Archive for March, 2012

Interview with Write for the Fight authors Tess Hardwick and Tracey M. Hansen

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Well friends it’s been awhile since we’ve had someone stop by the pub for an interview but it’s time to polish up the bar, set out the glasses and tap the keg. I have several reviews lined up which means that the pub is officially open again for your literary and imbibing pleasure! ;) And what better way to kick of these latest string of interviews that interviewing not one but two of my favorite ladies. My dear friends, Tess Hardwick and Tracey M. Hansen, who worked on Write for the Fight together, are joining me today as we talk about strength, hope and life.

Their anthology, Write for the Fight: A Seasonal Collection of Essays brings together eleven other authors to discuss life as it parallels the seasons. To find out my thoughts of this inspiring collection check out my REVIEW that I posted this past Tuesday. But before you do let’s get the interview started. First things first. Ladies? What’ll it be?

Tess Hardwick (TH): I think I’ll go with a vodka martini with an olive.

 

 

 

 

Tracey M. Hansen (TMH): A bottle of Riesling. One bottle equals one big glass.  I’m a classy gal, so I drink it in a plastic tumbler with ice. It doesn’t get much better than that.  I’m an equal opportunity drunk though, so I will drink whatever you buy me.  The only rules are NO RED BULL and no BROWN LIQUOR.  I have a sensitive tummy.  lol  It has a cork though so it’s a step up from the boxed stuff.  One step at a time.

Pulls out plastic tumbler and sets in front of Tracey. I have no problem serving in plastic, with the riff raff that comes through my doors it keeps my costs down. :)

All right, ladies, let’s get started.

KD: How did this project come to be?

TH: This was inspired by my own health scare last autumn, in addition to losing several friends to breast cancer.

TMH: Tess asked one of the seasonal questions on her blog and then said that a collection of similar questions would make a good book.  I agreed.  She said she wasn’t kidding and I said I wasn’t either and then here we are…

Also, my Uncle Gary had passed last April from brain cancer and it hit me a lot harder then I thought it would.  It made me start asking questions about life and mortality and these questions in the book are exactly what I needed to work it all out, in my own special weird way of course.

KD: Tess, your essays tended to be more lyrical and poetic whereas Tracey’s brought humor and in-your-face truth. How did you pair up on this project?

TH: I tend to make creative decisions rather quickly. I believe it is divine intervention, especially when an idea comes to me like a bolt of lightening. I’ve admired Tracey’s work since I found her via twitter and started following her blog. There is something so raw and effortless about her gift – simply I think she’s one of the most talented young writers around – and when I imagined the book I thought of us as two bookends – in stark contrast to my voice, which is one of the themes of the book – celebrating our diversity and yet our sameness.

TMH: I was in shock when she asked me.  I still don’t think I deserved such an honor.  She’s amazing, I’m…odd.

KD: Why have 11 other authors participate?  

TH: Again, I envisioned all these diverse, gifted writers contributing to the cause.  Also, I thought it would be a unique way for some previously unpublished but super talented writers to be heard.

TMH: We held a contest on our blogs to find the best contributors.  I think we did a pretty good job.

KD: This must have been a huge undertaking, how did you go about choosing the authors that contributed to Write for the Fight?

TH: Once I roped Tracey into it, we doubled our efforts by running a contest on our blogs.  Then, our publisher, Booktrope picked the winners.

TMH: Oh, I just answered that above.  I have ESP.  I knew you were going to ask it.

KD: What question was hardest for you to answer?

TH: Emotionally, the 20 year old question. The one that really made me have to pause and think was the middle question. I had to really think what I want and answer it honestly.

TMH: I had a huge problem with the five year old question.  I think I wrote it over ten times, all different ways.  I also struggled with the life list question.  It really brought out a vulnerability I’m not normally comfortable showing.

KD: What question was most fun to answer?

TH: The five-year old question for sure. I loved reliving those moments. It was like I was there again while I was writing.

TMH: See?  This is proof of how different we are!  I just said this was my most difficult.  lol  I LOVED writing the ‘what I want people to say about me on my 80th birthday’ question. I kind of went off the wall a little.  It was a lot of fun.

KD: Outside of your own, do either of you have a favorite essay within the anthology?

TH: No, I love every single one of them. However, Tracey’s do make me laugh out loud no matter how many times I read them.

TMH: Awe shucks.  Tess wrote my favorites, I’m not just saying that.  Tess writes in a way that no matter what the subject matter is it makes me cry.  She could write about her new mac and I will get teary, so she knows how to pull those strings.  That’s talent.  Karla Nellenbach also has an essay about being the worlds oldest and greatest zombie hunter during the zombie apocalypse.  Makes me wonder what kind of drugs she does…

KD: I have no idea but let’s hope she is of the sharing kind. ;) Ladies, what is your hope for this book?

TH: I hope to raise a lot of money for breast cancer research, obviously, but I also would love to see the idea of the essay questions being a gateway for discussion groups in book clubs and writing groups. I think they are such great questions to frame your experiences and envision your future.

TMH: Of course the purpose is to raise funds to assist the fight against breast cancer.  But on a smaller scale as writers we always want to entertain and possibly inspire.  If even a few people laugh or cry or just truly enjoy the essays then I am pretty happy with the outcome.

KD: How did you pick the organization to donate the profits to?

TH: That was a bit tricky, given what happened with Komen just as we were about to make our announcement. We’ve chosen some smaller but worthy breast cancer organizations instead.

TMH: I have a bone to pick with the big organizations out there.  When you tell them you would like to help the cause they make it seem like you just asked them for a kidney.  I am glad we are doing smaller organizations.  It makes it easier to see where the contributions go as well.

KD: What’s next for you two?

TH: I’m working hard to finish my historical fiction novel set in 1930 Alabama and Georgia. It feels like it may never be done, however, it’s the best work I’ve ever done.

TMH: I’m going to read Tess’s book when it’s done.  Oh, me?  I’m finishing my book Not a Perfect Mom, a book I wrote with my friend Holly about her decision to have her daughter who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a major heart defect in utero.  I am working on a book based on some of my blog posts called If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, and my untitled novel will be done when the voices stop shouting and speaking over one another.

That about wraps up today’s interview. Again, I want to thank both Tess and Tracey for stopping by and also for their hard work and dedication towards Write for the Fight. I encourage each and every one of you to go out and buy yourself, your friends and family a copy. 

Until next time, cheers! 

 

Tracey M. Hansen grew up in the wilds of Cape Coral, FL where she still unwillingly resides today.  She lives with a dime piece she calls ‘ManPal’ and three very feisty fur-kids. With her best of friends scattered around the globe, Tracey spends her time in a dark corner in fetal position, sucking her thumb and crying while listening to Enya.  Her campaign, ‘A bottle a day keeps the…who the fuck cares’, is catching on like wildfire in the alcoholic writing community.  She is afraid of flying, the dark, bees and Rosie O’Donnell…not necessarily in that order. Her goals are to have a restraining order filed against her by a celebrity and world peace…in that order. Tracey went to Catholic School which explains so much.  Her constant caffeine high allows her to write without thinking of the repercussions, so she has a tendency to offend people.  Luckily, she doesn’t give a shit.

She has two books coming out in 2012, NOT A PERFECT MOM and WRITE FOR THE FIGHT, both brought to you courtesy of Booktrope Publishing. Her first novel titled, WHY THE FUCK DOES WRITING THIS THING TAKE SO LONG, is due out when she stops procrastinating summer 2075.

You can stalk Tracey at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Tess Hardwick is a novelist, blogger and playwright. She has a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. Like her main character in Riversong, Tess is from a small town in southern Oregon. She currently lives in Snoqualmie, Washington with her husband, two small daughters and a teenage stepson. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.Tess is busy writing frequent posts for her blog “Inspiration For Ordinary Life” on her website and is finishing up last rewrites on her second novel, an historical fiction set in 1930’s Alabama, inspired by a short story written by her great-grandmother. Find her novel at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You can also find Tess on Twitter and Facebook.

Review: Write for the Fight: A Seasonal Collection of Essays

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Statistics on breast cancer can be very scary, especially when you hear that every woman has a 12% chance of developing invasive breast cancer sometime in her life. Breast cancer affects us all. It takes away our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, friends and even ourselves. When I heard that authors Tess Hardwick and Tracey Hansen joined together to work on an anthology celebrating life with the determination to donate all author proceeds to a breast cancer organization I immediately became interested.

Paralleling our lives to the four seasons, Tess and Tracey brought together eleven other authors for Write for the Fight and asked them four questions:

Spring: What do you miss about being 5 years old?

Summer: What would you tell your 20 year old self?

Fall: What, at this point in your life, do you want, wish, and dream of for your life going forward?

Winter: What would you want said about you on your 80th birthday?

It is a fascinating concept and I feel that the authors chosen to participate in this anthology of essays were excellently cast. I loved the mix of voices, experience and approaches to the questions. Some were poetic, flowery with their depictions of times gone by, others were in your face and blunt with an accurate retelling of how life really was, is and most likely will be.

What fascinated me was even though there were over a dozen different voices their memories and hopes for the future were all very similar. It’s almost as if we have a global memory of what it’s like to be five years old, the wonder, the innocence, the need to take everything in right then and there. It’s a shame we lose that.

I have to pull attention to author Terry Persun’s Summer essay because he was the only one that instead of approaching his 20 year old self with words of wisdom and insight he wrote of the hope of regaining some of that recklessness and “gusto” that his younger self was full of. It was a different take on the question and it helped break up the section and made me realize that not everything about being 20 was that bad.

I think if I were to reread the anthology, which is most likely to happen, I think I would pick an author and follow that’s author’s voice throughout each section then go on to read another’s views. When I read it for this review I did it start to finish and after reading 13 essays in a row about one topic it got a bit redundant. However, that was my fault, not the anthology’s.

The truth is once I read one’s perspective I needed to know what the next author thought. The flow and blend of their voices gave way to a rhythm that I found quite comfortable and readable. A humorous, light hearted essay would follow one more subtle and insightful but one never detracted from the other. There were many times I felt as if I was just hanging out with old friends, sharing with them, laughing with them.

I found myself longing for the age of innocence with them, cringing at the mistakes and insecurities of my early twenties. With my new friends I started to hope for a brighter, stronger and more independent future and I crossed my fingers that not only do I make it 80 but I have loved ones willing to throw one hell of a bash for me. This book makes you think and that’s not always the easiest thing to do, especially when the topic you’re thinking about is your life.

We only get one round on this merry-go-round and it’s sad to think of the chances lost and the worries about tomorrow’s problems. However, this book isn’t for regrets, it’s for remembering, learning, growing and living. This book is also about taking care of each other. Ladies, don’t wait for that magical 40th birthday if you’re not there yet; do your self-exams. Really, it’s not that hard to check yourself out. Husbands, brothers and sons take care of your women. Insist they get their mammograms, that they go to their annual appointments. And everyone buy this book and help support breast cancer research. It is currently available on the Nook and will be available in print and other booksellers beginning April 5th.

 Contributing Writers for Write for the Fight:

Gordon Bonnet

Galit Breen

F. Jo Bruce

Derek Flynn

Jesse James Freeman

Laura Kilmartin

Marni Mann

Karla J. Nellenbach

Terry Persun

Laura Tiberio

Laura Zera

 

Tracey M. Hansen grew up in the wilds of Cape Coral, FL where she still unwillingly resides today.  She lives with a dime piece she calls ‘ManPal’ and three very feisty fur-kids. With her best of friends scattered around the globe, Tracey spends her time in a dark corner in fetal position, sucking her thumb and crying while listening to Enya.  Her campaign, ‘A bottle a day keeps the…who the fuck cares’, is catching on like wildfire in the alcoholic writing community.  She is afraid of flying, the dark, bees and Rosie O’Donnell…not necessarily in that order. Her goals are to have a restraining order filed against her by a celebrity and world peace…in that order. Tracey went to Catholic School which explains so much.  Her constant caffeine high allows her to write without thinking of the repercussions, so she has a tendency to offend people.  Luckily, she doesn’t give a shit.

She has two books coming out in 2012, NOT A PERFECT MOM and WRITE FOR THE FIGHT, both brought to you courtesy of Booktrope Publishing. Her first novel titled, WHY THE FUCK DOES WRITING THIS THING TAKE SO LONG, is due out when she stops procrastinating summer 2075.

You can stalk Tracey at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Tess Hardwick is a novelist, blogger and playwright. She has a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. Like her main character in Riversong, Tess is from a small town in southern Oregon. She currently lives in Snoqualmie, Washington with her husband, two small daughters and a teenage stepson. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.Tess is busy writing frequent posts for her blog “Inspiration For Ordinary Life” on her website and is finishing up last rewrites on her second novel, an historical fiction set in 1930’s Alabama, inspired by a short story written by her great-grandmother. Find her novel at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You can also find Tess on Twitter and Facebook.

Tracey M. Hansen

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Tracey M. Hansen grew up in the wilds of Cape Coral, FL where she still unwillingly resides today.  She lives with a dime piece she calls ‘ManPal’ and three very feisty fur-kids. With her best of friends scattered around the globe, Tracey spends her time in a dark corner in fetal position, sucking her thumb and crying while listening to Enya.  Her campaign, ‘A bottle a day keeps the…who the fuck cares’, is catching on like wildfire in the alcoholic writing community.  She is afraid of flying, the dark, bees and Rosie O’Donnell…not necessarily in that order. Her goals are to have a restraining order filed against her by a celebrity and world peace…in that order. Tracey went to Catholic School which explains so much.  Her constant caffeine high allows her to write without thinking of the repercussions, so she has a tendency to offend people.  Luckily, she doesn’t give a shit.

She has two books coming out in 2012, NOT A PERFECT MOM and WRITE FOR THE FIGHT, both brought to you courtesy of Booktrope Publishing. Her first novel titled, WHY THE FUCK DOES WRITING THIS THING TAKE SO LONG, is due out when she stops procrastinating summer 2075.

You can stalk Tracey at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Lost Romantic

Monday, March 19th, 2012

What happens when you can no longer write what you want to write? I write romance, er, well, I used to. It always felt right to me. It was not uncommon for my mind to drift off during the day and find myself dreaming of romantic gestures, sensual dialogue and even steamy sex scenes.

This past December I had to get an MRI done on my left knee. I don’t know how many of you have had an MRI done but they can be loud, and therefore intimidating, suckers. To help ease their patient’s nerves the hospital offers headphones with your choice of music to listen for the duration of the test. I didn’t have my ipod with me so I settled for a local pop station and away we went.

At first the music was just fodder in my ear. I really wasn’t listening to it, it was just taking the edge off of the machine gun sound from the MRI machine. Then a love song came on, I can’t remember the song specifically but it had a nice melody and immediately set my mind adrift.

I started to picture a woman laying right where I was, listening to music. It’s a song she likes but it reminds her of her boyfriend, no, make that ex-boyfriend. They had just broken up for one of those classic romance novel misunderstandings, but of course, since it was my book it would have to be something more than just a misunderstanding. (I mean really, can’t people just talk to each other and just, I dunno, ask what the problem is instead of just assuming you know and getting all pissed off about it?)

Anyway, when the song is done she sighs a breath of relief until she hears the first few chords of the next song. It was the song he used to sing to her when they were first dating. The song transports her back to a time of young love, hopeful dreams and long summer nights. Her heart breaks again over the loss of that love, of that innocence. (more…)

Yeah, I Pinned That

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

About 98% of readers of this blog find me via social networking. I have to say, I love Twitter; to me it’s the biggest and best social networking site out there. I can connect to people I’ve never met and most of them actually follow me and care about what I have to say.  I have a Facebook account, both personal and professional but not a Google Plus because let’s just face it, it’s just regurgitating what I wrote on Twitter and Facebook.

With that last thought in my mind I was quite skeptical when Pinterest entered the realm of social networking. However, I admit that I was secretly interested. Over the years I’ve been collecting various craft ideas or project ideas for the kids or my husband and the idea of having them all in one place to pull from was pretty exciting.

Even with my increasing curiosity over the site, no one really said, “YOU HAVE TO BE HERE!” and I was already struggling under the weight of being a mom, a writer, a wife, a friend, a trainer, a bus driver, a twitter addict, amongst other things I didn’t think I could handle one more hat.

But I couldn’t deny the buzz that was going around the internet about this little site for long. A very good friend of mine, Janelle Jensen, wrote an in depth blog post about the dangers of the site in terms of copyright infringement. After reading her post I didn’t think I would want to participate in it. However, after some prodding from several other friends (I’m looking at you, Veronica) I thought that the least I could do is go there and make up my own mind about it.

That was two weeks ago. I am now an addict.  (more…)

A Return to Self

Monday, March 12th, 2012

I used to be an excellent organizer. I was one of those freaks that would color coordinate anything and everything.  If I could designate it a color and categorize it with other similar things I was in heaven. And don’t even get me started on my incessant need to alphabetize things. I worked in a library when I was younger and at Blockbuster Video during high school and college, to say that I alphabetize in my sleep is not exaggerating.

I used to love writing down and keeping a schedule down to the minute. It’s not that I was obsessive, if something happened and I couldn’t follow the schedule I never freaked out. In fact, I did quite the opposite; I got excited because it meant I got to make a new schedule. Ok, so that in itself could be considered a tad bit obsessive.

Scheduling gave me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of direction. Needless to say, I am not nearly as organized as I once was and I have but one excuse… well, two. They go by the nicknames of Peanut and Trouble. Yep, like most problems that happen in my life I blame my children, lovingly, of course. ;)

For years leading up to my pregnancies I’ve been told, “Once you have kids you’re on their schedule.” While those words of wisdom are true that didn’t mean that I should throw away years of organizational bliss. If anything, I should have stepped it up a notch. Instead, I threw the baby out with the bath water. Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t use that specific idiom but you get my drift. (more…)

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Growing up I was known to be somewhat of a storyteller. Actually, they didn’t even sugarcoat it with that, they called me a straight out liar.

You have to understand, I needed attention. Ok, that sounds a bit pretentious. I mean, there I was the youngest, the only girl with three older brothers and I had the cutest, curliest red hair imaginable. There’s no doubt I had any problems getting people to notice me.  However, once I had their attention, I needed to keep it.

From a very young age I learned how to read people. I can tell when someone is interested in what I have to say and I learned when to pull back from a story or push through. It wasn’t easy; I got caught lying a lot growing up, but I like to think over the years I pulled a few doozies over people that to this day they don’t know about.

And for that, I’m extremely embarrassed and ashamed.

You see, as I got better, the lies got more extreme. It became almost a game to me; who could I trick, who could I get to believe me? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t only use it for evil, it helped me immensely with acting and I pull it out when I write, what writer doesn’t? (more…)

All For the Love of Shoes

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

“So, what’ll it take to motivate you? Should I take away tv time,” my husband asked with a sly smirk on his face.

I slid my foot into my black converse and started to tie the worn out laces. “Noooo, dad. I have no idea what’ll it take to get me writing again. Every time I set goals or a schedule I never follow through so what’s the point?” I straightened my legs out in front of me and studied my old black chucks.

“What do you think, babe, should my next pair be pink or purple? I’m thinking I need some color in my life.”

“We could set up a shoe budget and every week you reach your goal we can put money into it.”

My eyes shifted to the man sitting on the floor trying to put shoes on a wiggly two year old. I was afraid to make any sudden movements. Does he know what he just said? Is he really serious? Oh my God, think of all the shoes! Not soon after all those thoughts raced through my mind his eyes met mine.

“Ah, I see we have found your carrot.”

“My carrot? I thought we were talking shoes?”

“We are. You know the motivational theory about the carrot and the stick…”

I had no idea what he was talking about and I have to admit, I was still thinking about shoes, sparkly, sexy shoes. Before I knew it his fingers were snapping in front of me.

“Karen! Stay with me, Karen. Look, there are two ways to get a horse to move, punishment or reward. You either swat it on the butt with a stick to get it move faster or you dangle a carrot in front of it to get it move forward. You obviously respond to the reward motivation. Get it?”

I stood up and adjusted my shirt. “I sure do. If I write I get shoes.”

He smiled at me like a proud teacher and zipped up his jacket. I returned the smile and turned to leave before adding, “And you just called me a horse, but if you tell me more about the stick theory I’ll forget about it.” ;)

(more…)