Sunday, October 31, 2010

What frightens you? Comp newsflash

Because I'm having trouble contacting my winners (no responses), I've decided to open this comp up to everyone - just email me with your postal address (US and CA only I'm afraid), and the subject line Literary Life, and I'll choose the first entry as the winner!  The October episode of Penguin's The Literary Life podcast investigates fright: that disturbing feeling that can spring from the most unlikely of places—even the pages of books. Sarah Waters joins Penguin to discuss her newest book, The Little Stranger, a gothic novel and finalist for the Man Booker Prize that critics have compared to Henry James and Edgar Allen Poe. Koren Zailckas, author of Smashed and Fury joins us to rant about what not to do when reading your own audiobook in our latest installation of The Writer's Rant. Rich Hasselberger explains why designing a book jacket for a thriller is different than for a paranormal romance and Kristin Hersh, founder of the band Throwing Muses, talks about her memoir Rat Girl.   Because Penguin knows how much I like to give away books, they've offered me a copy of one of the featured books (your choice).  To win, just make sure you're following us.  I'll choose the winner at random from followers.  Giveaway will only run for this week, so don't delay!  Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blooming Red

Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational (Volume 1)My writing partner Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I figure that nothing is more meaningful at any holiday than a poem - a real poem, not sing-song impersonal limericks from the shelves of card shops.  With that in mind we've created the Celebration Series of chapbooks and have just released our 4th book, Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational.  Literature lovers everywhere can order these chapbooks, with full-cover covers by prize-winning artist Vicki Thomas, for only $3 each.  That's $75 for 25 of the most memorable holiday greetings you've ever sent out.  It's a budget-concious gift and card all in one.  The book includes a range of poetry inspired by the end of year holidays.

The chapbooks in the Celebration Series include Cherished Pulse (for anyone you love), also with artwork from Vicki Thomas; She Wore Emerald Then (for mothers on your gift list) with photographs by May Lattanzio; Imagining the Future: For Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions (for the men in your life). And now Blooming Red for the special folks on your holiday list.  All are available individually at only $6.95 on Amazon, but are only $3 each when ordered in quantities of 25 or more directly from the poets.  Put HOLIDAY ORDER in the subject line and send an e-mail to Carolyn. She will make arrangements with you directly for the additional shipping cost for the number you order.

Here's a sample poem from the collection read by me:  Silent Symphony

and another:

Carol to the Universe

Take down the tree
tinsel trash tidied
broken baubles swept
garbage bag wrappings
through greedhaze
glitter snowglobe
lights off
into the new

A carol to the universe
held in one breath
between motion
and inertia
kiss of the godless
earth mother lump
to her quantum
every tap of the keyboard
a newbie springs forth.

No need for
leather clad rulebooks
ark over flood
fatherly edicts
no sacrifices in blood

This is a rational zone
so many years on

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Karen Cioffi's Day's End Lullaby

Day's End LullabyDay's End Lullaby
By Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman
BookSurge Publishing
Paperback: 28 pages, September 2, 2008, ISBN-13: 978-1419691577

Routine is the heart of any good sleep routine for young children, and reading a ‘wind-down’ story is perfect for that. It’s a moment of closeness and warmth that children take with them into the night and can provide the kind of security that not only leads to a good night’s sleep (every parent’s ideal), but to a broader sense of general security that underlies so much of the insecurity that comes with growing up. So a book that facilitates the end of day routine for young children like Day’s End Lullaby, is more powerful than the simple rhyming text and soft images might suggest. One of the things I like most about this storybook is that it ends with the text in sheet music – a song that you could sing to your child after reading the book and looking at the pictures. Sing it softly, in a voice that fades out towards the end, and a goodnight kiss is all you need to send your child off to a delicious slumber. The images themselves are in marker, crayon and acrylic, and effectively convey the transition between the high energy of day and the delicate rest of night. The use of rhyme, colour and music is perfectly proportioned, making this a lovely gift book for any young child.

Karen Cioffi is a published author, ghostwriter-for-hire, freelance writer, and reviewer. She is the creator and manager of VBT Writers on the Move (a marketing group of authors utilizing cross-promotion and a number of promotional strategies); co-moderator of a children’s critique group; on the team at DKV Writing 4 U (offers professional and affordable writing services, blog and basic website creation); and an acquisitions editor intern. More information about Karen can be found at her website:


Tommorow, Viriginia Grenier is hosting Margaret Fieland at her blog The Writing Mama.