Christmas Special!

Durham Editing and E-book wants to wish each of you a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year! As such, we are offering an unbelievable Christmas special! All 10 of our anthologies for free in digital edition through Smashwords.com. Please enjoy a free copy and feel free to share copies with friends using the Gift feature on Smashwords. The coupon codes associated with each book are good for personal or gift copies. Coupon Codes expire 1-10-2015.

Whispers, Shouts, and Songs
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/321399
Code: MP47U

Summer Shorts: Airing Out Secrets
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/335515
Code: TN45B

Leaves of Change:
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/359720
Code: BX66C

Wrapped Up In Ribbon
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/380696
Code: AH68V

Aspiring to Inspire
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/420499
Code: QJ78G

Words of Fire and Ice
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/430392
Code: NV35Z

Summer Shorts II: Best Kept Secrets
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/450143
Code: UH99K

It’s About Living
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/477466
Code: PS34K

Autumn Magic
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/485361
Code: NB93Y

Snowflakes and Memories
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494847
Code: KK69Z
 

Our December Featured Author Hardy Jones

This month Durham Editing and E-books is happy to showcase Hardy Jones as our December Featured Author. Hardy is a skilled storyteller and gifted writer from Lawton, Oklahoma. He is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of Creative Writing at Cameron University, as well as co-founder and Executive Editor for Cybersoleil and Flash Fiction editor for Sugar Mule. He is a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Phi Sigma Iota, Popular/American Culture Association, and the South Central Modern Languages Association.

 

HardyJones
Hardy’s writing has been published in numerous anthologies and journals, and we had the pleasure of working with him on the anthology Summer Shorts II in which his short story “Grandmother’s Coconut Tree” was featured. His short story “A New Bike for Little Mike” and personal essay “Dry Gumbo” were both nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2014. He held the Charles and Edythe Holmes Endowed Lectureship in English from 2010-2014. He also received grants from the State of Louisiana Division of Arts Folklife Program and the State of Louisiana Division of the Arts for two of his nonfiction projects, “Laotian New Year and Its Traditions” and People of the Good God. His novel Every Bitter Thing was released in 2010, and People of the Good God is slated for release in February of 2015.

 

LA Book Festival poster
We had the pleasure of catching up with Hardy this month to talk with him about writing, the art of storytelling, and family.

When did you first start writing?

As a kid, I dreamed of being a rock star and dabbled with song lyrics. In high school and the first couple of years in college, I wrote poetry—very bad poetry. A writing tutor looked at my poetry and pointed out how it read like truncated stories, which placed me on the prose path. In 1995, I declared English as my major and began writing in earnest, working exclusively on short stories, and the main comment my professors gave me was that my stories read like stifled novels. In the MFA program at the University of Memphis, a professor, Randall Kenan, encouraged me to use my family’s stories and personal experiences to create novels. Using that advice, I completed my novel Every Bitter Thing. My interest in family history has led me to write personal essays and a forthcoming memoir, People of the Good God, which details the evolution of Cajun culture into the new millennium and inquiry into my ethnic and cultural identity.

Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your writing?

I grew up on the Gulf Coast in the Florida panhandle, south Alabama, and south Louisiana. My father was a Texan and my mother is a Cajun, and both cultures place great value on oral storytelling, so I was raised with family history and stories the way other children are raised with Mother Goose fairy tales.

What has had the biggest influence on your writing?

My father was a cross-country truck-driver for 25 years, and he retired just before my birth, which meant he was at home and daily regaled me with stories of his work and travel experiences. He was born in 1917, was a WWII veteran, and lived to 1991, so his stories created an interest in history as well as in storytelling.

Where do you write? Describe this area for us.

I write primarily in my dining room. We have a large, square dining table, which is next to a large window that looks out on the Wichita Mountain range. I love the natural light the window provides, and being from the coast, having the mountains, however small they may be, gives me a lovely view.

When you aren’t writing, how do you spend your time?

I run, read, travel, spend time with my wife the Thai author Natthinee Khot-asa Jones, and our dog Gumbo. We live in Oklahoma and enjoy spending summers at our house in Thailand.

What inspires you to get out of bed each morning?

The possibility of creating and improving. A writer’s life can be filled with trying moments, but one positive is that each day I have the opportunity to improve my craft.

What are your five favorite books, and why?

Paring down my favorite books to five is a challenge, and the books listed are not in any certain order. I love the Brazilian author Jorge Amado and his novel Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. I am in awe of how his prose blends erudition with bawdy humor. Next is the nonfiction author Joseph Mitchell’s Up in the Old Hotel, which is a compilation of all of his essays and books. I appreciate his ability to write about marginalized peoples and not make them into caricature. Third is Andre Dubus’ Collected Stories. I am impressed with the humanity his characters possess. I bought his Collected Stories not long after I decided to become a writer, and I read the book repeatedly. Plus, some of his stories are set in Louisiana, so his settings were often familiar. Familiarity is what intrigued me about the fourth book: Bobbie Ann Mason’s Shiloh and Other Stories. Reading her stories about working-class Southerners and country folk showed me that literature could be populated by people and places I knew. Fifth is T. Coraghessan Boyle’s novel World’s End, which is the book that convinced me to be a writer. His comedic approaches to history and storytelling grabbed me as a twenty-something pondering the possibility of being a writer. By the time I finished World’s End, I had decided to major in English and threw myself into writing.

What is the best writing advice you can give another writer?

No matter how intimidating a blank screen can be, remember that a story or memoir needs two primary elements: characters and tension. If you have an interesting character facing obstacles, you have a good chance of holding the reader’s attention. Do not be overly concerned with plot; instead, focus on one word after another until they create a sentence, and then the sentences create paragraphs. Do not be afraid to place words on a page, even if you know as you are typing that these words will not be the ones that will eventually be in the story.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working with Natthinee Khot-asa Jones translating her memoir Wal-Mart Girl from Thai (it was published in Thailand in 2008) to English. An excerpt, “My Talking Dic,” is forthcoming in Red Truck Review in January 2015. The memoir details the two years that Natthinee worked at a Wal-Mart store in Lafayette, LA while I was a doctoral candidate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The book demonstrates cultural and linguistic differences between Thailand and America. For example, the excerpt “My Talking Dic” centers around how in Thai they shorten the word “dictionary” to “dic,” and when Natthinee used the shortened form at work, her co-workers found it hilarious. We hope that the memoir will be entertaining as well as shed light on the differences between what a worker faces in Thailand compared to America. Wal-Mart falls under a lot of criticism, and one thing the memoir emphasizes is that Natthinee wanted to work there for two reasons: as an immigrant, what better place to be immersed in everyday American culture; and in Thailand employers do not hire the elderly or handicapped, so when as a shopper Natthinee saw such workers at Wal-Mart, it impressed her that a company would give everyone an opportunity. The memoir, we believe, provides a balanced depiction of Wal-Mart—not all good, not all bad. Moreover, since it is a memoir, the book provides a more human look at the store and how it treats its employees.

You can find out more about Hardy Jones by connecting with him at:

Website: http://www.hardyjoneswriting.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HardyJonesWrite

 

You may also want to check out the online journals Hardy Jones works with:

Cybersoleil: http://www.cybersoleiljournal.com
Sugar Mule: http://www.sugarmule.com/index2.htm

Snowflakes and Memories

Snowflakes and Memories has arrived!

There is nothing more exciting than watching those first few flakes of white as they dance across the sky. Nothing, that is, except perhaps those last few days before Christmas. Memories of snowfalls and holidays spent with family and friends seem to brighten our lives, even when bittersweet. Their magic and joy bring happiness throughout the year. Join twenty authors from around the world as they share stories and poems to warm your heart and hearth this holiday season and the whole year through.
Featuring the talents of Adele Kenny, C J Clark, Carl “Papa” Palmer, Chantal Bellehumeur, Dee Stribling, Gail Fishman Gerwin, James Penha, Julia Rose Grey, Linda Radice, Mac Greene, Maureen Ellen O’Leary, Nancy Walker Benjamin, Nancy Werking Poling, Pat LaPointe, Patricia D’Innocenzo, Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Van G. Garrett, William Wortman, Jr., Patrick Durham, and April J. Durham.

 

snowflakesandmemories1

The 2014 Durham Editing and E-books Christmas collection Snowflakes and Memories is now available in both print and digital formats.

Print Edition:

Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/5118647 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Snowflakes-Memories-Durham-Editing-E-books/dp/1503323986

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/snowflakes-and-memories-durham-editing-and-e-books/1120814505

 

Digital Editions:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494847

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PXB86FM

 

Grab your FREE digital edition through Smashwords through December 13, 2014. Coupon Code: QQ98S

Snowflakes and Memories is on the way!

Durham Editing and E-books is proud to announce that our 2014 Christmas collection Snowflakes and Memories will be released Saturday, November 22, 2014. Be sure to check out our great book trailer for the collection.

We will also be having an online launch party for Snowflakes and Memories on Facebook on Saturday 22, 2014, at 7:00 p.m., EST. Hope to see you there!

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/540855729392279/

Our November Featured Author- Duane L. Herrmann

This November our Featured Author is Duane L. Herrmann, a well-published author from Kansas who was first published in 1969. Duane worked with us on our anthology Summer Shorts II: Best Kept Secrets and also on It’s About Living, our 2014 memoir anthology.

DLH Lib #1

Duane L. Herrmann attended Washburn University and Fort Hays State. He is a founding member of the Table for Eight writing group, chairman of the Shawnee County Bahá’í Community, and past President of both Interfaith of Topeka and Topeka Center for Peace and Justice. Duane is also involved with Kansas Authors Club, Kansas Writers, and Kansas State Poetry Society.

A prolific writer, Duane L. Herrmann has written, been featured in, or been referenced in hundreds of books, periodicals, and collections or collaborations. Some of Duane’s works include Once to Every Man and Nation, Ninety Years in Kansas, The Bahá’í Faith: 1897-1987, Whispers Shouting Glory, Andrew Herrmann Family in America, Voices From a Borrowed Garden, The Bahá’í Faith in Kansas Since 1897, The Life of May Brown in Her Own Words, Die Familia Andrew Herrmann in Amerika, Statements on Writing: a compilation, Fragrances of Grace, KPERS Affiliated Agency (user friendly) Directory, KPERS Designated Agent Workshop Workbook, Early Bahá’ís of Enterprise, KPERS Designated Agent Workshop Workbook, A Family at the Turn of a Century, Abdu’l-Bahá Writes to Kansas City, Celebrating the Century, Topeka Friends Meeting: 1982-2002, Selected Trees, Book Three, and many more.

Duane has been cited in numerous publications, including “And There Were Others: Alternative Religions in Kansas”, Desinformation als Methode, “Poetry of Robert Hayden,” Chaos 43, Dansk-Norsk Tidskrift For Religionishistoriske Studier / Scandinavian Journal of Religious History Studies, Citizens of the World: A History and Sociology of the Bahá’ís from a Globalisation Perspective, Reckendorf: Kultur und Kultus in einer frankischen Landgemeinde, Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project, The Bahá’ís of Iran, Transcaspia and the Caucasus: vol. 1, Letters of Russian Officers and Officials. Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production, The Bahá’í Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed, and Reflections.

Duane has also won numerous awards, including the Kalimat History Conference Grant, Robert Hayden Poetry Fellowship; Who’s Who in Writers, Editors, and Poets (US and Canada); first prize in the Kansas State Poetry Society contest of 1993; and Honorable Mention in Write About Kansas and Writers Matrix Contest.

DLH WU lecture - 1

Picture by Carol Yoho.

We caught up with Duane L. Herrmann this month and were able to gather his thoughts on writing in general and his personal writing journey.

When did you first start writing?

While I was in grade school, but I had begun making stories long before that, before I started school. In my grandmother’s house were some old comics; I can still remember them today. The characters were bugs, and they had little human-like villages with broken teacups and other things for houses. I was fascinated by the images and the tininess of their world. I couldn’t read yet. One time, after looking through the comic book, I fell asleep and dreamed I was in the comic book. When I woke up, I didn’t want the dream to end, so I continued it in my head. I may have been three or four; I don’t remember.

Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your writing?

I grew up on a farm with no other children around except for my younger sister and brothers. The boys were too much younger than me to play with, I had to do housework and take care of them. Our grandparents lived on the farm next door, and we could directly see their house from ours. It was slightly less than half a mile away. One day, when the pasture gate was open, I walked there. I didn’t realize I was running away from home; I just wanted to be at Granma’s. She was nice to me and didn’t scream. Walking to her house became a regular part of my life; I might go once or twice a week. When I made that first trip, I was two years old. I told about it in Summer Shorts II. My story-making was a way of running away from home, too. Every night, as I went to sleep, I would continue the story that was in my head.

Where do you write? Describe this area for us.

I write wherever I happen to be with whatever piece of paper I can reach. I try to keep some kind of paper and writing tool within reach at all times. For years now, I’ve kept a clipboard and paper and pens in the car. I now have a laptop with a long-life battery so I can go out in the woods and write. In fact, I wrote most of the story “A Place in the Woods” in my car in the woods on the rainy day that begins the story. I write in bed; I write standing up in the kitchen while I’m cooking. There’s not really any place I haven’t written at one time or another.

When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

Now that my children are grown and on their own, I am clearing brush and trees on the small piece of land I have. It is part of the farm I grew up on, but my part is not farmable. It’s too hilly and rocky. I’m clearing out the dense undergrowth and trees that are too dense. I want to feel the breeze coming through. Ideas come to me while I’m working out there. In the past I have been an office worker (and supervisor), a teacher (Headstart through college), built the house my family lived in (and remodeled several others), and, before I left home for college, a farmer and housekeeper.

What inspires you to get out of bed each morning?

To write down those ideas, sentences, words that come in that magical time between the dreams and full wakefulness. And hunger! I can’t stay in bed if I’m hungry.

What is the best writing advice you can give another writer?

Find someone else who is as passionate about writing as you are, preferably several someones, about 5 – 9. Critique each other’s work in a positive manner. Be willing to revise, revise, revise.

Write about what are interested in. If you’re not interested, your writing will be dead and that will be obvious.
Be in love with the language you are writing in. Be excited by the words you can use and use a wide variety of them. English has absorbed so many words from so many languages that we can now express innumerable different shades of meaning which other languages can’t.

Write what you know and if you don’t know, learn. Study, research, interview people and practice it yourself so you can write from a position of knowledge.

Do NOT trust spellcheck. “Their”, “there” and “they’re” are very different words with very different meanings, but spellcheck can’t tell the difference.

Write even when you don’t feel like writing. Writing is work. It takes effort. If you don’t want to make the effort, don’t claim to be a writer. Claiming so and doing nothing gives the rest of us a bad name.

Be patient with other writers as well as yourself.

What are you working on next?

More stories, more memoirs, more poetry and a longer story of a young man who wakes up one day in a place he does not know. It is similar to the world he knows, but vastly different. Is it a parallel world? The story is his search, his odyssey, so to speak, to find out where he is. The answer generates another, greater, question: how do I get back home? It’s also an ecological cautionary tale. I’m looking for a publisher.

After answering our interview questions, Duane also shared with us some information he felt has been important to his development as a writer.

The two most significant events of my biography: my father died in 1968 (due to medical incompetence), and the next year I accepted the Baha’i Faith. Both events have profoundly influenced every aspect of the rest of my life. They rank right up there with being born.
After thinking more about the standard questions, I realized there is something more important to me, as a writer, than all of those. Those are the milestones in my writing career:

  • My first poems published (when I was a senior in high school)
  • My first news article published (I was a freshman in college and actually ran three blocks to tell a friend!)
  • My first commercial sale (I cried with amazement so that I couldn’t even talk)
  • My first story published (they want it?? They really want the product of my brain??)
  • My first book (is that REALLY my name on the cover??!!?? It can’t be!!!)
  • My first foreign citation as a source (It was a storming night, I let out a whoop just as lightning hit the transformer next to my house and the entire neighborhood was plunged into darkness!)
  • My being accepted for inclusion in the Kansas Poets Trail (The sign with my poem is just outside the front entrance to the major concert hall in Wichita.)
  • And my inclusion in the Map of Kansas Literature (Don’t tell me this on April Fool’s Day).

Those are the unforgettable moments in my writing efforts.

 

You can find out more about Duane L. Herrmann by visiting his website at: http://dlherrmann.wix.com/home.

 

Other publications featuring work by or written by Duane L. Herrmann:

  • Wherefore Two, Creative Circle: Art
  • Literature and Music in Baha’i Perspective
  • Fasting: The Moon and Its Suns, A Baha’i Handbook
  • Christmas Memories, At Home in Ellis County
  • Community Histories: Studies in the Bábi
  • American Poets of the 1990’s,
  • Bahá’í World
  • How to Use Potpourri in the Classroom
  • Why They Became Bahá’ís,
  • KPERS Procedure Manual
  • Kansas Rhymer
  • Word of Mouth
  • A History of the Bahá’í Community of Samarkand, with Dr. Hasan T. Shodiev
  • Hidden Roots
  • Kansas Vistas,
  • The Central Figures: Bahá’u’lláh, vol 2
  • The Central Figures: Bahá’u’lláh, vol 3
  • A Little History of Islam in Topeka, with Imam Omar Hazim
  • Our Way With Words
  • Onomatopoeia, 2005
  • Prairies of Possibilities: New and Selected Poems
  • The Central Figures: the Báb, vol.2
  • By Thy Strengthening Grace
  • Dreams
  • Kansas Authors Club Yearbook
  • Islam in the Heartland of America
  • Sweet Scented Streams: poems for devotions
  • Hidden Meanings in the Poetry of Robert Hayden
  • Blessings of Teaching
  • Summer Shorts II: Best Kept Secrets
  • Puff Puff Prose, Poetry and a Play
  • It’s About Living