41qZbI0VwPL__UX250_Who knew the hidden treasure I had lurking in my extended family. Edward is a writer and a well-known artist.

He was born in the Big Thicket National Preserve in Southeast Texas and many of his books take place there. He spent almost 40 years in New York City where he studied literature and creative writing with Marguerite Young. He have had 7 novels published and 1 memoir. He has recently finished another memoir, Writing Under the Influence of…. As the title suggests it is about my literary influences: people, places, books. There is a section about working in Brentano’s and Scribner’s bookstores back in 1967-1974.

He believes his last novel, Walking on Glory, is also unpublished and is, in his opinion, one of his best. Currently he live in a small colonia just outside San Miguel de Allende and is working on a series of stories inspired by some of his Mexican neighbors.

He continues to exhibit his sculptures. Currently he has an exhibition at the Museum of the City of Queretaro; his 3rd 51S8SSN9XEL__UY250_exhibition in this museum. In San Miguel, his work is currently on display in the gallery of Edina Sagert, 8A, Fabrica la Aurora.

Now we’re going to learn a tad more about Edward. 

ME: Where is the most exotic place you visited?

EDWARD: In 1979 I visited the Lacondon rainforest in the Mexican state of Chiapas. I met many of the Lacandon people, said to the direct descendants of the Maya. At that time there was no way in or out of the rainforest except by boat along the Usumacinta River, or by horse, or small plane. I flew in and floated out. Today there are roads that crisscross the rainforest. It is still beautiful but because it has become more familiar and accessible it is no longer exotic, at least not to me.
ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

EDWARD: In spite of the fact that I laugh a lot, all of my life I’ve suffered  from a nagging depression that comes and goes. Most creative people have it. The only answer is to maintain a positive outlook as much as possible and keep working. I have never stopped working. I would sink into a terrible state of mind if I stopped writing, making art, listening to music.
ME: What is your greatest accomplishment?

EDWARD: My greatest accomplishment: Having written all these very difficult novels while working 9 to 5 office jobs…well, that wasn’t easy, but I did it and I managed to enjoy most of it. I am very grateful that I no longer have to work for anyone other than myself. My greatest book accomplishments are Miss Spellbinder’s Point of View, and The Daughter of the Doctor and the Saint. They were the most challenging books and I worked on each of them many years.
ME: How would you describe your writing style?

EDWARD: My writing style involves a “heightened and poetic realism.” I use quotes because I have borrowed this explanation from Tennessee Williams. That’s how he once described his plays. My style, however, must not be confused with magical realism. There are no flying carpets in my novels. No one is blow away with the bed sheets as is Remedios the Beauty in A Hundred Years of Solitude. I studied the modern psychological and poetic novel with Marguerite Young. I was in her writing class for 4 years and remained close to her for another 6 or 7 years. I took everything she taught me and ran with it in my own direction.
ME: dinner with someone famous, who?

EDWARD: I would like to turn back time and have dinner with Queen Elizabeth I, the virgin queen. I would ask her many questions such as: “Tell me your Majesty, how many lovers did you really have?” I would also like to include William Shakespeare at the table. I would put the following questions to him: “Did you really write all those plays yourself? And “Who is the Dark Lady of the Sonnets?” There is a theory that the Dark Lady was a London prostitute named Lucy Negro. I suspect in real life she may have been a man.

Thank you so much Edward for taking the time to visit with me and to introduce others to your great work. I wish you manu more successes.

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Tiny Talk Tuesdays With . . . Steven Short

stevenSteven and I met at an LA conference a couple of years ago during the gala. We talked about what we were writing about and I learned about his lovely family. At the time, Steven got nominated for an award for his picture “truck” book. I’m hoping I remembered that right. I missed him at last years conference and somehow reconnected with him through my stack of business cards. I’m so glad we reconnected.

Steven Short is a picture book author, SCBWI member and a 2013 Sue Alexander Award nominee. He found the main ingredient for his writing in an unlikely career change to Stay at Home Dad, the simple fact that children’s lives are as complicated as our own. Steven lives in Fayetteville, Ga. where he competes with his kids for their mother’s attention, on a professional level.

He also saved a group of puppies from an oncoming train. True story.

And now let’s learn more about the hidden secrets of Steven in our Tiny Talk.

ME: If you could spend a day with any book character who would it be and why?

STEVEN: If you could guarantee my safety I’d go with Frankenstein’s Monster. Forget the movies, the original character is just so innocent and childlike, but then completely rejected. How could you not want to just give him a hug and tell him everything’s going to be ok? Again, I’d need some assurance of safety.

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve…

STEVEN: Exploring a place I’ve never been (bucket list thing). More thinking than writing. The whole family would eat whatever I make for dinner. Great horror movie before bed.

ME: If you could have dinner with an author who would it be and why?

STEVEN: I would say Stephen King but I heard he’s kind of mean, so Mac Barnett. He’s the best PB writer out there right now as far as I’m concerned and he owns a time travel store. It could only be fun.

ME: I heard him speak at the LA conference one year and he was a hoot.

ME: Are you a pantser or a plotter

STEVEN: I guess at the heart of it I’m a plotter. I haven’t written long enough for a well-structured plot to just reveal itself as I go. I need a direction when I sit down to write. That said, that direction frequently changes as I go.

ME: Do you have a special talent?

STEVEN: After staying at home with the kids for a while I figured I should at least learn something. So I learned how to juggle, nothing fancy just the basics, I’m not bad. And it turns out I’m pretty good at mimicking voices too. Muppets and movie characters mostly. But not on cue. Just has to happen.

Thanks so much Steven for spending a few minutes talking it up. I hope that someday I walk in a bookstore I can say, “I knew him when.” Take care and best of luck. Don’t be a stranger.

Tiny Talk Tuesday With . . . Michelle Bradford

michelleMichelle Bradford is an entrepreneur, author, writer, teacher, storyteller, artist, designer, and life-long learner. Her motivations are children’s books, publishing, and design. Her concentrations are character-driven fiction, creative nonfiction, web brand content and UX. In summary, Michelle’s goals are literacy for everyone and entrepreneurship to promote the aforementioned.

Now let’s check in and learn more about Michelle in our Tiny Talk.

ME: How do you want to be remembered?

MICHELLE: I would like to be remembered as a writer who boldly wore her heart on her sleeve; as a person who reached out her hand to the poor and generously contributed to literacy through children’s books; as a wife and mother who established an inheritance of love and faith and hope for many generations; as a builder of bridges between people and situations and opportunities; as a creative design mentor.

 

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve . . .

MICHELLE: A perfect day would involve, reading my debut picture book aloud to my family, and then to my dear friends’ third-grade class, and lastly, to mail many copies of that same book to an orphanage I have a heart for in South America.

ME: Super sweet.

 

ME: If you took your street name and the name of your first pet (or visa versa), what would your nickname be?

MICHELLE: Great question Maria…Quip Wilson is also the name of an untamed, rowdy, gerbil character in a PB I have recently revised and is almost ready for submission. Quip knows where he wants to be, but how he gets there is undisciplined and rough. He never gives up…but will he make it?

ME: Wow, a great name at that!

ME: Tell us in five words that describe you as a writer. 

MICHELLE: Writing is an everyday celebration.

 

ME: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

MICHELLE: This of course depends on what I am writing. For children’s fiction, I am a Pantser-Percolator. For non-fiction, I am a Pantser-Percolating-Researcher. And for content development, I am definitely a Plotter-Pantser-Percolator. Okay, because of my process I need to add percolator, a name I picked up from NaNoWrMo. So I guess I’m either Type-A or an excited caffeinated writer…let the readers decide. 🙂

ME: If you could sit and have a drink/coffee with a famous author whom would it be and why?

MICHELLE: It’s a tie. Since I have had the privilege of enjoying tea and photographs with Jane Yolen at a recent SCBWI conference, most definitely, Holly Hobbie. I own many new and vintage books of hers. As a child growing up, I frequented our Public Library Book Mobile and didn’t own many books of my own, except hers. I read them to my own children as they grew up, and to children I babysat as a teen. Mostly though, she is a storyteller genius with the beautiful ability to complete her story with art. She has graciously reinvented herself (over and over again) as a timeless treasure to the joy of reading, and therefore, made a huge literacy impact on the whole world. I adore her.

ME: Oh, my! I haven’t heard that name since I was in high school. Brings back great little bonnet memories on binders.

Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . George Slaughter

1743742_10202172137759197_1880829946_nI met George through one of my friends in my critique group.  A fun and interesting person to talk to.

Native Texan, grew up in Houston…former journalist, published author of several articles in the Handbook of Texas Online, sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association, of which he’s a member (http://www.tshaonline.org)…also reviewed books for TSHA’s scholarly journal, the Southwestern Historical Quarterly…senior member of Society for Technical Communication; served as president of the Houston chapter…author of Spring Branch (Arcadia Publishing, 2011), a pictorial history of the West Houston suburb…web site: http://www.georgeslaughter.com.51QxUqPdIWL__UY250_

And now let’s have a Tiny Talk to learn more about George.

ME: If you could spend a day with a book character who would it be and why?

GEORGE: Since I write non-fiction, I’ll say Warren Buffett. I’m reading Alice Schroeder’s book The Snowball, which is a really well-done biography of him. Among other things, he and I both like American dishes such as hamburgers and Cokes. Perhaps he could offer some good investment advice!

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would be . . .

GEORGE: Get my writing assignment (whatever it is) off my desk by day’s end. (After so many years writing, that’s how I’ve come to judge whether I’ve had a good day or not—did I get it off my desk, whether to the reviewers, the editor, or to production). Have a nice dinner with my wife, Kathy. A pleasant evening reading. If I’m watching television, either a good documentary, or watching my favorite sports teams, or sometimes even something on HGTV. Kathy and I have been watching classic movies such as Rear Window and The African Queen.

ME: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

GEORGE: Historical writers tend to be plotters, because your writing follows a chronology. With a biography, for example, your character is born, grows up, does his or her thing, and then dies. Experience teaches that you can have a general idea of where things should go and that you can write by the seat of your pants without too much trouble. But the structure must first be there.

ME: If you could sit and have dinner with a famous author who would it be and why?

GEORGE: Just one? Let’s see…H.W. Brands, Robert A. Caro, David McCullough, or Alice Schroeder, to name four. Their work is thoroughly researched and thoughtfully written. Read McCullough’s book about Harry Truman, for example, and you’re there at that terrible moment when Eleanor Roosevelt tells Vice President Truman that President Franklin Roosevelt is dead. “Is there anything I can do for you?” Truman asked. “Is there anything we can do for you?” Mrs. Roosevelt replied. “For you are the one in trouble now.”

ME: What is your greatest accomplishment?

GEORGE: While I’ve had many blessings about which I’m thankful, I agree with Frank Sinatra: the best is yet to come.

Tiny Talk Tuesday With . . . Toby Haberkorn

A1g2F86M2cL__UX250_I met Toby at an SCBWI Houston meeting. She stopped to talk about some publishing questions. Then I got to hear all about her passion for writing about Dementia.toby

Toby Haberkorn is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and has lived in the metropolitan Houston area for many years.  Her varied career includes working as an industrial newsletter editor as well as a movie reviewer and retained search consultant.

Toby’s favorite authors are Jeffrey Eugenides, Ruth Rendell, Cynthia Ozick, Donna Tartt, Abraham Verghese, and Adam Johnson.

Her favorite children’s authors include Chris Van Allsburg, Maurice Sendek, H. A. Rey and Margret Rey, JK Rowling, Madeleine L’Engel, and Roald Dahl.

She is currently working on a novel.

Toby has recently published two children’s books which are available on Amazon.com, When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember: A Child’s Perspective on Dementia. Toby’s mother’s and family’s experience with dementia became the basis for her book.

With the increasing numbers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions, more families and children will experience the sadness and challenges of this disease. Sometimes parents assume that children do not notice when something is wrong with a family member suffering from dementia. They may be unsure how to explain this disease or the deterioration, and limit visits.

Toby feels the reality is that children are very observant and they worry when a loved one’s behavior changes or disappears from their lives. This book sensitively explores the bittersweet changing relationship between a granddaughter and her adored Grammy who has dementia.

Dementia is an adult topic but this story is written in a simple manner that children can grasp. Toby’s book stimulates discussion between parents and children about compassion and this debilitating disease.

And now let’s learn a bit more about Toby in our Tiny Talk. 

ME:  Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.  

TOBY:  I can be satisfied with eating only one tablespoon of ice cream and not taking another bite or slurp.

ME: That’s the most devastating thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t leave a pint around. I’d demolish it in one sitting.

ME:  How do you want to be remembered?

TOBY:  I would like to be remembered as someone who cheerfully motivated others to take their ideas from inception to absolute completion and thereby gained satisfaction from their own efforts.

 

ME:  Tell us five words that describes you as a writer.

TOBY:  Creative, optimistic, flexible, and constantly learning.

 

ME:  If you could sit and have a drink with famous author dead or alive who would it be, and why?

TOBY: That’s a hard decision to make, but I would choose Donna Tartt who writes such robust, complex novels. I’m in awe of her storytelling ability.

 

ME:  Who influenced your writing career/passion?

TOBY:  Every time I read a wonderful book, I’m inspired to continue writing.

ME: That’s what we readers want to hear.

Thanks so much Toby for participating in my Tiny Talk. I wish you much success.