Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Berkeley Writers Group”

One Door Closes, Another Opens

Yesterday was a crazy day. It began with the news that Unwanted Heroes didn’t make the cut for the last fifty in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Good luck to those who survived. I will file my acceptance speech away for another year.

At the end of the day, I wrote the final words of the to Unwanted Heroes’ sequel. I began this book in February, spending about an hour a day writing and a few days of intensive typing. Almost three months and 91,500 words later, I pushed ‘save’ after typing those magical words: THE END.

Obviously, this is still a rough draft which is desperately awaiting the eager eyes of the Berkeley Writer’s Group, as well as a list of  ‘Things to Follow Up On’. But it is an exciting moment when you finish a first draft. It seems as though the story is real.

I’m trying to come up with a creation analogy. Conception happens at the beginning of Chapter One. Holding the real book in your hands is perhaps the actual birth. So I guess, seeing the fetus on the ultrasound and hearing a heartbeat, might serve here.

Best of all, I already have an idea for the next book. But I’m going to hold off in the meantime, in order to edit the two completed manuscripts that I have, and to restore some sanity in my relationship with my wife and children.

I’m sad about ABNA. I thought this might be my year, but I finished the day with a smile on my face, and another story to tell when I am one day a member of the A-list.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Exciting News!

My novel, Unwanted Heroes, just reached the Quarter Final stage of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It’s down to the last 250 chasing a book contract with Penguin. I received two strong reviews from their experts’ panel and have another month to sweat the next stage!


Thank you to all my friends in the Berkeley Writers Group who helped me hone the final manuscript over the past year.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Local Author – Adam Mansbach

Adam Mansbach’s work is not jut a pleasure to read, he is a great author to listen to. Adam is the author of two novels:

Angry Black White Boy is an amazing race ride – in a New York cab. It tells of a white boy who moves to New York and works as a cab driver to support himself through college. He is consumed by the hip hop culture and yet, as white boy, he is straddling two worlds.both of which treats him as an outsider. Consumed by guilt of white privilege, he begins robbing white customers. The authorities and media think the criminal is a black man and…well I’ll leave you hanging there.


The End of the Jews is not your average inter-generational insight into one culture, whether Jewish, Italian etc. What stands out here are the totally believable characters. This is a novel where the characters stay with you long after you’ve finished it. I read this book about a year ago, and there is one scene that has stayed crystal clear in my mind. Imagine a young American connecting with his Eastern European grandfather over spraying graffiti. I’ll leave you there.

If ever you have the opportunity to hear Adam speak, it is worth it. Hip hop oozes from him, so when he addressed the Berkeley Writer’s Group a year ago, as he got excited, he spoke almost in an unconscious rap beat. I wish I had recorded him, not only for this, but for the valuable and honest knowledge he shared with the group. Here is a taste of what I mean.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com

 

 

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