Archive for the ‘New experiences’ Category

Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone and having this incredibly deep conversation where time melts away and you end up discussing things you never thought you would?

Neil Gaiman’s latest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was a little bit like that for me–I became immersed in the story, and it felt like I was having a conversation with this world of imagination, where things that I had not realized were dormant woke up, and demanded to be expressed.

Of all the books I’ve read, I’ve never had to stop to write a poem, but with “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” audiobook, I hit pause three times and the poems fell out. I’m posting them below in their first draft form (see preface with the adjustments I made).

Possibly unnecessary fine print: I don’t want to color anyone’s view of Mr. Gaiman’s story itself, as poetry comes from weird places and sometimes has an oblique connection to the inspiration. So I disclaim any relationship between the poetry and the plot of the story.

I’ll post my official review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane later, but as I’m going to meet Mr. Gaiman on his last US book tour, I thought I would share my experiences and — for what they’re worth — my poetry.

This is the kind of poetry I’ve been writing a lot of – it feels like I have various people inside me that have things that need to be said, and if I don’t let them have their moment, they throw hissy fits that come out in other ways in my life. I would usually not share some of it – like “Things We Fear” – because I don’t want to let that darkness out, but I’m learning from Mr. Gaiman how to celebrate the spectrum that is life, and to let it come out in my writing and share it anyway.

Preface: I don’t remember the order these were written. As they are first draft, they’re all untitled but I’m putting pilot-titles for now. My first drafts also don’t usually contain any punctuation or verse breaks, because I hear the rhythm in my head and don’t need them, but I added some punctuation here because it’s expected. I’m still trying to work out the right balance of punctuation since I sort of expect everyone to instill their own rhythm to the words and the imposition of mine feels somewhat intrusive.

Butterfly Wings

Catch the butterfly
Before it goes away.
Put it in a jar
If its beauty will be contained.

But vividness changes—
When we try to hold it still
Its dynamic nature
Won’t permit motionlessness.

Life is vivid—
Changing all the time.
We try to hold our breath;
Catch the butterfly by its wing.
But life won’t be contained
And it flies away.

Things We Fear

The fear of knowing
That it’s coming
Is not quite as terrible
As the fear of knowing
It is already here—
Always waiting.

That the moment I let go of my hold
My guard
I will be assailed
By people long gone
By truths I’ve discovered already
To be false
But are made real again
When that cruel knowledge—
The certainty that I’ve already lost—
Attacks me once again.

As I’ve gotten older
It’s a little bit better;
I see it coming—
Feel the veil between
Reality now
Reality then
And nothing but empty promises
Can comfort me.
And only sometimes can the assurances
Remind me it’s over.

But as I’m older
I also despair
That it’s never over.
Time doesn’t heal so much
As creates a promise of distance.

And we have opportunities
For other truths
Stronger realities
To stand between
The hopelessness of a child
Trapped, terrified, alone—
And an adult, bigger
Less bound by the whims of others.

Now I can trust the sense
Of entrapment, loneliness and fear
That fades but never leaves
Will at least seem gone by morning.

Gossamer and granite

Bittersweet magic
Moments, realities
Dreams, almosts—
Better thans and could-have-beens,
Just likes, one days,
When I Grow Up—
All the things that paint our days
And taint our pasts
And lead us to now.

All there to explore
And discover through new eyes.

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I just discovered that several of my articles/reviews from Blogcritics were picked up by the Seattle Post Intelligencer and they have reprinted them! This has never happened before, and coupled with the number of places and people that posted my works on their FB, MySpace, tweeted, and generally spread the word, I was quite overwhelmed.

Here are the links to Seattle PI:

Adult Fairy Tale “The Crystal Scepter” by C.S. Lakin.

Jazz album “Wanderlust” by Cliff Hines.

Modern Retelling of Rapunzel “Rapunzel Untangled” by Cindy C. Bennett.

YA novel with mystery, suspense, and hints of magical realism “Being Henry David” by Cal Armistead.

YA/NA bittersweet romance, “The Sea of Tranquility” by Katja Millay.

An original article “Keeping Promises.. And Readers”.

I’ve had 51 publications in this year so far! That is more than double my entire career’s worth from 2000 to the end of 2012… and I had 13 publications in December, which is 64 total publications in ten weeks!

I’ve become a bit impersonal in my posts and I apologize. I threw out seeds to the wind, hoping for a flower or two, and instead I’ve got a wild garden–it’s beautiful, intense and unexpected, but the kind of thing I dreamed about in the back of my mind. I’ll write more personal posts soon… I’ve got promises to keep to authors, interviewees… and in fact, I have been asked to be interviewed myself, for How to Tell a Great Story, which is just awesome!

I’m working to catch up with the things I said I could do — back when I thought I could super-power my way through — and I’ll try to catch my breath and share more with you along the way. I’ve got promises to keep with you, too… and those are by far the most important. Thanks for bearing with me, and for all your support through this amazing ride.🙂

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My first article (not a review) has been published on Blogcritics: “Changing Perspectives: An Attitude and an Education That Helps Me Navigate the Publishing Industry”.

I have also had a few of my previous articles accepted for republication on a website for writers (How to Tell a Great Story).

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My first music review has been published on Blogcritics.

This was a new experience as my education in how to review music came from The Art of Assessment (by Magdalena Ball), reading a few music reviews, and having music as part of the fabric of my existence, for as far back as I can remember. I’m grateful to Jon Sobel and the Blogcritics team for helping me learn the ropes.

These are the kind of experiences where the best kinds of payment aren’t monetary, but through guidance and newfound opportunity.

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Last November, Ms. Christina Hamlett invited me to join her as a fellow interviewer for her website You Read It Here First. She has offered me resources and guidance through the last author interviews I’ve done with WOW! (Women on Writing) and in the first week of January, she announced me as a Literary Associate for You Read It Here First.

My first interview has been posted and while this is a reprint of my interview with Amy Friedman from Blogcritics, it is also the first interview that I worked with Ms. Hamlett on. I am honored that it has been accepted as a repost for You Read It Here First.

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On December 27th, my friend Elisa Bonnin published her debut novel Arbiter, a YA Fantasy, through Vittoriosa Books. It is available on as a Kindle ebook, and at least for today it’s a free download. (Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can read the book on a variety of devices, like the PC, MAC, Blackberry, Android, etc.)

Check it out at “Arbiter (Young Adult Blockbusters)”.

In her Acknowledgments, Elisa writes “This book could not have come about without the support of my family… my friends, particularly Lauryn, who put up with my insanity, and Joanna, who helped me edit the book and pointed out several truths that were hard to swallow.”

This is the first fiction novel that I’ve ever edited that has been published, and it’s the first time I have ever been acknowledged beyond having my name listed at the front along with the other editors (as has been the case with the anthologies I’ve contributed to). Usually my work as an editor is unacknowledged by default, something that happens behind the scenes and for which I can usually take little credit for the end result. (The best editor, like the film editor, should be invisible, and one would have to be a self-centered jerk to go around saying “Yes, in that passage there, I fixed a typo, and I was the one who said to put a bridge there.”)🙂

In this case, though, I encouraged Elisa to submit the manuscript to a publisher and I edited the book, chapter by chapter, so I had a special attachment to the story. I told her she made me want to become an agent, to make sure work like this got published, even though I had yet to read the final version. That she got published, by an outside publisher, a couple of months after we finished the editing project, is so inspiring! It goes to show that all these fancy rules about the necessary platform and experience and publication credits are not always true.

I hope to do an interview with Elisa shortly, in terms of how she pitched the book (first in a series of five books), what her process of publication was like, and how she is promoting the book. I’ve downloaded the final version, which I’m excited to read in one sitting, and I’ll write a book review. (That may not happen for about two weeks, though, while I catch up on other work projects. In the meantime, I’ve pitched the review to E & K Family Book Review for publication.)

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As part of the WOW! (Women on Writing) Blog Tours for Dancing at the Shame Prom and The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton – Book One: Crash-Landing on Ooleeoo, I have had both book reviews accepted for publication on

The links are and

I will post both book reviews on my website shortly.

Check out my interview with Tilda Pinkerton on December 21st, and my interview with Amy Friedman, contributor to Dancing at the Shame Prom, on January 11th.

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