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writerjohnb last won the day on March 24 2012

writerjohnb had the most liked content!

About writerjohnb

  • Birthday 09/21/1947

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    Great Dismal Swamp, VA
  • Interests
    Gardening, chickens, birdwatching, reading and, of course, writing.

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  1. I've read just about all the narratives and there are also the WPA interviews in the 'thirties where the stories of elderly former slaves were recorded. There's a treasure trove of information about the history of the American South at http://docsouth.unc.edu/ JohnB
  2. Some of you may remember me; I made several posts in Thumper's Corner last month. Historical Novel reviews has just posted a great review of my novel about Moses Grandy and slavery in my area, and I'd like to share it with you. Historical Novel Review at http://www.historicalnovelreview.com …and Remember that I Am a Man – The Life of Moses Grandy by John Bushore is a superbly SHOWN story of a strong, humble being born as a Negro, and is an adept portrayal of his life from childhood until death. According to the author’s notes at the end of the novel, this book was written with several purposes in mind…and after a great deal of research. I didn’t have to read his narrative to know the purposes because I realized them during the reading of his book. Although I’ve long known about slavery and professed no accountability for it, this was an eye-opening experience. Everyone of us is most likely a descendent of someone who owned slaves and treated human beings as property. I’ve always considered the attitude young blacks carry as the excessive baggage of their ancestry, but I have a much better understanding of the bitterness that has transcended time. Mr. Bushore made Moses Grandy my new friend, and I took his treatment and betrayals very personally. As for the research, I thoroughly admire Mr. Bushore for doing his homework and knowing his subject so well. Talk about putting a reader in the character’s shoes…I walked as a slave through every page. I dripped with sweat at the back-breaking work, swatted bugs in the Dismal Swamp, and cried when my babies were sold. The few writing issues that jumped out at my editorial eye were minimal considering the power of the story, the emotions and the reality of Mr. Bushore’s descriptions. This story is definitely a keeper…if not on a shelf, then in the back of your mind so that never again in this country will we so devalue the worth of others simply because of the color of their skin. As a postscript to my review, the timing of reading about Moses was further enhanced by watching the TV program, “Who Do You Think You Are,” where three celebrities traced their roots back to slavery and were appalled at learning their own personal family history. I so wished I could have recommended they read Mr. Bushore’s novel. I missed that opportunity, but I can certainly make that suggestion to everyone who reads this. I’m definitely going to be looking for the companion novel, Boy In Chains which is a true story of the Great Dismal Swamp. Although listed as suitable for mid-grade students through young adults, I intend to share it with my grandson to help him learn there is no place for prejudice in his life. Mr. Bushore is a three-time recipient of the James Award and two of his stories are included in a university course. He’s a multi-genre author, with dozens of stories and poems in both e-book and print. You can view his website at http:www.johnbushore.com and find his books listed for sale on htpp://monkeyjohnbookstore.homestead.com. Please treat yourself. I’m so thankful that I picked this book to review, and I thank Mr. Bushore for the opportunity to examine my own values. Reviewed by Ginger Simpson http://www.misging.blogspot.com I'm glad (and proud) that I made someone re-evaluate their opinion about race relations. JohnB
  3. writergirl, Good luck. I tried this promotion with 2 of my novels last month and it seemed to do very little to increase sales after the promo. But they were "niche" books that probably aren't good for promoting that way. And it's only been 3 weeks, so maybe it will pay off down the road. JohnB
  4. You might want to mention that it's free on line in .PDF format. http://www.ammpublishingllc.com/images/prologueandchapt1.pdfSimilar I've already downloaded it on your recommendation and the first few page are very good, with some really interesting characters.
  5. I know what you mean about bad reviews. I entered "...and Remember that I Am a Man." in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award two years ago. The first two reviews I got were good and I advanced to the quarter finals. Then the book was slammed by a reviewer and rejected. The reviewer didn't even critique the novel, she said I had no right to be telling Moses Grandy's story, basically. I guess she thought I'd ripped the story off, and gave me no credit for the three years I took writing it to be true to the original story as I could. BUT I didn't let it bother me (much). That's her opinion and she's welcome to it. But I have enough confidence as a writer to know when I've done well or not. And I expected I'd get some flak for being white and writing black history. another BUT History isn't black or white - it's black and white. I did all that research to show how society worked at that time, why Moses Grandy was forced to endure such horrible treatment. It can't be justified, but it happened, and it should not be swept under the rug. Thanks for all your nice comments. Take care, JohnB
  6. Okay, I called in sick today and don't feel up to anything else, so I'll reply in depth. Twenty years ago, I was a shy geek with an idea for a sci-fi novel, life developing around a hydrothermal vent in a deep cave. I loved the idea, but soon learned that, although I knew how to write, I didn't know how to write fiction. After several years of trying, I joined a writers group. Although primarily interested in novels, I began to write short stories and poetry to develop my skills. After a few years of that, I began submitting to on-line magazines and anthologies. After editors began accepting my submissions, winning a few minor awards, and receiving fan e-mails, my shyness began to leave. I think the exercise of coming up for short story ideas is what developed my creativity for original ideas. Other than Moses Grandy (who is NOT my creation), I never developed a fondness for any characters, until my latest novel, NECESSARY EVIL. Tadtaotao (Tad) is an orphaned native boy living in a leper colony on the tiny island of Tinian in World War II. In the Chamorro culture, orphans are exceedingly rare, because the clan is all important and a child will have his extended family. It weighs heavily on Tad. He's not very likable, his emotions are kept deep inside, along with his beliefs, and he doesn't trust anyone or anything other than his adoptive mother. How could he trust, being shunned all his life for living with lepers, witnessing the cruelties of his Japanese overlords, and seeing the Americans kill by burning people alive with flamethrowers and firebombs--including horrifically killing his adoptive mother? As for creativity, here's how this novel came about. I wanted to dedicate a book to my father, a WWII vet. I was stationed in the Marianas Islands back in the 60's, when rusting tanks and landing craft were all over the place. Tinian is the island that was used for launching the Hiroshima mission. My idea: What if a native boy stowed away on the Enola Gay for the first atomic bombing? My point of view: a perspective of the brutality of WWII from the perspective of a neutral, someone who didn't "have a dog in the fight." My theme: A coming of age novel, or bildungsroman My plot: unraveling the mystery of a secret squadron on the island, with a subplot of Tad's condition in life. My mission: RESEARCH - The islands, their culture, their foodstuffs, B29 bombers, Manhattan Project, the Chamoru and Japanese languages, the Tinian invasion. So, you can see, creativity is a continuing process, building idea upon idea, researching threads to the finish, and weaving it all together in a coherent gripping story. For some reason, I'm good at that last part, sort of like I'm very good at crossword puzzles and word games. (Wheel of Fortune? Quit watching--too easy) Some people can throw footballs or make baskets, etc., writing just comes naturally to me. But don't discount the time I spent with short stories, working at my craft. inadvertent personal touches? I don't think so. Reminds me of one of my writing group members, an English Lit Prof. He said once, "John, one of the things I like about your writing is your inadvertent humor." I could have strangled him because I WORK at that humor. But yes, I treasure my novels, even the genre stuff. Only another writer would notice the work that goes into setting up an entire novel for that one climactic scene. Only I know the "lightbulb" moments when I came up with a new twist that improved a novel. Yes, I read for children, and dressed as a pirate at that. But I don't read my own stuff, even though I've written children's books, stories, and poems. I read Dr. Seuss and other classics. Can you imagine the fun of reading "Arrgh, I do not like green eggs and ham, me maties?" I'm not a teacher, I work with computers, so I'm in all the schools. It is so obvious that racism is acquired, along with many other traits. The elementary kids don't have a bit of it, the Middle schoolers are getting into it, and the high schoolers exhibit racism -- or not. I see less and less of it over the years. And for every "thug" there's a "gentleman." For every racist, there's a kind and gentle soul who sees others for what they hold within. I see dozens of kids everyday and, I assure you, the battle against racism (and other ism's) isn't lost. Our kids and grandkids will have the internet's vast arena at their fingertips. Some will use it to see what the latest pop-culture icon is up to, but others will gain knowledge and knowledge is the bane of racism. I started off to write sci-fi, but soon learned I had a "voice." When it's my turn to leave, I want to be remembered for trying to make a difference. My last three novels have been about sexual intolerance, culture that encourages slavery, and man's inhumanity to man. But my current project is horror, with no redeeming literacy value whatsoever, as a sequel to an earlier work. I don't hesitate to discuss race and culture (which is more divisive than race, sometimes) with any person of any race. I'll try to discuss reasonably and rationally and am willing to give examples of why I believe as I do. If your beliefs are different than mine, but are based on reason, I might change my mind. In 64 years, I'm proud to say I've changed my mind thousands of times. I never thought about race relations in depth until I came across Moses Grandy's narrative and began researching the local history of slavery. It awakened me to the fact that an author can influence opinions. Most people won't read a dry, ancient narrative, but might be swayed by that same story when told in a way that engages and gives them something to think about, without being preachy. I just published Necessary Evil last week. I was too late. I dedicated it to my father-in-law, who passed away last November, and to my father, who is in the final stages of Alzheimer's and probably won't last the month. I was the only one who ever discussed their WWII experiences with them and I wish I could do so again. So, of course I hold this novel dear and I urge you not to worry about putting your past in your writing, put your future in there, too. Okay, I'm getting off the soapbox. Take care, JohnB
  7. Don't dis your own book. The world has plenty of book reviewers to do it for you, I've learned. I like it, it's edgy and contemporary and well written. Take care, JohnB
  8. The new wave of self-publishing is both a blessing and a bane. I've self-published 3, and had 3 published by small press publishers. Still nowhere near the big time. I started to write over twenty years ago and realized I didn't know good writing from bad. I was lucky enough to find and join a writers' group with two Eng. Lit Profs and a high school English teacher. Our goal was to hone our craft and become published. I didn't submit anything until I'd been with the group for several years and finally started getting published in magazines and anthologies. In other words, I paid my dues, because magazines won't accept writing with typos, grammar issues, etc. As a writer, I make sure that EVERYTHING I write is self-edited at least twice, even forum posts. My writing is my reputation. That being said, there's always a possibility of overlooked typos. But if you see a book blurb with poor editing, you can be sure there's a lot more errors between the covers. Take care, JohnB
  9. I think I've read all the slave narratives and much more - like I said, 6 years research. My favorite source is http://docsouth.unc.edu/ where the University of North Carolina has digitalized many old documents and made them available online. For anyone who loves history, it's a treasure trove. I've also, over nearly 40 years, visited nearly every plantation house, slave quarters, etc. that are open to the public. In my humble opinion, too many people focus on the Civil War without reading the prior history leading up to it. Besides my own book (blush, ahem), I recommend The Waterman's Song by David Cecelski of UNC. http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-5112.html I don't know the author, but I picked up a copy in the Museum of the Albemarle, in Elizabeth City, NC, and was fascinated by some of the history revealed. You'll probably be surprised how much African Americans were involved in early maritime affairs. Take care, JohnB
  10. I'm also a white writer who (almost inadvertently) wrote a book about slavery from the black perspective. I had finished a couple of genre books and was researching the Great Dismal Swamp, where I live, for a possible science fiction story. I came upon the 1843 narrative of the life of Moses Grandy and was fascinated. I was also disappointed when I checked around the school system where I work and few teachers, black or white, had ever heard of this local historical figure. My original idea was to write a mid-grade novel that could be used to teach during black history month, thinking it would be beneficial if our children had a local black hero to celebrate. I asked some of my teacher friends if they'd like to collaborate, but they declined. I also asked if it was okay for a white to write such a story and they urged me to do it. I began the mid-grade novel, but I got swept up by it, researching for 6 years. It turned into a 135,000 word epic, exploring how culture, religion, politics, economics, etc. allowed slavery to occur when all were supposed to be treated equally. I think I succeeded and am immodest enough to say that I think I "captured the moment." As a white yankee whose ancestry was mostly Canadian, I was shocked by some of what I learned of abolitionist hypocrisy, such as northern abolitionist churches buying and selling cotton. I learned that Rhode Island, which had given blacks the right to vote, rescinded that right as soon as there were enough African-Americans in their state to actually influence the outcome of an election. I learned that the Quakers originally allowed slavery and there was a big controversy in that religion before it was banned. It was hammered home to me that those who might say, "I'm from the north, MY ancestors never condoned slavery," is living in fantasy land. Any white who did not fight for abolition was guilty of condoning it. I now actively work to promote racial equality, including attending seminars, reading to children, etc. My latest book, published last week, was about a native Chamorro boy in the Marianas Islands during WW2. Another character was a park ranger, another an explosives expert, neither of which profession I've ever done. I even wrote a book about gender switch (sort of fantasy romance with tongue in cheek) that explored sexual equality and acceptance of sexual practices, written because I have a gay daughter, who I'm proud was brave enough to "come out" at age 16, and works for women's affairs (one of her majors). My slavery book was not targetted toward African American readers. My romance was not intended for transgenders (one of whom called me a hack). I don't write for any specific audience, I write about what fascinates me and have never written in the same gender twice. I only just learned about this forum from a fellow writer. So now that I've spouted off, I'll go find your "new member" thread and introduce myself. Glad to be here. John Bushore http://www.johnbushore.com
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