Five Links Loleta Abi


Five Links…7/19/19

Loleta Abi


1. “Self-publishing a book can get quite expensive. A good cover designer can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and the editorial costs can set you back even more.

While there are many important expenses, there are also many ways to spend money and get nothing useful in return.

For example, take the Bowker SAN. This is a $150 service that lists your mailing address in a Bowker database. While it might be useful to register an official mailing address, that’s not what SAN is used for. People can only look up your address in the SAN database by the SAN, not your name. Since you have to give someone your SAN in the first place, why not give them your address instead and save yourself the $150?” I’ve talked to other authors who’ve agreed that marketing your first book on overload is a waste of time. It’s two or three books in that you want to go all out on.

2. “Author Anne Lamott tells a story about a time when her little brother was overwhelmed with a science project that he’d put off until the last minute. It involved cataloguing birds. The night before it was due, he turned to his father and, in despair, asked, “How will I ever get this all done?” His father smiled and answered, “Bird by bird, son, bird by bird.”

Those words became the title of one of my favorite Lamott books and my own mantra as I’m writing my second romantic series. My current writing project is the Four Irish Brothers Winery series with Tule Publishing. Each book is one brother’s story. I’m a pantser—I just sit down and start telling a story. That’s always worked pretty well for me, even when writing my first series, The Women of Willow Bay. So when I started writing about the Flaherty brothers, I began with an event that affected all the characters—the death of their father.”

3. “J.G. Ballard was an extraordinarily prolific writer, and for the majority of his career he managed this while also being a single father of three—his wife died in 1964, and Ballard never remarried (though he did meet a woman a few years later who would become his longterm partner). This in itself is a good lesson to those of us who cite the stresses and responsibilities of our lives for never finishing that novel. But of course, Ballard didn’t just write a lot—he wrote a lot of genre-bending, philosophical, often prescient works that have had a massive influence on literary and pop culture. This is all to say that there are worse people to take writing advice from, and few better. So on what would have been the author’s 88th birthday, I’ve collected some of Ballard’s best wisdom below. May our writing all be a bit more Ballardian as a result.”

4. “My family lived in Germany for five years, and when we first got there, we went to a German restaurant. We soon learned that we had a lot to learn. When my twelve-year-old son asked a German waitress where the bathrooms were, she gave him a cookie.

In spite of the difficulty of learning a foreign language, I am in awe of foreigners who are able to learn our difficult English language. Still, the complex and convoluted nature of our language is addicting and wonderful.

That is why we writers have become addicted to the English language. Isaac Asimov once said, “If my doctor told me I had only six months to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d just type faster.”

5. “The legendary filmmaker, author, and speaker John Waters is a font of wisdom both profound and profane. In Mr. Know-It-All, an essay collection that recalls his film career and his adventures past and present, he dispenses prescriptive advice in a way that only he can: “Young filmmakers, go Hollywood whenever you can. It’s not lonely at the top, I promise you,” and “The urge to smell a fart is universal. Remember that.”

I talked to America’s favorite filth elder about the perils of Goodreads, taking LSD at the age of 70, and the unexpected public figure he tried to rope into making the sequel to Pink Flamingos.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “Okay, I’m sure you’re all sick of my love affair with odd bits of information so…I promise, this will be the last [for now]. 

Allow me to introduce you to the Harpy Eagle of Central America:”

2. “Gatekeepers have always served a crucial function, albeit a function we (readers) might not have paid much attention to until recently.

I liken gatekeepers to dams. Manmade dams serve multiple functions. They keep the good contained (e.g. robust populations of fish), and they also give us a way to control water flow and prevent disaster.

In Texas, we get a LOT of flash floods.

Rainstorms almost always hit hard and fast—too fast for the ground to have time to absorb all the water. Flash-flooding can do tremendous damage…which is why we build dams.

When a storm hits and dumps six inches of rain in a half hour, the lakes and rivers rise at terrifying speeds.”

3. “Someone told me the other day that I’m lucky. 

I smiled and agreed. And then on the bus home I thought some more about luck; about what it is, if it’s in fact anything at all. And I realised that I’m no luckier than anyone else. It’s a choice.

choose to be lucky. I work around the clock to be lucky. I go out and look for lucky. I try very hard to turn the negative life sometimes brings into lucky. Luck certainly doesn’t knock on my door with a killer cleavage and hand me a large basket of more luck. 

Yes, I’m lucky that one of my books longlisted for the Polari Prize recently, and another won the Best magazine best book of the year. I literally clapped my hands and jumped like a kid when I found out. Yes, I’m lucky that another of my books was on the main table in London’s Piccadilly Waterstones the other day. I didn’t want to leave it and couldn’t stop smiling afterwards. Yes, I’m lucky that a few of my books have made it into some magazines and newspapers. I’m so chuffed about this that I framed them. 

My lucky list is definitely long. I am lucky.”

4. “Our final visit of the workshop was to be a silent, withdrawn location that owes much of its history to its very isolation. Hidden amongst the hills of the Braes of Glenlivet, the buildings of Scalan remain invisible until you are almost upon them… even when you know they are there. Dean had chosen Scalan for its peace and solitude as much as any other reason. It was a place where it was rare to see another living soul and the land wraps itself around the low buildings.”

5. never occurred to me that a lot of readers don’t know what to write in a review.

So here’s a brief tutorial! (You may show your appreciation.)

1. Any review is better than no review.

Even a few words help. You can say “I loved it” or “This wasn’t for me” – something that brief still helps a lot. (More on that in a sec.)

2. Be honest, even if you didn’t like it.

Wait, do you want bad reviews?

I wish every review of my books was five stars and went on and on about how amazing I am, but the fact is – not every book is for every reader.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. “For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.

Audre Lorde, “Poetry Is Not a Luxury”

Years ago I wrote a story about two sisters. One became a wife and mother, the other became—what? I remember looking for a word that didn’t exist, at least not in any language I knew. A word for a woman who lives happily on her own, without a spouse or children; who is passionate about work, art, sex, friendship, care-giving, politics; who is fully and fiercely alive. Spinster, freighted with its dreary connotations—dried-up, lonely, sexless, failed—didn’t come close. I grew up reading novels in which spinster characters were pitied or ignored. They crouched like feeble gargoyles on the narrative margins, their lives undeserving, it seemed, of real attention. The word bachelor evokes freedom, independence, and sexual license, yet English has no term for a woman fulfilled in her solo life.”

2. “Asma T. Uddin, a fellow at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations and author of When Islam Is Not a Religion, has spent her career advocating for religious liberty. She spoke with comedian Zahra Noorbaksh, host of the hit podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim, about the proliferation of extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US, how racial discrimination compounds religious discrimination, and the state of religious freedom and human rights for Muslims in the U.S. When Islam is Not a Religionis now available from Pegasus Books.

Zahra Noorbakhsh: When did you know you wanted to write this book? When did you know you needed to write this book? And, were there any times you felt like you couldn’t write this book? Why and what was happening for you?”


4. “Mother Earth provides and nourishes, and we are now beginning to understand that Our Earth Mother is a living, breathing entity.  When you take stock of mankind’s greed, we have done nothing but rape and plunder her resources, wounding, defiling, and disrespecting her, and ALL life that gets in the way of those who wish to control and rule. 

Our Earth’s Mother Feminine energy is now birthing her own shift, as she raises her vibration to the next phase within the planetary alignments that happen within the cycles of the Cosmic Progression.”

5. “It’s 6:45 am, and I groan—actually groan out loud—as I log in to my scanner and find myself assigned to the fourth floor. Again.

Nobody likes the fourth floor. Sometimes, when pickers log in and draw an assignment on four, they’ll log out and back in again, rerolling the dice until they get any other floor. My suspicions about my probability-defying number of fourth-floor assignments were confirmed when we all got scolded for rerolling at standup a couple of days ago.

Here are some of the many reasons to hate the fourth floor:”

Teaser Poetry & Fiction:




4. “After a month of honeymooning at the Royal Palace in Meath, and enjoying the company of King Phillip and Queen Seren, the happy couple returned home to their own realm beneath the magnolia tree. To be honest for the first few days they were rarely seen as they kept to their chambers, fortified by exquisitely prepared meals by Chef Marcelle accompanied by copious amounts of the restorative mead, made from the fermented honey of the royal bees.

The two princesses were, of course, impatient to hear all about Prince Ronan’s family holiday home, and after much persistent chatter, and in an effort to remove them from their chambers, he promised to take them there the following summer.”


Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “It only took one look into his eyes
for her to know she was in trouble again.

Ragan returned home to celebrate her parent’s anniversary hoping they
would forgive her the secrets she’s kept from them over the last few
years. When she discovered that Adam was still living in Fairfield
Corners she hoped her secrets were safe, secrets that drove her away
three years, secrets that could change both their lives forever.”

2. “A 3am phone call is never good news.

Private investigator Roxane Weary receives a panicked call from her brother, Andrew: his one-time fling, Addison, who turned up at his apartment the night before drunk, bloodied and hysterical, has gone missing. As police suspicion quickly falls on her brother, Roxane knows she is the only person who believes him, she just has to figure out what happened.

Through tracking Addison’s digital footprint she goes deeper and deeper into the events preceding her disappearance. But, as Roxane struggles to distinguish the truth from the stories people tell about themselves online, the case takes another dramatic turn.”

3. “LAGOS WILL NOT BE DESTROYED The gods have fallen to earth in their thousands, and chaos reigns. Though broken and leaderless, the city endures. David Mogo, demigod and godhunter, has one task: capture two of the most powerful gods in the city and deliver them to the wizard gangster Lukmon Ajala. No problem, right?”

4. “People can fade away, rose petals can be crushed and things can be lost, but
at least you’ll remember how it was. The Poet of The Heart is a
poetry collection that touches everything the heart can feel, hope
for, cherish, and even regret. In a collection of poems ranging from
romantic to heart-wrenching, LaNona Walker dives into her passions
and writes from the heart. Fragmented pieces of dreams and losses
combine to bring you a touching series of stories that have deeper
meanings in their rhymes and lyrics.”

5. “A Room of One’s Own (1929) by Virginia Woolf is an inspiring and gorgeous write based on an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. It is based on two lectures which Woolf gave to the Newnham Arts Society at Newnham College and the ODTAA Society at Girton College. She was speaking on the theme of ‘Women and Fiction’.

Instantly I knew that I would probably like this book. Being a feminist and a writer, it was definitely something I knew would interest me greatly. And after reading it, I found it very interesting and influential really. I believe a lot in equality in class issues as well and Woolf speaks a lot about class issues, as well as gender, in this book in relation to what stops a lot of people from getting on in the literary world. I think a lot of what Woolf spoke about has certainly improved. Is it still present? Of course it is and I have to give this woman a lot of credit for speaking so strongly and passionately about issues like this in 1929. She has a wonderful articulate and accessible way of putting things. Very interesting to read.”

4 responses to “Five Links Loleta Abi”

    1. You’re welcome, Sally!

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