Tuesday, November 23, 2021

"Rakiya" Shortlisted for International Book Award

I am excited to share: Rakiya, my as-yet unpublished short story collection, has been listed as a finalist in the Eyelands Book Awards 2021 - an international contest for published/unpublished books based in Greece.

Rakiya is one of 4 finalists in the unpublished short story collection category. Winners will be announced on December 30th.

Full details of the awards and the finalists: https://eyelandsawards.com/

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Are These Writers Nuts? - #NaNoWriMo (from the archive)

Here’s the challenge: write a 50,000 word novel during November. That’s 1,667 words a day, every day, for thirty days. Don’t bother to edit now, just write. Who would take on this wild challenge? I have an excuse (I am currently in the advanced editing stages of an already written novel)*, but some 250,000 writers from all over the world are hitting their keyboards furiously every day this month. Some of them are published authors. Are they crazy?

Welcome to November, designated as the National Novel Writing Month. That’s NaNoWriMo for short, NaNo for even shorter…

According to the NaNo website, hundreds of thousands of writers around the world are expected to pledge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. “There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone reads them.” So, what’s the point?

“The 50,000 word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creativity,” says NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty. “When you write for quantity, instead of quality, you end up getting both. Also, it’s a great excuse for not doing any dishes for a month.”

According to the site, more than 90 novels begun during the annual November promotion have since been published, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, a New York Times #1 best seller.

This year, some of the writers started their NaNo project precisely at the stroke of midnight, November 1. Others hope for a fortuitous start if they begin writing at exactly 11:11 on November 11th. But by then, some of their fellow writers will have already written more than 16,000 words.

Maggie from "Maggie Madly Writing" says that she plans to “write precisely 1,667 words a day – sometimes a little more. On days when I know I’m not going to be around the computer, I’ll write two days’ worth of words in one day.”

Kim Wright, author of Love in Mid Air, which I previously reviewed, says that this is her first year for NaNo. “As a longtime writer, I’ve been vaguely familiar with the concept for years but I have the sense that it’s growing as a movement, building towards some sort of critical mass.”

Jeff, the self-described Doubting Writer, says he must be “nuts” to join the NaNo craze. “Whether I produce anything of value is an entirely different question.”

If you’re an aspiring writer, should you attempt NaNo this year? Here are 5 reasons to do it. As for advice how to get through the month, check out these NaNo Rules that Lead to Progress.

Good luck to all you NaNo writers! As I edit my previously written manuscript I'll be thinking of you. Let me know how you did when December comes around.

* This article was originally posted in November 2011. Ten years later, authors are still attempting to pen their novels during the month of November. Write on!

Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Review of ‘Angels & Tahina’ by Tzippi Moss

In the autumn of 2009, Tzippi Moss, her husband Allan, and their son Ezra, set out to hike the Israel Trail, a 1000-kilometer trek from Kibbutz Dan in the north, to the shores of the Red Sea in Israel’s south. Their goal was not only to experience the country’s beauty on foot, but also to raise funds to research cures for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the progressive nervous system disease commonly known as ALS that took the life of Allan's mother.

Angels & Tahina: 18 Lessons from Hiking the Israel Trail by Tzippi Moss (Goat Path Publications, September 2020) came 11 years later. The book is part travelogue, part memoir, and part a collection of life lessons.

“Each chapter is organized around a specific life lesson,” Moss writes in her introduction. These lessons, “inspired primarily by folks I met along the way … may zigzag between far-flung locations on the trail.”

One of the first non-chronological chapters is ‘Commit to the Journey’. While Tzippi and her husband had hiked frequently in the past, it wasn’t clear to her if she was capable of leaving her coaching practice and committing to two months on the trail. “I love starting something new,” she writes. “It’s just the follow-through I’m challenged by.”

She prepares for her trek meticulously, purchasing suitable hiking boots, packing sufficient food, and planning where to hide caches of it to be retrieved later. Yet nothing can adequately prepare her for handling the toll on her physical and mental health. She will have to acquire additional skills along the journey, and she shares the process with readers.

The family is buoyed by faith, and their love for Israel. “God, thank you for keeping our steps steady and secure so that we may continue walking for all those who are not able to do so,” they say each morning. “Help us to get to our destination.”

The tahina in the book’s title refers to the “ubiquitous tahina” they packed for sustenance, because “it stores well, provides protein, fat, and calcium.” Angels refers to a network of some 500 people from Dan to Eilat who regularly extend warm hospitality to Israel Trail hikers.

Tzippi and her family may have enjoyed warm showers, comfortable beds, and Shabbat meals in kibbutzim and development towns along their route, but the success of their trek depended entirely on them. By journey’s end they had not only raised funds to combat ALS, but had also learned the power of family and commitment to achieving the impossible.

Readers will admire both the author’s perseverance and her remarkable ability to share life lessons for both body and soul, lessons that will be valued by all, whether they hike or not.

Tzippi Moss, a resident of Jerusalem, is a holistic psychotherapist at Inner Alchemist Coaching who counsels individuals and couples. Her specialties include mediation, financial counseling, dream work, EMDR, brainspotting, EFT, life and business coaching, medical coaching, stress reduction and relaxation techniques. Angels & Tahina is her first book.

Originally published at The Times of Israel.