CURRENT EVENTS: Books Read in 2018

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Greetings! Welcome to my first blogpost of 2019. Pretty exciting so far, right?

Anyway, fellow bibliophiles, I thought I’d share a post of the books I’ve consumed in the past year. While I won’t list books I didn’t finish, I will link to the ones I reviewed.

I don’t read a lot of periodicals, but I do read Rattle Poetry, an amazing quarterly magazine, as well as dip into a lot of other books. I’m currently reading A Journey to the Interior of the Earth (ebook) by Jules Verne, Dodge Tuck Roll (paperback, poetry collection) by Rikki Santer, and listening to an audiobook of Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight. My To-Be-Read books beside my bed are threatening to fall over and kill me in my sleep, but I keep adding to it because I have no control and I need help.

As an avid supporter of my local libraries, I’d be remiss not to mention checking out your library’s online selections as well as physical copies of books. Many libraries allow you to request books through their websites, check out digital content such as ebooks and downloadable audiobooks, as well as offer other free services like Hoopla Digital. So, if you haven’t already, get thee to the library.

Many of the books on this list were obtained through services that allow you to download ebooks or audiobooks for free, such as manybooks.net (ebooks in multiple formats), librivox, and Project Gutenburg. Others were obtained from awesome local Ohio indie presses, such as Crisis Chronicles Press and Night Ballet Press; I also plan to check out some titles from Writing Knights Press in the near future.

Now, on to the list!

1 The Walking Dead: The Official Cookbook and Survival Guide by Lauren Wilson.

Just what it says on the tin! It’s a cookbook with survival tips for the coming zombocalypse. Be prepared, so you don’t end up as a walker’s entree!

2 Mothmaw (beta read ebook) by Faryl

3  The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

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4 Skyscraper City Heroes and Villains, vol 1, by Larry Kollar (beta read ebook)

5 The Walking Dead Vol. 29: Lines We Cross by various

6 Kisha Nicole Foster: Poems 1999 – 2014, by Kisha Nicole Foster

7 It Takes More Than Chance to Make Change (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

8 Water Works (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

9 A Wizard of EarthSea: Book One of the EarthSea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

10 I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (NOOK Book)

11 Blood Music by Greg Bear  (ebook via Humble Bundle)

12 City of Truth by James Morrow  (ebook via Humble Bundle)

13 Age of Aquarius: Collected Poems 1981 – 2016, by Dianne Borsenik

14 Loss and Foundering (poetry collection) by John Burroughs

15 Michael Ridding: A DenCom Thriller (Audible audiobook) by S.T. Hoover

16 Prison Terms: Poems by Diane Kendig

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17 Guerrilla Kindness and Other Acts of Creative Resistance: Making a Better World through Craftivism, by Sayraphim Lothian

18 Really Cross Stitch (for when you just want to stab something a lot) (ebook via Overdrive) by Rayna Fahey

19 CHAPTER ELEVEN (poetry collection) by E.F. Schraeder

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20 Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (ebook) by Cory Doctorow

21 Mr. Monster (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

22 Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade AND HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN (ebook via Hoopla) by Joan Tapper

23 Crafting the Resistance: 35 Projects for Craftivists, Protesters, and Women Who Resist by Heather Marano and Lara Neel

24 Blood Work (poetry collection) by Kisha Nicole Foster

25 The Fireman by Joe Hill

26 I Don’t Want to Kill You (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

27 The Tao of Pooh (audiobook via Overdrive) by Benjamin Hoff

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I’ve read this book many times, and it’s one of the most beautiful, funny, and brilliant books ever. Basically, it’s Taoist philosophy illustrated using Winnie-the-Pooh as an example of the uncarved block. Everyone should read this.

28 Horns by Joe Hill (ebook via Overdrive)

29 We Have Always Lived in the Castle (ebook via Overdrive) by Shirley Jackson

30 SOFT: Poems (paperback bought at Latitudes Poetry Night when the poet read) by Damien McClendon

31 MacBeth (ebook via manybooks.net) by William Shakespeare

32 On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing NonfictionandHow to Write a Memoir (audiobooks via Overdrive)

Written and Read by William Zinsser

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33 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (ebook via Overdrive) by J.K. Rowling

34 In America (poetry chapbook) by Diana Goetsch

35 The Art of Love (poetry)(ebook via Overdrive) by Ovid

36 Next of Kin: A John Cleaver Novella (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

37 The Devil’s Only Friend (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

38 Over Your Dead Body (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

39 Nothing Left to Lose (ebook via Overdrive) by Dan Wells

40 Cleopatra: a Biography (audiobook via Overdrive) by Stacy Schiff

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41 Hard to Swallow (Paperback bought at Literary Cleveland Inkubator) by Pat and Bill Hurley

42 Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem From the Inside Out (ebook via Overdrive) by Ralph Fletcher

43 milk and honey (paperback bought at Bookloft bookstore in Columbus, Ohio) by rupi kaur

44 Demons Will Be Demons:The Realm (NOOK Ebook via Barnes & Noble) by A.E. Jones

45 The Walking Dead vol. 29: Lines We Cross (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

46 The Walking Dead vol. 30: New World Order (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

47 Jessica Jones: Uncaged! (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

48 Jessica Jones: The Secrets of Maria Hill (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

49 Recipes for a New Life: Surviving Celiac Disease (paperback bought at Cuyahoga Library’s Indie Author Conference) by Erin Marie Raines

50 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (ebook via Overdrive) by Mark Manson

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A hilariously irreverent and insightful philosophy book. There’s obviously profanity, but holy crap, it’s freaking genius.

51 Jessica Jones: Pulse (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

52 The Vision: Little Worse Than a Man (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by King and Walt

53 The Vision: Here Lies a Vision (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital) by various

54 The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale (ebook via Overdrive) by Tim Hanley

55 The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus (ebook via manybooks.net) by William Shakespeare

56 Miranda and Caliban (ebook via Overdrive) by Jaqueline Carey

57 Little Epiphanies (paperback via Night Ballet Press) by Allison Joseph

58 down & out in the magic kingdom (ebook via craphound.com) by Corey Doctorow

A fantastic scifi book about a man trying to solve his own murder at Disney World.

59 BBC Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time Lords (ebook via Overdrive) by Steve Tribe

60 Siddhartha (ebook via manybook.net) by Herman Hesse

61 The Just City (ebook via Overdrive) by Jo Walton

62 Citizen of Metropolis (poetry collection, paperback via Crisis Chronicles Press) by Christine Howey

63 Symposium (ebook via manybooks.net) by Plato

Socrates attends a dinner party and debates the nature of love.

 

Until next time, be happy, and have a lovely time!

 

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net via Creative Commons License

 

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Current Events: New Year’s Resolutions for 2019!

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Happy New Year! However you celebrate, please be safe, and don’t drink and drive. Have fun!

Now that the PSA portion of my post is out of the way, do you have any resolutions for 2019? I’m a big fan of accountability as a motivator, so I make a point of publicly declaring my goals in the hope I’ll be too embarrassed not to accomplish them. So, I mostly met my goals, or–to interpret them differently–I failed to meet them in the most satisfying way ever! In other words, I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished this year!

Last New Year’s Eve, my resolutions for 2018 were to 1. publish a book, 2. market my book, and 3. Learn to make one origami form with a dollar bill. I’ve obviously not published a book yet; I had planned to self-publish, but then my lovely friend Diane convinced me to sub one more time (this time to an indie press), and the result is my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean, will be published by Crisis Chronicles Press early 2019! I also have two more books subbed to another indie press and will hear back from them by the end of March 2019. I’ve only submitted, but I’m hopeful they will accept them for publication. If not, I will fall back on my original plan to self publish.

As far as marketing my book(s), I’ve done a lot of research into getting the word out and plan to promote by readings and going to conferences, etc. I’ve also looked into advertising via podcasts, radio, and other local resources. One of the books would fit well in a certain niche market, so I have feelers out for that too.

I have done nothing towards learning the origami form, other than get a dollar bill that’s sat on my dining room table in silent accusation for the past two weeks. I don’t feel too badly about that though, as it was the least important resolution and there’s still almost the whole day left until Midnight.

So, can you guess my resolutions for 2019?

 

1. PUBLISH ALL THREE BOOKS.

2. MARKET MY BOOKS.

3. SELL AND WRITE LIKE CRAZY!

 

Not including the material in these books, I’ve been writing poetry and short stories all year, so I already have a nice reserve for the books I plan after these. Although I still shake a bit, I’ve gotten much better at reading in public, so I’m going to continue working on that. And, best of all, I have the use of Northeast Ohio’s fantastic library system, and so many supportive and wonderful writer friends for which I am forever grateful.

So, if you’ve made it this far without falling asleep, enough about me! Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions for 2019? If so, what are they?

Happy New Year, and I wish you all the best!

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

POEM: Why I Hate Christmas

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Why I Hate Christmas

 

I love brightly colored gifts

with shiny foil ribbons and stockings

filled with tiny plastic toys that make small children smile.

 

I support charity,

the clink of silver coins dropped into a collection can,

donating time to those less fortunate along with extra cans of food.

 

I adore singing songs

unheard in the shower or off-key

at 60 mph as my dashboard thrums to the beat.

 

I crave feasts of warm bread,

family favorites, and sweet steaming pudding

with chocolate skin you pierce with a fork to get at the good stuff.

 

I long for peace on Earth,

wish goodwill towards others;

hold the door open for strangers,

and try to understand my fellow man.

 

But I hate the idea that one time of year

is the right time, the best time, the required time

to do any or all these things.

 

I detest the pressure to sing happy holiday tunes

we’ve heard a thousand times before, loathe the open hand

at every store, the downward glance as you shift by

when you have no cash to give, detest the obligation

for feasts and gifts no matter how thin one’s wallet.

 

Forced gifts aren’t gifts.

A gift can only be given if it’s not required.

 

Give because you want to,

because giving is its own joy.

Sing because your heart is full or breaking.

Bake cookies because you crave sweetness,

because others hunger for kindness.

 

Don’t wait for a season,

make everyday the reason

to feel what you want,

be what you want,

do what you want

to make the world better–

 

or else

what’s the point?

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

**I hope you enjoyed my mildly ranty Christmas poem. If you celebrate Christmas this year, I hope you have a lovely holiday!

 

POEM: Windows

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“Windows”

In the neverending heat of a South Florida childhood with no other season except Hurricane, I dreamt of snow, of patting down snowballs into hard spheres to throw at my compatriots from behind white walls guarded by coal-eyed snowmen sniffing out trouble with carrot noses. Snow angels hovered in my dreams, bright shapes made real by throwing myself into clouds of frozen heaven dust upon waking to a Florida morning that never came.

Now, my dreams come true on this Ohio dawn, with the first snow drifting outside my bedroom window frosting trees like cupcakes, the ground ever more white, as though Thor dusted dandruff from his beard to coat the world. The flakes fall heavier, thick pale globes, hiding the grass, the trees, the warm gifts my dogs leave on the lawn like offerings to winter gods. In the snow, everything becomes new and beautiful.

Inside my house, my heater hums comfort. I snuggle under warm quilts.

I wonder if those without windows share my joy.

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com.

BOOK REVIEW: Little Epiphanies by Allison Joseph

Allison Joseph’s poetry collection, Little Epiphanies, is a lovely book.

Her tightly structured and orderly poems eloquently comment on everything from everyday clutter (“Little Epiphanies”) to our fellow mammals (“Ode to the Naked Mole Rat”). Yet she also skillfully uses iambic pentameter to poke fun at strict poetry format in “Sonnet for a Good Mood:”

“How funky can I be in fourteen lines;
how thick a groove can I lay down right here?
How bad can my ass be in these confines–
ten syllables each time seems so severe.”

On the next page, in “A Prayer for Women’s Bodies,” she smoothly transitions to more serious matters, honoring the imperfections that society would have us camouflage or hide:

“…love handles no longer

maligned, each waist its own territory,
own beloved landscape of bruise
or bone, wrinkle or fat. Let us honor
bone, whether porous or pointy,

shattered or submerged, hardworking
scaffolding holding us up when gravity
and graves could sink us down,…”

In fact, what amazes me most about this collection is that the subject matter is so varied while still fitting together well. She makes observations about racism in “Sundown Ghazal”, about Afro hairstyles as statements of black empowerment in “Thirty Lines about the Fro,” and her wandering pen touches on more mundane subjects like public transportation with equal parts observation and insight.

I recommend Little Epiphanies for poetry lovers everywhere.

 

POEM: Mindfulness

“Mindfulness”

the swish of my skirt’s soft fabric
against my ankles
black translucent cloth flowing behind
threads catch upon the rough concrete
as my uneven gait
from old worn sandals
clips and slides along the sidewalk

a cool breeze
softly strokes my hair
like a lover’s caress

my dark reflection
moves aside as the door swings slowly
open, then closes

Does that other me follow me inside with her dark gaze?

 

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Saturday, November 10th, the Massillon Library’s Local Author Fair will feature several Ohio authors between 11am and 2pm. I will be reading from my work about 11:30. Please stop by and find out about the writers in your community. I hope to see you there!

*image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net via Creative Commons License.

 

ON WRITING: CUYAHOGA LIBRARY’S INDIE AUTHOR CON & SHOWCASE–Part II

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My last post concerned the Cuyahoga Library’s Indie Author Con and Showcase on October 13th, but there was way too much information to convey in a single post. So here, as promised, is Part II of my post about the con. Enjoy!

Legal Issues for Self-Published Writers

This segment of the con featured Jacqueline Lipton, founder of Authography: a company dedicated to sustaining authors with legal and other issues. She also teaches writing courses online, writes the Legally Bookish column for the SCBWI bulletin, has received awards for her fiction novels, and holds multiple degrees. Her upcoming book, Law & Authors, will be published in 2019.

“Write what you need to write, and worry about the legal stuff down the track.”

I know many authors worry about the legal ramifications of what they write, because they are afraid of accidentally committing a legal blunder, so this simple piece of advice felt very reassuring. It’s not necessarily that you won’t make mistakes, but that you mustn’t let the fear stop you from creating. If you are worried, you can seek legal advice by having a lawyer look over your work or by using some other legal resource, but the important thing is to not let fear stop you. Fear is the enemy of creativity.

In the interest of passing on some of what Ms. Lipton shared at the conference, I am sharing the photos I took of her slides (with her permission), as well as notes I took of the Question & Answer session afterwards.

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Q&A:

What are the issues using quotations?

–Ms. Lipton explained that much of what you may want to use may be considered Fair Use, but because Fair Use is so uncertain, traditional publishers will want legal permission. This is a site you may consult for more information. authorsalliance.org

What about issues concerning more than one person using the same Pen name? Is it a copyright or trademark issue?

–If you or someone else uses the same pen name, you do not need to do anything. Others may have the same name, but it does not tell you anything about the underlying work. If someone is using your pen name, because they are copying your work, it’s a copyright issue anyway.

What is the definition of a Trademark (in greater detail)?

–Trademark concerns work a particular market (narrowly identified). Ex: The For Dummies series, etc.
Problems occur when you look closely affiliated with the other market. The main question asked concerning Trademark is, How likely would consumers be to mistake one product from the Trademarked product? Ex: orange arches compared to McDonald’s yellow arches for hamburger restaurants.

That completes my summary of last month’s writers’ conference. If you have any particular legal questions, I suggest you consult a lawyer or other official legal resource, but I hope this summary proves useful in a general sense.

I will post again next week, but I also wanted to tell you of an upcoming event. I am very honored to have been invited to participate once again in the Massillon Library Local Author Fair. The Fair takes place on Saturday, November 10th from 11am – 2pm, and features many talented local authors! I will be reading from my work, as well as have a table with some materials from Literary Cleveland to give out. If you are able, please stop by, listen to some cool authors, visit their tables, and maybe pick up a book!

*Permission to post photo of flyer kindly granted by Cuyahoga Library

***permission to summarize this session for the blog kindly granted by Jacqueline Lipton.
**permission to use photos of her slides generously granted by Jacqueline Lipton. The photos themselves were taken by myself.