the mystery of Stewart’s death.

The whole town is buzzing about Tilly, especially handsome Teddy McSwiney. It only gets worse when she fashions a beautiful dress for one of the local girls who successfully uses it to catch a young man’s attention. Soon, every woman in town is wearing a “Tilly original”.

The film was filled with funny as well as touching scenes. Judy Davis played her mother, and she was a wonderful character. Liam Hemsworth was good as well. And when Tilly ends up getting her revenge, you’ll want to applaud.

Thanks for the heads up Jo Beth. This was a good one!

Lamingtons – In the movie, Tilly’s mother made Marijuana Brownies, which were a hit. However, this is an authentic Australian recipe I thought looked interesting.

australian foodPrepare time: 30 min

Cook: 60 min

Serves: 6

 Ingredients

  •   Butter – 1 cup + 4 tbsps (unsalted and softened)
  •   Sugar – 1 3/4 cups
  •   Vanilla – 2 tsps
  •   Eggs – 4
  •   2 1/2 cups flour
  •   Baking powder – 2 tsps
  •   Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  •   Milk – 2/3 cup
  •   Buttermilk – 1/3 cup
  •   Salt – 1/2 tsp
  •   Coconut – 2 cups, for coating
  •   For Chocolate Sauce/Icing:
  •   Butter – 2 tbsps, unsalted and softened
  •   Milk – 1/2 cup
  •   Sugar – 2 cups, powdered
  •   1/3 cup, unsweetened cocoa powder
  •   Hot water – 2 1/2 to 3 tbspsPreheat oven to 350° Grease and line two 8″ cake pans with baking/parchment paper. In a bowl, cream butter, castor sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour, a few tbsps at a time. Use a wooden spoon to combine. Next add a little milk and stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and milk, ending with the flour. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool down to room temperature and store in fridge. Next day, prepare the lamingtons. Stir the mixture until smooth and a bit thick. It should not be a thick liquid as the cake will not absorb the chocolate coating. Once the excess sauce is drained which takes about 2-3 minutes, place each chocolate coated cube on a plate of dried coconut. Lamingtons can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
  • Sprinkle dried coconut all over the chocolate coated cake and allow to set for a couple of minutes and serve.
  • Once the cake is firm on touch and not crumbly, cut into small 2 inch square pieces. Cut each square in half, sandwich with jam or chocolate sauce. Use a fork or wooden skewer and dip each sandwiched cake squares in the chocolate sauce and coat well on all sides. Place on a cooling rack and allow excess sauce to drain by placing a parchment paper below the rack.
  • Prepare the chocolate icing. Place the icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk in a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Divide the cake batter equally into the two greased and lined pans. Bake for 55 mts to an hour or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine. Add the buttermilk and beat for 10 seconds.
  • Sieve all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Add salt and whisk together. Keep aside.
  • Method for making Lamingtons

australian food

How To Radically Revise Your Novel

Rachel Poli

Radical revision is a term to revise or rewrite your current draft. It’s a tool to help your reimagine your story.

This is a method I learned in school when I was working on my English degree. I’ve kept the notes these past two years because I found it to be helpful and a pretty cool method. It didn’t seem so at the time because it was homework, but I do think it helps.

How To Radically Revise Your NovelWhat does radical revision do?

The point of radically revising your novel is to try something new, something different you wouldn’t normally do. Rewrite your current draft in a new way and see which one works better.

It may or may not work, but you’re experimenting, getting to know your novel and characters at a deeper level, and you’re practicing new forms of writing.

In a way, I guess you could look at this as a…

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Why your writing is important 

Wordland

People often say that words aren’t dangerous. But writers know better than that. We understand the power that words have. When we wield them we are all aware how we’re casting lightening stolen from the Gods.

Events in the world prove just how fickle words are. Assaulted by ‘fake news’, ‘alternative facts’ and ‘post-truth’ a fiction writer gets concerned. People are using the words we love to spread fear not knowledge. Moreover, the seriousness of reality can make our whimsical tales feel unworthy of attention.

But fear not. Ursula Le Guin in her usual brilliant fashion, explained the difference between these ‘lies dressed as truth’ and actual fiction. You aren’t part of the distraction, you’re part of the fight against it.

Those words that you pull from your mind are not a distraction from current events. They are a mirror to it, deliberately or not. You have something to say…

View original post 144 more words