Showing posts with label collection of poems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collection of poems. Show all posts

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Journey to Publication

My Psychedelic photo, simply because I like it


 My tween/YA science fiction, "Relocated," has just been published by MuseItUp Publishing, and I've published the book of poems, "Sand in the Desert," I wrote to go along with the book through CreateSpace in print and kindle formats.  How did I get here? Good luck, working at my craft, a father who insisted on proper grammar, and some level of ability.

I've written poetry as far back as I can remember. I kept it in a series of spiral notebooks that accumulated in my attic, wrote cards for holidays birthdays, co-workers leaving the office, and the occasional small newsletter. Along about 2005 I wrote a poem I wanted to keep, so I scrounged around online and ended up putting them in Yahoo briefcase (online) as I had too many computers to keep them on just one

That December I was reading an ezine I liked and discovered they had a poetry. I believe the theme was 'sleep',  I  had a poem to fit it. Since it was handy (read online),  I sent it in, and the poem was one of four runners-up., I didn't win.

But they published all four of the finalists, and I was psyched. I joined a couple of online communities and started working on my poetry. In one of them, I ran across someone who was starting a small print poetry mag (since died, I believe). He liked and published a couple of my poems. That was early 2006. I found out about "The Muse Online Writers Conference," (free, online virtual conference) and "attended" that October.

There I "met" Linda Barnett Johnson. Linda runs writers forum, and she insisted that her students join both fiction and poetry forums. Poetry alone was not an option.

At  that point, I'd never written a word of fiction (at least, not since elementary school ), and I would have sworn I never would. However, I liked Linda, and I wanted to join the poetry forum, so I signed up. I started writing for children, as that felt less intimidating - and shorter. As a poet, I was a terse writer, and generating sufficient word count worried me. My first story ended up published online. It was a *long* time until I placed another, but thus encouraged, I continued to write fiction.

Many years ago, a family friend lost his wife and all four of his children in a house fire. This incident had haunted me ever since, and one weekend I wrote a 5000 word book in which the main character, a nine-year-old boy, lost his mother in a house fire. I couldn't change my friend's outcome, but in my fictional world, I could.

I spent the next year and a half or two years whipping it into shape. Although I have (and had) a good ear for language and a solid knowledge of grammar, I knew little about structuring a story. I set out to learn about plotting, characterization, dialogue, setting, points-of-view, and, yes, more grammar. I joined a critique group and took the ICL basic course. I hung out on Writers Village University and took their free fiction course and a couple of others that proved extremely helpful. The story was accepted for publication. It won't be out until next year.

Fast forward to September, 2010. I am a huge science fiction fan, but I'd never written a sci fi story -- I had kind of a phobia about it -- so I decided I'd do Nano (National Novel Writing Month) that November, and began to plan my story.

I devoted most of my time and energy to world building, a bit to thinking about the characters, and devoted about  a page to the plot. Then I started writing. I heard about an online editing workshop given through Savvy Authors. Through Savvy, I connected with a publisher and submitted the manuscript. It was rejected. They liked it, but not enough to publish it. I worked on the manuscript, including strengthening the ending. That June, I pitched to Lea Schizas and she accepted it.

Backtrack to November 2010. Robert Brewer runs a chapbook challenge on his PoeticAsides blog. I wanted to participate, so I created a poet to go with the universe of the novel and wrote 31 of his poems that November. I used eight of the poems in the novel, as I worked studying the poems into the plot.

"Relocated" has just been published by MuseItUp Publishing I  brought all the poems out as a book, which I self-published through CreateSpace.
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You can find Margaret Fieland on her blog, http://www.margaretfieland.com/ or on the Poetic Museling's blog, http://poetic-muselings.net/


Also check out these excerpts from Relocated on the publisher's blog: http://museituppublishing.blogspot.com/2012/07/relocated-excerpts.html

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grammatical Memory

I wanted to write a post about parts of speech, subjects, objects and all that. One of the reasons is my annoyance over misuse of pronouns, especially two cases: after prepositions, and as subjects of an implied phrase, but I quickly fell into the mire of memory. You see, I remember all this stuff, the grammar, the parts of speech, the rules of usage, because my father drummed the rules relentlessly into my head. Almost every night at dinner featured discussions about some point of grammar.

In French, the rules are simple: if the pronoun is the subject of the verb, AND it comes right before the verb, it's the subjective form.
But in English, what is a subject is a little more complicated:

Jack is taller than I.

Why? Because "I" is the subject of the implied phrase, "than I am."

and:

It's I, or was, when I was in school.

Here are two old poem of mine. I give them to you unedited, in its original form, in spite of my itch to revise them.

This is why I remember my grammar.

If You Were Still Alive


In spite of what I know everyone says
About each successive generation

Being deficient,
Not as able,
Morally superior
Or grammatically correct

As the one before,

I am privately convinced
Of the truth of the proposition
That today's youth's knowledge
Of the English language

Is sadly lacking,

And that even those
Who should know better,

To wit,

Those writing for the local paper,
Do not know how to properly use pronouns

Or, indeed,

That English has a subjunctive,
A fact that you revealed to me
When I came home and told you
That French had a subjunctive but that

English didn't

So I just wanted to say that I still remember
All that stuff and that in spite of my

Extreme annoyance

At your continual repetition of the entire rule
And its complete explanation,
Every time I said,

"It's me"

I want you to know that every time
I hear someone misuse a pronoun
I not only mutter under my breath,
But I think of you and think,

"If you were still alive..."




Seasons



You took out the garbage
and got lost outside your apartment,
unable to recognize your front door.

That night you wandered naked
down the hall. I waited for you to flinch
as you recognized me, your daughter.

You never noticed me,
instead continued to the bathroom,
where you attempted, fruitlessly, to pee.

Your pubic hair was gray. When had
you gotten so old?

Where was the father who taught
me to make scrambled eggs,
pledging me never to add milk?

Where was the father who argued
about gerunds over dinner?


In the morning I took you to
Mount Sinai hospital, where
they diagnosed prostate trouble,
admitted you.

When we took your grandsons to see you;
you barely remembered their names:
your mind, once so sharp, now rusted.

We moved you to the nursing home
near Trinity Church. When we came to visit
we would go across to the church
and pray.

I had to take care of you.

It was my time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Up to my Eyeballs with Eyeball.

By Kevin McNamee

Fall is here and Halloween is on its way.  So now is a perfect time for me to talk about a poetry collection I’m involved with titled, An Eyeball in My Garden: And Other Spine-Tingling Poems .  I have been very busy promoting this collection recently, since it is a seasonal book.

This poetry collection was put together by me and thirteen other terrifyingly talented poets. It contains everything from the humorous, to the creepy, to the absolutely sinister, this collection is designed to tickle your funny bone and then perhaps, gnaw right through it.

So before the trick or treaters arrive, you may want to introduce yourself to some ghoulish delights like the monster in Winking Wot Warning, or to try a dish off the Mummy’s Menu, or to really find out Where Nightmares Dwell, if you dare.  You’ll be glad you did.

Please visit An Eyeball In My Garden website for Halloween craft ideas, fun and spooky interviews, and cats wrapped in tin foil.


What Others are Saying

Horn Book (Spring 2011): "This compilation of new poems covers scary as well as silly Halloween territory. For every truly chilling ghost train, there's a witch's shopping list or a monster that turns out to be the speaker's own reflection. Easily flowing meter in most of the pieces makes for smooth read-alouds. Black-and-white ink illustrations are appropriately spooky."

Publishers Weekly August 9, 2010- Gr 4-7— Readers should be prepared to shiver and shake through these 44 poems about ghosts, gargoyles, and more. Olander adorns each page with ominous ink images of spiders, monsters, and other terrors, while the verses temper horror (Craig W. Steele’s “Where Nightmares Dwell”: “I know too well/ What creatures lurk/ Where nightmares live and grow.../ The shadows found me years ago!”) with humor (Stella Michel’s “Mummy’s Menu” includes “Blackened pudding filled with flies,/ Crispy scarab beetle pies”). Whether it’s Halloween or not, this creepy collection will please readers with a taste for the supernatural.


This book is available from Marshall Cavendish, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or ask your local book store. 

Be sure to check out my poems, Our Neighborhood and The Gargoyle


Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet living in Yonkers, N.Y.  He is the author of several children’s books and is a contributing author to this poetry collection.

To find out more about Kevin, please visit his website at http://www.kevinmcnamee.com/ or his blog at http://www.kevinmcnameechildrensauthor.blogspot.com/.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

THE WILD SOCCER BUNCH, KEVIN THE STAR STRIKER



Title: The Wild Soccer Bunch, Kevin the Star Striker
Ages: Middle Grade
Author: Joachim Masannek
Illustrator: Jan Brick
Hardback: 145 pgs
Publisher: Sole Books
Publication Date: 2010, Wild Soccer USA, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9844257-0-9
Reviewed by Kathy Stemke

Kevin, the star striker, grabs your attention immediately with his action packed description of each member of the Wild Bunch. The action continues with down to earth dialogue as we experience their passionate love and devotion to the game of soccer. With the birth of spring, each unique personality must overcome many obstacles just to get to the soccer field.

When they finally manage to get to the field, they find themselves surrounded by Mickey the bulldozer and his gang, the Unbeatables. This older, bigger, and meaner gang has taken over the field.

Kevin explains, “He (Mickey the bulldozer) stomped across the wet field; his every step turned the muddy water into steam. The ground shook. So did his flabby paunch. But underneath all that fat were iron muscles and a black heart.”
Instead of running, the Wild Bunch stands their ground and challenges the Unbeatables to the most important game of their lives. The winner takes back the field.

When they turn to Larry, the alcoholic lemonade guy and ask for help, they are in for a few surprises. The Wild Bunch learns many life lessons about teamwork and perseverance from their new coach. Their struggles and hard work also improve their soccer skills. With some unexpected twists and turns in the story, you’ll wonder until the end if this bunch has the stuff to win.

As a retired teacher, who has taught many reluctant readers, I highly recommend this inspiring book. The fast paced action and gritty dialogue that flows through every chapter will captivate boys everywhere. Readers will find themselves rooting for these average boys who become super heroes by their sheer determination to win.

CREATE A SOCCER SHAPE POEM

Create the words for your poem below! Write whatever words come into your mind for each of the three words below. I'll give some examples.

Soccer (nouns): speed, game, friends, skill, Wild Bunch, ball,

Descriptive words (Adjectives): fun, fast, rugged, zoom,

Rhyming words: breed, fame, trends, kill, tall, call, sun, last, blast, boom,

CREATE YOUR POEM

Use some of the words above to create a shape poem in the soccer ball. Remember your words can flow anywhere in the shape, but make sure readers can follow your poem. You don't need to use all the words. Have fun!




Kathy's websites:

Moving Through all Seven Days link:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/kathy-ann-stemke/moving-through-all-seven-days/ebook/product-5251681.html


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Helena Harper: Family and More - Enemies or Friends?


I recently read Helena Harper's Family and More - Enemies or Friends? and am pleased to post my review on VBT - Writers on the Move. Helena is a member of our merry band!

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is more than a collection of poems, it is a story I enjoyed and learned from. As you read this book it becomes clear that the author put a great deal of time and effort into the choice of every word used. Each poem has a melodic flow that moves smoothly into the next.

Family and More enlightens the reader to the conflicts and confusion that exist in a family divided by war. Being the child of a German mother and English father in the aftermath of WWII, the author delves into her family’s history by examining the lives of several family members as well as other personal relationships. Each poem is an intertwined life. With descriptive imagery these people come alive; you see their struggles and triumphs.

This wonderful poetic story goes beyond a family history; it depicts the futility, frustration and hardship of war, along with the frailties and strengths of the people that make up each of our families.

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is a beautifully written book. I highly recommend it.

You can contact Helena at: webmaster@helenaharper.com

To learn more you can visit Helena at:

Author's website: http://www.helenaharper.com


Karen Cioffi

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