(Censored–Sort Of) Singapore Crime Fiction

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Today’s blog post is on Jake Needham, whom I interviewed in December!

WHO IS JAKE NEEDHAM?

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Jake Needham writes crime/noir fiction set in Asia, including squeaky-clean Singapore.

He is a lawyer by education and held a number of significant positions in both the public and private sectors. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand for over twenty-five years.

And he posts great, snappy updates on Facebook.

BRAGGING RIGHTS

Described by The Straits Times as “Asia’s most stylish and atmospheric writer of crime fiction.”

Described by The Bangkok Post as “Michael Connelly with steamed rice.”

Wikipedia: Jake Needham

WHO IS INSPECTOR TAY?

Libris Reviews describes Inspector Samuel Tay as “a world-weary Singaporean homicide detective.”

Tay is a senior inspector in the elite Special Investigation Section of Singapore CID. He’s pretty much the best investigator the Singapore police have, albeit he is somewhat of an outsider.

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THE DEAD AMERICAN is the third book which features Inspector Tay.

The blurb for the book mentions the following:

“A young American software engineer hangs himself in his Singapore apartment. At least that’s what the police say happened. Emma Lazar, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, thinks otherwise. She thinks Tyler Bartlett was murdered to keep him quiet, and the Singapore police are covering it up.”

That description immediately brought to my mind the case of Shane Todd, an American engineer who was found hanging in his Singapore apartment.

The author does mention in a blog post that the book is not a fictionalized account of the death of Shane Todd. It is, however, set in Singapore, which Jake Needham feels is a “country whose rulers have perpetuated themselves since its first day of nationhood through ruthless censorship and the relentless suppression of effective dissent.”

SINGAPORE CENSORSHIP (OR, “OB MARKERS”)

Jake’s readers have noticed some spooky parallels between the Shane Todd case and a novel he first published years ago about the death of another American in Singapore.

One would think that there would be a natural market for Jake’s book in Singapore, since all the Tay books are built on real events and real places related to Singapore.

However, the content of the Tay books cut Jake off from his publisher in Singapore — he can’t get any local press coverage either. One can assume that this is due to two factors:

(1) the controversial content of his Works of Fiction, and
(2) the unsavory depiction of Singapore authorities in his Works of Fiction.

After all, we are all told that Singapore is to be recognised as clean and incorruptible.

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“Singapore is [a] clean and incorrupt system and country.” — excerpt from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech at the CPIB’s 60th Anniversary celebration, 2012.

And if you’re like Alan Shadrake who published a well-researched, non-fiction book about the human rights abuses in Singapore, you get thrown into jail at the very least for “scandalizing the Singapore judiciary.”

This makes it difficult for Jake Needham to connect with a Singaporean audience and introduce them to his characters and stories set in Singapore, since his books have disappeared from local booksellers and he receives virtually no local press coverage because everyone knows they are expected to toe the party line.

It brings to the forefront the sense of self-censorship in Singapore.

Can you imagine a scenario where Mike Connelly’s books cannot be sold in California because some of the cops he writes about are stupid, or motivated by politics, or even downright crooked?

JAKE’S VIEW(S) ON THE SITUATION

In an interview with I-S Magazine (original link and blog link), Jake said:

“When The Ambassador’s Wife (the first Inspector Tay novel) was published, all my contacts abruptly stopped returning my calls, and not another word about the book ever appeared in any publication in Singapore. . .

I certainly don’t consider [the Inspector Tay books] to be negative depictions of Singapore. Quite on the contrary, I think they are authentic and honest depictions. That’s always what I strive for, regardless of where I set my novels.”

Jake’s reply to my email on the situation:

“As I recall, it’s very difficult for Singaporeans to buy from Amazon and almost everyone there is forced to source ebooks locally from locally controlled sources. Needless to say, none of my ebooks are available through any of those sources. There is very little popular fiction published internationally that features contemporary Singapore, and I have little doubt a fair number of Singaporeans would enjoy meeting Inspector Tay and seeing their city though his eyes if only they knew he existed.

I’d be happy to support any source in Singapore who could make the Tay books available there — heck, I’d even give a bunch of them away if that was the only way to get them into the hands of people in Singapore.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

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Screenshot of Amazon page in Singapore — Kindle edition unavailable (thanks to my friend in SG who took this screenshot)

At the moment, Kindle books in the Amazon US store are unavailable for purchase or download for people in Singapore.

THEREFORE, if you’re in Singapore and would like to support Jake Needham’s work of authentic/fresh/exciting fiction set in Singapore, you can help out by doing one of the following:

— Buy his books from iTunes

— Buy his books from Smashwords (coupon code available for people reading this post: see below)

— Sign up for his awesome newsletter

— Follow him on Facebook and Twitter

Share on social media. Here’s a sample tweet.

COUPON AND A NOTE

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Here’s a Smashwords coupon that’s good for a 50% discount on any ebook edition of THE AMBASSADOR’S WIFE (first book in Inspector Tay series) until February 28, which will take the price for you lovely readers down to US$2.50:

Link: The Ambassador’s Wife, by Jake Needham (Smashwords)

Coupon Code: DX49S

* The first two Inspector Tay novels — THE AMBASSADOR’S WIFE and THE UMBRELLA MAN — are available on iBooks and Smashwords. THE DEAD AMERICAN is exclusive to Amazon until March 1 and won’t be available on iBooks and Smashwords until March 2 or just after.

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Fifty Shades: William Giraldi / Jennifer Hamady / Lily Zheng

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A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was working on an article about quality sexual literature.

The article is titled Beyond the Hype of Fifty Shades of Grey, and can be viewed in full at the OpEdNews website:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Beyond-the-Hype-of-Fifty-S-by-Jess-C-Scott-Books_Culture_Sex_Sex-140814-381.html

The article features the expert opinions of ten professionals in the fields of academia, psychology, and media communications, who comment on the cultural implications of the series and share their recommendations for quality sexual literature.

I received some VERY lengthy and passionate responses, which I have compiled here on my blog, divided into three different posts. I could only feature excerpts in the above article, due to space constraints. Here are the full responses of the first three guest contributors!

P.S. Check out Part 2 and Part 3 for the full replies of the other guests.

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1. William Giraldi, professor at Boston University and Fiction Editor for AGNI:

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William Giraldi | Image from TinHouse

I’m not certain that men and women deserve better than Fifty Shades of Grey. Emerson once quipped that “people do not deserve good writing, they are so pleased with bad.” And I rarely disagree with Mr. Emerson. I’d tell men and women to put down these books because they are bad for their health, but people never listen to advice about their health.

Quality sexual literature can be found among the poems of Sappho and Catullus, in the satires of De Sade, and in the novels of Nicholson Baker. The Story of O and Venus in Furs are not masterpieces but they have some psychological depth and the prose isn’t toxic. I’d caution that the best sexual literature knows what to leave to the imaginative and what not.

2. Jennifer Hamady, voice coach, psychotherapist, and online columnist at Psychology Today:

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Jennifer Hamady

Thinking aloud, I don’t think the question is necessarily about whether people deserve better than Fifty Shades of Grey. In general I think wrong vs. right arguments aren’t the most helpful. Rather, I’d say that in our culture, which isn’t entirely open about and comfortable with sex, a book like Fifty Shades — or any book — can tend to have a more powerful influence than it might in a healthier context. I will say that the more violent aspects of the book concern me because — again — our current cultural context does not hold women on an equal footing to men (watch any music video if you need evidence). Whether or not it is intentional, the book therefore can be seen as agreeing with the idea that violence against and the subjugation of women is sexy, and even necessary for young women who want to be in relationships.

3. Lily Zheng, president of Kardinal Kink, an advocacy and support group for the kink community at Stanford University:

Stock Image from Dreamstime

(1) On whether men and women deserve better than Fifty Shades of Grey:

Fifty Shades of Grey enjoyed so much success because it talked, frankly and explicitly, about the type of sexual and sensual encounters that our society idealizes but outwardly condemns. In the existing social landscape of almost Puritan-esque opinions on sex and intimacy (sex is something that, if enjoyed at all, can only be enjoyed a certain way) the existence of Fifty Shades was disruptive and subversive in many ways. Not only the book itself, but the surprising number of men and women (women, mostly) who purchased it indicated that the book was fantasy, a fantasy that resonated especially well with its fans.

Erotic literature is necessary because it fulfills desires; erotic literature is necessary because it helps create a culture in which the sensual is more normal, in which physical intimacy is as much a diverse and varied staple as emotional intimacy.

And that precise reason is why Fifty Shades isn’t good enough.

Fifty Shades of Grey is ultimately a tale of nonconsent. As the relationships between characters develop, nonconsent becomes increasingly stamped across interaction after interaction. There is no negotiating of scenes, no establishing of hard and soft limits, not even a facsimile of the consent rituals and focus on safety that the real life kink and BDSM scenes feature. Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t a story that could or should happen in real life. Fifty Shades is fantasy.

To some extent, that’s okay. It’s perfectly fine for fantastical or improbable tales to exist, and many are excellent in their own right. It becomes a problem, however, when people begin to mistake fantasy for reality. People read erotica to experience it. We seek the sensual because we project ourselves into the stories we read, and envision ourselves — tied up, gagged, begging for release, our bodies burning like firebrands — through the lens of the words on the page.

We deserve erotic literature. We deserve good erotic literature. We deserve realistic erotic literature. Argue all you want the Fifty Shades is “good,” but it’s unmistakably unrealistic. Worse still, most people who read it don’t know that.

Most people who read Fifty Shades find themselves fantasizing about or imagining the nonconsensual, dangerous interactions as legitimate, as positive, as desirable. Almost every young adult (and their mother, apparently) knows the general plot of the novel.

“It’s kinky BDSM stuff, right?”

But Fifty Shades is to kink as rape is to sex; they may both look the same on the outside but the differences are fundamental, substantial, and potentially dangerous.

The inaccurate and fanciful depiction of kink in Fifty Shades of Grey hurts both the existing kink and leather communities and nonkinky people alike. The wrong type of kink is normalized by this book, and whether or not we fancy ourselves purveyors of good literature, we deserve to read better novels.

(2) On quality sexual literature:

Quality sexual literature can be enjoyed in more than one way. Quality sexual literature engages with the reader aesthetically — the prose flows well, the flow is dynamic, the descriptions are vivid in lush, practical and concise exactly where they need to be — and viscerally — the writing evokes a physical or bodily reaction from the reader, whether that reaction be sexual, sensual, or emotional. However, the best sexual literature is these two things and more: the best sexual literature is relatable.

There is a difference between imagining the abstract notion of “bondage” and being able to conceptualize the excited negotiation, the handpicking of rope, the vocalizing of desires and fears all laid out bare on the bed long before any clothing comes off. There is a difference between imagining rope on your body and understanding the meaning of the tightness on your skin, the significance behind the vulnerability, the worth of that “yes, sir!” or “yes, mistress!”

Owning Regina, a novel by Lorelei Elstrom written in diary format, is a story about kink that meets that bar. Unlike Fifty Shades of Grey, there is no magic telepathy between people, no porno-levels of endurance, no “perfect” interactions or scenes, no encouraged nonconsent. Rather, this book displays kink as it is in real life: consensual, communicative, and imperfect, a dance between people.

The realism in this novel is impressive. The conflict feels real and pressing; the characters are deep, well-developed, and likeable, and most importantly, the writing tingles with that uncertain excitement that I can most accurately describe as the moment before knocking on the door of partner’s house. This is a diary — it’s not hardcore erotica, but it’s not a documentary either. It’s gritty, dirty, raw, and satisfying in a way that neither of the two are on their own.

I recommend this book because it isn’t fantasy kink. The triumphs the characters exult in are triumphs many practitioners of BDSM and kink, veterans and casual play partners alike, experience. The conflicts are conflicts everyone who has experienced kink with a partner must go through.

Kinky literature tends to be marketed towards those who have never experienced kink, with most people in actual kink communities scorning that brand of erotic literature. For that reason, when kinky literature succeeds with both kinky and nonkinky people alike, it is especially important to acknowledge and understand why.

Owning Regina is one of those few novels I have found that manage to meet the bar I have set for kinky literature.

Fifty Shades: Russ Linton / Cliff Burns / Nick Shamhart

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My article Beyond the Hype of Fifty Shades of Grey features the expert opinions of ten professionals who comment on the cultural implications of the series, and share their recommendations for quality sexual literature.

I received some VERY lengthy and passionate responses, which I have compiled here on my blog, divided into three different posts. I could only feature excerpts in the above article, due to space constraints. Here are the full responses of the guest contributors #8-10!

P.S. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for the full replies of the other guests.

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8. Russ Linton, speculative fiction writer and former FBI Investigative Specialist:

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Hi Jess: Glad to have inspired you in your writing and I’m amazed that anyone ever found that comment of mine buried on Bransford’s high traffic blog. While I have much respect for any writer making it in this tough industry, I couldn’t fathom the Fifty Shades apologist responses. The book was poorly written. I won’t deny it was extremely successful, but to argue it was -not- poorly written was hard for me to understand.

I’m not sure I’m an expert on the subject. I am a writer and I read enough of Fifty Shades to know it was badly executed. I don’t regularly read erotica, however.

But, to answer your questions (may require a bit of editing):

Of course people deserve better. We deserve better books, film, television — all manner of stories which explore sexuality.

Mostly we deserve better quality in literature, especially from traditional publishing houses which continue to claim some sort of supremacy over self-published authors. If they want to maintain the illusion that they are the gatekeepers of that quality, they can’t then snatch up poorly written work and sell it solely based on the titillation factor. If they want to legitimize sexuality in writing, they should find a manuscript that isn’t an absolute train wreck and put their resources behind those authors – they do exist.

Fact remains, however, that erotica is firmly a self-publishing and indie publishing pursuit. As a society, we are much more willing to let mutilation, murder and blood letting of all kinds infiltrate our fiction than we are to allow people to explore their sexuality. Amazon has shown its contempt, along with many distributors, by tightening rules on erotica and at no point did traditional publishers come flying to the rescue. So the “better” stuff is out there if you want to look beyond the high-profile, traditional channels who have only opportunistically grabbed the spotlight of this genre.

I have to recommend the work of fellow critique partner, Jennifer August. I’d recommend any of her books as I’ve critiqued her prose and even learned from her detailed writing and plotting processes. She writes erotica, but at the same time, is concerned about the craft as much as she is the authenticity of the experiences which her characters share. Well-written, well plotted, character-driven smut of the best kind.

9. Cliff Burns, (outspoken) literary pioneer and founder of Black Dog Press:

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YES, men and women deserve better than Fifty Shades of Grey. Because the sexual act, regardless of your orientation, is a ballet, a perfectly breathed and measured poem. It is peerless brush technique and faultless meter and syntax. It reveals the paucity of talent in the Mona Lisa and makes a mockery of the Grand Canyon. It is NOT a tuneless, idiot orchestra, conducted by a tone deaf four year old. It deserves better than Crayola scratchings of sexual congress, stick figure intercourse. Cheap graffiti in a filthy toilet stall. Sexuality is our most fearless and pure expression as human beings. Fifty Shades reduces it to a mere bowel movement.

The hottest sex scene I can think of, at least on paper, is a torrid moment about forty or fifty pages into Terry Southern’s Blue Movie. There are also erotic poems like Yeats’ “Leda & the Swan” and verses of quiet yearning by Sappho. Long, sumptuous passages in D.H. Lawrence’ silly, pornographic “routines” scattered throughout the work of Wm. S. Burroughs. Henry Miller’s up close and personal couplings, genital lice and all. Something for all tastes.

* Cliff Burns’ thread on LibraryThing contains more suggestions for quality sexual literature.

10. Nick Shamhart, public speaker and contributing writer to Esquire and Vibe:

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(1) On whether men and women deserve better than Fifty Shades of Grey:

Art is of course subjective. Personally I shudder to label a Bodice Ripper as art, but some people consider Robert Mapplethorpe to be an artist. It’s a matter of personal choice — the externalization of the internal.

That said, to tear apart the Fifty Shades trilogy would be unfair. The phenomenon that the books stirred about had little to do with the quality of story telling, the prose, or the presentation. What happened was that the populace brought it upon themselves. Worldwide reading trends are quite sad. Entertainment on demand fired a bullet pointblank into the floundering corpse that was the publishing industry. The statistics for the USA are nothing shy of terrifying. 58% of Americans will not read a book after high school. One in ten thousand Americans is an avid reader, meaning they read more than one book a month.

What happened with the Fifty Shades books was a direct result of those numbers. When people don’t read they have little to use as a basis of comparison. So, instead of E.L. James’ books being swept into the growing heap of erotica, with the likes of Steele, Collins, and other ladies that have been working that trade for decades, people took notice.

Social Media, and its fickle trends helped word spread about the books.

It was the same ecumenical ripple effect that Rowling’s Potter books had. They were fine for what they were, in that case fantasy for Fifty Shades erotica, but for true avid readers that could compare the books to a much broader and larger personal library they were nothing special.

That’s why children like simple, brightly colored toys. They are stimulating, and the child has no previous experience to say whether the toy is good or bad. Most of the staunch supporters of the Fifty Shades book that I have met read very few books annually. Half a dozen at best, so if they have read less than a hundred books in their lifetime. Who is to say what they are basing their love of Fifty Shades against?

Blog Hop: The Writing Process

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Joe Perrone Jr.

Thanks so much to Joe Perrone Jr. for inviting me to this Blog Hop on the Writing Process.

Joe Perrone Jr. was the first author to be interviewed on this blog!

Joe’s Bio: Joe Perrone Jr. worked as a sportswriter for the Passaic-Clifton, NJ, Herald News, as well as a freelance advertising copywriter. Joe was also a professional fly-fishing guide for ten years in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and has had several fly-fishing short stories published in the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. The author is perhaps best known for his Matt Davis Mystery Series. Roscoe — “Trout Town USA” — serves as the setting for Joe’s books in the Matt Davis Mysteries series.

Joe’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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The idea of this blog tour is to introduce readers to new authors. I have been asked to answer 4 questions about my writing process and then tag 3-4 more authors.

Here are my answers to the questions:

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Selfie: BCBG shoes

JESS’S WRITING PROCESS

1. What am I working on?

I am currently blogging about Singapore’s political history.

On the creative writing side, I most recently completed The Wilde Twins (a psych thriller series featuring serial killer evil twins).

I have several other projects to get to…

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

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The Wilde Twins (Trilogy) | Jess C Scott

I will let readers decide on that. I like to study the work of people whom I admire and learn from them (whether it’s to do with writing, or something else).

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I enjoy original stories and seeking the truth.

4. How does my writing process work?

I usually have some kind of plan or (quite comprehensive) outline. If not I tend to waste a lot of time trying to fix details along the way.

Hot chamomile tea helps me stay nice and relaxed while writing/editing.

My Links: jessINK | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Authors I have Tagged:

I’ve tagged fellow authors Maria Savva, Edward Giles Brown, Matt Posner, and Katherine Mayfield.

I’m very happy to introduce you to these authors, so hop on over to their sites and see what they are up to.

On Twitter, you can follow the various blogs in this tour via the hashtag #MyWritingProcess

maria_savva_hs(1) Maria Savva

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She has published five novels, the most recent of which is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. Far Away In Time is her sixth collection of short stories.

Maria’s Links: Website | Maria’s Writing Process | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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(2) Edward Giles Brown

Edward Giles Brown is the author of 365 Days of Verse, a sonnet collection containing a sonnet written every day for a year, and The Sacrifice, a five act play.

He’s currently revising 365 Days of verse and will eventually release a single-volume second edition. He is currently seeking work in Hong Kong.

Edward’s Links: WebsiteTwitter | Amazon | YouTube | Writing Process

matt_posner(3) Matt Posner

Matt Posner is my highly motivated and industrious co-author on the book, Teen Guide!

This is Matt’s bio from the Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships page:

Matt is an NYC teacher who’s willing to make controversial statements that he thinks are in your best interest. In his own words, Teen Guide “explains what mature, adult sexuality is and provides a useful guide to entering that sexual world at the right time.”

Matt is also the author of the School of the Ages series (an urban fantasy for ages 12 and up).

Matt’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Katherine Mayfield(4) Katherine Mayfield

A former actress who appeared Off-Broadway and on the daytime drama Guiding Light, Katherine Mayfield is the author of the award-winning memoir, The Box of Daughter: Healing the Authentic Self; Bullied (a guide to recovery for teens and adults who have been bullied); and Dysfunctional Families: The Truth Behind the Happy Family Facade.

She has written for numerous local and national publications, and appears regularly with the Portsmouth Athenæum’s Wednesday Writers’ Series in Portsmouth, NH. She teaches writing workshops and classes in Maine, provides coaching and editing for other writers, and enjoys using her acting skills and love of words to record audiobooks.

Katherine’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Writing Process

Far Away In Time, Blog Tour

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New Release Feature!

Maria Savva was one of the first author-friends I made online. She is a skilled writer and a great woman with a kind soul.

You can check out her interview on this blog from 2010.

It is my pleasure to introduce her latest publication, Far Away In Time.

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Blurb/Description:

Our lives are a series of stories, and we are the characters with the starring roles. The memories, regrets, secrets, and struggles that fill these pages are at once unique and relatable. These stories belong to us all.

Eight unforgettable tales reaching out to a place Far Away In Time…

Book Trailer:

Author Bio:

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. Many of her books and stories are inspired by her years working as a lawyer, although she has not written a courtroom drama to date. She has published five novels, the most recent of which is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. Far Away In Time is her sixth collection of short stories. You can find out more about her work at her official website: www.mariasavva.com

Buy Links (Far Away In Time):

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon FR | Amazon CA | Amazon JP

Katherine Mayfield, Interview

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Interview #78, with author of BULLIED: Katherine Mayfield!

Katherine was first interviewed on this blog in 2012. She has written a new, very important and socially-minded book titled BULLIED — so read on for more details on the project!

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Hi Katherine! Describe your latest book in 5 words:

bullied

Guide to recovery from bullying.

What inspired the book?

Two things: one is that I feel very sad when I hear about another teen who has committed suicide in response to bullying, and the other is that I was bullied as a child, and when I was in my thirties, I thought seriously about committing suicide because I was still so full of pain. It took me a long time to recover from the bad experiences I had as a kid.

With this book, I wanted to reach out to young people who are in distress and pain, and show them that there is a way out of the darkness, that bullying does end, and that by letting go of their bad feelings and focusing on what they enjoy and do well, they can move forward and create a much better life. I wish there had been a book like this when I was growing up.

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

“If someone is bullying you based on what you look like—if you’re taller or shorter than other people, or if you have braces or glasses, or anything else—they are using one single characteristic about your physical appearance to judge the entirety of who you are. One trait does not define your real self. You are not a nose, or a pair of glasses, or the clothes you wear. Everyone has talents and gifts, and no matter what you look like, when you focus on your gifts, you can live up to your potential and ultimately become a much happier person.”

BULLIED: A guide to recovery from bullying, by Katherine Mayfield

Share some of your favorite quotations (10-100 words):

These are some quotes included in Bullied:

“Imagine the choices you’d make if you had no fear—of falling, of losing, of being alone, of disapproval.”
~ Martha Beck

“One must still have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.””
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.”
~ Samuel Butler

“Instinct is the nose of the mind.”
~ Madame De Girardin (French author)

In the introduction, you mention that you were bullied during school days. Did you ever want to retaliate against the people who bullied you at the time?

Great question, Jess! Yes, I did, but I was way too afraid. The feeling of violence was in my nerves and wanted to get out, and so one day I started petting the cat a little too hard, and my mother said, “Gently! Gently!” I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I spanked my dolls when I was a kid to try to get rid of some of those bad feelings.

I think that a lot of bullies have been bullied themselves, or violated in some way, so they take their anger out on people who seem quiet or weaker or less able to defend themselves. Sometimes the smartest, most creative and innovative people are the ones who are bullied, because others are jealous and want to cut them down to “normal” size. But I believe that people are meant to grow and explore and invent and create, and become the very best and biggest that they possibly can. I wish our society encouraged that more than it does.

Well-said! What were some of the challenges involved with writing BULLIED?

Another great question! There’s a part of me that really does not want to look at these issues, at the pain in my past, and at the continuing stories about young people who end their lives because they can’t stand the bullying anymore. So I had some resistance to finishing the project, even though I believe it will be helpful to others.

In my family, a huge value was placed on helping others and relieving pain, and that’s what keeps me writing books on these subjects even though sometimes it’s difficult for me. If I can help people heal the way I have healed, then the work is absolutely worth it.

What are some of your plans for the rest of the year?

Resting! Relaxing! Having fun! And I have two other memoirs in process, along with a workbook for people who have been emotionally abused that my muse is encouraging me to work on. And then there’s the novel I’ve been writing for about ten years…

I’m also going to be teaching a couple of writing workshops, and several workshops on writing and publishing memoir. I always think, “When winter gets here, I really want to hibernate for awhile,” but so far it hasn’t happened.

It’s good to be busy ;) Please share with us your websites/blogs/etc:

www.theboxofdaughter.com/dysfunctional-families-blog.html

www.katherine-mayfield.com

www.katherine-mayfield.com/bullied.html

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Much thanks to Katherine for stopping by — be sure to check out the above links for more info on BULLIED!

Katherine Mayfield

KATHERINE’S BIO: Katherine Mayfield is the award-winning author of Bullied:  Why You Feel Bad Inside and What to Do About It, The Box of Daughter;  Healing the Authentic Self, and Dysfunctional Families:  The Truth Behind the Happy Family Façade.  She blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com.

P.S. Here’s Katherine’s Q&A with JCS (2012) and her guest post on Recovering From Being Bullied.

You can also preorder a copy of BULLIED on Katherine’s website.

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Author Interview, Jason Pendergrass

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Interview #76, with “serial entrepreneur,” Jason Pendergrass!

Hi Jason! Describe yourself in 5 words:

I am a serial entrepreneur.

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

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This book is a roadmap for business success teaching entrepreneurs how to start and run their own business while not being “Nickel & Dimed” to death. This book teaches such skills as product development, performing effective market research, driving sales using social media, protecting your intellectual property, developing and implementing an effective business strategy, and developing a sales strategy, among many other skills and lessons. This book teaches from my personal experiences with my own businesses. Some lessons came easy and some came the hard way, but this book breaks it down in an easy to understand, simple format.

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

One of my favorite books, besides my own, is Managing written by Harold Geneen, former CEO of ITT from 1959 to 1977. One of the key quotes form this book is “Performance is reality. Forget everything else.” I completely agree. Performance is the only measure that matters. It will define success and it will define failure. To be successful, you must produce positive results. At the bottom line, that is what matters.

Well-said! Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

In my experience, writing a book is extremely time-consuming. Just when you think it is perfect, you proofread again and find a chapter you want to expand upon, a grammatical mistake, etc. You also get tunnel vision and that hinders you as well. You’re then forced to clear your head and take a break before continuing on with the quest of writing the book.

As for publishing a book, the only hassle I found was that it was costly. Luckily, my book has been selling successfully, but if the book was not in demand, I could have been stuck with a huge inventory of books I could not sell. There was risk involved. On the other hand, I also sell my book on Screwpulp.com as an e-book, and that eliminates the capital investment needed to publish an actual physical book.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

My definition of good writing is exceeding the readers’ expectations. My book is a business self-help book, so I want to ensure my book helps these entrepreneurs become successful and learn from my experiences while providing an easy to read format. Basically, since my readers are successful because of the lessons taught in this book, Business Lessons of a Rookie Entrepreneur is well written.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

My number one lesson is to not rush the process. Writing a book is a long journey and everyone wants to finish before their book is perfect. Be patient and remember, quality over speed. You have got to stay focused and keep this lesson in mind. Quality over speed!!

Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.pendergrassbooks.com or message me on Facebook. My book can also be found as an E-book on www.screwpulp.com by searching my name (Jason Pendergrass) or the book title (Business Lessons of a Rookie Entrepreneur).

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Much thanks to Jason for stopping by — do visit Jason’s Website for more info on his projects!

JASON’S SHORT BIO (in his own words):

Started three small businesses, learned a lot, had a mixture of successes and failures. I am here to help you become successful in business.

Website: www.pendergrassbooks.com

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