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Guest Post: Nicky Blue, author of Escape from Samsara, on Writing and Meditation

Welcome readers. Today’s guest is Nicky Blue, author of the novella Escape from Samsara.

He will share with us a little bit about his writing process, but first check out the book!

Barry’s been patient, but after twenty-seven years of trimming hedges for people he hates, he’s had enough. All he wants to do is to find his missing father and to discover his inner ninja. But life’s not done with throwing him curveballs.

A fatal mistake catapults Barry into the adventure of a lifetime. With talking hedges, samurai ghosts, meddling psychotherapists, and an inexplicably non-linear time pattern conspiring against him, Barry must do battle to save his hide, unleash the ninja within, and rescue his father from an ancient army, a dark sorcerer and a raging inferno.

What is the mysterious Prophecy Allocation Department?

Where is The Before and After?

Even more importantly, Will Barry’s underwear hold out until he has saved the day?

Sounds like a fun ride; add it to your shelf on GoodReads.

Please welcome Nicky:

For me it’s vital to dedicate time to developing creativity in my life, without this my writing becomes quite dry. Meditation is a big part of this process, I have been practising for around 20 years. I go on meditation retreats every year and find it a great way to deepen what’s going on for me. I find 20 minutes in the morning a great way to build calm and spaciousness.

Without wanting to sound like a massive hippy, I also try to tap into the unconscious as much as possible. The unconscious is always working in the background. Studies in the fields of both neuroscience and psychology are refining and illuminating how this process works but I find just by asking myself a question before going to sleep i.e. How will my protagonist get out of this corner?  I often wake up with the answer. I think it was Thomas Edison that said ‘Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.’ This seems to work well for me.

With my first novella Escape From Samsara. (Prophecy Allocation Book 1) The idea began with a gardener I knew, who was always complaining about something, the rain, the sun you name it. I had the sense it would be great fun to take him on a cosmic adventure. I love the interplay between the every day and the magical. I have just completed book two in this series which is called ‘Hot Love Inferno’ and it sees the main character Barry Harris as a younger man engaging in a most dangerous adventure, that of falling in Love. You can get Escape From Samsara for free at my website www.nickyblue/freebie

About the Author:

Hi, I’m Nicky, I am from Brighton in England. I grew up fascinated by books like Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected and t.v. shows like The Twilight Zone. For years I played and wrote songs in an alternative rock band before going back to university and studying English Literature and Philosophy. I now have a passion for writing fantasy and dark comedy fiction. I love stories that dig beneath the surface of everyday life and play in the shadow worlds that we all have.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Source: publisher
Paperback, 48 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins is a delightful book that teaches children about how to fit in with new classmates, especially after a rough first day of school.  Penelope is a T-Rex and she finds children tasty. Unfortunately, her classmates are children and she does the unthinkable.

Thankfully, no real harm was done and the teacher gets her to spit them out. Penelope has to learn how to co-exist with her classmates, even if she finds them tasty. Higgins uses a T-Rex to demonstrate how hard it is to join a new class and to start school when you’ve never been before. Her parents have prepared her for lunch at school, or did they?

Her teacher is very adamant about treating her classmates not as food, but even her initial attempts are rebuffed. When she returns home, her father gives her some advice about how children at the same on the inside as Penelope herself. This is a big lesson for all children. But like human children, Penelope fails to learn her lesson until someone treats her just as badly.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins has colorful images of the Penelope T-Rex and her classmates. I found the text easy to read for early readers, and the message is appropriate for this age group.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Ryan T. Higgins is five feet eleven inches tall and has no sense of smell. He doesn’t like to wear shoes, but he does like salmonloaf and bike rides (not together). Instead of reading a long author’s bio, Ryan would rather you forget about him and visit the website!

Mailbox Monday #484

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Austensistan edited by Laaleen Sukhera

Heiress Kamila Mughal is humiliated when her brother’s best friend snubs her to marry a social climbing nobody from Islamabad. Roya discovers her fiance has been cheating on her and ends up on a blind date on her wedding day. Beautiful young widow Begum Saira Qadir has mourned her husband, but is she finally ready to start following her own desires? Inspired by Jane Austen and set in contemporary Pakistan, Austenistan is a collection of seven stories; romantic, uplifting, witty, and heartbreaking by turn, which pay homage to the world’s favourite author in their own uniquely local way.

Mr. Darcy to the Rescue by Victoria Kincaid, an audible freebie.

When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day…

Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma…

How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?

The Outsider by Stephen King, an audible purchase.

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

What did you receive?

Interview with Carly Severino, author of Bruised Brain: A Poetic Memoir

Welcome readers. I’ve had a very long few weeks at work in which the work just kept piling up and I felt like I was going to drown.

I want to apologize to Carly Severino for not getting this interview up in a timely manner. I hope you’ll forgive me.

First here’s a little bit about her new memoir, Bruised Brain: A Poetic Memoir:

“bruised brain” is a poetic memoir that explores themes of child abuse, self harm, depression, mother-daughter relationships, healing, and more. Examining hardship through poetry, this debut work serves to let readers everywhere know they are not alone.

Please give Carly a warm welcome:

1. When writing, do you outline how you want to structure your books or do you just go with the flow?

I’ve tried to be better about outlining but I find it distracts from the creative direction the writing wants to go in. When I try to outline, it feels like I’m trying to tell the story what it should do when really I should be listening to what the story thinks I should do to make it happen the way it’s supposed to. I try to write as soon as inspiration strikes so I can ride the creative wave and let the story take shape. I’ll worry about the technical stuff during editing.

2. Explain a little bit about your day job in PR and how it relates to your other writing pursuits.

I love books and reading and writing, and so a lot of people think I should be in publishing. For a while, I really wanted to do just that but after working for a few literary magazines and working at a literary agency, I sort of realized I didn’t want to make what I was super passionate about my job because then all the things I loved the most became work. So I compromised by working in PR and advertising, and honestly it was the best decision. I get to work with some really creative people and the work is never the same. I have such interesting clients that do all sorts of different things, so the material is never boring and I’m always learning something new.

I really love working in PR because it’s a challenge. I have to do a lot of research about things I never thought I’d be writing about, and to me, that’s the best when a job can teach you something new every day. Then on the weekends or at night after work, I take an hour to do the kind of reading and writing I really love.

3. Your memoir deals with some very tough and traumatic issues. Did you find the process of writing the poetic memoir cathartic? How so?

It’s funny; I never wanted this to be my first book. I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as the writer with “mommy issues.” But the more I let it fester inside, the more I felt like I needed to let it out. I started writing this accidentally, to be honest.

I just wanted to compile a bunch of poems to sell at slams, but it just morphed into something else altogether. I realized I had a poem for every traumatic event in my life that described my relationship with my mother, so I wrote them and then compiled them in chronological order starting with my birth.

Cathartic is a really great word to use; it’s how I describe most of my writing—especially this book. It was great to sit down and unpack all this emotional heaviness.

I love poetry because even though it tends to deal with some tough topics, ultimately what you’re doing is taking that pain and trauma and making it into something beautiful and artistic, and I think that’s really important. If you let your pain sit there, the pain wins and gets worse with time. But if you try to paint it in a different light, you’re understanding it in an entirely different way and are able to move on from it.

Thank you, Carly, for answering my questions and best of luck with the new book.

World Cup 2018: Poetry

I currently have World Cup fever and I couldn’t resist sharing this from My Poetic Side:

The Poetry World Cup
The Poetry World Cup, by My Poetic Side

Personally for Portugal, I would rather have seen someone other than Saramago. But you have to put your most renowned poet in the competition, don’t you?

For those interested in other Portuguese poets, please do check out these translated poems:

There clearly needs to be some more English translations of Portuguese poets.

Mailbox Monday #483

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart and illustrated by William Sulit, which I purchased.

The threat of two escaped convicts and a missing friend lead Lizzie on a harrowing journey through the wilds of the Adirondacks in this stunning novel from National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart.

Thirteen-year-old Lizzie’s favorite place in the world is her uncle’s cabin. Uncle Davy’s renovated schoolhouse cabin, filled with antiques and on the edge of the Adirondacks, disconnected from the rest of the world, is like something out of a fairy tale. And an escape from reality is exactly what Lizzie needs. Life hasn’t been easy for Lizzie lately. Her father abandoned their family, leaving Lizzie with her oftentimes irresponsible mother. Now, her mom has cancer and being unable to care for Lizzie during her chemotherapy, Mom asks her where she’d like to spend the summer. The answer is simple: Uncle Davy’s cabin.

Lizzie loves her uncle’s home for many reasons, but the main one is Matias, Uncle Davy’s neighbor and Lizzie’s best friend. Matias has proportionate dwarfism, but that doesn’t stop him and Lizzie from wandering in the woods. Every day they go to their favorite nook where Matias paints with watercolors and Lizzie writes. Until one day when Matias never arrives.

When news breaks about two escaped convicts from the nearby prison, Lizzie fears the worst. And when Uncle Davy goes missing, too, Lizzie knows she’s the only one who knows this area of woods well enough to save them. Armed with her trusted Keppy survival book, Lizzie sets out into the wilds of the Adirondacks, proving just how far she’ll go to save the people she loves.

Too Much Space! (Beep and Bob) by Jonathan Roth from an author visit to my daughter’s school.

Meet space-school attendee Bob and his alien bestie Beep in this start to an outrageously funny and action-packed chapter book series that’s great for “kids who love funny stories but may be too young for books like ­Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (School Library Journal) from debut author Jonathan Roth!

Astro Elementary is a school near Saturn attended by the bravest, brightest, most elite kids in the galaxy…and Bob. Bob never wanted to go to fourth grade in dark, dangerous space. He even tried to fail the admissions test by bubbling in “C” for every answer—and turned out to be the only kid on Earth to get a perfect score!

Party Crashes (Beep and Bob) by Jonathan Roth from a school event.

Beep and his best friend Bob get blamed for a robbery on a fancy spaceship in this second book in the hilarious, action-packed Beep and Bob series!

It’s Bob’s friend Lani’s birthday, and she’s having her party on a super luxury space cruiser called the Starship Titanic, whose motto is “The 100% safest ship in the galaxy.” The Titanic boasts three water parks, sixteen amusement parks, and twelve-million hyper-show channels on TV! Beep and Bob pack their favorite swimsuits and their favorite TV watching gear.

When Beep and Bob arrive on the ship, however, they realize they forgot the most important item: a birthday gift for Lani. Not only that, but Lani’s parents are super rich and expect everyone to wear a suit to dinner (not the bathing suit that Bob wore by mistake). But that’s not their biggest problem. No, that happens when the lights dim and guests’ jewelry is stolen from right under their noses—and Beep and Bob get blamed for the crime!

Things go from bad to worse when Beep and Bob discover that their “indestuctable” ship is headed right for the ice rings of Neptune—and then starts plummeting toward the planet below! Can Beep and his squishy alien buddy save the Starship Titanic? Or will this be their last party ever?

What did you receive?

Poe: Stories and Poems adapted by Gareth Hinds

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 120 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Poe: Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, adapted by Gareth Hinds into a graphic novel, is gorgeous from the cover to the very last page. Hinds has a firm grasp of Poe’s macabre style and his illustrations are complementary to Poe’s prose and poems. In many ways, Hinds’ dark imagery enhances Poe’s words for the modern audience. I loved that there were several poems included and not just Poe’s stories. While Gothic horror is often thought of in prose form, many of Poe’s poems are just as haunting and macabre.

Hinds also includes a checklist of Poe’s favorite themes and corresponding images — from death depicted as a skull to insanity depicted as a straitjacket – -that he uses as a key for each story and poem. Hinds also offers some insight into his selections for the collection, which is by no means comprehensive. I loved that he included my favorite story — The Masque of the Red Death — which he says is the least well-known. I’ve always felt that in some ways, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Mask of the Red Death scene in The Phantom of the Opera was in some ways inspired by this story.

Poe: Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, adapted by Gareth Hinds into a graphic novel, is a welcome and permanent addition to my personal library. I’ve loved Poe for most of my life, and this volume breathes life and vibrancy into these classics. I cannot recommend this enough, and I’m looking forward to getting more of his graphic adaptations.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Illustrator:

Gareth Hinds is the author and illustrator of critically-acclaimed graphic novels and picture books based on classic literature and mythology. Through his work he shares his love of literature with readers young and old. His recent adaptation of The Odyssey received four starred reviews, and he is the recipient of the Boston Public Library’s “Literary Lights for Children” award. He lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife. When he’s not working on a book he enjoys painting landscapes and practicing aikido.

Guest Post & Giveaway: Catherine by Sue Barr

Good morning! I hope everyone is enjoying their first week of June. Today, we have the wonderful Sue Barr as a guest and a giveaway for her new book Catherine, which is the second book in her series. The first book was Caroline.

Please read the book details below and check out today’s special guest post.

About the Book:

Some secrets are not meant to be shared.

Catherine Bennet, known as Kitty to close friends and family, knows this better than anyone. She also knows that she will never marry and it never bothered her before she met Lord George Kerr at Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding. He’s determined to breach the walls of defense she’d
carefully constructed around her heart, and she’s just as determined to stay the course.

Some secrets cannot be shared

Lord George Kerr knows this better than anyone. For five years, as a spy for His Majesty the King, he played the part of a Rake, concealing his espionage activities beneath a blanket of brothels, drink and loose women. Even though he’s forced to resume his regular life within London’s finest society, he still must keep some things hidden.

One thing he does not hide is his attraction to Miss Catherine Bennet of Longbourn. Enraptured by her beauty and warmth of character, he plunges headlong into winning her heart, only to find it carefully guarded and she’s unwilling to give him even a small pinch of hope.

Some things are beyond your control

When circumstances bring Kitty’s secret into the open, she fears the tenuous bonds of friendship she’s forged with Lord George will be lost forever along with whatever love he proclaims to have for her. With the very lives of England’s vast network of spies working undercover in Bonaparte’s France hanging in the balance, she’s forced to face her worst nightmare.

Her secret is laid bare, can he love her enough to overcome what he learns?

Please welcome today’s guest, Sue Barr:

When an author begins to write their story the words that make it on to the page is not the WHOLE story. Every character has a history, even if it’s in the author’s mind. Today I thought I’d share a few highlights of some of the characters (without giving away any spoilers).

Catherine (Kitty) Bennet

We all know her as the fourth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. The one who Elizabeth dismissed by saying, ‘and wherever Lydia goes, Kitty is sure to follow’. In CATHERINE, the reader is re-introduced to her at Elizabeth and Darcy’s wedding breakfast and by this time she’s been out of Lydia’s shadow for about six months, maybe more. This is all according to canon.

What I did was create a backstory for her, complete with a secret that no one besides Mr. Bennet is aware of. The burden she carries from this secret makes her believe she will never marry, so, when Kitty meets Lord George she wants to indulge in daydreams, like any girl of ten and eight would, but forces herself to rein in her emotions and not allow her heart to become involved.

Lord George Kerr

Lord George is the next eldest brother of the Duke of Adborough. The reader is introduced to him in the very first chapter. He is a spy for the Crown and has been for over five years. What the reader doesn’t know is that George rescued Evangeline, the Countess of Anstruther (his espionage counterpart) in a daring rescue from France. Evangeline will get her own story – An Elaborate Ruse – but not until Georgiana’s story is complete. George is a master of disguise, adept at many languages and trades, an expert marksman and superb horseman. He is above all, a gentleman. I lurve him. He and his two brothers have a close relationship and family is very important to him. His good will and protective streak also has him taking care of those who enter his life in interesting ways.

Mary Bennet

Mary is the middle daughter and according to canon is annoyingly pious and boring. I wanted her to have her own secret, which is revealed in a fun way when she and Kitty have a lovely sister moment early on in the book. I decided to write Mary as being clever. Elizabeth, Jane and Lydia all cast long shadows with their various personalities and it was time for Mary to step out into the light. The reader will find that she plays beautiful music, having learned some skills from Miss Darcy, reads novels and has a sly sense of humor. I enjoyed expanding Mary’s
character and I hope the reader comes to like her as do I.

Phillip Sheraton

My favorite new character is Phillip. If you don’t fall in love with this cheeky boy…

EXCERPT:

With an agitated whinny, Buttons suddenly reared, unseating George who promptly landed in the ditch filled with water. He fully expected the horse to bolt, but all his patient training kept the handsome steed close, albeit a little skittish by whatever spooked him.

He pulled himself from the water and scrambled onto the road, snagging the horse’s halter in case he changed his mind and decided to make a break for Keswick Manor.

“What is it, boy? What has got you all fired up?” George spoke in a soothing voice and ran an experienced hand over the horse’s flesh, checking to make sure there wasn’t some unseen injury. He paused when his fingers ran across a small welt on the horse’s right hind quarters. At that exact moment he felt a sharp sting on his neck.

“What the…?”

His hand flew up to swat whatever had bit him. Within his peripheral vision he caught sight of a boy, seated in a tree by the side of the road. He pretended he hadn’t seen the little blighter and spoke to the horse in a louder than normal voice.

“Well, there must be some wasps out now that the rain has stopped. I hope they don’t interfere with my digging for gold.”

As he suspected, the boy lowered the device he’d used to sling tiny rocks, clearly intrigued by the thought of gold. Thank goodness it hadn’t been anything more sinister. His mental musings about Catherine had dulled his senses. Had this been France, he’d be dead.

He swung up into the saddle and flicked the reins. Buttons obliged by moving off at a slow walk. Now that he was aware of the child, George clearly heard him clambering out of the tree and trying to follow in the rain-soaked underbrush. The boy was going to become very wet.

Good.

He continued past the drive to Keswick Manor and headed for the small house where their groundskeeper took lodging. He stopped in front of a small barn, slid off Buttons and tied him to a post, then strode around to the back of the house and waited for the lad. He didn’t have to wait
long. No more than five minutes passed before he heard shuffling behind the stone fence that encircled the small yard and garden.

When he judged the boy was passing by his location, he stood and with a quick hand reached over the low fence and grabbed him by the shirt collar.

“Oi. Wot do you want wif me?”

The grimy faced urchin kicked and wiggled in vain.

“I would like to know why you attempted to injure my horse.”

“I dunno wot yer yabberin’ about.”

George hauled the boy over the fence and plunked him down, keeping a firm hand on his neck.

“You launched a rock and hit my horse on his flank, which I know you thought was funny as I fell arse over tea kettle,” – the boy sniggered – “but what if the horse landed into a rut and broke his leg.”

“I never thought of that.” The boy stopped struggling and lowered his head. “Wot you gonna do wif me?”

George paused and thought about his options. By the amount of filth encrusted on the child there was a good chance he didn’t have caring parents. Or at least parents who could afford to keep their children clean. He seemed slightly malnourished, given how he could feel fragile
bones through the threadbare shirt.

No, the punishment had to fitting, yet fair.

“What is your name?”

“Phillip.” The boy dared to glance up at him.

“That is a good strong name. One you can live up to.” George glanced toward Keswick Manor. “I have a task you can do which is quite fitting for the crime.”

At the word ‘crime’ the boy began to squirm again. He tightened his grip, trying not to bruise the frail child. “Settle down, Phillip. I am not turning you over to the magistrate.”

The young lad stopped struggling.

“Seeing as you nearly caused irreparable harm to my horse, I believe I shall have you water, feed and care for him while I’m here in Cambridgeshire.”

“I cain’t feed yer ‘orse. Ain’t got no money fer that.”

“I shall provide everything you require. Your job is to take care of Buttons.”

“Buttons?”

Phillip grinned, showing a gap between some of his teeth, which made George think he was only about eight or nine years old. At least that was how old he’d been when all he had to show for a smile was his two front teeth and nothing on either side.

“Yes, my horse’s name is Buttons. Are we in accord you will look after him?”

“I dunno. I’m supposed to help me mum and there ain’t no pay lookin after yer ‘orse.”

What a sad state of affairs that a child had to worry about bringing money home for the family.

“What would you say if I paid you a half guinea for a job well done.”

“A half guinea?” Phillip squeaked out, his eyes wide.

“For a job well done,” George stressed. “You must do a good job in order to receive the full amount.”

He already knew he’d pay the boy a half guinea even if the job was incomplete, but Phillip didn’t need to know that.

“I can help you hunt fer gold.”

George had to swallow a laugh. He’d forgotten about mentioning gold, clearly Phillip had not. Smart lad.

“I am not here for gold. That was a ruse to entice you behind the house.”

“You talk pretty fancy fer a git.”

George crouched down so he could look Phillip face to face.

“Take care how you speak to me, Master Phillip. This ‘git’ is the one who will pay you a good wage for honest labor.” Assured he had Phillip’s complete attention, he rose to his feet.

“We shall settle Buttons and then you can commence with the job at hand.”

About the Author:

Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two sons and their families. She’s also an indentured servant to three cats and has been known to rescue a kitten or two, or three…in an attempt to keep her ‘cat-lady-in-training’ status current. Although, she has deviated from appointed path and rescued a few dogs as well.

Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, and her blog.

GIVEAWAY:

Three winners will receive a copy of Catherine. Two winners will receive eBooks and one winner will receive an autographed paperback book of “Catherine.” All giveaways are open to international winners.

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook or paperback book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

The rest of the tour:

May 28 / My Jane Austen Book Club/ Launch Post & Giveaway
May 29 / From Pemberley to Milton/ Excerpt Post & Giveaway
May 30 / Just Jane 1813/ Guest Post & Giveaway
May 31 / More Agreeably Engaged/ Author Spotlight & Giveaway
June 1 / So Little Time… / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 2 / Liz’s Reading Life / Book Review & Giveaway
June 4 / Diary of an Eccentric /Book Review & Giveaway
June 5 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Review & Giveaway
June 6 / Savvy Verse & Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway
June 7 / Margie’s Must Reads/Book Review Post & Giveaway
June 8 / Obsessed with Mr. Darcy / Book Review & Giveaway
June 9 / My Love for Jane Austen / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 10 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Excerpt Post & Giveaway
June 11 / Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

Guest Post: Top 5 Tips on Promoting Your Book of Poetry by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Last week, I posted my review of Jeannine Hall Gailey’s latest book, PR for Poets, and if you haven’t check out that review yet, just click the link.

I love her poetry, and I love this book just as much, if not more. For a poet like me, who has no advanced degrees and no money to get any, this information is incredibly helpful. As an additional note, my firm Poetic Book Tours is mentioned as well

Today, she’s stopping by to provide us with her Top 5 tips to get you started marketing your own poetry. Please give her a warm welcome.

I’m happy to write this. It’s kind of hard to cram everything in the book into a top five tips, but these are the things I wish I’d known when I first started out.

1. Your marketing and publicity efforts should be authentic and align with both your personality and your book.

This is a tough and wide-ranging piece of advice, because it involves having to know yourself and know your book. If you write a book of comic book/fairy tale poems and are an extrovert in her early thirties (like I was for my first book,) then it’s a great idea for you to do a little book tour, a few ‘Cons, three separate parties in three different towns, visit colleges and do lots of readings. If you are an introverted nature poet who lives in a small town, however, your authentic path will be different – and unique to you.

For me, it was great to work with other creatives when the book came out – an artist who did comic book/fairy tale art and musicians who wrote fairy-tale-based songs and other people who aligned with my ideals and values. Some of that is luck or fate, some is going to depend on who you hang around with, what you like to do, and where people seem to be receptive to your type of work.

There is no right or wrong way – there is only the way for you and your individual book at the time it comes out. If you try things and they don’t feel right for you, follow those instincts. Not everyone’s going to be an Instagram star or a college-reading-circuit champion. Maybe you love visiting local book clubs, or you’re a star at reading on the radio. Maybe you’ll start a podcast. Everyone’s path is going to reflect them. I know a poet who was invited to mermaid festivals to read about mermaids. It was a very authentic choice for her.

2. Do as much as you can ahead of time and expect the life of the book to be long, not short.

One of the things I talk about in the PR for Poets book is doing as much as you can before the book comes out – because you’re going to be stressed and overwhelmed when the book comes out and you’ll be happy that “past you” did the work. And remember that for poetry, the best sales might be in the second year of the book, not the first. Poetry can be a slow burn, and a lot of the sales might be through good word-of-mouth. Maybe your book gets taught after someone sees you read at a festival a year after the book is published. You never know going in.

3. Find your audience. The weird thing is, unlike a fiction or non-fiction book, with poetry you won’t really know exactly who your audience is until your book comes out. Friends and family may be willing and want to support you, but they are not the main audience for your book. It’s interesting to remember this because it’s hard to think about the real audience for our work – imaginary beings that are out there and will be impacted positively by your poetry. So don’t be discouraged if your friends don’t line up at your readings and buy twenty copies of your book to hand out to strangers. You will connect with your audience eventually. They might be a different audience than you imagined.

4. Social media is important for sales, but it is constantly changing, so spend your time wisely. The same could be said of book publishing and book sales. All these games are changing all the time. We have to be willing to update and learn as we go along. Just be flexible and stay aware of how the book world is changing. I spend quite a bit of time covering social media in PR For Poets, but be sure to keep in touch with your younger, more tech-savvy friends and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s what.

5. Manage your own expectations. Don’t knock yourself out for your book; similarly, don’t despair if it doesn’t shake the world when it comes out. No matter how sales go, remember that you can and will keep writing. Don’t drag yourself to all fifty states to sell the book – choose a few places that you love and make those events special. Decide on a time, energy, and monetary budget that you’re willing to spend promoting your book and try to stick to it. It’s so easy to get burned out with that first book, when you don’t know what’s happening yet and it’s so easy to say “yes” to everything even when that isn’t a good idea. Try a few things, see what you’re good at AND what you enjoy and see what happens. Pajama party poetry readings? I’ve had friends who’ve done that. Poetry reading at a comic book convention? I’ve done that.

OK, so, as a final note and reminder, if you want more specifics and more details, I’ve written a 200+ page guide with just that called PR for Poets: A Guidebook to Publicity and Marketing, which contains wisdom not just from my own experiences, but the advice of publishers, librarians, public relations experts, and more. I hope this was helpful!

About the Author:

Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, winner of the Moon City Press Book Prize and the SFPA’s Elgin Award. She’s also the author of PR for Poets: A Guidebook to Publicity and Marketing. Her work has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and The Best Horror of the Year. Her work appeared in journals such as American Poetry Review, Notre Dame Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com. Twitter: @webbish6.

Mailbox Monday #482

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Elizabeth by Christie Capps, which I won from Diary of an Eccentric.

He could have anything he wanted…except her.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy finds himself in the unusual position of chasing a woman rather than being chased.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet is exasperated as Mr. Darcy, the rudest man of her acquaintance, is being nice—to her! How can she continue to despise a man who apologizes so well?

Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy’s arrogance and pride are equally matched by Miss Elizabeth’s prejudice. In this fast-paced novella set in Regency England, can they both overcome strongly entrenched personalities to discover peace and happiness? Of course, they can. This is Mr. Darcy and his Elizabeth, he hopes.

Lost & Found by Christie Capps, which was a bonus win from Diary of an Eccentric.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet is missing—vanishing without a trace from the library at Rosings Park.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy feels duty-bound to find the most frustrating young lady of his acquaintance. He is Elizabeth’s sworn enemy. Yet, when he comes to her rescue, she is forced to rethink her opinion.

Trapped together for hours, each layer of their character is revealed until their masks are gone, and their worst fears are shared. Will Mr. Darcy’s arrogant pride keep him from finding tender affection and happiness? Will her prejudice withstand trials so a man worthy of her affection will not be lost?

In this sweet, angst-filled Regency variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, our dear couple overcome all odds to find a love for the ages…or do they?

What did you receive?

PR for Poets: A Guidebook to Publicity and Marketing by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 228 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

PR for Poets: A Guidebook to Publicity and Marketing by Jeannine Hall Gailey is a comprehensive resource for poets who want to gain a wider audience for their work. For novice marketers, Gailey includes in each chapter an overview of marketing terms and set of action items that poets can tackle within an hour to get themselves started.  What’s beautiful about this book is how well various aspects of marketing are explained from the platform to website to social media interaction.

It’s clear that she’s taken her experience marketing her five poetry collections to create this guide, which poets who have a website or don’t can use to market their art. Overall, much of poetry marketing begins with community. Creating a community online, creating a community in your neighborhood or city, and giving back to those communities through helping other poets with reviews, sharing their books, and even smaller things.

I cannot wait to start putting PR for Poets: A Guidebook to Publicity and Marketing by Jeannine Hall Gailey into action when my manuscript is done and publishable. There are some really challenging parts for me in this book, particularly reaching out to libraries and others to promote my future book.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter and, Field Guide to the End of the World, the winner of the Moon City Press Book Award and the SFPA’s Elgin Award. She also wrote a non-fiction book called PR for Poets to help poets trying to promote their books. Her poems have been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She was awarded a 2007 and 2011 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner.

Curious Iguana Event Recap: Sweta Vikram, author of Louisiana Catch

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Sweta Vikram came to Frederick, Md., to the Curious Iguana bookstore to have a conversation about not only women’s rights and her book, Louisiana Catch, but also about the dangers of social media and human rights.

And, yes, before you ask: I did bring every Sweta Vikram book I own to get signed, since I haven’t seen her in person in so long! She had to sign my books.  I hope I didn’t give her hand a cramp.

Also, since I help establish her blog tour through Poetic Book Tours for her debut U.S. novel, I was happy to provide a Live Facebook Feed for part of the event. Please click and watch the beginning of the event. She’ll make you laugh.

Please also view these two videos from the Q&A and reading portions of the event.

It was a small room and full of people that Sweta, also the owner of NimmiLife, knew and some that those people had brought along with them, including my daughter who did not want to miss the “Poet lady.” Yes, that’s how she refers to Sweta. I never saw her put on her shoes so fast to go to a reading before; it was quite a sight.

The event had it all: discussions of marital rape, surviving sexual assault, women’s rights, the differences between writing poems and writing fiction, and of course the question everyone wants to know — was Rohan Brady based on Bradley Cooper?

Sweta Vikram will be back in the D.C. area in September, and I hope those who couldn’t make it up to Maryland, will see her when she’s in town again.