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Happy Thanksgiving

JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019

A few weekends ago, Anna and I took a trip to nearby Virginia to meet some Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) authors, bloggers, and other readers. Anna and I were surprised (or at least I was) to be asked to speak about blogging and reviewing JAFF books and hosting their authors on blog tours.

I was glad we prepared ahead of time for the discussion, but the audience was wonderful and welcoming and full of questions. It was nice to share our thoughts on blogging and reviewing books for authors on an intimate stage with people we’ve come to know well virtually. It was also a pleasure to meet the incomparable Meredith from Austenesque Reviews.

I really hope I didn’t monopolize the conversation during the blogger panel, but I tend to just keep talking when I’m nervous. The best part was that we didn’t need to use a microphone. That set my mind a bit more at ease about speaking in front of a crowd.

We met so many great authors and learned a lot of inside knowledge about the Amazon self-publishing empire — as well as how much they actually take from authors royalties. It’s a shame that traditional publishing is not more welcoming and generous. I have a feeling they would make more money with JAFF authors if they thought about it hard enough. There is definitely a wide and loyal fan base for these kinds of books, as well as so much territory they have yet to explore.

If you’re a Jane Austen fan who loves fan fiction, this is they kind of gathering you don’t want to miss. And there are some “rumors” that there may be another one in 2020. Keep in the know, here.

As an aside, there was an informal reading of works in progress in the lounge after the Saturday “official” programming ended, and the Austen-inspired authors were kind enough to let me read some poems with them. It was a definite departure from the normal poetry crowd, and I hope they enjoyed the poems.

A big Thank You to Victoria Kincaid and Summer Hanford for all their work organizing the gathering, to Victoria Kincaid and Meredith for the great photos, and to everyone who came and respectfully and enthusiastically listened to my jabbering.

Fall Kickoff of DiVerse Gaithersburg

The third year of DiVerse Gaithersburg kicked off with Kristin Kowalski Ferragut and her powerful poems of self-examination and more. Jona Colson treated us to some dialogue poems that were astounding and inspired me to dig out some old ones I’d given up on. Le Hinton wowed us with his poems tied deeply to cotton and its history. His reading of a poem from the point of view of cotton was unique and engaging.

This is fast becoming a reading series that you must attend.

I really enjoyed listening to each poet this month. I skipped the open mic even though I brought a poem. My allergies had blown up my eye and made me cough at the most inopportune times during the featured readers. The open mic had a variety of readers, some who are familiar to those who regularly attend and some who are new.

If you’re in the DMV in October, do not miss out on the reading with Reuben Jackson, Rose Solari, and Jay Hall Carpenter.

18 Years Ago; We Never Forget

Happy birthday!

A big happy birthday to my brother, Aaron, today.

I hope this year brings you more good things and hopefully, some new activities. It’s been an adjustment over the last couple of years for you, but I hope you are feeling more settled and happier.

Welcome to Third Grade

Vacation is over, and school begins.

My daughter was very excited to have a vacation over the summer that didn’t entail just staying home and doing day trips. She enjoyed Disney very much, except for the extreme heat. She also had a fantastic time at Myrtle Beach with her grandparents. I think she’s found a new activity to enjoy — boogie boarding — and she’ll next want to move onto surfing, or so she tells me.

We’ve been home a couple days and she’s already picked out a week’s worth of outfits for school, set up her backpack, and washed her water bottle.

I think she may be excited to start third grade.

Celebrate Labor Day

Publication News: 2 Poems in Bourgeon

My poetry workshop group has a range of voices and advice on poems, and I’m grateful to them for their help in refining two poems — one about bullying and one about gun violence.

Bourgeon and the wonderful editor, Gregory Luce, were kind enough to select them for publication this week. This magazine is a good resource for all things art in D.C.

You can read my poems, here.

I’ve been published by this online magazine before — my Pergola poem about my vova. I’m ecstatic to be published here again.

Search for a Poet Laureate in Montgomery County, Md.

Interested in having a

POET LAUREATE

in Montgomery County, MD?

 

Join us on Monday, May 20 at 7 pm

at The Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda (see writer.org for directions)

A discussion of how we can establish a Poet Laureate position in Montgomery County.

Organized by an ad hoc committee of local poets

Discussion will include: Why do we need a Poet Laureate? What would the duties of the Poet Laureate be?  How would the Poet Laureate be selected?  Would there be compensation or would this be an honorary position?

Reservations for this meeting are not required, but we want to be sure we have enough seats .

Please RSVP to [email protected].  Thank you!

Book Fairs Around the World

As book lovers nothing gratifies us more than a book in hand. When we’re at book fairs surrounded by books, authors, publishers, and fellow book mongers, well that’s pure bliss.

If you’re looking for a book fair, check out this colossal searchable list International Book Fairs 2019 by the folks at the Kotobee Blog.

No matter where you are in the world, this list will help you locate the nearest book treat to you. Here’s a little snippet I took for the calendar of book fairs in North America (posted here with permission from the Kotobee Blog).

 

Giveaway: Love_Is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens edited by Emma Eden Ramos

This anthology contains a wide range of art from essay to poetry (including 3 of mine) to story, as well as drawings and other art to spread a message of love and hope.

Each sale of Love_Is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens edited by Emma Eden Ramos are donated to The Trevor Project.

We are hosting a giveaway sponsored by editor Emma Eden Ramos. Learn more below:

Love_Is_Love is a  collection of poems, short stories, and visual art for LGBTQIA+ teens. All of the proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project, an organization that has been saving the lives of LGBTQIA+ teens since 1998.

Painting on wood by Natascha Woolf

It is our hope that Love_Is_Love will help lend support to LGBTQIA+ teens who are struggling to deal with today’s pervasive homophobic and transphobic rhetoric that can make the world feel like a terrifying and unsafe place.

In addition to dedicating this collection to The Trevor Project, We would also like to dedicate Love_Is_Love to the young adults whose lives were cut short because of bigotry, cruelty, and ignorance. Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena, Lashai Mclean, Paige Clay, Mollie Olgin, Tiffany Gooden, Gabriel Fernandez, and countless others, these words are for you.

The editor of Love_Is_Love will be giving away three copies of this new anthology!

To participate, please type a message of support you’d like to extend to a struggling LGBTQIA+ teen. While only three contestants will win, all of the posted messages will go out to the LGBTQIA+ community via Twitter.

Thank you so much for participating!

Deadline to enter will be Feb. 14, 2019 — a day of love.  Spread the love, everyone. Leave comments below.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday

Take this time to reflect on the freedoms we have in this country, and how there was a lot of sweat and blood that went into making them a reality.

Also take a moment to think about how precious those freedoms are and what you are willing to do to keep them.

Finally, imagine a world (like now) in which you need to take action to actively preserve those rights.

What would you do, if you were Martin Luther King, Jr.?