Katherine N. Friedman

The Occasional Musings of a Writer Mama

Author: Katherine N. Friedman (page 2 of 2)

Jamaica Trip, Part II: The Land of Contradictions

Now that it’s been almost a month since I got back from Jamaica, it’s about time that I complete a blog post telling about the second part of my trip. After leaving the Calabash Festival, Matt and I spent some time in two parts of the island: Portland, IMHO the most beautiful parish, and Kingston, certainly not the most beautiful part but the place where I know the most people.

The organizer of the Calabash Festival was kind enough to give us a ride back to Kingston with a van full of authors and musicians, which provided for good conversation and relative comfort. For the 3 ½ hour ride from Kingston to Port Antonio (the capital of Portland parish), however, Matt (my husband) and I got to take the country bus. I thought it would be good for Matt to get a little taste of the Peace Corps experience, but Matt did not find the Peace Corps experience as charming and character-building as I did.

Though the details differ, many RPCVs share similar stories about public transportation in the developing world— the goal is to fit as many people as possible onto the vehicle with little regard for their comfort. Matt and I actually weren’t that bad off (despite what he might think) because we both got our own seats on the bus and our suitcases were stored in front of us instead of on our laps like I had feared. Plus, Jamaicans only put people on their buses, unlike some countries that transport chicken and livestock in the same vehicles as people. And Jamaican buses don’t put people on the roof. Still, it was both impressive and frightening to see how many people they fit on that bus. At one point, when I thought they had already fit the last person who could possibly fit onto the bus, it pulled over to pick up not one, but three school girls. They got the school girls crammed inside because the “conductor” of the bus (he hustles people onto the bus and collects the fares) left the door open and hung out of it while it wove around sharp curves on the windy mountain road. One guy we met at our hotel told us that he once was on a bus where they passed a kid in through the window because he couldn’t fit through the door. After about half an hour of the hot, crowded ride, Matt had experienced enough Peace Corps life for his liking. Too bad we still had three hours left . . .

When we finally got to our resort, though, it was worth it. We stayed at a place called Great Huts in Boston Beach, which combines African-style architecture with tourist-caliber amenities. We were in the Almond Tree House, which is really built around a tree. I met the owner and founder of the resort, a doctor from New York, at the synagogue in Kingston when I was the Peace Corps and he let me stay there twice during my Peace Corps term for free while it was still under construction, once when my parents visited. It’s much more built up now and has several new features, including a swimming pool on the side of the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Of course, it was no longer free, but they did give us a nice discount as returning guests.

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Inspiration from the Source– Calabash Festival in Jamaica

I’m writing today from Treasure Beach, Jamaica, home of the Calabash Literary Festival. Calabash, the largest literary festival in the Caribbean, is very dear to my heart. When I served here in the Peace Corps, from 2002-2004, I had the privilege of being in the Calabash writer’s workshop under the instruction of Jamaica’s top-selling author, Colin Channer. This year was my first time at the festival since 2004, and it still has its magic.

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Why Every Fiction Writer Writes Fantasy

The act of sitting down to write, day after day, then painstakingly revising what one has written, often starts with a fantasy. There are many variations on this fantasy, but I surmise that many writers share a similar fantasy to my own: I write and revise my novel. It is AMAZING, right up there with the great American classics. I easily find an agent, who easily finds a publisher, who quickly puts my novel into print and sends it out to libraries and bookstores across America. People around the country read my book. My agent helps sell the movie rights for a nice price, and it gets made into a good movie that doesn’t violate the integrity of the book. It gets translated into several languages and people around the world read my book. When I take my next airplane ride (as part of my book tour), the person sitting next to me (in first class) is reading my book. After my book readings, people line up to get me to sign their books. And then I sit down to write my next novel.

Of course, the logical part of my mind has talked to enough authors, ranging from aspiring to moderately successful, to know the brutal reality that I most likely face as a writer. Continue reading

Building My Author Website with a Pre-Publication Budget

Since I am working with the budget of an unpublished author, I decided to build my own website. Fortunately, it was not as difficult as I feared (though there are some things that I’m still trying to figure out). This page, called “How to Build the Ultimate Author Website in 1 Hour,” from a group called Out:think was very helpful, though it did take me more than an hour. I found that much of the process was quick and easy, but sometimes I would get stuck on a seemingly small problem that would take me half an hour to solve in itself. The trick, I discovered, is to first figure out the correct terminology for what I wanted, then find a Youtube video with screen shots to show me how to do it. I found Youtube to be much more helpful than simply reading about how to solve my problems. For example, here is one helpful video that shows many aspects of WordPress website creation:

How To Make a WordPress Website – AMAZING! by Tyler Moore Continue reading

First Page of Kingston Dreams Published on BBC Website!

The first page of Kingston Dreams has been published on the BBC website as part of their feature about Nanowrimo. Check it out here!


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