I was lucky enough to participate in a collaborative effort put together recently by Booktrope and Tess Hardwick (Riversong) and Tracey Hansen – it’s called Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays. I am obviously proud of it, maybe more proud than the time I won the UIL First Place Editorial Writing Competition when I was in high school and wrote for the student newspaper (which actually happened, I’m not making this one up).
I’m more proud of Write for the Fight because I kind of knew that I was going to win the UIL thing and didn’t work so hard for it. The topic was “whether or not we should allow prayers before school sponsored sporting events” and I went with arguing the side that I was pretty certain I would be the only kid in the room arguing for. I grew up in Texas, I’ll let you guess how I bucked the trend. I guess I wrote a good editorial piece, the judges seemed to think so, but I was also more arguing for what I knew would win instead of putting any real effort into what I was writing from any sort of deep held philosophical perspective.
For all practical purposes, I wasn’t writing – I was counting cards at the casino and hoping I wouldn’t get caught.
Write for the Fight was a different sort of deal – I respect Tess, Tracey, Marni, and all the other really great writers involved – and I felt that if I counted cards this time I’d be doing the rest of them an injustice – again, Texas, weird sense of honor down here. When I had to write my essays: What do you miss about being 5 years old?, What would you tell your 20-year-old-self?, What, at this point in your life, do you want, wish and dream of for your life going forward?, What would you want said about you on your 80th birthday? : I felt that I needed to be really honest and speak from the heart. That’s not really what my writing is traditionally about – if you’ve read Billy Purgatory and you follow this blog, you know that I am a #badass. I write about: skateboard monster killing, heroes with 1000 faces, motorcycles on fire, Devil Birds, Time Zombies, emotionally-unavailable vampire girlfriends, and Sword Witches.
I mean, I’m seriously considering plotting out a book about Witches VS Robots…
Well, regardless if Witches VS Robots is a good idea or not – the point I’m making is that my writing is normally meant for straight entertainment value. I like taking people on adventures to places that they’ll probably never go (cause I make that BS up!), I like giving people something to turn off their brains and have some fun, and above all else, I love making them laugh and feel better about themselves after their done reading.
Could I write essays in such a serious book? For awhile there, I thought that I’d never be able to answer any of these questions and I was sort of in crisis a little about the whole thing. That’s until it hit me – just because the word essay is part of the title it doesn’t mean that this is a serious book at all. Yeah, parts of it are serious, sure, but just as much of the really great life stories that these authors from all over have to say in this book isn’t so serious. These stories run the whole gambit from light-hearted and fun to thought provoking and spiritually deep. These authors I was lucky enough to work with all opened up and shared stories from their lives with the world. Just because technically they’re essays doesn’t mean they’re snooty book-learnin’ stuff that we had to write in college in those awful blue books and turn in for a grade.
Doesn’t mean they’re some silly question some judge thought up to make high school kids argue about in a fake newspaper article so they could win some fake gold trophy pin (which, by the by, looks really nice with those Texas Star imitation gold-cuff links I’m prone to wear on special occasions). They’re not really essays at all in my mind. They’re really good stories that will make the people who read them go off on adventures they might never go on – but they’re guaranteed to resonate on the reader’s own life adventures. There might be a few tears, there are definite laughs, and there will be smiles when we realize something about that sameness we all share that Tess Hardwick is so fond of blogging about.
We really hope you’ll consider reading some stories we wrote that speak of journey’s we took in our lives. We also hope that these stories will spark memories, hopes, and new dreams about the story your own life is writing for you.
Authors Tess Hardwick and Tracey Hansen, inspired by the myriad voices in the world, compile a melting pot of life paths from over a dozen unique individuals, each exploring the four timeless questions we’ve all pondered:
· What do you miss about being 5 years old?
· What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
· What, at this point in your life, do you want, wish and dream of for your life going forward?
· What would you want said about you on your 80th birthday?
These experiences make us who we are, defining our personalities, perspectives and dreams as we move through the seasons of life – from memories at age 5 to the person we hope to be described as on our 80th birthday.
From the thoughtful to the blunt, experienced to the young – WRITE FOR THE FIGHT is a humorous and emotional journey that will take you back to the best of times and get you energized for the future. All writer royalties will be donated to charities benefiting the fight against breast cancer.
F. Jo Bruce
Jesse James Freeman
Karla J. Nellenbach
And speaking of stories…
Marni Mann is one of the writers involved in Write for the Fight, plus she also wrote the awesome Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales!
“I could feel my chin falling towards my chest, my back hunching forward. My body was acting on its own, and my mind was empty, like all my memories had been erased. There was scenery behind my lids. Aqua colored water and powdery sand that extended for miles. I was never going back to coke. I wanted more heroin. And I wanted it now.”
Leaving behind a nightmarish college experience, nineteen-year-old Nicole and her best friend Eric escape their home of Bangor, Maine to start a new life in Boston. Fragile and scared, Nicole desperately seeks a new beginning to help erase her past. But there is something besides freedom waiting for her in the shadows–a drug that will make every day a nightmare.
With one taste, the love that once flowed through Nicole’s veins turns into cravings. Tracks mark the passing of time, and heroin’s grip gets tighter. It holds her hand through deaths and prostitution, but her addiction keeps her in the darkness. When her family tries to strike a match to help light her way, Nicole must choose between a life she can hardly remember, or a love for heroin she’ll never forget.
…the talk of the day (she’s been hovering all over the Kindle Top Five today *Update* Hit #1 today!!!) and the Queen of the Prom, Tess Hardwick! She wrote a fantastic book called Riversong, which, at the time of this blog posting, is FREE on Amazon Kindle!
When Lee Tucker’s husband commits suicide, he leaves her pregnant and one million dollars in debt to a loan shark. Out of options, she escapes to her deceased mother’s dilapidated house located in a small Oregon town that, like her, is financially ruined, heartbroken and in desperate need of a fresh start. Lee’s resilience leads to a plan for a destination restaurant named Riversong, to new chances for passion and love, and to danger from her dead husband’s debt as her business blooms.
Author Tess Hardwick assembles a colorful cast of endearing small-town characters and takes you on a journey that will make you believe in the possibilities of life – even in the face of overwhelming adversity and unimaginable grief. Lee Tucker is the kind of woman you find yourself rooting for long after the last page is read.
A surprising mix of romance, humor, friendship, intrigue and gourmet food – Riversong entertains while reminding you of life’s greatest gifts.
Wrapping it up…
…Billy Purgatory happens to be the most badass skateboarder and sweet talker any broad can meet–even at the age of ten. He is also the target of supernatural forces he can’t understand, and doesn’t want to.
Billy just can’t seem to avoid all things Monster. Growing up, he encounters Devil Birds, gypsies, Time Zombies and vampires (and not the kind you want to bring home to your Pop, either). He tries to convince himself they’re not real by joining the army, fixes cars and even goes to Vegas. But whenever Billy thinks he’s put it all behind him, a monster shows up, and it’s usually in the form of the beautiful Anastasia…
Billy Purgatory is Jesse James Freeman’s first novel. He’s also studied psychology and film and scripted comics. When he’s not writing books, Jesse James trains falcons to kill Leprechaun Robots, and will continue to do so until the world is relatively safe. Jesse did actually win an editorial writing award when he was in high school, but he lies about practically everything else that he posts on this blog. He is currently plotting his new novel Witches VS Robots.