Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Don't begin a novel by Sharon Shinn before work!

I recently discovered Sharon Shinn and her wonderful science fiction and fantasy novels. The best part is that I've discovered her late in the day so she has an extensive back list of works to explore! Her first novel, The Shape Changer's Wife is an incredible book that brought her instant fame. It's being made into a film but they are still looking for funding, so visit the film's website to see more details and how to donate toward this effort.

Shinn is a Firefly fan, which doesn't surprise me, as her characters strike me as similar to Firefly's--the type of characters you want to take home to dinner!

Just a warning, though, don't begin any Sharon Shinn novel before work or you may end up calling in sick!

Best Buys of 2010--total $65

When I look back on this year, I realize the two items that added most to my quality of life were simple and inexpensive: a $25 dollar fleecy robe and a $40 zero gravity
lawn chair (both bought on sale.) The time I spent wrapped up in one and sitting in the other, blissfully reading were the most satisfying, most relaxing hours of my year! (The books were free, courtesy of the public library!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

National Poetry Month/Verse Wisconsin online!

This year National Poetry Month means more to me than ever since I just had my first poem in an online journal, Verse Wisconsin published. Verse Wisconsin also allows audio versions of the poem, read by the authors. This is the first time I've accomplished that, too! (Thanks to Jim's recording expertise!)

My poem, Alternate History is published along with some very distinguished company, including the current poet laureate of Wisconsin, Marilyn L. Taylor, a former Milwaukee Poet Laureate, and FIU's own Denise Duhamel. This is the second time I've appeared in a poetry journal with Ms. Duhamel; she contributed a poem to FIU's Vox, a literary magazine, some years ago where I also had two poems published.

My favorite poem in the issue so far is Nathan Graziano's poem, Elizabeth Graziano.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Earth hour at the telescope at Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort

Last night we spent Earth Hour showing guests of the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura the planets, moon and Orion Nebula through the telescope as part of their Earth Hour celebration:

"the Earth Hour celebration will culminate with an outdoor presentation from astronomer Dr. James Webb, director of the SARA Observatory at Florida International University. A telescope will be available for guests to explore the night sky."

It was a lot of fun, people of all ages stopped by between 8 and 11 pm and viewed the objects and asked Jim questions. He gave a short presentation to the ones who lingered, wanting more information. We finally had to wrap up when clouds started coming in, but the evening had been beautiful up to that point and the viewing excellent, despite being in a pool area surrounded by buildings.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Duotrope's Digest pays for itself this month! Warrior Champion finds a home.

My $2 a month contribution to Duotrope just paid for itself because I've had another poem accepted for publication, this time by The Lorelei Signal.

Duotrope's search engine helped me find the right market for my poem "The Warrior Champion" which will appear in Lorelei Signal's July 2010 online edition and their August 2010 print edition entitled Mystic Signals. They pay $2 for the poem, plus a percentage of royalties.

The Lorelei Signal,a fantasy magazine devoted to stories and poems about strong female characters, is named for the animated Star Trek movie where Lt. Uhura has to take command and rescue the crew.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Panhala and Mary Oliver's Messenger

I came across a neat poetry site, Panhala that combines a beautiful picture, a poem and some music. If you sign up for email from Panhala the music is optional.

They feature many of my favorite poets like Mary Oliver, Richard Wilbur, Wislawa Szymborska, W.S. Merwin, Rainer Maria Rilke, Antonio Machado, etc., with archives going back to 2002.

Mary Oliver's poem, "Messenger", a new favorite:


My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Friday, February 19, 2010

Verse Wisconsin acceptance!

Thanks to Duotrope, a wonderfully useful writer's tool, I've been submitting poetry lately. (Also thanks to Jane Banning, whose works I was searching for when I came across both Verse Wisconsin and Duotrope!) So far 14 poems to five different journals and out of three I've heard back from, one acceptance! Not bad for my first try in years! Verse Wisconsin is a print and online magazine that's been around since 1998, under the title Free Verse, they had to change it when they went online because another ezine had that name already. My poem was accepted for the Spring 2010 online version, which is themed "alternate realities"---who could resist that? Like I told them, my whole life is an alternate reality!

On that note, let me share with you Rainer Maria Rilke's incredible poem You who never arrived, which has to do with my poem; mine refers to the awful possibility that I had not met if I could only express myself like Rilke..

You Who Never Arrived
by Rainer Maria Rilke

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start
I don't even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. All the immense
images in me--the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and un-
suspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods--
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house--, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets
that I chanced upon,--
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back
my too-sudden image. Who knows? perhaps
the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening...


Friday, February 05, 2010

Farewell to Kage Baker 1952-2010

I just found out writer Kage Baker passed away on Jan 31st. I am so sad I never got a chance to meet her; I've admired her work since her debut novel _In the Garden of Iden_ came out in 1997. I think I ran across it serendipitously at a bookstore, intrigued by the beautiful cover art and it led to a major Kage Baker addiction. The main character, the botanist Mendoza, remains one of my favorite female characters in science-fiction literature. All her books have been original, surprising, affecting, top-notch, never disappointing.
I will miss her...