WEbooker of the WEek Finds Beauty in Simplicity

WoW_button_1 As WEbook's first ever poetry vote continues to accept submissions, we're shining the light on Brian_Kupillas, WEbook poet extraordinaire. According to Brian's profile, he's "in love with the world," and it shows. His WEbook project, My Body, the Waterfall, is a collection of poetry that celebrates the beauty in everyday moments and explores the mysteries of life and death.

Pretty deep, right? To find out more about the mind that brings us these poems, WEbook asked Brian a few equally deep questions.

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

A: I am a young, white male, born into the middle class. I went to good
schools, and never struggled for much. The world has always been at my
feet. Nothing out of the ordinary, I am pretty much your average
person. I have problems with small things, and I write when I can. I
started out emulating my favorite writers and musicians, and just wrote
lyrics, but over time have become more and more free verse and poetic
and have come into a style I'd like to think is somewhat my own. Like I
said, I have nothing special in my back story, but it's the life I'm in
right now I think is interesting -- the one that makes up all these ideas.

Q: What was the title of the first poem you wrote?

A: I
couldn't tell you. I've been writing for a long time. And I'm
constantly writing more and more. Whatever it was, it was probably in 4th grade
and not very good.

Q: What is your favorite word?

A: Cedar

Q: What kind of poems do you like to write best?

A: Haiku.
Because there's so much beauty in some of the simplest things. And when
you say something profound it only adds onto the weight of those words
when the phrase is short.

Q: Who is your least favorite famous or canonical poet?

A: I
don't know. I can find a fault with most poets. But I can also find a
strength. And there's something dangerous about stating who your least
favorite poet is on a writing website, especially when literature seems
to create people that will argue over anything to do with anyone who
claims to be an author or poet. So to avoid a battle, I'd rather not.

Q: What's a better subject for poetry: love, or heartbreak?

A: Love.
It's infinitely better. Both enter into the realm of cliche very often,
but it's a lot harder to believe in something as grand as love then it
is to simply be sad or angry at such a hard thing to grasp. If you can
write well in the way of love, you must be quite the writer.

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.



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-- Melissa



Vinny Author Reads for Middle Schoolers; Gets Stumped by Probing Questions

VinnyCover_Front_Final_ReallySmall My favorite author in the world, Gregory Kemp, the wunderkind behind The Legend of Vinny Whiskers, was kind enough to sit down with me today to discuss his first few readings on behalf on his novel. WEbook lured Greg from his comfy ex-pat environs in Vienna, Austria to promote the publication of Vinny, which officially happens next Monday, June 22nd. He’s in the midst of blistering week of readings at middle schools in and around the NYC area. Initially, he wanted to see a little of the city and tried to run away, but I tackled him around the ankles and had a few burly WEbook staffers hold him down while I hit him (figuratively, of course) with the following questions:

John: So, how did your very first reading go, Greg, my favorite author in the world? 

Greg: It's my first novel, my first time to NYC, my first reading. So yeah, no problem, I totally aced it. [Without prompting, one of the WEbook heavies jabs Greg in the kidney.] Okay, okay, I was a bit nervous for that first reading. But then Katie [WEbook’s marketing svengali] gave me a really nice intro, and the kids welcomed me with applause. How can you not love that? I ate it up. It was a blast. Both of the schools where I’ve read so far were a ton of fun.

John: So what parts of Vinny have you been reading?

Greg: I started with the prologue, then I jumped forward reading some of my favorite passages. I read some about the prairie dogs, then a little bit about the rats. I wanted to give them a full taste of the story.

John: And what did they think?

Greg: I think they really took to the idea of a prairie dog hero. One of Greg_School_smallthe students immediately commented on how he liked the idea of the prairie dogs versus rats. He said it was a good matchup! I agreed.

John: And you did a writing exercise with the students, right?

Greg: [Hesitates.] I was really hoping to see some sights in New York. Can't we just do this tomorrow? [A WEbook heavy draws back a fist…] Yes, yes--Katie worked with the teachers to create a writing exercise where the students wrote a few descriptive scenes. The goal was to bring all the senses into play: sight, sound, taste, smell.

John: That's only four senses, Greg. There are five.

Greg: Touch! Yes, I forgot 'touch' while at Fairfield Middle School. I won’t let it happen again. And the kids didn't let it slide, either. They called me on it. They were sharp. Just like you, John.

John: [Pleased.] Did the writing exercise go okay?

Greg: In spite of me, yes. The kids did a really amazing job. There were some promising writers at both schools.

John: What kind of questions did you get?

Greg: All kinds and lots of ‘em. They wanted to know all about prairie dogs, technical stuff actually. I'm no Jeff Corwin, but I was able to answer most of them—what prairie dogs eat, where they live, stuff like that. Katie actually knows a lot about prairie dogs, too. She was able to name the five different types of prairie dogs. I didn't know there were five…[drifts off in thought]…five senses, five types of prairie dogs…I'll remember that now. I promise.

John: Katie tells me there were some tough questions, too, about the title of the book?

Greg: A few kids asked point blank, if the book is about a prairie dog called Boomer, why is the title The Legend of Vinny Whiskers?

John: And what did you tell them…?

Greg: Buy the book and find out, of course.

John: Correct! You are free to go now, my favorite author in the world, and sell more books.

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--JohnnyWEbook



WEbooker of the WEek: Shout Out to the Poets

WoW_button_1 The WEbook Poetry Vote begins accepting submissions today! From June 15 through July 31st, WEbook poets are invited to submit their very best work to be considered for publication in a single volume. WEbookers will spend the month of August voting for their favorite poems, and the votes will determine which poems get published.

In honor of this venture, WEbooker of the WEek will be shining the spotlight on WEbook's top poetry talent. First up is Maia06, author of the poetry collections Apple Picking and Time Enough for That, among other works. Maia06 uses poetry to express "not just love and angst, but humor, observations, opinions, you name it." To find out more about this far-reaching poet, WEbook asked a few hard-hitting questions.

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

A: I was born
and raised in Milwaukee, WI by an extremely supportive father and a mom
who practically survived on books and poetry.  She used to recite
“Jabberwocky” to me when I was still in my crib, and when I wanted to
read “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe when I was four years
old, she helped me with any words I didn’t know.  There was no such
thing as a book that I was too young for, so I was an avid Agatha
Christie fan by the second grade.  She read me poetry by Edna St.
Vincent Millay and Nikki Giovani and the Plains Poetry Journal almost
daily, and I loved every word.  After that, it’s pretty simple; if you
love reading, if you love words, you will write.  Poetry speaks to me.

Q:
We all feel misunderstood sometimes -- poets perhaps more so than
"normal" folk. If you could set everyone straight using only six words,
what would you say?

A: The world is bigger than you.

Q: What is the last word in the last poem you wrote?

A: Know

Q: If you could ban a single word from all poetry for the rest of time, what word would you choose?

A: Pain

Q: What is your favorite line from your favorite "famous" poem?

A: One?  Seriously?!  Okay, then this one: “…for the leaping greenly spirit of trees” from a poem by E.E. Cummings

Q: Please write a short poem about the worst day of your life.

A: I already wrote that one.  It’s called “Time Enough for That”:

This morning I stood up
directly under the cabinet door.
Corner met cranium sharply
and a very dirty word fell
out of my mouth
as a coffee cup hit the floor.

I watched a mother cradle
a dying infant on a day-time
made-for-tv movie
meant for happy home-makers
to fill nap time.
I folded the laundry.

I recalled this was the day
last year,
the phone call came.
They didn’t say,
but they should have said,
nothing will ever be the same.
I started making dinner.

Chicken pieces browning on the stove,
snap peas steaming open.
At the kitchen table I chop
a Vidalia into tiny and tinier bits.
I cry and cry over the onion

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.



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-- Melissa



New on WEbook: Feedback-palooza! Register via Facebook! And More!

The never-ending quest to make WEbook the destination for writing bliss marches on! This month, we’re pleased to announce a bevy of new features—many of which were suggested by WEbookers like you! My favorite is the new larger feedback window with a snazzy word count bar. Perhaps our greatest single request from the WEbook community is the need for more feedback. We all love to get comments like, “Awesome! Loved it! The best thing since sliced Shakespeare!” But the truth is, feedback that offers nothing but praise or criticism is not really feedback at all.
WordCountBar
To encourage deeper reviews—true feedback—we thought a word-count bar might help. Here’s how it works: The orange bar tracks the word count of your review. If you want to give someone a quick, gut reaction to their work, leave a “comment”—anything between one word (“Groovalicious!”) and 149 words. When you reach 150 words, the bar glows green like a light saber. Congratulations! You have officially left a piece of WEbook-sanctioned, honest-to-goodness “feedback.” Want to really go the distance? Keep typing. When you hit 250+ word territory, you have entered the hallowed realm of the “critique.” Critiques are like diamonds: multi-faceted, crystal-clear, harder-than-nails, rare, and valuable. Your reviewee will appreciate your effort; WEbook will notice it as well. (Click here for more on this.)

The second improvement to WEbook’s feedback process is a blue link underneath each review, with the words: “Was this feedback helpful? Leave a compliment.” When you receive a comment, feedback, or critique, take a moment to think about whether the review is truly brilliant, enlightening, in-depth, motivating, helpful, or unique. If so, click on through to the feedback compliment buttons and give the review its props. If not, simply move on to the next piece of feedback.

We’ve also enabled Facebook Connect for new users. What does this mean? If you’re registering to WEbook for the first time, you can do it through your Facebook account. For those of you already registered with us, stick with the regular login, as Facebook Connect will prompt you to start a new account.

Last, and another popular request from the WEbook hive, you can now remove chapters from continuous single-author projects. So edit away, ladies and gents, we won’t stop ya!

Have more suggestions? Awesome. Click here to send us your latest and greatest.

--JohnnyWEbook

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WEbooker of the WEek Writes it Like She Says it

WoW_button_1 If you're looking for colorful language, colorful characters, and colorful situations, lisaflint, this WEek's WEbooker, has you covered. The folks lisaflint writes about often sound like they stepped right off the set of a sitcom, minus the polished grammar and powdered noses. The big surprise? Every one of lisaflint's characters exists in real life. To find out what it's like to live with such rollicking personalities, WEbook asked lisaflint a few tough questions.

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

A: First off, aside from my life's goal of making it on Oprah and being one of
her book club suggestions, I've wanted to be WEbooker of the
Week
, and that's god's honest truth right there! 

I'm a mom
of two outstanding daughters, the meemaw of one awesome grandson, and
I have a fantabulous godson named Tylan, who has called me Happy Day from
the time that he was able to speak. How lucky can a person be to be
someone's Happy Day every day of their life?

My writing comes
straight from my mind to my fingers. What really started my writing
was my friend in high school, Shelly. She would beg me to make up
stories about these two dream guys we went to school with but never had
the courage to actually speak to.
Then my friend David and I started competing against each other to see
who could out-write the other in naughty teen story telling.

Q: You write a lot about the American south,
yet you are a mid-westerner. Do you think you may have been a southerner
in a past life?

A: I
believe I ran a whorehouse in my past life, and one in the deep
south. I wasn't pretty enough to be a whore, but I ran a tight ship
and my girls did a good service. The mid-western thing in this life
was to pay back some karmic debt I owed. I believe I'm paid up.

Q: Your writing is filled with colorful characters from your real life.
For those WEbookers who haven't read your work yet, tell us a little
something about these folks. Have you experienced any complications as
a result of writing about people you know?

A: Every person I write
about is truly real. Even the names of the people are real. When I
write, I want the reader to feel as if they have met this person
or know people exactly like that, only in their part of the world.

The
only person to give me grief about my writings was my sister-in-law.
I've offered to pay for the surgery to have the stick removed from her
butt when I make it big, but she seemed to not appreciate the offer. Other than that, Miss Lou is my biggest focus. She gives me lots to
write about and calls me all the time to mention things I should write
about. Then there's my family, but I don't have it in me to write all
about them just yet.

Q: In your writing, the grammar, spelling, and punctuation is not always perfect. What's your defense? 

A: I write like I talk, I don't abuse my spell checker, and I may have a case of undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder.

I
do have a lot of friends who say they would enjoy reading more if books weren't so full of words they don't understand. I don't want readers to feel intimidated by my writings,
I want them to feel like they are reading a book that talks just like
they do. In the real world, people who read aren't scanning a book for
the proper grammar or punctuation. My books could be a two-fold experience: You can enjoy the story, while seeing how many errors you can find. I'm
sure to the educated reader, my stories are painful to get through, but
I'm just a regular girl with a desire to be a fine story-teller.

Thank god I found WEbook! My favorite haunting grounds are in the WTF series, where my WEbook family is giving me the proper nudges. It's taking some time for me to soak it all up, but I promise I will give
them their own acknowledgments when my first book, Blue Rinse &
Common Sense
, is published.

Q: What's your favorite midnight snack? 

A: Cake icing and dill pickle juice.

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

 

Got Lookout? WEbook Launches "Lookout Maneuver" Video Challenge

My 91-year-old grandmother is always on the lookout for "suspicious" things: digital cameras, self-service checkout at the grocery story, teenagers riding skateboards in her neighborhood. 

Boomer Lookout, the prairie dog hero of WEbook's new novel, The Legend of Vinny Whiskers, is always  on the lookout as well. He comes from a line of "Lookouts" charged with keeping watch for suspicious things lurking around his prairie dog home. To be successful, he must perfect his family's Lookout Maneuver, a quirky combination of tummy tucking, chest puffing, and neck craning.

Now WEbook is on the lookout -- for the best Lookout Maneuverers around. To find them, we've launched the Lookout Maneuver Challenge. Here's how it works: 1) Practice your lookout technique; 2) grab your video camera; 3) film (safely at home or daringly in your community) your best Lookout Maneuver; 4) submit your version as a video response here on YouTube.

For inspiration, you may want to position yourself near suspicious things for which we should all be on the lookout. For Boomer, it's birds and rats and humans. For me, it's in-laws.

Winner earns a signed copy of Vinny Whiskers by author Gregory Kemp and a $100 gift certificate to Amazon.com (and a possible trip to the chiropractor for neck kinks).

Good "look."

Sign-up for WEbook today to start writing, reading, feedbacking...and looking out!

- TsungChi



WEbooker of the WEek Multitasks

WoW_button_1 Most of us would be happy to write one book, in one language. For this WEek's WEbooker, Miz_YouNeek, that would be far too boring. Miz_YouNeek -- known as Fisayo, or "Fizzy," IRL -- is working on five books on WEbook. They're all written in English, but it would be possible for Miz_YouNeek to write each of those five books in a different language -- she also speaks German, Japanese, French, and Yoruba. And she's only 14 years old!

To find out more about this remarkable young writer, WEbook asked a few tough questions:

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

A: I was born in
Nigeria and I moved to London when I was 7. I started being sort of a
bookworm at around that age as well -- in fact, you never saw me without a
book in my hand, and as I got older I was intrigued by more and more
books. At the moment I think I have read almost all the romantic books in the junior fiction section of my school library. Then I started
thinking, I would love people to read something of mine, so I started
writing and progressed from there. I hope one of my books becomes a
bestseller.


Q: In the introduction to your project Pressure, you write,"I've included
a lot of familiar people within my life into this book but have changed
their names." Has anyone you know ever recognized
themselves in something you wrote? If so, what was their reaction? How
do you think you would feel if you ever came across a character in a
book that you thought might be based on you?

A: Actually, yes, I do
believe some of my friends guessed that some of the characters'
personalities in my book Pressure were based on their own. Some were
shocked, happy, and one or two were practically jumping over the
moon. If I ever came across a book that was based on me by an author I
didn't know of, I would be shocked and then investigate. But I guess I
really wouldn't mind if what was written about me was not insulting.

Q: You have a lot
of unfinished novels on WEbook! (I count at least five.) How do you manage to keep so many projects
straight in your head? When you sit down to write, how do you decide
what to work on?

A: Hmmm,
yes. A few people have asked me about that. It's just that Pressure was my first ever book and sometimes when I read other books or
watch movies, a new idea for a different book comes into my head and
blocks the flow of Pressure. So I have to scribble it down somewhere
and then continue with Pressure. I listen to my heart and the
occasional voices in my head, when I sit down and decide to write. I
also let my imagination run wild.

Q: You speak five languages! If you could speak one more, what would it be, and why?

A: Yes,
I do speak five languages, but  English, German, and Yoruba more
fluently. I need to brush up on my Japanese and French. If I could
speak one more language, I guess it would have to be Arabic, because I
was born a Muslim, but I'm only just learning about the religion now. I would like to learn more about it as soon as possible.

Q: If you could have dinner with a fellow WEbooker of your choice, who would it be, and what would you talk about?

A: Ooh,
this is a tricky one. I would probably choose Beauty_Within, because
she seems like a very fun and kind person. We would talk about books
and anime, because I've noticed we have those two things in
common.

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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