Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Few Acceptances to Wrap Up the Year

I've been taking two workshops at once - Foremothers - Imitating Women Poets from Poetry Barn, which always has outstanding workshops, and a Flash Fiction mini workshop from Meg Pokrass, who is a fantastic flash and novella in flash author I admire.

With all the writing, I haven't done as much submitting, but I have done some.

I've had three more poems accepted by the literary magazine for WVU, where I'm working on my three year MFA certificate.

I have also had poems accepted by Tuck, Golden Walkman and Social Justice Poetry. I've never recorded myself reading my own poem before, so I was a bit anxious about Golden Walkman, but, after seven tries filled with the joyous voices of canaries or the meowing of a cat, I finally managed.

In other news, the new studio space now has a floor. Next will be new windows. I am still working on location for the most part, as the renovations are taking much longer than expected.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Few More Publications

I'm happy to report that I've had a few more acceptances. I have been recuperating from knee surgery so it is nice to have something cheerful to brighten the days! Being stuck in a chair for two weeks sure gave me a ton of editing and revision time. I was able to use that time to work on some poems I wrote in a recent workshop.

I finished revising From the Nest, submitted it to Noble / Gas Quarterly, which is a magazine I love, and got an acceptance. It was definitely the highlight of last week.

This week's highlight is having 22 staples removed from my knee and graduating to walking with a cane.

Back to poetry and writing - additional November acceptances:

A lovely new journal that I enjoy, Ariel Chart, has accepted a piece of flash fiction entitled Death Is Not a Stranger Here.

Ginosko Literary Journal has accepted my poem Stranger Spots a Young Boy.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Recent and Upcoming Publications

I've been submitting work recently and have had a few pieces published or accepted for future publication. I thought I'd update it in one post so it doesn't clog up the blog.

Califragile - This is a literary journal filled with beautiful poetry. I was very honored to have a piece accepted here! Not Even the Birds Can Be Trusted

One Sentence Poems - When I want to enjoy short poems, I turn to this site. This poem, about my dear little Scottie, found the perfect home with One Sentence Poems. Sophie

Origami Poems - These mini chapbooks are so lovely and simple. I found this site while I was obsessed with folding 1000 cranes for peace. (We folded 2000 and they are beautiful!) Origami Poems has accepted six of my poems to create a mini chapbook.

Halfway Down the Stairs - Feeling stale? Looking for a challenge? Halfway Down the Stairs has themed issues. The current theme of "spilt milk" inspired me to write a poem, which was accepted for publication in the December issue. Look for Que Sera, Kitchen next month.

Bones Journal - I have been experimenting with modern Haiku. Bones is a journal I devour and then go back and re-read a few more times as I await the next issue. I was incredibly pleased to have a piece accepted here. It will appear in an upcoming issue.

Failed Haiku - Another journal I really enjoy reading. You can find my Senryu in issue 22.

Manawaker Studio - This was a fun change of pace. I wrote a piece of flash fiction that was accepted for a podcast. The World Ended One Morning When I Was Almost Thirteen

I have a few more pieces scheduled to appear in upcoming journals. I will try to do another update soon.

A few notes on submitting to journals for aspiring poets and writers:

  1. Read the journal. Seriously. Before you submit, find at least a few sample pieces and read them. I don't know how many times I've thought a publication seemed perfect for a piece when I read the submission notes, only to read the actual published work and realize it is not right at all. 
  2. Polish your work. I once had a piece rejected because a team of readers couldn't get past the hyphen  that should have been a dash. I got a very nice rejection outlining what they loved, which was everything but the hyphen, and a request for more work without punctuation errors. A typo can kill a poem.
  3. Submit your stuff. Submit more. Rinse and repeat. I decided to do the collect 100 rejections challenge this year. I haven't gotten to 100 rejections yet, but I have received a number of acceptances from journals I admire. If you don't submit and you aren't willing to face rejection, you won't be published.
  4. Keep writing. Don't sit and refresh your email. Write new stuff. Write better stuff. Write. Write. Write. 
  5. Be open to improvement - Take a workshop. Take a class. Listen to editor feedback.
  6. Read more journals. Read chapbooks. The more you read, the better you'll become.
  7. Keep track of stuff. I use Submittable and Duotrope to stay organized. If you aren't submitting a ton of stuff, you can use a simple spreadsheet. I also use a folder system. Published work goes into the folder on my computer labeled Published Work. Poetry goes into Drafts and Finished Poetry folders. 

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? That's because it really is. Submitting your best work to journals that are the best fit leads to publication. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Braver Together

Oliver closed his eyes and wished for November. It didn't work. The spookiest time of the year was here. He ran over to his closet and pulled open the door.

A green monster cowered in the shadows.

"Aw, Sam, I'm so sorry," said Oliver. " I just was so worried about how scary Halloween is that I forgot to knock."

"Th..that's ok," said Sam. "I'm sc...scared, too."

"Maybe we can go trick or treating together," said Oliver. "No one will know you are really a monster. I'll wear my chicken costume."

" candy corn," said Sam.

"Deal," said Oliver.

The above children's short story is an entry in the Halloweensie Writing Contest.

Join the fun:

Friday, October 27, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 27 - Closet Dreams

Today's prompt was something to do with flowers and memories:

Closet Dreams

Lavender scent unwinds from unfurled buds
to send me back to the day I slipped into
my grandma's closet to don skyscraper red
heels and the fox stole with accusing marble eyes.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 21

When I Miss Baltimore

I bite into blandness -
close my eyes to savor
the homecoming that is
elbow macaroni with
staid American cheese
crusted with panko from
the can because even
crumbled crackers are
too sophisticated for
mac and cheese made 
from childhood memories.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 18 - And Still, the Rain

There were several prompts for today that I thought I'd use, but somehow they triggered a completely different poem. How did everyone went on eating become and still, the rain?

Three house sparrows
umbrella leaves
one cricket rides
a maple bark raft
and still, the rain.

the unheard song of the moon
revolving around the earth
revolving around the sun
ripples across grass peering
up through puddles that
have turned the lawn to sea
and still, the rain.

yellow mums prostrate themselves
to whisper prayers to the stars
the last of the corn sways to the
rhythm of the drops tambourining
praises on the barn's tin roof.
wheat stalks can barely
stretch to the sky to give
their hallelujahs
and still, the rain.

I'm not in love with this one. Too many things going on in one poem, I think. But that's what a rough draft is.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 15 -

So, I can't even say today's prompt without feeling queasy. I am going to skip it and write about something else because an ode to stomach viruses is not something I want to add to the world...

Dear cat,

I have
tried to
domesticate you with
feather toys and jingle balls
but the heart of the wild lives in
your eyes and you slink the walls
in search of prey     slaughter anything
that walks on eight legs - plot
your escape from the safety of
your prison at every window
pray for the moment when
I forget to pull the door
behind me.

Friday, October 13, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 13 - Sculpting a Poem

Sculpting a Poem

I pare off 
spare phrases that
run like seas of pearls
swirled in circles of
pure beauty

each cut slices
away extraneous gems
until the poem's heart
is exposed to beat
naked before the world

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 11

Today, one of the suggestions was playing with magnetic poetry tiles. I found some and had a bit of fun moving them around. I almost gave up on making a poem, though, until I put loon found flight together. From there, I got this:

loon finds flight
as fish sing the sun
into the morning sky
with rainbow scales

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 10 - Powerless

too busy to enjoy
breezes stroking my cheek
as they slip in the window
beside the desk
caress becomes a slap

grab A Lesson Before Dying
weigh down errant scraps holding
fragments of my mind before
they cyclone off the edge

through the window
trees sway like lovers
an oak asks the d.j. for
Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah
branch follows the beat
spins into power lines

in darkness, I finally find time
to admire the lightshow

Sunday, October 8, 2017

OctPoWriMo 8 - Ortho Exploration

Maybe it is because my knees are really reminding me why I need to go through with the impending surgery, but all the words I hear today remind me of my knee caps grinding away at each other. So, I guess it was no surprise that the word prompt resulted in this:

Ortho Exploration

x-ray uncovers bone kissed bone
does this hurt he asks and
I wonder if he moonlights 
as a comedian because 
he's been poking knees long enough
to know exactly where to jab 
his index finger so that the constant
buzz of little bees becomes 
happy chainsaws harvesting
chunks of pain from the inside out

Saturday, October 7, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 7 - Pear Shaped Confession

I plant the tree
the way one does
pour hopes and dreams 
into the hole 
along with water 
stake it straight 
fear the locusts rising 
fret as sudden squalls 
bend her almost in two

the years whirl by 
mulching pruning
occasional caress 
when no one
is around to see me
hugging a tree

finally she blooms 

I choose which 
small fruits will be given 
the chance to grow full-size
fret again 
stink bugs 
hurricane winds

the summer 
whirls by 
it is time

tree, I did not know you would be a lesson

hope for beauty
receive frankenfruit
misshapen lumpy 
mottled sick faced green
almost leave them 
on the tree 
to rot

but I cannot 
waste five years
so I pick the fruits
hide them away 
to ripen 

a month later 
I cut into them 
with reluctance 
find perfect flesh inside

Friday, October 6, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 6 - Loving Las Vegas

Well, I was a downer today...but this is where the thought of shadows walking with me went.

Loving Las Vegas

Sorrow's shadow casts long -
dims the colors of autumn joy
as the world spins in time
to the grieving of the hearts
beating out their loss.
But still, light spills in the shadow.
Another spring will come.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 5 - I Know Less than Ever as I Age

I was supposed to compose
a sonnet to my young self -
tell her all the things I know
now that I am older,
but I have discovered I know
less instead of more
the longer I breathe in air and
push it back out of my lungs
for the trees to clean and send
back to me for another round
of breathing while trying
to figure out how to right
an unrightable world.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 4 - Rowboat

I slip from the bed before the sun kisses the water,
pull on jeans cut off to hide torn out knees
shirt square from too many dances with the dryer
Keds with no memory of being in box white.
I snatch bread from the bag and fold it around peanut butter
untoasted because I see sun fingers stretching
and I am almost out of time to grab the duct taped rod
and Anne of Green Gables (third time this summer)
before I stake my claim to the blue rowboat that is beginning
to crave the bottom of the Bay and only skims the water
because we are more stubborn than it this summer.
I fall into the rhythm - row, bail, row, bail, but I stop
armpit high from the shore because stubborn isn't stupid
and toss the line without caring where it lands.
It is the view and the lullaby of the water against the
dying boat I crave, but the rod validates my claim
to a spot where siblings and cousins do not swarm
because no one will swim out to the boat -
have you seen what lurks beneath?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cherita - OctPoWriMo Day 3

Today's challenge was to try a new form, the Cherita. I've never heard of it before and will have to do some research to see if I was successful! I chose the word prompt "From the shadows." (Cheritas don't have titles, but if they did, I would call this Coyote Dreams.)

He waits, belly grounded.

She doesn’t forget - head count,
final lockdown, as sun says goodnight.

She knows he waits in the dark of shadows
for the night she comes after God hangs the moon -
won’t serve her hens up on a careless platter.

Penny on the lookout for danger

Monday, October 2, 2017

Why Do I Write? OctPoWriMo Day 2

Why do I write poetry? Because the words and phrases pile up until I don't have room for stuff like the grocery list if I don't.

My mind carousels unchecked
until I reach for my pencil
to free words trapped on one long ride.
The first spill from the carnival in my brain,
jumbled, tumbled, muttered, mumbled.
As they pile onto the paper, I pluck this word, that,
and shuttle them into lines of possibility. As the lines
wind into stanzas, the carousel stills and
the last few words are pulled from its almost empty
brightness to finish a rough draft.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

America in My Veins - OctPoWriMo Challenge 1

This month is something I've been looking forward to - OctPoWriMo! Today, I went with the prompt from the organizer for my poem, which is to think about who I came from. 

America in My Veins

I follow the strands from my soul
to the places that birthed me -
discover Scottish blood in an Irish hut.
Look for all Italian on the other side -
find instead that the People flowed 
through half of my grandmother,
spilled down into me.

(Disclaimer...all poems posted this month are very rough drafts - I typically go through 4-5 edits and weeks of debate before I consider a poem ready to publish. This is for fun, stretching muscles, getting out of ruts and creating a body of rough drafts I may harvest lines from here and there.)


Sunday, August 20, 2017

August 2017 Eclipse

Since my studio is currently all packed in preparation for a move to a new location in September, I've been a bit at loose ends photography wise and have been writing a lot of poetry. Here's today's poem:


The shadow of the moon
steps to the table -
Takes a nibble of the sun’s corona.

Enjoys the taste -
takes a bigger bite and then
consumes the heart.

Night falls without sunset.
One minute, two,
before Helios remakes itself.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

What Is Spring? Science Beginning Reader Book

I am working on a series of beginning readers using some of the nature and animal photos I take. My first book, What Is Spring? is available now in Amazon's Kindle Store.

This book is designed with just a few words on each page and is ideal for children who have just started to read to enjoy with a parent's help. I am working on several beginning readers that are the next level up and have several simple sentences on each page, as well.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, the book is free. Otherwise, What Is Spring is available for purchase through the Kindle store. 

For parents who are homeschooling, here is a fun activity you can do after reading the book:

Nature Walk

You Will Need:
  • What Is Spring?
  • Small notebook and crayons or colored pencils
  • Magnifying glass
  • Binoculars
To Do This Activity:
  • Take a quiet walk through a park or around your neighborhood and look for some of the things you read about in the book.
  • Listen for sounds that will help you find birds, snakes and other critters. For example, I found the snake pictured in the book because he slithered across some dry leaves.
  • Look for flashes of color and movement. Sometimes, you won't see a bird until it flies to another branch.
  • Use the binoculars to look at things that are far away.
  • Use the magnifying glass to examine things that are up close.
  • Help your child record observations in the notebook. He or she may want to draw some of the most exciting things you see.