Thursday, May 23, 2013

Set Up Your Facebook Writer's Page!

A couple years ago I knew I had to set up a Facebook writer's page sometime, but I did not expect to do it so soon.  Then I needed to give a website address with my bio for the Yule Anthology from Pagan Writer's Press.  They accepted two of my pieces: Winter Solstice Story (a song poem about Persephone and Demeter) and The Spirit of the GiveAway, an essay about the Native American custom of the GiveAway Blanket and how we used it at the Web.  I could only offer one link.  I have two blogs, Books and Ideas on writing and Anemone's Assays on paganism in the 21st century.  What to choose what to choose?

Coming soon, available for pre order now
on Amazon
I opted to set up a FaceBook Writer's Page under my own name Dorothy L. Abrams   and put the blog titles in my bio.  Those can be Googled.  Or Binged.  Or Yahooed.  A writer's page was quicker and easier than setting up a whole website which remained on my to do list until 2013 as I anticipated appearing in three anthologies and having Identity and the Quartered Circle released in June. As I said to Eric today, that's pretty good for the first year.  Overnight success.  We laughed because we know how many years have gone into this writing thing.

Once I decided on a Facebook Writer's Page, I had to decide what to put on it.  A simple start was to post some poem I never expect to publish. I selected a few haikus and a birthday poem I wrote for Eric a few years ago.  Then I started posting snips about my writing process.  Bingo!  Suddenly I know what I am doing.  What a relief! That was a short learning curve.  Posts on the page are linked to Twitter so they automatically appear there.

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A word to the wise, remember that Twitter bird is copying everything you write, without the images and context, so try to be lucid. I also cross post the links for my blogs so my Facebook and Twitter connections know what is interesting to read. 

After I had my page up and running, I realized people can click on my name and "like" me.  Sounds so 5th grade doesn't it?  Yet this is the process.  If you are ready to post your writerly world in public on Facebook, go "create a page"  currently hidden in the small print at the bottom of your home page.  Click and follow the directions.  It is literally that simple.

Remember if you are just starting to promote yourself and your work, use your writer name and set up a page.  Don't be shy. The trolls won't eat you.  With any luck your public will find you and your books. 

Happy self-promotion, my lovelies.

Coming later in 2013. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guest Blogger Time: Tara Chevrestt

 Guest Blogger Tara Chevrestt has the floor here in Books and Ideas today.  She is the editor of HerStory and has a particular interest in hearing loss and societal response in terms of reasonable accommodations and thoughtfulness.   


The month of May is Hearing Loss Awareness Month. I'd like everyone to take a moment...not just now, not just this week or even this month, but try to remember throughout the year, that millions of people throughout the United States have hearing loss.

Some tips for the hearing world:

-The next time you speak to someone in a public place and they don't acknowledge you, don't just automatically assume they're being rude. Stop a minute and ask yourself, "Did they hear me?" Maybe they have hearing loss. Hearing loss isn't a visible illness. You don't SEE it. Hearing aids can be well hidden.

-Make it a habit of speaking clearly and enunciating your words. Don't mumble; don't stare at the ground; don't talk too fast. Try to make sure people are looking at you when you speak to them. This was a rule taught in my household growing up, regardless of if someone had a hearing impairment or not. Back in those days, it was a sign of respect to look at someone when they speak to you and vice versa. We need to bring this back.

-Facial a nightmare for us hard of hearing lip-readers. If we can't see your lips, we don't understand you. Men, keep that hair trimmed.

-Do not assume that because we can't hear, that we're any different from you. I can get married (I am!), I can have children, I can drive, I can ride a bike. I can do everything you can do, except HEAR. This does not in any way or form hinder my mental capabilities or make me dumb. Let's separate deaf and dumb. It's past time.

-Do not speak to us as though we are slow. Speak normally. There's a big difference in plain enunciation (speaking clearly) and spending one minute on each word you utter. Don't draw it out and move your mouth in an exaggerated fashion. We learn to lip-read normal moving lips, not comical.

-Don't yell at us. Many of us are deaf to certain sounds and it doesn't matter how loud you say it, it won't get through. Plain and simple: if you're not speaking clearly, we won't understand it. Your quiet blah blah blah maw wah just becomes a very loud BLAH BLAH BLAH MAW WAH.

-Don't leave us out of things and talk over our heads. We feel ostracized. When everyone around us is laughing at a good joke, we want to laugh too! Include us. Make an effort. If you feel it's too much work to talk to us, we're going to decide it's too much work to be your friend. And you could really miss out on a good friendship.

-Hearing helpers are just that: HELPERS. If you're asked to be a hearing helper, don't permit others to speak to you as though we aren't there. Don't answer for us. If someone says to you, "What does she want to eat?" do not tell them, "She wants pizza." A hearing helper should turn to the deaf person and say, "He asked what you wanted to eat." We can and will answer for ourselves. Be careful not to take over and remember to just help. We do value our independence.

-Don't say something and then get mad when we ask you to repeat it for the second or third time. Count to ten if you have to, but try to avoid that callous "never mind". If you said it once, I'm going to assume you wanted me to hear it. It must be important enough. It's very frustrating when people do this.

-Cochlear implants and medical procedures of that ilk are personal matters. Do not try to fix us. Many of us are happy the way we are and have no desire to change. We don't see ourselves as broken or in need of fixing, so don't act like we are.

-Teach your kids that we're no different from them, that deaf isn't dumb, that hearing aids are nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to your children about bullying and its long-term effects.

Thank you for your time. In honor of Hearing Loss Awareness Month, I'd like to announce that two of my titles, one my memoir of growing up deaf and working in a hearing world (Hear Through My Ears) and one (Love Request) a contemporary novel featuring a hearing-"impaired" heroine, are on sale for 99 cents the rest of May.

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, dog mom, writer, and editor. You’ll never see her without her Kindle or a book within reach. As a child, she would often take a flashlight under the covers to finish the recent Nancy Drew novel when she was supposed to be sleeping.
Tara is addicted to Law & Order: SVU, has a crush on Cary Grant, laughs at her own jokes, and is constantly modifying recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Her theme is Strong is Sexy. She writes about strong women facing obstacles—in the military, with their handicaps, or just learning to accept themselves. Her heroines can stand alone and take care of themselves, but they often find love in the process.
You can connect with her on Facebook or follow her blog.



Friday, May 17, 2013

Surreal Synchronicity

It seems I live my life by synchronicity.  I start out in one direction and receive unexpected affirmation or challenge from something or someone I thought was entirely unrelated.  But wait!  Aren't all things connected in the great web of consciousness?  Must be so.

This afternoon we were inspired to write about a character I haven't developed or even written about by Angelique Mroczka on the HerStory facebook page. I picked a turn of the 20th century character I mean to write about someday. Like my Fawsettwood Witches, she is a past life memory. Here is my character's comment: 

I am a student at Newnham College in Cambridge. Women aren't allowed admission in the men's colleges, so this one and Girton have been established for women. Cambridge is a heady place to live. Famous people, great intellects, ideas floating on the Cam. I love it. I am a doctor's daughter, but we are not rich so I work at the perfumery in the town centre. The proprietor is an alchemist of sorts, steeped in herbs and potions. Fragrances are only half of what we sell. I sometimes wonder which is the source of my greatest education: the books and ideas espoused by my tutor or the formulas I learn at the shop. My father would disapprove were he aware the shop sells herbal remedies. What my father does not learn then will not trouble me. The shop smells divine even in the street

The shop is still there.  Eric and I walked by it in Cambridge last summer.  As soon as I smelled it, I knew I had worked there when I was a student 100 years ago. It was an uncanny experience.  Today, I had to check the spelling of Newnham College so I "Binged" it.  Don't you know one of the women who founded the college had a last name of Fawcett! Different spelling.  Same witches.  Well, she likely was no witch, but the thread of synchronicity hit me squarely in the face. I would say this is a surreal experience, but that strikes another chord of memory.

Earlier this week I was chatting electronically with an artist friend in the Southern Tier of NY. Her name is Lizzy Greenhood. She introduced me to women surrealist artists and writers, an entire niche with which I was unfamiliar.  They resonated immediately right down to my core. Surrealist writers and artists try to harmonize ordinary reality and dreaming into a single understanding.  They put unlikely things together with photographic clarity to shock the sensibilities into something new or deeper in our wisdom. Because of the unchallenged sexism of the male leaders in the movement, the women have been largely ignored.
File:Homenaje a Frida Kahlo.jpg
Homenaje a Frida Kahlo
by Gem Diaz shared on
used with permission
On the other hand, I have had many encounters with Frida Kahlo over the years, one of my favorite women painters in the western hemisphere.  And Georgia O'Keefe. It simply never occurred to me there were writers too.  Duh! And who were they, other than Lenora Carrington?  Here is a link to a list and a book about them: Surrealist Women. I suspect I will be studying and writing more about them in the next year. I want to be named among them!

Fact of the matter is, I have to discipline myself to suppress my natural surrealistic style of writing.  One, it is hard to understand.  Two, I had not credited myself with being connected to anyone in the leaps of fancy my rough drafts take. Oh.  Connectedness again. Interconnectedness of being.   Gracious Goddess, I have learned something else about my voice. In so doing, I realize my character from Newnham College in Cambridge whom I knew became a minor writer most likely connected with the early surrealists.  Well, there is another great leap forward in consciousness!

And that, dear readers, is how life works. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ela of the Abbey

Ela of the Abbey


Spirits speak across time

Unstopped when hearts grow old or cold,

They whispers secrets in our souls,

"I am here, just out of sight,

In familiar rooms." I know!

It's Ela of the Abbey and

Her sweetheart William Longspee.

Their great love survived—

Murder, lies or trickery—

Desire lives when bodies die

And souls embrace each other.



Sprits speak across dreams

Meet face to face within our minds

At rest. "I am back inside

The stories told to visitors."

I nod. I wrote that down, my Ela,

So others know a woman lived.

A husband died.  Their passion beat back

Plotting kings and regents; Ela  

Built an Abbey as her refuge

Free from fate and marriages. 


Dorothy L. Abrams
Poetry written for the 17th Annual Room Full of Sisters
Auburn NY May 7, 2013

Photography of Lacock Abbey Wiltshire UK June 2010
by Eric A Reynolds