The “I Am Today” blog tour is officially underway! Now if only we had the book…

I have to tell you something: no matter how many books one publishes, it’s ALWAYS exciting!

That said, the official blog tour for my upcoming picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), is underway – even though the book isn’t even out yet. In case you missed my explanation a couple of Fridays ago, the publication date has been delayed until Dec. 21 due to that nasty shipping/supply chain crisis you keep hearing about. So instead of the orginal date of Oct. 5, it got pushed out til Nov. 30…and then that publication date got pushed out!

Yet, even though the new publication date is Dec. 21 it is, unfortunately, still tenuous – because the publisher is at the mercy of the distribution network. We’re HOPING it’s out Dec. 21, and just crossing our fingers until it happens. This is why we’re trying to push pre-orders; not only to try to sell the book, naturally, but to build awareness of the book among booksellers, as well as to increase their awareness of me, as an author.

So we’re celebrating the release of a book that’s not here yet! The blog tour is fully underway because we didn’t want all the wonderful participants to have to change their schedules. Moreover, pre-orders can be very helpful for an author, and not just because it helps increase sales. (for a little more explanation on why publishers like pre-orders, check out my previous post)

Just who is part of this cavalcade of kidlit excitement?

When I first looked at this list, I felt that this was probably the longest-running blog tour ever for a picture book! At nearly a month-and-a-half, it’s like the tour that never ends…but we were fortunate that some bloggers were able to move their post dates to later in December. This way we can share the news early on for those pre-orders I was talking about, and also celebrate the actual release of the book when it happens (hopefully) later in the month.

Kelle Moye kicked things off a couple of weeks ago when she featured a guest post from Yours Truly at her blog, Unleashing Readers. I shared with her readers the unusual method I employed for coming up with the book’s title – and the entire theme of the book, by extension – and suggested ways teachers can do the same thing as writing prompts. I hope you’ll check it out!

Yesterday, the incredible team of Brenna Jeanneret and Josh Monken at the You May Contribute a Verse podcast posted an interview we had a couple of weeks ago. We cover everything from my process of writing picture books to submitting without an agent to why I chose to leave a perfectly good fulltime job to try and make a go of this whole writing thing.

And today, Brian Gehrlein places I Am Today in his Picture Book Spotlight with an in-depth interview with me about the inspiration behind the book (kids muddling through a pandemic), my unusual process of creating it (sticking non-grammatical words together to see what happens), and why I love writing picture books that don’t follow standard, traditional narratives (I call them story skeletons).

The complete list:

And even though she’s not an official part of the blog tour, I need to give a special shout-out to Little BookWorm Club for the fantastic support and kind words posted yesterday on her Instagram account!

Click here to be whisked away to a complete list of all my books!

Remember, I Am Today is available for pre-orders everywhere books are sold – but if you order from my local indie bookstore, I can personally-sign your book (or any of my books) and have them in the mail usually within 24 hours. Books always make special gifts – but a personally-signed book is something extra-special, wouldn’t you say?

I hope you check out all the blogs and websites involved in our blog post! And if you can’t afford to buy a book (whether it’s one of mine or anyone else’s), leaving a review at Amazon or Goodreads is a GREAT way to support an author or illustrator. Reviews really do matter, so even just a positive sentence or two is all it takes to help out someone whose creative work you enjoy.

Happy holidays, and fingers crossed we don’t get delayed again!

Arriving in stores Dec. 21 – we hope!

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Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

rriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: The ROUNDUP is here – and we’re celebrating one whole year of Friends & Anemones!

One year ago, in the middle of a pandemic, a very unique and fun book arrived on the scene…and today we’re celebrating its 1-year birthday!

Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, created by members of The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, Massachusetts, was officially published November 8, 2020!

With poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England authors and illustrators like Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Jodie Apeseche, Josh Funk, Bob Thibeault, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, and many others (including Yours Truly), the book clocks in at a solid 70 pages!

The book is especially dear to my heart, because I didn’t just contribute 3 poems; editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly asked author Kip Wilson and I to judge all the submissions, to determine which were the best and which needed some revision. It was quite the time-intensive task (a little consonance there, for you poetry fans), but we had a lot of fun doing it – and were glad we were able to help others in polishing their poems for publication (a little aliteration, as well, just to keep you on your toes).

You can read my interview with Wixted & Kelly HERE and learn about how they came up with the idea, how they navigated the process, and how they managed to pull it all off during a nationwide shutdown!

One of the most impressive spreads in the book features a beautiful illustration by Leanne Leutkemeyer with a poem by Amanda Smith:

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, reprinted with permission, all rights reserved

And since I’ve shared my “Goblin Shark” pantoum and “Unmoored” cherita in past blog posts, I thought I’d share my third poem, a haiku:

I love variety (I’m the kind of guy who orders the appetizer sampler at a restaurant because I don’t want to miss out on anything!), so I wanted to make sure each poem I submitted was very different in style and form. I figured pantoum/cherita/haiku was a pretty good mix.

If you are new to Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy – at 70 pages, it’s hefty, so you’re defintely getting your money’s worth. Of course you can order it from Amazon and B&N, but if you purchase it from my hometown indie bookstore, I’d be happy to sign it!

And by the way…if you’ve not heard about this company, you need to check them out! Products are made from recycled ocean plastic, and funds go to help continue ocean cleanup and the preservation of ocean life.

Since it is Poetry Friday, I’m very proud to be hosting the festivities – so you need go no further for today’s offical round up! Just leave your links in the comments below and I’ll round them up throughout the day, old school-style!

Denise Krebs shares a beautiful wedding gift: a pantoum!

The autumn season inspired Michelle Kogan to write two haiku.

Also in a fall mood, Carol Varsalona reviews Ashley Wolff’s new picture book, How to Help a Pumpkin Grow.

Carmela Martino features a creative NF book about the American Revolution along with one of her 3 contributions to Bridget Magee’s new release, 10.10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways.

Poetry is all about finding new, interesting connections, and Linda Baie connects Daylight Savings Time with poet Ted Kooser.

One of the reasons I love poetry is because it can cram a lot of imagery and emotion into a tight space…and Alan J. Wright is doing just that today with some short, witty light verse!

Molly Hogan is stepping outside of her “comfort zone” by sharing two very personal, emotional poems.

Our Aussie friend Kathryn Apel, along with our other Aussie friend, Sally Murphy, recently helped the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature develop the Australian Verse Novel Resource, a fantastic idea that I hope catches on stateside!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is contemplating change – trees, leaves, bees – and offers a thoughtful poem, “Circles.”

The great artist Vincent Van Gogh once said that he would “never stand for anything of importance”…but Tabatha Yeatts is in with an original poem to prove otherwise.

Linda Mitchell has news of a poetry contest and an original award-winning poem about sisters and sibling love.

Tim Gels has much to be thankful for, and since this is the perfect month to show thankfulness he shares 3 tankas about thanks.

Have you ever considered making poetry out of trash? Susan Thomsen does just that, with blackout poetry from an old book!

Heidi Mordhorst shares a n/ode to autumn today – and no, that’s not a misprint!

Gratiku: I love that word! Ruth shares a haiku about gratitude, this time about the importance of tea and the comfort it provides.

There’s something about this time of year that gets folks in a haiku/tanka mood, and Christie Wyman joins in with a beautiful autumnal poem.

Irene Latham‘s latest latest ArtSpeak: Four Seasons poem is inspired by fog and friendship.

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love pizza, in one way, shape, or form – and Jama Rattigan reviews a brand-new children’s book, We Love Pizza, by Elenia Beretta.

Mary Lee Hahn takes a look at what it means to “persevere” and shares an incredibly powerful original poem.

Yesterday was spent raking and leaf-blowing with my kids…and Karen Eastlund was apparently doing the same thing, as she offers a short fall poem she is still working on, but which is coming along nicely.

Margaret Simon is prepping for a poetry reading with some esteeemed company, and shares a few student poems from the Poet-Tree!

Janice Scully is offering a positive, inspirational poem she wrote about the climate crisis.

In honor of Veterans Day, Linda Kulp Trout (an Air Force veteran herself) shares a poem she wrote to thank veterans for their work and sacrifice, which originally appeared in the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Poemlo Books, 2015)..

Carol Labuzzetta has been dealing with seasonal, personal, and literary challenges this past week, and shares an update – along with an original autumn poem.

What do you do when a home you love…is no longer recognizable? Catherine Flynn explores that difficult situation with an original poem.

Laura Purdie Salas has rounded up several short poems for fall, that originally appeared in her e-newsletter for educators.

Mary Cronin spotlights a new biographical verse novel, The Traveling Camera: Lewis Hine and the Fight to End Child Labor, by Alexandra Hinrichs.

Almost-last but definitely not least, we have TWO different post about the incredibly talented Janet Wong, who is receiving the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children at NCTE’s annual (virtual) convention next week! Her friend and Pomelo Books co-hort, Dr. Sylvia Vardell, shares a fun video interview with Janet you have to see…while Jone MacCulloch shares part II of her online interview with Janet.

And finally, a perfect way to put a big red bow on our Poetry Friday celebration: Leigh Anne Eck says “tanka you” with a beautiful original tanka!

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

I’d love to visit with you or your child!
Learn more by clicking the graphic!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Astra Young Readers, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the covers below to order!

Arriving Nov. 30, 2021! Pre-order now!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “York Beach Moon”

Well, I’m back from vaca, and all I can say is…I miss my office.

True, it was only a temporary office, but it’s hard to not get attached:

York Beach Moon

Lighthouses
seeing-eyes
inky night

Mother’s face
shimmer-smiles
cold and bright

guiding ships,
souls, these spare
words I write.
.

© 2021 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

Although there are at least three lighthouses one can see from Long Sands Beach, where this photo was taken (one being the Nubble, which is only about a mile from here), this photo reminded me that the moon is Earth’s lighthouse. I wanted to get that across in my poem, so I thought I’d write another Tricube poem since they are so much fun for those of us who thrive on wordplay and word economy. (Learn more about Tricubes HERE) Hope you like it.

Speaking of water…my friend Laura Shovan is hosting Poetry Friday today with a poem about Millicent Patrick, the woman who designed the iconic movie character “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” (What’s this? You didn’t realize a woman designed the costume?? Apparently, nearly no one knows – so Laura is out to spread the news!!)

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: York Beach shoreline

.In just a few days, I’ll have a brand-new office:

It’s only a temporary office, alas…but it’s still the best type of office out there.

So, since I won’t be around for next week’s Poetry Friday, today I wanted to share a little something I wrote for my daughter. We visit York Beach, Maine every year; it’s just a little over an hour and a half to our east, but it feels like a world away. You can get a better idea of the area’s beauty by checking out THIS PHOTO, THIS PHOTO, and THIS PHOTO.

A few years ago, we were sitting on the steps leading from the boardwalk down to the shoreline; it was high tide, so we couldn’t even sit on the bottom steps. My daughter loved watching the waves come up and pound the ground in front of her, and I taped this:

.

Bathed in salt,
sun-glistening smooth,
shoreline jewels
welcome persistent surf
and giggles.

© 2021 Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

.

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to check out the official cover reveal for my next picture book, I Am Today (POW! Kids Books), which comes out this Oct., check it out at agent/author Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez’ popular kidlit blog, Math Is Everywhere! We have TWO GIVEAWAYS!! Also, many thanks to all the folks around the country who have added my books to their reading lists – you can see the list at my recent blog post from this past Tuesday.

It’s a “rainbow-colored springtime” at my friend Buffy Silverman’s blog today – she’s hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup so check out her poem and all the links!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send a comment to the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH requesting my signature and to whom I should make it out. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: A Goblin Shark pantoum at “Poetry Boost” to kick off National Poetry Month

WOW, WHAT A WEEK!

Things have been super-crazy busy around here lately. First, I discovered that the folks from BookPage included Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books) in their feature about using books to celebrate Earth Day! Saying that Charles Ghigna’s and my book “packs an understated, powerful punch about stewardship,” the writer of the article also includes Micha Archer’s brand-new Wonder Walkers (Nancy Paulsen Books) and our friend Joyce Sidman’s latest, Hello, Earth! Poems to Our Planet (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers).

Speaking of Eerdmans, I discovered two fantastic reviews I had missed for Lee Bennett Hopkins’ posthumous anthology, Night Wishes, which came out last September: one from Publishers Weekly and the other courtesy of The Horn Book! It was such an honor to have been asked to contribute to such a beautiful book.

It was a thrill to read such positive words! Then I had to come back to Earth when I realized last Friday that I was going to need to completely re-build my website from the ground up. >sigh< My web hosting company, Yahoo!, was switching over to a completely new website building program and if I didn’t redesign my site by the end of the month, I’d never be able to update again. Soooo…that suddenly became a priority.

All I can say is…“Whew!”

Somehow, I managed to do it! I learned the new program, rebuilt everything, and got it up and running two days before the deadline.

I’m still tweaking a few things, but if you’d like to check it out and let me know what you think, I’d really appreciate it!

Now, then…today’s poem is extra-special for me because I get to share a poetry video I made for my friend and fellow children’s author, Michelle Schaub. (You may recall I interviewed Michelle here about a year and a half ago, as she was celebrating the release of her poetry collection, Finding Treasure (Charlesbridge, 2019)

In addition to writing books like Dream Big, Little Scientists (Charlesbridge, 2020) and her new Kindness is a Kite String (Cardinal Rule Press, 2021) which just came out YESTERDAY (yay!), Michelle also maintains a wonderfully intereactive blog called Poetry Boost. This year, in celebration of National Poetry Month, Michelle gathered together 30 poetry friends to share videos of each of us reading one of our poems.

I had to think for a little while about which of my poems to share, but it didn’t take me too long to decide on “Goblin Shark,” one of three poems of mine included in the children’s poetry anthology Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children (Writers Loft Press, 2020).

Friends & Anemones is a great big book 70 pages long, filled with poetry and illustrations from nearly 70 New England creators including Peter H. Reynolds, Jane Yolen, Kip Wilson, Josh Funk, and many more. Yesterday, Michelle kicked off the series by spotlighting a poem from another fellow New Englander, my friend Leslie Bulion, who read her poem “Bolas Spider” from her new anthology, Spi-Ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs (Peachtree Publishing, 2021).

And today…I get to share “Goblin Shark!” (And many thanks to Bob Thibeault for his amazing illustration!)

Click here to see my video!

I hope you enjoy it! And I hope you’ll enjoy all the poetry you’ll find at A Year of Reading, where Mary Lee Hahn is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup.

~ ~ GIVEAWAY!! ~ ~

Many thanks to everyone who entered to win a personally-signed copy of ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME! I gave away one copy a couple of weeks ago, and today I’m giving away another copy to one of the many folks who shared the news about my new book on Twitter. And that person is…drumroll please…

Gennie Gorback!

Congratulations, Gennie – and thank you so much for your support! Email me your info and I’ll be sure to get your copy in the mail, pronto!

And folks, be sure to check out all the books coming out this month from my 2021 Book Blast partners:

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I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

Create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personally-signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018)and nearly EVERY book or anthology I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone for your support!

FLASHLIGHT NIGHT:

DON’T ASK A DINOSAUR:

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

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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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 FacebookInstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” #BookBirthday!

It’s finally here, in all its 70-page glory!!

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, created by members of The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, Massachusetts, is officially available for sale!

Filled with poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, Suwin Chan, and Yours Truly, the book has been a true labor of love to create, and I’m very happy to not only share another one of my poems here, but to welcome editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly here to the ol’ Triple-R to celebrate.

Matt:  First of all, thanks for joining me today! It’s so exciting to be celebrating a book birthday together. This is the third anthology published by The Writers Loft but the first one I’ve been involved with, so I was wondering…once you decided on oceans as a theme, what were your next steps? Was the process any different for this book than the others?

Heather:  Thanks Matt, for having us!

Kristen: The big difference this time was that we suspected we would have many more submissions than we did for An Assortment of Animals, so we decided to find judges to help us make the calls on which poems were the strongest. And that’s how we were lucky enough to find you and Kip Wilson to help us out! Also, we had a lot more people this time. So the communication was more complicated. More moving parts. Also we had an intern last fall, Penelope McDonald, and she was a great help in keeping us organized!

Matt: You both have stated elsewhere that you’ve learned from previous anthologies the necessity of soft deadlines – especially with regards to the coronavirus upending everyone’s schedules! (Kristen even mentions this in her Editor’s Note in the book) So now that you’re old pros at this (ha!), was there anything that surprised you?

Kristen: I was surprised at the artists’ reaction to the lockdown and the pandemic in general, in that some of them used the time to draw and paint and be creative, and all the quiet time at home made them ultra-productive. And others found it paralyzing and couldn’t work at all.

Heather: I learn something new each time I work in collaboration. I think it’s why I love it so much. My role is different from Kristen’s in that she has the dream for these anthologies and their outcomes in her mind. I just shut my eyes, say yes, and have faith that Kristen’s dream will turn out amazing. And you know what? IT ALWAYS DOES.

I focus on helping everyone on the project learn at each step–learn about drafting, revising, working with editors and art directors, meeting deadlines, building online presences, marketing, doing author/illustrator events, and creating multiple revenue paths. I believe in Kristen and her dreams without question. Even though I can’t see exactly where we’re going, I know it will be somewhere much better than I’ve ever been before. I’m always deliciously surprised and amazed at the outcome. So THANK YOU KRISTEN, for bringing me on this journey! 

My “Goblin Shark” pantoum, side-by-side with Jane Yolen’s “The Slime Eel,” © 2020 The Writers Loft Press. (click to enlarge)

Matt: I have to say, I really enjoyed judging all the poems with Kip! Writers submitted the poems to you folks, and then Kip and I judged them as to whether they were ready for inclusion or needed some revision. But how did you determine which illustrators were paired with which poems, and what problems did you encounter, if any?

Kristen: I find this part really fun. We were lucky enough to set up a meeting with the artists just before the pandemic took over the United States–I think it was late February. We printed out all the poems (without poets’ names) and put them on a big board, organized loosely by subject. And we let the artists just read the poems and choose what moved them.

Most of them found a few poems they liked, and some even started sketching that day how they would combine multiple poems on a page. Many of them seemed interested in sort of scary or fierce ocean creatures so we recruited more poets (Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, in fact!) to write more of those.

Matt:  What was the most rewarding aspect of creating this book? Any surprises along the way?

Heather: I always find the most rewarding part of creating books like this to be the ability to say YES to illustrators and authors who are hearing NO most of the time. And to see how when we work in collaboration, the end product is far and beyond more spectacular than it would ever have been if we were working alone.

My favorite part by far is when the artwork starts coming in. Even the rough sketches. There is MAGIC that happens when words are illustrated. I am forever indebted to the illustrators for this! And, boy, did Jodie Apeseche blow me away with this cover!

Matt: I do want to make sure readers are aware that there is a charitable aspect of this book. What is the Rozalia Project, and how did they come to be the beneficiaries of this project?

Kristen: To do my own part in decreasing ocean trash and single-use plastic in general, I started researching companies that use sustainable packaging. I bought shampoo that is a bar of soap and laundry detergent that comes in little dried-up soap sheets, and beeswax wraps.

One of the beeswax wrap companies is a part of 1% for the Planet, and had links to environmental non-profits on their website. And Rozalia Project was one of them! So I clicked it, saw that it is a New England ocean clean up and education group, and that they do free events for kids all over the New England coast, and I thought…perfect.

Heather: At this point, we decided to gift the first month’s profits to the Rozalia Project. And then when we met Ashley Sullivan, the Executive Director at the Rozalia Project, and were thrilled. Hearing first-hand about all the education and clean-up they do along the coast of New England, we knew it was a perfect match. And the thought of being able to meet up and help out when they sail down to Boston on the American Promise clinched our happiness over the partnership!

Please check them out at https://rozaliaproject.org/about and email us a picture of your own promise to the ocean using the coloring page at the end of Friends & Anemones!

Matt:  The Writers Loft really is an incredible group, in part because of its diversity of talent, from best-selling authors & illustrators to pre-published folks working up the ranks. Can you tell readers a little bit about how it was first created, and any upcoming events/plans?

Kristen: I’m going to let Heather answer most of this, but I’ll just say, for me it was serendipity. Back in late 2012 I decided I needed some kind of writing community because I was so lonely as a writer. So I started blogging, and I met a few people but they were mostly thousands of miles away. Then one day, one blogger got us all together in person in Cambridge. That night I met Heather and Anna Stanizewski–and a few weeks later Heather started the Writers’ Loft. Which was exactly what I needed!      

The Writers Loft, Sherborn, MA

Heather: When I first started the Writers’ Loft in 2013, I didn’t know what it would be, I just knew it needed to BE. The road to publication can be a lonely one, fraught with rejection and disappointment. But I thought, maybe it doesn’t have to be! Maybe we write better, illustrate better, learn better, and understand better when we do it together. And that tenant holds true–in much bigger ways than I ever imagined. We all find the shortest path between where we are now and where we want to go when we share knowledge, resources, and support.

At the Writers’ Loft, we help all kinds of writers and author/illustrators achieve success through critique groups, classes, workshops, meetings with agents/editors, self-publishing support, and publications like this anthology. When the pandemic hit, we moved all our supports and programs online and built on the 500+ local Lofters to embrace serious authors and illustrators from around the world! Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit. We create better books when we do it together! Join us: www.thewritersloft.org

Matt: Well, congratulations again, and thanks so much for asking me to be a part of this incredible book!

Heather: Matt, thank you so much for hosting us, and thank you for being a judge and for your support along the way for this project – we are richer because of your involvement!

Purchase “Friends & Anemones” at Peter H. Reynolds’ The Blue Bunny!

Check out the BOOK TRAILER for FRIENDS & ANEMONES!

Want to see a little bit more of Friends & Anemones? Need more poetry, in general? Then head over to Teacher Dance, where Linda Baie is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with her review of our book!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone 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!

To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually 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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” sneak peek!

We are just one week away from a Book Birthday, folks!

All images © 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Created by the members of The Writer’s Loft in Massachusetts and spearheaded by editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly, Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children arrives Friday, Nov. 20 – in all its 70-page glory!

Yes, SEVENTY PAGES, filled with poems and illustrations by more than 60 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen (with whom I share a spread), Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Peter H. Reynolds, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, Priscilla Alpaugh, and Yours Truly along with many others.

If you follow the folks at KidLit411, you will likely see the book’s trailer premiere today, if you haven’t already. We also have a virtual book launch planned for Peter Reynold’s book store (see below) – but I thought I’d give you an inside look at a spread featuring one of my three poems:

(click to enlarge)

And no, you’re not seeing things…if you’re trying to orient yourself, this is one of a few spreads that was designed to be held sideways, so the top of the spread is actually the left side of the book, and the bottom is the right side.

There are a number of different poetic forms in this book; my poem, “Unmoored,” is a cherita, “The Lowest Peak” and “Stormy” (the latter of which was written by the spread’s illustrator, Suwin Chan) are both haiku, and “Giant Squid” is rhyming verse made up of double couplets. And as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m also very proud to have been asked by Heather and Kristen if I would join Kip Wilson in judging all the submitted poems – so it’s gratifying to see the poems we selected in print!

VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH THIS SUNDAY!

Peter H. Reynolds, author of such popular books as The Dot, The Word Collector, and I Am Human, is a member of The Writer’s Loft and operates The Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, Mass, just outside of Boston. That’s where we’ll be hosting the official virtual book launch for Friends & Anemomes this Sunday, Nov. 15…so I hope you’ll join us for the celebration and a sneak peek inside the book with several of the contributors!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT “FRIENDS & ANEMONES!”

ENTER TO WIN A FREE COPY HERE!

For more poetry, head on over to Robyn Hood Black’s blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

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

Very excited to be part of this annual event, online this weekend, SAT. & SUN.!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone 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 once or twice a week – usually 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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Friends & Anemones” coming soon!

There’s a new children’s poetry anthology coming your way Nov. 20…

© 2020 The Writers Loft Press, all rights reserved; cover design by Jodie Apeseche

Created by the members of The Writer’s Loft in Massachusetts and spearheaded by editors Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly, Friends & Anemones is not your typical children’s poetry anthology.

For one thing, it’s 70 pages long! Yes, you read that correctly – SEVENTY PAGES, and well-worth every penny you spend on it. Moreover, it includes work by nearly 70 New England-based authors and illustrators, including Yours Truly, Jane Yolen (with whom I share a spread), Peter Reynolds, Brian Lies, Josh Funk, Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, Kip Wilson, and many others.

I’m very proud to add that Kip and I are more than just contributors, too; we were asked by Heather and Kristen if we would judge all the submitted poems (and there were a bunch!) to determine which ones were best, which needed some revision, and which might need to be turned away. It was certainly a time-consuming task, but a wholly enjoyable one, as well – and what an incredible result!

I can’t share too much more about the book yet, as we’re planning a book trailer premiere with the folks at KidLit411 next week, a virtual book launch at Peter Reynold’s book store (see below), and a forthcoming blog tour…but here’s a small taste, the opening of one of my poems, “Goblin Shark,” a pantoum:

Who knows what deep-sea tales you hold
of dark and solitary trails
within that dreadful, briny cold    
where no sun shines, nor seaman sails.

In dark and solitary trails
one hundred meters down or more
(where no sun shines, nor seaman sails)…

As I mentioned, Jane Yolen and I share a spread which features this poem and a poem she wrote about a slime eel – and if you don’t know anything about either of these creatures, suffice it to say it’s likely the most disgustingly cool spread in the book! I can’t wait for you to see it!

Peter Reynolds, author of such wonderful books as The Dot, The Word Collector, and I Am Human, is a member of The Writer’s Loft and operates an indie bookstore known as The Blue Bunny in Dedham, Mass, just outside of Boston. That’s where we’ll be hosting the official virtual book launch for Friends & Anemomes on Sunday, Nov. 15…so I hope you’ll join us for the celebration and a sneak peek inside the book!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT “FRIENDS & ANEMONES!”

Susan Bruck is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup with kangaroos and dactyls at her blog, Soul Blossom Living, so please be sure to stop by and check out all the poetry links!

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

I’m now a part of the BOOKROO family!

Children's Book Subscription: Bookroo - Sincerely Stacie

You can create an account to add books to wishlists and be notified of special deals and dates…create custom collections…and discover and follow your favorite authors & illustrators!

Find out more about BOOKROO here!

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

Talkabook is setting out to inspire children by connecting them with authors and illustrators! Click here to view my profile and learn more!

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

I’ve teamed up with several children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month.

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

Coming March 2, 2021! Pre-orders are available!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online? Oh, yes, you can!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Click any of the following covers to order!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone 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 once or twice a week – usually 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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Revisiting “Oceanside”

The view from my office. And by “office,” I mean a mile of white sand. And surf. And sun. And cool ocean breezes. And – well, ok, it’s not anything close to being an office. But I’m totally ok with that.

I’ve been enjoying some much-needed ocean vibes this week in York, Maine – our home-away-from home – and got thinking about a special little poem I had written years ago that eventually found a home in Halcyon literary magazine way back in 2014.

I stopped for a minute and thought about that.

2014!

When this poem, titled “Oceanside,” was published (almost exactly 6 years ago), I hadn’t had a poem in a children’s anthology yet, hadn’t been published in Highlights for Children magazine yet, and had no book contracts anywhere on the horizon. Aside from my adult-oriented poetry that had been published over the years, the only children’s poetry I had written and seen published was with Kip Wilson and the gang at the Young Adult Review Network (for which I am extremely grateful).

Part of the reason I couldn’t find a home for “Oceanside” was because it was hard to determine if it was a children’s poem or not. I didn’t really think it was…but then again, it certainly didn’t seem like something that would show up in The Atlantic, either. Thank goodness for Monique Berry and her magazine, Halcyon!

Read “Oceanside” (and the entire Summer 2014 issue) here!

I can’t believe how far my career has come since this was published in 2014: 2 picture books out, 8 more on the way, nearly 30 poems published, and even more good news I can’t publicly announce yet! Just goes to show, if you keep honing your skills – learning, writing, reading, networking – hard work does pay off. And I appreciate you being part of it all!

My friend Linda Mitchell is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, A Word Edgewise – so head on over for all of today’s poetry links and fun!

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

I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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

What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!

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

Looking for a complete list of all the poetry coming out this year for young people? Then visit Sylvia Vardell’s blog! Also, I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them!

 

Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:
.
=========================================================

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


     

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone 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 once or twice a week – usually 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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: Long Sands Anniversary

Last week, I shared the poem I wrote for my wife as part of my wedding vows 11 years ago. Today, I’m sharing a brand-new poem I wrote with her in mind.

(click to enlarge)

This poem, written as a cherita with an extra stanza, as a way of remembering all the times we’ve walked along the shoreline of Long Sands Beach in York, Maine – our home-away-from-home. Our happy place. Some people buy their wives diamond rings for their anniversary; I write poems. But hey, it’s her own fault – she knew this going in, ha!

For more poetry, please visit Christie at Wondering and Wandering, who’s celebrating trees with classic poems from David McCord and Mary Oliver as well as some originals!

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

AVAILABLE NOW!

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

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


  

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)

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

Thank you to everyone 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 once or twice a week – usually 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 Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!