Let the Good Times Roll

Remember the Summer Blowout sale we did in August?

I can’t believe how much my hair has grown and changed since then. (I’ll share pics when we get back from vacay.) Nor can I believe ‘somebody’ failed to inform Google of an end date for the sale so guess what?

Yep! All of the titles are still at crazy low prices. How low, you ask? So low it’s a good thing the awesome daughter is picking up the tab for the cruise.

Oh well, let the good times roll and Happy Fall Y’all.

HEADER Book google books.jpg

Fall in love with reading Happy Fall Y'all.jpg

From Port Lavaca to Rockport-Fulton & Back

Four weeks into the aftermath of Hateful Harvey – – the hurricane from hell.

If you have ever visited/lived in the Texas Coastal Bend you know how charming it was… how charming it will be again!

Yes, Harvey wreaked havoc, destroyed homes, businesses and even lives but he did not break the spirit!

harvey landfall august 25 017
There was so much more to photograph. There were weary folks still digging through the ruble, swatting at mosquitoes and pausing to cry. The locals and volunteers shared kinship and friendship and displayed such gratitude for the simplistic things; basic items like trash bags, bug spray, and gloves – things we tend to take for granted on an average day.

Humbling.

Sorry, I did not have the heart to pick up a camera in those seconds of pained expressions amidst devastation – the ones that make for cover worthy photos. I simply lived in the moment and tried not to infringe upon their privacy or their grief.

Hold on, there is a point to this — Help!

This is the fourth consecutive year I have been honored to be a judge in the FAC annual teen scholastic/literary/poetry event. This year was even more exciting because I am still alive and it was the first reason I have had to shuck my pajamas since last year. Just kidding! But seriously, FAC added a short story contest. Yay!the-pose-533x800.jpg

FAC logoA little aside: Forney Arts Council hosts the annual event but an invitation to participate is extended to several surrounding cities. Just FYI Forney is a booming little town about a stone’s throw east of Dallas Texas.

Just look at the beautiful poets and writers of our future.

Some of them receiving their first check for following their passion.

winners FAC compition

The winners

I am so proud of every single one of them. I know their parents and teachers are too; and the fabulous lady (Tiffany) with a passion for art that keeps this thing going.

Hold on, there is a point to this post —

What was it? ….

Oh yes, Help!

I need your help. It won’t cost you a dime and only a minute of your time.

What? Why? How? You ask?

Well, you see I am scheduled to give a talk/presentation next month on the art of the short story. Actually it is The Art of the Short Story & Micro/Flash Fiction.

The problem (other than the typical butterflies) is I know why I read and write short stories/flash fiction but I would love some input as to why others do.

Is it attention span? Time constraints? Challenge? Amusement? Something else?

If this thing works right I have inserted two polls, one for writers and another for readers. If not…  the comments section is always open.

Thanks Y’all.

Why do you read short stories?
(polls)

Why do you write short stories?

(polls)

Let’s Talk About It Tuesday (A Poem & A Picture)

Let’s Talk Poe(try). What would National Poetry Month be without some Poe?

Talk Alone A Poem & A Picture

It seems Edgar Allan Poe was born an orphan and subsisted as a lonely dejected urchin all his life. His father David Poe Jr. abandoned his mother Elizabeth early on. A couple of years after his disappearance Elizabeth Poe died of tuberculosis; all before little Eddie was three years old.

A couple named John and Frances Allan took Edgar into their home and fostered him until adulthood or the age of eighteen. At 18 Poe joined the United States Army under the alias Edgar A. Perry claiming to be twenty-two years old because he could not [reportedly] find gainful employment

Tick tock tick tock.

Frances died and Poe was disowned by John Allan—the men had been at odds for some time. Poe did not turn out be the man Allan expected and Allan turned out to be a man Poe despised. One could not abide the other’s vices. That is my summation.

Poe had problems. He drank too much, dreamed too much and lived with depression. That’s undoubtedly obvious.

Tick tock tick tock.

Poe married his first cousin Virginia when he was 26, she was half his age.  Yeah, and after a decade of harmony guess what? January 30th 1847 she died of tuberculosis.

Alone again and in failing health Poe became increasingly unstable. On October 3rd 1849 he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore bedraggled and in a state of delirium. Four days later on October 7th 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in hospital. Alone.

Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were – I have not seen

As others saw – I could not bring

My passions from a common spring –

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow – I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone –

And all I lov’d – I lov’d alone –

Then – in my childhood – in the dawn

Of a most stormy life – was drawn

From ev’ry depth of good and ill

The mystery which binds me still –

From the torrent, or the fountain –

From the red cliff of the mountain –

From the sun that ’round me roll’d

In its autumn tint of gold –

From the lightning in the sky

As it pass’d me flying by –

From the thunder, and the storm –

And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)

Of a demon in my view –

The poem was never printed during Poe’s lifetime. It was first published by E. L. Didier in Scribner’s Monthly for September of 1875, in the form of a facsimile. The facsimile, however, included the addition of a title and date not on the original manuscript. That title was “Alone,” which has remained. Doubts about its authenticity, in part inspired by this manipulation, have since been calmed. The poem is now seen as one of Poe’s most revealing works. Original available Maryland Historical Society

The official cause of death is not recorded, perhaps it is not known. Speculations abound. Alcoholism, tuberculosis, syphilis, encephalitis, concurrent disease, murder…

All I know is this: He was only forty years old and was (like most of us) his own worst enemy. Despite his inner darkness I think Edgar Allan Poe managed to shine a light. I pray he is not alone and that the demon no longer hinders his view.

His remains are buried at Westminster Hall Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

Write Your Own II (A Poem & A Picture)

Write Your Own A Poem & A Picture

This post was intended as part of Wordless Wednesday but I have to say this. I do not/did not expect a public response but in last weeks Write Your Own (A Poem & A Picture) Sarah replied with a beautiful piece blending the poem and the picture. I must say it was a very pleasant surprise. I understand many of us are timid about publicizing our words/thoughts; potentially exposing ourselves to ridicule but if any of you would like to make your take of the photo in the reply section I would love to read it.

Bat-Shit Crazy & Indie Update

Can you believe it has been 4 years since I posted The First Year as an Indie (Lessons Learned)?

So much has changed… yet stayed the same.

I have created new works and destroyed old ones.

I have watched literary markets as well as loved ones come and go.

I pretty much left the ‘pertinent’ social media scenes. Why? For a few reasons, just pick one or make one up – that’s always fun.

New authors have asked, “Did decreasing media presence hurt book sales?”

My answer: “Laws yes! But you know what? I still do not give a flying rat’s fanny.”

I am sorry if that’s not the ‘right’ answer but it is my answer… my truth.  That is the beauty of being an independent author.

Another truth is I was in “an unhealthy state of dealing with stress” – that is a sophisticated way of saying I was “bat-shit crazy in the midst of a nervous breakdown.”

Social media [as well as life] was becoming a struggle to keep up with; it was also getting in the way of Getting Me Back.

Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) is scheduled to release March 31st, it is available for pre-order now. Go ahead and order it so you will have it in time for NPM (National Poetry Month)

If you have never had a nervous breakdown, I would not recommend embarking on that journey.

If you want a peek at what my journey was/is like, I’d recommend reading Getting Me Back.

If you are currently bat-shit crazy in the midst of a nervous breakdown definitely get some help and read Getting Me Back. Hey, we can journey together.

 

P.S. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

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