Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story, THIS IS A MUST READ!

                                MEET THE AUTHOR, 
                  SIOUX ROSLAWSKI

                                                        siouxroslawski.com   


        Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story 
Publisher, editor-911.com 
Open the first link which takes you directly to Editor-911.com website.

Sioux is a St. Louis middle school teacher, freelance writer, and member of several writing groups. She is a facilitator and consultant at St. Louis Gateway Writing project, part of the National Writing Project.

                                         Linda O’Connell’s book review:

Sioux Roslawski, created her middle grade, historical fiction novel, 
Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story, with grace. The saga of twelve-year-old Henry Simmons, published by Editor 9-1-1 is available NOW! This riveting, multi-layered story about family, race, and loss will appeal to adults as well.

 A true, horrific event took place on May 31, 1921, in Greenwood, Oklahoma. One hundred years have passed, and still, most Americans are unaware of the painful event that happened in the thriving, peaceful, Black-owned community of banks, businesses, residences, and churches. The area known as Black Wall Street flourished in the northern part of Tulsa.

Sioux Roslawski brings the gripping, and gut-wrenching details of shocking destruction to life through the eyes of twelve-year-old Henry Simmons.
A likeable protagonist, Henry, living a secure, happy life, has his sense of dignity, right and wrong challenged. A decent, young man with a loving family and good upbringing, he witnesses unbelievable horrors as he watches his community, the residents, and his life destroyed completely, the result of racial hatred.

Henry’s escape and adventures along the way are presented with highly-charged emotion, honesty, and a prophetic vision.

This haunting story is written with a keen eye and will keep readers engrossed until the last page. The ending made me sigh with satisfaction.

Welcome, Sioux. Congratulations on your debut novel. What inspired you to write Henry Simmons’ story?

Sioux Roslawski: Thanks so much, Linda. I attended a teachers’ national conference, and a presenter immersed us in a historical event that all the attendees in that full banquet hall were ignorant of---The Tulsa Race Massacre. It upset me that teachers didn’t know about it. It wasn’t being taught in U.S. history books, not even Oklahoma history books. That is when the kernel of an idea was formed---the idea that our country needed to stop sweeping these tragedies under the rug.

Please tell readers what your writing process was like. How long did it take to write Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story… from idea to publication? You mention that Henry helped write this story. Can you explain?

Sioux Roslawski: Five years ago, I sat down in front of a computer every school day in class during the month of November, and my students and I participated in NaNoWriMo---National Novel Writing Month.

I taught three English (writing) classes, so I had a little more than two hours every day to write--- surrounded by middle school students. However, I didn’t have a first draft finished that first school year. The next year, I finally finished it, and sort of a second draft.

The following year, I had it edited, and received such specific, spot-on feedback that I was able to rewrite it almost from scratch. The third draft was tight. It had tension and a plot that was engaging.

Did you plot your main character, or did you get to know Henry as you began to write?

Sioux: 
I didn’t plot the story, unfortunately, so the first and second drafts stunk up the place. However, with the help of an editor I hired, the third draft really flowed.

And yes, I got to know Henry as the story unfolded. I didn’t write the story; Henry wrote the story. I don’t know how to explain it, because it’s never happened before, and I doubt ever will again. Things happened to Henry in the story. I didn’t plan, outline, or think of them. They just happened as I was typing.

For example, one character takes a bag on a dangerous trip, and everybody wants to know what’s in the bag. It is a great effort to take this bag. No matter what happens along the way, the character hangs onto the bag. A writer friend was reading a draft of my story and asked me to reveal what was in the bag. I didn’t know until months later when the character opened the bag, and I discovered the contents.

I don’t know if it just happened because so many voices have been silenced, and this one voice simply erupted, or if I channeled someone from 1921. I just know it was a weird and exhilarating ride…

Do you have a writing talisman, habit (for me it’s barefoot and a cup of tea), that you engage in as a writer?

Sioux Roslawski: I have a metal pig with wings that sat next to my desk. I bought it years ago, thinking I’d get a book published when pigs fly. Well now, I’m going to hang it from the ceiling, because pigs really can fly!

Do you have a favorite writer quote? Which authors inspire you?

Sioux Roslawski: I love the simplicity of Guy de Maupassant’s “Get black on white.” Get ink on paper. Get words down on the paper.

I love some of Stephen King’s novels. I adore Joe Hill’s writing (Stephen King’s son.)  I am in awe of Chuck Palahniuk, Sandra Dallas, Jodi Picoult, and Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Any tips or advice for writers?

Sioux Roslawski: Don’t give up. When I was feeling really low--- when I had sent out more than a hundred queries to agents and publishers, and nobody wanted to represent me or publish my manuscript--- I looked up some famous books that had been rejected many times. The Help, a book I love, was rejected sixty (60) times. What if Stockett had stopped there? It was her 61st query that snagged her a “yes.”

Sioux, is there any writing advice you would like to impart?

Sioux Roslawski: Go with your gut. I hired Margo Dill as an editor--I just had a feeling she’d do a great job, but she didn’t do a great job; she did a brilliant job! For me, small and personal is a good thing. Margo bends over backwards to showcase her authors, and every one of her decisions--- editing, choices, regarding the book cover--- are reflective and spot-on.  

One more thing about your writing routine.

Sioux Roslawski: I wish I could say I write every day. I wish I could say I have a routine, you know, like “I write every evening after dinner.” I don’t. Most of the time, I write in the early morning (4 or 5 AM) when I’m the only one up. It’s just me and the dog. Late in the evening works for me as well. However, what does keep me writing on a regular basis is my writing critique groups. If I haven’t written something, and we have a meeting coming up, I will definitely spend a few evenings drafting something. I don’t want to go to a meeting empty handed. If I did, I’d miss out on an opportunity to get feedback, and for me, that’s invaluable.

Thank you for sharing with readers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story. I believe your book should be required middle school and high school reading. Henry Simmons will remain with me for a very long time.

 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

#ThinkingFunny.com 2021

 

I am pleased to announce my 1st Place win in a humor writing contest (family category) at ThinkingFunny2021.com. I won a monetary prize and registration fees for the on-line humor conference and workshops. There were attendees from all over the globe. Despite the two hour time difference, it all worked out well. I read my piece at an after party. 

The lineup and conference was organized by Robb Lightfoot, an affable and knowledgeable emcee, humorist, and educator for forty years. He hosts a multi-disciplinary humor/creative community at ThinkingFunny.com.


The lineup included many talented folks. 

John Vorhaus, author of The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You’re Not.

Dave Fox,
an international traveler who discussed writing about travel catastrophies etc, for fun and profit. His background: Rick Steves’ television travel guru, writer. Check him out at Globejotting.com

Humor coach, Judy Carter and panel of stand-up comics: Leighann Lord, and Brian Wetzel conference producer, who has been an opening act for George Lopez.

Songwriters Sara Hoxie and Leah Specher. Also Steve Vanzant of the Banana Blue Slug String Band.

John Ramirez, Disney story board artist and the animator of many Disney and Warner Bros films.

Great grandson Liam, age six, asked me all kinds of questions about Hercules! I faked the answers and showed him an illustration/photo of the hercules cell images. 

Dave Master, mentor and multi-talented animator, teacher and pay-it-forward advocate of fostering creative communities.

Agents and editors panel: Gordon Warnock, Savannah Brooks, and Andy Ross.

What a great lineup and terrific conference. I am grateful for the win and wish to thank Georgia Hubley, a Chicken Soup for the Soul writer who told me about the contest in the closing days. I didn’t think I had a chance.

Never say Never!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

That silly bunny!

 Happy Easter and a blessed day is wished for each of you whatever your faith.  I am grateful for spring!

Twenty years ago my daughter's first husband thought he was doing a good job when he hid the big bowl of Easter eggs he found sitting on the kitchen table while his family was at church.

After church, my grandson ran inside shouting, " Daddy, the Easter bunny hid our eggs all over again. They are the same ones."

Seems mama had beat him at putting them out in the grass at the crack of dawn.

Friday, April 2, 2021

What they don't know won't hurt 'em

I am participating in Washington University's Life Lines poetry event for the month of April. This is my first posted poem using the five assigned words in bold type.

 Spring Fling

Mercy! Hilarity ensued when the deviltry
of my inner child went wild
gathering petunias, pansies, and
primrose to plant around trees.
“Going to be a hard freeze,”
my neighbor screamed. “Better wait.”
I laughed and beamed. “Won’t kill these.
They’re all fake.”



Sunday, March 28, 2021

We are just full of surprises!

"You're going to be surprised," my hubby said when he got up from MY desk and MY computer, even though he has his own in the same room. "I ordered you something that will fix something."

Yesterday I received an Amazon package and discovered new mouse pads for our computers. Mine was dragging and needed to be replaced. What a nice gesture. He knows how much I love and miss the beach. 

Now I see he had an ulterior motive. Look at the one he chose for his desk. Uh huh! So I decided a little surprise for him was also in order.
                                                    

                                     Won't he be surprised! Wait until he unwraps HIS package.


 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Oh the things people say!

Wowser! That second Covid vaccine wiped me out for 36 hours, as predicted. I had chills, and lethargy like I have never experienced. No fever.  Once my babies went home, I went to sleep at 6:00 p.m. Bill said he thought I had died in bed. I was in such deep sleep.Woke this morning energetic, no symptoms. 

Some things I heard this week that made me snicker, raise my eyebrows, and wonder about rude people.

I gave the boys a pan of uncooked rice and plastic eggs to fill and then crack open. When they hooked the tops and bottoms together I'd say, "Oval." 

Two-year-old Charlie insisted, "No, Nanny! Pac Man!" He no longer calls me Nana, he likes Nanny.

When I received my second vaccine, the nurse advised, "Do not take pain reliever. Drink Gatorade to keep your electrolytes up." Then she leaned in and said quietly, "And if you get a severe headache, drink straight tomato juice." She might have been an alcoholic.

I stopped at the Goodwill store. There was a little, old, Italian woman with her older teen grandson ahead of her in line. As the young man at the register was ringing up the boy's purchases, the grandma snatched the sports jersey out of his hands and said, "Now-a you ah listen to me. I will a pay for this. You no seem a too bright, so let me explain. You a take off that price and put it on a my order. You ah get that?" 

Oh dear. It's not that the clerk looked "ah not too bright" he looked stunned.



 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

What lives in a hole?

I am so happy spring has sprung. Alex, 3 and Charlie, 2 have given me so much joy in the past two weeks. They come to Nana's home preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They are having fun learning, and they think they are just playing. 

I surprised each of them with a homemade pop up bunny. I tied a knot in the thumb, middle finger and pinkie of a surgical glove, inverted it, and drew on a face. Stretched the bunny over a cup, added a tiny hole to insert a straw, and taped the hole so no air escaped. I poked the bunny down in the center of the cup and asked what might live in a hole in the ground. We are learning about the many critters that live  underground. (If you make one of these, tape it to the rim of the cup.)

I encouraged Alex to blow on the straw to discover what comes out of its burrow. When he blew, the bunny inflated slowly, but he kept blowing, and the bunny flew up in the air and landed on his head. He giggled and giggled. Poor Charlie wanted no part of it. "No! I scared. get it away!" 

He needs more time. We went outdoors and looked under large rocks to see if we could find insects and worms waking up. They are enjoying themselves, and so am I.

They loved water play. We predicted which things would sink or float. When they weren't looking I slipped some seashells and decorative turquoise, blue, and green beach themed stones in the pan. Gave them a big spoon and let them go "fishing." Charlie kept saying, "Oh, Nanny this is so shiny!"

Then we fished for magnetic number fishies. Hands on learning, the only way!

Hope you are enjoying the reawakening. Our grass is green overnight! Daffodils are sprouting. I love spring! How about you?