My Lie, Meredith Maran

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Earlier last year, I worked as a research assistant intern for the fierce and savvy journalist, Ms. Meredith Maran, on a project titled My Lie: A True Story of False Memories.

my lie, meredith maran

Book Summary: During the 1980s and 1990s, tens of thousands of Americans became convinced that they had repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, which they recovered in therapy, decades later. My Lie explores the psychological, cultural, and neuroscientific causes of this modern American witch-hunt.

I had a hand in fact-checking some of the information in My Lie, so I know it’s a brave and intense book. The internship certainly helped sharpen my detective/analytical skills (good preparation for my upper division BA courses), and I’m very thankful to Ms. Maran for giving me the opportunity to have contributed to such a riveting project.

The book is published by Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Company, and goes on sale in mid-September.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0470502142
Author Website: http://www.meredithmaran.com/
Events (book signings, etc): http://www.meredithmaran.com/res_groups.htm

Media Mentions for My Lie:

Article in Psychology Today (PDF download / one of my favorite magazines!) | October 2010
Great Reads | More.com
Press Release | Infozine/Literature News
Memory or Metaphor? | Book Review @ Lunch.com
“My Lie” by Meredith Maran | The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR
“My Lie” is a San Francisco Chronicle Notable New Book
Meredith Maran on HLN’s The Joy Behar Show | click for clip of CNN show (29 Sept 2010)
Feature on TIME.com
List of Reviews on MeredithMaran.com

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* My name on the acknowledgments page–

jess c scott, intern

“For finding the clips, crunching the stats, and checking the facts: stellar interns Julia Dilday, Elana Fiske, Emma Rae Lierley, and Jess C Scott.”

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Author Interview, Christa Polkinhorn

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Author Interview #17, with (multi-talented) writer/translator/poet/painter, Christa Polkinhorn!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Optimistic, passionate, opinionated, solitary, gregarious – contradictory? Yes, that’s me.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

They watched as the vibrant greens of the fields darkened and the mountains turned from reddish-brown to orange, vermilion, and then to a deep purple. The shadows lengthened and poured into the crevices along the folded rocks. Above the dark surface of a lake in the distance, the snow-covered mountains lit up once more before they, too, faded into the night. The sun left a band of intense crimson in the sky along the horizon, as if to remind the world that it will rise again. (Love of a Stonemason)

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

We came on the wind of the carnival. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hot plate right there by the roadside, with the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters like an idiot antidote to winter.” (Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

I published several poems in poetry magazines and a small volume of poetry Path of Fire with a small traditional publishing company. When I tried to find an agent for my novel, the publishing industry just entered a period of great uncertainty due to the economic crisis and the revolution in digital and ebook publishing. I realized that it might take a very long time to find an agent who would accept an unknown author and, perhaps, even longer to find a publisher. I was in touch with several authors who published their work independently. I have some background in computers and started to format my novel as an ebook. It was just an experiment to see if I could do it. The longer I was involved in the process, the more excited I became. An artist friend of mine designed a cover for the book, which I liked so much better than most of the book covers created by publishing companies (which I often find gaudy and over-crowded). In the meantime, I also formatted my novel as a paper back with CreateSpace. I just got the proof and I love it. Independent or self-publishing may not be for everyone. I have always loved to be independent and do things on my own. Since I am not interested in becoming a bestseller author but would love to have a group of dedicated readers, who enjoy my work, self-publishing seems to be the way to go.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

For me, good writing is a combination of heart and mind, plot and language, meaningful content and vivid imagery. I love the quotation by Ben Franklin: “Either write something worth reading, or live something worth writing about.”

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

You are allowed to write “crap.” When you start to write something, turn off the internal editor and let it flow. Once you have a draft, then turn on the internal editor, grab that red pen, and be ruthless. Cut, cut, rewrite, cut, cut. Then find a good editor and let him or her read your draft. We as writers are too close to our own text to be objective. The most difficult part is to know what suggestions from the editor to accept and what to discard. It’s a matter of honesty and practice. Never cut something that’s really important to you, but when five people tell you, it doesn’t work, then you better take a second or third look at it! That’s a lot more than one tip. But the business of editing is of particular importance for independently published writers.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Website: http://www.christa-polkinhorn.com
Blog: http://christa-polkinhorn.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003LA7T8W
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/cpolkinhorn
Indie Books Blog: http://indiebooksblog.blogspot.com/

Much thanks to Ms. Polkinhorn for the chat!

Lasagna, yay

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* Followed lasagna recipe from SimplyRecipes.com.

This’ll be one of those posts were I let the pictures do all most of the talking.

lasagna ingredients

1. Lasagna Ingredients! There’s tomato sauce, tomato paste, as well as stewed tomatoes. Garlic powder + white wine vinegar = MMMM.

lasagna cheese

2. Mozzarella + parmesan cheese shreds. Pasta edges must touch/overlap. This part takes some patience.

lasagna layers

3. Lasagna, done. Prep time = 1 hr 45 mins / Baking = 45 mins. This decadent meal will probably last me over a week, lol.

poem

4. Those are brainstormy scribbles for the upcoming “enhancements” for The Other Side of Life.

splits, cheat

5. I could do full splits up to the age of 7 or so. 10 minutes of yoga everyday is better than nothing, but it’s the stretching/movement through the day that really counts, lol.

Author Interview, Claudia D. Christian

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Author Interview #16, with dark/literary/erotic writer, Claudia D. Christian!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Contradiction, underdog, careful, observant, odd.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Blurb for Love Unfortunate:

A murder of crows flew by, startling Liana out of miserable turmoil. Their raucous chatter warned of what her raw core already knew. Liana’s moans ceased abruptly and the tears ran dry. She eyed the lone window.
Terrible longing stained her vivid green irises. Night was coming.
So was Laurent.

Excerpt:

Night descended and the air turned cold. Sounds of castle life ceased, leaving Liana completely alone. Sprawled on her back, legs open with wanton need, she felt her world shrink. It became a void where sadness, regret, and misery retreated.

Soon.

Liana’s limbs trembled with manic anticipation. She wondered at what familiar torments Laurent would devise for their mutual pleasure.

Restraints? Asphyxiation? Gentle, normal lovemaking?

Liana didn’t have to wonder for long. First came the scrape of metal. Inanimate groans spiced the air before footsteps whispered across cold stone.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

This comes from Remittance Girl’s “The Waiting Room.”

He began to tell Marcus the story of Sophie. Each detail was palpable to him; he saw it, smelled it, felt it still. Remembering made his cock ache and he fought the urge to shift in his seat.

“I saw her first at the temples, you know, in Angkor. She was oblivious to everything but the architecture. In fact it was her intense focus that caught my eye; she could have been utterly alone. She stood there, thin and willowy, in an awful, shabby cotton dress; it was far too big for her. She was so beautiful, Marcus, you can’t imagine.”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

For me the writing part is quite easy. I write to please myself. When it’s time to publish, however, I’m assaulted with self-doubt. Is the story good enough? Will anyone like it but me? Soon enough I loathe the story I just loved. However, I take some time and those feelings fade to a noticeable hum. It’s the hum that makes me eye each word with critical intent. It lets me cut without remorse. By the time I’m done, the hum almost disappears.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I think “good writing” is writing that moves me. There are many well-written stories out there that are consumed and then forgotten. It’s those stories that stir the questions about in my head that constitute good writing. If a story causes me to question my beliefs and/or my way of life, if it stays with me days afterwards, then it changed a piece of me. Good writing should do that.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

When your writing makes you comfortable — push further.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Author Website — http://claudiadchristian.com
Love Unfortunate — http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036B8YNA

Much thanks to Ms. Christian for the chat!

Author Interview, Kipp Poe Speicher

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Author Interview #15, with indie filmmaker/author, Kipp Poe Speicher!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Strange, Quiet, Artistic, Backward, Dark

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

As her eyes open wide, they burst and become pools of blue liquid. She reaches her tiny mangled hand up and caresses my cheek. As soon as I feel her hand upon my cheek, her skin turns to the liquid blue. Suddenly, her whole arm fills with the blue liquid, filling up like a water balloon, and then bursts.

The liquid fills the bottom of the elevator soaking my feet up to my ankles.

The blue solution continues to take over the rest of her body. As each body part fills, it bursts, empties into the elevator to the point where I swim upwards to keep above it. The liquid takes over holding my breath, I scramble to reach the top, but it seems to move farther and farther away. I look back down and the elevator seems to be nothing but a glimmer of light at the bottom of this watery blue shaft.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

My veins are afire with music, her eyes have kissed me, my body is turned to light; I shall dream to her secret heart tonight.

— Conrad Aiken: The House of Dust

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

I have always wanted to be a writer but with a serious learning disability I gave up on that dream and looked for other ways to tell my stories. Now with the ability with digital publishing, and social networks to get advise and help with editing and connecting with other authors.

It is a revolution for many to finally find their voice and an audience that normal publication might not take a chance with.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

In every art form I appreciate the most that the creator puts all their heart into it.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Don’t hold yourself back trust in yourself.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

http://kippoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/Kipp.Poe
https://twitter.com/Kippoe
http://www.youtube.com/kippoe

Much thanks to Mr. Speicher for the chat!

Author Interview, Katie Salidas

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Author Interview #12, with Las Vegas native & paranormal author, Katie Salidas!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Quixotic, Quirky, Quizzical, Quotable, Quick.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

My “baby”, my debut novel Immortalis Carpe Noctem was released in March.

BLURB: Bleeding to death after brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, twenty-five year old Alyssa is rescued by the cold and aloof vampire, Lysander. Taking pity on her, he shares the gift — and curse — of immortality.

She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity.

As if having her humanity stripped away was not enough to make life interesting, Alyssa finds out her “turning”, did not go unnoticed by the rest of undead society. Old enemies; an ancient sect of vampire hunters, known as the Acta Sanctorum, as well as a powerful Vampire mistress, each set plans in motion to destroy both Alyssa and Lysander.

Only by accepting her newfound immortality, seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive. She and Lysander must fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them both.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

I’m a huge fan of Patricia Briggs. The book that hooked me was Cry Wolf.

Product Description (from Amazon) — Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack — and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member — and as his mate.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is definitely the easy part when you compare it to publishing. While writing encompasses plotting, critiquing, editing and rewriting (a huge task all to itself), publishing is a much harder process. With publishing, you not only have to create the physical book for people to hold, but you must also convince people to read it. The marketing aspect, often overlooked by new authors, is the hardest job of all. It takes time, effort, and a lot of courage to get your baby out there into the world and read by others.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing means crafting a story that really draws readers into your world. It means using all five senses to make your readers step into the characters shoes and become them for the time they read your work.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Just write! Lots of people talk about wanting to write but they have a million reasons why they can’t do it. The writing part is easy. Sit down and put pen to paper or fingers to keys. Like the Nike ad says, “Just Do It!”

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Find me online at the following links —

Amazon.com
Author Blog
Facebook
Publisher’s Website

Much thanks to Ms. Salidas for the chat!

Drawing Confidence

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japanese rock hairstyleJapanese Rock Hairstyle, 2
–> Ballpoint pen — was flipping through a Japanese hairstyle magazine for guys (sooo much better than the one for girls!) | first pic using the ‘cutout’ filter, second pic maybe using ‘dark strokes’ filter on PS

I’ve been a private tutor in the past (very fun) — there were a couple of kiddies I used to teach (who are now 11 years old, if I’m not wrong — WOW, that was fast). I think they were one of the few people I knew who truly enjoyed drawing/illustrating/doodling, in a pure kind of way. They didn’t have a whole guilt and/or negative complex that many adults seem to have when it comes to creating artwork (myself included, for a time).

I remember the first “proper” sketch I attempted, back in 2003 when I was 16+:

elf sketch, legolas
–> Legolas from LOtR | referred to an Orlando Bloom pic.

I drew a lot more when I was 17-18. I remember being quite diligent about it, because:

1) Those years of my life were very dismal and miserable — drawing calmed my nerves down, A LOT.
2) I used to compare drawing to my attempts/experience with writing. I wrote poems + stories throughout my childhood and teenage years — not so with drawing. I always wanted to draw though, I don’t know why.

So I kept drawing, despite people (teachers/lecturers) telling me not to (if they weren’t so boring as facilitators, maybe I wouldn’t have been doodling?)…despite feeling overwhelmed at times by all the crazy artistic talents out there…despite many trial-and-error type drawings that couldn’t be salvaged…

It’s quite strange to look back on, coz through it all, I think the whole process helped me gain confidence in not just drawing, but writing, and myself, and living life itself…it’s quite strange all this could come from “dirtying the paper delicately” (John Ruskin’s fine definition of “drawing”).

Side Note: If you want to buy just one drawing book, make sure it’s John Ruskin’s The Elements of Drawing.

john_ruskin

I think confidence is very important if one wants to do something/anything…confidence to try in the first place, confidence to keep going when it gets tough/sh*tty, confidence to say ‘yes’ even when the whole world is telling you ‘no’ (or the other way around, whichever)…

It’s what allows me to press forward with my next book (and I’d like to do some drawing, if I can slip that in somewhere. I can do those things now because I managed to clear out all the files from my thumbdrives and external hard drive, blahx3, email inboxes too. So everything is really nice and decluttered — just like an uncluttered blog, lol. Just a little bit more packing/cleaning to do with my room — THAT, completed, would be a bonus).

I could write/journal everyday — I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to do one drawing per day (no matter how small / seemingly insignificant). Long ago, I used to think it’d be an impossibility, but right now, it’s a matter of discipline and keeping to a schedule (unless one feels really burned out, in which case some rest would probably be most beneficial).

End Note: There is, however, a difference between confidence and foolishness/arrogance. One is progressive (and not necessarily loud/highly visible/detectable), whereas the other, well, essentially lacks substance. I hope I’ll always know/be aware of the difference.