Community Service

We’ve Done Something Good Here

The time has come to post the results of the recent ebay auction to benefit the victims of the Dunbar Village Tragedy. As you may remember, I came up with this idea on the spur of the moment. I volunteered to do a manuscript critique and invited any other authors who were interested to jump right in.
I was floored by the number of people who pitched in. I did not solicit these offerings. People stood up and stepped up. So remember the names of these authors, artists, and publishers. Support them. Buy their books when you can, request them from your local library, go to their readings, or just subscribe to their blogs.
I also want to thank the members of this blog community for all your help with this effort. You bid, forwarded the links to your friends, and sent encouraging emails. You posted on your own blogs. Word spread. We managed to get a lot of attention for the auction, but also for the specific victims of Dunbar Village, but also the issue of violence against women and children.
Special thanks is in order for the bloggers. We were mentioned on the big literary blogs like Galleycat, Maude Newton, TEV, and even the LA Times blog. But the smaller blog families also gave love. Some folks even did mini-auctions of thier own to encourage support for our efforts.
Lastly, If you want to help out, but didn’t win the any of the auctions, you can make a donation to the victim’s assistance fund. Here’s the information for that:

Individuals who would like to donate money to the victims can go to any Wachovia Bank and donate to the St. Ann’s Victim’s Assistance Fund. Donations will go directly to the mother and her son. Checks can be made payable to the “Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund – St. Ann’s”. Donations can be mailed to: St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 310 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

We’ve done something good here. All of us. Whether you won an auction or not. We came together. We gave what we had to give. We cared. We helped somebody.

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And The Winners Are….

The total raised from the auction is:

  • James Ryals– 10-book set from Algonquin Books.
  • Christine Z– Personal Essay critique by Joy Castro
  • Lauren Cerand– 6-book set from Dzanc Books
  • James Ryals– Quartet of Debuts
  • Lauren Cerand– Photo session by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
  • Nancy Scheetz– Poetry Critique by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
  • Becca Marrtin– Novel critique by Tayari Jones
  • James Ryals– Story Critique by Tayari Jones
  • Christine Z– Story Critique by Laila Lalami
  • Sibongile Lynch– Writers Guides to Paying Markets by Erika Dreifus
  • Carla Williams– Trio of Memoirs
  • Lia Cihlar– Poetry Critique by Dennis Nurkse
  • Michael Taeckens & Lisa Kinney– Fiction titles by G. Saunders
  • Jerry Herring– Story Critique by George Saunders
  • Caroline Wilkinson– Novel critique by Sarah Schulman
  • Sandra Lambert– Story Critique by Martha Southgate
  • James Ryals– Autographed First Edition by Natasha Trethewey
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    Tick, tock! Act now!

    The auction for the six titles from Dzanc Books is closing in about an hour. For those of you not hip, I thought I would tell you a little bit about this innovative publishing company.
    Dzanc is a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing literary fiction. They also do outreach and education. This means writers in schools programs, but also working with literary journals to increase literacy and also visibility of serious authors.
    This is a quick summary because the auction ends in abut 45 minutes and I want to get this up in time for you to BID…. Also, it was so kind of them to offer thier whole catalog. There are some good books in there.
    And, ahem, just FYI, if you are an author– check out this tasty paragraph lifted from the Dzanc website:

    All Dzanc authors not only receive contracts and monetary compensation commensurate with the best literary houses, but the personal attention shown to each author by Dzanc – including reviews, book tours and intimate involvement in every step of the publishing process – clearly makes Dzanc unique.

    Now that should get you feeling bid-dy

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    TWO GRAND… and counting!

    Oh, Everybody! Things went so well last night with the ebay auction. We sold more than two thousand dollars worth of literary goods and services. There was last minute drama. (Example: a gentleman going by the handle “swampgoat” had last minute technical difficulties when trying to bid on the Saunders critique. He has to enlist a friend with less than a minute to go!)
    There is some good stuff left–

  • Story critique by me.
  • Signed first edition of Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
  • Treasury of Contemporary Southern Literature (Algonquin Books)
  • The Entire Dzanc Books catalog.
    As soon as all auctions are done, paperwork handled, I am going to post the names of the winners. I’ve been in touch with almost all of them and they are really cool people.
    Life is good.

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    We are in the last hour of the ebay auction to benefit the victims of the Dunbar Village tragedy. I am so excited. Can you believe there are (at this posting) 194 bids? I am thrilled to pieces.
    (And don’t forget there are a couple of other items that will mature tomorrow, but the main event is in 44 minutes… and counting.)
    img src

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    Tonight’s The Night!

    The auction wraps up today, for the most part. There are a couple groovy items which close a little later because either they were added late, or I got confused with the software… but the bulk of the items close tonight, 9pm, EST. I noticed that many of the bidders were first time ebayers, so I thought I would offer this tip:
    The bidding can get heated in the last minute or so of the auction. Really crafty people law low, watching the item. And in the very last seconds, they put in a bid, hoping the auction will close before anyone else has a chance to put it a higher offer. (Very sneaky.) This is what Weird Al was talking about when he sang

    I am the type who
    is liable to snipe you
    with two seconds left to goooooo!

    So, if there is something that you want, don’t bid and then walk away. Keep hitting refresh on your browser to make sure you are still in the lead.
    And speaking of that Weird Al song. There were a good dozen versions of the video on ebay. Who knew there was this Weird Al Tribute videography community? I must confess. The Ebay Song is growing on me and my be my new favorite YouTube chuckle. I think it is even funnier that the disagreeing Filet o Fishes.
    (No smirking, Ladylee.)

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    Just a Helpful Hint

    This is a message to the New York writers. This is written from a place of love. Please don’t take it as an insult.
    YOU NEED A NEW AUTHOR PHOTO. This is a kind and encouraging blog, so I won’t call any names. So, to those of you are using a cell-phone self-portrait: people can tell. To the people using a picture that you took way back in high school, you need to upgrade. Check out Rachel Eliza Griffiths’ pictures. She will make you gorgeous. Go over the auction. Bid. You owe it to yourself. And it’s for a good cause.
    And here’s the good news. Unpublished writers out there: you’re working hard. You’re sending your stuff out. (Maybe you have already bid on Erika’s cool reference books?) Good things are going to happen. And when they do, you’re going to need a photo. And a cell-phone self-portrait just won’t do.
    And not to be all up in y’all’s personal business…. You could probably use a more flattering picture for myspace, yahoo personals,,, etc… I’m just saying

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    How to Make Money For What You Write!

    Someone told me long time ago: “Only YOU can make yourself a writer.” This meant that only you control whether you put words to page. But once you’ve gotten those words down, what to do with them?
    Erika Dreifus, a.k.a. “The Practicing Writer” has just the resource for you. It’s a three-book set, fully downloadable and super helpul.

  • The Practicing Writer’s Guide to No-Cost Literary Contests and Competitions: Updated and expanded in Winter 2008, this Guide details 275 possibilities to pursue that won’t cost anything–except a bit of time, effort, and, perhaps, courage.
  • The Practicing Writer’s Directory of Paying Essay Markets: Designed especially for essayists, this resource offers information on MORE THAN 125 paying markets (print, online, and anthology). It’s not a “how-to” guide, but a reference guiding you “where-to” submit your essays and get published (and paid!).
  • The Practicing Writer’s Directory of Paying Markets for Book Reviewers: Perfect for both the aspiring–and experienced–book reviewer. Profiles more than 90 print and online publications that pay for book reviews (and publish their rates/terms online).
    Erika has donated the whole set. All you gotta do now is B-I-D.

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    This is why I love Algonquin Books– they heard through the grapevine about our fundariaser so they just donated a bundle of TEN (count ’em, 10!) works of contemporary southern fiction– Lee Smith, Silas House, Larry Brown.. *everybody*! And, just to sweeten the deal, two volumes of New Stories From the South!
    I have also decided to offer a short story critique in a addition to the manuscript crituque, for those of you who want to ease into this critique thing.
    Natasha Trethewey just gave me (in my hand) a signed FIRST EDITION of her Pulitzer Prize winning collection Native Guard!
    Also, prices have been dropped. And the paypal requirement has been removed from bidding!
    check it out!
    (This is supposed to go up last night, but I had technical issues.)

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    Why You Should Bid On A Novel Critique

    I know you all know about the terrific literary auction taking place now on ebay. The best opportunity on the list is the MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES. A couple folks have emailed and said they admire the authors too much to submit anything less than excellent. Well, that’s really sweet, but really wrong-headed. The idea is to have someone read your manuscript so you can make it better! Don’t be shy. I can only speak for myself of course, but I’ll be gentle and I’ll be helpful.
    Two authors– Sarah Schulman and myself– are offering full manuscript critiques. We will read your whole complete entire novel. Anyone who has a manuscript in a drawer knows how hard it is to get someone to look at your stuff. Oh how I envy musicians who just pop in a CD and say “check out my stuff…” Or even visual artists who can lead you to a gallery wall and then offer you some wine and cheese. For writers, when you hand someone a 300 page document, you don’t exactly see joy on thier faces…
    So, go bid. I’ll read your manuscript! So will Sarah. Lots of other cool writers will read your short stories and poetry. And it’s for a really good cause.
    Get over there.

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