Nook Reveal: Submit Your Writing Space

Photo By Favim.

Hi everyone! My apologies for being M.I.A for the past few weeks. Summer classes are like semesters on steroids, and I've been incredibly busy. Anywho, I wanted to touch base with y'all to let you know what to expect @ The Writer's Block for the rest of the summer.

I will be hosting a Nook Reveal in July, which I am very excited about. I already have a couple of entries, and I'd love it if you'd enter too! Here's what you need to do to apply:
  1. Take a killer photo of your writing space.
  2. Send a short paragraph telling us about your space. Don't be afraid to experiment with your writing here. Make it creative. ;)
  3. Don't forget to state your name and a link to your blog/website.
  4. E-mail me @
For more information, click here.

Another note, author interviews will be postponed until the end of the summer. If you've been sent a request to be interviewed and have sent me the completed questions, don't worry. You're interview will be published first thing in the fall. I'd like to thank everyone for making the author interviews a huge success! Y'all are truly wonderful.

For the rest of the summer, I will be focusing on inspiration and writing exercises.

I hope that all of you are having a beautiful summer, full of warmth and happiness. Don't forget to take time to stop and smell the gardenias (for you southern folks). Heck, why not just take one home with ya'? Who says that beauty has to be left untouched? No good writer leaves beauty alone -unsearched, unanalyzed, unravaged. Cheers to spotting something beautiful and making it even more magical through words. :)

Author Interview: Nicole Pyles

It's a pleasure to have Nicole Pyles with us today. A special thanks to her for her great answers. I especially enjoyed the advice she gives for other writers.

Brief Bio:
  • Nicole Pyles grew up in the Bay Area of California and now lives in Portland, Oregon. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and still hopes to be a published author when she grows up. Over at her blog, she writes about her journey to achieve her dream of publication and hopes to encourage other writers to continue pursuing their dreams.

      1.)   What made you want to be a writer?
  • For me, it wasn’t one particular person or even book, but it started when I was young and my love of books and telling stories just grew. I was writing stories as young as Kindergarten! I remember the first full stories I finished was about 50 pages handwritten called, “A Light Burns at Midnight.”  For me, I think it was the power of telling stories that inspired me to continue on with pursuing that dream.
2.)   How long have you been seriously pursuing a career in writing?
  • I’ve been writing and pursuing being published for a very long time. For the past several years I’ve been working on and submitting various short stories, although since graduating from college this past June, I have been able to give it a lot more of my attention.
3.)   If you had to choose three words to describe your writing nook/office, what would they be?
  • Oh wow, I wish I had my own nook! Mostly I write on the couch in the living room or my bedroom. So, I’ll describe my bedroom in three words instead…colorful, peaceful, and treetops (I live at the top of a very large hill where I can see right across the valley, so that just matches my view completely!)
4.)   Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
  • The world around me! I also get inspired by weird things like posts I see online, things my family members say and what they observe. Most recently I got inspired by an abandoned house by my apartment complex as well as a graveyard you can only see from the street.
5.)   Give us a one sentence pitch for your first novel.
  • (Warning: this sentence may turn out to be a run on):
  • At the age of seventeen, Talia learns of the darkness inside her and her destiny to save her world before the Faceless Woman breaks free from the Underworld.
      6.) What are some of the projects that you are currently working on completing?
  • My goal right now is to finish my first novel by the end of March and I really feel like that goal will happen for me. Aside from there, I’m working on a couple short stories – one of which has been submitted to a few magazines, another is still in draft form.

      7.) What are some of your recent publications?
  • I haven’t been officially published yet! But, I do post some of my own video poetry on YouTube which you can check out here.
     8.) Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pantser?
  • It varies – I’m an outliner with longer works, but when it comes to short stories I’m a pantser.
     9.) If you could only own one book, what would it be? Why?
  • Vanity Fair by Victor Hugo or I Know This Much is True by Wally lamb – both of those are books rich with characterization and plot.
    10.) Favorite childhood book/books?
  • Tell Me a Story Mama and  Park in the Dark were my favorites!
   11.) If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
  • Robert Jordan, because he used to be one of my favorite fantasy novelists, but he died within the last few years.  He is one of the novelists who have inspired me. (Another would be Mary Shelley)
   12.) If you could meet one character in a book, who would it be? Why?
  • Can I cheat and say my own main character Talia? I would love to know what she thinks of the book!
   13.) Where do you hope to be as a writer in five years?
  • I hate to say published, because so much of that is depending upon a lot of different factors. So, instead of saying that, I will say that I hope to have a finished manuscript and be done with my current fantasy novel. I also want to have another novel outlined and started.
   14.) Favorite quote/personal motto:
  • You are here and you matter. Don’t let anyone else define who you are. (as said by my mom!)
  15.) If you could give any advice to other writers, what would it be?
  • Confidence can do so much for you. Believe in yourself first – never be your worst critic, because there are too many people out there who are willing to wait in line to tell you how crappy you are. So, don’t be in that line. Be in the line of people telling you how awesome you are and to never quit.

A Book that Speaks: Literacy and Making Good Use of It

I'm currently taking an African American literature class, and we're studying slave narratives this week. There is a constant theme throughout them of a talking book. Not being able to read or write, slaves would often think that when owners were reading that the books were actually speaking. Olaudah Equiano writes in his Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano this:

I have often seen my master and Dick employed in reading; and I had a great curiosity to talk to the books, as I thought they did; and so to learn how all things had beginning: for that purpose I have often taken up a book and have talked to it, and then put my ears to it, when alone, in hopes it would answer me, and I have been very much concerned when I found it remained silent.

This passage and others brought forward some emotion from my colleagues, as well as myself. Could you imagine not being able to read? Could you imagine everything you would have missed out on: the knowledge, entertainment, and joy? It's difficult to comprehend what life would be like if you couldn't read. It hits close to home for me, though, because I have a grandparent that cannot read. His parents needed him to work the fields instead of go to school when he was young. That was the only way they could feed themselves. He's spent his whole life basing his reality and personal truths around what the trusted people in his life told him.

What's scary is that the illiteracy rate in American is rising. There are 49.6% of Americans that can only read at the lowest literacy level, and many that cannot read at all. Many equate the rising rates to the migration of Spanish speakers. Nonetheless, the ability to read is necessary to society. Studies have shown that low literacy rates can lead to higher crime rates. It simply saddens my heart.

What does this have to do with writing? As writers, we want our books to speak back. Olaudah listened but didn't hear anything. We want our words to scream off the page with emotions, teachings, and inspiration. There are wonderful books out there, but there are even more wonderful books yet to written. Great books inspire people to want to learn to read. Many children grow up and have their parents read to them before bed, and it's not long before they develop a longing to be able to read the books themselves.

As writers, we are the promoters of books. We believe in them. We know their purpose and there's no one better to share it with the world. Together we can fight the decline of literacy by writing good books and by inspiring young people to read.

What are your thoughts?