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JT Blatty at Tuscany Writeaway

JT Blatty: A New Chapter

Published in the January 2019 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

Photojournalist JT Blatty came to the Tuscany Writeaway with a hundred pages of an eight-year-old manuscript, hoping to discover the ending to her book. As she sat at the villa table with Writeaways leaders John and Mimi, six other writers, and the time and space to reflect and focus on her writing, JT found the breakthrough she was looking for. With the encouragement of this close community, she wrote about her life, her search for purpose, and the volunteer soldiers in Ukraine she is committed to honoring in her new Chapter One. [...]
John Yewell and Mimi Herman of Writeaways

Writeaways Workshop Leaders Mimi Herman and John Yewell

Published in the June 2018 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

She views the world through the eyes of a poet. He constructs scenes with the curiosity of an investigative reporter. As coleaders of their signature Writeaways workshops, Mimi Herman and John Yewell balance differing viewpoints and teaching styles to shepherd a community of writers. Their personalities and writing backgrounds appear so complementary, the pairing seems purposely orchestrated. Their serendipitous relationship is eighteen years strong and growing. [...]
Mary Taris of Strive Publishing

Strive Publishing: Growing Community Uplifts African-American Stories & Dreams

Published in the March 2018 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

Mary Taris, founder of Strive Publishing, has a dream to publish children's books and young adult novels that inspire African-American youth to follow their dreams. “Students need books that are contemporary and relatable—books about families that look like them, doing things they do, or things they dream of doing,” she says. “The name Strive Publishing represents the continuous effort and resiliency it takes to turn dreams into reality.” And as her community of supporters grows, Mary is determined to do just that. [...]
Favorite quotes from books

Favorite Quotes From Books

Published in the March 2017 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

Writers work so hard to find just the right words. Often, those words spill off the page into readers’ hands and, sometimes, into our hearts. They capture our feelings, stir our desires, push us in new directions, give us reason to pause and consider, and inspire us to keep going. Do you have a favorite line or passage from a book that has struck a chord with your heart? This column shares favorite book quotes. [...]
Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito and Meagan Frank at Book Expo 2016

BookExpo America 2016 Photoblog

Published in the June 2016 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

We had a book-loving good adventure at Book Expo America 2016 in Chicago in May, looking for Books Make a Difference stories. Inspired by multi-faceted storytelling—from famous and beloved all-stars to emerging teen authors, singer-songwriters who speak in poetry to 3D multimedia entertainers, publishers focused on social empowerment to satirists empowering citizens through humor, writers born of heartache and perseverance to those who would drop a book deal to keep their point of view—we bring you our #BEA16 photoblog. [...]
Nina Victor Crittenden

Nina Victor Crittenden: Painting With Love of Art & Animals

Published in the November 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

Award-winning illustrator Nina Victor Crittenden sits at her home studio and begins to paint. Shy and modest, she’s hesitant to talk about herself, but the words come easier as she strokes her watercolor brush across the back of a flying dragon. A certified veterinary technician, Nina is an animal lover. She says, “What I love about being an artist is that I can draw pictures of dogs and cats and horses ... It gives me a chance to combine two things I really love: artwork and animals.” [...]
Terri Barnes, author of Spouse Calls: Messages From a Military Life

Terri Barnes: Messages From Military Life

Published in the March/April 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

Third-generation military wife Terri Barnes writes transparent, personal, and emotionally universal messages that have made her weekly Stars and Stripes column, Spouse Calls, the newspaper’s longest-running military life column. The relevance of her writing to both military and civilian readers led to her first book, and Terri is both humbled and excited by the effect her book is having in diverse communities to stir conversation and increase understanding of military life. [...]
Kimberly Johnson, Friendship 9

The Power of Writing to Right History

Published in the March/April 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

A children’s book prompted a new day in court for a group of civil rights activists known as the Friendship Nine, half a century after they served jail time for attempting to sit at a whites-only lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Seven of the surviving Friendship Nine, all in their seventies, came to court on January 28, 2015, in dressed in their Sunday best. Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes III, whose uncle sentenced the Friendship Nine in the original case, read each of their names, along with their offense, disposition, and sentence, and then vacated the convictions of all nine men. [...]
Laura Bates Shakespeare in prison

Laura Bates: The Bard Is Still Saving Lives

Published in the March/April 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

Reading Shakespeare in prisons is not new, but doing so in solitary confinement, with those considered to be the most dangerous and hardened inmates, was unheard of—until Laura Bates gave it a try. Laura’s book Shakespeare Saved My Life shares the success of her Supermax program and the transformation of convicted killer Larry Newton. Though he’ll spend his life in prison with no chance of parole, Larry says he’s free. Laura's book has prompted other prisons to set up similar programs. [...]

Andrea Davis Pinkney: Messenger of Hope

Published in the January/February 2015 issue of Books Make a Difference magazine.

In her accomplished career as an editor and the bestselling author of more than thirty books about the African American experience, Andrea Davis Pinkney has become as inspiring as many of the historic figures she writes about. She felt an undeniable pull to write about the Darfur genocide in her latest novel, The Red Pencil. Even through the ugly filter of war, Andrea’s longtime message shines through: Hope and joy are for everyone. [...]

Karen’s life experience is intertwined with her roles as a wife, mom, stepmom, writer, publisher, photographer, traveler, and woman of faith. All these elements tend to make their way into her blog posts.

“Writers have to write. It’s something deep inside us that pushes and pushes until we let it out. It’s part of the air we breathe, this need to make sense of the world around us and to somehow find the right words to express and influence the way we each feel and interact and love and live.”—Writing is Risky Business