Posts Tagged 'Thirsty by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe'

Please Mark Your Calendars For TOMORROW!

AMAZON SPIKE DAY FOR KRISTIN BAIR O’KEEFFE & CINDY HUDSON IS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15TH!

Thirsty by Kristin Bair O'KeeffeKristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Thirsty, will be published by Swallow Press on October 1, 2009. A family saga that explores domestic abuse, race, class, and Pittsburgh’s mighty steel industry, Thirsty tells the story of Klara Bozic, a Croatian immigrant who seeks the strength-through love and friendship-to leave an abusive husband.

Can Klara rise above her circumstances and lay claim to her own peaceful spot in the world? To find out, buy Thirsty on September 15th as part of Kristin’s Amazon Spike Day!

Book By Book by Cindy HudsonCINDY HUDSON’S first  book is nonfiction. Book By Book, The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs is coming on October 1st from Seal Press. (Yes, that’s right, Kristin and Cindy’s books share the same publication date.)

I recently interviewed Cindy about her nonfiction book pitching and writing process over at The Writer Mama Riffs blog. You can read the complete interview here.

Even if you don’t have a daughter yourself, Book By Book makes a great gift for a mom who does. I hope you will join me in supporting Kristin and Cindy’s Amazon Spike Day on Tuesday, September 15th!

I’ll send you a reminder just before the date. Thanks in advance for supporting our long-time columnists.

Columnist’s News!

Thirsty by Kristin Bair O'KeeffeKRISTIN BAIR O’KEEFFE has launched a new website and blog. Here’s a sneak peek at her forthcoming novel’s cover.

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Thirsty, will be published by Swallow Press in 2009. A family saga that explores domestic abuse, race, class, and Pittsburgh’s mighty steel industry, Thirsty tells the story of Klara Bozic, a Croatian immigrant who seeks the strength-through love and friendship-to leave an abusive husband.

Can Klara rise above her circumstances and lay claim to her own peaceful spot in the world? Look for Thirsty in Fall 2009 to find out!

ABIGAIL GREEN’S essay, “Taking Care,” appears in the new anthology A Cup of Comfort for New Mothers: Stories that celebrate the miracle of life  (Adams Media, March 2009). Stay abreast of her success over at Diary of a New Mom.

Book By Book by Cindy HudsonCINDY HUDSON’S Book By Book, The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs is coming this fall from Seal Press.

I recently interviewed Cindy about her nonfiction book pitching and writing process over at The Writer Mama Riffs blog.

You can read the complete interview here.

The Fiction Writing Workshop: Plot (Keep Your Eye on the Ball)

By Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
Growing up, our family played a lot of backyard baseball. My mom was usually the pitcher. “Keep your eye on the Kristin Bair O'Keeffeball,” she’d say before unleashing a pitch. When I followed her instruction, I usually hit a line drive or on a good day, a homerun (sending my sisters into a wild scramble in the outfield); when I didn’t, I either missed the ball completely or hit an embarrassingly lame foul tip.
 
Throughout the years, I’ve discovered that in this particular way, writing fiction is not so different from hitting a baseball. If I follow my mom’s instruction when writing-keep your eye on the ball-I am able to create a compelling plot in a story.
 
Take, for example, Audrey Niffenegger’s novel The Time Traveler’s Wife. In it, the plot (the ball on which you must keep your eye) is “time-traveling man falls in love and wants to stay put in the present with his woman.”
 
In the book, all action and events speak to this plot in some way. As the story moves forward, Niffenegger keeps her eye on the ball. If she didn’t, the story would wander, and readers would get frustrated, give up, and move on to another book.
 
As you can see, plot is not a list of events in a story. Plot is the purest description of a story.
 
Another good example is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Of Love and Other Demons. Here the plot (ball) is “rabid dog bites girl; girl may have rabies.”
 
And again, throughout the book, Marquez keeps his eye on the ball. Never do you, the reader, lose sight of “rabid dog bites girl; girl may have rabies.”
 
When broken down this way, plot is a pretty simple concept, but, of course, writers love to complicate it. When someone asks, “What is your story about?” a writer will take a deep breath, say “Weeelll,” then launch into a play-by-play account of the entire tale. “It’s about a woman who buys a dog for her son even though he doesn’t like dogs, and when the dog runs away on a Sunday with the neighbor’s favorite dress…”
 
Whoa! Hold on! Remember, the purest description…
 
“Oh, yeah. Got it. Man gets dog; man learns to love.”
 
See? Simple.
 
When I was little, it took a while (and many strikeouts) to figure out that when my mom said “Keep your eye on the ball” she meant just that-“Kristin, look at the ball. Don’t look at my eyes, my hands, the outfielders, the squawking bird on the fence.”
 
In the same way, it took me a while (and many, many stories) to understand that when I’m writing, I have to do the same thing. Now it’s your turn. This month, pretend your book just got published and you’re being interviewed. The interviewer asks, “What is your novel about?” What do you say?
 
Once you’ve got that answered, look at your story. Do all actions and events speak to this plot? Is your eye on the ball?
 
If not, time to get back to work.

October 2007 Family Fun MagazineKristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Thirsty, will be published by Swallow Press in 2009. Since moving to Shanghai, China, in 2006, Kristin has been chronicling her adventures (and misadventures) in her blog, “Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse.” Her essays and articles have appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Baltimore Review, San Diego Family Magazine, and The Gettysburg Review. She teaches fiction and nonfiction writing and is the curator of Out Loud! The Shanghai Writers Literary Salon. To learn more, visit www.kristinbairokeeffe.com.

Dear Fellow Writers (January 2009)

Christina Katz, headshot by Mark Bennington2009 is here and good things are happening. I’ve just been invited to O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in NYC, where I will lead a round-table discussion, blog about the conference, and learn a ton about the future of publishing. What an amazing opportunity!

On my way home, I’ll swing through Chicago to attend The Associated Writing Programs annual conference, which is co-sponsored this year by my alma mater, Columbia College Chicago. I can’t wait to see my old teachers!

Within one week, I’ll have the opportunity to network with hundreds of publishers and educators, who are all gearing up for the exciting future that we are all going to co-create together. I’m sure the experience will impact my plans and help me make the kinds of technology and teaching improvements I’d hoped to accomplish in 2009.

Since this is a New Year, I’m sure you have been thinking about your good intentions for 2009, too. What kinds of plans are you making to take your writing career to the next level? Do you need any help? What kind of help do you need? I hope you will turn to Writers on the Rise for the kind of quality advice you’ve come to expect over the years.

I’ve assembled an amazing team of contributors and we’ve got a line up of how-to topics that include all the most saleable forms of writing: fiction, essays, writing for radio, profiles and poetry. You’ll see mostly familiar faces and one new face, which belongs to Laura Bridgwater, whom we are pleased to welcome into the Writers on the Rise fold.

If you are looking for some of your favorite columns, they may have moved to one of my other e-zines. For example, Gigi Rosenberg was kind enough to take the helm as managing editor at the Get Known Groove and Gregory Kompes has moved over there, as well. As for me, I’m excited to officially announce that I’ve expanded my e-publications in 2009 to include three e-zines with seven contributors each:

Writers on the Rise: Focus on writing craft, goes out the first Monday each month

The Writer Mama: Focus on the needs of writing moms, goes out the second Monday each month

Get Known Groove: Focus on platform development, goes out the third Monday each month

Lest you think I’m not doing anything on the fourth Monday of the month, that’s when I send out the announcement for the next speaker in the Northwest Author Series (this month it’s me). Please join the list if you are local! You can subscribe to all the lists at www.christinakatz.com. (Simply add your e-mail to the box in the upper right hand corner and a screen will pop up that will allow you to choose the e-zines you’d like to join.)

I think Writers on the Rise is kicking off the year stronger than ever (I think this every year, of course). I want to especially thank Cindy Hudson for taking over as managing editor of Writers on the Rise. (Sage Cohen still writes a column here and has been gracious enough to step over as managing editor of The Writer Mama e-zine.) I’m very blessed to be able to work with such talented editors to help bring you the quality of writing you’ve come to expect. (But if you see a mistake, it was probably thanks to me, not any of them.)

One thing that Sage always comments on, when the e-zine goes out, is how many of our contributors have ascended the ranks over the years from writer to author. And bah-bah-bah-BAH! I’m pleased to announce that it has happened again!

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Thirsty, will be published by Swallow Press in 2009. A family saga that explores domestic abuse, race, class, and Pittsburgh’s mighty steel industry, Thirsty tells the story of Klara Bozic, a Croatian immigrant who seeks the strength-through love and friendship-to leave an abusive husband.

Can Klara rise above her circumstances and lay claim to her own peaceful spot in the world? Look for Thirsty in Fall 2009 to find out!

Thanks for helping us applaud Kristin and this wonderful stride forward in her literary career! She’s also on Facebook. And so is Writers on the Rise! I’ve created a fan page for us. If you are a fan, I hope you will swing by and chime in.

In the old days, I used to sign off, “In the writing spirit,” but I’ve decided to change to a new motto for 2009…

Make good things happen!

Christina Katz
Publisher and Editor
www.christinakatz.com

Announcement: Classes will be at the bottom of the newsletter this year. Please note that there is still room in all of the January classes. Registration for classes has moved to www.christinakatz.com. Thanks! Stay tuned for new classes as the year goes along!


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  • This Blog Moving to ChristinaKatz.com as of December 30, 2009… December 27, 2009
    We’re moving! Writers on the Rise archives have been here for years. I hope that WordPress will let the archive live on for a good long time. However, it’s time to move on, bittersweet as change may be. Please come and find me at my new digs: http://christinakatz.com. And while we’re both thinking of it, […]
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