Monthly Archives: February 2014

Campaign to Support the Emerging Writer Prize

This year was the 7th Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize. This program started in 2008 as a scholarship for Master of Fine Arts students and was broadened to any emerging writer in 2011. Originally, one writer from each genre of poetry, fiction and nonfiction was selected. In 2012, the scholarship transitioned to recognizing one writer, regardless of genre. In 2013, the competition became completely electronic with all submissions via submittable. Also in 2013, the competition was listed on Duotrope as a means to widen the availability of information about the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize. The average number of entries over the past few years has been approximately 30 each year. This makes the odds of winning very good.

I’ve personally funded the scholarship every year, committed to a no fee competition. My commitment to that remains, however, I’m reaching out to the indie publishing and writing community at large to help fund this scholarship. My goal is to raise enough funds to support the emerging writer prize over the next ten years. I pledge that no more than 12% will go to the administrative costs for the scholarship. These include costs associated with the electronic submission process, competition promotional advertisements, recognition items for the winners, etc..

Help me keep the Emerging Writer Prize going strong. Over the course of this year, I’ll check back in on some of the previous winners to find out how they’re doing and what they are writing now. Stay tuned.

Please visit the Emerging Writer Go Fund Me site, your contribution is appreciated and please, share this site throughout your social media networks. Thank you very much.

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Sarah Blum Part III

sarah 4VAH: If you had a super power, what would it be and why that one?

SB: I would fly because I have always dreamed of doing that and was in love with superman/superboy.

VAH: Are you a finish the book once you’ve started kind of reader or leave it for another if don’t like the book sort of reader?

SB: More finish but if it is really bad I will leave it.

VAH: The blank page stares back at you, what gets you over writers block?

SB:I have never had it.

VAH: How keep up with what you send out and results of your submissions?

SB: I make a list of what I sent and to whom and dates and if I don’t get a response or get a no, I move on and keep moving on. I hold a deep faith that I am doing what I am being asked to do and will have the support of the universe even when it doesn’t look or feel like I do.

VAH: What little known fact about you will amaze and/or amuse?

SB: I was afraid of everything when I was a child.

VAH: What about now?

SB: When I am fearful of anything I have many options to deal with it. I use EFT, emotional freedom technique (tapping) or I consciously release it. This summer I suddenly became fearful of going out into the world to talk about the culture of abuse toward women in the military. I saw the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing with three full rows of the highest level of military men from all the services staring at the two lone women survivors who came to testify and I realized I would be facing them as well. Fortunately for me I had my women’s community retreat in July and we do many different types of lodges/ceremonies and I chose to do a specific one led by two women I trust and value and in that ceremony I literally and actually released all the fear I had and sent it into a fire and into the earth. I have not been afraid since.

Sarah is the author of the book Women Under Fire: Abuse in the Military.

Visit here for a compilation of resources for women veterans Sarah has put together.

Three by Five interviews Sarah Blum Part I, Part II.

And that concludes this month’s Three by Five interview with author Sarah Blum.

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Sarah Blum Part II

sarah 3VAH: Welcome back to Three by Five and Sarah Blum, a story teller and story listener. Sarah – When did you know you were a writer and what brought this about for you?

SB: I did not know until I became aware of my mission to write about the need for justice for women in the military. I heard the call from inside and said, “OK then show me I can write.” I sat down at the computer and asked to write an introduction and within seconds my fingers were flying across the keyboard and I produced in introduction that was so powerful it blew me away, figuratively and I said, “OK let’s do this!” and the rest is history because my first book, Women Under Fire: Abuse in the Military was released January 2014.

VAH: Do you have any advice for emerging writers?

SB: Don’t give up. Write what is in your heart.

VAH: Do you have a favorite conference or writing retreat/seminar and why?

SB: I like going to Barbara Turner Vessalago’s writing workshops because not only do I get to write for three hours at a time whatever comes up, but I get to listen to it read aloud and see others responses. I also get to hear fabulous writing by others and enjoy myself with them and nature at the same time.

VAH: Are you a full time writer?

SB: I am a nurse psychotherapist.

VAH: You must use stories then in your practice.

SB: I use stories a lot in my psychotherapy to illustrate concepts, ideas, and as examples. One such story that comes up a lot is the one about the  Zen monks who are walking back to their monastery together when they come to the river. There is a woman looking at the river and in distress about crossing it. One young monk takes off his cloak and wraps it around the woman from behind and then picks her up and carries her across the river. He then puts her down and continues his journey back to the monastery. When he catches up to the other two monks they are in heated discussion about him and the woman.  As they reach the top, the young monk says to the other two, “I left the woman on the other side of the river and you two are still carrying her.”

VAH: Wow, that’s powerful and illustrates well how we hang onto stories we experience. Sarah, what would you be reading late into the night? Perhaps give an example?

SB: Either science fiction or spiritual books. The Faithful Gardener by Clarissa Pincola Estes. I found it very healing and go back to if whenever I need to. She weaves  many stories through it and brings the reader/listener through the worst of devastation to new growth.   “To bring new growth you leave the land bare and hospitable. First you put out water -God has already done that for us-God calls this rain-what a great host is God. Next you put out sun and some shade-oh clouds and sun-God has taken care of this also-what a great host is God. Lastly you leave the ground fallow-turned but unsown, it means you send it through the fire to prepare it for it’s new life. This is the part God does not do alone-God likes a partnership. It is up to us to help what God has begun. No one wants this kind of burning-we want the field as it once was in its pristine beauty, just as we want life to remain as it once was. But believe me fire comes though we are afraid, it come anyway. Sometimes by accident, sometimes with purpose and sometimes for reasons no one can understand, reasons that are God’s business. But the fire can also turn everything to a new direction a new and different life one that has its own strength and ways to shape the world.”

“In every fallow place a new life is waiting to be born-I am certain, I am positive. And more astonishing than that, new life comes whether one wills it or not. New seed flies in on the wind and it will keep arriving, giving many chances for change of heart, mending of heart,  and for choosing life again at long last. Of all of this I am certain. What is that which can never die, it is that Faithful Force that is born into us, that One that is greater than us, that calls new seed to the open and barren places, so that we can be resown.  It is this Force in its most often mysterious ways that are far greater, far more majestic, and far more ancient than any heretofore ever known. Remember new seed is faithful, it roots deepest in the places that are most empty.”

Sarah Blum is the author of Women Under Fire: Abuse in the MilitaryWomenUnderFireForWebFolks-200x300

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Three by Five and Sarah Blum

sarah 2This month Three by Five introduces Sarah Blum, author and Viet Nam veteran.

“I’m interested in the truth,” Sarah Blum said of helping to treat the emotional wounds of others. “I’m a clear thinker, a problem solver. I’m a very strong person. I am someone who heals.”

Sarah Blum knows something about wounds and about healing. Once she was a 26 year old Army Captain and operating nurse with the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi Viet Nam. Today she is a nurse psychotherapist. Sarah believes her drive to tell the stories of women veterans is a spiritual mission. With her tools as a psychotherapist and experience as a women veteran, she is a compassionate listener supports other women veterans having their voices heard. Her recent book, Women Under Fire: Abuse in the Military was published in January 2014.

War stories are often about firsts. Sarah has a story about her first mortar attack:

“The first time we were mortared I was in the shower. Our shower is a wooden stall with only three sides. The front is wide open. The water comes from a tank above the hooch where we live so it is not very forceful or wide, more like the width of a finger coming down.

I started to hear a sound like a whoosh with a whistle and then a thud and an explosion. I turned off the noisy sound of the spigot to hear it more clearly and wondered what it was as I turned the spigot again to rinse off the soap I was covered in. At that point a soldier showed up right in front of me. He was in full battle gear with uniform, helmet, rifle and flak jacket. He looked at me very intensely and said: ‘Ma’am we are being mortared-you need to go to the bunker immediately!’

I said OK and continued to try and rinse off the soap. He stepped up his intensity and shouted, “If you don’t leave now and go to the bunker I will have to carry you!” I could tell he meant business so I put on my shorty robe that barely covered my butt and of course the soap on my wet skin went right through the material of the robe and I went slip sliding through the hooch in my flip flops with soapy water running down my legs.

When I got to the bunker I could not see anything because I had come from the blazing sun into a darkened dug out covered with sandbags. Someone grabbed my arm and guided me to a bench to sit down. My eyes gradually adjusted to the darkness and I saw my chief nurse in her helmet and flak jacket and she told all of us nurses, ‘We will wait until the all clear and then return to what we were doing.’ The next moment a soldier appeared at the opening and said, ‘We need Lieutenant Blum in the OR right now!’ I looked at my chief nurse and she nodded for me to go. I went right back to the shower to rinse off the soap and now mud all over my legs and feet. Then I dried off and scrambled into my fatigues and boots and ran zig zag across the compound to the OR. I did not wear my flak jacket or my helmet because they added about 30 more pounds of weight to my small 5 foot 100 pound body and I could run faster without them on.

From that day on when I heard the mortars I went right to the OR because that was where I was needed and I never went to the bunker again.”

Stories are a good tool for a psychotherapist.

VAH: Sarah, why do you write?

SB:  I write because I feel the passion and urgency to get the message of justice and healing out on behalf of women serving in our military and our women veterans.

VAH: What was your first story about?

SB: My own experiences as a nurse in Vietnam.

VAH: Do you have a favorite literary character?

SB:  Aslan the Lion in Lion, Witch and Wardrobe.

VAH: What book or series of books would you want if stranded on a deserted island and why?

SB: Books by Mercedes Lackey because I enjoy them and they are inspirational.

VAH: What would you say was your biggest influence on your development as a writer?

SB:  Barbara Turner Vessalago my writing teacher and my writing group.

Find out more about Sarah Blum here.

WomenUnderFireForWebFolks-200x300

 

Return on the 13th and 23rd for more.

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