I have two new book reviews up on the Elevate Difference site and will have two more before we're all done there. The founder, Mandy Van Deven, recently took her "dream job" with a nonprofit agency in New York and decided she doesn't have the energy and time it will take to continue to maintain the site as well. If you've been to Elevate Difference, you've seen the terrific book, product, music, and movie reviews posted there, all with an eye toward celebrating uniqueness and differences and raising awareness of women's issues. I am deeply indebted to Mandy, both for creating this site and for taking a chance on me as a reviewer. Review 1 and Review 2
When I left my paying job last summer, I had no idea what was in store for me as a writer, and the regular deadlines I had for book reviews gave me the structure I needed to write every day, not to mention the luxury of two free books a month. I love having the regular editorial feedback and the instant gratification of publishing book reviews online and reading comments from visitors to the site. More than all of those things, though, writing reviews for Elevate Difference gave me permission to call myself a "Writer." Despite spending over five years researching, writing and rewriting my manuscript, without a physical book to present to anyone, I resisted giving myself the title of writer. Seeing my name attached to book reviews opened that door a crack and, shoving my way through it before anyone could cry, "Foul!" I began work on my second book and have started submitting work to magazines and anthologies. I am still seeking an agent for my book-length projects, but Elevate Difference has afforded me validation in my own mind and that is something more valuable than any book deal. Not that I'm going to turn one down if it comes my way, mind you.
I am working on two final reviews for the site and will be sad when they are complete, but I hope you'll come by and check them out along with all of the other great work that exists at Elevate Difference. Thanks for your vision and dedication, Mandy!