Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES
Caroline Bock - Author of BEFORE MY EYES and LIE
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Blade Runner
"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

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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

GOOD NEWS from Caroline Bock

"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!!
 

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

WHAM!!! Write A Story...A story about a story....


Wham! Write A Story!!
 (a story about a story for adults as well as kids)

Wham! Will writes. Ka-zooom!! And our hero flies off. The end. He adds a half dozen exclamation points to his ‘Wham’!!!!!! and three more to his Ka-zooooom!!!!!!!!!
 
 “I’m done,” he says in a very loud voice. “I’ve written the greatest story ever!”
 
But Lara, his best friend, doesn’t agree. His story isn’t done. It hasn’t even begun.
 
“Yes, it is! See I wrote ‘the end.’"
 
“You don’t have a beginning,” says Lara. “Where’s the ‘Once upon a time’ or ‘it was a dark and stormy night?’”
 
“I have “Wham!' With an exclamation point.”
 
“Okay, you can start with wham! But something has to happen next. You have to introduce the setting or the characters.  Then something has to happen to the characters. Also, you’re using a lot of exclamation points!!!”
 
“Exclamation points look like soldiers, and I like them. But what’s the setting? Why do I need that?”
 
“Where the story takes place. The setting is also about when it takes place. For example, does it take place now? Or in the past? Or in the future?”
 
“I want it to take place here, Lara. On the page.”
 
“You have to take it off the page. Bring it into reader’s mind. My mind.”
 
“Then, how about at school?”
 
“What kind of school?  You have to be specific. The more details in a story, the better the story. An elementary school? A big school? The world’s biggest elementary school?”
 
“The world’s most gigantic elementary school. A billion and twenty-nine kids go there.”
 
“I’m glad I don’t go there.”
 
“It’s my setting,” says Will.
 
Lara stretched across the white sheet of paper, her character aching to go someplace. To do something or to want something—the story needed a plot.    
 
“Okay, so you have the setting. Who’s in the story? Who’s this story about? Is there a main character—other than us— that does something? That propels all the action and stuff forward.”
 
“Huh?”
 
“What happens next? That’s the plot. You have to ask yourself what happens to your characters?”
 
Will underlines with his newly sharpened yellow pencil a line where he says that his superhero flies off to fight the evil alien mutants, right before ‘the end.’

“Let’s back up. Is that your main character? A superhero? Not me?”
 
“I don’t write books about girls.”
 
“Today you will, or I’m leaving.”
 
“I guess I could add you but only as a secondary character.”
 
“Forget it then. This story ends now.”
 
“No, wait!!! Lara!!! You can be a main character too.”
 
“A superhero too?”
 
“Yes, a superhero, too.
 
“What’s my name in the story?”
 
“Can’t you just be Lara?”
 
“What’s the other superhero’s name?”
 
“He has a name,” said Will, clutching his pencil even tighter.
 
“You didn’t include it.”
 
“But I know the name.”
 
“And I only know what you write on the page, Will, and what I read. So what’s his name? What does he look like? What is he thinking? Seeing? Touching? Feeling? Use all of your senses to describe himand me.”  
 
Will put his pencil down on the lined notebook paper.  
 
“That’s okay. You are going to have to edit and revise this story—every writer does that. But hey, tell me, what does this other hero want? What do I want?”
 
“I don’t know. I never know what you want, Lara!”
 
“I want to save the world, of course. Ka—zooom!! Don’t all heroes want to save the world?”
 
Will snatches up his pencil and scribbles that down: save the world. Ka—zooom!!.
 
“What obstacles do we face? What decisions do we make? All this tumult is about something called: Plot. We have to have stuff happen to us. Challenges. What helps us or stops us from doing our job or getting what we want or, in this story, saving the world? Start at the beginning, again. You can do this. You can write your own heroes, Will.”
 
“Can I use exclamation points?”
 
“Maybe just one or two,” said Lara laughing with Will, and with that Lara ka-zoomed off the page.
 
“Wham!” dashed off Will, beginning his story, again....


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Caroline Bock is the author of two critically-acclaimed young adult novels: BEFORE MY EYES and LIEKa -zoooom!!!

BEFORE MY EYES for ENGLISH AND AP PSYCHOLOGY CLASSROOMS

"Before My Eyesby Caroline Bock, takes the reader through the last few days of summer from the perspectives of three narrators: two teens and a mentally-ill young adult. Bock skillfully weaves together the topics of schizophrenia, gun violence, family issues, and typical adolescent angst while at the same time providing a compelling story. Though the reader gets a glimpse of the book’s climax in the first few pages, the end plays out in an unexpected way when unlikely heroes emerge. As a retired Professor of Education, I believe Before My Eyes would be an excellent book for an 11th or 12th-grade English class, and since it provides a realistic portrayal of schizophrenia, it might even be a good choice for an AP Psychology class. Whatever one’s reason for choosing this book, the reader will not be disappointed."—Edmund Sass, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus of Education

This summer, I "met" Dr. Sass through the world of social media. He runs a website, Educational Resources and Lessons Plans, and I emailed him about my new novel, Before My Eyes. He was driving through the small town of Bock, Minnesota, population 106, (a town I someday plan to visit!) when he received my email. And so it goes that we he read my brief note, and he agreed to review a copy of Before My Eyes.

I am amazed how we find ourselves connected to one another—and grateful.


P.S. The Teacher's Guide for BEFORE MY EYES is also posted on my web site...click here
 

TOOTH FAIRIES and OTHER FAIRIES (BOOK FAIRIES)

My eight-year-old daughter lost another tooth this week, and she insisted that she still believed in the tooth fairy. So the tooth fairy was contacted and replied with this note:

2.28.14
Dear Sara,
I believe in you…
And I’m glad you believe in me.
Stay forever young…
With love always,
Your Tooth Fairy
xxoo

This note (and a few dollars) from the tooth fairy made a little girl very happy. Do you still believe?

Sometimes it's nice to know that simple things are still good things to believe in--like the tooth fairy.

--Caroline


P.S. If I had a fairy, it would be a book fairy, someone who waves a wand and encourages all to go read my new young adult novel, BEFORE MY EYES, which is NOT at all whimsical, but as much adult as much as young adult. Look for BEFORE MY EYES everywhere books/ebooks are sold. Read it with your mature teen (age 14 and above) or just read it.    
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