Friday, November 23, 2007

Here's a good writing prompt.

Write a character or two with elements from this article. Try romance, horror, adventure.... --Neale Sourna

Stop the Energy Vampires
Who gives you energy? Who saps it? How to build vitality and stop others from draining you.
By Judith Orloff, M.D.

Adapted from "Positive Energy," published by Harmony Books.

I learned to honor my energy needs the hard way. As a psychiatrist who specializes in intuition I knew how important it was to listen to my body. Yet still I'd alternate between intense weeks of speaking tours and bouts of utter exhaustion at home. I couldn't turn down "irresistible" opportunities. Here was my dilemma--I trusted my intuition, and was committed to living by it. But I had a blind spot: Although I was quite successful at helping others trust intuition and lead high energy lives, I was ignoring my own energy crises. Finally, my fatigue was so profound I had to change.

I know first hand how important it is for us to cherish our precious energy so we don't compromise our capacity for passion. I now believe that the most profound transformations can take place only on an energetic level. I've met many patients who've spent much time and money on talk therapy hoping that intellectual insights will bring emotional freedom, but they're disappointed. As much as I love the linear mind, my approach, which I call "Energy Psychiatry," goes further to also facilitate a conscious rebuilding of our subtle energies, the most basic life force in each of us.

Do You Get Drained By Other People's Energy?

Our bodies are made of flesh and blood, but they're also composed of energy fields-though sadly I wasn't taught this in medical school. Each day we encounter a wide range of energies, both positive and negative. Positive energy includes compassion, courage, forgiveness, and faith. Negative energy includes fear, anger, hopelessness, and shame. We need to be experts at dealing with energy so we don't get demolished by draining situations or people who're energy vampires.

Like me you may be an intuitive empath, someone who's so sensitive to energy you pick it up from other people but you're also drained by it. This goes way beyond feeling sympathy for a distraught friend-we actually take on their pain either emotionally or physically. To cope, we take refuge in solitude. We empaths are so attuned to others that we can feel what's going on inside of them. This can put us on energy overload and aggravate everything from chronic fatigue to overeating.

Growing up, my girlfriends couldn't wait to MORE

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Reviewing an Old Vicious and Questionable Review That Will Not Die

New authors and publishers, and old. Chin up. "Don't let the bastards get you down." I recently reread the following review of my first to publish novel, "Hobble." I always remembered that it originally appeared alongside what that particular book review website thought was THE BEST pick. I still find it interesting and odd, to say the least.

I also find this to be one of two of my least favorite reviews: always because the reviews sounded as if the person really didn't read my work, and/or didn't have the decency to say I don't get it or I don't like this sort of thing so my review is highly skewed, or I passed it on to someone who reads this genre.

Do note that the review on my work is anonymously signed, "staff." Isn't that special and obscenely discourteous. I come naked to the party and someone hides behind "staff." I bet his staff is quite soft and inadequate or her inner staff is utterly dry and shallow. Or maybe staff has both genitalia or none. Because "staff" can say anything when too coarse and disrespectful to just place its initials on its supposed witticism.

And the bloody thing just won't die, as it always comes up on the search engines, first page often. Oh, well. My consolation is that those REAL people who read Neale Sourna's "Hobble" and who have the ability to actually read, always "get it" and can't put it down, or can't retrieve it from their lovers. That's better than one anonymous poopfest from the too inadequate to author and publish themselves.

--Neale Sourna
Other "Hobble" Reviews can be read at:

PS: One last amusing bit is the use of the other book of the name de Sade as in Marquis de Sade, with whom I shall always have something of a link, as we're both born on the same day. Hm. Radical, as they used to say back in the day.

Spring 2003

Hobble by Neale Sourna

Neale Sourna
Infinity Publishing, Pennsylvania
291 pp. $18.95

It’s books like Neale Sourna’s Hobble: An Adult Fiction that make us seriously consider giving up the reviewing of self-published books. Though well-meaning, Sourna makes just about every mistake possible with this weakly written, amateurish yarn about sex and control. The back-cover blurb lays out the story like this (normally we'd break it down ourselves, but in cases like this, it would be a waste of time):

"BENNET GILLESPIE, a brilliant but burned out, Native American surgeon, too quickly becomes entangled in an obsessively sexual, emotional tug of war for irresistible, homicidally "insane," and ... mysteriously lamed DAY, whose body and love promises loss of soul ... and life."

Sic. Simply count the ly's in the setup and you'll begin to see the problem. Now contrary to industry standards, we at ALR are champions of muscular modifier use in fiction, but authors need to use some common sense for crying out loud. Sourna shows very little. This inattention to prose fundamentals doesn't stop at verb and noun modifiers—oh no. The author commits almost every classic beginner's error: failing to identify the speaker in dialogue for pages at a time; over-over-OVERwriting; cliché; reckless, silly, and downright incorrect usage; horrendously melodramatic dialogue and narrative; general lack of descriptive elements; a droning repetitive voice prone to redundancy and self-indulgence.

The story and characters aren't bad on a basic level. A decent professional writer could have done something with the character and relationships, but Sourna uses them so ineffectively and broadly that the reader gets bored after a page or two—every page or two. The numerous sex sections, which at least show a hint of natural spark, aren't enough to pull this self-published novel out of its self-involved spiral.

Despite all the negatives of Hobble, Sourna isn't necessarily a lost cause. As we said, her basic ideas are fairly strong. A year or five in a solid critically-based fiction writing program (which is quite different from film and video writing—Sourna's alleged areas of expertise) or a no-holds-barred, rip-the-story-apart workshop environment might just make her understand how naive she was to think this book worth publishing, especially at $18.95 softcover! Our diatribe against Publish America's policies in our review of Nathan Leslie's Rants and Raves applies to Infinity Publishing's practices as well. These online publishing “stores” are preying on the meek, the young, and the yet-to-be-talented—which would be fine if these people would just stop sending their half-told tales out for review.

Unfortunately Sourna is not alone in her folly, and it is our sincere hope that this review communicates the world-wise message to all prospective self-publishers out there: Think twice before going that route. This applies especially to those under the age of thirty (or forty) with little or no experience in writing for publication. It doesn't matter how much of a genius you are—odds are the mistakes this author made in Hobble are the ones you'll make in your book, so you had better be damned sure you know the Ten-Thousand Things about writing before you throw underdone hamburger to the big dogs. True, they may eat it, but we guarantee it's not going to look pretty when it gets vomited back at you a few hours later.


Spring 2002

Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish by Supervert

Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish
New York: Supervert 32C Inc
216 pp. , $15

In ETSF, a rogue author named Supervert has offered us a bizarre literary assay into parts and orifices unknown by attempting to combine philosophy, psychology, science fiction, and serial pornography (a la Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom) into a single, sound literary work.

Sound like a difficult proposition? Like a pipe-bomb text more likely to explode in the hand of its creator than in the mind of the reader? Assuredly. Should the self-inflated tenor of the author’s nom de plume give further pause to any prospective audience? Probably. Does Supervert deserve a round of applause for this blending of discipline, subject, and raw psychic fiction?

Strangely enough, he does—as well as meriting a standing O and a curtain call or two. Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish is nothing short of brilliant. Misanthropic, satirical, informative and undoubtedly shocking to many for its ongoing examination of pedophilia and exophilia (alien sex fetish), ETSF resounds as a deft dissection of the disaffected mind in the post-postmodern period. While the protagonist, a computer programmer/philosopher/practicing pedophile named Mercury de Sade thinks he has evolved into a philosophical creature quite beyond the simple apathetic sentiments of existentialism and nihilism, the author’s controlled exposition and development of de Sade’s sickness—a fetish for something beyond the boring, disgusting human sphere— shows that despite its space age manifestation, this sickness springs from the same basic earth: a deep-seated loathing for mankind. However, the inverted posture of de Sade’s misanthropy does make for unique viewing. We seldom see distaste for one’s fellows based on their frustrating inability to be or become extraterrestrial.

The format of ETSF follows a parallel development of four precisely related lines of fantasy, plot, analysis, and dissertation. “Alien Sex Scenes” chapters (ASS) represent the imaginary encounters of Mercury de Sade’s ever stalwart erogenous accompli with just about every orifice and/or skin surface available on a series of alien worlds. Death, dismemberment, intergalactic whores, detachable genitalia, sex battles, humiliation, excretory prolapse, sexual time travel, and pedophilia of the third kind are just a few of the delights that greet the protagonist on his voyage, which must be perceived in the greater context not as pornographic science fiction per se but as the stuff of the protagonist’s boiling brain.

The plot heavy “Methods of Deterrestrialization” (MOD) chapters deal with a real time liaison between Sade and a shoplifting sixteen-year-old schoolgirl named Charlotte Goddard, who Sade (in the frustrated context of his impossible fetish) seeks to convert to an alien or more accurately an alien surrogate. As with other victims in his past, his disenchantment with the veracity of the stand-in leads him to sadistic extremes. The twisted line of plot in these chapters helps bind the book together, lending a disturbed sense and subtext to some of the more abstract and clinical sections.

Chapters marked Lessons in Exophilosophy (LIE) might read like studies from a well constructed Western Philosophy textbook were it not for their often subtle connection to the perverse action in the MOD and ASS chapters. In LIE, Supervert lays out a historical progression of argument from Anaxagoras and Heraclitus to Kant, Schopenhauer, and even Sartre on questions of extraterrestrial life and sex. The convolution and bastardization of logic in his syllogisms displays de Sade’s monomaniacal psyche perfectly, while the controlled use of fetishistic obsession as handmaid to philosophical method lends a humorous lightening hand to the material. The use of veritable philosophical works to prop up a burning desire to fornicate with aliens summons to mind the old maxim of the Devil quoting scripture for his own purposes. One is often tempted to decry the protagonist’s ill use of reason until one remembers that it is the character’s disease talking; as such, every fallacy falls perfectly in line.

“Digressions and Tangents” chapters are mostly diary entries, descriptive texts, and self analyses wherein de Sade confronts and studies his demons and their psychological / cultural /physical origins. The subtitle for ETSF is Materials for the Case Study of an ET S&M Freak; the DAT chapters expand upon this principle, feeding and being fed upon by the whole as the protagonist seeks to justify, deconstruct, and even explode the basis of his fetish.

We should castigate the author for the repeated de-capitalization of Earth (though there is perhaps some textual support for this “de-capitation”) and for one or two exceedingly minor copy-editing mistakes, but since we’re sure this gem was never sullied by a trip through the entrails of the regular publishing beast, we’ll offer a sly wink instead. In the interest of clarity, ALR isn’t especially fond of the self-published book industry—it leads too many young or under-talented writers to publish long before they understand their craft—but occasionally an author like Supervert throws his work into the press, knowing full well that no publisher would ever take the chance on his book. Marcel Proust self-published Swann’s Way due to a staid and unreceptive market; in the same vein, accomplishments like ETSF need to be printed, distributed and sold.

To sum up: Had Immanuel Kant, William Burroughs, Carl Jung, the Marquis de Sade, and an overly libidinous Captain Kirk been confined to a single spacecraft to write a book, ETSF would have been the result. That this montage of reason, disease, and literary style is the work on one writer is laudable; that it not only hangs together but spins and thrums, creating a perfect, demented cosmos is a miracle; that the author of such a fantastic work is named Supervert is hysterical. If you have philosophical and transgressive cohones large enough to appreciate it, you should buy this book.

– CAW –

Monday, November 05, 2007

Authors and Writers: Make Us Want to Be You!

Make Us Want to Be You!

By C. Hope Clark

Quote from the FundsforWriters Annual Essay Contest:
"Come up with a promotional plan for your writing. Whether
you are a copywriter or a romance novelist, a poet or a
fantasy author, describe how you would promote your talent
over a one-year period. Maybe you have a book coming out,
or you've decided to grow your copywriting or editing business,
or you manage a newsletter and want to expand your platform.
What is your plan...and why? Remember, amaze us with your
innovation, your drive, your creativity or your ambition.
Make us want to be you!"

I just came back from a conference where most of the people
attending wanted to write but weren't motivated. They wanted
to be a writer. They wanted to write sweet words. They wanted
to be recognized as a wordsmith, an envy to others who struggle
with telling a story.

I could count on one hand the people who were ravenously
hungry to write hard, long and intensely enough to beat the
odds of becoming traditionally published.

"I just write stories about..."

"I'd love to one day write..."

"I've been working on a story, but..."

"No way could I do what he did..."

"I have a family and a job. It's hard for me..."

Most people listened to speakers say how they achieved
success then made excuses why those methods didn't apply
to them.

Or I heard the opposite. Authors self-published a book or
two and felt they'd arrived. There were no more hurdles.
They strutted, at home with their conclusion they were
a published author, and they could rest on their laurels.

The theme of the FundsforWriters annual contest is
"Make us want to be you." I don't want to be either of the
above author-types. I don't want to reach the end of my
journey wondering if I could have published. I don't want
people remembering me as pompous and arrogant.

What I don't see in either writer is a will to touch readers.
Somehow, when you have this fabulous story to be told, the
need to publish is replaced with a need to reach readers.
The genuine author doesn't want to be adored by readers.
He or she wants to touch others with their words - alter
lives - cause laughter - produce tears. The genuine writer
makes a reader want to be the author, possess a part of
the author, understand the author.

When the thought "I want to be published" is replaced with
"I want people to love this story," magic happens. That's
when the shyness or the arrogance of a writer disappears.
That's when the only goal is to write a great story.

This message is short, but I'm hoping it's potent. We can
write for ourselves or we can write for others. Guess
which one an agent wants? Guess which one a publisher
wants? Guess which one sells?

C. Hope Clark is rewriting her novels now with the readers
in mind.

Reviews: Neale Sourna's Hobble (An Adult Fiction)

Neale Sourna's Hobble (An Adult Fiction)

"Dipping into several genres from erotica to mystery, even sprinkling a little comedy into the mix, Sourne (Sourna)
created a story like no other. This ... tale had me shaking my head in astonishment and I can honestly say I never read anything like Hobble before. Sourne (Sourna) wrote a novel with such a large supply of twist and turns it'll have you dropping your mouth in shock. But be forewarned, Hobble has a crazy mix of characters....

Some of the sex scenes had me (a person who loves erotica) squirming. Although the book is racy, it was an interesting read and should be picked up by anyone who enjoys reading something different from the norm."

--Joy Farringdon, Nubian Sistas Review

READ Full Review

"Hobble is a story of lust and obsessive sex...I was so moved...I went back to my (Franklin) dictionary...hobble means to limp along ... to impede ... to tie-up, shackle or leash...all of [which] were used in this steamy story, of sex, incest and betrayal!"--Delores Thornton, Reviews

Delores' full review

[A Review]

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Neale Sourna's Writing Naked Writing/Coach Services and Package Deals

Search for Provider/Consultant "Sourna" or "Writing-Naked" at:

Neale Sourna's at "Enter

Writing & Translation Experience
Creative Writing (6)
Ghost Writing (3)
Sales Writing (1)
Other - Writing Services (1)


Neale Sourna's at Enter
Neale Sourna's Writing/Coach Packaged Deals Enter

Short Stories--Adult, Romance, Relation
Price: $150.00
Delivery time: 2 week(s)
Industry: Media, Advertising, Publishing, Entertainment
Details: Short or short short stories for online or other. Intriguing, deep character, erotic, relationship, or adult romantic. Heterosexual/Homosexual.

This price is approx. 300 words or less x 10 stories x $15. Or one 3000 word. Will adjust price up or down, depending on number of stories, actual word count, and amount of time and energy to craft a polished good story(ies) for you.

[Byline often preferred, but not absolutely required.]

Fiction Writing Consultation—Character Enrichment
Price: $150.00
Delivery time: 1 day(s)
Industry: Media, Advertising, Publishing, Entertainment
Details: Blah, blah, blah. Are your novel, screenplay, or short story characters flat and unrealistic? Are their personal exchanges one-dimensional and not filled with power? Are the actions they perform and speeches they give bland, uneventful, and lacking in drive? I can help you.

"...the narrative style is interesting story...I would read intrigued me. The heroine is unique."--Sensual Romance Reviews on Neale Sourna’s “Hobble.” []

Think Character and Interrelationship Enrichment.

Imagine your characters truly coming to life with new layers of thought and deep feeling, of intimacy and interrelationships, of great need and poignant want.

Imagine that they breathe and move with the same independent, codependent manner all live people do.

Two hour coaching consultation and brainstorming session (email; IM chat; or online, recorded verbal chat) on how you can make your particular characters and narrative thoughtful and emotionally involving.

Payment: SafePay Escrow.