Friday, September 9, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
As an author, poet and speaker, Maya Angelou has shined a light on a world of prejudice, injustice and poverty unfamiliar to many Americans. Through a series of six autobiographies, including the critically acclaimed I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings published in 1970, Angelou inspired readers with her own transformation from victim of racism to empowered young woman. Through writing and speaking to audiences around the globe, she continues to admonish people to reach their fullest potential.
“I think always the moments which challenge you most are probably the ones which have the greatest lifetime importance,” she says.
Following a childhood of struggle and sorrow, including rape at the age of 7, Angelou was an unmarried 17-year-old when she gave birth to a son. But motherhood was the impetus for achievement.
“To improve myself and him and his life, I studied. I began to really be careful about what I was doing and how well I was doing it. I had always been a reader—I just became a deeper reader. I made a bee path to the libraries. I educated myself because I wanted him to have some answers,” she says. “That was the greatest single impact on my life.”
Angelou traveled the world, acted, danced, sang, composed music and wrote plays. She became fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and West African Fanti. She worked with civil rights activists Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Angelou’s self-directed education helped her see beyond the hatred and prejudice that could have shaped her worldview. “In so many ways it helped me to know that the world did not end at my front door, nor at the borderline of my state, nor even at the United States—and that human beings are more alike than we are unalike,” she says. “All of that liberated me from some of the ignorance that can make a person mean and cruel and prejudiced and stupid. Education has helped me understand that this is my world, but no more mine than yours.”
That knowledge helped Angelou find her place in the world—which is anywhere she wants to be. “Being a human gave me the right to look for the larger life, the biggest life a human being can have. That I was black or 6-feet tall or female or poor growing up had nothing to do with the fact that I’m a human being,” she says. “There’s nobody beneath me and nobody above me on the rate of being a human being.
“Success is liberation. I’m free from the ties with which ignorance binds us. I’m free from that. I don’t dislike any group of people. I can be proud of the action of a stranger. I can be happy for the success of a person I’ve never shaken hands with. I’m free.”
Today, Angelou, 81, is a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. Though she never graduated from college, she holds 30 honorary degrees and takes pride in being called “Dr. Angelou.” Now working on a cookbook, she recently wrote lyrics to accompany music by Michael Feinstein.
Angelou says there is much she wants to do. Asked what she could possibly add to her brimming list of accomplishments, “Everything!” she responds heartily. “I can hardly sleep.”
Sunday, August 14, 2011
-Never transfer or assign your copyright or "all rights" in the work to your publisher!
-Limit the languages, territories and formats in which your publisher is granted writes!
- Make sure you're entitled to terminate the contract!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
- when you begin to receive "encouraging" rejections
- they reject the manuscript you submitted but ask you to send your next one
- your mentor tells you to contact his agent without you asking for a referral
- agents and/or editors proactively contact you because she spotted your quality writing somewhere online or in print
- you need more sophisticated critique partners
- you understand why your work had been rejected
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
By now, I've written and had published 286 books, mostly fiction, but twelve non-fiction books as well. Motivation? Yes, that "provisional" tag still bugs me. But I realize that I had used that tag to help me make my dream of being a novelist come to pass.
I'm going to keep on writing novels until I learn how."
Friday, July 1, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Above is the a link/video from Sophie Kinsella (author of the Shopaholic books, Remember Me?, etc). She speaks about how she edits her work and gives a super helpful tip. i love you, Sophie!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
It was a quiet early-summer day and there was absolutely nothing to do.
It was too hot for my sisters to want to play with me and too humid for my parents to take me to the park.
What I did next was the only thing that could quench my boredom...I snuck into my sisters' bedroom, very quietly.
I knew exactly where she kept her diary and I figured that it was as good a time as any to begin reading it.
So I did...thoroughly. Maybe twice.
I had finished reading the last page when an idea struck me-I can publish a family newspaper! Everyone was so busy doing their own interesting and grown up things that they had forgotten all about me.
I began to write and write and write. Than I rewrote the front page about three times (so I can pass it out to my family members- there was no copy machine in my house.)
It now occurs to me that the whole time I wrote and wrote and wrote, no one came to check on me. Seeing me sitting on the floor and writing on something was my usual past time if I was stuck indoors.
Finally, my masterpiece was complete. I wanted to wait to hand them out, but I just couldn't. I headed to the living room and handed out a copy of "Family Times" (a spin on 'Family Ties')
My Mother and Father had practically burst into tears and hugged me into submission before they read the article about my sister's diary...then...
There was no time for them to hide the third copy from my sister.
So I ran and ran and ran.
And that's the last time the Family Times was published.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
View Comments April 25, 2011 By Michael Braverman
How a peripatetic food and drink chronicler made the South Fork his home.
By Michael Braverman
James Villas, celebrated food writer and popular novelist, might appear a reluctant participant in the 21st century. He has no cell phone and only acquired a computer when his publisher refused to accept typewritten manuscripts. He drinks Manhattans, smokes cigarettes, eats fatty meats for breakfast and would happily scarf down an ortolan without a second thought. He disdains airplane travel, and his favorite restaurant in New York City was on the trendy list about 40 years ago.
Yet Villas is anything but disconnected. He is smart, subtle, savvy and sure of his tastes in food and in life. Spurning air travel would surely be an affectation for most people, but it befits someone who has crossed the Atlantic 68 times on the QE2 and made numerous other crossings on just about all of the legendary ocean liners of his time. Although he so disparages the idea of sipping wine as an aperitif he will carry his own flask of bourbon to cocktail parties, the wines he specifies for meals are absolutely first-rate. He boasts about his peanut butter habit (and buying giant-sized jars at Sam’s Club) but is unyielding in his affinity for genuine fresh beluga caviar.
Villas’s disregard for saturated fat is hardly the same as that of someone in front of the television munching a giant bag of Fritos.
As a culinary sleuth, he recently drove 1,500 miles round-trip from Long Island to North Carolina to find authentic whole hog sausage. Whole hog sausage, which is exactly what it sounds like, was a part of Villas’s childhood in the South, and when he wanted to recapture the taste, nothing, certainly not a couple of days driving, stood in his way. His destination turned out to be a remote, decrepit filling station with a meat market out back in a rural area about 50 miles from Charlotte. Forget about a professional meat-cutting facility. But hygiene aside, he found the real stuff, and brought home the sausage, as well as delectable country ham and bacon, in coolers chilled with dry ice.
Most of all, Villas is a sharp-witted, adroit and prolific observer and chronicler of the world of food and drink and all the many subjects within their gravitational pull. He has published 12 cookbooks, most recently a 400-plus-page porcine celebration of
the animal that “stands snout and shoulders above the rest,” entitled Pig: King of the Southern Table (Wiley). From the Ground Up, a cookbook examining ground foods, is scheduled for release in 2011. He has also published four intelligent and provocative books of essays and memoirs, and his second novel, Hungry for Happiness (Kensington), will be out this fall. He has published in all the leading food magazines, won two James Beard journalism awards and was named Bon Appétit’s Food Writer of the Year in 2003.
I first encountered Villas in 1982 when I ran a real estate brokerage business on Main Street in East Hampton. Craig Claiborne, the legendary New York Times food editor, was a casual friend of mine and a very close friend of Villas. He brought Villas, food and wine editor of Town & Country at that time, into my office, introduced us and stated that Jim was there to buy a house. The look on Villas’s face made it clear that this was news to him. But he was a good sport and, after getting over the shock, quickly bought the second house we looked at: basic saltbox, lovely setting, prime area. The great chef Pierre Franey, in a moment of French hauteur, informed Villas that the real estate agent was correct: it was a good “starter house” and would be worth a lot of money someday. (Snobbish as it might have sounded, Franey was right on both counts.) Expanded over the years, it is now Villas’s full-time East Hampton home.
Villas grew up in a cultured North Carolina family. His mother was an expert cook and coauthored three books with him. When he was young, his parents took him to such memorable restaurants as Le Pavillon in New York, the Pump Room in Chicago and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. But it was only after college when he went to France to study literature on a Fulbright scholarship that he discovered classical French food—the kind not available anyplace outside of that country at the time. He stopped at Hôtel de la Côte d’Or in Burgundy, quite unaware on that first visit that it was one of the temples of French gastronomy. Since it was not far from his studies in Grenoble, he returned often and became accustomed to such dishes as coq au vin and terrine de gibiers. He also formed a deep bond with Alexandre Dumaine (the proprietor and most prominent chef in France) and Madame Dumaine—a middle-aged couple with no children. And he began to assimilate and appreciate the world of haute cuisine.
Of course this was a time well before anyone thought of food journalism as a lofty profession, and Villas returned to the United States and a conventional academic path, earning his doctorate and teaching, first in the Midwest, then in New Jersey and New York. He had caught the culinary fever, however, and under its spell soon migrated from the ivory tower to more hedonistic hangouts in Manhattan.
Handsome, educated, clever, with tailored clothes, Southern charm and a European gloss—a golden boy really—Villas was soon befriended by the literary and culinary establishment in New York and was showing up at all the glamorous places with all the right people. He could have
been a soigné Noel Coward invention except for the fact that his playboy identity was balanced by his becoming a serious, successful, hardworking journalist. After writing articles for Gourmet, Travel & Leisure and Esquire, he became the food and wine editor of Town & Country, and remained in that job for 27 years. Along the way he became close friends with M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, Paul Bocuse, Paula Wolfert, Barbara Kafka and Ruth Reichl among many others.
Contrarian that he is, there is a consistency and confidence to Villas’s worldview. At this stage, all his experience, his exacting expectations and even the occasional and purposeful crankiness in his writing seem to have coalesced into a comfortable core that is decidedly more ancien régime than nouvelle or fusion anything. The kind of refined, rakish, opulent world he knew and often writes about hardly exists anymore, marginalized by a mass-produced consumer culture. But Villas doesn’t deal in nostalgia. He uses his diagnostic skills to interpret and give meaning to those times and places. And when he focuses on our less decorous contemporary world, he deconstructs and judges, not always gently. When he refers to many current restaurants as “playpens” you know he is talking about more than dining out.
Villas, these days, seems happy with his life in East Hampton and the recognition by his peers and readers that he is one of America’s consummate food journalists and cookbook authors (although he never goes to awards ceremonies and insists strongly that his true passions are French literature and classical music). He has a lot to say and knows how to say it with precision and bite. He may be sardonic but he is also generous in an embracing Southern way. As a cookbook author, he shares anecdotes that sometimes read like detective stories with recipes.
As a critic, he rewards excellence and savages mediocrity—and makes the reader his intelligent accomplice. And as a memoirist and novelist, he shares an extraordinary feast of a life.
Michael Braverman, editor at large of Hamptons magazine, lives in East Hampton and and writes primarily on wine, food and local history.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
"How much do you want to be a published author? That's how much you have to read."
With the exception of this weekend, it seems as if all I have been doing is reading and writing. My freelancing is working out smoothly and I have been inspired for a lot of my already-started manuscripts and new stories altogether.
It doesn't leave me much time to query literary agents and publishers about my two self-published works.
Today, I am trying to get back into the groove by going over my writing to do list.
Tomorrow, I will continue. I will. I will.
Other than that- the past few months have been very exciting- filled with travel, and good friends. Then, there's always the good food and good wine part.
So back to the writing board I go with my thousand ideas. Pray for me! :D
thank you thank you thank you,
Monday, May 2, 2011
"Persistence is sending letters again and again, ignoring the rejections, sending more letters, and so on, until somebody caves and takes your book. Luck is buying a lottery ticket. Luck is your Uncle Phil being the manager of a large publishing house, or your cousin's babysitter being the daughter of a top literary agent."
Ok- can someone please tell me if I have any of these things, and maybe i'm too googly to realize it?!
Friday, April 29, 2011
I've queried and networked, till blue in the face
Submitted, submitted all over the place
Read my rejections (and some made me cuss)
"Great Concept,""well written"-"just not right for us."
Then what, I would ask, does it take to succeed?
If "Great Concept," "well written" won't get me a read
Persistence, it seems, in the face of rejection
Is the only sure path that leads to selection.
The odds are quite simple- you will or you won't
Those who will, do--and those who don', won't.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
"That- the satisfying conclusion part- is, I believe, the best reason for an utline. Count how many novels have done this to you: You're sailing along, digging the prose and the plot and the characters whe, about three-quarters of the way through, you start to notice it falling apart, eventually concluding not with a satisfying bang, not even ith a whimper. It doesn't really end, it just seems...to...dribble...away..."
So this happens to me...except, upon completeing 'A Coincidence Away', I figured there just has to be a part 2. Possibly, part 3.
Dear Literary Agents....
I'm still waiting!!
Friday, April 22, 2011
"When my second husband and I first married, he supported all of us- the two of us, is kids and mine. It was a long time before my income from writing was anything more than fun money- 'The Improbable Cause' trip to Walt Disney World; the 'Minor in Possession' memorial powder room; the 'Payment in Kind' memorial hot tub. Seven years ago, however, the worm turned. My husband was able to retire at age fifty four and take up golf and oil painting."
i am at least working at getting the fun money.
and i am waiting for disney to call me.
Friday, April 15, 2011
One night, the week before Thanksgiving, my Hollywood agent called me at work, w hich he had never done. He said that Disney wanted to buy the rights to my book outright for $300,000, but they had to have an answer by 8 p.m. or the offer was withdrawn.
My agent called an hour later. He said, "We closed at $400,000."
dear literary agents looking for new blood-
hi!! i'm over here- i have more ideas than you can possibly imagine and it's not in my blood to give up or to lose a fight.
and-- disney? are you out there?
i know you'd love my stories! harry potter be damned ;)
Monday, April 4, 2011
Her books, especially the Shopaholic series, seriously put a smile on my face. It's not that I could relate to the heroine of the novels; but I could relate to the language and tone of her books.
I love Sophie Kinsella.
Seriously, it was one of my morning missions to locate some of her information so that I may send her a letter up front about how much she's inspired me. do you think she'll take on any mentees?
pray she writes back...or at least one of her people reads my letter. if anyone can help me with my books, stories and ideas, i know she can.
i'm writing, ms. kinsella!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
this one, promoting me and a worthy cause...
on facebook, here, here and here...
but not here:
Saturday, March 19, 2011
i hope yours is going much better than mine is. i feel cold, and i am extremely irritable..i kind of want to rip the face off LML but i'm sure he feels the same way.i ran my errands this morning and couldn't seem to shake this feeling of crankiness. i figured it HAS to be a result of the supermoon, which is blinding me at this very minute. LML suggested i remove the alias from my book and put it under my name..so I did.
Check me out here.
i figured there are things i need to get going; please be prepared because i believe this list is ridiculous:
*i need a scanner to help me with some of my book ideas
*need to get the ball rolling with my GIVEAWAY
*i'd like to interview inspiring people within the community
*i need to get back to my freelancing position ;)
*my blog? i need tabs, and maybe an interesting but clean backdrop. generally, blog help?!
*i need a publisher to recognize i have so many book ideas i've never seen anywhere before that they should just sign me.
*i need to take a cooking class, writing class, and i'd like to go into graphic design.
*oh yeah, #1- finish and self publish all children's stories- and fictional stories *this should take about a year or longer by myself*
*i need a vacation to get this all done.
*perhaps an IPad i can take wherever i need to/have to go.
*i need to market or somehow publicize my books... check them out (and follow!) here and here.
- finish entering my list of writing contests
oh, but my happiest news?!MY FOLLOWERS! I LOVE Y'ALL!
on this blog of mine, i am hoping to include a few giveaways with them soon once i get the above list done!
anyone know a way to help me? you lovely bloggers have much more expertise in this stuff than i do
Friday, January 28, 2011
and today i made him proud :)
i am so happy- one of the books i have written-the one under my alias- has had one buyer!
i am pretty sure i know who that buyer is- but thank you <3 y'all make me want to keep writing!
not that i know i could stop.
if you go over to my other blog, you'll notice that i have a 'january list' which i've compiled of things i NEEDED to accomplish.
i am almost all done. holy. cow.
except for my book ideas, of course. i don't think i'll ever be done :)
please stay warm this weekend <3
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
thank you for following my blog!
this past week has found me a little sick (nothing new, if i don't sleep enough my immune system shuts down) but at least sick enough, and snowed in again to begin illustrating my next children's book.
i am so excited about illustrating yet another children's book. i am convinced that i will get better with this part of my craft in time..at least, nothing that a drawing class or two wouldn't cure :)
if you have any ideas on how i can market 'Where Did All The Cookies Go?' please let me know :)
hope you are all having a safe and wonderful tuesday!