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To PR (Paranormal Romance) or Not To PR – Nanowrimo Day 1 – Err day 3

Today is day three of Nanowrimo. For those who do not know, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. An annual internet based writing project that’s been around for about 15 years.  The goal is writing a solid first draft of a 50K+ world length novel between November 1st and the 30th. The idea is to focus on completion rather than perfection and to avoid procrastination traps such as constant revising, editing and/or researching. It can be an effective tool for getting past writers block. For a variety of reason, and for the first time ever, I have decided to participate. Yes, I know I am already a couple days behind. It was my weekend with my kids and that was my priority.

A big part of Nanowrimo, and a large reason for my wanting to do it, is it is a wonderful exercise in creativity and a chance to step outside of your comfort zone. I want to write something very different than what I have written in the past. I want to write a Paranormal Romance. Why PR? Well, I like to read them. I have thoroughly consumed books by Charlaine Harris, Darynda Jones, Ilona Andrews, and others. I honestly enjoy the genre. Now, to be fair its a pretty broad genre, from the relatively chaste to the practically pornographic. I personally tend to enjoy the ones that are more focused on the stories and characters and less so on naughty bits and sexy time. Not that there is anything wrong with naughty bits and sexy time, but when it comes to a story, I find love more compelling than heat. And I believe that a little description and a lot of imagination can go a long way. So then why PR? Love can be a compelling motive without being the primary focus of the story. I did that with my novelette The Sexton and the Reaper.  It comes back to me stepping outside of my comfort zone as a writer and a person. Writing a novel that clearly falls into PR (even if it is not too steamy) should be a challenge and allow me to write the kind of book I enjoy reading.

But here are my concerns. If I am known as a writer at all, it is as a children’s author. Could it effect how I am viewed in Children’s Lit. Then there is the fact, I am a man. This present some challenges. For one the genre is dominated by woman. The majority of readers are woman, and the vast majority of writers are woman. While I might be able to successfully channel my inner 5 year old female elephant, I worry that I might have challenges writing an adult woman in a believable multidimensional way.

But here is why I want to try. I love my Egret the Elephant series. I want to keep writing and publishing these stories forever. But I look at my children’s literature as I do parenting. My kids are my world. I can’t put it more succinctly than that. But if all I am is a parent, I limit myself as a human being and a parent as well. Having grownup relationships and activities make us better human beings and ultimately better parents. So by that logic, expanding myself as a writer by writing in a very different genre should improve my writing as a whole. I can’t get around the whole man thing. I will always be a heterosexual male; it is just how my brain is wired. While I honestly believe the most import parts of us, as human beings, are beyond gender; writing a truly complex character requires the elements of us that are linked to our gender and sexuality. Too often when I read female characters written by men, they fall flat**. I don’t want to fall flat, but I do not want to be ruled by my fear of failure. Besides I have women friends, in fact they outnumber their male counterparts. So hopefully I can get some beta readers who will tell me honestly that most women would never say, feel, or do YXZ. And if I am lucky, it will help me grow not only as a writer, but a human being.

What do you think? Am I potentially sabotaging my children’s lit career by writing in PR? Would you read a PR book written by a man?

*Ilona Andrews is actually a husband an wife team, and not a singe person, but I think that ads to their writing.
**I have noticed the same thing when woman write male characters but on the whole, at least in my opinion, they do a much better job than their male counterparts.
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Egret and the Mysterious Light – Free Download

Click here to download a PDF of a free and complete story from Egret the Elephant: Volume: 1!

Mysterious Light cover

Perfect for a bedtime story and reading homework. Go on one of Egret’s very first adventures in this free introduction to the Egret the Elephant series!  Egret is a 5 year old elephant who loves to dance, especially under the moon. She loves her family, friends and adventures. The series is beautifully illustrated and told in verse to aide in language development and capturing the imagination of the young and young at heart.

Download while available!

See more offering from Moonbow Books here!

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Join us at one or both of the readings and presentations by Akiva J. Savett and his brilliant work, Preservation

Join us at one or both of the readings and presentations by Akiva J. Savett and his brilliant work, Preservation

Thursday, February 6th at 7:00 PM
Winston Churchill High School
11300 Gainsborough Rd, Potomac, MD 20854
Hosted by the WCHS Educational Foundation

Sunday February 9th at 9:00 AM
Beth Sholom
11825
Seven Locks Road, Potomac, MD 20854

Brilliant Poet and Advanced Placement English Literature Teacher. he has been publishing poetry for over 10 years and his work has appeared in a variety of prestigious literary journals. Savett is also a chronic sufferer of Crohn’s Disease and a committed father and husband. Much of his work is interested in opening the sacred; in each poem, Savett discovers and frees the luminous trapped within the chaos of his life. In the midst of his struggles with surgery, mortality, and the contingencies of parenthood, his voice shines brightly from the firmament of young and dynamic American poets. Below are some Amazon reviews for your review.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Think You Don’t Like Poetry? Read This Book!
By Ali G on August 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
I’m so thankful to have read this collection of poems. Mostly, I read novels and short stories, with the occasional book of poetry thrown in only if it comes highly recommended. One of my friends at college told me to read this because Savett is her former English teacher. I can’t believe how much I loved it.

In poem after poem, Savett plays with language in surprising and ingenious ways, but he always gives the reader some accessible entry into meaning. Whether having a catch with his son, playing hide and seek with his daughter, visiting an old friend near the Gettysburg battlefield, or even flirting, tongue in cheek, with religious conversion so he can learn the names of trees and birds, Savett’s poems are about everyday experiences and moments so many of us have stopped paying attention to. Some of the most powerful poems in the collection are about his experiences with pain and chronic health issues. Though never named in the book (his amazon author page mentions Crohn’s Disease), references about and responses to illness provide a thread which ties this collection together—language and the book itself serve as preservation for Savett. In paying attention and displaying such a mastery of language, Savett is also preserving the fleeting precious moment and people he meets and loves. This book is short (it’s a poetry chapbook) but incredibly sweet, and I look forward to reading more from him in the future. He is one of the few poets (Stephen Dunn, W.S. Merwin, Billy Collins, Kay Ryan) I will try and keep up with. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Billy Collins Would Be Proud 
By Haroot H. on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
In an interview with the PBS News Hour, two-time Poet Laureate Billy Collins was asked about the idea of making poems “accessible.” He responded by saying, “I think accessible just means that the reader can walk into the poem without difficulty. The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is what happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem? That’s the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing.”
Savett’s collection successfully invites the readers into his poems. It is at this point of “entry” that his imagery guides the reader on a multi-sensory journey of daily life. However, instead of settling for mundane commentary, Savett challenges us to see and feel what we normally take for granted. If, as Collins so eloquently states; poetry is a “form of travel writing,” then Savett’s Preservation takes us on the simplest and most rewarding trip of all: a refreshing look at the people, moments and places that compose our existence.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The mundane made luxurious
By Naomi R Kieval on August 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
The author’s love of the English language is evident from the first pages. Each poem presents an almost “stream-of-consciousness” account of daily life. These snippets of life as displayed in word-play and metaphor reveal much of the beauty of a life made up of family and naturalist spirituality; the author’s health, family concerns, financial constraints, and more are on full display. The verse feels at home amid the early modern poets, beatniks, and absurists. Echoes of Ginsburg and cummings are clearly heard as well. Savett’s Preservation is an impressive collection, and a great entree into modern free-verse.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Seriously beautiful
By Steph Herold on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
The poems in this collection are complex enough to sink your teeth into, yet also beautiful enough to read once and appreciate. Sprinkled with literary and medical references, the way Savett conveys a sense of awe in each poem surprised and delighted me. Some lines are so perfect they will slay you: “we are more like pencils / where each day scratches / us away / than pens, intact, / but leaking words” and others will have you cracking open your computer to google (who’s Tiamat again?). I felt like I was playing hide and seek with these poems, sometimes getting a glimpse at their meaning, sometimes searching and searching. Even if I couldn’t uncover exactly what I thought the poems meant, they evoked that ineffable feeling you get when you’re reading something good and you allow yourself to get inside the feelings of the poem instead of trying to pinpoint what every word signifies. A really refreshing read–looking forward to many more!

Corey Feldman

240-392-4444 (general office line)
12299 Greenleaf Ave
Potomac, MD 20854