Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Media Release: Letting Our Customers Choose Their Poison…or Their Layer Cake

She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections On MotherhoodMedia Announcement

Carolyn Howard-Johnson e-mail:

Magdalena Ball e-mail:

For Immediate Release

Letting Our Customers Choose Their Poison…or Their Layer Cake
World Wide Web—Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson are poetry partners who believe in letting their customers have their poetry in whatever flavour they want. Up to now their Celebration Series of chapbooks have been available in print, for Kindle and other readers. But now most (with more coming!) are available at Barnes and Noble’s Nook.

Nook is Barnes & Noble’s answer to the Kindle--it’s an e-book reader which is available in both colour and a black and white version. The new black and white is priced slightly cheaper than Amazon’s so there has been a lot of competition between the two leading to cheaper e-books and lots of freebies! We’re all for anything that encourages reading though, so we say, bring it on. Learn more here:
The chapbooks that are now available for Nook are:
Imagining the Future, for fathers and other masculine apparitions for $4.75:
Blooming Red, our unconventional chapbook of Christmas poetry will soon be available on Nook and so will our newest member of our inexpensive series that celebrates women called Deeper Into The Pond.
Artists who have contributed artwork for the covers of our chapbook series are Vicki Thomas, May Lattanzio, and Jacquie Schmall.
For more information on any of the chapbooks in this poetry series, contact either of the authors or visit media rooms at or  .

Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest blog: What is Creative Expression to you?

by Joyce White

 Exploring creativity and creative expression in the arts are catalysts for healing & therapy. Research by Professor Semir Zeki demonstrates that even looking at art stimulates our brains; creating the same chemical response as when we are in love. This is just further evidence that creative expression like art and writing may prove beneficial for those that are feeling down or depressed.

It occurs to me some might wonder if being creative is something we are or something we do.  I imagine trying means not doing but we all use our creative license differently. In reality, many of us may have to pull from our guts a word or image, while another may seem to pull it out of the air. In any regards, practice makes perfect.  

Many of us must have to work hard to find our secret place; and sadly, some never do.  I’ve heard it said "Don’t let yourself die with the music still in you. " The Creativity-Portal at, tells us and I agree, that “we are creating new worlds and reinventing ourselves through the details of existing ones.”  

Since I am most interested in the healing aspects of Creative Expression, I write articles and book reviews for Global Healing Exchange at This is a good site for sending all kinds of healing articles like art therapy, poem therapy and articles about the psychology of man. There are even chat rooms and public forms of all kinds that welcome our questions and input.

In a sense, we will never be able to stretch our wings and fly free as artists and writers, if we let supposed ownership keep us from gifting our uniqueness to others. It takes faith in us, our gifts and our Creator to move through mental blocks like fear, negativity and self-doubt.

When it comes to writing, I think it is important we never write something that hurts your head or our heart.  We need to take ourselves and our craft seriously whether we write once a week or every single day.  Release is the magic word for creative expression. 

Sylvia Plath says, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  Albert Einstein says, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” 

Enjoy my imagination and poem below:

As a writer I often play the "what if" game. When I'm shuffling through less than colorful thoughts, I imagine I wouldn't know if I were winning or losing with a deck of white cards, I wouldn't know when to stop, to slow or go,
I think about a white butterflies with their beauty invisible, and white clouds rolling around in a sky I couldn't see, I'm thinking about white pigeons cooing and cawing, hiding from white cats, hurling themselves into the air, all for naught,
I'm thinking about white birds looking for white worms crawling around in white grass, all white bellies hungry for their prey cannot be seen, I'm thinking of white sea-caps on white rolling seas, and a white sailboat in distress, how would it be seen? How could we help?
How would we rake white leaves on white grass? How would we learn with white chalk on a white chalkboard? We can live without many things around, but who can happily and safely live without colors like red, yellow, blue, green and brown? 

It is our dark side that wants us to remain in the shadows instead of sparking light and love out into the world. Even if our dark side tells us we are bad or bad at what we are doing, we must fight for being “bad” with conviction and trust your innate needs. It is good to remember there is a crack in everything; and that is how the light gets in. We are all artists from the inside out.

We creative beings must remember we can predestine failure when we give it power over us before it even happens.  It is ironic our human bodies sometimes have difficulty knowing what is imagined and what is real.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Deeper Into the Pond: Actor/Producer Wins Contest for Bookcover Art

Winning Artist Says: Life’s highway has lots of off ramps, so why not try more than a few, really enjoy the ride, and the time to enjoy the scenery by the side of the road.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I am excited to announce the winner and runners-up of our first ever contest for cover art of their poetry chapbooks. When published in July of 2011, Deeper into the Pond will celebrate, support, and inspire women. Jacquie Schmall’s winning entry reflects the powerful energy of women in the process of co-creation. Thus it seemed an ideal image for a chapbook that has resulted in this, the fifth in our award-winning series.

Schmall, who lives in San Diego, developed a style she calls “rainbow geometry.” After spending time in theatre productions, and on film sets, she was compelled to paint a series of watercolors reflecting the powerful energy of women. The selected painting is one of them; it will be reflected in three iterations on the cover.

The chapbooks in the Celebration Series include Cherished Pulse (for anyone you love), with artwork from California artist 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 Blooming Red, a celebration of Christmas (, also featuring Thomas’s work.

Runners up in the contest are Roxanne Kahan and Cynthia Uhrich.

For more information on any of the chapbooks in this poetry series, contact either Carolyn or me, or visit media rooms at or To learn more about artist Jacqui Schmall and to see her selections of her work, go to

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine ApparitionsIt's nearly Father's Day (in the US, where my own father lives).  To celebrate, I thought I'd put up another of my poems from the poetry book Imagining the Future that Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I wrote, followed by a lovely review that was just posted on Amazon this morning.

Foaming Stone

A triumvirate of fathers
on memory’s throne
no more godly than they ought
no less holy
in that wicked way of the mind.

Three ambitious men
struggling to be heard
against the lovely cacophony
of history.

The first, a rock
foaming DNA
his universal genetic code
sliding down the hill
impetus you couldn’t stop
even with the best inertia
you gave it everything
steamrolled flat
in glorious anger.

The second, like his predecessor
Julius Caesar
patrician and handsome
calm, cruel
the right word
always at the ready
his sword, admired
by the fireside.

The third
sells energy in a burlap sack
lightning cracks the purple sky
illumination that doesn’t last
sets your hair out
then disappears
leaving only static.

A gem for Celebrating the Men in your Lives by Joyce White, Sculpting the Heart Book Reviews

Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball have woven their Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions on March 22, 2010, together like sisters of the same mind when it comes to the men in their lives. Carolyn begins her medley of childhood memories beginning with “All the sound in the world sucked to a waving wailing note as I perch on my father’s knee.”  Later giftedly pondering, The things I didn’t know about my father, his coming and goings, the fearing he would not return. One day, only a dawn or decade ago, he didn’t.” “Then, then!” writes Carolyn, “Decades of dread (conflicts?) with names we remember and some we don't. Bosnia, Kosovo, First (!) Gulf War, Korean, Bay of Pigs, Rwanda, Afghanistan, the Berlin Crisis for god's sake. More than 300 of them, words like the bass beat of drums. Vietnam when those troops who did come home couldn't walk or wouldn't talk. I tell my grandson, then only 12, how we who remember the grunt of that war see it differently from those who marched in the Double W Wars, wars when we wanted to be there.”

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's grandson served two tours in Iraq. Her husband is a retired Army officer who served in the 1960s Berlin call up. I can hear the sober sounds of the National Anthem in the background of all her poetry, with the throat voice of Uncle Sam warning, “I want him. He’s mine. You can’t have him!” All wives and little girls cry.

Magdalena pulls metaphors out of the air with, “You recede a little more. I reach for you over thought waves little girl’s hand hung in the air your absence, finally, matches reality to imagination trying to get truth from pretty metaphors that can’t touch your flesh still young somewhere while the precious science you drank like fine wine grinds your atoms to dust.”

Carolyn Howard Johnson and Magdalena Ball have written a wonderful little memoir celebrating Father’s Day and all their sacrifices as girls and women growing up in the 50’s and together they swam through a remembered past. I recommend this little gem and I give it Five Stars for Amazon. Happy Father’s Day to all…wives, children and our husbands who take care of our very basic needs while we write poetry.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Bloomsday (never too early to start celebrating)

"The gliding brilliance of his voice..."  
If this isn't enough to completely endear you to both Joyce and Frank Delaney (c'mon), drop by Delaney's Re:Joyce: for the most delicious taste of Ulysses, every Wednesday, for the next twenty-two years. Yes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Blog: Tips to Keep Children Active

Today's guest blog is a little different from the usual book faire.  Martha Swirzinski is an author, and her children's books, Leap...Laugh...Plop and  Guess...Giggle...Wiggle are all about movement and activity, so she's dropped by to talk to us about how to keep children active.  

 Tips to Keep Children Active

Use Outside as your Play Room
  • Take a nature hike – name the colors you see, pick up trash for a more pleasant environment, count different types of plants, move like the animals you see.
  • Visit a pick your own berry farm
  • Play at a neighborhood park
  • Ride bikes
  • Walk the dog together or just take a walk as a family
  • Teach your child how to plant a garden
  • Dig for worms and roly poly animals
  • Draw on the sidewalk with chalk
 Find out what your child likes to do
  • Read- take a walk to the library, pick books that encourage movement throughout the story.
  • Draw –  draw people being active and act out what they are doing
  • Play- Try some of the classic games like Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light, Hopscotch, Tag, Charades, or 4 Square.
  • Climb – a tree, a rope, a rock wall
  • Dance- turn on the music and DANCE!!  No one is watching so be silly and have fun!
Set a positive example
  • Park farther from store entrances
  • Take the stairs
  • When you go to the park with your child be active with them and have fun playing.
  • Eat healthy snacks and meals
  • Take your children places that encourage walking: Zoo, botanical gardens, beach, museums, and parks.
Safety Tips

  • Teach children about personal space.  Have each child extend their arms to the side and turn slowly in a complete circle.  Make sure the arms of one child do not touch the arms of another child.
  • Use the concept of freeze.  Play areas are often noisy so use your outside voice and yell freeze.  Teach the children that when they hear the word freeze they immediately hold the pose that they are in.  You can then have them sit down and regain their personal space.
  • Be sure that the proper fitting safety gear is worn for the activity.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Drinking water is important when children are exercising, especially when it is hot.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends 10 ounces every 15 – 20 minutes.
Martha received her Masters Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland at College Park. She collaborated with Dr. Anita Tieman, a mental health therapist, to develop a series of books titled Movement and More. These three books, the fourth is on its way, are perfect for babies all the way to grade school children. Using entertaining rhymes and charming pictures, these developmentally based books offer fun and creative ways for your child to move while also providing mind stimulating activities on each page. Each book focuses on a specific set of movement skills. By just reading the book, children can engage in fun and exciting movement as well as enhancing other mind/body skills. Designed to be enjoyed again and again, the pages of these books are filled with laughter, learning, movement and more.

To purchase books:

Drop by Kevin McNamee's blog tomorrow for another great Writers on the Move interview with Mari Taylor.