It’s getting to be that time of year where one actually needs to start thinking about Christmas gifts. Gads, it can’t be that time! I am barely out of fall yet! But the season will be here sooner rather than later and if you want to get a jump start on all things bookish delight for your friends, then hop over to this marvelous post of all things bookish. There are some amazing ideas here, things I want, things I need, and things I would love to get people.
We are halfway into the Write 31 Days Challenge and it’s been amazing finding poetry and sayings to go with the fall images I have been taking. Sure, I planned ahead, and several of the pictures were taken on one day, but not every day is a photographic kind of day. Depending on weather, where the sun is, if I forget…. <—- That last one is a huge one. But I keep finding new things to see and take pictures of. It’s been really good to get back into photography after not doing that much in the scope of things this year. Writing has been a bigger influence and seeing the shots I get is always this heart pounding feeling of amazement with God’s creation.
I hope everyone else has been enjoying this challenge as well. Has there been a favorite image that has stood out for you? Whimsy Mum and Mushing Around were Mrs. Austen‘s favorites so far…. though she mentioned the Milkweed picture. I have to say the Calendula day was my favorite, due to the cheeriness of it all.
Today is Aspens. The aspens are changing and this little beauty, while it looks like it might be hanging, is laying flat on the ground. (the other image turned out blurry. booo!) They are like golden medallions scattered to infinity. Nature’s money floating around.
Of course aspens make me think of John Denver. And Colorado and Interlaken…. and sometimes it makes me want to cry. I’ll never know why, but maybe I can explain it some day. Pure beauty. Psst, don’t tell Mr. B, he might laugh at me.
It’s a long way from L.A. to Denver
It’s a long time to hang in the sky
It’s a long way home to Starwood in Aspen
A sweet Rocky Mountain paradise
Oh, my sweet Rocky Mountain paradise
Springtime is rolling ’round slowly
Grey skies are bringing me down
I can’t remember when I’ve ever been so lonely
I forgot what it’s like to be home
Can’t remember what it’s like to be home…..
Starwood ~John Denver
I was recently contacted by an author to review his books. It’s in the pipeline (meaning I’m reading it) but these are some really good tips for people who want a review. I might need to make up a submissions page.
Here’s the second Respect the Reviewer article I’ve written (the first can be read here). This is for all authors out there. While some tips might be obvious others you may not have thought of, either way I hope some of these tips will help you find a reviewer and go about contacting them the right way.
All authors know the importance of getting book reviews. Not only can a good book review encourage others to buy your book but if you get enough of them your book will be listed higher on amazon (or so the rumour goes). But how can authors go about contacting reviewers? And what’s the right or wrong thing to say and do when asking and waiting for a review?
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So, thankfully Robert Brewer posts a Wednesday poetry prompt, because I was feeling a bit down at the end of PAD. While I might have been cutting down on my writing, I had gotten in the flow of writing poetry every day and I was in serious withdrawal. So the first Wednesday prompt after the end of PAD was ‘when everything stops’ and this week’s was ‘running its course’. The first prompt had me writing about when writing stops, but that didn’t go very far. So I ended up writing about one of my characters. So poetry for my heroine. Here it is first.
Everything stopped when he walked up
to the bar and bought her a drink
that she declined, but smiled prettily
and her eyes invited him in, though
her words were cautious.
He was her night to her day
Opposites in a crashing world of
guitars and drums and pictures and
And all around the noise was a roar
But they stood like long lost friends
afraid to touch but longing to
step over the line in the sand
separating one beating heart
even though they had only just
I rather like how it turned out because I can see how my two characters meet, in this moment where they are kind of oblivious to their surroundings.
My second poem for ‘running its course flashed to me when I met a marvelous man three years ago, or was it two?… and I suddenly understood instant attraction and it was kind of wonderful, and I still flash back to that first kiss that was something to hold other kisses up to. Sadly, I pined for too long, but oh well, I have my weird moments.
My 24 Hour Romance
Our relationship ran its course in 24 hours
from beginning to end
though I pined for you for thirty days
or more, or less as I slowly forgot
or gave up, or moved on…… I don’t know
But I still taste that perfect first kiss
and I still shudder in longing
and I still hope you would come back
Even though I know you never will.
For twenty four hours I was yours
until you said I would make someone a
Why couldn’t it be you?
I feel that that is a bit bitter sounding, and maybe it is. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of other people telling me I’ll make a great wife for someone. You never want to hear that from a guy you like. Maybe I’m a bit morose right now. May gets to me sometimes. Probably because it’s my birth month and my life comes back to haunt me in its own way. I start doubting my life, or what I’m doing, or the lack of things happening the way I had planned. Most people do it at the start of the year, you know, New Year’s Day? I do it on my birthday.
Well, despite morose, in some ways, I hope you enjoy.
Stark Raving Mad
is what the March Hare
who really must be a writer
because who else has dreams
The first poem is due to Robert’s lovely suggestion he’s totally fine with prompts that get bent a bit. I couldn’t resist. And honestly, aren’t we all a little stark raving mad?
Okay, now onto Stars (blank) poems. I really could have gone so many ways with this. I love astronomy and Greek mythology. I love how the mythology is in the stars and I love star maps. Constellation guides. I love seeing the blue fields filled with the lines of the constellations. I love learning the names of the stars. Vega, Aldebaran, Rigel, Arcturus, Betelgeuse, Procyon, Sirius, Capella……
I also love Enya’s ‘Paint the Sky With Stars’. Anything to do with stars I’m kind of a fan. I even fold paper stars. Heck, I need to write a poem about paper stars. Oooh, I think I found my evening writing prompt. I will come up with something I can add in for tomorrow’s post. I have also been humming Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Just Like a Star’ in my head a lot. It’s on of my favorites of hers. It’s just a really smooth song.
But for now, enjoy my three other star poems.
Midnight blue field with silvered dashes
connecting alphas and betas and iotas
till Orion bursts forth as the mighty Hunter
shooting across the sky as the stories
ancient stories unfold
The lions, great bears, and bulls
circling around the mighty men
the dreamers and beasts
wrapped into a dome of magical light
whirling around and around at dizzying speeds
as the sun sets and the moon rises and
the reverse in seasons and moments
and arc minutes and right ascensions
till they pinpoints bleed into the galaxy that
we call home as far off distant light shoots forth
A star? No, another world light years away.
Star Painted Sky
Paint the sky with stars, in silvers and golds and blues
and dash all the constellations until the disk is
filled with the light and the stories and the music
and the tales from long ago myths
Paint the ceiling with stars, in bold yellows and reds
giants and dwarfs and suns spinning round
twirling us in a golden ratio of mathematical delight
a seashell of magic and spirals
Paint the summer with stars, crashing and slamming in sound
the silence is only in your head as the clash of
oceans of stars collide in a symphony of light spinning
spinning around and around and around.
She wears a star on the inside of her wrist
a memory of a wish she made
and hopes that one day the wish she made
will turn out and really exist
But dreams and wishes seem so lost not found
as time slips slowly on by
and time is just but a memory
she wonders if the wish will ever be profound
But she wishes and wishes the same
hoping for something to come true
and wishes are true in ones dreams
These wishes are a burning flame
I wrote this piece, venting, over at my long lost ‘writing site’. I haven’t written on Escaping the Inkwell in ages. Years actually. I thought it high time, partly because I didn’t want to vent and fill up Kate’s Bookshelf. But you can read my moody post buy clicking over.
Honestly, I’m not exactly sure why I am writing over here at Escaping the Inkwell since for some time I’ve thought of discontinuing using it. I post most of my thoughts over on Kate’s Bookshelf, including my life in writing these days. But I just wanted to take a moment and vent a little.
Right now I am busy busy with Writer’s Digest’s PAD Challenge (Poem a Day). I have kept up my flash fiction and general writing. I try to write a post a week, or in this case, every day. It’s exhausting at times and I wonder why I decide to do it halfway through a challenge. I’m not really there yet, but I feel the burned out. I…
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I have been knee deep in writing sonnets. Thinking about them, thinking in iambic pentameter, or at least iambic. I have figured it out finally. The iambic thing. Writing sonnets, well it’s a lesson every time I set my pen to paper.
We are nearly done with the challenge, and I am having to play catch up. I wished I could have written one a day, but it’s more like a one ever two days kind of thing, unless absolute inspiration hits me and then I splat one out, and I do mean splat. It hits the paper running and is there without a chance of changing it.
I wanted to include a few here. I told CB Wentworth that I would post some. Her haikus, by the way, have been totally inspiring.
Did anyone else do the PAD Chapbook Challenge by Writer’s Digest? I would love to know if you did.
So because the holiday season is upon us, here is my Festive sonnet—
All Good Cheer
The eggnog sits upon the table top
and whipped cream islands are floating there
We wait for guests to drink the rich stuff up
And clink a glass to wish us all good cheer.
The music plays in subtle waves of sound
And candle light is glowing golden bright
The snow is falling softly to the ground
The peace is here on this, this Christmas night
We wait for Santa bringing gifts of joy
For carols sung in happy songs refrain
A tree for all to reflect and enjoy
As toasts are clinked with a glass of champagne
This Christmas Eve we wish you all good cheer
A pleasure lasting us throughout the year
Then my ‘Divided’ sonnet—
Trust is But a Divide
I trusted you in moments like we had
A force of love and friendship here right now
It took me time to see the flaws unsaid
Divided we stand is what I will avow
In time we may forget the lines that break
I stand on lines you stand right there apart
A split on down the middle thoughts we make
Can we go on this way and not depart
If sides must choose I choose my side it’s clear
And you are wrong as wrong as wrong can be
I must not break this stand I take to bear
And you will go and leave me you will see
We once were strong and now we are broken
These words are worse than when they were spoken
And my ‘idea’ sonnet. This one is inspired by a particular holiday film. A classic. If you know it, tell me.
The Idea’s Ideal
A grand idea call for troops to come
We’ll throw a show and make it big, you say
Ideal it is oh ho let’s go have fun
It’s rather good, idea that’s to day
The girls can do their number sparkling blue
We are in army duds and with our caps
We’ll sing to General, he’s our good man true
A rousing cheer for him, the best of chaps
The war has passed us long ago we’ll sing
Let’s clap our hands and give one last applaud
This man is ours salute him for this fling
As snow is falling and we all stand awed
It’s Christmas now so sing a song to joy
For love and hope and friends we all enjoy
So there are three that are quite fun. I have more, but I want to revise some. And we shall see. I finished up one tonight that has my heart just so happy, despite the sadness I’m putting into it. It’s weird. I am getting to vent some frustration I’m having with Boris. I put so much emotion into my writings. Honestly, if you feel your writing is stale, have some angst in your life. It really solidifies feelings. Anger, hurt, sadness, pain…. love. It all comes out when you write poetry.
So, enjoy. Only two more days of the challenge, then a month of revision. And I still have four more days of Writing 101 to finish up. Aahhhh, I need to get hustling!
“We read to know we’re not alone.”
— William Nicholson, Shadowlands
- Tell us about a book that opened your eyes when you were young.
- Describe a life-changing experience with a book.
- Where do you like to read?
When I was 13 I fell in love with The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. I was suddenly thrust into the 14th century of excitement, intrigue, and swashbuckling action. It was my first foray into adult fiction and I couldn’t get enough. I remember it took me three weeks to read the thing, and it just made me start craving more intense books. Sadly, I couldn’t keep with the Musketeer theme. I tried reading The Man in the Iron Mask and The Count of Monte Cristo, but I have yet to continue on with those books. I’ve always wanted to finish out the stories, because I love them.
I think The Three Musketeers was what got me started on the swashbuckling/romance/hero man. It made me also want to read more books about France. A couple years later I was reading Scaramouche and The Scarlett Pimpernel. Both books I fell in love with and as luck would have it, my grandma had all three books in this pretty set. I now have them, though I have never read them again. I keep telling myself that I will get back to it. One day.
Very few books have made a life change for me, but a second one would have to be both Poemcrazy and Billy Collin’s Sailing Alone Around the Room. The former being what has made it possible for me to break out into poetry and not feel silly. The latter really got me thinking about poetry as a narrative without the rhyme. Being able to hit someone with a poem but not needing it to be epic.
Poetry is one of those things people either love or hate. Or for some, don’t get, so they really don’t like it. I love it, and I don’t understand people that don’t get it. My mom doesn’t really get it. She used to write it, and that was fun, but she didn’t like reading it. And her friend who is like an extended aunt to me, doesn’t get poetry. Sigh. Oh well. I had Mrs. B read a bunch of my sonnets. She loves them, but doesn’t quite get them.
And getting back to reading epic type books. Where do I like to read those? Well, late at night with the covers high and rain on the roof. …….. Okay, that never happens, but I like it. I tend to fall asleep reading these days.
And I don’t have a lot of time to read epic books anymore. I have taken to reading quicker books. I need something I can get done quickly. Books that take me three weeks to read make me nervous. I want to read them, but then I think about how much time they will take me. When I was young, big books with tiny print made me scared. Now they just make me nervous. I think to myself, “Oh, I don’t have the time!” Hence why I have yet to finish Jane Eyre. I want to. I really do, but it’s long! As is Emma by Jane Austen. Plus it’s Jane Austen. Nothing she writes is what you would say, easy.
But at some point I want to read the rest of the Musketeer books. I want to read Le Compte de la Monte Cristo (I always think of it in French. It sounds better)
Okay so readers, do you like thick, long books? Do any scare you? What is the one book that has changed your life? Is there one book you are afraid to tackle but have always wanted to read? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear.
Hello Dearies. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so first off, I want to wish you all the thanks for following my blog, giving me encouragement and your lovely comments. It’s so helpful to know people are enjoying and reading my blog. It makes it worthwhile to know that you are enjoying things.
As part of Writing 101’s assignments for day 19, we were to collaborate or interview another blogger or someone we admire. I ‘sat down’ with Jesse Villarreal from the blog And Another Thing. Jesse, who turns 23 tomorrow ̶ Happy Birthday, Jesse! ̶ has a sharp wit and his poems are tangy, smart and pointed. A bit dicey, in a good way. No holds barred writing. His blog just turned one year old after rattling around on a couple other blogging platforms. You can see some of his other sharp work on his Tumblr titled the same, And Another Thing . . .
Jesse has now added in sections on poems, short stories, journal, and photography. Jesse hails from Texas, so we have an honest to goodness southern boy here. Jesse dreams of being a journalist, or tackling journalism at some point, and photography is another big thing in his life. He was born on Thanksgiving, is nervous about the coming year,sometimes worries about sharing his writing (don’t we all), and doesn’t take good selfies. For which I say, thank goodness. There are enough selfies out there. But I do think this is a pretty snazzy photo, if you ask me. He’s got the poet/writer look, I think. He has also taken to reciting his poetry on his blog. I really think you should all check it out because there is nothing quite like hearing poetry versus reading it.
KB: When did you start writing? What do you like to write best?
JV: It’s interesting because I’ve explored writing for different types of media like film, theater, and print. I’ve recently been exploring radio. It’s hard to pick one because I’ve enjoyed writing stories for each different form. But if I had to pick I would have to say short stories, which is funny because I haven’t written one in a while. The reason being, after I wrote my first short story back in college, I considered it as my official start as a writer.
KB: Where do you get your inspiration? And what is your favorite form of inspiration?
JV: I get my inspiration from love and tragedy. It hurts me to say this but my favorite form of inspiration is tragedy. I’m at my best, I feel, when I go through a tragedy. A hurricane of emotion just washes over me and I feel like the only way I can express it is through writing.
KB: Okay, so you get a lot of your inspiration from tragedy. Has there been anything specific recently that has inspired or struck you as a reason to write?
JV: There hasn’t been a tragedy that has affected me directly, in the recent days. I guess the biggest tragedy that still lingers with me, and that I use to get in that mindset to write, is the death of my great grandma. She passed away 2 years ago and I never really talked about it with anyone, not even my family or friends, so I still have a lot of grief there. Instead of talking about it I just write about it.
KB: So the proverbial question must be asked since you are a writer. Do you ever want to be published? Everyone asks it, everyone is thinking of it… So I have to ask.
JV: Funny. I have been talking to my friends, recently, about writing a book. The main question they ask me is “what will it be about?” I have a few ideas kicking around in a notebook the struggle is picking one. But the answer is yes. I would love to get published someday.
KB: When you are not writing, what is another hobby you have? Does it relate to your writing?
JV: A hobby of mine, when I’m not writing or thinking about writing, is playing video games. It helps sometimes with my writing, depending on the type of game. The world of the game I’m playing would sometimes inspire me to write a story. For example, I’m currently playing a game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic word, where everything has been nuked. During my journey, I see two people dead in bed holding each other. Automatically my mind starts to wonder what their life was like before they died, you know? Like what were their last words to each other before dying? Stuff like that.
KB: Who inspires you?
JV: Who inspires me? Hmmm… I would have to say anybody that has read my stuff. My friends, family, teachers, and strangers. I don’t think I would have continued to write as long as I have without their moral support. My favorite type of comment to see when I post something is somewhere between the lines of “I can relate.” Because that was one of the reasons I started sharing my writing publicly. It used to be I would only get comments from strangers online, but recently people I use to go to high school with would come up to me at a social event and talk to me about my writing. Which is both great and terrifying at the same time.
KB: Could you say what you are thankful for right now?
JV: I’m thankful for my friends. I have no idea how insane I would be right now without them. Ha.
KB: What is one thing you are terrified of, but willing to share with the audience?
JV: My depression and the things that go through my head when I go through the emotion. It’s one of the reasons why I started writing. It’s therapeutic.
KB: So your writing is therapeutic for your. Is there something specific that really helps with that? What really gets the vibe more uplifting?
JV: For me, writing usually calms me down, but it never removes the feeling. What I would do to change the mood is just lay in bed, with headphones over my head, listening to music, and just sulk until the feeling passes. It’s almost an emotional journey for me, and when I return I sometimes have something to say about it.
KB: Now onto the fun questions. What is the one food you could never give up? And along with a food you could never give up, what ethic food would you choose over any other if you had to pick one for the rest of your life?
JV: I think the one food I could never give up would have to be burgers. I love burgers. As for ethic food, I wouldn’t mind eating Mexican food for the rest of my life. It’s part of my culture and I really miss my grandma’s mole sauce.
KB: What is the first movie that terrified you and left you in tears, or holy terror, or made you afraid of the dark?
JV: First movie to actually terrify me would have to be The Exorcist, and it still does to this day. Every time I walk into a dark room after watching that movie, I get goosebumps.
KB: You are stranded on a deserted island… first, would you want it tropical or colder up north….. and second, what 5 things would you not want to be without? And we are not talking survival things, but fun things, or things you can’t live without.
JV:The island would defiantly have to be tropical, as for the 5 items…
- Pen and an unlimited supply of paper is a must.
- A guitar. I don’t know how to play but given the amount of time I would have on island I could learn.
- A volleyball to make my own custom Wilson and name him Jerry.
- And finally a bike. For no real reason. Just to have a bike.
KB: The doorbell has just rung. You open the door and there on the step is a box filled with a kitten, a bunny, a dog, and a bird. Which animal do you keep?
JV: Damn this question could make me or break me. Ha. I would take the dog. I’ve always been a dog person. The only pet I’ve ever owned besides a dog was a turtle.
KB: So you choose to keep a dog. What is your favorite kinds of dogs, or are they all favorites? Personally, I am a serious dog person as well. I have mine, and then my parents have theirs, and I love them both. You do realize we are a minority within the writing community, right? Most writers seem to be cat people.
JV: Ha. I love all dogs. I even love my friend’s dog. My mom never liked cats, so growing up a cat was never an option as a pet for me. I don’t know how to react around cats honestly.
KB: You have just been given tickets to see someone in concert. Who would it/they be?
JV: I’ve wanted to see Brand New for the longest now. (KB: I had to look them up, but not bad, not bad at all)
KB: If you could meet anyone in history, or currently, who would it be? Or if you can’t pick one, pick three.
JV: I don’t know really. I think maybe I would like to meet someone who wants to meet me.
KB: Give me five things you are in to right now. IE. TV shows, music, books, films, hobbies, etc.
JV: The things I’ve been into a lot lately are…
- Creepypastas. I listen to one every night before going to bed.
- Coffee shops. I want to work at one again.
- Photography. I need to take more photos.
- Poetry. I’ve been reading a lot more poetry and even started reciting poetry out loud in front of a camera.
- Journalism. It’s something I really want to do.
KB: Okay, what is Creepypastas?
JV: Creepypastas are scary stories. I like to think of them as scary campfire stories but told through the Internet.
KB: What was the best part about working at a coffee shop? I’d love to inhabit one. I have this coffee addiction myself.
JV: The best part was making lattes. It almost feels artistic.
KB: So you are reading a lot of poetry right now. Anyone specific you think really speaks to you? And do you have plans to record more poetry for your blog? (by the way, I love listening to it. I think how a writer writes poetry can be understood so much better when they read it. Then you really get what they are thinking)
JV: I’ve been reading a lot of Shel Silverstein and I love his poems because of its wit and meaningful message they carry. The poem ‘Mask’ is one of my personal favorites.
As for reciting poetry, I actually started doing it again this week. Last week, I had this terrible fever and couldn’t get out of bed, but I’m back at it now.
I’ve been rethinking the format of it all. I originally did it for Instagram, but Instagram only allows for 15 second videos. There are times were I want to preform longer poems and don’t want to speed read a poem just to fit the limit.
I also want to get more involved with the WordPress community, so I’m even considering reading poems by poets on WordPress.
And I agree with you, poetry is meant to be heard aloud.
So, there you have it. I want to thank Jesse for taking the time for all my questions. It was an interesting experience because while I enjoyed doing this interview and I’m not one to do ‘journalism’, Jesse actually wants to go in to it and enjoys a lot of aspects of it. So it was a flipside thing. Plus I learned a lot of really cool things about another writer/blogger whom I think you all should check out.
Thank you, Jesse, for taking the to answer all my questions. It was so much fun, learned a lot, and decided that while I liked doing this, journalism isn’t quite for me all the time. Occasionally, maybe.
Now all that being said, occasionally I like a swear word or two in a book because it makes the character more real. It’s real to have people swear. We don’t live in an era where people keep the mouth clean……They could, but they don’t. So if you write a character with a super clean mouth, well they are going to be fitting more in Christian publishing.