Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES
Caroline Bock - Author of BEFORE MY EYES and LIE
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NEW SHORT FICTION - "BEHEADED"
GARGOYLES AND STARS - WINNING SHORT STORY
FREE GIVEAWAY of LIE. BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS.
STORIES THAT BIND - ELIZABETH STROUT -
WRITING ADVICE-INTERVIEW WITH THE WRITER MAGAZINE- MARCH ISSUE

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BOOK CLUB READING GUIDE for BEFORE MY EYES
GOOD NEWS from Caroline Bock
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TEACHER'S GUIDE TO LIE
TEACHER'S GUIDES TO BEFORE MY EYES
YOUNG ADULT MOVIE STARS
YOUNG ADULT NOVEL WRITING TIPS
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Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES

NEW SHORT FICTION - "BEHEADED"

A year or so ago I was watching the evening news and saw an image that filled me with anger and despair. The result was this piece of short or "flash" fiction entitled: "BEHEADED," which was just published in the wonderful online literary journal,FICTION SOUTHEAST. 

Here is a link to this new short short:



Thank you for reading!

GARGOYLES AND STARS - WINNING SHORT STORY

I am thrilled to share my short story "Gargoyles and Stars," winner of WRITER MAGAZINE'S 2016 short story contest, judged by Colum McCann (his new book of short stories: 13 Ways of Looking, is a must read, especially for writers).


It's a fast read, only about 750 words, about a woman of a certain age: Lydia. I love Lydia, and I think I will be coming back to her someday. Read on!!
 

FREE GIVEAWAY of LIE. BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS.


What is this? A mini-sweepstakes for LIE, my critically-acclaimed (*starred* reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal and more)young adult novel.

Why now? Today, Thursday, April 14, Donald Trump, GOP candidate for President of the United States, is having a political rally in Patchogue, New York on Long Island. What happened there, in 2008, a horrendous hate crime, the murder of Marcelo Lucero inspired LIE.

I wrote LIE to understand why this could happen in a town so near where I lived at the time. 

I write to understand. I write to build bridges, not walls.

Enter for a chance to win a copy of LIE. It's only two copies, LIE is widely available these days in public libraries, but if you haven't read or heard of my young adult novel (appropriate for ages 14 and above and adults), I thought it timely to do a FREE giveaway. The link is live only through April 16th:


Peace.

STORIES THAT BIND - ELIZABETH STROUT -

I’ve been reading a lot of work this past month by Elizabeth Strout, known most famously for her novel-in-stories Olive Kitteridge.
 
The three works I’ve read seem to blend into one book. In the last that I read, My Name Is Lucy Barton, her new novel, one of the characters, a writing teacher tells her, “We all only have one story to tell,” and she goes on to say that we tell it, in many different, over and over and that’s okay. I felt this way with her recent work. It was all one story.
  
I began this journey without a plan; picking up the O. Henry Prize Stories 2015 collection and discovering her short story, “Snow Blind.” A rural, small town. A tightly knit family, the Applebys, and a terrible family secret. One of the children, Annie, ultimately does leave the small town, almost miraculously, becomes a star of screen and stage, but even she cannot totally leave behind her small town family and her history. I found a link to the story here: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/stefg/article1509841.ece
 
I learned soon after reading this masterful short story that her novel, The Burgess Boys, was being made into a HBO mini-series, and realized I hadn’t read this book. It’s the story of two brothers, both lawyers, one more successful than the other in New York City.  Along with their sister, who never left their small town in Maine, they harbor a deeply-held family secret. When the nephew does something stupid and terrible in the hometown, all breaks loose between the siblings. However, ultimately, (no spoilers here), the ties of the siblings to one another and to their history in that Maine village bind them to one another more than to anyone or anything else.   
 
I then thought: I must read her new novel. In My Name Is Lucy Barton, the main character, nicknamed ‘Wizzle’ by her mother is very ill. She’s in a New York City Hospital (what I take to be Cornell Presbyterian, though it’s never named. There is a view of the famously art deco Chrysler Building and having spent a lot of time there in recent years, I can imagine the view of the building, glistening, in my mind’s eye). Her mother on her first visit to New York City, and the first visit between them in years. Staying at her sick bed for several days, the mother tells story after story, of people from their Illinois farm town and their impoverished life together. In many ways, My Name is Lucy Barton is a story about how stories heal us.
 
But at the end of my reading I thought: Can we never move far away enough to leave our family, our hometown, our dark family secrets, no matter how we try to re-make ourselves? The answer for the characters in these Strout stories is: no. We are bound to our family, our siblings, our towns. This is the essential story that gets told again and again in these works by Strout.
 
Have you ever spent time with an author and felt you knew their story?


PS you can always spend time with my newest young adult novel: BEFORE MY EYES!

WRITING ADVICE-INTERVIEW WITH THE WRITER MAGAZINE- MARCH ISSUE

Do you write short stories? I was interviewed by THE WRITER MAGAZINE after winning first place in their 2016 short story contest, judged by Column McCann. If you have not read his "!3 Ways of Seeing" story collection, run now and read it. It is masterful. And if you'd like read The Writer Magazine interview with me where I give some advice on writing, go now: http://www.writermag.com/2016/01/27/caroline-bock-author-gargoyles-stars/



GARGOYLES AND STARS- AWARD-WINNING SHORT STORY LINK HERE

Read my short story at The Writer Magazine web site now.
I was going to write a long blog about the value of entering contests, but what I really want you to do is read my short story, "Gargoyles and Stars,"winner of the 2016 Writer Magazine short story contest judged by Colum McCann. I rarely enter contests so I truly have no wisdom to share except to enter them once in a while, if you admire the work of the judge or the publication, if you feel lucky, if you don't feel lucky and want to feel lucky for a moment. ——Caroline

The Best Holiday Present Ever...

News From...
The Writer Magazine
Imagine
Write Publish
December 23, 2015
Twists, turns, double meanings and double lives. These are some of the recurring themes for our Two Roads Diverge contest. Guest judge Colum McCann chose the three winners and an honorable mention. We are happy to announce them here.

Read the winning story in our March issue, on newsstands February 9, and read all three on writermag.com in January.


FIRST PLACE 
Caroline Bock and her submission "Gargoyles and Stars" introduces us to the cheerful and humorous Lydia, on the hunt in New York City for her parked car. Despite many vibrant memories, her loyalty to the past is trumped only by the fact that it doesn’t exist in the present except in her imagi
nation.

Guest judge Colum McCann noted Bock's style, saying, "It’s a brave story with many different strands nicely helixed together."

A young adult novelist, Bock has published poetry and short stories with F(r)iction, Ploughshares and Prometheus. Her poetry has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She currently lives in Maryland, where she works as freelance bookseller.    


The Best Holiday Present ever!
Here's to a 2016 filled with inspiration and creativity for us all!

Caroline
 





DEALS WE MAKE WITH OURSELVES AS WRITERS

Write 5,000 words today and you can binge-watch the rest of the first season of Mr. Robot.
 
Write 4,000 words today and you can go to Starbucks for a chai tea latte, grande, and re-read what you wrote. Live the writer’s life.
 
Write 3,000 words today—write hard and fast and then off to the yoga relaxation class where you will ultimately lie on a mat and do nothing.
 
Write 2,000 words today and turn off the computer, leave it off for the rest of the day, free yourself from the shackles of social media and typing like one possessed. Write 2,000 words and go get your nails done by the girl from Vietnam who scowls at your hands, looking at them intensely, wondering what she should do with them. The nails are bitten down to the skin, bleeding at her touch. All you really want is for her to hold your hands in the folds of her own cool bones.
 
Write 1,000 words today and you can read the rest of Franzen’s PURITY. You don’t know if this is a reward or not, you think not. Write 1,000 words and you can go back to library and find new books, ones that you will enjoy reading.
 
Open your novel and write 500 words this morning, you can do this. You will know you made an effort. You will be giving the world what? Ideas? Words. More words. Maybe some will make sense, maybe none will. You don’t know what else means anything to you anymore. So, you write. Make a deal with yourself: 5,000. You can do it. 5,000 words.

 
 

DO MORE NOW... INSURE OUR DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY... OPEN LETTER TO POLITICIANS


Columbine                        April 20, 1999
Tucson                           January 8, 2011           
Aurora                           July 20, 2012
Newtown                          December 12, 2012
Santa Barbara                    May 23, 2014
Charleston                       June 17, 2015
Roseburg, Oregon                 October 1, 2015
                                                           
Dear Politician,
 
The answer is not more guns. As a mother, a voter, and writer, I strongly believe this. We need to do more now:
 
Ban assault style weapons for general sale.
 
Require Background checks and more...waiting periods...license... insurance. It shouldn’t be easier to buy and own a gun than it is to operate a car. Fund research on guns and their usages, including gun violence in America through the ATF and other federal agencies.  

Create a national minimum age for purchasing a gun—I would strongly suggest: 25 years of age. Make logical exceptions for police and the armed forces, or even hunters to age 21.
 
Change key mental health laws. If your son or daughter is having mental health issues, the last solution is a gun. Change mental health laws to make it easier for parents or loved ones to help stop access to guns.
 
Raise awareness. Fund, on a public-private basis, a massive public awareness campaign akin to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving efforts. I am a member of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense a national grassroots effort, but my interest goes one step further, I have published a young adult novel, BEFORE MY EYES (St. Martin’s Press, 2014) about gun violence. Call out the facts: more people want MORE DONE NOW on gun laws than ever before.
 
Am I against all guns? No. I respect that we have a history of gun ownership in this country. For responsible gun owners: If you are a hunter or a hobbyist, enjoy your gun responsibly. However, the time is now to do all we can to “insure domestic Tranquility” (the first line of our U.S. Constitution). It is time for all of us, but particularly our politicians, to stand up for sensible gun law legislation and do more.
 
Sincerely,
 
 


HOW NOT TO WRITE...now with HOW TO ADDENDUM...






HOW NOT TO WRITE...
 
-Listen to that voice that pounds the back of your skull with,“Not today. I can’t do it. I’ll start on Monday morning at 6 a.m., no, at 5 a.m.”
 
-Oversleep on Monday morning until 7 a.m. and decide it’s way too late to start.
 
-Talk about what you are going to write. Tell it to your writer friends, your book club, to the guy in accounting, who admits that the last novel he read was in freshman English.
 
-Decide what you need is another outline. Exhaust yourself scribing on a long yellow legal pad every plot point you can imagine (Zombies! Ebola pandemics! Martians!) into your historical novel set in mid-20 century Europe.Add this yellow legal pad to the pile beside your desk.
 
-Confirm to yourself that what you truly need is more research. This gets you going. The World Wide Web—hours wrap like rubber bands into a ball— and reams of notes printed out. But it’s not enough. You can justify a trip. You are writing about Italy, you must seek out the wonders of Rome, or at least visit a nearby pizza joint, or partake of a shot of espresso at the coffee shop. All this inspires you to do more research.
 
-Focus on your computer or your printer or desk. The printer is hacking out pages like an old man with phlegm. Shouldn’t you upgrade? Isn’t your monitor too small? Isn’t it time to back up? Clean up history? Shouldn’t you be working at one of those standing desks—wouldn’t jogging on a treadmill attached to your desk improve your writing? A trip to the office supply store is what’s required, and you set out, determined to conquer technology and write more, better, faster— and get in shape.
 
-Do anything but write one sentence and then another until a page is done, a scene or chapter is drafted. How to write that first sentence? That’s another blog.

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Much response to this post, so I've added this addendum:

"Graham Greene realized early in his writing career that if he wrote just 500 words a day, he would have written several million words in just a few decades. So he developed a routine of writing for exactly two hours every day, and he was so strict about stopping after exactly two hours that he often stopped writing in the middle of a sentence...." (from the Writer's Almanac).  Great advice, and now, I have to stop writing... (only kidding, I am just getting started!) Caroline

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Caroline Bock is the author of two critically acclaimed young adult novels: LIE (St. Martin’s Press, 2011) and BEFORE MY EYES (St. Martin’s Press, 2014). Her short stories and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Akashic Press, Gargoyle Magazine andits Defying Gravity Anthology, Fiction Southeast, 100 Word Story, Ploughshares,Prometheus,Vestal Review, and Zero Dark-Thirty. She is also a contributor to The Washington Independent Review of Books. She writes every day, or at least attempts to write. More at wwww.carolinebock.com   
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