Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES
Caroline Bock - Author of BEFORE MY EYES and LIE
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"SWEETNESS" - THE WAY TO MY HEART
SIX WORD MEMOIR
Where Does a Writer Start?
NEW SHORT FICTION - THE CRITIQUE GROUP in the ABUNDANT GRACE Anthology
NEW SHORT FICTION - "BEHEADED"

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BOOK CLUB READING GUIDE for BEFORE MY EYES
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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

"SWEETNESS" - THE WAY TO MY HEART

Thrilled to share news that my short story, "SWEETNESS" is included in the new anthology THE WAY TO MY HEARTan anthology of food-related romance edited by the fabulous Kelly Ann Jacobson. And even nicer news—it was honored with the first place award.

From the judge Josephine Yu: "I was impressed by the voice and complexity of “Sweetness” and the paradox it draws between Italian words and the foreign language of a medical diagnosis. The bittersweet choice the narrator makes reminds us that love in any stage or condition is worth savoring."

Molte Grazie (Many thanks!!) from a grateful writer

This anthology is available now via Amazon.

SIX WORD MEMOIR

This isn't new--the Smith Magazine Six-Word Memoir-- but I was needing to get out of the box of my head, and I wrote one yesterday, and posted it on the Smith Magazine site. Since it's only six words, here it is:

Write, Write, the yowling of desire.


Do you have a six word memoir? Must be six words. Post it, here, there. 

Where Does a Writer Start?

Where does a writer start?
This writer starts with two things:
 
The question WHY? Eventually, upon analysis, I’ve learned that my initial why.  My curiosity. My questioning myself and the human condition – leads to what English teachers call “theme.”  
 
How, in the 21st century, in Long Island, New York, can a group of suburban teens—turn on people who lived among them? Strangers, but not strange. Two brothers who weren’t bothering anyone—just because they were not like them? And why did no one——parents, teachers, coaches, notice anything? Why did none of their wide circle of friends say: this is wrong?  What is the nature of hate and prejudice in the 21 century? These are the questions my character struggle with in my 2011 young adult novel, LIE.
 
With my 2014 young adult novel–Before My Eyes– three intertwined stories – but also inspired by the why. Why did no one see what was going inside with these three fragile teens–especially one who is going through a psychic break–and who has so easily bought a gun?  
 
The second thing I start with is:
A character.
A voice in my head. A sense that something is going to happen to this person–I’m not sure what, but I’m going on a journey with him or her. It may end well; it may not. It may end unsettled—in a question because  my characters are complicated.

Ultimately, these novels end.

Yet life remains complicated, so I am starting a new novel; one I am aiming for adults, since our lives, these days, are more complicated than ever. STAY TUNED.

NEW SHORT FICTION - THE CRITIQUE GROUP in the ABUNDANT GRACE Anthology

The Critique Group by Caroline Bock
THE CRITIQUE GROUP
 
We talk about giving birth and menopause, about celebrities we would jump in bed with if we had the opportunity, about being married forever from one of us, and not having a date in eighteen months, shit, maybe more— and about your grandmother: How is she? Her home in Chevy Chase is being sold. Ninety years old, and my parents have decided that she can not live alone anymore— the unreliable furnace and those long flights of stairs leading to all those unopened rooms. We gather closer to her, the youngest among us, and urge her to write more, about her grandmother, about what matters and what terrifies. What we think to ourselves: How did we find one another? How lucky we are— four women poised between twenty-nine and fifty. What we say aloud: We should meet more often. We drink more wine, weep, scream, howl, beat our fists against one another, laugh gulping for air, a certain power in us to write about anything. And he always arrives late, slick with sweat, riding his bicycle on even the coldest of nights, changing the pheromones in the wide-open room. When he says: Did I miss anything? We say: We haven’t even started.

                    -----------
The Critique Group was included in the new anthology, ABUNDANT GRACE published by Richard Peabody and Paycock Press in December, 2016, and featuring women writers in the Washington DC area. My fiction selection is one of the shortest in this amazing collection. Praise be to Richard Peabody for including it. Copies of the anthology can be purchased at http://www.gargoylemagazine.com/paycock.



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

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