Thursday, October 14, 2021

AMANDA911 by Mark Schreiber is a #YA #ComingofAge story for our time. Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN Gift Card

by: Mark Schreiber
Genre: YA Crossover
Release Date: October 1, 2021
Publisher: Pleasure Boat Studio
Amazon | Paperback | Pleasure Boat Studio | Google Play | Goodreads

What's it like to be a teen influencer? Sixteen-year-old Amanda Dizon is an ordinary girl in an ordinary town in Iowa. But when she falls into an abandoned well in her backyard during presidential primary campaign season, the national media post the story, the candidates visit her in the hospital, and she becomes a star on the new social media platform, PingPong.

Amanda911 is a story for our time, about an occupation that didn't exist a few years ago, but which millions now aspire to. It's a funny, fast-paced journey through the contemporary digital landscape that is the influencer phenomenon.

“Sixteen-year-old Iowa schoolgirl Amanda Dizon may be the nation’s most unremarkable teenager, until she falls down a well and finds herself instantaneously transformed from irrelevant to influencer. Mark Schreiber’s sly, rollicking masterpiece, Amanda911, follows Amanda’s escapades and sends up the craven, fame-obsessed virtual culture of today’s adolescents. As insightful as Dickens and as innovative as Heller, Schreiber is the definitive satirist of the social media generation.”—Jacob M. Appel, author of Einstein’s Beach House

I can’t believe you guys! exclaimed Nicole. You never heard of MakeItRain? It’s crowdfunding for personal tragedy.

But I only fractured one ankle, said Amanda. The doctor said I can probably go home tomorrow.

But nobody knew that when the story broke, did they?

What is this figure? asked Amanda’s mom. $305,050? Is that the goal?

The goal is ten thousand dollars! Nicole shouted above the music.

$305,050 is the amount pledged. So you can easily afford to buy me a Jaguar. I just want a basic one. And you’ll have money left over to buy a car painted rainbow colors for yourself, and probably a house with a life-size stuffed unicorn.

A life-size stuffed unicorn?

This can’t be legitimate, whispered Amanda’s mother.

Amanda’s mom grabbed her daughter’s arm. Can you please give us a minute, Nicole?

She helped her daughter into a wheelchair and wheeled her into the corridor, where it was quiet enough to talk in normal voices, and bright enough to see each other clearly.

She knelt down so that their gaze was level. Are you OK, darling?

Are you kidding? This is the best day of my life!

You suffered a traumatic experience.

The well? I should have fallen down that thing a long time ago!

Listen, this is all nice and fun, and I’m glad all your classmates have finally taken an interest in you, even if they have ulterior motives...

Mom, cut to the chase.

But none of this is real. It’s just entertainment. The RainMan account, the six million friends...

It’s seven million now!

Purchase Amanda911 from:

My Take on Writers Groups
By Mark Schreiber

I’ve always been on my own as a writer. I didn’t go to college or take any courses, I didn’t join writers groups or even have writer friends for most of my career. With that caveat, here’s my take on writers groups.

While I think they can be beneficial if you understand their limitations and kick out any toxic people—the sort of people who give one-star reviews on Amazon—there are two main problems to look out for. One: too much discouragement. Two: too much encouragement.

Writing is a lonely and fragile activity. If you’ve spent months or years on a project, you don’t want to be told it was a waste of time, or to start over, or to cut a third. A former agent of mine told me to cut a 200,000 word novel in half. I did and he still turned it down! That wasn’t a good critique experience, to say the least. And what are writers groups or critique groups going to do for you if you do take their advice? It’s not like feedback from an agent or editor or professor, who can progress your career.

Self-motivation is a necessity to being a writer, and it’s hard to be motivated if seven people are telling you seven different things to change or add in your work-in-progress.

On the other hand, maybe your writing is truly awful. Maybe there’s a story just like yours that you need to read first. Maybe there are quick fixes that will make you much better. Industry professionals always tell writers not to believe what their family says—it’s family. Of course they’re going to love your writing, or at least say they do. (Some families anyway.) A lot of writers groups are really cheerleading groups, with everyone promising everyone that their book will be the next Crawdads.

When I take a golf lesson and drive a ball into the parking lot, I don’t want the pro to say, “Good shot!” I don’t want encouragement; I want to know how not to break windshields. And that’s what aspiring writers should want. How to hit it on the fairway.

But too many simply want affirmation that they can have a bestseller—tomorrow. Such groups can be great fun, and writers need to get out of the house. But it’s empty calories, and that light at the end of the tunnel is another rejection letter.

On the other hand, I think there should be a special circle in Hell for people who give one-star reviews. I think people who give unconstructive criticism or make personal attacks, or react to the story they wanted to read rather than the one you wanted to write, are toxic. Don’t show your work to them again. Personally, I have never discouraged anyone from writing. Just like I don’t want my golf pro, or my golf buddies, to tell me to give up, that I’m no good. We can’t all make the tour, or the bestseller lists. But we can all find joy in hitting the fairway now and then, and what’s more satisfying than that?

Mark Schreiber was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1960, graduated high school at age fifteen and began writing novels full-time. Princes in Exile, which explores a prodigy’s struggle to accept his own mortality at a summer camp for kids with cancer, was published in 1984 and made into a feature film in 1991. It has been published in ten countries, received two awards in Europe and was shortlisted for the Austria Prize. Carnelian, a fantasy, was published by Facet in Belgium. Starcrossed, a rebuttal to Romeo and Juliet, was published by Flux and translated into French and Turkish. His illustrated science book, How to Build an Elephant, was published as an Apple app by Swag Soft. He has written over forty books and received two State of Ohio Individual Writer Fellowships. For the last seven years he has been a digital nomad, living on four continents. He currently resides in Costa Rica.

Places to find Mark Schreiber:

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