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Monday, June 27, 2011

Sherri's Jewel Box cometh

My new on-line magazine Sherri's Jewel Box will be released to the public on July 4th!!! I figured that would be the best way to celebrate my patriotism...just kidding. I really just felt that a holiday weekend is great time to do all the work to make sure my first issue will be outstanding. I am so proud of it and I have been working so hard on it. I hope you all enjoy it.

It will feature the history and stories of classic, vintage and historical jewels. I am hoping that the stories and articles will inspire my readers to collect their own pieces. The sentiment for each piece and the history are what draws me to vintage jewels. The beauty, history and sentiment of the family pieces make them special, its the beauty of it that strikes me. Please come and enjoy my new magazine!

Here I am at the Paws for Troops event, from my little face it looks like I am having a good time, huh? I did, I sold books for charity, ate pizza, bought a nice purse, and met some pretty dogs. The most important thing is that they met their goal for the event. Yeah!!!! And I helped in my own little way, so I feel very good about that. So I would say that this event was a win-win, wouldn't you?

Photograph by Chuck Cason

Please welcome my newest author that has agreed to join us for a short chat about writing; Pamela Sisman Bitterman.

What was the first book you remember loving? Do you still own it?

The first book that I remember falling in love with, and probably the one that I have most often given as a gift in the 50-plus years since it was first read to me, is the quintessential children's book of my generation, The Velveteen Rabbit. I still have my ancient copy, the one my Mom read to me and the same one that I subsequently read to my own children. (I also still have my own "real" stuffed rabbit that I slept with through out my entire childhood.) Both are being saved for future generations... I'm convinced that my compulsion to ultimately pen children's books is due in large part to my own dreamy childhood memories associated with this story.

What kind of books do you like to read? Do those books have an affect on your own writing?

As I have revealed in earlier interviews, books I read absolutely have an affect on my writing.

So much so that my tendency to become completely absorbed in whichever good book I happen to be reading at any given time, precludes
my being able to both write and indulge my voracious reading habit, simultaneously.I love to read. Always have. Books offer a unique opportunity to learn, to think, to explore, to disappear, to re-invent,
to live a thousand different lives. Most writers who dare to spill their guts on paper will likely never know the extent to which they have affected change, or the many lives that they have touched. I like that. Ripples in a pond.

I do believe that we can learn a great deal about how to write well by reading well written books. However, I will also admit that reading badly written books that somehow miraculously made it to publication is what eventually prompted me to try my hand at the craft, arrogantly avowing that "I can definitely do better than that!"

Do you remember what is the first book that touched you deeply?

I so remember the first book that touched me deeply. At the risk of cliche' I have to join the ranks of millions by admitting that it was Catcher In The Rye. That book was the motivation behind my initially embarking upon a career path to help troubled children. Discovering A Separate Piece represented another profound reading event in my life. Hmmm, I am just now realizing something. See what happens when we write? The protagonists, in fact pretty much all the principal characters of both of these books, were young boys. As a tomboy growing up as the antithesis of the debutante/ Betty Crocker crazed peers of my youth, I was desperate for literary role models that were brave, empowered, heroic, introspective, and soulfully embattled. I apparently found precious few young female characters that fit that prototype. But authors? Now that's another story. One had to look no further then Atalass Shrugged's Ayn Rand, or the stunningly talented fifteen year old S. E. Hinton, author of The Outsiders. Both these books were also among my favorites and both have left an indelible mark. When the characters from a book stick with you, haunt you, become friends whose companionship you yearn for long after the story ends, then the author has done her job masterfully. That is always a goal of my writing.

Is there an era of writing that affects you? 1920,'s, 800's so forth?

The era of writers that most affected me should be fairly self evident by this point in the interview. They were the writers of my youth, the illustrators of my personal experience. Of course, works by Steinbeck, Faulkner, Hemingway, Melville and the like were devoured and beloved. But Ken Kesy, Thomas Wolf, Jack Kerouac and J. D. Salinger became my surrogate best friends. Today, veteran authors like Barbara Kingsolver, and John Le Carre never let me down. And I'm always open to being swept away by new up-and-comers the likes of an Anne Lamont or a Dave Eggers, for instance. We need to believe that there's still great hope for their (our) ilk, right? I just read an interview with the renowned author Ann Patchett. Of the five books that she read in the last year and "wished she was still reading," was one by a (then) virtually unknown author whom she met when they shared a cab to the airport after a writers conference. We're all out there metaphorically waiting for that cab.

Where do you like to write? Is there a favorite nook or corner?

My most disciplined writing takes place in my office, mostly during the early dawn hours. But I write everywhere, on whatever is handy, whenever an idea presents itself. My moleskin is often anything with enough room to scratch out a notion on-a grocery list, gas receipt, stupid flyer stuck under the windshield wiper of my car.

Do you prefer one genre' to another?

Although I primarily write nonfiction, when I read I love losing myself in really good adult fiction. I have the adventures that become the stuff of my nonfiction, and that then becomes the perfect package deal for me. I get to do it, survive it, and then re-live it on paper. However, I am now dabbling in my first adult fiction project (see question #8), and am finding it ridiculously liberating, and so much fun! I have had two non-fictions, one homily and one children's book published so far. Although writing children's books has always appealed to me, as they are an invaluable vehicle by which one can profoundly touch the hearts and minds of impressionable future generations, it is harder then it looks. There is a science to it, with very precise format requirements for age and target audience appropriateness. But once you learn the parameters and integrate these guidelines into the creative process, you have in effect found the keys to the kingdom. I'm afraid I'm not a big fan of science fiction or fantasy. Although the writing for those genres can be beautifully creative and artfully composed, I personally have difficulty suspending logic for the duration of the read. Probably a failing on my part, and ultimately my loss.

Do you like the feel of a book in your hands or do you prefer an electronic device?

I do like the feel of a book. I like to hang onto them, smell them, share them, scribble in their margins, and yes, dog-ear a page. I would hate to see cloth books disappear from tomorrows artistic landscape. But much of my stubborn devotion to hard copies is as sentimentally driven as it is financially and environmentally counter-indicated. Although I admit to being a bit of a neanderthal with the new technology, I suppose I have to also admit that electronic reading devises are probably the way of the future. Two of my most recent manuscripts have been published digitally, so in that respect, I suppose I even hope that to be true. In fact, most new books that I read today, I download to my own kindle.

Nonetheless, the learning curve of my reluctant though "strongly advised" delve into the new computer generated publishing business has as often led me to an awed sense of proud accomplishment, as it has to having to be physically restrained from furiously flinging any one of a number of fancy hand held devices out of my second story window.

Can you tell us about what your working on now?

At present, I am actively working on marketing my published books. Hence this Author Highlight, for which I am very grateful! That being said, the Self-Promoter hat is not the most comfortable fit for me, just as it probably isn't for most writers. It is a necessary evil, all the same. And although I actually enjoy doing these online interviews, there is undeniably that marketing method to my madness.

My works-in-progress are presently an adult fiction, and a second children's book. But my primary work-in-progress is always myself. Consequently, if the next great adventure opportunity suddenly presents itself, I will be off and running! In all likely-hood it will then become the subject of a subsequent nonfiction and quite possibly my next published work as well. I love writing but living big and full for as long and as well as I can still wins out, hands down, as my diversion of choice.

Thank you so much for that wonderful interview, I think we learned a lot about your inner thought process:) If you would like to check out these book trailers for more information, please follow these links; , , .

If you would like to ask questions, offer suggestions or just chat please contact me on twitter at; @rithebard or at my email .

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