Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Illustrating Escape From Pig Hill

I am hard at work, determined to finish the illustrations this month for my novel, Escape From Pig Hill.  I am pleased (mostly) with how the pics are coming along and wanted to share one with you.  Above, Donny and Mags are pictured, struggling to make sense of evil in their world.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Where Do We Go From Facebook?

You may recall that a little more than a week ago, I announced that I would be participating in a week-long Facebook Black-Out.  This was a week in which authors and writers who normally provide a lot of content for FB audiences did not log in to the giant social media site.  What follows is the note I write the day the black-out ended.   I sent it to folks who read me in Facebook and want to share it with all of you here. 
Greetings everyone-- I have just completed a weeklong walk-out in protest against new FB policies that affect writers and artists who depend on social media for our PR. This time away has been very revealing. I learned several things during this experiment.
1. FB misses me when I am gone. Never before have I received email from FB telling me how much my participation is missed and how much I am missing while gone. I received at least two such emails a day during my 7 day boycott. Very interesting.
2. I missed hearing from family and friends, but figure they all know where to find me when I am not here. I did not miss the load of crap FB has been injecting into my newsfeed, making it harder and harder to find news from family and friends and businesses I support.
3. Not using FB seems actually to have increased the number of visitors to my websites and had no affect whatsoever on book sales.
4. Not using FB has made me a far more productive person. That is not a surprise, but my expectations are now confirmed.
5. There are several social media networks I prefer to FB. These are networks who are up front about the mutually parasitical relationship they offer writers and artists. They are also easier to navigate and a lot less frenetic than FB, so they don't eat so much time. All of these networks agree to share ALL of my posts with ALL of my followers/subscribers. Not one does the sort of filtering FB now does. That filtering is my main objection to how FB is doing business these days. Even if I pay them, FB does not want to share what I post with all of the people who have said they want it shared with them. That forces me to share my own posts repeatedly in various places on FB in hope that at least a third of my followers/fans/friends will see. That is irritating to those unlucky enough to see the same posts over and over and time-consuming for me.
The upshod of all this is that I have decided to greatly curtail my use of FB. Any professional posts you see from me here will be posted remotely from a thrid party platform. I will be inviting everyone to follow me elsewhere with the goal being that I am eventually able to leave FB altogether. It just does not work for me anymore for any purpose. My professional posts get buried from most folks I would like to have see them and I have a hard time finding personal posts from friends and family I care about.
IMO, FB has lost its soul and become something it never started out to be. That's a reasonable path for the sort of business it has become but not for me as a consumer. I hope you will find me and follow or friend me in other venues. Here's where to look for me.
Twitter @FredaFrostbite
(Twitter has LOTS of posts and a rapidly changing feed. It would be overwhelming to anyone who tries to read everything in their feed.)
Pinterest Stephanie Mesler (Pinterest is easy to organize and great for visual learners)
Tsu @FredaFrostbite  (Tsu is a lot like FB but much, much easier to navigate)
Google+ Freda Frostbite
Google+ Stephanie Mesler
(G+ is sort of complicated but has a lot of advantages for sorting ones people, priorities, and interests. Use the Freda page if you are at all interested in virtual worlds and my writing, the Steph Page if it's personal content you seek. Use both if that rocks your boat.)
Flickr Freda's Place
Flickr Steph's People
Flickr My Writing Life
(Flickr is a picture sharing site. Some of the pages I host are brand new, intended to replace FB photos. I'll be adding content to them over the next month or so.)
Royal Courts of Second Life
(Royal Courts is another way to follow some of my RP and writing online. Anyone can visit but one must have an SL avatar to join.)
My websites are Freda's Place
and A Poet's Progress,
I am very grateful for your support. I could not continue doing what I do professionally OR personally without all of you, so please stick with me as I migrate away from day to day in FB. You can even email me if you think I am not seeing something you want me to see.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Merritt Island Writers Starts The New Year

Members of Merritt Island Writers live in or near Central Bravard County in Florida.  Writers of all genres and experience levels are wlcome to join us for regular events.  To join the group, please visit our Meetup page.  Feel free to join us any time we are meeting in a public venue.  Following is our schedule and a description of our events.  
Mondays at 2 pm:  Open Sharing Session
Bring whatever work you have in process.  Read it aloud and let us know in advance if you would like feedback or quiet support.  Be prepared to comment on the work of other authors.  The session is 90 minutes long and takes place at the Merritt Island Public Library, 1195 N. Courtenay Pkwy., Merritt Island, FL.
Fridays at 2pm:  (Mostly) Quiet Write-In
Sometimes it's hard to make time for writing.  Having an appointment to do the work in the presence of other authors brings accountability and encouragement.  Bring whatever work you have in process and join us at the Starbucks at 175 E. Merritt Island Causeway on Merritt Island.  We are generally there about three hours.  Please remember that quiet write-ins are, well, quiet.  Greetings and occasional questions are welcome, More extensive conversation should be taken to a table away from the writing group.  

I hope to see you soon at a gathering of Merritt Island Writers.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Good Girls Thanksgivings

Good Girls’ Thanksgivings
by Stephanie Mesler

Good girls say thank you
in flowing longhand
on daintily painted note cards with violets in the corners,
cards kept on hand for giving thanks when thanks are
Good girls say thank you
for the effort
for the thought
for inclusion
They are the ones who write in gratitude journals because their God, Oprah, says they should
They write
and write
about the blessings in their lives
about how lucky they are to face each day smiling from the start
knowing God does not demand of them more than they can handle
Good girls know that suffering is good for the soul.
They thank God for opportunities to overcome
what hurts,
what rips at the seams,
what all but kills,
even that which does.
Good girls live each day behind fuchsia panes
for more reasons to say thank you.

The rest of us
send our thanks by email
resorting to telephone when the recipient of our gratitude is too ancient for the net
We do not say thank you often,
never for something we were owed.
We know effort only counts in preschool
and absolution is mythology.
The rest of us persist in perpetual motion,
living lives of intense reality,
knowing that God and Oprah damn well do expect too much
and note cards are expensive.

Good Girls' Thanksgivings is copyright (c) Stephanie Mesler, 2011.  No portion of Good Girls' Thanksgivings may be reprinted or republished in any form without express written consent from the poet, Stephanie Mesler.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pledging Allegiance

The image was taken by AP photojournalist, Robert Cohen.
The morning after a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teen. I came across the image at left online. It depicts Edward Crawford throwing a canister of tear gas back at Ferguson, Missouri police in the confrontation that followed the shooting last summer.
I was struck by the image and with Crawford's statement that he did what he did out of instinct more than anything else. He was arrested and jailed for this act of self-defense in the face of militarized police oppression.

Pledging Allegiance
by Stephanie Mesler
In the night, they come to protect and serve their own.
Beating their shields as drums, chanting warriors make war in the streets where I live.
They advance on children whose only crime is living life black and poor.
We learn to be scared of white men with guns,
of our own mute impotence,
of power that fears us enough to arm police like soldiers headed into battle.
Tell me why police in Columbia, South Carolina need a tank --
are they expecting an invasion by the citizens of Charlotte?
I do not pledge allegiance to the flag,
will not stand and salute or raise my hat to recognize authority that does not recognize mine.
I will stand defiant in the fray, will refuse to be driven into dark.
What you hurl at me, I will hurl back.
It will land at your feet and you too will have a moment before it explodes,
a moment to let instinct decide what your body will do.
Do you fear me more than you fear the gas?
Is mine the face in your nightmares?
You’ve kept me in line, prevented my rising up,
by telling me you can keep me safe.
You make me fear and say it’s for my own good.
You tell me I am one of “us” - that you are on my side.
But tonight, standing on the other side of your shield,
I am part of the throng that makes up your “them.”
Here, by the light of this blaze, I put on my flag and raise my fist.
I shout my pledge to anyone who will hear,
I will not be stilled!

Listen to Pledging Allegiance on Soundcloud.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In The News: Call for Reviewers, Email Subscription, Last Day Of The Big Sale!

So..... I need to find a few credible reviewers for Escape From Pig Hill.  The book is YA with a focus on LGBT issues.  If that interests you, please let me know.  Contact me here, through Facebook, at my personal email or my publisher's email.  

Please consider joining my email list which will send out weekly (sometimes monthly) newsletters. If you'd like to be added, please email Diva Press Publications.

Today is the last day to get Under The Sheets For Half Price!  Order it now!  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Work Slow-Down

Well, it's  not really so much a work slow-down as adding time for additional work that comes from realizing I need to lay a better foundation before rolling out Escape From Pig Hill.  The result is that my new goal date for releasing Escape is March 8, 2015.  Of course the illustrations need to be completed in the next weeks and the book needs to be proofread and edited by the professionals whose services I have already procured for this project. Those processes are time-consuming, but even more delaying are  marketing concerns that have come to my attention.  I am considering re-categorizing the book as YA (young adult) with an LGBT focus. I am somewhat resistant to categorization of any kind -- I fear it will box me in down the road -- but the fact is that categorization can help a book find its audience.  For that reason, I'll be making some hard choices in the next few months.  I have also decided to publish under the Diva Press plate. Previous books have been published in my own name but I've decided to change that for the novel series.  

My apologies to any who were waiting with baited breath for the novel to be released in November and to the many more who were likely hoping I would quit blathering on about the "creative process" rather sooner than later.  You'll just have to bare with me a while longer.  

In the mean time, I hope you enjoy seeing an illustration from time to time and hearing the occasional reading from Escape From Pig Hill, as I continue smoothing its edges.  
The Granger twins encounter "Mean" Margaret Adelbaum
as they walk down the hill to school.