WIN a free membership: SCBWI Caribbean South

The Caribbean South chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is giving away two free annual memberships.

All you have to do is submit an unpublished children’s manuscript from any of the islands listed below that speaks about your island’s folklore or draw your very own ‘Tanti Merle’ from Paul Keens Douglas “Tanti at the Oval.”

The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators is a professional information and networking society of over 19,000 authors, agents, editors and illustrators world wide. Based in Los Angeles, the SCBWI is the largest of its kind and has chapters in 200 regions. Our membership package is an invaluable tool for aspiring and professional writers and artists. It includes indispensable ‘how to’ articles and a directory of publishers in the field. One of the best things about SCBWI membership is the networking opportunity it presents to gain fruitful contacts the world over.

The Caribbean South chapter was launched in Trinidad in September 2005 and serves the following islands Anguilla, Saint Maarten, St Barbs, Saba, Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Tortuga and Trinidad and Tobago (and everything in-between)

The competition is open to non-members and members alike, and all work submitted remain the property of the author or illustrator.

The deadline to submit is November 1, 2017. 

SCBWI-2017-Competition

For further information and membership details visit http://www.scbwi.org.

 

Marsha Gomes-Mckie, Regional Advisor , Caribbean South

info@marshagomes.com

 

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Book of the Day resumes in 2017

book-of-the-day

Caribbean Books Foundation’s Book of the Day promotional book feature resumes in 2017. It will run from the 1st January to 30 November 2017. 

Books from the online catalog are chosen randomly and by genre to fill this feature and are usually set a month in advance.

Authors who join the online catalog at http://www.caribbeanbooks.org are also welcomed to request a date to be featured if the date correspondence with a book launch or book giveaway.

Caribbean Books Foundation is an international platform that connects the Caribbean Community and its Diaspora through its literature.

 

 

 

 

No longer a hobby…

A year ago I went to a fashion show; each designer had at least twelve pieces of clothing. They each got their fifteen minutes on the catwalk and wowed. Models came out in style, designers bowed with their collection and they were ready to take orders. I sat there and imagined the catwalk full of authors with their books on show.

How many of us have one published book to walk down the catwalk proudly with?  How many of us have five to twenty works of writing to exhibit? At that time I had only one, that was properly edited and really public ready. I had a number of finished-to-edit and unfinished manuscripts with too many potential stories. I imagined my models on the catwalk with only one finished dress. The rest of my collection would be missing buttons or bottoms (endings). All the sides wouldn’t be sewn up; some would be hung together with pins.  I winched as I sat there thinking about my wild and crazy fashion show. Unlike a designer my product couldn’t be reviewed in fifteen minutes but all artists have one thing in common. They have to complete their work before they can show it and sell it.

Not one of those designers came to the show with one dress because it didn’t matter how dynamic that one dress was, it meant one sale while a collection meant multiple orders. An art gallery has the same mind-set. One glorious painting at the middle of the gallery you would never see. There is certain power in numbers: numbers to attract different tastes, numbers to widen the profit margin and numbers to establish a brand.

As a writer my brand is my books but I realized I wasn’t writing enough.

I know that writing isn’t a race and a fashion designer and artist isn’t a writer but the principle of sales is universal. If you have one product in a certain market, there is a point of saturation for that one dress/book. Soon your fans will look to see what else you have on the market. If you have a collection it is very likely they will buy another dress/piece if they loved the first but if you have nothing else to offer they move on.

That is the year I made up my mind to treat my writing as a business and stop calling it a hobby.

I stopped looking at one book and started to plan for the collection. I’ve known a number of authors who have published one book and the marketing work they did could have definitely covered five books at the same time. I placed my manuscripts in categories, I gave myself a monthly target of words and I made time to write even if it meant missing sleep and socializing.  When I print I want to have a very diverse book launch, nevertheless I have been publishing e-books as I go along.

One year later I have two distinct genres, the first is paranormal/folklore fantasy fiction which I write under the pen M. Mckie and children books which I write under Aunty Marsha Books. My collection is not yet complete but I like what I see and I build on it every day. My target is three books per year after the first launch (2017) in each category. I will also like to explore the young adult genre, contemporary romance and more magical realism in the future.

Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Book likes and Goodreads for occasional giveaways and new releases.

My website is http://www.marshagomes.com.

Barbadian Author launches Bridgeland

MEDIA RELEASE
Barbadian author launches self-published Bridgeland: Volume One graphic novel

July 29, 2015/Bridgetown, Barbados

Bridgeland. Marc Gibson

Barbadian author and film-maker, Marc R. D. Gibson, celebrates the print release of his self-published first graphic novel, Bridgeland: Volume One.

The intimate event held at the Old Spirit Bond in early July was well attended by various members of the local literary and arts community, fellow authors and film-makers, as well as a number of governmental representatives including Director (Ag) of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, Dr. Deryck Murray, and Cultural Industries Development Consultant, Andrea King.

With interior illustrations by Tristan Roach and cover art by Cherise Ward, Bridgeland: Volume One tells the first part of a gripping and suspense-filled saga set in contemporary Barbados that poses the question ‘How far would you go for family?’ The original story follows two teenage brothers from an underprivileged background after they execute a half-baked plan to burgle a wealthy home that goes tragically wrong.

Gibson stated that even though time-line for the pet project, from conception to present, spanned a decade; he was pleased by his accomplishment, adding that the milestone was not only a representation of his effort, but the support and encouragement he received from Bridgeland’s many supporters.

According to Gibson, since the launch the response to his graphic novel has been outstanding. He admitted that he took sincere delight in delivering signed copies to persons who were unable to attend the launch. “I’ve been working and talking about Bridgeland for a long time. My sheer determination and dedication was something that some people personally told me got them interested in it,” the author commented.

Gibson added there have been some unexpected developments. “When I learned that the Governor of the Central Bank (Dr. DeLisle Worrell) wanted a copy of my graphic novel, I was flabbergasted!” Gibson explained that the twists continued. Instead of a brief signing and quick photo op, he instead enjoyed an almost 90-minute, intimate conversation that began with his and the Governor’s mutual love for the media of graphic novels and comic books, and extended through an eclectic range of topics.

Gibson stated that he had a number of things up next on his slate, including completing Bridgeland: Volume Two, penning a memoir about life with a rare condition, and wrapping up production on the crime/drama web-series Strongarm for the Blazer Base Network.

Bridgeland: Volume One has been available on http://www.chattelhousebooks.com in e-book format since November 2014 and will be available in print at Chattel House Books in Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, Barbados in August this year.

Bridgeland Vol 1 Launch1

Author and film-maker Marc R. D. Gibson signs a Bridgeland poster for a fan.
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Bridgeland: Volume One author Marc R. D. Gibson is all smiles with Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. DeLisle Worrell after he received his signed copy of the graphic novel.

The Final Frontier, Suicide

Human beings have been faced in times past with two immutable random facts, we have no power over when we are born and we have no power over the stroke of death. The first remains immutable, without consideration to #abortion and the second has caused much controversy because man has decided to claim death on his own terms.

I’ve imagined being in pre-embryonic stage and being shown the world’s timeline. A voice says, “choose when you wish to be born.” If I was given that choice I would skip the wars, slavery, Hitler, large earthquakes and hurricanes.   If given the choice some periods in our history would remain unpopulated so I accept the randomness of birth. I accept some children will be born to Ebola with little hope of lasting a week; some will be born to royalty, to be pampered and spoiled, some rich, some very poor and most to average ‘Joes’ all over the world.  I accept it because I haven’t been able to figure out a more logical solution to the selection of births and it has been proven that persons from the most humble beginnings can excel. Whether by force, spirituality, grace, sheer determination or dumb luck, there is an obvious leveling of the playing field that the universe offers to those who dare it.  

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So the first immutable fact has never weighed heavy on my mind. The second however keeps me in a quandary.  Death makes us equal, we must all face it and there is no getting away from it.

When I was younger I found an old book in my school library which spoke of a brave man. A general, who was considered a military genius and extraordinary battle strategist: He was described as a man of all men, powerful, fearless and strong, a leader who men died for willingly, yet Hannibal #Barca died at his own hand.  The question of suicide had long been a non-issue in my pubescent world because everyone knows if you kill yourself you won’t go to heaven. Didn’t Hannibal #Barca know that? Not only did this man kill himself but he planned it methodically. He carried a vial of poison on his person for years and no one said to him. “Hey, you need to wait for the Romans to kill you, you can’t kill yourself dude. It’s just not done.” It would take me years to figure out each era has its own rules and Hannibal Barca in his time was considered a revolutionary hero would refused to be captured by his arch enemies and died a heroes death, much like most men in battle who fell on their sword instead of being taken alive. So did that mean that there were didn’t levels of suicide? Were some types of suicide accepted while others are not?

At some point in time someone very high up, I assume someone very religious or very Kingly said, these bloody people keep killing themselves out instead of paying their taxes, let’s make it a rule that if you commit suicide you won’t go to heaven. Ahhhhhha! Deliberate socialization around an aforementioned premise to affect a conditioned response – grow old and pay your taxes diligently. Okay, maybe it was meant to be more caring response. Hoping persons understood the value of life because life is a gift and it should be cherished.

I always say a gift is given but it is also accepted, it’s has to be mutual giving and taking for the gift to be remain a gift. If there is any force or bullying, it becomes a curse. So suicide becomes that state of mind where you don’t want the gift anymore. #freedomofchoice is a hell of a thing; most people including me would say freedom of choice is a good thing but… There is always a ‘but’, because there are one or two things that we would rather dictate. Women should be free to vote: girls should be free to go to school regardless of where they were born;  everyone should be free to marry whoever they want; all men should be free to live wherever they want; abortion is a freedom, but freedom stops at suicide. No one says a person should be free to take their own life; it’s akin to self violence. Man fights his self and wins, but dies. #PaulWalker died in a car crash last year and #RobinWilliams committed suicide this year, the stroke of death came differently but the end result was the same.

Is it death that we fear or is it the stroke of death? There seems to be acceptable versions of the end that we who are alive can live with until our time comes. The dead don’t worry about death, they’ve already faced it. It is the living who ponders on it, bends it and shapes it until it is something that makes us comfortable with the concept.

I personally feel persons who are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases and are given e.g. two months to live should also be given a death pill as an option. Put your house in order, buy your own casket, invite persons to your funeral, hear all the good things before you go and then go to sleep and never get up. Actually, I may go even further and say if you reach a certain age the pill should be a gift like pension. You keep your options open. It seems to be a fitting end for a life well spent. You ride off in the sunset on your terms, with a smile on your face. No one looks forward to death, but seeing that it is inevitable anyway, why not plan for it? Why not claim it as a life event? The way we plan weddings and birthdays; you saved to buy a house, why not get the nicest casket on the block, engrave your name on it and make sure it’s painted in your favorite color. You can even paint it yourself, give it that personal touched. Not to mention the cemetery plot, I would like to be close to the road under a tree. How about you?

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We face death so cowardly, weren’t we expecting it?

Today we get to wait on cancer to us strip under ninety pounds, killing us slowly while we support the medical profession. Then there’s the big ones’ like Ebola, Malaria and all the other deadly strains you can catch. If that doesn’t get you then there’s the weather hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes, we are all fair game when it comes to the weather. Then there’s the sophisticated death that entails a drug overdose or a yachting accident. The most lethal for me would be the drunk driver on the cell phone, who smashes your car, throws you out of it and leaves you dying on the highway; it’s a fatal combination usually not for the driver himself but for everyone he hits. Let’s not forget the fool who doesn’t want to work his way up and enters your home on a random Saturday night; who robs, rapes and kills for the price of a second hand bicycle. If you are not white then your potential death list gets longer depending on where you live because it will include law enforcement officers and crossing someone’s territory with a grin. Not to mention if you are a woman, not covering your head or eating with a fork in some countries have reported to bring deadly wrath. My recent favorite remains you are on your way to a Conference to help end the deathly epidemic of AIDs and some idiot shoots your plane down and your body lands in some field on the ten o’clock news. No one is afraid of death by sharks, snakes or lions anymore and growing old looks like a luxury most of us wouldn’t reach.

So if you have had the pleasure of that luxury why not plan for it, celebrate the fact that you unlike so many other people have a chance to die your way.  Death is still the most uncomfortable conversation in the room and it’s because we don’t really want to die. We don’t want our loves ones to die. It’s such a bitch. Yes, you can admit it and the grim reaper isn’t going to haunt you for thinking it. I do not wish to die and even more than that I do not wish to die by some random circumstance that does not speak to the wonderful person that I am.  

Nevertheless, I am quite sure I’m not getting out of this life alive and wishful thinking will only get me thus far.

With so many possibilities for death, why consider suicide especially if you are already old. Robin William’s suicide was a surprise not so much because of the death but his age. You assume if someone has lived that long they have overcame enough to deal with anything and you take their depression for granted. I think there should be a special category called “creative depression.” When you ask your mind to do a balancing act everyday with different characters and voices, there’s comes a time when your heart internalizes it and it becomes real to you, in such a passionate way that you can’t be human and not be affected. I have also noticed the best comedians have moments of pure insights into humanity and I can’t say if that’s good or bad. They can go full circle from humor to dread. It should be classified as more than depression because it really is. When you reach a certain age you need grandchildren or an orphanage to entertain. You give of yourself and in-turn they keep your mind active and distracted, but I digress.

The universe is full of unanswered questions and most of them suck.           

The question is what do you do when you feel like it’s your time to go and you want to go but the parameters of civilization does not allow it. Your family won’t talk about it, your religion forbids it and everyone starts giving you labels; “depressed,” “crazy.”

Well I hope you have at least one person you can turn to and I am sure that one person will give you the incentive to live on. I think death by self should only be contemplated if you are a happy man. There should be no remorse or regret. It shouldn’t be a dreary end but a party which celebrates all that you were, all that you brought to the world. Everyone who hears your story should say, “I’m so happy for him.” That’s the test of most things whether you can see your individuality in the choices you make and inspire others. Everything else is slow death.

Daily Updated Funny Birds & Animals (9)            

M. Mckie

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