New Date-Northern California Book Awards 2018

Northern California Book Awards logo

37th Northern California Book Awards
NEW DATE – Sunday, July 1, 2018, 1:00- 3:30 pm

KORET AUDITORIUM • SAN FRANCISCO MAIN LIBRARY
100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco
FREE ADMISSION

The 37th Annual Northern California Book Awards will celebrate writers and readers in Northern California. Awards in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translation, and Children’s Literature will be presented, with brief celebratory readings and remarks by the winning authors.

A lively reception with book signing follows, all free and open to the public. The Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award and NCBR Recognition Award will be presented. NCBAs are presented by Northern California Book Reviewers, a volunteer association of book reviewers and book review editors, Poetry Flash, the San Francisco Public Library and the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, PEN West, and the Mechanics’ Institute Library

Nominees and honorees will be announced in May 2018. Visit Poetryflash.org (see front page NCBA feature) for the list of last year’s nominees and winners.

Eligible reviewers and readers are always welcome. More information on this page.

Helpful Feedback That Actually Helps: Writing Critiques

By Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley, author of The Gift of Crisis​ (October 2018)

Discernment can be defined as “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.” This term, however, is most often associated within a spiritual context to obtain direction and understanding. But when you’re a writer, discernment is one of the most important, if not the most important factor in how you will decide who has the ability to judge well — who you will allow to give you feedback on your writing.
For the past several years, I’ve written many articles without consideration of feedback beyond the comments section. During these years, I didn’t seek out feedback for my writing due to the following concerns:

  • I was worried the feedback would be negative.
  • I didn’t know whom to ask.
  • I didn’t know how to ask.

It wasn’t until I began to write my first book when I came to understand how truly important the right feedback is to writing.
Now, I’m not referring to feedback which sugarcoats what should not be sugarcoated. I’m referring to feedback that is actually helpful, sincere, and in alignment with the highest vision for your writing.

So how do you determine whom to ask for feedback?

When I began to write the book, out of nowhere I became a part of a writing group. I wasn’t looking for a group to join, someone to write with or anything that would take more of my time away from writing. I was simply meeting friends for coffee, who just so happened to love writing as much as I do!
During coffee, my friend said, “We should do this again, maybe next week at my apartment, so we can discuss the screenplay without interruption.” The four of us agreed and we began to meet on a weekly basis to talk about screenwriting.

Since I didn’t have anything on paper in the form of a screenplay, I slowly began to share details about the book I was working on. Now, let me be clear, I have a few friends who are writers, but for some reason I have not been able to identify why I do not feel comfortable sharing my work with them. I’ve tried to understand why, but then I gave up. I decided I didn’t need to know why. The fact that I didn’t feel comfortable was reason enough. So I went with that. With regards to my writing group, these women are also friends. The difference is, I sense there is something about each of them that is settled, at ease, honest and trustworthy.

When I finally got the nerve to ask them to read one of my chapters, I was nervous. It was the first time I had ever shared something so personal, and so dear to my heart. But they were the perfect people to share it with. They each have individual and specific experience in areas of writing that I do not. But most importantly, after many candid discussions about my intention for the book and my writing, they began to understand where I was coming from.
They could then read the material and tell me if what I wrote is consistent with the overall intention of the book, if it reads true, is engaging and has flow. They are able to tell me if the story makes sense, or if I’ve somehow gotten lost in details, or have drifted off point or swayed too far in any direction.

The feedback began to feel as if we are a relationship, where each of us has a safe place to explore writing as an extension of ourselves. The space is safe, not sugarcoated safe, but honestly safe.

I can now be specific about where I am in the writing process and the kind of feedback that helps. I have trusted individuals with whom I can say, “I’m really struggling with this chapter. Could you read it and see if the ideas flow in a cohesive order?” I know the precise stage of my writing process when I need feedback: when I am just beginning and when I think I am finished! I have been able to figure out when I benefit from feedback the most, and the ways to ask for that feedback effectively.

The thing to be clear about as a writer is, there will always be someone who can give feedback. However, not all feedback is right for you. You have to take the time to use discernment to assess if the person is compatible with your writing.

If you’re running around like a “chicken with its head cut off”, asking for feedback from people who are not compatible with your writing, that’s exactly what you’ll get: feedback that is not compatible with your writing, what you’re trying to do, or the story that wants to be told through you.

Clarity around what you’re writing is about will help you to determine who is a good fit for feedback. Again, it’s not about only asking people who will tell you what you want to hear or even industry professionals. It’s about asking someone who cares about the craft, is interested in the craft, and is skilled enough to provide something concrete, something you can actually learn from.

Be clear if you trust the person giving you feedback. Pay attention to how the feedback feels in your center — “decide if the person is right about what’s wrong with your story or if they’re trying to take it in a different direction than you originally intended.”

And last, but not least, trust yourself. Trust what you are capable of doing, what you are creating and writing. The first draft may not be perfect, but with time, perseverance, and love infused into your craft and good feedback, you are well on your way to honing your absolute best instinctive writing skills.

Bridgitte Jackson Buckley is a freelance writer, author and ghostwriter whose focus includes spirituality, transformational documentaries, and in-depth interviews. She is a former contributor to General Religion on the National circuit of Examiner.com as the National Spirituality Examiner. She’s interviewed many New Thought luminaries including Eckhart Tolle, Iyanla Vanzant, Deepak Chopra, and Elizabeth Gilbert. As a freelance writer, she has written online articles for Examiner, Tiny Buddha, Recreate Your Life Story, Thrive Global, Medium, Gaia and Patheos’ Spirituality Itself. She is a fluent Spanish speaker and has traveled extensively throughout Central America including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additional travels also include Hong Kong, Malaysia and (her favorite adventure) Thailand. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, three children and Miniature Schnauzer.

June 28 – A Fun Cure for “Lonely Writer Syndrome”

Thursday, June 28 4–6 pm
Vin Debut
9 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco (across from West Portal Muni Station)

Four women holding up books. At March’s meet-up, we celebrated milestones and received advance reading copies of Saeeda Hafiz’s soon-to-be-released book.

Celebrating milestones at March’s meet-up.

Join fellow WNBA members and lonely writers for some conversation and cheer at a casual meet-up at a San Francisco wine bar. Come share your projects and your dreams. 

Wine and appetizers available for purchase.

Questions? Contact organizer Kathleen Woods at kgwoods52@gmail.com or 415-652-6980 (phone+text)

For other ideas on how to combat Lonely Writer Syndrome, click to check out this article.

Sign up for offering/riding carpool on this page

The Pitch-O-Rama Experience

by Dr. Susan Allison

On March 31, 2018, I attended my first Pitch-O-Rama sponsored by the WNBA. I loved the event, from the warm greeting at the door, to the pre-pitch coaching, from the meetings with top agents and publishers to the marketing-panel finale.

POR 2018

I was able to practice my pitch with Amanda McTigue in front of about fifteen other writers and receive constructive feedback. Amanda stressed that it didn’t have to be perfect, that I just needed to be myself, connect with the agent or publisher and talk from my heart about my book project. Great advice.

Before we all lined up and gave our pitches, we heard from each agent and editor. I especially enjoyed Laurie McLean for her kind and inspiring words, telling us to relax, let go of our nervousness and just have fun having a conversation. Andy Ross was also inspiring, energetic and encouraging. These introductions helped me take a breath and go pitch!

I pitched my book, Silver Sex: Finding Love and Passion after Sixty, to Michel Larsen, who as Brenda Knight said, “knows everything!” He really does. I love how clear and direct he is, giving me advice from getting the best agent to starting now to market my brand: “Your brand is ‘silver sex’ nothing else!” One of his best lines, “Books are promotion-driven and you must do the driving.” He is right and I am doing the work now before publishing.

I also spoke with Brenda Knight, representing Mango Media, who gave me the brilliant idea of adding “action steps” for readers at the end of each chapter, making the book more prescriptive. Agent Kristen Moeller from Waterside listened carefully to each person, smiling and nodding encouragingly. She seemed genuinely interested in my book, and took the proposal and manuscript. Finally, I spoke with Georgia Hughes who was polite and straight forward, letting me know that the book probably wasn’t a match for New World Library, but I could send my proposal to her. I liked her honest, no nonsense approach.

The marketing panel at the end of the Pitch-O-Rama gave me so many take-aways, from how to use Twitter (presented by Cathy Turney), to understanding how and when to market a book (presented by Eileen Duhne, Jim Azevedo and Brenda Knight). I so appreciate the free offers of marketing materials, especially from Jim Azevedo and Brenda Knight. All the presenters were generous of their time and resources.

Overall, the Pitch-O-rama was not only helpful, but fun, with lots of laughter, networking, good food and relevant information. As a newbie, I felt at home and am pitching the WNBA to my friends and colleagues. Go women writers! WNBA, you rock!

About the Author

Dr. Susan Allison is a transpersonal psychologist, non-fiction writer and poet and the author of five books: Conscious Divorce, Breathing Room, Empowered Healer, Our Spirits Dance, and You Don’t Have to Die to Go to Heaven. She has just completed her sixth book, Silver Sex, Finding Love and Passion after Sixty. Dr. Allison shares her own life in her books, including how to divorce amicably, how to recover from grief and loss, how to connect with departed loved ones and spirit allies, how to heal and become empowered, and how to live passionately in the silver years. She enjoys a creative life in Santa Cruz, California, and can be contacted at www.drsusanallison.com.

So You Want To Write A Book

Written By Melissa Kirk

Melissa Kirk, write a bookYou’ve felt for awhile now that you have it in you; you see all these books lining the shelves and none of them seem to bring to light the things you would like to bring to light. You know you can do it but there’s a little niggling sense of “What if I’m not good enough?” or “I don’t know how to write a book” or “I’m too busy. I’ll start writing when ______happens and I have more time.

Maybe you’ve even written an outline or a chapter or two and have contemplated sharing them with friends you trust or have gotten some feedback already and feel like it’s now or never. I think I’ve midwifed around 60 to 70 books in my career, maybe more, and I can tell you that those doubts I listed above are completely normal. I know people who’ve written 10 books who start out their eleventh one wondering if they really have it in them.

So you think you want to write a book? Stop thinking and start writing! Here are the six steps to getting a book written.

Step one: Find a topic
I know not everyone has this issue; many would-be authors have too many topics they want to write about and can’t settle on just one. But the best books are the ones that are focused and have a purpose (which we’ll go into in step two). Pick a topic. Just one.
If you’re like me, you may not have a specific topic in mind. I’ve been wanting to write a book from my heart for years but never could figure out exactly what I wanted to say in one.
What is something you could talk about forever? What do you enjoy thinking about, exploring, and participating in?

Not everything will be book-worthy, but it’s a start. Write a list of things you love or continue to think deeply about. Hobbies, topics of interest and study, experiences that have affected you, lessons you’ve learned, things your loved ones seem to appreciate about you.

Step two: Find the book’s purpose
One of the main patterns I see in book proposals is a lack of pattern: people wanting to say too much about too many disparate things without the book having a real mission or purpose. I once got a proposal that claimed that the book would answer every major human question. Needless to say, that went into the circular file.

You know that you have something to say, you know the book’s topic: now, what is your reason for writing the book? How is your reader going to use the information you’re communicating to them? How will it change someone’s life or thinking? How is your book going to contribute to the larger human dialogue?

This may seem like an overly large question, but people buy and read books to discover something new; to hear a new story, whether the book is fiction or nonfiction. The promise of the book will largely determine how many people will be drawn to read it.

This is where you can ask friends or colleagues you trust whether the promise of your book feels compelling to them and, if not, what’s missing.

Step three: Develop an organizational structure
Much has been written on how best to organize a book, so I won’t go into it too much here. Suffice to say: the book should have an organizational structure. It should be obvious why one chapter or section comes after the previous one. Unless that’s your schtick, books should not be train-of-thought.

Organize the information in such a way that the reader will be able to absorb it easily. If it’s too hard to read, you risk losing readers.

Step four: Write!
This is where the rubber meets the road. Write. Every writer has a different method for keeping the momentum going: writing the same time every day, writing a certain number of hours a day, binge writing, writing meticulously by rewriting over and over, doing a brain dump, or going away on a writer’s retreat. But however you do it: write.

If you’ve been blocked for years and want a push to get the thing done, consider joining a writing group such as “Shut up and Write!” (on meetup.com) or forming one yourself. It can be helpful to have accountability with other writers.

Step five: Edit!
When you’re done with your manuscript and have hopefully gone through and revised it at least once, it’s time to spring it on the world, or at least on a handful of people.

I’m biased in that I think it’s very helpful to have a professional editor go over your manuscript. Friends, even if they’re writers, will often be less than honest if you ask them to edit or provide feedback on your book. But if you pay someone to look it over, you’ll be more likely to get good information that will make your book better.

There are two main kinds of editors: copyeditors and developmental editors, though these categories can often overlap. In publishing houses, most often a manuscript gets a developmental editing pass and a copyediting pass, and finally, a proofreading pass when the book has been designed, in order to catch errors that have slipped through.

Developmental editors will work more with the concepts, organization, writing tone, topical focus, and other larger issues. Copyeditors will usually look for the details such as grammatical and spelling errors. Both types of editing are important.

Editorial help can be found online at places like Mediabistro. Jane Friedman has a good article on how to find freelance editors.

Step six: Develop your publishing plan
These days, there are many ways to publish your book that go beyond sending it in to publishing houses and hoping for the best, although many would-be writers still feel like getting published by a publishing company is preferable to self-publishing.

Getting published is more likely, though not guaranteed, to get your book out into the hands of more readers simply because most publishing companies have a distribution network and a process to pitch books to book buyers in major retail outlets. However, getting published in this way does not guarantee your book will be a bestseller.

The hidden secret of book publishing is: Success is mostly based on how hard the author is willing to work to sell themselves (and their book).

 Self-publishing is another option that is becoming less stigmatized these days. Here’s an article from Jane Friedman again with more details on self-publishing options.

How you choose to publish will largely be based on the topic of your book, how much control you want over the end product, and whether you want to share any profits with the publisher (Authors may get as little as 10 percent of the net profits from their book sales, based on the final cover price, less retailer discounts).

Many writers seem to be embracing the idea of pitching the book to publishing companies and then exploring other options if publishers don’t seem interested (or if the deals they get offered aren’t very good).

Either way, if you wish to have a successful book, you’re going to have to work to promote yourself and your product. There’s no real way around that.

What you do with the book after the manuscript is finalized will, obviously, depend on whether you plan to publish it yourself or pitch it to a house. If you’re pitching it, you’ll need to develop a book proposal. If not, you’ll need to research ways to self-publish.

One warning: I caution against ever paying another company to publish your book. If you want to self-publish, which means having someone design the pages and the cover, you can easily find freelancers to do that work. So-called “vanity presses” usually rely on hoodwinking would-be authors into paying for services that may be substandard.

Happy writing!

Melissa Kirk is a freelance editor with 18 years of experience in nonfiction book publishing. As a career editor, she has worked at Ronin Publishing, Chronicle Books, Wiley/Jossey-Bass, and New Harbinger Publications. She is the founder of Words to Honey Editing and Publishing Services.

Featured Member Interview – Patricia V. Davis

Interview by Nina Lesowitz

Patricia V. Davis featured member interviewPatricia V. Davis is a proponent of what she calls “female dynamism” – which signifies women taking positive action to support each other. It’s why she founded the Women’s PowerStrategy™ Conference, and why she is a big supporter of the Women’s National Book Association. Here she tells us about her journey to becoming a novelist.

“My background is about as provincial and backward as you can get. My parents believed girls should marry young and they did everything to prevent me from going to college. I had the grades to get into a great school, but that would have entailed leaving home and living in a dorm, and ‘good girls’ didn’t do that. They threatened to disown me if I left, and at that age, I didn’t have the courage to defy them. I loved them, wanted their approval, so I ended up going to a two-year local school as a ‘compromise’, and I married soon after graduation, a marriage that lasted less than 13 months. The decision to be an obedient daughter held me back in ways I can’t begin to describe and made my journey to becoming a published author twice as hard as it had to be. And it is indeed a monumental challenge, even if one has family support.

“I had to get a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and Education first, something I didn’t achieve until I was in my mid-thirties. I taught English for many years, first in the United States and then in Athens, Greece, and I enjoyed that very much, although deep in my heart, I always wanted to write. I didn’t become published until I was over the age of fifty.”

Why did you choose the RMS Queen Mary as the setting for your trilogy?

“Total fluke, one that some believe is more than serendipitous. I knew nothing about the ship, not its history, nor that it is purported to be one of the ten most haunted places in the United States. I’d gotten a lucky break when Maria Shriver, who was then the First Lady of California, asked me to go down to Long Beach and work at her women’s conference as one of the reporters. The Long Beach Convention Center was already booked, so I ended up in a stateroom aboard the Queen Mary. In the midst of my preparations for Maria’s conference, I had an amazing experience with the paranormal that was unexpected for someone who knew nothing about the ship. I came home from that trip with the first story already cooking in my head. That was in 2007. Cooking for Ghosts wasn’t published until 2016. It went through more than one agency before I found the perfect fit for it and for me ─ Gordon Warnock at Fuse Literary.

“Everyone in the industry is saying that there are more opportunities than ever. That’s true, but there are also more books being published than ever. You have no shot at selling a book, either to an agent or to a reader if it’s not as polished as can be. If you try to rush the process, to ‘get your book out there’, as I’ve heard so many new writers say, you’ll be lucky if you sell a hundred copies. Traditionally or independently published, edit, edit, edit.

Spells & Oregano cover “The second book in the Queen Mary trilogy, Spells and Oregano, was released five months ago, so, I’m currently promoting Books I and II while writing Book III, Demons, Well-Seasoned. You might be able to tell from the titles that these are magical realism, and I love the genre, so I have a vague idea of what I might write once this trilogy is complete. That book, whatever it is, will be a standalone, because promoting two books while writing a third is… well, it’s indescribable. But every time I feel exhausted by it all, I remember how long I waited to do this and it gives me a burst of energy. I’m on Facebook a lot, I’m available by email, and there’s a great page The Secret Spice Book Series Page where readers can connect to hear about the books, my appearances, and some really fun contests.

The Secret Spice Book Series was selected by The Pulpwood Queens Book Club as an official selection, and they’re the largest book club in the world, with over 750 branches. Breathless Winery, a gold medal award winning winery in Healdsburg, has also chosen the series to pilot their Books and Bubbles program, along with Rebecca Rosenberg’s The Secret Life of Mrs. London, which was recently released.”

Patricia V. Davis is also the author of The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman Needs to Know, and the bestselling Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece. For more information about Patricia’s books, visit her website www.patriciavdavis.com

Pitch-O-Rama 2018: Highlights

Written by Sharon McElhone

POR 2018 highlightsThe looming question since the Great Recession, the invention of Kindle, and the highjacking of content by corporate giants like Amazon and Google has always been, can the publishing industry survive the onslaught? For about a decade, a dark cloud has hovered over newspapers, writers, agents, editors, and publishers alike as they found it increasingly difficult to make money in an industry that was already difficult to survive in in the first place. Times have been bleak for writers and all their affiliates, but lately it feels like the purpose of the writer is being re-established.

On March 31st, writers, agents, publishers, and editors found less darkness and instead a renewed sense of optimism. The environment was cheery as people congregated inside the iconic Women’s Building on 18th Avenue in San Francisco. Pitch-O-Rama 2018, which ran from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., didn’t disappoint. The venue sold out. The intimate space filled up with both new and long time professionals, both women and men in the writing industry. It felt like a dawn of sorts, as if all the chaos and confusion caused by the past upheavals had finally settled and professionals in the industry had a sense of how to move forward again. The great feeling of community emanated all morning.

POR 2018 highlights 

The morning started off with coffee and a pre-pitch coaching session led by WNBA members, Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, Mary E. Knippel, and Amanda McTigue. The pre-pitch coaching session allowed writers to practice their pitches before meeting with agents, editors, and publishers. Small group break-outs in an intimate setting helped ease jitters before the actual pitch sessions began.

When the half-hour of coaching finished, writers spent the next three hours delivering pitches to the agents, editors and publishers of their choice in 6-minute time slots. It was like speed dating for writers. A pitch for a book was made, connections happened, and cards got exchanged. The morning ended with a panel discussion on marketing and craft led by WNBA president, Brenda Knight.

The WNBA sponsors this annual event for a morning full of expert advice, networking, with the potential of finding an agent, publisher, or editor for a particular body of work. Breakfast is also served. This year, in attendance were agents Lisa Abellara and Dorian Maffei of Kimberley Cameron and Associates, Michael Larsen of Larsen-Pomada, Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, Kristen Moeller of Waterside Productions, Andy Ross, Jennifer March Soloway of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, among others. Publishers included She Writes Press, Smashwords, New World Library, and HeyDay, among others.

POR 2018: Brenda and Kate WNBA board members and volunteers make this event possible each year. The work that it takes to put on these events is no small thing: getting up at 4:30 a.m. the day of the event and the prep months beforehand. As some of us sat behind the breakfast table serving bagels and homemade apple coffee cake, attendees, both women and men, came up to say things like “Glad I came,” “A pleasant surprise,” “It felt very warm,” “and “I would like to become a member and help.” Those are the kinds of exchanges that mean something good happened that day. The publishing industry and the writer found their place again on the other side of what has been shrouded in uncertainty for far too long.

WNBA-SF board member Sharon McElhone is a journalist, columnist, and author of six books. Her articles have appeared in La Oferta, Orchard Valley Review, The Cupertino Courier, The Sunnyvale Sun, among other publications. Her column is called “Middle America-Our Engine,” and can be viewed online at La Oferta. Her fiction has appeared in The New Short Fiction Series 2012 in Los Angeles, Label Me Latina/o Spring 2015 and in the 2017 anthology Basta! She is half Ecuadorian and half Irish and lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and children. She is working on a memoir related to childcare, a novel, and a fourth collection of poems. 

Epic Reads: Secrets to Crafting Historical Fiction

Mechanics Institute Library 2nd-floor (epic reads)

Author Lunch, Mechanics Institute Library
Friday, August 17, 2018, 12:00 Noon
57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
4th Floor, Chess Room (Free to Public, refreshments available)

The Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter is thrilled to present member writers who have authored highly successful historical (and prehistorical!) novels that readers and reviewers rave about. Learn what role research plays and how to make your scenes, settings, and characters realistic and compulsively readable.

Epic Reads will be moderated by WNBA-SF President Brenda Knight. There will be Q&A followed by book signings; bring your notebooks and plenty of questions!

Mary Mackey, New York Times Bestselling author of The Village of Bones, will discuss how she brings the Goddess-worshiping cultures of Prehistoric Europe to life by drawing on extensive archaeological research, the surviving art of the epoch, and her own imagination. Mackey’s novels take us on an epic journey to the past that has vital importance for the present.

Novelist Mary Volmer will discuss research strategies that will help you unearth, organize, and effectively utilize historical information in any creative project. Learn the difference between static and living details, how to avoid superfluous detail, and how to use objects as windows into a character’s heart and mind.

Mary Mackey Mary Mackey is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels, including The Earthsong Series—four novels which describe how the peaceful Goddess-worshiping people of Prehistoric Europe fought off patriarchal nomad invaders (The Village of Bones, The Year The Horses Came, The Horses at the Gate, and The Fires of Spring). Mary’s novels have been praised by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Pat Conroy, Thomas Moore, Marija Gimbutas, Maxine Hong Kingston, Marge Piercy, and Theodore Roszak for their historical accuracy, inventiveness, literary grace, vividness, and storytelling magic. They have made The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller Lists, been translated into twelve foreign languages and sold over a million and a half copies. Mary has also written seven collections of poetry including Sugar Zone, winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. This September Marsh Hawk Press will publish a collection of her new and selected poems entitled The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams. At marymackey.com, you can get the latest news about Mary’s books and public appearances, sample her work, sign up for her newsletter, and get writing advice. You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @MMackeyAuthor.

Mary Volmer - credit Kory Hayden Mary Volmer is the author of two novels: Crown of Dust (Soho Press, 2010) and Reliance, Illinois (Soho Press, 2016). Her essays and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Mutha Magazine, the Farallon Review, Women’s Basketball Magazine, Fiction Writers Review, Historical Novel Society Review, The New Orleans Review, Brevity, and Ploughshares. After earning a master’s degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College (CA). She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook and was the Spring 2015 Distinguished Visiting Writer in Residence at Saint Mary’s College (CA) where she now teaches. 

Northern California Book Awards 2018

Northern California Book Awards logo

37th Northern California Book Awards
Sunday, July 1, 2018, 1:00- 3:30 pm

KORET AUDITORIUM • SAN FRANCISCO MAIN LIBRARY
100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco
FREE ADMISSION

The 37th Annual Northern California Book Awards will celebrate writers and readers in Northern California. Awards in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translation, and Children’s Literature will be presented, with brief celebratory readings and remarks by the winning authors.

A lively reception with book signing follows, all free and open to the public. The Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award and NCBR Recognition Award will be presented. NCBAs are presented by Northern California Book Reviewers, a volunteer association of book reviewers and book review editors, Poetry Flash, the San Francisco Public Library and the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, PEN West, and the Mechanics’ Institute Library

Nominees and honorees will be announced in May 2018. Visit Poetryflash.org (see front page NCBA feature) for the list of last year’s nominees and winners.

Eligible reviewers and readers are always welcome. More information on this page.

South Asian Books to Celebrate Earth Day

Written by Gauri Manglik

Gauri Manglik, South Asian booksHere’s a round-up of some unique stories that remind us it’s not just Earth Day but everyday, that we need to respect the Earth and take only what we need. Reduce, Re-use and Recycle! 

Alone In the Forest: Musa, a young boy sets off from his village to the forest to collect some firewood, but gets trapped. Beautiful illustrations bring alive the forest, and the boy’s fears, but mother nature eventually helps him find a way out.

Aani and the Tree Huggers: Based on true events in north India (referred to as the Chipko Andolan), this story shares how a group of women courageously hugged trees to prevent them from being chopped. A powerful and heartwarming story of courage and standing up for our beliefs!

Crane_Boy_coverCrane Boy: This SABA Honor book shares a story about school-aged kids in Bhutan organizing the community and creating a crane festival to help make the depleting number of black-necked cranes feel at home. A beautiful story about a unique place on this earth.

Gobble You Up: Exquisite bookmaking and gorgeous illustrations come together in this book to share a Rajasthani trickster tale about a greedy jackal who decides to eat his friends up. Great for read-alouds!

Iqbal and his Ingenious Idea: When Iqbal sees his mother and baby sister coughing due to the firewood stove, he decides he must do something. He decides to work hard on his science fair project so he can use the prize money to buy a gas stove. However, his ingenuity leads to an even more sustainable solution!

Barefoot Book of Earth Tales: An engaging collection of seven tales from around the world about respecting and caring for the earth in gentle ways. Bright illustrations and fun activity pairings add to the appeal of this book!

putulandthedolphins_coverPutul and the Dolphins: A young girl is delighted one day when two friendly dolphins leap right outside her window in the monsoons! A gentle reminder about how our worlds are so interspersed and we must empathize and be respectful of nature and animals around us.

Tiger Boy: Set in the Sunderbans, one of the natural wonders of the world, this book is an insightful perspective on the dilemma a young boy faces when a tiger cub is discovered; should we focus on his studies or save the tiger cub from being poached?

water_coverWater: Beautiful illustrations by Gond artist, Subhash Vyam share a story about access to water in villages and cities, and how our lives are interconnected. He cleverly weaves in an old fable reminding all of us to only take what is our due.

Where’s the Sun: One morning, a mother and child go in search of the sun. Will they find it? Beautiful Warli illustrations take us on a journey where lively birds, quick-footed animals and busy humans meet and share the forest, the river and the mountain.

Use code EARTH15 to get a 15% discount on Kitaabworld.com‘sur Earth Day collection  (valid till April 30th 2018) 

Gauri Manglik has more than 12 years of experience as a lawyer, and she has practiced law in both India and the United States. During her legal career, she advised on various aspects of corporate and commercial laws. In 2015, she chose to follow her passion and left her legal career to start Kitaabworld. She is passionate about making South Asian culture fun and accessible for children, as well as sharing her love for diverse children’s books.

The original version of this post appeared on Kitaabworld.com and is republished here with the author’s permission.