Poetry Friday: Love is in the air…

The FRIGIDaire, actually…

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Ecstasy, July 2017

In summer’s deep heat,
no joy is greater
than the sweet icy kiss
of my refrigerator.

– © 2017 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

Katie at The Logonauts is hosting Poetry Friday today, so please stop by & say hi, and check out all the poetry links and fun!

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“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Books-a-Million, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Thank you for your support – and stay tuned for details about the big September Blog Tour and book signings that are coming up!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Mac ‘n Cheese, Please”

(click to enlarge)

If you have not heard the gastronomically fantastic news, today is National Mac ‘n Cheese Day! I have no idea who decided this, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Around here, my 3-year-old daughter prefers the boxed, store-bought variety; my 7-year-old son, on the other hand, doesn’t care if it’s store-bought, restaurant-prepared, or my own homemade…if it’s pasta and cheese, he’s on it.

Someone else who is celebrating the holy union of pasta and dairy is Tabatha Yeatts, who is hosting Poetry Friday today at The Opposite of Indifference – where you’ll find plenty of cheesy (and not-so-cheesy) poetry!

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“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Balladic verse” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Beautiful words and amazing illustrations” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017! Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

And thank you for your support!

Poetry Friday: “Flashlight Night” winner – and another amazing review!

Before I get to today’s post, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Whether or not you subscribe, I realize there’s a lot going on in your day – heck, my days are insanely crazy, with 2 kids at home here during the summer and me trying to write in-between household chores and random errands – so the fact that you are willing to spend a few minutes of your life reading what I have posted really, truly means a lot.

Thank you.

I also want to thank everyone who participated in last week’s contest! In celebration of the upcoming release of Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, Sept. 2017), I said I would give away a signed copy to one person out of all the folks who left a comment on last Friday’s post, “liked” the post, or shared it via Twitter and/or Facebook. And that person is…

Linda Baie!!

Congratulations, Linda! Just send me an email or Facebook message with your mailing address and I’ll get this in the mail to you asap. And thank you for entering the contest and sharing the news about Flashlight Night!

Now, I still have ANOTHER copy to give away…I’d love to announce my 500th follower (my little ol’ blog is up to 490 followers on the eve of its 5th year!), so if you are not officially ‘following’ this blog, I hope you’ll consider doing so. My 500th follower will also win a signed copy!

Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017, and pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon. If you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Oh, and speaking of Flashlight, I am simultaneously thrilled and humbled by its latest review…this time, from Publisher’s Weekly! To quote them, both the text and illustrations together “don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play.” About a month ago, I was fortunate to receive a starred review from Kirkus…so imagine my amazement yesterday, when I learned how much the folks at PW enjoyed it.

I was also fortunate to see Flashlight included in a list of notable picture books on Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook and Alyson Beecher’s Kid Lit Frenzy blog. The word “grateful” doesn’t begin to express my feelings; I hope the book-buying public likes it as much as all these reviewers!

By the way, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, please visit Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link, where she is celebrating the joy of creating!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Ocean musings and a GIVEAWAY!

Allow me to show you around the office…

(click to enlarge)

This is a photo I took on our first day of vacation at York Beach, Maine, last week. We were there for our annual summer kick-off excursion (fortunately, we have friends who own a cottage so we get to rent it on the cheap!), and we got to celebrate both Father’s Day and my birthday (June 24) while we were there.

As always, the kids had a blast playing in the waves, playing on the sand, playing at the park, playing at the house, playing while we were trying to get the to go to sleep…ok, well, that last part wasn’t so great. But we all enjoyed it, and I especially enjoyed the surprise that was waiting for me when  we got back home:

That’s right…an entire box of advance copies of Flashlight Night!

So after I set aside 5 to give to my kids – to whom I dedicated the book – I decided I should give some of these things away.

So here’s what we’re going to do:

  • If you’d like to win a signed copy, just leave a comment, “like” this post, or share this post via Twitter and/or Facebook! (and if you do all four, that’s four chances to win!) If you share via Twitter, please tag me @MattForrestVW so I can give you credit; if you share via Facebook, just leave the link in the comments section below.
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  • I’d also LOVE to announce my 500th follower…so if you are not already following this blog, I hope you’ll consider doing so. Right now, I have 487 followers, so the number 13 could turn out to be very lucky:  my 500th follower will receive another signed copy!

Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 19, 2017, and pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 19 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Oh, and if you happen to be in the Boston area Thur. night, Sept. 7, I hope you’ll join us for the national book launch party at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA! (More details will be forthcoming as we get closer!)

For more poetry, links, and fun, be sure to visit my friend Diane Mayr, the Haiku Queen, at Random Noodling for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup. (And be sure to stop back here next Friday, when I announce the winners!)

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Downtown at Taylor Park”

This post was originally published Aug. 9, 2012 and was the first children’s poem I ever shared here. I was going to do this last week, in honor of my 401st post, but I decided to share some major news instead! So this week, I’m reaching into the time capsule and re-sharing this; not just because it was one of my first blog posts, but because it was also one of my very first children’s poems I ever wrote. Hope you like it!

(By the way, Mary Lee is hosting Poetry Friday today – so be sure to visit her at A Year of Reading, as well!

Last Friday, I kicked off my participation in Poetry Friday with an Elizabethan sonnet I wrote for my wife as part of my wedding vows.  She has been so helpful and supportive to me in my quest for publication in the world of children’s literature, I felt it was the perfect poem to get things rolling.

Today (our anniversary, ironically), I’m spotlighting a poem I wrote for two other people to whom I owe the deepest gratitude for not only supporting me, but constantly inspiring me:  my two daughters.  Interestingly, it was actually written long before I even knew I wanted to be published in the world of children’s literature.

Now, it may be comprised of only two stanzas, but this poem was a long time coming.  I originally wrote it in the spring of 1999 while watching the girls (ages 7 and 4 at the time) playing at Taylor Park in St. Albans, Vermont.  Taylor Park is the quintessential New England town square, full of lush green grass, tall maple trees, and a big water fountain.  It so happened that, on this day, as I watched my daughters running around being kids, the first stanza just came to me.

I had already had a few adult poems published independently at this point, so writing poetry was nothing foreign to me; writing children’s poetry, though, was unfamiliar.  Not knowing what to do with these two little couplets, I wrote them down when I got home and read it to the girls and their mom.  They liked it, but I felt like I was giving Lauren, my eldest, the spotlight and leaving poor Katie out of it.  I wasn’t sure how to include her, but I kept thinking about it, figuring something would eventually hit me.

It did.

A little over a year later, we were at the park again and I was mulling lines and phrases over in my head…when it dawned on me that even though Katie was playing with her older sister nicely, she was playing differently and seemed to have a different frame of mind.  That was all it took to figure out the angle I needed and bang out the second stanza.

But because no poem is ever good enough, I went back to it a couple years ago and tweaked a couple words here and there.  That’s what writers are supposed to do, right?  Revise, revise, revise??

Well, I think it’s pretty well set now.  I hope you like it!  And if you ever find yourself in northwestern Vermont, take a drive through downtown St. Albans…and maybe you’ll find inspiration, too!


Downtown at Taylor Park

Lovely Lauren, little daughter,
fishing in the fountain water,
looking for a leafy fin –
leaned too far and tumbled in.

Katie-Bea was fishing, too,
doing what her sister do.
Closed her eyes and made a wish…
don’t know how, but caught a fish!

– © 1999 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

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Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 5, 2017!

Pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

And thank you for your support!

========================================================

Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Celebrating my 401st post with a Kirkus STAR!

This past Tuesday, I told you I had learned my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press), was going to receive a starred review from Kirkus…well, today, I can share the entire review with you!

I had no idea when their review was going to be published – and as it turned out, it was published later the same day! I am so honored, humbled, and thrilled that Kirkus loves the “delectable language” of the text and the “ingenious metamorphoses” created by illustrator Fred Koehler.

You can read the entire review HERE!

As someone who primarily writes children’s poetry, I am especially excited about this because I wrote the manuscript as a poem first, and as a manuscript second. I used poetic devices like alliteration and internal rhyme, I specifically left out many of the details of the story in order to allow ones imagination to take over, and – as Kirkus points out – the subject of the story is not a child or animal.

It’s the flashlight!

I had more than a few critiques question if I realized the main character was an inanimate object – and I said yes, I knew. I did that deliberately, as a matter of fact. Of course, straying from the standard rules of picture book writing, I had no idea if what I wrote was going to ‘click’ with anyone; leave it to the brilliant Rebecca Davis, my extremely supportive editor at Boyd’s Mills Press, to fall in love with it in early 2015 and make an offer to purchase it.

Flashlight Night hits bookshelves Sept. 5, 2017, and pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Boyd’s Mills Press’ exhibit today at Book Expo America. If you look closely, you can almost see the cover of my book.

Two separate book launches are also already planned! If you happen to be in the Boston area Thur. night, Sept. 7, I hope you’ll join us for the book launch party at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA. If you are in New Hampshire, I invite you to the book launch party the following Sun., Sept. 10, at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH starting at 2pm. More details about both of these events will be forthcoming as we get closer to the date.

The Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Buffy Silverman’s Blog, so be sure to check out all of today’s poetry links. Oh, and I’m looking forward to discovering this blog’s 500th follower – we’re at 485 right now – so please tell your friends about my little home on the web! (And there might be a PRIZE involved, hint, hint!)

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Shining a light on my 400th post!

Trust me, NO ONE is more surprised that I’ve posted 400 times here than Yours Truly.

400? Really?? Have I actually had something worth sharing on 400 separate occasions?

Well, for better or worse, I have indeed, published 400 posts…and today of all days, I DEFINITELY have news worth sharing!


This little fellow arrived in my mailbox the other day…a special promotional item from the publisher of Flashlight Night, Boyd’s Mills Press. I don’t know the exact number of flashlights they ordered, but it’s enough to share with a whole bunch of book purchasers (librarians, stores, etc.) all over the country!

Speaking of promoting Flashlight Night, I was also honored to see this full-page ad in Ingram and Follett First Choice journal:

And as if the ad wasn’t enough, I’m thrilled to be sharing the page with my friend and fellow writer, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, whose book, Read! Read! Read! looks absolutely beautiful.  (Side note: I’ll have a poem featured in Amy’s other new book this fall, Poems are Teachers from Heinemann, so keep watching for details on that, too!)

I also just learned last week that Flashlight Night will be receiving a STARRED REVIEW from Kirkus…I’ll be sure to share the complete review once they publish i can’t thank Boyd’s Mills Press, my editor Rebecca Davis, our illustrator Fred Koehler, and of course, YOU for helping this all to be possible…so thank you!

Flashlight Night (Boyd’s Mills Press) hits bookshelves Sept. 5, 2017, and pre-orders are available now through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, or by clicking the image of the cover to the right. Of course, if you prefer, you can always wait til Sept. 5 and purchase it at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Oh, and if you happen to be in the Boston area Thur. night, Sept. 7, I hope you’ll join us for the book launch party at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA! (Again, more details will be forthcoming as we get closer to the date)

Thank you again for being a part of this journey…and for being willing to sit through 400 posts! When I started this little blog nearly 5 years ago with my very first post back on Aug. 1, 2012, I had no idea what lay in store – for the blog, or my career! It’s nice to know both have been chugging along quite nicely.

And the fact that there are 385 of you following this blog each week really, truly means a lot to me. I can’t wait to find out who will be my 500th follower – but there might be a prize involved, if it’s a friend of yours! (hint, hint!)

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
 .
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!