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Lovely, Savvy Verse & Wit

Karen Beth at The Pink Bookmark recently awarded me One Lovely Blog Award, here. Karen Beth’s blog is new to me, and I hope you will all check it out too.

Here are the Rules…

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
3) Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

You’re gonna love this; Here are my Awardees: (They are all new-to-me, thanks to that darn 24-hour read-a-thon)

1. All About {n}
2. A Comfy Chair and a Good Book
3. A Bookish Mom
4. Art & Literature
5. Brooke Reviews
6. Library Girl Reads
7. Never Without a Book
8. Passages to the Past
9. Pudgy penguin Perusals
10. Readaholic
11. Reading Extravaganza
12. Book Kitten
13. Burton Review
14. The Eclectic Reader
15. Today’s Adventure

Who are some new-to-you bloggers?

*** Giveaway Reminders***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

A giveaway of The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady, here; Deadline is May 1 11:59 PM EST

5 Joanna Scott, author of Follow Me, books giveaway, here; Deadline May 4, 11:59 PM EST.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (audio)

Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money is the first in the Stephanie Plum series, and after reading/listening to the in-between-the-numbers Plum novels I can see why people would find the in-between books disconcerting. Those novels deviate from the mystery formula and from the narrative Evanovich already has established.

In One for the Money, Stephanie Plum is down on her luck; she’s lost her job, can’t find work, and has begun selling off her furniture to pay her bills. Eventually she falls into the bail bond business with her cousin Vinny and is tasked with apprehending Joe Morelli, who is a cop on the lamb for allegedly committing murder and is attempting to clear his name. In her travels, she apprehends some small time criminals to get by with the help of professional bounty hunter Ranger.

Readers will laugh out loud at Stephanie’s escapades and her attempts to become a tough bounty hunter when she doesn’t even know how to hold a gun, let alone shoot it. Stumbling upon Morelli at every turn, she fails to apprehend him as he outsmarts her, throws her car keys in a dumpster, and kisses her until she’s senseless. The tension between these characters is apparent from their first meeting, and there are definitely unresolved feelings between them. The tension between Ranger and Plum seems to be further in the background and more carnal.

The dynamics between Morelli and Plum leap off the page, and Plum comes into her own as a bounty hunter after she gets some tips on shooting and other tactics from Ranger and several other cops in Trenton, New Jersey. This is an enjoyable read on and off the page. Readers who love a good mystery or are interested in a fast-paced plot, should pick up this witty series.

About the Author:

Janet Evanovich is a writer born in South River, New Jersey.

She is principaly known to have created the character Stephanie Plum, a salesperson of lingerie that has to improvise as a bounty hunter to fill her fridge.

After four years at the art section of the Douglas College in New Jersey, Janet Evanovich decided to go into writing. Sending many manuscripts to several editors, she got as many refusals.

She builds Stephanie Plum with a well rhythmed style, strong characters as the funny Mamie Mazur. Those adventures enjoy a large success.

*** Giveaway Reminders***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

A giveaway of The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady, here; Deadline is May 1 11:59 PM EST

5 Joanna Scott, author of Follow Me, books giveaway, here; Deadline May 4, 11:59 PM EST.

Poem #26 and #27, PAD Challenge 2009

Prompt #26 is to write a poem about miscommunication or involving a miscommunication.

Miscommunicate

She holds up her index finger
of her left hand, while holding her cell in the right.
He places one box of Kleenex in the cart.
The round the corner, canned food
lines the shelves. Her husband taps
she waves three fingers, absently.
He places the canned sardines in the cart.
At the checkout, he places the items
on the conveyor, watching them flow into bags.

Prompt #27 is to write a poem of longing.

Coffeeshop

Bag slung over shoulder,
plopped onto wooden chair.
I drag the laptop out, place it on the table.
Flipped open, blank space,
blinking cursor waiting,
waving, staring at me.
My fingers tap the keys,
the table, my thigh.
Run up and down the side of my leg,
waiting for words to flow
free from my brain through nerves
into my fingertips tapped out on square keys.
When words fill the page
My mind is afire, passionate,
eager to type the next phrase and see the new world.
Creation dripping like espresso into my mug.

What did you write today?

For more information about the challenge, go here.

*** Giveaway Reminders***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

A giveaway of The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady, here; Deadline is May 1 11:59 PM EST

5 Joanna Scott, author of Follow Me, books giveaway, here; Deadline May 4, 11:59 PM EST.

Follow Me by Joanna Scott

Welcome to the April Hachette Group Early Bird Blog Tour for Joanna Scott’s Follow Me.

About the Book (From Hachette Website):

On a summer day in 1946 Sally Werner, the precocious young daughter of hardscrabble Pennsylvania farmers, secretly accepts her cousin’s invitation to ride his new motorcycle. Like so much of what follows in Sally’s life, it’s an impulsive decision with dramatic and far-reaching consequences. Soon she abandons her home to begin a daring journey of self-creation, the truth of which she entrusts only with her granddaughter and namesake, six decades later. But when young Sally’s father–a man she has never known–enters her life and offers another story altogether, she must uncover the truth of her grandmother’s secret history.

At more than 400 pages, Joanna Scott’s Follow Me is a very detailed account of Sally Werner’s background as told by her granddaughter, Sally. Scott has a gift for detail, which can become a drawback when Sally Werner is wandering in the woods after leaving her baby with her parents. The twists and turns Sally’s life takes are driven by her fear and her desire to fit in without revealing her true self in each new location, but often the poetic prose gets in the way. It isn’t until page 53 that readers discover Sally has red hair, and readers find this out at the moment when Sally is getting her hair dyed blond. Scott’s writing vacillates from run-on sentences to short fragments, both of which readers may find slow down the plot.

“Running, Running, Running up the jagged slope behind the rows of new corn, over the stone wall, through the woods and meadows. Sting of nettles. Gray sky of dawn. Bark of a startled deer.” (Page 15)

In some cases, the narrative opts for telling the reader what’s going on, rather than showing the action and development through character interaction. Moreover, detailed backgrounds of side characters like Gladdy Toffit are asides that do not propel the plot or character development forward.

“Other days she’d [Gladdy] dress in one of the three rayon skirt-suits she owned, gather bills from the rolltop desk in the living room, and get in the car and drive to the bank in Amity to confer with the person she called her financial adviser. Late in the afternoon she’d come back home to pour her bourbon, urging Sally to join her because, as she claimed, she didn’t like to drink alone.” (Page 119)

Scott introduces Mole into Sally’s life, and that’s when readers will begin to cheer her on, hoping she will take this new opportunity to turn her life around, grab onto her responsibilities, and emerge a stronger woman. When these characters come together, the scene is full of playful tension and drama as he and his friends sit in a room playing Russian Roulette.

“It was similar to a dream, inevitable and natural and illogical. A slanting light shone from the lantern; the radio crackled its song; the river splashed; the crickets chirped; the tension made breathing impossible; the air was so thick the boy could hardly lift his arm, raising the gun to his head in an attenuated motion, the effort exhausting him, drenching him in sweat, the heat of fear turning his pale skin into melting wax.” (Page 104)


About halfway into Follow Me–which as a title works well for this journey type of novel–the drama heats up forcing Sally Werner to make a tough choice, and these scenes were the most vivid and well crafted. These scenes are the most vivid because they propel the plot, they are full of action, and you are right there with Sally in the thick of it, watching how these events bring out her inner strength and how they are bound to impact and force her to take conscious action.

“It meant she had to cover her face, so the next time he hit her his knuckles struck the back of her hand, bouncing her head away from him but not actually hurting her, which only enraged him more, and with a swift movement he yanked her arm away . . . his fist caught her in the mouth, driving into her gullet, shattering bone, filling her vision with a blank darkness that matched the sky.” (Page 206)

“But Sally could guess what the sound signified and looked up in time to catch a glimpse of Leo leaping from the peaked roof above the door. But she didn’t know he had landed on Benny Patterson until she felt her attacker veer backward. He would have pulled her with him if she hadn’t ripped herself free from his grasp. He stumbled, tripped over the corner of the step, and as the cat leaped forward, Leo’s weight exacerbated Benny’s fall; he plunged backward, his feet came out from under him, and his head snapped hard against the brick wall of Potter’s hardware.” (Page 208)

Overall, it takes a long time to be drawn into this book, and readers may have a difficult time getting a fix on Sally Werner’s character. It was hard to feel sympathetic toward her when many of the problems she faces are self-created and she often portrays herself contrary to her own actions. For instance, she considers herself a hard worker and reliable, but she gives birth and leaves her child within 24 hours of bringing him into the world, which is not a prime example of a reliable woman. Scott’s prose is beautiful, but readers can easily lose their footing in the world Scott tells rather than shows her readers. Clearly, Scott is a gifted writer and uses description well to create a vivid scene, but this story may have worked better if it was told in a different way. Those readers who enjoy generational novels and coming of age stories may be interested in this novel unless they have a rough time with overly descriptive novels.

About the Author:

Joanna Scott is the author of nine books, including The Manikin, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Various Antidotes and Arrogance, which were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and the critically acclaimed Make Believe, Tourmaline, and Liberation. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Award, she lives with her family in upstate New York.

Some of the Hachette Group Early Birds Blog Tour Participants:

Peeking Between the Pages
Bermudaonion
My Friend Amy
S. Krishna’s Books
Booking Mama
The Tome Traveller
Diary of an Eccentric
A Novel Menagerie
Necromancy Never Pays
Caribousmom
Drey’s Library
Redlady’s Reading Room
The Burton Review
A Bookworm’s World
Jenn’s Bookshelf

***Giveaway Details***

Hachette Group has offered one lucky U.S./Canadian reader a set of Joanna Scott’s books: Follow Me, Make Believe, Everybody Loves Somebody, Liberation, Tourmaline.

1. One entry, leave a comment on this post other than “pick me” or “enter me”
2. Second entry, blog, Facebook, Twitter, or spread the word and leave a link or comment on this post that you’ve done so.
3. Third entry, follow this blog and let me know.

Deadline is May 4, 2009, 11:59 EST.

*** Giveaway Reminder***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

A giveaway of The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady, here; Deadline is May 1 11:59 PM EST

Mailbox Monday #27

Welcome to the April 27, 2009, Mailbox Monday, sponsored by Marcia at The Printed Page.

1. Hatchette Group sent me Joanna Scott’s books:

Liberation
Tourmaline
Make Believe
Everybody Loves Somebody

2. Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

3. Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff

4. Eternal Enemies by Adam Zagajewski, which I received from Dawn of She Is Too Fond of Books (She’s such a doll)

*** Giveaway Reminder***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

A giveaway of The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady, here; Deadline is May 1 11:59 PM EST

Poem #24 and #25, PAD Challenge 2009

Prompt #24 is to write a travel-related poem.

Scale

I pop on my ear buds,
grab the iPod and I’m out the door.
My head, up and down
with my heavy steps down the stairs.
I’m in Brooklyn
in a shuffle beat before heading south
to Mexico.
Drunk in the back of a truck
and my maxed out credit cards.
On the sideline, watching football
next to the brass blaring in my ear,
marching up and down.

Prompt #25 is to write about an event and make the event the title of the poem.

Conversations and Connections 2009

Metro into the city, turn corners,
enter academic ivory towers,
crowd into a small room, shoulder-
to-shoulder with aged wine
and amateur cheese.
Long tables and microphones
Discussions of first, third, omniscient,
and second persons in the room, in books,
in minds.
Back-and-forth interaction, questioning,
and enlightenment—a spotlight
shining down on my characters in the lead.
From the midnight sky, my character’s faces shine,
moonlit and starry eyes.
Paper and pen dance in an empty room
until other couplets dance on desks and chairs.

What did you write today?

For more information about the challenge, go here.

*** Giveaway Reminder***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

A giveaway of The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady, here; Deadline is May 1 11:59 PM EST

Poetry: Neil Gaiman, Chris August and Chris Wilson

Happy National Poetry Month. Here’s Neil Gaiman:

How about a look at members of the Baltimore Slam Team:

Interview With Poet Hadara Bar-Nadav

I’ve been working on a interview project with Deborah at 32 Poems magazine, and she kindly allowed me to interview past contributors to the magazine. We will be posting the interviews throughout the coming months, and our ninth interview posted on Deborah’s Poetry Blog of 32 Poems on April 20. I’m going to provide you with a snippet from the interview, but if you want to read the entire interview, I’ll provide you a link for that as well. For now, let me introduce to you 32 Poems contributor, Hadara Bar-Nadav.

ALARM PLEASURES INTO HUM
Published in Verse 23.1-3 (2006).

Mutiny awakens me,
the kingdom buzzing with saws,
all the fetishes abloom

which means a rubbing away until
blood or speech, each
to his own bright unraveling.

Red lives here, a nest
of nerves and twigs.
Doors unhinge and the roof

speckled with stars:
holes, navels, scars.

I have no floor,
no caviar, no mints.

I am humble as a tooth
and hunger.

And you are the messenger
without bell or tongue.

You are the messenger.

Come. Come.

1. Most writers will read inspirational/how-to manuals, take workshops, or belong to writing groups. Did you subscribe to any of these aids and if so which did you find most helpful? Please feel free to name any “writing” books you enjoyed most (i.e. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott).

Books of poetry and art have been my best teachers, along with studying music. Jazz was my first teacher, I believe. Though I had written poetry since I was a child, it was when I was a teenager and started listening to jazz that I really started to study language, to think about its rhythms and sounds, and to wonder what I could do with language, how far I could push it.

I didn’t have an active writing community until I went to graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Now that I live in Kansas City, I meet informally with a few poets and we discuss each other’s work. I also email poems to friends for feedback, if needed.

As for books on craft, I like Tony Hoagland’s Real Sofistikashun, which I use in my poetry workshops. Hoagland is smart, has a sense of humor, and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

2. When writing poetry, prose, essays, and other works do you listen to music, do you have a particular playlist for each genre you work in or does the playlist stay the same? What are the top 5 songs on that playlist? If you don’t listen to music while writing, do you have any other routines or habits?

Generally, I don’t listen to music when I read or write. It’s too distracting. However, PJ Harvey, Beck, and the soundtrack to The Royal Tennenbaums have all figured into my manuscripts. The rise and fall and various intensities of PJ Harvey’s Is This Desire helped me come up with the final configuration of my first book, A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight.

3. Do you have any favorite foods or foods that you find keep you inspired? What are the ways in which you pump yourself up to keep writing and overcome writer’s block?

Chocolate. And Jersey pizza, bagels, and cannolis, which I miss now that I live in the Midwest.

As far as keeping myself pumped up, when I’m not writing, I revise. When I’m not revising, I send out. Or I read, or go to a museum, or get art books from the library. I’m not sure chocolate helps me do any of these things, but I like it. A lot.

About the Poet:

Hadara Bar-Nadav’s book of poetry A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007) won the Margie Book Prize. Recent publications appear or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Verse, and other journals. She is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Of Israeli and Czechoslovakian descent, she currently lives in Kansas City with her husband Scott George Beattie, a furniture maker and visual artist.

Want to find out what Hadara’s writing space looks like? Find out what she’s working on now, her obsessions, and much more. Check out the rest of my interview with Hadara here. Please feel free to comment on the 32 Poems blog and Savvy Verse & Wit.

The Mechanics of Falling by Catherine Brady

Welcome to the TLC Book Tour for The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories by Catherine Brady. You’re in for a real treat today, not only a review, but also an interview and giveaway for my U.S. readers.

They came back inside to find Owen still at the table, a shot glass engulfed by his long, broad-tipped fingers. He was older than the others, his face taut and creased, so tall that he had to slouch in his chair to keep his knees from banging the table. He claimed he was the only black man within a radius of ten miles. What am I doing here? he said. I can’t walk through the campgrounds alone at night. (“Looking for a Female Tenet,” Page 7)

Catherine Brady’s had a lot of practice writing short stories, and it shines through in The Mechanics of Falling & Other Stories. In “Slender Little Thing,” Brady modifies a poetic form, known as Pantoum, in which the second and fourth lines of the first stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The Pantoum is a variation of the Villanelle, in which the first and third lines in a three line stanza poem are repeated as a refrain alternately throughout the poem. Here’s an example of a Pantoum and an example of a Villanelle. Poets interested in form will enjoy this story because it uses a version of these forms to hammer home the heart of the story where a mother, Cerise, struggles with her lot in life as a nanny to richer parents and as a nurse assistant in a nursing home while trying to raise her daughter, Sophie, to be more than she is.

“The Dazzling World” packs a punch when Judith and Cam are robbed at gunpoint in a foreign country on their way to meet Judith’s sister at her archaeological dig site. Not only does this story immerse readers in a foreign nation, it also leads them on a journey of discovery, almost rediscovery for Judith.

While these stories are each around 20-30 pages each, the characters are complex and on the verge or dealing with a perspective shattering event. Many of these characters are somber, and more than complacent–resigned–until an event jars them awake to look at their world through different eyes.

She pulled a compact from the purse that still hung open on her arm, angling the mirror to examine her hair, reaching up to snag unruly strands. Of the beautiful, fluttering girl, only this artlessness remained. (“Scissors, Paper, Rock,” Page 85)

Settings in this volume of short stories are varied; the characters share common traits, but lead different kinds of lives–two young waitresses trying to pay for college and find themselves, a horse rancher and his roommate’s game of relationship chess, a mother trying to raise her daughter successfully and send her off to college, a couple whose relationship is disintegrating, and many more. Readers will enjoy the surface of these stories as well as their deeper meanings beneath the layers of protective skin. Brady’s prose is captivating and thought provoking all in just a few lines, and she easily fuses poetic lines and techniques into her narratives. (I should have asked her if she writes poetry.)

I want to thank Catherine Brady for her time in answering my questions about her writing. Check out the giveaway details after the interview. Without further ado, here are her answers:

1. I noticed on your website that you’ve published a number of successful short story collections. What is it about your execution of the genre that you think has made it so successful and do you have plans to expand into novel writing?

I feel lucky to have published three collections and for my work to be included in Best American Short Stories. I have a little bit of trouble defining success. If I were fully satisfied by any of my stories, I could quit and take it easy. I think you keep writing because you haven’t achieved all your ambitions for your work. The short story is such a challenging form that there’s plenty left for me to shoot for, and I really, really love the form. I could probably do a better job of defining what I am aiming for than guessing whether I’m successful or not.

I believe a good story satisfies any reader in the most basic way—you care about the characters and their fate. Art always opens a door for any reader, so if you like the plot, or connect with the characters, or enjoy the language, or even dissect every sentence, the story should reward you for whatever effort you are willing to make (and reward you more for more effort). The kind of story I hope to write is one that asks the reader to do some of the imagining and promises to engage her heart as well as her mind.

I am working on a novel right now, and I’ve really been enjoying the writing, which has never been true when I’ve attempted a novel before. So maybe someday I’ll have a novel.

2. Do you find publicizing your short story collections is more challenging that it would be to market a novel? Why?

Yes. It’s more difficult to promote stories. People assume they’re going to be literary and obscure and more difficult than a novel, and nobody really expects you to sell very many copies. It’s much easier to label a novel as being about a specific subject, and what people most enjoy about novels is the chance to get really intimate with a character. A book of stories keeps moving you on to a new set of characters and then another new set. BUT . . . each story should offer you the sudden, deep knowledge of another person that you experience in life when you’re thrown together with someone in a crisis. Which is a different kind of satisfaction.

3. Would you like to share some of your obsessions and how they keep you motivated or inspired?

In a story collection, you’re often writing about people whose lives have unexpected things in common. You get to explore how different people might be dealing with similar or related predicaments, and for me, the best thing about this is that each story poses its own truth, and each truth is partial. I’m obsessed with “yes, but” kinds of questions.

I’m also really motivated to write because you don’t know what will happen once you really get to work. You might think the story is headed in a particular direction, but nine times out of ten, surprises crop up. I often anticipate a story is going to end at a certain point, and I’ll be writing away when all of a sudden, much sooner than I’d expected, the ending just leaps up and declares itself. I’m also obsessed with grammar—prim pince-nez correctness but also the way that you can use sentence structure to build out a story, to make it more three-dimensional. I have strong personal feelings about punctuation, I like to pile up things in a long list, I hate semi-colons—you get the idea. Writing is something of a fetish. But it’s also a craft, and I want to get better at making a beautiful object. Musical sentences. Surprising images. Intricate little tricks that a reader might never notice, but I’ll know that they are there. So, for example, in The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories, there are images of boxes and containers in nearly all the stories, which makes sense for a collection that’s concerned with how people are held in place in their lives, when that feels like safety and when it feels like a trap. I like knowing that there is this “below the radar” connection among the different stories.

4. If you could choose your favorite story from The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories, what would it be and why?

I probably have a few favorites. I’m partial to “Slender Little Thing,” because it has a form that uses repetition in ways that aren’t supposed to be used in stories. I like to break rules once in a while, and this is also a story that means a lot to me personally. The main character is someone whose life can seem really hemmed in if you take a certain view of her, and one of the reasons I wanted to use repetition was to get that perspective on the page, so that I could then try to counter it. Let the reader see what’s wearingly repetitive and also what can’t be accounted for by a simple summing up of her life.

I also like “Dazzling World” and “Looking for Female Tenet.” I like “Wicked Stepmother” at least in part because some people have mentioned they didn’t much like the main character, and you always defend the child who’s being criticized by someone else.

5. Please describe your writing space and how it differs (if at all) from your ideal writing space.

I like the space that I’m working in. My home office opens on to our tiny back yard so I’ve got great light and I can look out at our garden. I’ve crammed in as many books as will fit, and I have a great big desk so that I can make a mess when I’m working and scatter papers all over. I really need to have my favorite books close by—when I get stuck, I just open a book of Pablo Neruda’s poems or Alice Munro’s story so I can remember that anything is possible, that a sentence might lead anywhere. It also helps to bow several times before Chekhov’s collected stories.

About the Author (From Brady’s Website):

Catherine Brady’s most recent collection, The Mechanics of Falling & Other Stories, was published in 2009. Her second short story collection, Curled in the Bed of Love, was the co-winner of the 2002 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and a finalist for the 2003 Binghamton John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Brady’s first collection of short stories, The End of the Class War, was a finalist for the 2000 Western States Book Award in Fiction. Her stories have been included in Best American Short Stories 2004 and numerous anthologies and journals. Click Here to Read more about Catherine. Read some excerpts, here. Check out Catherine Brady’s list of appearances and her other tour stops with TLC Book Tours.

***Giveaway Details (Only for U.S. Residents)***

Catherine Brady has offered 1 copy of The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories to one of my U.S.-based readers.

1. Leave a comment on this post about the review or interview and you receive one entry.

2. Blog or spread the word about this giveaway and leave a comment here with a link.

Deadline is May 1, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

***My Other Giveaways***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.

Poem #22 and #23, PAD Challenge 2009

Prompt #22 is to write a work-related poem. If I had to count how many of my poems already deal with work, we’d be here for centuries…OK, that’s an exaggeration. But for this, I took a different perspective.

Summer Heat

My arm is burning.
The lactic acid builds in my muscles
as they contract and release
with the circular motion of my hand,
washing away the caked on blood.

Its dark red, dried, nearly brown.
Days have passed since you left,
wheeled out the door
on a makeshift gurney
into the back of an ambulance.

Scrubbing this floor
is the least of my worries.
There are still dishes
with crusted cheese and grime
blanketing the counters.

The dust bunnies and dirt flakes
are piled high in the corner
by the fridge, sweating
in this summer heat,
making mud pies on linoleum.

Prompt #23 is to write a poem about regret or in which regret occurs. I was losing steam when I wrote this one.

Abandonment

Regret fills my waking hours,
wondering why I left you.
The middle of night was calm.
I was not.
I snatched up my purse from the bedside chair,
crept into your room,
kissed your forehead.

What did you write today?

For more information about the challenge, go here.

***Giveaway Reminder***

Don’t forget to enter the Keeper of Light and Dust giveaway, here and here. Deadline is April 28 at 11:59 PM EST.

There’s a giveaway for 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, here; deadline is April 29, 2009, 11:59 PM EST.