Authors · Events

A Bookstore to Remember: For and By People of Color

By Isabella Basco

On April 10, Angela Maria Spring announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of a pop-up, multicultural bookstore in the Duende District. After managing the popular Politics and Prose, Spring left her job to start Duende District.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Inspired by her roots as a daughter and granddaughter of Latin American immigrants, Spring left the popular D.C. bookstore, which is in a majority-white neighborhood, to create a space for people of color to celebrate diversity.

When Duende District Bookstore opens, Spring hopes to build purposeful partnerships with minority organizations and communities in the city.

Spring’s goal is to raise $9,000 so if you’re interested in contributing to her mission, you can donate to her campaign here.

You can donate to her campaign here and the GU Book Crew will be sure to continue covering this exciting new spot.

Authors · Events

Filipina female trailblazers discuss and write about leadership in DC

By Isabella Basco

At the Filipino embassy last Wednesday, several Filipina trailblazers in the military, law and medicine came together to read their excerpts from the new book, DISRUPT 2.0, Filipina Women: Daring to Lead.

The book is a collection of stories by 35 different Filipina thought leaders and some of the “disruptions” they have faced in their personal and professional lives, hence the title.

The Philippines is in a unique position compared to other countries when it comes to women and leadership. It is the highest-ranked country in Asia when it comes to closing the gender gap and is a traditionally matriarchal society: the country has already had two female presidents.

The event was organized and sponsored by the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), an organization devoted to promoting Filipina female leadership. FWN has been traveling across the country on a “road show” to advertise the launch of the book.

Some of the leaders who spoke were Sonia Delen, the Senior Vice President of Bank of America Leasing; Shirley Raguindin, the Director of Equal Opportunity for the Dept. of Defense and Col. in the Air National Guard; and Maria Nieves Santos-Graves, the President of Surrey Hearing Care, Inc.

Their journeys were different, but their themes were the same because all were immigrants or the children of immigrants who faced unique struggles in their journeys to leadership due to their genders and races.

Santos-Graves spoke about her arduous path as an immigrant. She earned a pharmacy degree from a respectable university in the Philippines, but she could not find a job after moving to Canada because they did not recognize “outside degrees.” She worked at a dollar store, sold education savings plans and at a call center before going into business herself.

FWN Daring to Lead

Filipina Women’s Network

Many of the leaders told their stories and offered wisdom for the future. Eileen Mitzi Pickard, a notable Filipino-American community organizer in Washington, encouraged readers to take advantage of life’s opportunities.

“Do what you can in the time that you have in the place that you are,” Mitzi Pickard said.

Cris Comerford, the first woman and person of Asian descent to hold the title of White House Chef, also wrote an excerpt in the book.

Going Pinay

DISRUPT 2.0 demonstrated that gender equality and women’s empowerment are not just about breaking glass ceilings and opening doors, but about mentoring and supporting each other in our personal and professional journeys.

While the event was eye-opening and gave a unique lens into some of the “trials and tribulations” many Filipina women normally face in a new country, it would have been wonderful if there were a panel of women who gave direct advice to other younger Filipina women who are just beginning their careers.

Still, organizations like the Filipina Women’s Network and their launch of DISRUPT 2.0 shows how powerful the “written word” is.

The book is available on Amazon and Kindle.

Authors · Uncategorized

Advice for Aspiring Authors from local author, Michael Thompson

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By Joey Payton

GU Book Crew took a short trip west of D.C. to Grounds Central Station, a coffee shop in Manassas, Va., to chat with local fantasy and science fiction author, Michael Thompson.

Thompson, a Bristow, Va. native and George Mason University alumnus, who recently self-published his book, World of the Orb, was happy to share four important tips for aspiring authors.

Tip#1: Write what you love

“I loved superheroes, I loved comedy, I loved action so I just wrote the type of book that I wanted to read,” explained Thompson.

“If you’re not liking what you’re doing, it’s going to emanate off the page,” he warned.

Thompson experiences a clash of feelings—fear and freedom—when considering the challenge related what he writes.

“That’s a fear, but at the same time its freeing because I know that this is exactly what I would want to read,” he said.
Just write what you love and someone out there will love it, too.

Tip#2: Get smart on benefits & challenges of self-publishing

Thompson appreciates the control he maintains as a self-published author; however, the freedom self-publishing brings comes with its own challenges.

“As a self-publisher, you wear a lot of hats. You’re a writer. You’re an editor. You’re a marketer. You’re doing it all yourself a lot of the time,” he explained.

He conceded that a traditional publisher can provide structure and resources, but beware that in some cases, publishing contracts may be written where they don’t just own the book, they also own you.

Also, a traditional publisher may drastically change your story, he added.

“No one knows your book better than you do,” Thompson stressed.

Tip#3: Don’t be afraid to fail big

After publishing his first children’s book, Chicken Boy and the Wrath of Dr. Dimwad, Thompson was fortunate to have success selling on the Border’s bookstore circuit.

Unfortunately, when Border’s went bankrupt in 2011, he nearly lost his business because of unpaid checks that he couldn’t collect.

In October 2016 Thompson faced another challenge with the release of WOTO, but he refused to quit.

“I figured, if I’m going to fail, then I’m gonna fail big. So, I went to Barnes and Noble. And low and behold, they told me I came at the right time,” recalled Thomspon. 

Black Friday weekend of 2016, he released WOTO.

Tip#4: Double-dip your opportunities

Thompson’s entrepreneurial spirit has allowed him to maximize whatever opportunities he gets.

He said destiny led him to meet a lady at a church bazaar who directed him to ‘Create Space’, which provides on-demand publishing services.

Additionally, he chose college courses and used them to advance his craft.

“I always knew when I graduated I wanted to put (WOTO) out as soon as possible,” explained Thompson. “So, I took classes that would be helpful in whatever career I chose, but also, in those same classes, I learned things that were helpful for this book.”

GU Book Crew’s final thoughts

Thompson continues to work on short stories and he’s also working on the sequel to WOTO.

If want to read something in the fantasy/sci-fi genre with an alternative universe, magic, and captivating storytelling, then we recommend you get, World of the Orb.

Until next time, for the love of books and hidden gems in D.C., we are the Georgetown’s Book Crew!

Fast Facts

Author: Michael Thompson

Hometown: Bristow, VA

Genre: Teen/ Adult Fantasy & Sci-fi (formerly, children’s fiction)

Most recent book: World of the Orb (2016)

Inspirations: Lawrence Schoonover – his great grandfather and historical fiction novelist; Charles Aracich – his 4th grade teacher who encouraged him to publish his first book.

Favorite authors: Brian Jacques (The Redwall series) – he breaks all the rules in all the best ways.

Book store shout-outs: Grounds Central Station – home of the Orbucinno and great place for coffee & books; Prospero’s Books – has a whole section for local authors and does book signings; and Barnes and Noble in Fairfax and Manassas – they give local authors a chance to launch their books to larger audiences.

Career goals: Making WOTO reach as many people as possible; be at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival in D.C.; and see the WOTO translated into other mediums.

If this author was a band: Evanescence – Bring me to Life