Green Light Press

Death be not proud. or even a little smug.

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Links To Save Your Soul- Paulo Coelho Wants You To Take His Books

Pirating isn’t something we do often at Green Light. One, we are not savvy enough to understand how the more complex torrents work. Two, we have no real desire to take the things that are up for the taking. We are pirates who don’t want the booty. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a stake in the future of file sharing, just like everyone else.

Paulo Coelho has joined forces with Pirate Bay so that you can- yes, that’s right- pirate his books. Coelho believes that when someone reads a piece of his work online, then they will feel a desire to buy a hardcopy, and he has the sales figures to prove it.

So what do you think? In an age where ‘there’s no such thing as an original idea’ (debatable) and the internet provides a hive mind for people all across the world, does it make sense to make the work you slaved over available to virtual readers, in the hopes that they will like what they see enough to purchase a copy in real life?

Filed under pirating writing PauloCoelho piratebay books everybodyknowsthatthediceareloaded

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Links To Save Your Soul- The Bookstore's Last Stand

We at Green Light will willingly admit to being highly adverse to change. We don’t like bluray DVDs, we aren’t a big fan of phones that also play music, and we hate ereaders. However, one must admit when the future is looming, and in the case of the publishing industry, it is looming fast and hard.

The transition from print to ereader is not going to be easy. There are a lot of people who will not go gently into that good night. It’s something to think about- what are the ereader’s cons? It’s pros? how are they changing the industry?

This article isn’t about that. This article is about Barnes and Noble, that last of the book retail giants, and how it is fighting a somewhat noble and tiring battle with Amazon, utilizing its ereader- the Nook- in an almost literal fight to the finish. Who will win in the end? How are books going to change? Well, who knows. But right about now, we’re living on a prayer.

Filed under bookstores publishing ereaders bonjovireference?howdidthatgetthere

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"Pedestrians at a Crosswalk," "After Eight Hours of Factory Work," "A Bath in Six Parts," "A Young Woman, A Straight-backed Chair, and a Tarnished Mirror," and "After ‘Las Calles’ by Jorge Luis Borges"

Pedestrians at a Crosswalk

When you halted at the pedestrian crossing 

we had finished sharing our stories, had four kids 

and a lack of sex. While I, too, waited for the light to change, I held you close, 

although a complete stranger. I grinned at the thought of your mouth crinkles, 

as they had always appeared like crepe paper when one of the kids 

made us proud. But when I reached toward my bun to release 

my still-wet scent in your direction, you had already averted your eyes.


After Eight Hours of Factory Work

It wasn’t until the ringer sounded like an anvil drum 

on a slave ship that we stampeded through 

the cafeteria, not registering the yellowed walls 

and stacked chairs. In a stupefied rush, we grabbed lunches 

and keys, jackets and cigarettes. Tromps of thunder had ceased 

rattling car windows. We were buffalo herding 

toward our cars, inhabiting a plain conquered 

by industry. The rain continued to drizzle. 

Coworkers lit up complaints and exhaled. 

Each person’s stare reflected the night, its walls, 

a person remaining in a job they despise. 

Trompe l’oeil (how concrete steps 

and conveyor belts create a factory, a method, a desire 

for more). How walls stem from air and illusion.

How just getting by is never enough.


A Bath in Six Parts

I

It’s because there’s no vent. 

The steam creates mildew, perhaps 

it’s mold, either way, it’s my first 

time living on my own. 

II

There are six moldy mildew spots. 

I still can’t decide what to call them. 

Several I can barely see beyond 

the fig plum scented foam. Two I wiped 

away with a toilet paper square

before relaxing in a bath. But

of course, mildew grows from residue,

a simple wipe means it will grow back.

III

I plugged the drain so the water 

would not leave. It drains anyway.

IV

My nose is the only part of me 

above water, still, I smell the mildew

as strong as spilled nail polish on a carpet. 

Dew settles in my nose, hanging photos 

of snotty relatives on the walls of my nosehairs. 

I wiggle my nose. They turn on the TV.

There’s no getting rid of them. 

V

Only when I’m in the bathtub

can I hear my neighbors. Footsteps, 

murmurs, bootsteps. No groans. 

I mourn as I lie on the bottom 

of my tub with no control over 

the receding water, my draining 

love life, and the neighbors 

because they, at least, have each other. 

VI

While I wait for the moment when

they tire of pacing, and shouting, 

my eyes turn more grey than blue. I don’t

have to look in a mirror this time to feel

my optimism plummeting. I can hardly 

stand the smell of mildew, so I unplug 

the bath and it slurps down the drain.


A Young Woman, A Straight-backed Chair, and a Tarnished Mirror

As she was told, 

she looked ahead. 

Did not turn 

to either side. 

A maroon ribbon hugging her hair. 

Over and again 

the ribbon twirled 

between fingers, lingered 

on the desk, knotted 

a single braid, and 

ended up tied 

to the engraved chair. 

It had been nine years. 

 

She could not 

place the language of loud, 

but longed to decipher 

the thwumps that trilled 

her awake. Birds 

threatening to slam through 

her privacy, her velvet drapes, exposing her,

shattering the glass, shattering—

Someone rapped on the hollow door.  

She could not move. 

It echoed. 

She blinked,  

tenderizing trenches 

in the chair’s arms. 

He had reassured 

her this was not

punishment. “Just 

an experiment,” tapping his cane 

on the wooden floor.

He brought her meals, 

savored her skin

of ivoire, like the tusk 

he gilded for his mantel.

The man with the monocle 

had impressed upon her 

the importance of obedience 

with darkened blinds 

and the luxury of a toy.

This was the only person

she had known. His affection,

damp and heavy like his suits

or the velvet drapes 

or the fragrant musk 

rich in the dank room.

She awoke from a day-

dream—she had slapped

the lechery right out of the man! 

Her ribbon was missing.

On the floor, 

he held it. 

She could not reach.

She decided.

It had been long enough. 

She left the ribbon.

The rapping grew impatient.

An officer kicked the door 

off its hinges. The ribbon, 

left fluttering in fresh air.


After “Las Calles” by Jorge Luis Borges

Buenos Aires calls to me, enticing 

myself and my son. The wind speaks in vicious lashes 

the size of violet despair 

in barracks. Buildings looked upon 

as invisible, by habit. 

Barracks so small as to allow 

the wind more adventure. The wind lives 

immortally over great distances and becomes 

a permanent vision of movement. 

My son stands solitary beneath ponderosas, while 

the military signals to him—hurry up, 

you are precious to us. 

Even now, my son travels West, 

North and South, after speaking with his father. 

(Contributed by Dawn Coutu)

Filed under poetry Dawn Coutu originalwork ohshitguyswriting thisistooclassyforme submission

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Green Light Interviews: Eric Pinder

Green Light Press has known Eric Pinder- children’s writer, occasional fleer of bears, and bike rider extraordinaire- long enough to tell you this: you will never meet a man so kind. You will also never meet a man so focused on the art of writing. It was in Mr. Pinder’s class that wee little Green Light first came to understand the somewhat staggering odds stacked against all aspiring writers. Here he answers some important (or at least, we thought so) questions about writing and submissions.

1. How long did it take you to publish what you feel, to date, is your most ‘successful’ book?

Success comes in many flavors. The book that earned the most money up front didn’t sell the most copies in the end. The one I liked the best didn’t get the best reviews. The book that still sells the best isn’t the one I’d consider the most literary. So there are several ways to judge success.

I’ll use “successful” here in the sense of “which one are you proudest of?” The answer: either my newest picture book, If All the Animals Came Inside, or the nonfiction/memoir about teaching that I just finished. I bet a lot of writers would say that their latest book is their best, because we always keep improving.

There are exceptions, of course. Sometimes a person’s first novel is their personal masterpiece, and they never write a better one. Joseph Heller and Catch 22 come to mind.

If All the Animals Came Inside took about three years from first draft to publication. Another book took several years to write and then another 10 years to find a publisher.

2. How easy or difficult do you feel it is to take criticisms meant to improve your work?

Writers can be lousy judges of their own work, at least when the work is brand new. What seems like a masterpiece to us the day we write it might make us cringe two weeks or two years later. So it’s helpful to get other people’s input, to catch the typos and continuity errors and awkward sentences we’d miss.
After revising the same scene 3,987 times, it’s easy to forget how it might look to someone reading it for the first time. That’s where workshops and critiques come in handy; they force us see our work again from that fresh perspective. Does criticism hurt? Sure. But it’s necessary.

3. Do you prefer online or physical submissions? Do you feel one is superior to the other, and if so, why?

Online submissions streamline the process. No stamps, no running to the store to buy new ink cartridges because the ink started to fade halfway down page 30. Pretty soon no one will know what a SASE is anymore.

That said, you miss the actual paper rejection slips with helpful comments scribbled on them. Whenever I give my publishing pep talk at Chester College, I always bring in a big folder full of rejections slips in all sorts of sizes and colors, and let it fall on the table with a resounding thump. A student recently lamented the loss of the rejection slip. “I won’t be able to have a collection like that,” he said. I suppose
you could print out email rejections, but it’s not the same thing.

4. Roughly how many rejections do you think you received before your first acceptance? A round number is fine.

Dozens, probably. I started sending off manuscripts in high school, and my first paid acceptance (a whole $80, almost enough to pay for a science textbook) came during college.

5. What traits or cultivated habits do you think would best help the aspiring writer?

Persistence. The words won’t write themselves. As author Jane Yolen says, if you want to be a writer you need “butt in chair!” To get the work done, you have to treat it as work. You have to write even when you’re not in the mood to.

6. What is your favorite world myth?

I’m a fan of Prometheus. He got a raw deal in the end with the torture-by-bird thing. But, hey, Prometheus, thanks for the fire.

7. If you had to pick one writer you were incredibly jealous of- and I mean punch in the face steal their girlfriend beat them in a car chase jealous- who would that writer be?

I’m a painfully slow writer, so fast writers—the ones who can crank out a good book or two every year—fill me with envy. John McPhee, for example. I wish I’d written Encounters with the Archdruid.

8. True or false: you are your own worst critic.

I’m going to be ambiguous and say “maybe.” You’re your own worst critic (i.e. “least likely to make good critical choices”) while looking over a new rough draft, because you’re too close to the work at that point. And you’re your worst (i.e. harshest) critic at other times, or at least I am, because I’m a perfectionist who never achieves perfection. It’s frustrating.

9. How important would you say writers are now, as opposed to ten years ago, taking into account the sudden onset of e-reading technology?

Words are still words, whether they’re etched in stone, written on scrolls, printed in books or typed on a screen. Movie directors need screenwriters, politicians need speechwriters, and everybody needs or wants storytellers. Technology may change how our writing is presented, but writers will always be around.

10. What is your actual writing process like? For example, do you prefer longhand or typing? Desk or bed? Outdoors or locked in a car?

I leave my laptop on next to a plate of cookies overnight, and hope little literary elves will finish the story for me. When that doesn’t work, I eat the stale cookies and force myself to sit in front of the computer for at least a couple hours a day.

I hate the actual process of writing, especially at the start of a new project. It takes a while to gather momentum. After that, it gets fun. But staring at that first blank page is torture. So I have to force myself to do it.

I put on two CDs of background music, something non-distracting like Bach, and say, “Okay, you can’t get up from this chair till the music stops. No emails, no games, no Facebook. Your only choices are write or do nothing,” Usually out of sheer boredom, that forces me to write. And sometimes I get on a roll. Sometimes I look up after dozens of pages and realize it’s dark out and the music stopped hours
ago. Other times the music plays for a couple hours and I’ve still written nothing, so I go take a bike ride instead.

Out hiking, I’ll write longhand in a notebook. I think that’s a good way to write first drafts, because the brain works differently that way. Most of the time I’m typing, though.

10. Finally, what is your advice to any aspiring writer?

Don’t hurry, and don’t give up. Like many aspiring writers, I was eager to get published, in a rush. Some of those early works embarrass me now. They could’ve used another six months of a year of revision before the printing presses rolled. So don’t hurry. That story you finished last week will be even better a year from now.

Don’t give up. Everyone gets rejected. The most successful writers are the ones with the thickest skins.

Eric Pinder is the author of several books across genres, including Tying Down The Wind: Adventures In The Worst Weather On Earth and North To Kathadin. His newest children’s book, If All The Animals Came Inside, will be available from Little Brown Books in April of 2012. Eric Pinder spends some time teaching fledglings at Chester College of New England and some time getting lost in the Great North Woods. Visit him at www.ericpinder.com.

Filed under interviews writing ericpinder submissions failureisnotanoption

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Links To Save Your Soul- Did You Know Neil Gaiman Has A Tumblr?

While Green Light Press still seethes in jealousy that he managed to use the ‘pumpkin with a gun’ line first, there’s no denying that Neil Gaiman has done amazing things for speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction, and the ‘nerdres’ in general. However, while he is made of awesomesauce with a quaint British cherry on top, that’s not the reason he is a link to save your soul.

There is an idea among those of us who struggle to gain any kind of commercial or critical success with our writing that writers who have achieved these things are untouchable. And, admittedly, some of them are, by their own choice or by the suggestions of their agents. However, you’ll find that often enough, if you want to ask questions, they are good and nice people and will give you answers. Don’t be afraid of the people who have made it to the top, or even nearish to the top. Be happy and be curious. Sure, you might find out Brett Eason Ellis is an asshole, but you never would have known if you hadn’t thought to inquire, would you?

(kidding, Brett. We already know you’re a polished asshole.)

The great writers are people, too. They put on their pants one leg at a time in the morning, they occasionally have to visit the bathroom, they stand in line at the bank. They even have tumblrs. Just like you.

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Links To Save Your Soul- 25 Things Writers Should Know About Rejection

We here at Green Light Press are on rejection number…twelve? Thirteen? It’s hard to keep count when they’re online submissions. Anyway, we keep sending our work out and people keep politely telling us that it just isn’t for them.

Rejection is every writer’s fear. It is your mother telling you you’re wasting your time, that jackass at the party last night who gave you a superior little smirk when you told him what you did for a living, your coworker at the job that actually pays asking you about your ‘hobby’.

It is also as writerly American as apple goddamn pie. Or, you know, writerly French, British, Bavarian, whatever floats your boat. Chuck Wendig, of the blog Terrible Minds, gives you twenty five facts to keep in mind when you’re getting those tiny slips of ambition-crushing paper in the mail. Or your inbox, depending. Wendig is good people, we promise- and there is a little light at the end of the tunnel.

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Links To Save Your Soul- Steve Almond And The State Of American Writing

We at Green Light Press will willingly admit to having a bit of a crush on Steve Almond. He is one of the most sincere, kind, and forthright men in the world of literature today, and when he has something to say, he says it in a way that resonates with you. Steve Almond does not bullshit. Steve Almond tells it like it is. And there isn’t a goddamn thing a lobbyist, a politician, a president or a hate mailer can do about it.