Thursday, October 9, 2014

Congrats to the Winners and Finalists of the 2014 Faulkner-Wisdom

Although my novella The Act of Theft came up short as a finalist in the 2014 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and two of my novels A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit (finalist 2012) and The Lonely Affair (The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady) were short-list finalists for the 2014 Novel category, congrats to the winners and the other finalists and all those who took part. 

Again, this was the fourth time that one of my works has made it the Faulkner-Wisdom finals in four categories:  novel, novel-in-progress, novella and short story (“Malaysian Games”,  runner up in 2007).

Winners for the Novella:
1st place:  Give Me You by Kay Sloan, Cincinnati, OH
2nd place:  Tickfaw to Shongaloo by Dixon Hearne, Madison, MS

A Different Life by Philip Erickson, St. Paul, MN
Cold War by Farah Halime, Brooklyn, NY
Further by Deborah Jannerson, New Orleans, LA
Juanita by Kent Dixon, Springfield, OH
Not the Usual Sleep by Tim Knowles, Brewster, NY
Resistance by Amina Gautier, Chicago, IL
Tansy by William Thrift, Columbia, SC
The Act of Theft by Robert Raymer, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
The Little Girls by Lori Fennell, Lake in the Hills, IL 
The Year We Froze by Stan Kempton, New Orleans, LA
Witness by Melanie Naphine, Frankston, Victoria, Australia
Yankees Angels by Robert H. Cox, New York, NY

        Winners for the novel
1st place:  Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradel, Los Angeles, CA
2nd place:  The Talented Tenth by Ladee Hubbard, Champaign, ILL
3rd place:  The Invention of Violet by Amy Boutell, Santa Barbara, CA
4th place:   Sunrise for Asphodel by Dan Turtel, New York, NY

Advice for the Wicked by Glen Pitre, New Orleans, LA
A Stone for Bread by Miriam Herin, Greensboro, NC
Mask of Sanity by Jacob Appel, New York, NY
Scoop the Loop by Charles Holdefer, Brussels, Belgium
The Lenin Plot by Barnes Carr, Houston, TX
The Truth Project by Tad Bartlett, New Orleans and L. Ed Marston, Chattanooga, TN

                —Borneo Expat Writer 

*Links to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and to the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, Trois autres Malaisie.  Thanks! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Resolutions: Promises are Cheap, but Actions and Good Habits are Priceless!

I know it’s early for New Year resolutions, but if you want to do what you resolve to do, you better start now so it’ll become a habit by December 31.  If it’s not a habit by then, well your chances of sticking with your resolutions will be about as good as they were last year and the year before, going all the way back to your first New Year resolutions and then breaking it by Valentine’s Day, if not sooner.

If you really want change, and we all do, then you need to start doing what you resolve to do today (or the first chance you get) and continue to do it for the rest of October, November and December.  By then, or after 21 consecutive days some experts say, it will become a habit . . . . Habits are good, of course, so long as they are habits of doing what you want to do or what you know is right for you to achieve your goals, whether those goals are for your fitness and health, your relationships, your career, or your finances. 

Most of us, at times, have unwittingly fallen into bad habits, doing those activities that under­mine your success, your health, and even your relationships, both professional and personal.  You know what they are.  If you don’t, just ask yourself how is your health?  How are your relation­ships?  Are you doing the things you know you should be doing (and with those you love) or are you letting things slide, or worse, doing the exact opposite, engaging in risky, unhealthy activities with others (getting drunk, getting into trouble, having affairs) or even on your own like smoking, drinking, overeating, or spending all of your free time on the Internet.

Then there are habits of not doing; habits that you’ve fallen out of or gotten into the habit of no longer doing on a regular basis, which can happen after an injury, a separation, or your first child, or changing jobs or taking on new responsibi­lities at work or at home (taking care of an invalid or an elderly relative).  Or you just haven’t found a new fitness center after moving to a new place.  After a while, what you no longer do is your new habit of not doing, like no longer reading to your children at night (or reading period), or no longer spending time with your family other than watching TV or meals.

What is the road to hell paved with?  Good intentions.  We all have good intentions, but . . . well; what follows next after that ‘but’ is the problem!  We talk ourselves into changing our bad habits to good habits, but then we talk ourselves out of actually doing those things we know we should be doing.  Someone once said, “Argue for your limitations and they’re yours!”  If you keep telling yourself you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not fit enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not ______(fill in the blank), then you’ll forever own those limitations!

Earlier this year I challenged myself to run my first marathon, but in the weeks leading up to the race I began to give myself all kind of reasons why I should not run: my age, my knees, my lack of training, my concerns about potential injuries, and the fact that I hadn’t competed in a race in thirty years (a 5K fun run)!  That wasn’t helping me, so I focused on my goal of completing the marathon and started making lists of what I needed to get done before the race, what I needed to wear/bring on the day of the race.  Instead of arguing for my limitations, I challenged myself to complete that marathon, and I did!    

What can you challenge yourself to do by next year?  It may not be athletic, maybe you want a closer relationship with your spouse or children, or start your own business, or a second career as a writer or an artist, or lose some significant weight, or make better financial decisions for your retirement (it comes faster than you think!).  What can you start putting into place right now?  What new habit can you start working on today, this evening, tomorrow morning, or by this weekend?  So by the time December 31st rolls around, you’re well on your way to achieving your goal. 

It’s what you do right now that counts, not what you promise yourself you’ll start doing by the New Year.  Promises (even with the best of intentions) are cheap, which is why they don’t work!  Actions that turn into good habits are priceless.  They will benefit and serve you for the rest of your life.  They can also serve as a model for your family and your children, too.  If one of your goals is to be healthy and fit and also spend more time with your spouse and children, think of the activities you can do together to achieve both goals, like hiking or biking or swimming.

So get started now and get a huge jump on everyone else waiting until December 31st to making their resolutions.  And good luck!
–Borneo Expat Writer

*Here’s a fun, practical way to
raise your self-esteem, list down 25-50 of your personal achievements (even if they mean nothing to anybody else except you!)

**Leap For Success

***Start Your day by asking questions

****A link to my
website, to MPH online for orders for three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.