Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's cooking, good looking?

Greetings, friends!  I'm pleased to announce I'm all shoveled out and blogging live from my local Borders while enjoying the wonders of caffeine, a delicacy I had to forgo yesterday on account of being snowed in without any coffee.

Lesson learned; it will not be happening again.

As I sit here waiting for the sore back to kick in and the hand cramps to subside, I thought I'd share the current happenings of some fellow writers.

1.  If you have about five seconds to spare, I highly recommend heading over to the site of my literary hero JM Tohline and voting for your favorite 6 word story.  Now, seeing as I really want to win the prize, a free advanced copy of his debut novel The Great Lenore, I will only SUGGEST voting for me.  Should you choose to honor this suggestion, you would do so by selecting the fifth (and last) entry on the right sidebar which is tagged @ImPaulJoseph.

HOWEVER, because I am running against truly awesome people, like my hometown gal Christine Marie, my buddy and cohort The Weed, and the always entertaining Ara Grigorian, I would be happy if you voted for any of us.  It's all in good fun.  Of course, while you're over there, you should take a second and check out JM's site, learn a bit about his book, and keep in mind it will be available for pre-order next month.  Just sayin'...

2.  It's been an exciting week for YA novelist Karsten Knight.  His debut Wildfire hits bookstores July 26, 2011.  However, if you are like me and a zillion other impatient readers, you can follow this link to preview the first chapter, courtesy of Simon and Schuster. If When you realize how excited you are to read the entire book, you can follow this link and enter the sweepstakes to win an advanced copy.  And if I might add, I've found Karsten's vlogs to be highly entertaining while providing a glimpse into the daily life of a professional writer.  The guy's got personality, so head on over and take a gander.

3.  Fellow writer Jason Messina (Surf the Gasp) has completed the ultimate accomplishment and released his inspirational book 101 Ways To Get High Without Drugs.  It's currently on sale for a reduced price, and you can read the first chapter for free here.  If you get a chance, help spread the word.

4.  After the success of his Music Blogfest earlier this week, Alex J. Cavanaugh wasted no time promoting the next big event headed for Blogosphere.  The A to Z Blogging Challenge takes place this April, and the organizers are shooting for a minimum of 300 participants.  You can visit his site to join Alex, myself and the other 87 participants already registered.  Check out his blog for more details on this event.

5.  Finally, my brilliant buddy Michael shared a great post this morning in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  As a former history teacher, I was ecstatic to see someone not only know what today was, but also take a moment to spread a critical message.  The Holocaust was one of those "special" topics I personally inserted into my previous seventh grade curriculum.  Too many kids entered my doors in September having never heard the term; those who had were often misinformed.  I decided when they left me in June, they would all know exactly what happened.  They did. 

As always, this is an insightful post that offers perspective while reiterating the importance of empathy.  We must remember no life is more valuable than any other, and that remaining silent about things that matter is equivalent to performing inhumane actions ourselves.


  1. Definitely some worthwhile blog happenings out and about there. I'm still giving some thought to the April challenge, but I'll be sure to let everyone know soon.

  2. Thanks, Paul. And great to hear that some people are still striving to keep the truth of memory alive. A friend of mine was recently quasi-denying the holocaust and it drove me up the wall. It's something I don't think anyone should be allowed to forget.

  3. Thanks for promoting the A to Z Challenge! And no awards for misspelled names...

  4. Paul, thanks for the mention. Couple of things come to mind:

    (1) The "Six word story" contest has resulted in at least two really cool things: a) the finalists are getting to know each other better. As aspiring novelists, we need to build our community and support structure. I can't tell you how important this is to me. b) More people are going to JM Tohline's website and reading his sample chapter. I hope people will pre-order his book, and then when it's out I hope his book sells like there's no tomorrow. He's a classy guy, talent writer, and inspires many. The publishing industry is illogical, and only word-of-mouth can bring awareness.

    (2) Holocaust - I'm Armenian. But was not born there. The attempted genocide drove out the handful of survivors all over the world. I am profoundly aware that my existence today, my ability to write a comment on your blog, and the life my two boys enjoy, is directly as a result of my grandparents who fought for survival in the deserts, and kept fighting through starvation and unimaginable crimes against their own loved ones. In some ways, I should not be here today. But I am. And everyday I live, and contribute, is a gift. There is no excuse for crimes against humanity. And it all starts by awareness.

    Thank you Paul.


  5. I swear I've shoveled more this year than most! (I just pretend it's part of my daily workout)
    Great happenings going on. I forgot to read Karsten's first chapter! But then I have to wait four months! But what if I win the ARC?!
    Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Jeffrey - If you end up participating, I shall look forward to your posts - just as I always do. Of course I have no idea what I got myself into with this one...

    Bryan - I was always told people denied the Holocaust, but I didn't believe it until I heard it with my own ears. At my first job, we had a survivor come speak to the kids every spring. We opened the assembly to parents as well. My third year, a dad raised his hand during the question and answer session. His question: "What recreational activities were offered at the camp?" And that was AFTER the presentation. I had little tolerance for ignorance with students; I have none for ignorance with adults.

    Alex - My pleasure! Thanks for correcting my name.

    Ara - It's been very cool getting to know the other finalists better. I agree; JM is a classy guy who has been a huge inspiration to me. I always root for the good guys, and I am pulling for him and Lenore to take the world by storm. I'm pretty sure it's gonna happen....

    And, thank you for sharing your experience so openly. It sounds like the one benefit of the situation was that it provided you with a solid appreciation for life and the gifts that come along with it. That's important, and your boys will benefit from that as well. I agree; it starts with awareness. Empathy is a critical role as well. We will get there one day....

    Kelly - I skipped the gym yesterday because I decided shoveling was a good enough workout. I skipped today because my back is killing me from the shoveling. Good luck with the ARC!

  7. I need to start joining in on these blogfests. They sound fun. I bet it would bring a lot of viewers, plus I know it would feel competitive.

    Paul, I am seriously impressed that you keep on top of so many writers. Send me a Flash Fiction piece soon. I'll get it posted and we can do some questions and answers. With you, I'd like to interview on the phone. I think it would come out best.

    I'll be posting an interview with Brandon Ford soon, then a few others. Can I throw you on the train?

    Jason wrote a crazy book. It should do good these days. I'll check out Kelly's too.

    Thanks for the links and people!

    Draven Ames

  8. Draven - Do it! Blogfests are great for views and meeting new people. And thanks for the kind words. Feel free to throw me on the train (or in front of it, depending on the day). I have not yet been interviewed, and I think it will be a great experience. Hopefully I won't end up destroying your image of me. I'll try not to do that.

  9. Thanks for the shout out! There you go always teaching me a lesson in promoting others. I threw a link to your blog up in my post from last night because you're awesome. Good luck on the contest, bro. Your story's great!

  10. Cool! Thanks for the mention, Josh. And remember, I only promote those worthy of the honor. Which reminds me, I have to add you to my sidebar. I don't know how I missed you, but I shall rectify the situation immediately.

  11. Great 6-word story, Paul! I liked them all. Very clever, to pack so much into six small words!! Move over, Hemingway! ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") Happy weekend!


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