#PoetryMonth – Story Time Friday with Brittany Rose

Poetry Month FB Banner

Line curvy

New Year Story Time Friday Banner

fancy lineresize

Another Friday, another Story Time…Friday.

Today’s post is one I’ve been anxiously waiting to get out to everyone. Today’s poet is Brittany Rose. You might recall her name from when back in December when I talked about Down Valley Voices, our local “poetry community”. She’s another East Coast poet, transplanted into Western Colorado. She moved out here almost at the same time I did.

The similarities end there. Her poetry is much more betterer than mine. Ok, maybe that’s not true. We write with such different styles that it can’t be compared, but it’s that difference that’s inspiring and helpful to this little group of writers we’re building. Diversity in style gets us out of our comfort zones. Who knows, maybe it’ll lead to a collaboration in the future. See what our styles can do together.

Enough about me teasing about possible ideas floating around  in the air. I really want to get Brittany’s name out to my readers because I know many of you are going to enjoy her work. In today’s post you’ll find three poems. You’ll also notice that the first one, Pushing Paper, has an accompanying video. This was recorded during one of the first open mic nights we did here in Colorado at Olive Ridley’s (the local coffee shop that you need to check out if you’re ever in Rifle. It’s great. They have coffee…and beer. Need I saw more?) I’ve included this video because with Brittany’s work, hearing it adds so much to it that paper can’t capture. It kicked an already great poem up a notch more.

So, please check out the text. Check out the video (and the rest on that channel). Then maybe you’ll head over to her site to read even more work. Then, if you’re still craving more, I’m trying to persuade Ms. Rose to come back in the coming weeks for another Poetry Month post. If you want to see her more often, let her know in the comments!
fancy lineresize

Pushing Paper

I want you to read it.
No. Really read it.
And tell me what you think.

I want you to think about it.
No. Really think about it.
And tell me how you feel.

I want you to feel it.
No. Really feel it –
and tell me what it needs.

I need you to go there.
No. Really go there.
And tell me if you care.

I know I’d care, care if you got it.
Maybe, really got it.
Then, teach me how to mind read?

Because I wouldn’t mind,
mind if you read into it.
Yes, really read into it.
As long as it meant something
in the end.


fancy lineresize

Indulge the Virgin Synapses

I don’t appreciate your suspicious superstitions
No – not against my belief systems

The wise ask questions
But you’re yelling demands
And I’m not suppose to listen
I’m suppose to follow on command

I think it’s time we take the protests off the streets
Incorporate them into our LIVES
Into sets of steady beats

“Stand up for what you believe in”
Does not just mean participate
Does not just mean stand there
Standing, to me, is a waste of time
That’s why I’m running
Running in my mind,
My body and soul – Moving

Pruning the brain
Re-wiring synapses so there is efficiency
In what I do and what I think
So there is synchronicity

Like two lovers in bed
Each curve complimented with something concave
Like, when he rests his whole body against my back
When his knees tuck behind mine
Synchronicity entwined

So let’s synchronize, like lovers
To our beliefs, our goals
Our hopes and our dreams

Let’s bring peaceful protesting
To peaceful lives

& for a glimpse into History
I can find us walking
Side by Side, intertwined

fancy lineresize

A Delicate Story

Babes born with roses in their eye sockets
Blooming buds sprouting from their eye sockets
Pretty porcelain faces
Pretty lips
Pretty babies

Babies born in crystal castles
Surrounded by a rushing mote
Porcelain drawbridges keep them safe
Alligators with ruby eyes keep them sound
Scales of Amber caramelize mosquitoes
Everything now is thawing

This is Attraction. This is Danger
Like tiny babies born & bursting
Their eye sockets filled with love that
Their baby eye sockets can barely hold

Line curvy

About the Author:

As an individual I seek self-awareness and a peaceful mind.
(Influences include the enlightened ones who have left knowledge and tools for our interpretations)

As a writer I like to explore the nature of those who have nurtured me, in turn exploring the nature of myself.
(Influences include my family and every other human I have come in persuadable contact with)

As a visual artist I unleash colorful expressions of abstract thinking.
(Influences include Salvador Dali and local graffiti artists)

As a member in society I believe in leading by example; as both a lover and a fighter.
(In the words of M.I.A “I really love a lot, but I fight the ones that fight me”)

Find out more:

Feed Your Reading Habit for Free…Legally

We all love books and we love to read. That’s why you’re here reading a book blog. Well, maybe you just stumbled upon this post and weren’t expecting it to be about books. I hope you stick around.

Having a reading habit is possibly one of the healthiest habits to have. However, with the benefits of a good book, comes financial burdens that put limits on what we can read or what we can eat. There is a light at the end of this tunnel though. Books don’t have to break your bank account!

It’s not a new concept to be able to read freely. Ever since the cost of producing books drastically decreased and they were made widely available, libraries of all kinds started popping up. In today’s world almost all of these libraries offer patrons the chance to read books for free. This is common knowledge, but there’s a point I’ll get to…

The great thing about living in the digital age of books is that readers aren’t tethered to the physical library any more. While the actual library is an important institution for any community (they aren’t there just for holding books, but offer many programs and events essential to their community), having libraries offer digital collections expands access and ease of patronage.

You may recall that earlier this year I finally got a library card, after being without one for many years. How many books have I taken out of the library so far? None. But, I have borrowed a handful of both ebooks and audiobooks from them. Without getting into the politics of libraries, for me, this is supporting my local branch as much as I can without transport to the building itself being easy to obtain. And at the same time, it’s access to free books to feed my reading habit.

An offshoot of the library that’s becoming more popular around the country, and I’m sure the world, is little free libraries. These are normally small enclosed bookshelves on sidewalks near a person’s home. You walk by and borrow a book and maybe add one of your own to the collection, or bring one back when you’re done reading. It’s a great way to get people reading a variety of books, and to maybe give away some books from your collection you think can find a better home through a free library. I found out that there’s one not too far from my library, in town, and while it’s out of the main flow of foot traffic, I hope it has a steady flow of readers visiting it.

Maybe libraries aren’t the way you want to go. Maybe you want to “own” books and go back to them whenever you want. Here’s where ebooks and audiobooks come back into the conversation. There are many resources online to obtain free digital books and I’ll list out a few for you to check out. And don’t worry. These are all legal sites. With a combination of using sites from this list and use of your local library, there’s no reason why piracy should look appetizing. The resources are there to read at little to no cost, so why not keep it legal.

  • PROJECT GUTENBERG – I’m sure many of you have heard about Project Gutenberg. This is the ultimate site for free ebooks online. The only limitation is that the books are all from pre-1923 (with a few exceptions). So if you’re looking for a classic book, 99.999% of the time you’ll find it here. It’ll also be in any digital format you need. The reason these are all free, and legally so, is because PG is populated with public domain (out of copyright) books. Many libraries, Amazon, and other major retailers will also have these versions loaded onto their sites. (note that this is for public domain books in the US. Each country has their own laws and I think a site for themselves. I know Australia has one with different titles than the US site.)
  • LIBRIVOX.ORG – Think of this as the audiobook equivalent of Gutenberg. This site is filled with all the public domain books narrated by volunteer readers. It’s one of the ways I’ve gotten through many classic books. And we all know how expensive audiobooks can be. Free narrations are a blessing, and these volunteers are doing readers a great service.
  • AMAZON, B&N, KOBO, SMASHWORDS, ETC -I already mentioned that these sites are loaded with the public domain books for free. And we all probably know what I’ll say next: There are THOUSANDS of free books from legit retailers, like those listed above. I didn’t bother with linking because it’s easier to let you search for yourselves. Want a book in a specific genre? Search it, and sort low-to-high by price. Want to see if an author’s offering books for free? Search the author, sort, again. It’s simply and a great way to discover new authors. I know many of my favorite authors came from discovering them randomly like this. Yes, you will have to weed through a lot of duds, however you’d like to do that is up to you. I’m not being judgmental in this post. Helping weed the garden of books is a topic for another day.
  • (Another topic for another day is subscription services. For example Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Just to touch on it briefly…don’t come to me telling me your book is “#Free on #KU” because it’s not. It’s “free” because someone paid the $9.99 each month to use the service. Don’t falsely advertise that. Just tell is like it is. *rant over*)

Are there more places to get legal free books? Of course. I only touched the major ones that I use almost every day. I barely have an income. I make a few cents a month by selling my books, when I sell them. We all need a little help sometimes, so go out and explore the free book world. I know it’s the only way I was able to jump into the book world as deep as I have. My print collection may be massive, but it was also years of work, and filled with mostly cheap used books. Nothing to be ashamed of. Reading is reading. And if we don’t feed our habits, we might do something drastic…like turn on a TV *gasp*

I went to the #library yesterday…

Yep, that is correct. I stepped inside of the local library yesterday…and I got myself a library card. This is something of a biggish deal because in the past I was never a big fan of libraries.

Don’t get me wrong. Libraries are great. They’re great for book lovers. They’re great for communities, etc. It’s just that I have this thing about not owning a book that I read. Need proof? Check out my book collection. I don’t like getting rid of them or even sharing in most cases.

Despite this, I’ve been pushing the use of libraries on many friends in recent months when spending money becomes an issue for them. I’m not a total stranger to libraries, anyway. I used them in college…to get work done, but never actually checked a book out. (Thank you internet for your research capabilities.) Now with ebooks and digital audiobooks, libraries are in our homes, and I wanted to take advantage of what more and more people are already doing.

Ebook prices for traditionally published books are out of my budget most often than not. Audiobook prices are out of everyone’s budget. (I don’t know many people who can afford to feed their book need through audio.) Libraries are our way to cut down on our book spending while reading the books we want and supporting our libraries. And don’t forget that libraries have many other resources aside from the books. Go to your local library and find out what they offer.

So now, I have a card:

IMG_2921

Whited out the signature just in case someone wanted to try something fishy. Not that I really needed to do that, lol. And how’s that for a well-placed sticker? Convenient for the info at least.

And now I’ll be (hopefully) reading even more of a range of books since I don’t have to worry about the financial burden of buying books I don’t end up liking. I think I’ll start testing my reading boundaries more. I have been more conservative in what I buy in recent months, which is probably for the best. There are probably books on my shelves that I won’t end up liking. Those could be viewed as wasted money, but whatever, right? I’ll find someone to enjoy them somewhere down the road, and I’ll just get less random pics from now on. I’ll leave that up to my library reading instead. And I’ll be doing even more audio that I’ve already been doing.

Sounds like a win all around, to me. And I don’t even have to step into the library again unless there’s a physical book they don’t have in ebook form that I really want to read. Another win.

fancy lineresize

Now, how about you go check out your local library (if you don’t already). They’ll be happy to have you stop by. Mine seemed happy to have me when I walked in. And if it’s just to get a card to borrow ebooks with, that can only be good for your reading life.

If you need more info on how to borrow ebooks (and audio) from your library, go to their site to find how to do so, or walk in next time you’re around. It’s fairly easy, even if Overdrive (the way most set up their borrowing) is a little cumbersome at times.

Let us hear in the comments your thoughts on libraries, borrowing books, and anything that might help others get the most out of their library experience. I barely touched on the positives that can come from a library in this post.

 

Aged Pages: Give Back, Support Your Favorite Store

Aged Pages, new banner
fancy lineresize

It’s yet again, another Wednesday. That means it’s again time for another installment of Aged Pages.

Most of the time when I go into a used bookstore I’m going to fulfill MY needs for books. What I don’t often consciously keep in mind is that it’s a business. A bookstore isn’t just a place for me to find great books and bring them back to a new loving home. It’s also a place that needs money to run and keep providing the great service to the community that it does.

There’s a simple way to help out and there’s a not so simple, or at least not so easy way. The obvious way to help out the business is to buy from them and buy from them often. This is the case for any store. I’ve had the luxury of doing business with used bookstores for years. Over that time, I’ve been given the perks of getting discounts often. But despite this, I can still make up for that small loss of sales. All I need to do is come back to the store often. Sometimes, back in college when I had nothing better to do, I’d go in multiple times a week and just grab books. Who doesn’t love that.

Not everyone can get to a bookstore often. There are more people who just don’t have the money to spend sometimes. Currently, I am one of these people. I tend to spend the little money I have in my wallet when I go to a bookstore and not have it for more “necessary” things. (It’s the curse of being a book addict.)

When you don’t have money to spend, you can always help out by spreading the word about a particular bookstore to friends, family, and random people you walk by on the street. That last one could be a little creepy, but it could also be very hilarious. It could also lead to either a new friend, or in the very least a new customer.

Now that the obvious and more simple suggestions are out of the way….it’s time to get serious. Why are we about to get serious? That’s easy…I’m about to commit a crime book addicts everywhere may hunt me down for. This suggestion won’t be for everyone to partake in. Only the strong will accomplish it.

A way to support a used bookstore and keep it afloat in the difficult times all bookstores are in right now is…to…bring in….b…o…o…ks. There I said it. Bring in your books. Many used bookstores buy back books that are in acceptable condition. You maybe get around half the price that they’d sell it back for, but it’s still some money in your pocket. At my bookstore I know you get a larger percentage back if you accept store credit instead of cash. So in the end using this method helps everyone. And if you want to be very generous, you can always donate the books and accept no money for them.

Woah….I’m still alive and allowed to keep typing up this post. Good. I was scared for a moment. Let me keep going on the topic of giving book back. There are some readers who either don’t mind reading a book and selling/giving it back to the store and there are also some readers who simply can’t fit more books in their home but LOVE to read. I personally find it extremely hard to part with a book, let alone many books. I’ve only sold books back on a few occasions. This was when I accidentally had a double of a book or my mom didn’t want some romance novels anymore (since I wouldn’t read them anyway).

In a way buying and giving  back is similar to having a library system. Only this one isn’t exactly “free” like a library. On the bright side, you’re directly funding this pseudo-library and not  tax dollars.

Well, that was my rant about supporting a used bookstore. But remember libraries are also great places to get books (not that I follow this advice since I hate giving books back 😛 ). Yes, that’s very PSA of me so I’ll just stop now.

Happy reading and all that. Go smell some musty pages!

Indie Week: Rebecca Hamilton & An Unexpected Gift (And Giveaway)

__________

The Gift of Becoming an Indie Writer

When I first made my novel available for sale, I expected a lot of things. The first was that almost no one would buy the damned thing. The next was that those who did would hate it. The surprise in my experience, however, didn’t come from my expectations being proven wrong; instead it came from the things that followed that I never gave any thought to one way or another.

Despite how it must seem online, I’m not a very social person. It’s not that I’m anti-social, it’s that I just don’t think about life in terms of human interaction. That is probably a terrible thing for a writer to admit . . . though I suppose observations have gotten me a long way both in my writing as well as my ability to “socialize” in the “real” world. My point is that I never considered I might, through publishing, make friends.

But that is exactly what happened.

It first started with S.M Boyce, author of Lichgates. An acquaintance I’d made through a critique site recommended I check out her blog. Immediately I fell in love with her voice. I read some of her reviews and thought: she’s obviously an intelligent writer, while at the same time remaining a book lover with a respect for the vision of other writers. I knew immediately I’d found a rare gem, though I had no idea that this immediate connection would turn into an invaluable friendship.

We ended up reading each other’s books. I have to admit that by the time I finished reading her creative and unique epic fantasy, I could only be shocked that she enjoyed my story as well. She was so talented. Not only that, but as we exchanged notes and got to know each other, I learned that not only was she a brilliant writer, but she was an amazing person, someone I immediately felt comfortable with, and someone who could easily make me laugh. Not even six months later, and she’s become a close friend. In fact, we MIGHT even have the opportunity to meet while I’m on vacation this summer!

It didn’t stop with Boyce, though. I met other amazing people through twitter: Robert Zimmermann, the host of this blog, is someone I can always talk openly and honestly with, and someone who always encourages me. He’s laid back; I can just be myself when I’m talking to him without worrying about saying something wrong (which is a luxury I rarely have, being as socially-inept as I am!). There was Brandon Luffman, who is not only an intelligent author, but who is an amazing support. Jason Scott Sharp, another author I met through publishing, is a brilliant mind and a kind heart; it’s rare to meet someone who cares so much for others and who is so accepting of people no matter how their beliefs may differ from their own. He’s a true example of the meaning of acceptance, while still being true to himself. He is a man who is confident enough in his beliefs to respect his own beliefs while at the same time accepting and respecting the beliefs of others.

The list of talented and supportiveIndiesdoesn’t stop there. I’ve connected with Christie Rich, Noree Cosper, Jessica Fortunato, Amber Lynn Natusch, Kayla Curry, Hope Collier, Nikki Jefford, Thomas Winship, and Valerie King. I’ve been reading their books and find myself over and over again so thrilled to realize what a magnet I am for talented, good-hearted people. Not only have I made good friends, but I’ve found amazing reading material!

Even beyond that, I’ve met other supportive friends, some of whom aren’t writers or haven’t yet published (such as Mini Chakma, Riley Ford, Samantha LaFantasie, Felicia Wetzig, Rainy Kaye, and Jennifer Sosniak). I fear I’m only scratching the surface of a very long list! Point is, they’ve all supported me in some way or another—sharing my tweets or Facebook posts, telling others about my book, making suggestions for me to improve my writing, being friends I can vent to when I’m feeling down or frustrated or angry, being friends I can share good news with (knowing they will be happy for me and appreciate the meaning of my accomplishments). I’m so lucky to have all of them. They have been one of the biggest gifts of self-publishing and the biggest surprise of all, as this isn’t something I could have even dreamed into existence. I only hope to be as good a friend to them as they have been to me.

So while I’ve had many great experiences in becoming an Indie writer, I feel these friendships have defined my experience, have made it what it is. I’m so thankful for them. For those getting into Indie publishing, I hope they can experience the joy and support of Indie friendships, because while they call it independent publishing, I have to say there hasn’t been much independent about it. I haven’t felt alone in this, not at all.

__________

Click Picture for book description

Click Picture for book description

The author of this post would like to giveaway an ebook copy of the both The Forever Girl AND the novella Her  Sweetest Downfall (soon to be released) to one lucky commenter. To enter, please leave a thoughtful (maybe even discussion worthy) comment on this post. Be sure to provide your email as well, so I can have the author contact you if you win. 🙂

Giveaway ends 12:01AM July 18th

__________

About the Author:


Rebecca Hamilton writes Paranormal Fantasy, Horror, and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and three kids, along with multiple writing personalities that range from morbid to literary. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren’t for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently.

 To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit AutisticAdvocacy.org.

Rebecca Hamilton is represented by the ever-more-amazing Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

For more on Rebecca: