POEM: “Ode for a Dog” *AND* Upcoming Events

Ode for a Dog

You became a cosmonaut,

the Moscow stray taken away

from those frozen city streets–

your unlooked-for honor: to make history,

           to reach the heavens.

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I wondered if they gave you a view,

one last look at the world you left behind,

or was that denied you    along with escape,

buried in darkness   before you ran out of breath

            among those distant lonely stars?

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A window might have stopped your heart:

Earth’s cobalt blue oceans, pale frosted poles,

rust-colored deserts receding    framed in fire as you hurtled

hurled into that azure vault, afraid and alone.

            You survived that long.

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Where is your constellation? My heart breaks

for you, dear sweet dog, your three short years

had not prepared you for such betrayal.

A statue honors you as hero, Laika.

             You made history,

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yet I can’t help these thoughts

creeping unwanted into my dreams:

you would have rather shivered on Earth,

lived on scraps, unnoticed and unknown,

           than burned through the heavens alone.

.

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*Since this month marks the 50th Anniversary of a man walking on the moon, I wanted to share a poem I wrote in honor of another astronaut. I wrote the poem after reading of Laika’s flight, and yes, she did have a view. The video is available, if you don’t mind crying.

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Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 27th

Literary Cleveland’s INKubator Writers’ Conference:

This all day conference is FREE and takes place at the Cleveland Main Library. It’s an incredible opportunity to take workshops, support local writers, and take part in Cleveland’s vibrant literary community!

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Saturday, August 3rd @ 1pm

Author Talk and Poetry Reading at Snowball Bookshop in Barberton. I will be giving a short talk about my journey to becoming a published writer, followed by a poetry reading from my book, Soul Picked Clean.

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Friday, August 9th @ 7pm – 9pm

Writing Knights sWord Fight: This time I will be competing against motivational speaker and all-time awesome poet Adam Spells!

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Saturday, August 10th @ 10am – 1pm

Local Author’s Fair at Dorrie’s Booktique in Canton. I will be there with copies of my book, along with several other local authors from the North Canton The Write Stuff writing group.

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Saturday, August 10th @730pm

Poetry Reading at Visible Voice bookstore! I’m thrilled to be reading alongside the fantastic Sara Minges and Juliet Cook. It’s going to be a great poetry event!

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Wednesday, August 21st @7pm – 9pm

Latitudes Poetry Night at Compass Coffee in Akron. There is a featured reader, followed by an Open Mic.

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I’ll post again in two weeks, but, in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely time enjoying books and poetry!

*Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

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POEM: #SaveTheChief

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#SaveTheChief

 

I don’t even know where to begin.

Chief Wahoo is not offensive by any means.

One hundred years of racism is enough in Cleveland Ohio.

When was the last time you saw a Native American as good looking as Wahoo?

And he’s completely red; are you kidding me?

HA! HA! Laugh at those injuns

… then everybody shows up acting like a stereotypical version of that race.

Let’s do the Florida State chop, only for real. Send these whiners to big cloud in sky and finish the job.

Their faces are painted.

“This isn’t racism.”

They’re wearing feathers.

You guys need to go home–

                     “We’re not going away.”

–because we support the Indians.

a lot of them say they’re just honoring us.

I think the Indians would be proud of the fact–

I don’t feel honored.

that we’re sitting here, putting their name on shirts,–

I don’t think it’s honoring us in the least.

on jerseys,

It’s very hurtful.

on billboards…”

“I’ve got the smiling face of racism smiling right back at me.”

“This isn’t racism.”

You make this any other racial group,–

Native Americans are a bunch of pussies,–

where you do a ridiculous caricature like that,–

go back to your tipis and cry me a river.

people get it right away. “Oh, that’s racist.”

… get over it. Go light some torches

It’s very hurtful.

“…Chief Wahoo. Whether you guys like it or not,

it’s going to stay”

Rip chief wahoo

 

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*found poetry created with quotes from Twitter via the #SaveTheChief hashtag, and video quotes from protests and interviews. I apologize that some of the language is racist; the entire poem is composed of quoted material. By arranging the material of different people at different times concerning a single issue, I hoped to give the impression of a conversation between the two sides of the Chief Wahoo issue.

**photo credit via Parson Frown (@peterpattakos) on Twitter

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

 

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: 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.

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

Two weeks ago, on the 13th of October, Cuyahoga Library‘s Parma-Snow branch hosted a free Indie Author Con and Showcase. Cuyahoga Library is a pillar of Northeast Ohio’s literary community, with multiple programs and facilities supporting writers and bibliophiles of all stripes. However, I realize not everyone is lucky enough to live within driving distance of this fantastic library system, so I want to share some of the information I took away from its most recent conference. Since there is a lot to convey, I split the information between two posts.

Truly, one of the things I love best about cons is meeting new people with the same interests as myself, as well as reconnecting with others I have not seen for some time. It’s invigorating to be surrounded by creative people, and I always leave more inspired than when I arrived. When the conference started, the first panel of guests were representatives of different local writing organizations. I will link to them below, along with short descriptions.

Find Your Writing Tribe

Sisters in Crime

–This group meets monthly at the Twinsburg Library, primarily for female writers of crime stories, both fiction and non–although male writers are also welcome. They periodically organize field trips for members. In the past, they have visited the Medical Examiner’s Office as well as the Natural History Museum. At meetings they may have guest visitors, such as a poison expert giving a talk or a visit from a cadaver dog. In November, a judge will speak to them about criminal procedure and trials.

Literary Cleveland

–This writers’ organization hosts multiple events, both free and low cost, at various locations throughout the Cleveland area. They have published a chapbook of Cleveland stories, and will take part in the Cleveland Humanities event; they also host members-only mixers, and offer monthly poetry workshops and general writing classes. They also organize a free writers’ conference called INKubator annually at the Cleveland Main Library. Membership is $50 annually.

Skyline Writers

–A writing group that meets monthly at the Parma branch library for kind and helpful feedback. Interested parties can go to one meeting without submitting, then after they may sub a 3,500 word manuscript for critique by the group.

Literary Akron

–Literary Akron is relatively new organization dedicated to promoting writing and appreciation for literary arts in the greater Akron area. They have been working behind the scenes to bolster a number of smaller efforts around town and are planning a formal launch of the organization in early 2019.**

In the meantime, they may be contacted via email at Literary.Akron@gmail.com

Northern Ohio Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

–This local group aims to support authors and illustrators of children’s books, focusing on community and craft.
Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America

–This organization requires membership in Romance Writers of America, although interested parties may attend two meetings for free. They meet one Saturday a month year-round (except in July) from 10am – 1pm. Other benefits include online workshops (membership not necessary), a Spring writing contest, and an annual members-only retreat in November.

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Hybrid Authors: Best of Both Worlds
(Mary) Kathleen Glavich & Abby L. Vandiver

This second panel of guests featured two prolific authors kind enough to discuss their personal journeys via combined traditional and self-publishing. While a traditional publisher has more control over content since they are investing financially in the work, self-publishing authors exclusively control their content while assuming any financial risks.

Mary Kathleen Glavich has written over eighty religious books since 1972. While she’s published traditionally–and still does, on one occasion a publisher broke their contract with her; she decided to publish the book herself. She enjoyed the complete editorial control she had over content and cover choices, and has since self-published some of her previously out-of-print books as well.
Abby L. Vandiver has published twenty books in the five years since she began her writing career. She began self-publishing as a way to generate revenue and get her work known, before transitioning to the traditional publishing model. In 2017, she made the Wall Street Journal’s Best Seller List, which attracted both a traditional publisher as well as an agent.

Her first book, however, was a manuscript she had written years earlier, that her daughter found in the garage. When Ms. Vandiver decided to publish, she did not want to go through the process of traditional publishing, including the waiting period for a manuscript to become a published book. She also did not want to spend money for a vanity press. She discovered she could publish her book, without cost to herself, through Amazon.*** The first two months, she had no sales, so she analyzed the best seller list and made some adjustments. Then she sold five books–still without cost to herself. She invested $25 (EREADER NEWS TODAY, now priced higher)for a promotional package, which resulted in selling 525 books!

Every book after that became a best seller in her category, through independent promotions and FaceBook.

Although she started as a self-published author, she was approached by an agent for her second book, and now has traditionally published books as well. She spoke at length about the Amazon publishing model she used, as well as the difference between traditional versus self-publishing.

At this time, Amazon takes about 70% of royalties for discounted books (.99 cent model). However, if the book costs more (not discounted), the model is reversed. Amazon also pays for each page read on borrowed books and lets you sell at your own price, although it does not allow you to publish in other formats. She suggested the discount .99 cent model as a great way for self-publishing authors to market their books, by getting their name out there and read; the discount model can be profitable.

During the Question and Answer session, both authors agreed on the necessity of establishing an author platform through social media and a website. Mary Kathleen Glavich also suggested using other local promotional media such as tv, radio, and newspapers. Abby L. Vandiver suggested promotional FaceBook parties with other authors, Twitter groups, and creating virtual box sets with other writers–utilizing their combined marketing resources. She also advised asking other indie authors for suggestions, as they are generous and love to share their expertise.

Part II of this post involves legal issues for self-published writers and will (hopefully) be up next week. I hope you found this helpful, and–if you don’t already do this–support your local libraries!

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

**Description courtesy of Scott Piepho

***I do not know if this Amazon publishing model is still current. I would suggest further investigation if you are interested.