Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thousands Participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Oakland, Calif. --- --- October, 2007 --- There are some who say writing a novel takes awesome talent, strong language skills, academic training, and years of dedication.

Not true. All it really takes is a deadline – a very, very tight deadline – and a whole lot of coffee.

Welcome to National Novel Writing Month: a nonprofit literary crusade that encourages aspiring novelists all over the world to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. At midnight on Nov. 1, more than 100,000 writers from over 70 countries – poised over laptops and pads of paper, fingers itching and minds racing with plots and characters – will begin a furious adventure in fiction. By 11:59 PM on Nov. 30, thousands of them will be novelists.

NaNoWriMo is the largest writing contest in the world. In 2006, over 79,000 people took part in the free challenge. And while the event stresses fun and creative exploration over publication, sixteen NaNoWriMo novelists have had their NaNo-novels published, including Sarah Gruen, author of New York Times #1 Best Seller, Water for Elephants.

Around 18% of NaNoWriMo participants "win" every year by writing 50,000 words and validating their novels on the organization's website before midnight on Nov 30. Winners receive no prizes, and no one at NaNoWriMo ever sees the manuscripts submitted.

So if not for fame or fortune, why do people do it?

"The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creative potential like nothing else," says NaNoWriMo Director (and eight-time NaNoWriMo winner) Chris Baty. "When you write for quantity instead of quality, you end up getting both. Also, it's a great excuse for not doing any dishes for a month."

For the past eight years, Baty has sent out weekly pep talks to participants in November. This year, he's passing the pep talking torch to established authors, including mystery writer Sue Grafton, master storyteller Tom Robbins, and renowned fantasy writer Neil Gaiman.

Last year, Christee Gabour Atwood attracted national attention as she completed 50,000-word challenge in the window of a Waldenbooks while wearing a chicken suit.

Why? “Because I knew that someday someone would beat the record of writing a book in a store window, but I doubted that anyone else would be silly enough to do it in a chicken suit. It’s my moment in history … as pitiful as that sounds.”

Atwood is keeping her 2007 “NaNo Identity” secret at this time and plans to reveal it in the window of Waldenbooks in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on November 1.

The daily word-count goal is 1,667 words. Municipal Liaisons around the world organize local meetings to provide writers with advice, inspiration, and support. This year Atwood serves as the ML for much of the state of Louisiana.

If you would like more information about National Novel Writing Month, or would like to talk to participants from NaNoWriMo chapters in your area, please visit our website at, or contact Christee Gabour Atwood at to find out about NaNoWriMo events in Louisiana.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Scientists Need to Explore All Cells to Find Treatment

Stem Cell Research: Scientists Will Need to Explore All Types of Cells to Find Treatment for More Illnesses and Conditions

Right to Recover: Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America Compares Embryonic Stem Cells with Adult Stem Cells and Gives Reasons Why Both Should be Federally Funded

A new book written by Nashville author, Yvonne Perry, challenges preconceived religious and political ideas in hopes of changing the way Americans view blastocystic (embryonic) stem cell research. Right to Recover: Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America (ISBN: 978-1-933449-41-8) was released on October 1 by Nightengale Press to coincide with the start up of the 2008 presidential election campaigns.

The book contains biological facts and scientific data about all types of stem cell research in a way that most people can understand. One question Perry poses in her book is this: “If cord blood, amniotic fluid, and bone marrow contain stem cells, and there is no controversial issue with these cells, then why do we need research on blastocyst (embryonic) stem cells?”

The simple truth is there are no substitutes for pluripotent stem cells. While cord blood, amniotic fluid, adult stem cells, reprogramming of cells and other alternate research certainly deserve study, no credible expert supports using them as a replacement for blastocysts stem cells leftover from in-vitro fertilization. Each type of cell has its own unique characteristics and abilities.

There are no moral issues attached to the use of cord blood and amniotic fluid, but like adult stem cells, these have already differentiated and have different characteristics than in-vitro blastocyst (IV-B) stem cells. Days-old blastocyst stem cells allow a range of research on the very earliest stages of human development and are more versatile than adult stem cells or fetal cells extracted months later from amniotic fluid or from cord blood at birth.

Scientists are still trying to discover which set of stem cell characteristics will ultimately be needed to cure or treat certain diseases. Here are a few key features we know about IV-B stem cells and adult stem cells (ASC):

IV-B stem cells are indefinite, robust, and self-renewable. IV-B stem cells can transform into virtually any type of cell of the body. Pluripotency disappears as differentiation occurs and development continues.

ASCs are limited in the number of cells they are able to transform into; in other words, they can only create more of the same type of cells as they already are. For that reason, adult cells are not able to do the same things as IV-B stem cells, which have the characteristics researchers believe are needed to cure some diseases.

Stem cells exist in relatively large numbers in IV-Bs. IV-Bs will not always be needed once a stem cell line of every race and condition is created by nuclear transfer cloning.

ASC or multipotent progenitor stem cells have not yet been found in all tissues of the body. In fact, they are scarce in the brain. If neural stem cells are needed, they must be generated from blastocyst stem cells. Bone marrow stem cells must be revved up with medication to stimulate their growth before they can be used for transplantation in the treatment of cancer.

Any knowledge gained from blastocyst stem cells will complement studies of adult and all other types of stem cells, and vice versa. Most scientists agree that therapy advances will be found by responsibly investigating all aspects of stem cell biology.

“Regardless of whether the therapies come from adult stem cells, cord blood, amniotic fluid, or IV-B research, all of humanity stands to profit from stem cell treatment and technology,” says Perry. “Whether it comes from the U.S. or another country, the cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, spinal cord injury, diabetes, or other illness or injuries is within reach.”

With a foreword by Dr. Evan Snyder of Burnham Institute and endorsements from Cure Paralysis Now, Don C. Reed of California’s Prop 71, Christopher Reeve Foundation, and many others, Perry’s book, while controversial, is a concise and accurate picture of the biology and legislation regarding stem cell research in the U.S and globally. For more information about the book see

Reverend Dan Bloodworth of The Brian Bloodworth Stroke and Head Injury Research Foundation gave Ms. Perry Biblical references to support blastocystic stem cell research. An entire chapter is dedicated to helping Christians understand this incredible gift God has given humanity. Rev. Bloodworth says, “It is such a pleasure to work with a writer like Yvonne Perry. She has truly researched the research and spent hundreds of hours to find the facts to share with the readers of RIGHT TO RECOVER. Over the years I have read literally thousands of articles and documents from around the world about this subject and RIGHT TO RECOVER is the most complete work I have ever read. It provides an honest evaluation and asks readers to consider the facts and then form their own opinion instead of listening to people who have never researched the subject.”

To purchase the book online go to or The book may be ordered in bookstores as well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Obama Flap over Black Gospel Singer Shows Race is Issue in Presidential Race

The Hutchinson Political Report

Media Release

October 23, 2007
for Immediate Release
Contact: Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Author Says That Obama Flap over Black Gospel Singer Points to Race as a Continuing Issue in Presidential race

Forthcoming Book The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House

Political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson publicly challenged Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama to repudiate the anti-gay bashing views of black Grammy winning gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. Obama scheduled a late October gospel tour in South Carolina with McClurkin. Obama issued a statement in response insisting that he supports gay rights and disagrees with McClurkin’s views.

However, Hutchinson notes that the black vote in South Carolina and other states is crucial to Obama’s success, as well as the success of his chief rival Hillary Clinton. In his forthcoming book The Ethnic Presidency: How Race decides the Race to the White House (February 2008 Middle Passage Press), Hutchinson details the huge role race and ethnic politics will play in the fight for the White in 2008.

The McClurkin flap is part of that fight since the singer is loved and admired by a large segment of evangelical leaning African-American voters. Obama wants and needs those votes. “Obama, Clinton, Edwards and the top Republican presidential contenders will embrace and ignore racial issues during their campaigns,” says Hutchinson,” But no matter what course they take those issues won’t be far from the political table.”

Hutchinson’s book, The Ethnic Presidency, details how the approach and avoidance on race and ethnic politics by the candidates will define their campaigns and influence voter decisions. The Ethinic Presidency available in January 2008.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Political Analyst Disputes Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Hispanic Values

Author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson disputes the contention of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that Hispanic values are American values. Gonzales inadvertently feeds the myth that there are two sets of values for Hispanics and Americans

Middle Passage Press 5517 Secrest Dr. Los Angeles, Cal. 90043 323-296-6331

October 3, 2007 For Immediate Release Contact: Barbara Bramwell 323-296-6331 Political Analyst Disputes Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Hispanic Values in His New Book The Latino Challenge to Black America

Author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson disputes the contention of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that Hispanic values are American values. Gonzales inadvertently feeds the myth that there are two sets of values for Hispanics and Americans. That fear has fueled much of the debate, rancor, and hostility over illegal immigration. Gonzales for instance praises his father for his hard work and sacrifice but that hard work and sacrifice that he holds in high esteem is no different than the hard work and sacrifices that all Americans have made in their lives to move up the social and economic scale. That’s not a Hispanic value, that’s an American value. “Gonzales also feeds the fears of many Americans,” says Hutchinson, “That Hispanics have a separate and distinct culture from those of other Americans.” Hutchinson in his new book, The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation between African-Americans and Hispanics tells why so many Latinos have embraced American culture and values. He details how their support of military service, their rush to learn English, and their fight for better educational and job opportunities has enriched the American experience. “This is the American way,” says Hutchinson. His book tells why that is, Gonzales’s view to the contrary.

Interview Earl Ofari Hutchinson 323-296-6331

About Hutchinson Political Report
Hutchinson Political report is a cutting edge news and public issues reporting and commentary blog site. Its focus is on political, minority, and African-American issues and commentary by Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

Monday, October 1, 2007

This is the Place by Carolyn Howard Johnson

This particular blog --current events-- interested me most, though. For one thing, in The Frugal Book Promoter I tell authors that they should watch current events and try to tie their novels to them. It's easy for nonfiction writers to do this but it seems a hard concept for many novelists to get.

Now to current events for my novel. This Is the Place has seen a revival recently because it ties to three current events. But first, you should know that This Is the Place is a novel set in Utah in the 50s, a time and place when repression was severe. It explores several aspects of intolerance.

So, currently:

Big Love, the HBO series about a polygamist cult just completed its 2nd season. Yes, there are polygamists (the original settlers in Utah) in This Is the Place.

Jeff Green is finally going to trial as an accessory for marrying a young girl to one of his relatives. He is the prophet of the unrecognized sect of Mormonism in Utah and Arizona.

Mitt Romney is running for the Republican nomination for president. Because he is a Mormon, he calls Utah his Zion. And, there is actually a minor character in This Is the Place running for public office.

As an aside, This Is the Place, won eight awards including a Reviewers' Choice Award.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for authors. Introducing The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, now available for pre-orders at

Please sign up for my "Sharing with Writers" newsletter: Put "Subscribe" in an e-mail to Learn more at . ,, and