Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Journals & Forgiveness by Debbie Williamson

I started out keeping a journal. I was on my fourth year with this journal when I decided to make it a memoir. It wasn’t really my decision to write a book; it was a message from the other side. I had been ill and one evening while I was in bed, I was trying to finish my journals for my children. I wasn’t sure if I would be around much longer. I had a visit from my grandmother on the other side; she told me I was going to write a book. She told me to put my life stories along with hers and mom’s in a book. She said it would not only help my children, but it would help a lot of people understand what forgiveness really means. She said I was meant to do this and I needed to just believe in the message. My journals were much more personal and detailed then the book and they were also addressed to my children. So when I started to feel better I began the process of putting my words into a book. The chapters about my childhood were the most difficult part to write about. It is a part of my life that I am not fond of reliving and to write about it you relive it. This was never in detail in my journals and I ended up hiring a ghostwriter to interview me and help me transform my memories into words on paper. My journal entries about my adult life were in detail and it was not difficult to transform them into the book. It was actually healing to watch the book take form and realize with clarity what an incredible life I had. The gifts that I had been given I could now share with people and hope that the message of forgiveness would be understood. The dream of writing “Stand” was always about the message of forgiveness.

It took me a long time to convince my mother to help me with her part of the book. She wasn’t ready to share her personal life with the world and she had not even begun to heal from the abuse she had lived with. I told her about grandma coming to see me and it was months after that she told me she had prayed about the book and the answers she received were, to just do it. She finally agreed to write the book with me. We were going to interview her about her childhood because the memories were so very hurtful and this process helped me get through them. When it came time to start that process she passed away and left me with her journals. She also made me promise her that I would finish the book and not give up. She said she believed in my visit from grandma and she knew how important this book would be. I kept my promise and started the process of reading all her journals. She had always kept journals and they were in meticulous detail. She had about sixty journals that I read through looking for the information I needed. It was not an easy task for me, reading about my mother’s childhood horrors nearly took its toll on me. I came very close to giving up several times. I kept a clear focus on the message I had to share and when the first draft was done I sat alone in my office, and the impact of missing her finally set in. I was glad I kept my promise to her; somehow she knew that her journals would be devastating for me to read. The book was compiled from mine, my mother’s and a few of my grandmother’s journals. I have often thought about those journals and what to do with them. I decided to leave them for my grandchildren, and although some of them are heartbreaking, there is a lot of history in them.

The message of forgiveness has been misunderstood in the past and the impact it could have on our world is important.

I never understood how profound the meaning of forgiveness was until I went through it. Forgiveness can change the cycle of abuse and stop it from passing to future generations. I believe this with all my heart and I am proof that you can change your family and stop abuse from continuing on in its vicious cycle.

Healing yourself through forgiveness will change our world!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Neglected Genre by Slawomir Rapala

Writing in a genre as unique as Fantasy is difficult because you don’t get a lot of credibility as a writer and as a result you must strive twice as hard to get your point across. Fantasy has always been a neglected genre, dismissed as frivolous at best and as down right offending at worst. The truth, however, is that the genre offers us, as writers, tools that our mainstream colleagues do not enjoy and which enable us to venture deeper both into the human psyche and the structure of the world around us. We enjoy worlds not constricted by the rules that govern everyday lives: neither the laws of physics and science, nor the social rules and norms that define cultures and societies around us.

Consequently, I feel, if used properly, Fantasy offers us an opportunity to create something unique and rein-free: a world and characters that are completely subjected to us, as creators. As writers, therefore, we can take what we observe around us and make a social commentary by superimposing these observations onto a world and characters unrestricted by rules. This, I believe, allows us to arrive at unique insights about the world and the people around us: sometimes scary, sometimes difficult to accept, but mostly, completely blunt and honest.

The beauty of Fantasy is that even when you take the social commentary away; in fact, even if it is not present at all in the work, it is still a thoroughly interesting and fascinating read, offering the common reader a form of escapism. Fantasy can be easy and fun to read, offering a glimpse of a world that’s borne out of the author’s imagination and even if the reader does not wish to involve himself in the social commentary that underlies most of Fantasy and would rather take the work solely at face value, he can still spend an enjoyable few hours that can be best described as carefree and pleasantly detached from the reality of everyday life.

Slawomir Rapala
Cambridge, June 1st

For more information about Slawomir and his new release, The Legend of Aezubah: The Crimson General, visit Bewildering Press.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Call for Submissions, Writing Challenge and Heroic Fantasy plus Free Poster

Discover author Slawomir Rapala at Bragging Rites and read the synopsis to his new release, The Legend of Aezubah: The Crimson General.

The Legend of Aezubah: The Crimson General is a sword and sorcery epic of human aspirations and tragedy. It shows how anyone can be both a villain and a hero and how even the smallest actions can change the world. You can order your copy from Bewildering Press.

Don't forget to check out the latest installment of The Marsh God by Bruce Durham. A new page of the comic is added each Thursday to the Flashing Swords website. If you haven't started reading with us yet, you can still catch up. All the pages are archived.

While you're at Flashing Swords, order your copy of the Special Summer Edition. It's stuffed full of stories, poems, articles and interviews. Plus, your copy will come with a free 11 x 17 poster by artist Johnney Perkins

Flashing Swords Press is now accepting submissions for their "Rage of the Behemoth" anthology. This Heroic Adventure Anthology will contain 21 stories about the biggest, baddest, boldest behemoths ever to roar across the pages of heroic adventure! You can find all the details and guidelines here.

Like a good writing challenge? Then you'll love this! You must use the prompt given but you can write in any genre you would like, even non-fiction. This is the perfect chance to try something new and flex those creative muscles. The deadline is July 25th, there's no entry fee and there's even a small cash prize.