Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goodreads Book giveaway

Don't miss our Goodreads Book Giveaway for a beautiful hard copy of Deeper Into the Pond.  Go, now, press the button and be in it.  I hope it's you!  (another sample poem follows). 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Deeper Into the Pond by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Deeper Into the Pond

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball

Giveaway ends July 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Jupiter’s Moons
(listen to audio version by clicking on title)

If I pushed through this mortal cage
flew out past the atmosphere
to find you
my chalky friend
would you reach through the icy crust
of Europa
wet from your briny ocean
your extremophile heart
growing larger from the contamination
of an all too early touch.

Would it be enough
in the transitory evolution of your life
to link up
our temporarily compatible minds
dancing through the lava flows of Io.

Could you teach me
to breathe
thin oxygen
Jupiter's magnetic field
raining onto the surface of Ganymede.

When we part ways
kissing goodbye on Callisto
would you cry Gallilean tears
against my endless female needs
for atmospheres, oceans

sun hunger
while you, older, stronger
a momentary connection
like an unscratched itch
in my forgotten past.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Walking Through Walls Virtual Tour Stop: Successful Writing Strategy: Know Your Intent by Karen Cioffi

Intent is a crucial factor in success. But, what exactly does this mean?

To succeed in anything you need to know what you want, what you’re striving for. And, that knowledge has to be clearly defined.

An unclear destination or goal is similar to being on a path that has very low hanging branches, an assortment of rocks that may hinder your forward movement, uneven and rugged terrain, branches and even logs strewn across the road; you get the idea. You kind of step over the debris, look around or through the branches, you don’t have a clear view of where you’re going.

A clear cut goal is akin to walking on a smooth and clear path. No goal related obstacles to hinder your forward momentum or vision.

But, let me add to the sentence above, while intent is crucial, it’s an active and passionate pursuit of your intent that will actually allow you to achieve success. It reminds me of a passage in the Bible at James 24:26, “Faith without works is dead.” While the intent is there, if you don’t actively take the needed steps to get from A to B, walk-the-walk, rather than just talk-the-talk, you’ll never reach your goal.

To realize your intent, it would be beneficial for you to create a list of questions and statements outlining the specifics to that intent.

A few of questions you might include are:

What is your ultimate success goal?
What does the obtainment of your goal mean?
After picturing it, what does success look like to you?
How will you reach your goal?

So, how would you answer these questions?

As a writer, perhaps your goal is to write for one or two major magazines. Maybe you’d prefer to be published in a number of smaller magazines. Possibly you want to author a book a year and have them published by traditional publishing houses. Or, maybe you want to self-publish your own books at a faster or slower pace.

Maybe success to you is to make a comfortable living, or you may be very happy with simply supplementing your income. Maybe you want to be a professional, sought after ghostwriter or copywriter. Maybe you want to be a coach, a speaker, offer workshops, or present teleseminars. These are some of the potential goals for a writer.

Whatever your vision of success is, you need to see it clearly, write it down (it’d be a good idea to also create a vision board), and take the necessary steps to get you where you want to be.

If you find you have a realistic success vision, and are taking the necessary steps to achieve your envisioned intent, at least you think you are, but you still can’t seem to reach the goal, then perhaps your efforts aren’t narrowly focused enough. Maybe your success vision is too broad. Wanting to be a writer is a noble endeavor, but it’s a very broad target and kind of like shooting a shotgun compared to shooting a rifle or gun. With a shotgun you may hit a broader target, but it won’t be with the effectiveness and direct force of a single shot aimed at a one focused target.

Try narrowing down, fine tuning your goal. Remember, it’s essential to be specific and focused.

It might be to your advantage to create success steps that continually move you forward on the path to reaching your ultimate goal.

For someone new to writing, the first step on a writing career would be to learn the craft of writing. You might give yourself a year or two to join writing groups, take advantage of writing workshops or classes, write for article directories, or create stories. You should also be part of at least one critique group. This would be your first step to achieving your success vision.

Instead of trying to go directly from A to B, it might be more effective to go from A to A1 to A2 to A3 . . . to B. But, again, for each step, the intent, a clear-cut vision, and the driving passion all need to be front and center.


Karen Cioffi is an author and ghostwriter. Her new MG/YA fantasy book, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale.

Longing to be rich and powerful, twelve-year-old Wang studies the legend of the mystical Eternals. Certain they are real, he journeys to their temple and begins an apprenticeship with the Eternal Master. There he enters a world of magic where not everything is as it seems, and where he learns the magic formula to ‘walking through walls.’

Walking Through Walls should now be available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and book stores. If it’s not yet listed, it will be very soon!
You can also order the book today at:

To learn more about Walking Through Walls, its touring schedule and contest, and purchasing information visit: http://walkingthroughwalls-kcioffi.blogspot.com

To learn more about Karen and her books, visit:

Please be sure to stop by Susanne Drazic’s site (http://susannedrazic.blogspot.com/) on July 27th for the next stop on the Walking Through Walls Tour.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery: Poets Take Borrowing in Stride If It Increases Poetry Readership

It was only a matter of time before someone stole the idea that Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball first meted when they created Cherished Pulse, the inaugural book in their poetry based Celebration Series.

Deeper Into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity (Volume 1)Of course the idea of using poetry as a form of gift or greeting card isn't new. People have been using poetry to celebrate big events like marriage, wedding anniversaries, and milestones since Homer's day, but nowadays most of the expensive greeting cards in shops are so rife with platitudes that they've ceased to have any meaning at all and can hardly be called poetry. What was new was making chapbooks into a kind of carriage trade greeting card with real poetry grouped around holiday themes. They are genuine messages that mean something. Make the books as inexpensive as a card, and as beautiful as a gift book, and you've got a gift that provides sentiment that won't be thrown out with the wrapping paper.
That has always been the rationale behind Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball's Celebration series, which includes a range of chapbooks clustered around themes like Valentine's Day: Cherished Pulse (www.budurl.com/CherishedPulse ), Father's Day: Imagining the Future (www.budurl.com/Imagining ), Mother's Day: She Wore Emerald Then (www.budurl.com/MotherChapbook ), Christmas: Blooming Red (www.budurl.com/bloomingred), and the newly released feminist inspired Deeper into the Pond, suitable for any female birthday or celebration (www.budurl.com/DeeperPond ). All of the chapbooks are as inexpensive as a high end card, attractive, featuring real art, and perfect for gift giving.
Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine ApparitionsSo it's no surprise that others are copying the idea.
This is what happened. Three years after the release of the Celebration Series. Relationships Australia, Australian Poetry Ltd, and artists/designers Gracia and Louise have just released their own father-themed book titled Dear Dad, promoted specifically as a great Father's Day greeting card/gift. It's a little dearer than the Celebration Series offered by Ball and Howard-Johnson, but it's a great idea featuring some excellent Australian poets, and probably the tip of the iceberg when it comes to real poetry as greetings. Why not? Poetry is always a good gift.

Learn more about Ball and Howard-Johnson's work at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/poetry_books.htm .

For more information on Ball and Howard-Johnson’s Celebration series and their Father’s Day entry, visit www.howtodoitfrugally.com/more_on-Imaginings.htm.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Feminist Chapbook for All E-Readers (Carolyn's press release and a special offer)

Deeper Into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity (Volume 1)“Vivid images… distil the lives of the women who wrote them. They speak to all the stages of life—even celebrate ageing--and our roles as women. These are poems [that] will stay with you forever.” ~ Nancy Famolari
Poets living half a world apart naturally understand the value of e-books, the best way for people living anywhere in the world to access a work.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a Californian while Magdalena Ball lives down under (yup, though I still have a bit of my NY accent). Together they have published their fifth in the Celebration Series of chapbooks, Deeper into the Pond, A Celebration of Femininity. And now it can be read by anyone who can find a computer. (See the list of formats available below).
To make reading this lovely little booklet even easier, the two have arranged for an introductory and discounted price of $2.79. 
and use the coupon code HV73F until August 21.
Other chapbooks in the celebration series are Cherished Pulse (for Valentine’s www.budurl.com/CherishedPulse), Imagining the Future (for Father’s Day www.budurl.com/Imagining), She Wore Emerald Then (for Mother’s Day www.budurl.com/MotherChapbook), and Blooming Red (for Christmas www.budurl.com/bloomingred). Deeper into the Pond (www.budurl.com/DeeperPond) and the other chapbooks are also available as paperbacks on Amazon.
Magdalena Ball runs the highly respected CompulsiveReader.com review site. She is the author of the poetry book Repulsion Thrust, which was published to unanimous 5-star reviews. Her novel Sleep Before Evening, was a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's poetry appears frequently in review journals. She is listed in Poets & Writers and her chapbook of poetry, Tracings
(www.budurl.com/CarolynsTracings), was given the Award of Excellence by the Military Writers Society of America and She Wore Emerald Then won its highest honor of gold. One of her poems recently won the Franklin Christoph Poetry Prize. She is also an award-winning novelist and short story writer and instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
Learn more about these inexpensive chapbooks that are meant to become your most thoughtful greeting cards ever at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/poetry_books.htm
Smashwords offers all these e-book formats: Online Reading (HTML), Kindle (mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps), Epub (Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others), PDF (good for reading on PC, or for home printing), RTF (readable on most word processors), LRF (Use only for older model Sony Readers that don't support .epub), Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices), and Plain Text.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Going Deeper Into the Pond

Deeper Into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity (Volume 1)
The new poetry book that Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I have been working on is finally out!  Deeper Into the Pond is the latest in our award winning Celebration Series, focusing this time on the whole notion of femininity, with a slight feminist bent.  I'm also especially excited about this book because if features our gorgeous award winning cover art by the multi-talented Jacquie Schnell.  You can see a sample of it to the left.  I haven't yet seen the books, but Carolyn tells me they're gorgeous - perfect for gift giving (instead of a card, which was, of course, the point).  Here's a little sample.  

Minerva Dressing

Lavinia Fontana, 1613

There’s no rush today
in full possession of your rounded body
you lift your mantle
though it’s heavy with war and wisdom
handwoven through sheer fabric.

This is your paradox
the soft transparency of your armour
protects the innocent lines of your face
against the dreams of a child
fingering your helmet
pain and loss disturbing your reverie.

With the falling of dusk
the owl hoots
your time is already past
the child grown
wisdom folded with your hair
into the hard shield and sharp spear
the future always biting
into that soft, smooth
moment of pause.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Christmas in July

Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
Little Known Poetry History: Chapbooks, a tradition in the poetry world since Elizabethan times, are named after the itinerant chapmen who travelled from village to village selling their goods.

My writing partner Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I figure nothing is more meaningful at any holiday than a poem—a real poem, not sing-song impersonal verse from the shelves of card shops (I've always disliked that kind of card). we've also noticed that many people order imprinted holiday greetings (very expensive ones!) in July. With that in mind we're offering a great Christmas-in-July incentive to those early birds who want to gift a chapbook Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational to cherished friends. .

But how would poetry lovers, literature lovers and those who just like something different and beautiful to use as mini gifts or greetings know if this little booklet is for them?

We've arranged to get the e-book version for 50% off until August 6. That means your sample comes to you for a mere $1.98 using the special coupon code ZZ47S when you go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/45393

Then, when you fall in love with the exquisite poetry and the beautiful artwork by award-winning California watercolorist Vicki Thomas, you can order 25 full paperback booklets for only $3.00 each. This is a substantial discount from Amazon’s price of $6.95 each. They become your card and gift in one and orders of 12 or more come autographed by Carolyn. That’s got to be more personal than an imprint.

You just send your shipping address with your check or money order to:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
PO Box 1101
LaCanada-Flintridge, CA 91012-1101

Include $6. Ship charges for the continental US and $12 worldwide, any quantity. Please order before August 15th.

Blooming Red includes my science-inspired and Carolyn’s nostalgic poetry. It also includes some humorous poems for fair measure.

For more information on any of the chapbooks in this poetry series, contact either Carolyn or me, or visit media rooms at www.howtodoitfrugally.com or www.magdalenaball.com.
To learn more about artist Vicki Thomas and to see her selections of her work, go to www.vickithomasartist.com