Articles

Travel Scholarships to Southeast Asia

I think I may have posted about this in a past year, but it’s worth noting again:

It’s GRANT TIME!

This opportunity is open to students, emerging and non-professional writers and lovers of travel looking for a career change. The scholarship is open to all nationalities, however, you must have a high degree of proficiency in written English. The opportunity is designed to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a travel writer on the road, so you must be comfortable doing some travel on your own. Minimum age 18 by the date the scholarship application closes (April 23, 2012). A current passport with at least six months before expiry. You must be available as per the dates set out. Please note these dates are not changeable in any way; you must be available for the entire assignment. You should be an exceptional writer with a lust for adventure travel, a desire to experience new cultures (and eat them!) and above all, a burning desire to become a professional travel writer! Deadline April 23, 2012.

Winner of the Stop The White-Out Giveaway

I want to thank everyone who commented on last week’s giveaway opportunity. I think it received the most comments I’ve ever seen on a single blog post over the last three years and it was all loving, supportive remarks.

And now to announce the winners!

The first name chosen by the Random number generator at random.org was Suzan Harden. The second name was Natalie Aguirre! Ladies, I will contact you privately to find out which books (The Dragon and the Pearl, Liar or The Silver Phoenix) you’d prefer. Thanks so much again to everyone interested in buying a book to support accurate depictions of race in literature.

Cover Art For Progress: Stop the White-Out

I read two truly moving blogs this week and I wanted to thank Ellen Oh for posting on the topic of anti-racism and Adam Heine for turning the topic into a contest. What better way to bring attention to the problem than to give stuff away in support of it?

I mentioned on Ellen’s blog that I have a Chinese daughter whom I love so much it hurts. It hurts even more when people comment on her appearance and how she can’t possibly be Chinese. You see, my daughter has a condition called Ocular Albinism. That’s not the white hair/red eyes version of Albinism. There are different kinds of conditions and hers means she has brown hair and brown eyes. She blends into mainstream America – in some ways a little too well. I’ve heard well-intentioned people claim: “She’s not Chinese!” Like hell she’s not. Why do people believe it’s detrimental to be of another race? Why do they want us to spend thousands on genetic testing to prove she’s not Chinese? I was tempted to do the testing to prove she IS.

I have a niece who also happens to be adopted. She’s from Russia, but her eyes have epicanthic folds because of where in Russia her ancestors came from. She went to the doctor’s office the other day and the NURSE repeatedly claimed that my niece must have Downe’s syndrome because of her eyes. This was an educated woman!

The whiting-out of America has got to stop. Two years ago the amazing Justine Larbalestier fought a battle with the publishers who tried to put a white girl on her book about an aboriginal teen. She won that battle, but the war looms large ahead of us. Our best line of defense is greater education, and what we need is more books. Books with covers that are diverse in their depiction of the human race.

To support that effort, I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I’m buying a cover that has someone of a non-caucasian race on the cover. Seriously, folks, the publishers put whites on the cover because they believe people won’t buy anything else. How sick is that? Let’s prove otherwise. I will BUY and give away two books. Winners can choose, but I will give multiple choices:

Justine’s “Liar” with appropriate cover, thank you very much. Cindy Pon’s wonderful “Silver Phoenix” in the original, beautiful cover. (See image at the top of this page.) Or for the adult book reader who still wants to make a difference, Jeannie Lin’s “The Dragon And the Pearl” with its stunning cover. I will announce the winners on the 19th.

To win one of these excellent books, please post a link to Ellen Oh’s original post, which can be found here. I would love a link to this contest in order to draw more attention to the issue, or to Adam Heine’s page, (which does have a different book available to win), but I’m not doing this to promote me, him or even Ellen. I’m doing this to provide a few pennies in a bucket that’s never given a chance to fill.

Writers Conferences and Other Issues

My apologies for the late post! The whole of last weekend got away from me – then I intended to post yesterday and I just realized: it’s Thursday. Geesh.

In surreal news totally unrelated to anything I normally discuss here: Davy Jones is no more. I always loved watching the Monkees reruns as a teen and have most of their music in some way or another. I even got to see them in concert once. Rest In Peace, Davy.

And in other news: I may try to go to the Dallas/Fort Worth Writers Conference this year. Is anyone else going? The literary agent guest list looks like my spreadsheet of wish list agents, so that’s a huge deal. Also, this is the conference that started the Agent Gong Show. You know, where someone reads anonymous query letters to the agents and you as the author get to find out where the agent would stop reading your query. They’re also going to do Agent First Pages Gong Show. One Agent. One Page. One Gong. LOL It’s an expensive conference – much more than I normally pay, so that makes me flinch. I’ll also have to fly and there’s the cost of room/board and questions as to job stability. All these things have to be weighed. Sigh.

So what about you? When was your last conference? Will you go again?

Fear Is the Mindkiller

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past
I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain

I feel like saying “Amen” to this. Yes, I’m admitting two things in this post: 1. I’m a Dune fan and by that, I mean I’ve read the first book in the series and have to be one of the few people on the planet who enjoys the movie despite its flaws.
2. I am afraid.

Not of admitting that I like the Dune movie, though that may bring down derision on my head. No, I’m afraid of many things, actually.

I’m afraid that my writing will never take off the way I want it to.

I’m afraid that, if that is so, I will never be able to work full-time as a writer, which I want so badly it hurts. I’m afraid of the consequences of jumping into such a situation: losing my home, losing my change-adverse daughter’s school, etc. I’m afraid of losing the respect of my friends and family for causing these chain reactions.

Yet I heard the most magnificent message from God yesterday. (Yes, I am a practicing Christian despite the Buddha image on the screen. That’s simply there to provide setting for the Asian theme, though I am NOT a militant Christian and have no problems with other beliefs.) God asked me why I’m so fearful. Don’t I believe in him? Yes, I do. But I also know He put His followers through trials and such trials are not something I desire.

Yes, I know, beyond all question, that God will take care of me and my family in the coming days. He promises such care if we face our afflictions “even unto death.” It’s the “even unto” part that worries me. The part where I lose my family’s and friends’ respect because of my actions.

So what about you? What are you afraid of?