Authenticity, Vulnerability, and Synchronicity: My 2017 Writer’s Digest Conference Story

Wow. Was Writer’s Digest Conference really three weeks ago? Somehow it seems longer ago than that (maybe because I caught a cold on the final day, so it took a couple weeks to resume my normal routine). Yet I still remember that weekend as clearly as the last book I read – because the ideas and lessons I carried home this time struck very close to the heart.

It’s not right, then,  to write this year’s report as an in-depth overview like I did for last year’s. Instead, I’d like to share why WDC 2017 was so meaningful to me, more so than the 2016 or 2015 editions. So if you’re interested in learning about (or refreshing your memory of) the conference format, venue,  and range of writing and publishing topics, check out last year’s post. Otherwise, let’s start not at the beginning, but at the moment when the impact of this conference first began to sink in.
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The Power and Importance of Compassion in Literature

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I’ve been thinking about compassion lately. It’s impossible not to, with everything that’s going on in our world. Terrorist attacks, increased racial tensions, insensitivity toward other minority groups, and the most vitriolic U.S. presidential election I can remember (notice the timing of this post, fellow Americans?)… From a social perspective, 2016 has been a bleak year, and I’m deeply worried about where we as a society are heading.

But let’s not discuss politics. Instead, let’s focus on a topic that I think many of us will agree on: the power of compassion in literature. By compassion, I mean moments when characters show kindness, mercy, and similar qualities. These actions can draw us closer to those characters, move us to tears, and make those stories all the more memorable. And during these turbulent times in our world, finding – and writing – stories that demonstrate compassion may be more important than ever.

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5 on the 5th: Five Reasons Why BBC America’s “Orphan Black” Is Awesome

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On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it’s five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives us an opportunity to talk about other subjects that aren’t normally discussed here at the blog. 

I know last month’s 5 on the 5th was also TV-oriented… But Game of Thrones isn’t the only awesome show that’s back for a new season. Orphan Black launched its fourth season on April 14th on BBC America; and though I’ve mentioned it before at the blog, it’s time to dedicate a post to this crazy-fantastic series. 😀

And what’s the best way to do that if many readers aren’t familiar with Orphan Black? To give you five reasons to start watching it!

NOTE: This following post contains limited spoilers from Seasons 1 through 3 of Orphan Black.

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The Premio Dardos Award

I’m still in the process of catching up with several blog tags and awards that came my way over the summer. Today it’s the Premio Dardos Award, courtesy of Zezee With Books. (Thank you, Zezee!)

The Premio Dardos Award was brand new to me when Zezee nominated me back in July. And unlike most blog awards, it’s not given strictly out of goodwill or friendship. Instead, it recognizes bloggers for creative and original writing influenced by cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values. A very meaningful award, in other words; and I’m humbled and honored that someone would consider the work I do here to be worthy of this kind of recognition. 🙂

Here are the rules for the Premio Dardos Award, along with the graphic: Continue reading

#1000Speak: On Tolerance, Diversity, and the Influences on One’s Worldviews

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I don’t consider myself a strong debater, so I tend to avoid politically charged discussions. Even my horror about the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina and my admiration for the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same sex marriage wasn’t enough to help me summon enough bravery to share my views about tolerance. That was before a recent conversation angered me, and compelled me to commit.

It was the day after the SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage. My parents had invited me over for dinner, and somehow the topic came up. One of my family members said this in response: Continue reading