Sunday, February 8, 2015

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US #5: BLOGGER NEHA THAKUR CELEBRATES A MOTHER WHO FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE


Proud to introduce to you a bright and thoughtful young blogger who is a friend of a friend -- she is looking for content for her blog, as you'll learn at the end. Here comes a story of tragic loss that inspired courageous struggle. I love this! Here's Neha Thakur!



                           ~A Story of Courage~

Courageous Neelam Katara
I was very young when I was first introduced to Ms Neelam Katara. For my last question, with curiosity and caution, I asked, “Do you have any regrets?”

“No,” she was quick in replying, “Life has been kind to me.”


When MJ first requested me to recite about a woman who inspired me, the first face that flashed in front of my eyes was Ms Katara’s; an education officer with India’s leading education institute and mother of Nitish Katara. Nitish, a young lad of 25, was murdered by the son of an influential politician of a criminal background and that he was beaten in cold blood with an intensity that his ‘digestive system had fallen out’.

For someone to understand the enormity of her courage, it is important that the Indian political context be placed against her circumstances. A political position in India can come with colossal powers for those who want to exploit it. Ms Katara was up against the son of a politician who had previously been a leader of gangs from Uttar Pradesh and was often deemed as ‘Mafia Don’.

Through a series of unending hearings, witnesses turning hostile, threats and loss of her husband the following year, Ms Katara stayed audacious in the face of adversity. She exhibited unparalleled composure inside the court and outside it.

In 2008, court sentenced the culprits for life. Ms Katara exhibited the patience of a woman, the love of a mother, the wit of a sage and courage of a soldier in bringing down the culprits. That’s the beauty of love, it makes you audacious. It lends you courage, of the kind you deemed non-existent.

It’s been more than a decade of seeking capital punishment for her son’s slaughterers. She is still fighting.

Courage, she taught me that day, doesn’t come with extravagant tools or authority. Courage comes in one kind word, one empathetic look and patient love. It can be transferred. It is transferred through stories like hers, sometimes in words, and other times in silence. She taught me courage in six words that day so that one day when a young kid comes to me and asks if I regret anything about my life, I could relay that courage and tell her, “life has been kind to me.”

 
Neha Thakur is a storyteller at ‘The Nine Raspberries’, a blog/website meant to compile choicest of short stories from all genres for the modern reader. She earned an honours degree in English literature from University of Delhi and is currently pursuing a masters in Marketing from James Cook University. She has one spoilt dog, two mischievous siblings (born five minutes apart) and three wonderful parents. You can stalk her here

The Nine Raspberries is currently accepting short stories, typical to a geographical location, society, culture and religion. Find The Nine Raspberries on Facebook or contact at-    


Sunday, February 1, 2015

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US#4: TIME TRAVEL AUTHOR GEORGINA YOUNG-ELLIS HAS AN AMAZING MOM!

G.Y.E. = way cool!

Georgina Young-Ellis is one of my best buddies in the business (under my other author name) -- she's a bestselling author, a talented actress, an awesome wife and mom, and a graceful swing dancer -- so I want to thank her heartily for helping me to get this blog going with the good news about her having a GRRRREAT mom. Learn about a tireless worker for charity in a long family tradition of community service.

Excelsior!

Here's Georgina:

It’s almost a cliché to say my mom is the woman I admire most, but it’s entirely true. My mom, Patricia A. Young, has been devoted to charity work nearly her whole life, a pursuit that I believe was inspired by her mother, Dorothy Kephart, a social worker who strived to help immigrant refugees during and after World War II. Even while my mother was working full time to help support her family, she was volunteering for charitable organizations, especially those with a bent toward literacy advocacy. For the last twenty years or so (she is now 82), she has been a leader in Altrusa International, a business woman’s service organization, and a major promoter of world literacy. Their focus is to raise money not only to buy and donate books, but to support other organizations that promote learning and the joy of reading for adults and children. How perfect for the mother of a writer! Not only that but my mother is a tireless leader in the Tucson Symphony Women’s Association, a group that raises money toward helping provide music education for all, and to help young people in particular learn about music and to play instruments. My mother has always encouraged me help the poor, hungry, needy, and disenfranchised, and I have always tried to do so whenever possible. She is strong, energetic, loving, and purposeful. She is my inspiration and my best friend. 



Georgina's a reader-friendly author. Check out her social media links:

Her eclectic nerd-girls and time travellers blog:   http://nerd-girlsromanticsandtime-travelers.blogspot.com/ 
And with her husband, multi-talented Jonathan Ellis at:  http://searching4sincerity.blogspot.com/


Learn more about Georgina's writing. She has a new publisher, too!

The Time Mistress Series is a romantic time-travel trilogy spiced with adventure. Titles include The Time Baroness, set in Jane Austen’s England; The Time Heiress, staged in pre-Civil War New York City; and The Time Contessa, a journey to Renaissance Italy. This triumvirate is soon to expand though, with the addition of The Time Duchess, an adventure in Elizabethan London, to be released spring, 2015.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US #3: AUTHOR EM KAPLAN TELLS US ABOUT THE STELLAR ELLEN DEGENERES!


Hey, guys, we don't slow down here at MJ's Blog! We speed up. One of the kindest people in show business, as well as being talented and entertaining is ... well, let's let mystery author EM Kaplan tell us about her. See the end of the blog to meet Emily herself, and don't forget -- this is blog entry #3, and you're sure to like entries #1 and #2... Excelsior! -- MJ


Take your mind back to the very first TV commercial that featured Ellen Degeneres. Remember it? I do. The spot was an ad for small business services that aired in 1992. And by the grace of the internet gods, you can still see it (http://youtu.be/l_zaV7HnsLA). My point in bringing this up isn’t the ad, of course, it’s to re-introduce you to the fresh-faced young comic with the impeccable timing that cracked me up even then. It’s her everyday, normal person outlook, her I’m-just-like-you character caught in this crazy world we all share, that I admired then and still do. Just look at how she talks to the animals in that clip. I challenge you not to smile.

After that commercial, Ellen went on to create her own sitcom, host the Emmy’s, and then get her own talk show. True, she’s not that same coed-looking, pageboy-wearing girl. She weathered an enormous media storm when she came out and still more scrutiny for her marriage. On the other side of that upheaval, she’s now the current face of daytime television. She might have been relegated to a small corner of TV history. Instead, she’s the post-Oprah Oprah. Ellen’s the one who broke the internet with her star-packed selfie. Why? How did this happen?

Character. Integrity. Like Spider-Man, wielding her substantial powers responsibly, for good.


Ellen has said, “Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”

And again,  We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.”

Frankly, I don’t care if people condemn her for her sexuality, for her snarky jokes, or for the blatant use of shirtless hunks on her show. No one can criticize her for a lack of kindness and compassion. You can see it in how she treats her guests, children, and animals, whether she’s interviewing a baby from a viral video or introducing the next Emmy nominees.

And that’s the only type of role model anyone needs. 

***


EM Kaplan writes snarky mysteries and also fantasy books. Currently, the first Josie Tucker mystery, The Bride Wore Dead, is 99 cents on Kindle or free with Kindle Unlimited.

Inline image 2EM grew up in Tucson, Arizona where there were no sidewalks but plenty of tumbleweeds. She attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts where she majored in English Lit with a minor in Philosophy. She later earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. She's also been a Girl Scout, trombonist, toilet-cleaner, beginner ninja, and subversive marketeer. You can visit her at www.JustTheEmWords.com.

Other links:
Twitter: @meilaan
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US #2: AUTHOR JEAN JOACHIM TELLS US ABOUT INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN NOVELISTS!



 MJ:  Women writers are great role models for anyone who aspires to tell stories with words! Here, Jean Joachim will tell us about some who inspired her.  (For me, it's Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, but who's checking?) Remember, ladies, if you want to write about a woman who inspires you, just email me at MJPostAuthor@gmail.com and we'll make it happen together!! Okay, Jean, take it away!!

Jean writes:



Did I always want to be a writer? As long back as I can remember, and I was always a big reader. The first author who made a big impression on me was Louisa May Alcott. Little Women was one of the first books I owned. And I read it over and over and over again. The writing was so real, or at least that’s what I thought life was like back then. The girls became book-friends to me. I laughed at the funny parts and wept from my heart at the sad parts.
Louisa May Alcott

I was outraged when the rich aunt refused to take Jo to Europe. I stomped my foot and grumped around the house, hating Amy all the more when she ended up with, not only the fabulous trip, but also the Laurie’s heart. 

The book taught so much about life while it entertained me. Louisa May Alcott became my gold standard – and she wrote at a time when it was frowned on for a woman to write. I aspired to write a book with as much heart, soul and morality as hers. After 27 books, I’m still striving to write one as good as Little Women. 

The next big female writing influence in my life was Carolyn Keene. I read every Nancy Drew I could put my hands on. I devoured each page, nonstop, I could not put her books down. Yes I admired Carolyn Keene, but I would have preferred to be Nancy Drew. She’s responsible for my love of mysteries, and the strains of suspense that run through some of my romance novels. Her influence may also be responsible for the two romantic suspense books I wrote with Ben Tanner. 

There are so many excellent women writers today, it’s hard to single out any without slighting many. In the mystery field, Sue Grafton, P.D. James and Agatha Christie stand out. In romance? I’d have to say there are a dozen of my fellow authors at Secret Cravings whose work I gobble up, as soon as it’s published, like a starving dog.  

Writing, editing, rewriting and reading are my life. I strive to make my reader feel emotion, and to suck my reader in on the first paragraph, the first sentence. There are so many hurdles, so many milestones, weaknesses to conquer in writing. I love the challenge. 
Here's Jean!

I live in Manhattan with my husband and pug, Homer. I have two sons who are grown and on their own. I write series books. My first sports romance series, First & Ten, is debuting in February. The kickoff book is Griff Montgomery, quarterback.   

You can find me here: http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com

Or chat with me by email here: sunnydaysbook@gmail.com.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US #1: AUTHOR KATIE LABOVITZ TELLS US ABOUT THE WONDERFUL MINDY KALING!


 MJ:  WOW, this blog is really going to start rocking now! Remember, ladies, if you want to write about a woman who inspires you, just email me at MJPostAuthor@gmail.com and we'll make it happen together!! Now without further delay, here's new author Katie Labovitz on an inspirational woman in the entertainment industry.


Mindy Kaling is best known for her work on The Office and The Mindy Project, but people might not realize she has more to do with both shows than her roles on camera. Kaling started her work with The Office as the lone female writer on a staff of eight. She then earned a supporting role on the show as Kelly Kapoor, Dunder-Mifflin’s talkative customer service representative. While on the show, Kaling continued to write and produce, becoming one of the show’s Executive Producers and directing two episodes.

From The Office, Kaling created her own series, The Mindy Project. She not only stars as Mindy Lahiri, a smart but sometimes selfish NYC OB/GYN, but is one of the writers and Executive Producers of the show. 


Kaling is one of few women of color headlining a primetime television show. She also wrote a best-selling book of comedic essays, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and has another book, Why Not Me?, coming out in 2015. Her candid interviews and contribution to popular culture over the past decade have brought awareness to topics like gender and ethnic stereotypes, body image and how she and comedy are a perfect match.

 In a 2012 interview with Vulture, Kaling said, “I never want to be called the funniest Indian female comedian that exists. I feel like I can go head-to-head with the best white, male comedy writers that are out there. Why would I want to self-categorize myself into a smaller group than I’m able to compete in?” She’s funny because she’s herself, and she’s herself because that’s how she was raised.

 Reading her book of personal essays, I felt like I was reading the diary of a close friend. I laughed so hard I was in tears, but I wasn’t laughing at Kaling, I was laughing at myself because her stories are so relatable. It’s comforting to read that Kaling is so grounded when the image we are presented from a lot of celebrities is how glamorous and untouchable they are.


 I am continually inspired by Kaling because of both the quality of her work (The Mindy Project is among my favorite television shows of all time) and her work ethic. I follow her social media accounts and am constantly amazed by the hard work she and her crew puts in, as well as the real sense of community they have created. 


 In her interview with Lena Dunham for Rookie: Yearbook Two, Kaling said, “I’m tactile and affectionate, and that is part of how I am on set with the actors, the crew, and the writers… And I'm a feminist who wants to work with other feminists. I would wager that only a masochist sexist would want to work at a show with an opinionated female lead and showrunner. So I work with people who love women. That's a nice thing.” I love that being kind is something Kaling is determined to maintain in a cutthroat industry like television production. 

I might not aspire to star on my own television show like Kaling, but I do hope to follow in her footsteps as a successful author and champion of feminists everywhere. 


MJ says:  Katie, thanks for providing the inaugural entry for Women Who Inspire Us! Come back any time for a visit! Excelsior!!


Here's Katie!


Katie Labovitz has lived all over the Midwest but presently resides in NYC because she always wanted to live there. (As cliche as it sounds, she literally packed up her car and moved there in 2012... mostly because she wanted to be closer to Broadway/Off-Broadway theater.) She earned a BSC in Telecommunications ('06) and a MS in Journalism ('11), both from Ohio University and has written articles for various print and online entities over the past several years. In December 2014, her debut YA novel (Out at Home) was published as an ebook. In addition to working on more YA books and some unfinished screenplays, Labovitz is a guest theater blogger for IN New York. Follow her on Twitter (@klabovitz), read her blog (Two Degrees and Separation), or check out her author page on Goodreads.



Out at Home is a young adult novel that combines gay themes with sports and high school relationships. 

Caleb Hanson and his newly single mom pack up their car and drive from the only home he’s ever known in New York City to his uncle’s house in middle-of-nowhere Kentucky. In NYC, Caleb was the star pitcher of his high school’s baseball team and openly fooled around with his best friend, Jackson. 

In Kentucky, Caleb opts to stay in the closet, but is forced to sit the bench because the Bullfrogs’ roster is already full. When Caleb is paired up with Danny Thompson, the team’s distractingly attractive catcher, to throw batting practice, Caleb realizes that being stuck in small-town America might have some perks after all. 

Something clicks between the boys, though their newfound friendship is soon challenged when signs are misread and accusations are made. Caleb and Danny rely on each other to work through their insecurities and find themselves growing closer on and off the field. But will small-minded teammates and the pressures of being someone other people expect you to be be enough to break Caleb and Danny's burgeoning relationship, or can their love of the game take them and the Bullfrogs to another State Championship?

Out at Home is available on Amazon. Click here for more information!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US!



 OPEN SUBMISSIONS -- from any women who write and have something important to say on the topic. 

Please pass this on to any woman you think would be interested.

Email me with ideas to MJPostAuthor@gmail.com. I'm wide open!



MJ POST PRESENTS WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US

This series is for women to write about women who inspire us.

I invite you to write about a living woman you admire who is making a difference in the world. She should be a person who cares for others and improves their lives. We’ll get together to celebrate women with compassion and courage, fortitude and wisdom, understanding and clarity and candor. Tell us about a woman who has these qualities and about why you admire her and about how she has influenced you.

I will proofread and provide some light editing support if you need it. 

If there are any links to websites, blogs, etc. , the posting of which would help this wonderful woman, feel free to add them.

Length:  200 words or more.

As a participant, I want to promote you, so also give me your links for your own blog, your twitter, fan page on Facebook, amazon author page, whatever else you would like. I also welcome a few sentences of bio and a few sentences describing one of your projects.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Starting Social Media


Well, I admit I'm not a new author -- I've been publishing under another name since 2010 -- and I've tried a lot of things with social media. I was fascinated to discover that when I stopped promoting my books, the amazon sales stayed about the same. I was like, what's up with that? There's got to be a better way, kids and kittens…

Now here I am. I have some of the same things my previous online face had -- an author page on Facebook, a personal page on Facebook, and now a twitter handle @MJPostAuthor. As who else I am, I have an author website, but as MJ I have this blog, sharing my thoughts and stuff. Being a self-published author can be an adventure or a drag, depending upon how it's going and how much your social media interferes with writing. Right now as I put these words down, I'm longing to get going on my first solo book as MJ, but I just have to get some thoughts onto this blog first. Got to get the message out. But what's the message?

As MJ, I want to tell stories about strong women of various ages who overcome their problems and obstacles and pair with men who treat them with the respect you deserve. Sometimes they'll lean in, and sometimes they'll just want to be girls, but one way another, they will triumph. I hope you all enjoy the stories I plan to create for you.

What's next for this blog? I'll keep putting my thoughts for now, and later on, I'll start to bring in some guests. We writers have to stick together after all!

So what's next for the MJ Post brand? I think something set in New York, and with artists in it. In fact, I'll go work on that now.

Excelsior!