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Woo! It’s the AW Blog Comment Blitz June 27, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Uncategorized.
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This is one of the most fun things about blogging/writing and hanging out with an awesome group of writers.

I participated last year, and it was great to find new blogs to read and comment on (even if I still only lurk now). You know how it goes…so many great blogs to read…so little time, and I hate making those “nothing comments” like “great post,” so for me commenting takes thought, time…just as it does for these folks…none of whom would ever be mistaken for being blog comment pussies. (Many thanks to Suzanne Franco for adding that term to my lexicon. LOL)

Here’s the line-up blogroll:

  1. Peregrinas
  2. http://jjcooperaus.blogspot.com/
  3. Auria Cortes
  4. Puttin’ Words on Paper
  5. Spittin’ (out words) Like a Llama
  6. http://celebritytoday.today.com
  7. http://www.alleslinks.com
  8. http://chronicpain.today.com
  9. http://lissyssuitcase.blogspot.com
  10. http://impossibleuniverse.blogspot.com
  11. http://musingsfromthemitten.com ←you are here
  12. http://plaidearthworm.blogspot.com
  13. http://thewordynerd.blogspot.com/
  14. http://www.2passthetorch.com
  15. http://carolinewilson.typepad.com

For those not familiar with the great blog comment blitz, over the next week, we’ll all be visiting each other’s blogs and commenting on any post.

It’s on, and it’s going to be wicked good fun. 😀

Copyright © 2008, Erika-Marie S. Geiss

Book review: Apologies Forthcoming by Xujun Eberlein June 25, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Book Reviews, writing/editing/blogging.
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A Blog Stop Book Tour Book Review by Erika-Marie S. Geiss

The stories in Xujun Eberlein’s Apologies Forthcoming (Livingston Press, 2008 ) are a remarkable display of historical fiction where lyrical and vivid imagery  punctuate the socio-political climate of post-Cultural Revolution China. Eberlein’s descriptions of art, music, poetry, love and the beauty of the landscape are prominent metaphors for the emotions that her characters feel and the struggles they face as they emerge from the aftermath of Mao’s last decade in power.

In Pivot Point, where the protagonist, a woman of the “aging youth,” sent to the country side to be educated during the Revolution, finds that at almost 30 — the age of standing — she is “too high to reach,” and unmarriagable. While she achieves great stature professionally, belief in the Party is not enough. She wants something more and contends to endure a relationship with a married man, until she reaches her own tragic pivot point. One line in particular from Pivot Point describes the underlying theme of the entire collection of stories aptly:

“It is not without reason that the Chinese
character for ‘endure’ is a knife atop a heart.”

Eberlein’s ability to shape the Chinese character for endurance where filial, platonic, familial and romantic love are placed secondary to and under the weight of a stark, cold instrument of power and might resonates. Her protagonists struggle with the desires that seem to be in binary opposition to their duties, and each one faces a challenge of reconciling this complicated state, some triumphantly, others tragically. Eberlein’s cultural understanding is intimate, having grown up in Chongqing, China during the period. With the distance of time and geography, after moving to the United States in 1988, her descriptions of the turbulent period and the haunting memories of now middle-aged people, who as youth zealously killed in the warring factions on the Red Guard are unbiased.

Without casting an opinion on the Maoist Cultural Revolution, Eberlein places her characters in this time of social upheaval in a frank and matter-of-a-fact way and the historical facts are presented as events that shape her characters as directly as wind and rain shape the landscape and are as indelible. In Snow Line, Shiao Su abandons his poetry — a representation for his true self, for the “stability” of what is expected of him. And in Second Encounter, set in Massachusetts nearly forty years removed from the Cultural Revolution, a Sichuan man learns that events that unfolded while fighting in the Red Guard had a greater purpose that he could never have foreseen.

The collection of stories in Apologies Forthcoming are pure, real and speak to universal truths about the human condition that transcend geography or time. Eberlein’s eight stories are poignant and so well-written that they beg to be read aloud.

About the Author
Xujun Eberlein grew up in
Chongqing, China and moved to the States in 1988 and in 1995 earned her Ph.D. from MIT, winning an award for her dissertation.  Eberlein joined a small but ambitious high tech company, where she worked until 2003, when she gave up tech for writing. Since then she has won several literary awards and her stories and personal essays have been published world-wide. Apologies Forthcoming is Eberlein’s debut collection of stories and in 2007 won the prestigious Tartt Fiction Award.

To learn more about Xujun Eberlein, visit her Web site or her cultural and literary blog Inside-out-China.

Apologies Forthcoming is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booksense and Powell’s.

This review is part of the June 2008 Blog Stop Book Tours series:

The next blog-venues on the Blog Stop Book tour for Apologies Forthcoming by Xujun Eberlein are:

Previous Blog Stop Book Tour venues for Apologies Forthcoming can be viewed at the following locations:

A child’s prayer June 18, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in parenting & family, toddlers.
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Yesterday, when I turned on the Evening News with Brian Williams, they were covering scenes of the viewers who lined up for hours to view Tim Russert’s body as it lay in state.

Michael is a constant chatter box, and at 28 months, some of what he says is still completely unintelligible, remnants of echolaic babble combined with the utterances of a toddler whose tongue isn’t quite able to match what his brain thinks it’s creating.

Watching the coverage and half listening to Michael, I heard from his little mouth: “bablebablebable God, babblebablebablebable blah blah blah babble babble blah blah blah. Amen.”

Michael has only been to one wake in his conscious memory. The first he attended when he was still a babe-in-arms; the second was a few weeks ago when my husband’s uncle’s mother-in-law died. At that wake, before we left, he insisted that he had to go up to the casket, where he knelt and did what he saw all the grown-ups do: make the sign of the cross.

At the time, it was cute — the actions of a toddler who wanted to be involved, simply mimicking the adults around him.

Apparently however, sometime between the wake a few weeks ago and yesterday, when he witnessed the televised event, Michael made the connection between seeing a casket and spirituality, as he babbled his heart-felt prayer.

I don’t know what he said between uttering “God” and “Amen.” Only he and God know for sure. But that’s one prayer that I’m sure will get through.

Copyright © 2008, Erika-Marie S. Geiss

Wave of the future? June 13, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Business Issues, shameless self promotion, writing/editing/blogging.
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What happens when American Idol meets the wild, crazy and competitive world of freelance writing? Deb Ng’s innovative approach to finding a blogger/columnist for Freelance Writing Jobs (FWJ), that’s what. For those not in the know, FWJ is one of the top-rated sites for freelance writers, a place that many from the experienced and serious freelancer writer to the novice go for information, to learn, to connect and for job leads.

Last Friday, Deb announced an American Idol-styled contest for the search. Interested applicants were to place their applications in the comments field of the Open Topic for the week, announced on Monday. This week’s topic was the pitch/query letter for this specific position. Between Monday when the topic opened and today at 12 noon, Eastern time when the topic was closed for new entrants, 22 people had thrown their hats into the ring. among them, me. A group of 12 will be selected from the first round, and a new topic will be posted for those 12 to present their responses next week and then voted upon at the end of the week. Then it’s lather, rinse, repeat until there is one person selected.

So, of course I’m asking for your vote, but this isn’t just about voting for Erika, not that I’m going to question any votes in my favor. Unlike Idol, which can turn into a popularity contest and get away from being about who has the pipes and presence for the recording industry, the contest at FWJ is about reading the applications and voting for the person that you think has the best qualifications, skills, street cred and passion for the job.

Deb even states in the instructions for voting:

When voting, please cast your vote with the following in mind:

  • The candidate’s ability to follow directions. One disappointment on my part is I asked candidates to pitch a specific freelance writing niche for their twice weekly blog posts and only a few did so.
  • The candidate’s experience – Is this someone you trust to share ideas and tips with you?
  • The candidates ability to create conversation with you, the FWJ community.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be the lucky winner, maybe not — but anyway that you look at it, Ng may just be onto something and sparked a new model for how potential employers who have a community-based medium screen job applicants. With that in mind:

View the applications here

Vote here

The game is on!

ETA: Voting is open through Wednesday, June 18 at 12 noon Eastern Time.

Copyright © 2008, Erika-Marie S. Geiss

Tweet, Tweet, Kerplurk! June 12, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Humor & Satire, networking, writing/editing/blogging.
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That’s not the sound of a baby bird falling out of its nest and into a puddle. That’s the sound of me joining Plurk, which I first learned about from one of Mack Collier’s Tweets that ended up leading me here. (Thank you @MackCollier, for what are always engaging and informative posts.) I’d been reading Mack’s tweets and blog posts about Plurk and interest was piqued, but I hadn’t popped over to check it out yet, although had bookmarked it to do so later. (more…)

What *not* to write (and why) June 8, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Business Issues, networking, writing/editing/blogging.
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The nature of blogs is such that commentary and dialog can occur. Most of the time, such conversations are good, even when there is criticism. Criticism can, in its best form, generate further conversation whether with the post originator or among other commenters. It can also provide food for thought and in some cases a perspective shift, or at the very least a “hmm, hadn’t thought of it that way before,” even if one is unyielding on their stance or opinion.

Here’s where it gets murky. (more…)

Holy Social Networking, Batman! June 7, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in networking, writing/editing/blogging.
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So recently at Premium Green, there has been much talk about Twitter, for which twitterfeeds have been randomly unreliable lately. Of course, this will probably be the post that gets through with record speed.

So a tweet from Entrepemusings, who’s in my Twitter network (for want of a better term) about an amazing experience that she (and her business) had with blogger Jennifer Laycock led me to several of Mack Collier’s posts at Search Engine Guide. One of the posts was about having a Twitter landing page. An idea, that seems beyond good … in fact, it’s so smart, and so simple, I had a serious “Duh! Of course!” moment, smiting myself upon the head. Mack credited the concept to Chris Brogan and Laura Fitter, each of whom have used the technique. (Guess who’ll be joining the fray of having a Twitter Landing Page next?) Of course, one thing led to another, including following these smart and savvy people, which led to another, and I scooped up the little “get this” mybloglog widget on Chris’s page…which led to a whole other set of social media diversions … setting up my mybloglog account.

Which brought me here:

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

So there it is folks … and I await verification and validation. One cool thing was that among the sites listed in the mybloglog communties, were many that I already know, love, trust and frequent. Glad that I’ll be in good company. The other cool thing? In the few hours between my original tweeting and getting here, I gained another follower. Pretty nifty, huh? And now, I just have to make my landing page.

Look Ma, No Clones! June 5, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Business Issues, Humor & Satire, networking, WAHM/WAHD Stuff, writing/editing/blogging.
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Today, I can be in several places at once…and I didn’t even have to be cloned. Woo!

Can you tell I’m just a little punchy after being up very late because of the WAH Expo after-hours party? What happens when a bunch of work-at-home professionals kick back, let loose and enable the web cams? Crazy karaoke, that’s what. All I can say is: “Jazz Hands.”

Thankfully, though anything that I wrote prior to that is lucid, which you can view in the following places.

(I have been a busy, busy little bee.)

Join me at MediaPost.com in the Digital Editions group that I started. Let’s talk about digital magazines (a pet project and love of mine)…is print dead? I think not, but digital’s the wave of the future. Sign up and join in the discussion…you can be a digital edition professional or a reader…let’s talk!

Join me at MetroMode Media, where, for the next week, I am the featured Guest Blogger.

And, you can get a double dose of your Erika fix today at the THIRD & FINAL DAY of Business and Learning’s SPRING WAH Expo.

At 1 p.m. Eastern time, I’ll be speaking about theWAHMmagazine, the only content-driven digital magazine for work-at-home parents and at 9 p.m. Eastern time, as a featured speaker I’ll be speaking about how editors are important to the small business owner, especially the work-at-home professional. But, it’s not just about me…there are many amazing presentations throughout the day along with networking and fun. And speaking of networking don’t miss Jennifer Gniadecki‘s talk about Non-toxic Networking, at 8 p.m. eastern, tonight’s other featured speaker.

View schedule.

Enter conference room.


Copyright © 2008, Erika-Marie S. Geiss

Tonight’s Cyber Savvy Show 06.04.08 June 4, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Business Issues, networking, WAHM/WAHD Stuff, writing/editing/blogging.
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Join me tonight for this week’s edition of the Cyber Savvy show when my guest is Mary E. Lewis, founder and owner of Blog Stop Book Tours.

Mary will be talking about the virtual book tour, how she got started, and if you’re an author with a new or forthcoming title, you’ll want to be sure to tune in to find out how you can have a spot at Blog Spot Book Tours.

It’s a savvy new way for authors to reach their intended and new audiences…all in cyber space.

Please join us at 8 p.m. Eastern time at the Cyber Savvy show to hear about Blog Stop Book Tours.

Listen “Live” at 8 p.m. (click)

Now, if you can’t listen live at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time because you’re at the Spring WAH Expo, both Mary and I will understand, as Mary presented at yesterday’s session, tomorrow, I’ll be presenting and tonight there are two fabulous featured speakers.

You can listen to the archived podcast, which is usually available about an hour after the live broadcast here.

Copyright © 2008, Erika-Marie S. Geiss

A huge tranformation June 2, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Business Issues, Humor & Satire, Uncategorized, writing/editing/blogging.
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A series of unrelated events led to needing a new head shot. I needed one anyway, since the one that I was using was one of those done “on the fly” in the yard, with my husband playing the role of photographer. The giant maple tree that I sat under, while beautiful, cast way too much of a shadow on me. And several friends, who know me in real life have commented that I wasn’t smiling in my old head shot.

Then a few weeks ago, I was struck with a raging case of iritis. Iritis is an inflammation of the iris that causes extreme pain and light sensitivity. It is not fun by any stretch of the imagination. I had it once before, in the ’90s during my first semester of graduate school. Being an art historian, having a sudden and acute vision problem was alarming and scary. This time though, I knew what it was right away, but while not as scary, is still alarming, because as a writer, eyesight is pretty important. It’s all better now, but one of the side-effects, probably more from my age than from the iritis, is that I now have to wear my glasses more often. Far-sighted with an astigmatism, I formerly only needed them for reading and when my eyes got tired. Now, it’s most of the time that I need to wear them, even when my eyes aren’t tired. Why? It’s probably part occupational hazard, part the aging process, also clearly indicated by the new-found strands of silver hairs in my coif. (Somehow, they don’t show up in the photo.)

Follow that delicious development with post-partum hair loss. I knew it was bound to happen, but it’s still disarming to find clumps and clumps of hair coming off in your hands at every turn. So off it went…what was left of it anyway.

So bye-bye braids and hello sassy boy cut.

Before

After

Well, at the very least, the new head shot makes me look more like a literary professional and less like a hippie-mama, as my darling husband would quip. At least that’s what I’d like to think. And hey, I’m smiling this time.

Copyright © 2008 Erika-Marie S. Geiss