WEbooker of the WEek -- Memorial Day Edition

WoW_button_1 One of the great things about reading is that it allows us to see into the minds of people we'll never meet, and share experiences that make our worlds a little bigger. It is this aspect of reading that drew me to this WEek's WEbooker, penbuddy. Reading penbuddy's work feels like finding a diary page on the sidewalk -- if the diarist is particularly thoughtful, descriptive, and talented. Appropriately enough for the day, penbuddy is also a veteran of the armed forces. He writes about his childhood, his time in Vietnam, the pleasure of love, and the pain of its loss. You can discover his work for yourself here -- but first, WEbook asks penbuddy a few tough questions.

Q: What's the brief story of your life, including your history with writing?

Penbuddy A: I was born
in a small town on the southern tier of New York, and raised in Whitesville, a smaller
town twelve miles southeast. Due to a split
between my mom and dad, I was raised by my aunt and uncle. 
This -- the bad and good of it -- had a great influence on who I
became.

I began to write serious pieces as a
result of English assignments in seventh grade, where I had
discovered the joy of reading. Poetry flowed from the
passion I developed as my voice began to crack as an
adolescent. I continued to write from my heart in verse and in prose,
even as I withdrew from college to enlist into the USMC. While in the
Corps, I continued my education through extension and correspondence
courses. While serving in Vietnam, I took a Corps
sanctioned correspondence course in creative writing through Utah
University.

After leaving the Corps, I married, had two
beautiful children, and then got divorced and am married again. Through
it all, my faith has carried me, even when I thought I just couldn't
take any more. I have a deep faith and desire to know truth. I have gone on missions to Cuba as an
evangelist and found it much more rewarding to fight the ideology with
words than with war. I have pastored three congregations, started two,
and served as co-minister with one. I have an associate's degree in mechanical engineering technology and an honorary doctorate in divinity.
I've supported myself through secular work all my life, preferring not
to be a burden on anyone in my ministry work.

Q: How did your
project Reflections on the Imperfections of Humanity get started?
What's your favorite contribution from a fellow WEbooker?

A: I
began the project because I had so many stories that described the weirdness of life, the imperfections of the human
condition, and supernatural experiences. I knew that I am not the
only one who has stories like this, so I wanted to open it up
to all.

It is a little challenging to pick a favorite
contribution from a fellow WEbooker. Each contribution brings to the
table a flavor of its own. Some are a bit more polished, while others might describe a more compelling experience. Like a good buffet, we consume each for its unique flavor, texture and
visual appealing. I struggle to point to one contribution or
contributor and say, "That is the one I like best."

Q: You start
many (if not all) of your pieces with a quote. Where do you find your
quotes? What do you think they add to your writing?

A: I recall many quotes from a play or work I have read. I find others on this site: http://www.quotationspage.com

I
believe the quotes serve a couple of functions. They bring
more than just my thoughts into the circle, right off the bat. People have a propensity to look for consensus, and including a quote encourages the
reader to stop for a moment and ponder where I might take them in the
narrative. Quotes also help set the psychological atmosphere for the read.

Q: What's your favorite quote today?

A: Other
than the Bible, most of my favorite quotes come from Shakespeare's
plays and the works of Thoreau. One quote that has become my touchstone
in life is this one, from Hamlet:

"This above all: to thine own self be true; And it must follow, as the night the day; Thou canst not then be false to any man."
-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, Scene iii

I also like this one:

"Be true to your work, your word, and your friend."
-- Henry David Thoreau

Q: What is your favorite thing to eat on Memorial Day?

A: Watermelon

WEbooker
of the WEek




Do you
have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook?
The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and
publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a
message with the title "WEbooker
of the WEek
" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will
have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.



Join WEbook Today



Sign up for WEbook today and
start reading, writing, and feedbacking.



-- Melissa



WEbooker of the WEek Wonders: Have you "Birchcrofted?"

WoWPin This week's WEbooker of the Week changes her avatar so frequently, we're often left asking: Who's the real May_Birchcroft



Here's what we know. May_Birchcroft lives in the UK. She's one of our youngest (13) and most active members (2,289 forum posts and counting). She can write. (She contributed to Jan 20: True Stories, Real People, One Day -- and is working on a Young Adult project titled "Acres of Moon.")  And she changes her avatar more than airplanes change time zones! 

To learn more about the ever-changing May, I did the logical thing: Asked her a few random and not-so-random questions.

1. How did the whole "Birchcrofting" thing get started?





“Birchcrofting” was something that came up waaay back last year when I first joined. I couldn’t find a picture of myself that I actually liked -- cue lots of avatar changing. Levimont noticed this and well, that was the birth of birchcrofting (or BCing, whatever floats your virtual boat). To "Birchcroft” is to change one’s avatar frequently for no apparent reason and I seem to do it a lot. At least once a day, methinks.


2. What are your tips for being a great WEbook community member?

Maybirch





I think that on the WEbook forums it pays off to be polite to the other members -- hey, it’s no fun once we’ve all pressed the “ignore user” button! I think being a little insane helps, too, and some tongue-in-cheekness never hurts. Oh, and the best way to get feedback is to review someone else’s work first; if you ask for it in the General Chat section, um, nothing happens. Spammers are lightly toasted to perfection, drizzled in Vaseline, and then consumed by the WEbook regulars.


3. Okay, you're 13.  How do have time to do so much WEbooking? Are you posting to the General Chat forum during class?  (We won't tell anyone.)


Yeah, 13 (but I turn 14 in July, if anyone wants to buy me a present). WEbook in school? I wish! Not only does my school come complete with internet safeguards that block everything from the BBC to the Teletubbies, but trying to use one of the laptops to get access is like gouging your eyes out with nothing but a hairbrush. I think I spend so much time on here because everyone’s awesome and everywhere oozes (fun word, no?) with awesomeness, plus I love the fact that you get free feedback on your work! I think my writing’s really improved since I joined (even if I only post a fraction of what I write), not to mention my expanding circle of “internet buddies."

4.  Tell us about your project, "Acres of Moon."


"Acres of Moon" is something of a work in progress. It’s about a family who is “lucky” -- and when global warming gets so bad that Earth needs to be evacuated, they get an acre of moon to start their lives over on. However, they’re living with their extended-family-slash-arch-enemies, so naturally chaos ensues, with a few plot twists along the way. And, there’s much more to a farewell present than meets the eye. I actually have a lot more of the story written than I’ve posted, but I spend far too much time on the forums to post the next chapter. Oops.

5. Got a writing routine?


My writing “routine” consists of me eating sugary food and then typing what resembles someone rolling around on their keyboard in agony (i.e. it makes no sense whatsoever until it’s been edited.) Other than that, I don’t really have a routine, although I do always write in my bedroom, in the evenings whilst listening to Evanescence and eating polo mints. 



6.  Is middle school (is that what they call it in the UK?) as bad as I remember?


Middle school/Senior school/The Nunnery from Hell sucks quite a bit.  I like it, but at the same time it sucks.  Makes sense, huh? I go to a grammar school, so that means no boys, twice as much homework, and being forced to take thirteen GCSEs (important tests). That being said, my friends rock and I’d probably get bored if I didn’t go. I always thought schools in America looked much more exciting than English schools --  mainly because the students don’t have to wear uniforms and they all have fun accents. Or at least, that’s what I learned from South Park and The Simpsons.

WEbooker
of the WEek




Do you
have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook?
The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and
publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a
message with the title "WEbooker
of the WEek
" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will
have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.



Join WEbook Today


Sign-up for WEbook to start reading, writing, feedbacking -- and "birchcrofting" -- today.


- TsungChi



WEbooker of the WEek, Mother's Day Edition

WoW_button_1 Happy Mother's Day, WEbook. What better way to honor moms than to pick a real, live WEbook mother to be WEbooker of the WEek?

Cindi_Greene was introduced to WEbook by her daughter, former WoW Rebecca_Grey (who is also a new mother -- of twins!). What's it like to be one half of a mother-daughter WEbooking team? To find out this and more, I asked Cindi_Greene a few probing questions.

Q: What's the brief story of your life, including your history with writing?

A: I've lived all over the world since
graduating high school. Ijoined the army when I was 25, and remained
in the military for 11 years. I had my daughter, Rebecca, in that time
frame.  I have lived my life to the fullest, or as much as I possibly
could. I raised my daughter on my own and tried to instill in
her  qualities to help her live and learn as I've tried to do. I've
had a few hard knocks but always try to learn from my mistakes.

I
started writing in my senior year of high school in a creative writing
class and fell in love with this type expression of my thoughts. But
it has only been over the last five or six years that I have taken it
seriously. When I took another creative writing class in California I
realized I wanted to see how far I could go and how much I
could learn. I started to write a novel based somewhat on my life and
will be finishing it soon.

Q: In your profile, you mention that Stephen King is your favorite
writer. What do you like best about his books?

A: Stephen King has a way of drawing his
readers in. I read Carrie when I was 17 and have been reading him ever
since.  He talks to his readers -- he calls them "The Constant Reader" -- and it
is like he is telling you a story. He has an easy way about him, and it
is very seldom that I want to just get past the boring part, because for
me there is no boring part.  He knows how to tell a story and make it
believable.

Q: You lead a project called The Wee Books, which any WEbooker
can contribute to. For those who haven't come across it yet, what's the
idea behind
The Wee Books? Why did you choose this format instead of
traditional short stories?


A: Ahh, The Wee Books. I love this project! It
is so much fun. I had been on this site for a couple of months and saw
all the projects for short stories and remembered something from my
creative class -- building the suspense to a peak and then ending it all
within the story. Well, I thought, what if there is a word limit and
within that limit you write a story in five parts? Writers have to find the starting
place and the peak, and then bring it to climax. It allows the writer to
use the word limit to find the rhyme and reason to the story and still
stay within set guidelines. It has taught me to think about the
story and to make it draw the reader in so they will want to go to the
next part.  I've had to rewrite a couple of my own stories because they
didn't tell the story the way I had intended.

Q: Happy Mother's Day! Your daughter, former WoW Rebecca_Grey,
introduced you to this site. She's a new mom, too -- of twins, no less!
What's it like having a daughter who is also a writer? Did your own
mother encourage you to write? Having kids certainly decreases the
amount of time a mom is able to spend writing -- are there any
advantages to being both a mom and a writer?


A: Yes, I am very
proud of my daughter Rebecca. It is pure joy to be around
her little girls. As for her writing, well, she humbles me. She is
amazing in her own right and I honestly feel she will be published one
day. She is one of my hardest and best critics. I go to her first to
critique my work because I know she will tell me the honest truth. I
try to do the same for her. And usually what she suggests is on the
money. 

I didn't start really becoming involved in writing
until after my mother passed away. She did like to sketch and
my father was a singer, so there is a lot of creativity running through
my veins and Rebecca's. I think writing is one of the greatest outlets
to voice your emotions. I used to write a lot of free
verse poetry and then I turned to writing stories. Being a mother has
given me tons of material to write about, as it will Rebecca. She will
find her niche to work on her stories as she gets her own schedule
going but being a new grandmother has given me insight into a new world
and with that comes great anecdotes to write about some of which are in
Glimpses of My Future.

Q: What is the best Mother's Day gift you've ever received?

A: I would have to say this year was the
best Mother's Day to date. Rebecca and I got to have a nice brunch
together and catch a movie sans twins and because she is my best friend
we had a great time. 

Q: Who is your favorite Mom character from literature?

A: My favorite mother would have to me
Marmee March from Little Women. She was a strong woman and tried to
teach her children in the ways of the world -- which is all any of us
really want to do, don't we?

WEbooker
of the WEek




Do you
have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook?
The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and
publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a
message with the title "WEbooker
of the WEek
" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will
have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.



Join WEbook Today



Sign up for WEbook today and
start reading, writing, and feedbacking.



-- Melissa



Results from the Spring 2009 Vote

JohnnyWEbook
here. As many of you know, I’m the Managing Editor and resident book maker atWEbookVoteButton WEbook. Along with
Melissa, William (TsungChi), and the rest of the staff here at WEbook, we’ve
been hotly debating the voting cycle that ended a few weeks ago. I’m writing to
share our thoughts and open a discussion.



We looked at all
400+ projects in the vote and believe that the two books most ready for
publication are Five, by RikScott and In Case of Emergency: Please Notify
Orlando Bloom
, by wooster. Both projects are excellent efforts. Unlike past
winners, however, we are hesitant to publish either title in its current form.
We have contacted RikScott and wooster about working with them to revise their
manuscripts with the intention of reconsidering their projects for publication
at a later date.



Honorable mention
goes to the following books: Right Hand Up to God, by CallumC; Waiting for the
Mailman
, by FaithAnneLove; and Coming Up for Air, by elsewhere. Each book is
compelling in different ways, but they ultimately fall short in terms of
readiness for publication and/or potential in the marketplace. The authors of
these projects deserve congratulations as well, as do all the participants in
the vote. Your hard work and dedication fuels our mission of making WEbook the
most dynamic place on the Web to write, to read, and to rub elbows with people
who are passionate about great literature in all forms.



Going forward,
we’re going to significantly alter the voting process. Thanks largely to your
ongoing suggestions, we’ve got some ideas in the works about how to do this.
However, we need to hear (more) from you. To facilitate the discussion, we’ve
opened a new forum where I'll jump in from time to time.



Together, we
believe we can continue to make the voting process fair, friendly, and even
more capable of attracting and encouraging the type of work that inspired us to
become fans of great writing in the first place.







Sincerely,
JohnnyWEbook


To see detailed results of the vote, click here.
To find out more about the WEbook vote, click here.




WEbooker of the WEek Finds Home on the Web

WoW_button_1 WE all know that WEbookers are creative types. This WEek's WEbooker, Staci, takes her creativity beyond WEbook, using a personal blog to promote her work and share her writing process. On top of it all, Staci is a mom with a fulltime day job. How does she do it? WEbook asked a few probing questions to find out.

Staci Q: What is the brief story of your life, including your history with writing?

A: I
grew up in the small desert town of Newberry Springs, California, on 40
acres of dirt and dry lake beds. It was the kind of town where
everyone knew each other, and I actually ended up graduating high school
with the same kids I went to first grade with. Being the oldest of
seven made every day interesting, to say the least. With two bathrooms
and ten people, everything was a well-orchestrated routine. It had to
be in order to avoid utter chaos. That being said, life in the middle
of nowhere was often boring so I turned to reading, writing, and
listening to my Walkman to wile the time away. I won a writing
competition when I was in second grade, but really didn't put much
thought into writing for enjoyment until well after high school. I had
always been the "wordy one," using big words for the simplest things, but
it wasn't until I moved to Needles, California that everything seemed
to fall into place. I really got into reading again and I was inspired
to work my creativity. I have decorated cakes, done scrapbooking,
dabbled in digital photography, and made little things out of paper. Finally, at the urging of family and friends I started writing for
fun. Now it has become my most engrossing hobby yet. 

Q: Tell
us a little something about your WEbook project, Lie to Me. What's it
about? Where did the idea come from? What is your greatest hope for
this project?

A: Lie To Me is about a girl who discovers that she
has a twin brother who was kidnapped by their aunt.  She was never told
about him, and the book follows her journey to find out the truth. My
mom and I were talking about twins for some reason and the idea of
growing up not knowing I had a sibling -- a twin to boot -- really seemed
interesting. It sort of grew from there, and right away I knew I
had to write about it. My greatest hope would be to see it published
some day so I can show my son that all those late nights sitting at the
computer were worth it.

Q: In addition to your WEbook work, you
also have a blog that you use to talk about your writing. What's the
most fun thing about having a blog? How does your blogging help your
fiction writing?

A: I've been using my blog to talk myself through the struggles of
writing out of my comfort zone and being motivated. I take my
frustrations out in words so I can go back and see that it really
wasn't so hard after all. It can really keep me focused.

Q:
In your profile, you mention that you have a 10-year-old boy. You also
have a day job. How do you balance being a mom, having a career, and
writing?

A: You know, I really don't know how I do it. My son, Devin, has
been extremely supportive, cheering me on every day. I try to spend as
much time with him after work as I can, waiting until he goes to bed to
write. Sometimes, I'll sneak in an hour or so while he's playing his
video games or reading. All I can say is that it only works because I
have a really supportive family.

Q: What's your idea of the perfect vacation?

A: The
perfect vacation would be a train ride across the country in the fall --
just Devin, my mom, and I.  I've spent my whole life in the desert and
would love to see the greener side of the States. If I just so
happened to end up in New York, I wouldn't be terribly upset. I've
always wanted to go there.

Q: What's your favorite word?

A: It
would have to be "family." It means much more than the number of
people that I am related to. "Family" means I always know I have a friend.

WEbooker
of the WEek




Do you
have a line on the wonderfullest writer on WEbook?
The fantastickest feedbacker? Or anyone else who goes above and beyond to make WEbook the best writing, reading, and
publishing community on the internet? Drop me an email, or visit my profile and send me a
message with the title "WEbooker
of the WEek
" to nominate your favorite WEbooker and he or she will
have a shot at joining the ranks of the immortals -- and getting a free WEbook T-shirt to boot.



Join WEbook Today



Sign up for WEbook today and
start reading, writing, and feedbacking.



-- Melissa



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