We are delighted to announce that during the first six months of 2013, three Ashland Creek Press debut authors — Mindy Mejia, Olivia Chadha, and Jean Ryan — will be participating in the Book Divas‘ Ask a New Author column.
This means that for the next six months, Mindy, Olivia, and Jean will be answering questions from readers, writers, and other inquiring minds about their experiences of getting their first books out into the world. Send in your own questions by emailing them to email@example.com.
Here’s a little about these three debut authors…
Mindy Mejia “is simply a beautiful writer,” writes Mary Ann Grossmann of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Mindy’s novel, The Dragon Keeper, tells the story of the zookeeper of a Komodo dragon and a discovery that changes the scientific world forever, highlighting the perils of captivity and the astonishing ways in which animals evolve.
Olivia Chadha is the author of Balance of Fragile Things, an “absorbing” (Publishers Weekly) environmental novel about a multicultural American family that comes together just as the world around them begins to fall apart.
Jean Ryan‘s debut story collection, Survival Skills: Stories, is forthcoming in April. Jean writes of beauty and aging, and of love won and lost, with characters enveloped in the mysteries of the natural world and the animal kingdom. “This book will bring you closer to the things that are important in life” (Lori Ostlund, author of The Bigness of the World).
Visit Ask a New Author for past columns and conversations with such authors as Ellen Meeropol, Scott Sparling, and Nichole Bernier (not to mention book reviews, book giveaways, Industry Tips from authors, and more).
The more time I spend among the horses at Equamore Sanctuary, the more I adore them. And the more I appreciate all that the Equamore Foundation does to take care of these animals, most of whom had no place else to go when they were taken in by Equamore.
Here’s one of Equamore’s newest arrivals — Wishes, who is almost completely blind but is also among the most curious horses I’ve met, always popping her head out of her stall to see what’s going on. She is so sweet and affectionate, and she loves attention. (My photos are always a little blurry, thanks to these horses being so animated!)
Shane is another new arrival, rescued along with Wishes from a situation that is not uncommon: good intentions that, unfortunately, led to neglect. While Wishes had been trying to navigate a pasture being unable to see, Shane was in a pasture and unable to eat; he is missing a lot of teeth, and he wasn’t receiving the nutrients he needed because he couldn’t process his food. Here’s a photo of Shane now, so happy to be at the sanctuary (where he receives special food that he can digest) and so happy about having dinner that he can’t stop eating to look up at the camera. He is still very, very thin — but the way he’s been eating, he’ll be at a normal, healthy weight in no time.
Hazel is another new arrival — she, too, was rescued from owners who didn’t know enough about horse care. This beautiful Appaloosa mare was left alone to graze in a vineyard fenced with barbed wire, where the resident dog chased her and pulled her tail. When her rescuers noticed that she growing thinner and virtually tailless, they called the Rogue Valley Humane Society, who came out to the property and found Hazel cowering in a chicken coop. She’ll now receive lifetime care at Equamore — and as you can see in this photo, she’ll be the first to tell you how happy she is about that.
If you want to help, visit the Equamore website, where you can learn more and make a donation to support these lovely creatures. And, if you’ve fallen in love with any particular horse, you can visit his or her individual web page and make a donation that directly supports his or her care.
When we announced last month that Ashland Creek Press was planning to publish an anthology devoted to short stories about how the lives of animals and humans intersect, we had no idea what kind of response we would get.
I’m happy to say that the response has been amazing. The quality and quantity of stories has not only kept us quite busy — it has inspired us.
To know that so many other writers out there are devoting their talents to these complex, powerful, and important issues is heartening.
We’re now more than a third of our way toward a completed anthology, titled Among Animals. We expect to be setting a final submission deadline and a target date for publication early in the new year. Subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date on deadlines.
If you’re a writer with a story to submit (previously published stories are okay), here’s how to submit.
Our General Manager, by nature of living in a household full of them, is well aware of what a typewriter is.
But there is a whole generation of humans out there who have absolutely no reference point for these ancient devices.
They simply did not grow up with them. This was especially evident at the Wordstock book festival, where we had a typewriter on display — children under ten years old stared at it in wonder. Most of them had to ask what it was.
For context, I remind myself of what I thought when I first saw a telegraph. I wondered: People actually used this thing to communicate?
Which leads me to one of the core challenges of writing literature these days.
With technology changing so quickly, you can have a novel you began three years ago suddenly feel dated by the time you complete it — not to mention by the time you get it published. If your novel has a land line and an answering machine in it, it’s going to feel like a period piece. If one of your characters doesn’t have a cell phone or doesn’t text, the character will need to be of a certain generation, or you’ll have to explain why he or she is so technologically behind.
It’s not just about cell phones or texting.
What about tablets? Instagram? And, God help us, Facebook?
It’s getting more and more challenging to write contemporary novels that remain contemporary for a few years after they’re published.
But then again, what’s so bad about period pieces? Not to mention the fun you can have with characters who buck the trends — those without cell phones, those who have never been on Facebook. I admire these people in real life — the ability to remain disconnected.
Which means, I suppose, that though I have the cell phone and the Facebook account, I’m a typewriter person at heart.