Book Awards

Reference “Judge, 28th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards”

Judge’s Commentary*:

The story opens with a detailed and relatable buffet of bullying, with name-calling and the “game” of not letting him back in the car, always moving up just a little bit. Author breathes life into this scene and creates a gripping theme. This book is going to infuriate us, as well it should. Author has chosen to describe scenes, such as Harlen being left in the street initially, with an effective conciseness that carries more depth than if he had over-described it. Very good instinct. Author masters writing push-and-pull dynamics that are so essential to this story. Much of it is internal dialogue and internal processing that is very well delivered in a movement and – so brilliantly! – author saying what he *wished* he could do. Author writes settings well, imbuing them with sensory details. Again, subtle but wonderful. As an example, we get “geometric rows of citrus trees,” which we can see, and which have movement. Author could have said “rows of citrus trees,” but he elevated the scene with “geometric.” It’s these kinds of well-crafted descriptions that add magic and movement to settings. Very well done. Dialogue impresses as well, with so much emotion in spoken scenes. We get author’s restraint, and we get other officers’ voices soaked with hate. Again, author makes character voices rich and differentiated with a minimum of explanation. He’s inviting reader into the process, allowing us to process some of the scenes ourselves, and we trust this author enough to paint within the lines. Very well done. Author excels at crafting an experiential story, one that grips our emotions and jabs us with reality. Mama stands out in fine detail: her work, her protection of her family, her lessons in decency. Every time we get to read about her, we’re happy to find out more about her. She’s a name we look forward to. I loved the author’s change in format to switching point of view with the fire scene on page 207. This format allows us to get more detail, to see more, to alternate the intense energy of the fire. Author’s talent for description paired with these alternating views and voices enlivens the scene and captures the surreal quality of a fire emergency. I’ll probably never be able to unsee “the baby looked like he was melting,” but I hold that moment up as a triumph of the author’s voice and grasp on the reader’s soul. I feel so many things from this book, and I’m going to think about it for a long time. I hope this talented author who took on such an enormous topic now will continue to write. I admire his instinct for knowing just how much detail, and which words, are needed. Great work.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas edition

Christmas Is In the Air If We Look For It – New Chicken Soup for the Soul collection will jumpstart your holiday spirit.

The joy of giving and sharing runs throughout the 101 true, personal stories..you’ll read about communities coming together to make Christmas special for families going through hard times, the joy of giving, and some very creative ways to make your own holidays even more fun. You’ll undoubtedly come away from these pages with new ideas for gifts and family activities.

This book is one of five that Chicken Soup for the Soul earmarked in 2020 as fundraisers for specific nonprofit organizations. Royalties from this book will go to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, which creates miracles for millions of families every year by providing holiday gifts to children in the U.S. who might not otherwise receive any.

“We always use royalties from our books to support nonprofit organizations,” said Amy Newmark, editor-in-chief and publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

This year, the need is even greater, and we’re honored to share royalties from these books to make the holidays and the rest of the year a little more magical for American families that are struggling as a result of the pandemic.”

Please join us in sharing happiness, inspiration and hope through the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Shout-out for: “Out On a Limb, an Anthology for Friends”

A group of friends provide a smorgasbord of serious and light-hearted poetry and prose. The different styles of the writers reflect their experiences or creative imaginings composed for relief or perspective on various things in their life–from sadness to fun–gifting readers with their heartfelt points of view.

Available now on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=out+on+a+limb+an+anthology+for+friends&ref=nb_sb_noss.

Contributing authors are Joan Horrigan (Revisioning), Lamb Lambert (Originals & Favorite Excerpts), CJ Leigh (Finding the Sun) , Michele “Didi” Paano (Darling Works), Sharron Read-Lambert (Unfiltered), and Elizabeth “Betty” Romel (Life Is a Stage).

“The poor will be with us always”

From PJ Colando, on a topic near and dear to her heart:

The poor will be with us always.”

Second Harvest is a nonprofit food bank housed on the former El Toro Marine Base, Irvine. The Marines departed in the ‘90s, the nonprofit was invited into an abandoned building.

While its mission is to end hunger in Orange County, Second Harvest is nationally networked via the nonprofit Feeding America.

The commitment and intention:

A community where no one will go hungry. EVER.

Volunteers collect and distribute nutritious food to more than 250,000 individuals at risk of going hungry each month in Orange County through a network of 312 community partners who distribute food to the hungry in every city. Some folks gleaned from O.C. farm fields.

However, due to the climate of Covid-culture, volunteerism—like I provided via my church—is no longer feasible, but cash suffices in Covid-times.

Connect with PJ here: www.pjcolando.com.

Lamb’s note: the above was first posted on the SCWA website. Please visit her website, where funny lady, author and speaker PJ shares her wit and wisdom for all to enjoy. Her latest book, The Jailbird’s Jackpot, is available on Amazon.