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COVID Chronicle #1

Since the start of the pandemic and the lockdown in our state that began with sending kids home from school in March, I knew life would not be normal for a long time. I remember writing journal entries every day as a teenager and probably even before that, but I haven’t done any of that since college. Getting married, having children, and moving your parents and disabled brother into a single home will take a lot of time and energy. So I dropped the journaling habit.

This current public health crisis, however, has me wondering if I should return to the habit as a way to order my thoughts and release some of my stress, but I often fear that someone in my household will read it and take it too personally when really it’s just about me releasing emotions of the moment. So why write any entries that are on a blog for all to see? I ask this of myself. Perhaps because I know that my family doesn’t read my blog at all?

Some things I’ve noticed during this time, at least for myself, has been a ball of stress carried on my shoulders that I can’t seem to release even with yoga and meditation. Whether it’s the bills, the school work with distance learning (or maybe not learning) while I’m simultaneously trying to do my full-time job or it’s the stress of having six people in the same house day after day with little downtime for myself to be alone and think, I’m not sure. Perhaps it is a culmination of all those things.

What am I hoping to say or accomplish with these posts, which I doubt will be a regular affair? I’m not sure. But I thought I would give this a try and see if others were feeling the same bottled up, ready to explode feeling I have lately or maybe there’s some advice…I’m honestly not sure.

Feel free to chime in….

 

Opportunity for Authors: Books Forward Gives Away Free $20,000 Literary Publicity Campaign

To celebrate its 20-year anniversary, literary publicity company Books Forward (part of the veteran JKS Communications brand) is hosting a giveaway for one free full-service, customized author publicity and book marketing campaign valued at $20,000. The giveaway is part of Books Forward’s mission to elevate new books and promote diverse, barrier-breaking voices in publishing.

The comprehensive book publicity prize package includes:

  • Customized press package including a news release, author Q&A, and interview talking points
  • Personalized pitching and promotional outreach to a targeted list of national media, regional media, reviewers, and online influencers
  • $1,000-worth of digital advertising and/or review submission to industry publications, positioning the author directly in front of consumers and industry influencers
  • One-on-one consultation with Books Forward’s social media specialist, with customized guidance for maximizing online exposure and engagement
  • Creative promotion to indie booksellers and librarians 
  • Industry tips to help the author make the most of book events and mobilizing networks for promotion
  • Books Forward’s Author Guide, an easy-to-use roadmap of the publicity process that clearly breaks down the tips, tasks, and trade secrets to give a book its best chance at success

Entry for the giveaway is free. To enter, authors must be willing to submit a completed manuscript to Books Forward, and must have a targeted publication date between May–December 2021. Deadline to enter is October 1, 2020. The winner will be announced in November 2020. Authors can enter the giveaway here.

Books Forward celebrated 20 years of innovative literary promotion in 2020 with a successful company rebrand, new team members with publishing and media expertise, and expanded services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the forward-thinking publicity team launched a Virtual Learning Author Program to provide free at-home education, as well as the #BooksForwardHelpline to help readers support indie bookstores and libraries, troubleshoot e-readers, and connect with great new book recommendations.

About Books Forward: Books Forward is an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, the company helps authors find success and connect with readers. Interested in what’s possible for your book sales and building readership? Check out the Books Forward author services, submit a query form with your individual author brand goals, and get a customized publicity campaign.

 

DEADLINE TO ENTER OCTOBER 1, 2020:

ENTER HERE

Book Blogger Directory 2020 Edition

Wondering which blogs to pitch your book to? Look no further, the 2020 edition of the Book Blogger Directory is here.

Synopsis:

This Book Blogger Directory lists blog addresses, contact information, where reviews are posted, as well as standard turnaround time and book formats accepted. Indexes list bloggers by accepted genre so you can easily find bloggers amenable to your subject matter.

More than 200 blogs are included, all current as of June 2020. The index lists each genre linked to each blog that accepts books in that category.

Check out the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

I hope the rest of this year is not as harrowing. We’re more than halfway through 2020, so let’s hope we can turn this year around and end it on a high note.

Educate Yourself: Black Lives Matter

I’m just going to post some images of books you should read to educate yourself about our country’s history.

I’m not going to do any thinking or speaking for you.

Read.

These have languished too long on my TBR list:

There are so many other books that you should read.

2020 Gaithersburg Book Festival Poetry Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Gaithersburg Book Festival High School Poetry Contest!

There were some fantastic poems.  Thank you to Shout Mouse and our first round readers. Thanks to Elizabeth Lund, our final judge and her director/producer who helped us put together an official announcement for our first, second, and third place winners, as well as our Fan Favorite.

Congratulations to all of the winners and this year’s fan favorite.

COVID-19 Choices: Virtual Events

As many of you know, I had been working on the poetry contest for the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which was scheduled for May 16. Sadly, COVID-19 changed all that and many of the spectacular events and discussions leading up to it, as well as the festival, had to be cancelled.

The Festival team, like many others, worked together to create a virtual program for our Festival attendees online. While the program has us socially distant in our homes and watching online, many of the great authors we wanted to see are still talking to us, sharing their books, and so much more.

Please do click on the banner and check out the programming. Or head on over to the Gaithersburg Book Festival YouTube Channel.

Here’s a run down of the program during the weekend, and special stuff happens every weekend:

Featured Programming Over Four Consecutive Weeks, Saturday, May 16 – Sunday, June 14.

  • TGIF Live! One live author presentation, streamed to the GBF YouTube channel each Friday evening at 5:30 pm
  • Saturday Night Premiere  A YouTube video watch party with the author in attendance, each Saturday night at 7 pm
  • Sunday Morning Kids  One children’s author presentation streamed to the GBF YouTube channel each Sunday morning at 11 am  
  • Wednesday Workshops  Writing workshops featuring a variety of topics offered each Wednesday morning and afternoon. Spaces limited. Registration required.

This weekend’s events are not to be missed:

Weekend of 5/22-5/24

Friday, 5/22

TGIF LIVE! at 5:30 pm with Louis Bayard – “Courting Mr. Lincoln.”  Bayard writes about the brilliant, melancholic future president and the two people who knew him best: his confidant, Joshua Speed, and the spirited young debutante Mary Todd. In conversation with author Jennifer Bort Yacovissi

Saturday, 5/23

Saturday Night Premiere at 7 pm with Jonathan Karl  – “Front Row at the Trump Show.” As the Chief White House Correspondent and Chief Washington Correspondent for ABC News and the President of the White House Correspondents Association (2019-2020), Jonathan Karl delivers essential new reporting and surprising insights. He’s known and covered Donald Trump longer than any other White House reporter. In conversation with author and journalist Susan Page.

Sunday, 5/24

Sunday Morning Kids at 11 am, LIVE with Adam Gidwitz – “Unicorn Rescue Society #5: The Madre de Aguas of Cuba.”  In Cuba, it is believed that a mysterious water serpent–the Madre de aguas–is responsible for providing and protecting the fresh water of the island. But the serpent is missing, and a drought has gripped the island. Uchenna, Elliot, and Professor Fauna fly to Cuba and endeavor to rescue the Madre de aguas.

POETRY ALREADY AVAILABLE: (Bonus Author Presentations)

I hope that you’ll check out the great content. We know this isn’t the same as bringing the community to one place for an entire day of literature and connection, but in these times, this is how we continue to share.

Poem: Our Future Will Become the Past of Other Women by Eavan Boland

Today’s poem I share to honor the passing of Eavan Boland, an Irish poet who has recently passed away. I loved her poems. There’s a new documentary about her, that you can read about here.

Please listen below:

Do you have a favorite poem by Boland? Please share in the comments.

Book Spine Poetry

Many book bloggers have participated in online memes where we’ve taken photos of our book stacks and our bookshelves. But have you ever wondered if you took some extra care, you could arrange those books’ titles to create your very own poem?

I’d love to see your book spine poems, feel free to tag @SavvyVerseWit on Twitter and use the #bookspinepoetry

Here’s what I came up with:

Girls like us
partial genius
Other voices, other lives
said through glass

What poem did you create?

Erasure Poetry

I’ve always loved blackout poetry, taking an existing text and erasing parts of it to create something new. Erasure poetry enables not only the poet but the reader to see an older work in a new way.

According to the Academy of American Poets, one famous erasure poet, Ronald Johnson, took the form to a new level when he revised the first four books of John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

One of my favorite collections of this type of poetry is from Heather Aimee O’Neill and Jessica Piazza, Obliterations. You can check out my review of that book from 2016.

Here’s Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay (with my erasures):

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Here’s the clean version:

Nature's first green
hardest to hold
early flower
subsides to leaf.
grief,
goes down
Nothing can stay.

Give it a try and see what you can come up with.

Poem: won’t you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton

Today’s poem I share is from Lucille Clifton and is a poem about hope and perseverance in times of adversity. You can listen to the poem, here.

won’t you celebrate with me

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

What poems have you found during our pandemic lockdown?

Poem Generator Fun: Haiku

Haiku is one of those poetic forms that many teachers use to teach kids about rhythm and cadence. The form requires a first line of five syllables, a second line of seven syllables, and a third line of five syllables in its simplest form. There are other aspects of the haiku that bring the short poem a certain level of unexpected nuance, like its juxtaposition between two images — one appearing at the start of the poem and one at the end.

I want to share one of my haiku that was published in LYNX:

white skin, concrete head
red nose chilled with wind
stubborn, glued to you.

Let’s create some haiku! Share what poem you created in the comments.