Poetry Friday: dusting off a poem for Halloween

My kids have been talking about Halloween since they started school, so I thought it might be nice to delve deep down into the ol’ Triple-R-chives (see what I did there?) and share something I wrote 5 years ago, back when this blog was still in its fledgling state.

It’s a fun poem which I enjoyed writing – and even now, having read it and re-read it a hundred times, it hasn’t lost its luster for me. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it! Just click the graphic (which inspired the poem) and you’ll be whisked away to the original post.

Click image to visit the Vampire’s Kitchen! (image courtesy Jennifer L. Meyer, used with permission, all rights reserved)

Violet Nesdoly is not only hosting Poetry Friday today – she’s celebrating Thanksgiving! This weekend, our Canadian neighbors are celebrating Thanksgiving, so this is a special “Pumpkin Edition” of Poetry Friday!

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How can I get a copy of Flashlight Night, you ask? When can I get it signed, you ask? Where will I be next, you ask?

Funny you should ask…

  • Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
  • Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
  • Nov. 1, 12pm:  Concord Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center / Gift Shop, Concord, NH
  • (soon-to-be-confirmed: Toadstool Bookshop, Keene/Peterborough/Milford, NH

I’ll continue updating this as dates are added!

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed “Flashlight Night” enough to write about it:

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“Favorably recalls Where the Wild Things Are” – Shelf Awareness

“Begs to be read over and over” – Michelle Knott, Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook/Goodreads

“A poetic and engaging journey” – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian In Cute Shoes

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Beautiful words and stunning illustrations” – Jason Lewis, 5th grade teacher at Tyngsboro Elementary School, Tyngsboro, MA

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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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“Flashlight Night” Book Birthday!

It’s official: Flashlight Night is finally here – on National Talk Like a Pirate Day, no less!

I’ve had lots of adult and children’s poems published in anthologies, journals, and such…but this is my first full-length picture book, and I’m so thrilled and humbled by all the coverage and positive reviews it’s been receiving.

I am doubly pleased that so many folks – reviewers, average readers, and even illustrator Fred Koehler himself – have referred to my text as a “poem.” Because even though it’s a picture book (and I wrote it to be a picture book), I have always considered it poetry.

The “Flashlight Night” blog tour is underway:

Starting with Jama Kim Rattigan this past Friday and continuing through next Tues., various kidlit blogs have joined together to celebrate the arrival of my little baby. Today, Penny Parker Klostermann is featuring a guest blog by Yours Truly in which I talk about how the book came to be, as well as some of the things I deliberately did which I was afraid might hinder my chances of getting published.

Here is a list of blogs where you can learn more about the book, the inspiration behind it, and the guy who wrote it – and a special TV interview with the illustrator (details below!):

Friday 9/15                  Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Monday 9/18               KitLit Exchange/The Loud Library Lady
Tuesday 9/19               Penny Klostermann Book Blog
Wednesday 9/20        Unleashing Readers
Thursday 9/21             KidLit Frenzy
Friday 9/22                  Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Monday 9/25               Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tuesday 9/26               Nerdy Book Club

Illustrator Fred Koehler makes his KidLit TV debut:

A few weeks ago,the folks at KidLit TV interviewed Fred about his work on Flashlight Night (as well as his amazing talent in general), and today they’re sharing it on their website!

In the video, Fred talks about playing with flashlights in the woods as a child (much as I did!), his 3-week excursion to the U.K. to take photos and sketches of tall ships, architecture, and Durdle Door. (What’s Durdle Door, you ask? Do a quick Google search, and if you’ve read the book, you’ll immediately see the connection!)

Click to enlarge Fred’s version of Durdle Door!

…and the Goodreads Giveaway has begun!

My publisher, Boyds Mills Press, has teamed up with Goodreads to give away TWENTY COPIES of Flashlight Night! The contest started at midnight last night and will wrap up at 11:59pm PT next Tue., Sept. 26. So head on over and enter…and good luck!

Book signings/readings/appearances:

I will be visiting a number of bookstores in the New Hampshire area, and while some dates have been confirmed, others have not. Here’s the list, so far:

Sept. 23, 6:30pm:  Innisfree Bookshop, Meredith, NH
Sept. 30, 4pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH

I’ll be sure to let you know when and where I’ll be as soon as I know where I’ll be!

Oh, and I had the pleasure of stopping by a local radio station this morning and chatting with the hosts about the book. If you’d care to listen to our on-air interview, you can check it out here:

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Thank you so much to all who have enjoyed the book enough to write about it!

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“Imaginative…fantastical” – Booklist

“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“Illuminates the power of imagination” – Kellee Moye, Unleashing Readers

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

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

Thank you, as always, for your support…if you decide to pick up a copy, I hope you and your kids enjoy it as much as Fred and I – along with editor Rebecca Davis, of course – have enjoyed creating it!

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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: Flashlights and Dinosaurs and Roundups – oh, my!

Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin…it’s such a crazy, busy week, and there’s so much to talk about!

I have big news about my debut picture book, Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, Sept. 19, 2017) – actually, THREE different news items – plus, news about my second book, due out this spring.

But first, let me welcome you to the Poetry Friday roundup! This is the place where you can find links to all of the poetry-related posts in the blogosphere. So leave your links in the comments below, and I’ll put them together in this post throughout the day.

“Flashlight Night” News #1:  National Book Launch!

Last night, Carol Gordon Ekster, whose new picture book is You Know What? (Clavis, 2017), and I hosted a dual book launch at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. What a success!

Clockwise from top: our books; Carol starting things off; some guy who vaguely looks like me having a grand time (Photo credit, Josh Funk)

Thank you to everyone who attended!

Loved the size of the crowd!
Oh, and did I mention there was food? Yes, I should have mentioned that…

 

“Flashlight Night” News #2:  One of the Best Picture Books of 2017!

Last Friday, the folks at The Children’s Book Review announced their list of what they feel are the best children’s books of the year…and Flashlight Night made the cut!

I’m so excited about this, not only because I wrote it, but because it was such a beautiful example of teamwork – between me, illustrator Fred Koehler (who came up with the concept of reality being in darkness and fantasy being illuminated by the flashlight), and my editor, Rebecca Davis, who steered the project from start to finish.

And just in case you missed that link, here it is again, so you can read the complete list – which includes books from friends and fellow writers like David Elliott, Josh, Funk, Patricia Toht, and many others.

“Flashlight Night” News #3:  On sale at Amazon!

I always like to books locally, whenever possible, because doing so helps support the businesses closest to us. But if you really want to pick up a copy and are having a  tough time with your finances, I am please to tell you that Amazon has it for almost five dollars less than the standard price: just $12.11!

Second book news: COVER REVEAL!

In the midst of all this Flashlight news, I learned something about Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, March 2018), the book I co-authored with author & critique partner Deb Bruss…we have a release date and a cover!

(click to enlarge)

 

Wait til you see what’s inside! Illustrator Louis Chin is having fun depicting 14 different dinosaur species and the utter havoc they wreak while getting ready for a birthday party.

With big, bold colors, crazy situations, and a 2-page glossary at the end detailing the unique attributes of each dinosaur, this book is completely unlike Flashlight – so I’m eager to see what people think of it! It’s already for pre-order, so CLICK HERE for details.

Local release party this weekend!

Just a reminder: if you’re in the area, please stop by MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH this Sunday for the local release party, starting at 2pm. More info can be found HERE.

So thank you for stopping by today! Leave your Poetry Friday links in the comments, and I’ll round them up…

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“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“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!

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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: More “Flashlight” news and reviews!

In less than a week, little ol’ Flashlight Night will be making its debut at its national book launch in Boston (well, technically, Cambridge), Mass. – and with that in mind, I thought I should probably share with you all the exciting events lined up!

Official Book Launch Parties:  

Although Flashlight doesn’t ‘officially’ arrive in the world until Sept. 19, there are not one, but TWO special release parties planned in advance – where folks will have the opportunity to purchase the book before it’s released! How cool is that??

The first party is at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. on Thursday night, Sept. 7 at 7pm. I’ll be there for a dual book launch with Carol Gordon Ekster, whose latest picture book, You Know What? (Clavis, 2017) will be sharing the spotlight. More details can be found HERE.

Then, that following Sunday, Sept. 10, I will be at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH for the local release party, starting at 2pm. (Whew, what a week!) Details on this event can be found HERE.

“Flashlight Night” is having its own blog tour!

Starting the Friday before it’s released, there will be a week-and-a-half long tour of kidlit blogs where you can learn more about the book, the inspiration behind it, and the guy who write it…and a brand-new cookie recipe. (You’ll figure out how that ties in to everything else in due time!)

Here’s the schedule:

Friday 9/15                  Jama’s Alphabet Soup
Monday 9/18               KitLit Exchange/The Loud Library Lady
Tuesday 9/19               Penny Klostermann Book Blog
Wednesday 9/20        Unleashing Readers
Thursday 9/21             KidLit Frenzy
Friday 9/22                  Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Monday 9/25               Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tuesday 9/26               Nerdy Book Club

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* * * (News about the GOODREADS GIVEAWAY follows, below!) * * *

Click to enlarge images (©2017 Boyds Mills Press, all rights reserved)

 

Goodreads Giveaway:

That’s right! My publisher, Boyds Mills Press, has teamed up with Goodreads to give away TWENTY COPIES of Flashlight Night! The contest will begin at midnight, 12:00am PT on Tue., Sept. 19 (release day!) and finish at 11:59pm PT on Tue., Sept. 26. So make a note to remind yourself to enter, and good luck!

Book signings/readings/appearances:

In addition to the two book launches I mentioned above, I will also be visiting a number of bookstores in the New Hampshire area. Here’s the list, so far – and keep in mind that of of the times might change:

Sept. 23, 6pm:  Innisfree Bookshop, Meredith, NH
Sept. 30, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 11, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH
Oct. 14, 2pm:  Books-A-Million, Concord, NH
Oct. 27, 6pm:  Barnes & Noble, Manchester, NH

More dates will be added as we go along, and I’ll be sure to let you know when and where I’ll be as soon as I know where I’ll be!

Illustrator Fred Koehler makes his KidLit TV debut!

A few weeks ago,the folks at KidLit TV interviewed Fred about his work on Flashlight Night (as well as his amazing talent in general), and as soon as it is posted on their website, I’ll be sharing the post here and on Facebook and Twitter. From what I’ve heard, everyone had a lot of fun doing it, so I’m very eager to see how it turned out.

AND…the latest review!!

I’ve been looking forward to seeing what the School Library Journal thinks of Fred and my efforts, and was so pleased to read an incredible review! A little of what they have to say:

The verse is incantatory, summoning jungle beasts, Egyptian tombs, pirate ships, and the like. Koehler’s digitally colored pencil drawings cleverly depict what’s really in the kids’ surroundings while also showing what they are imagining…This is a simple idea that’s engagingly executed.

So whaddaya know…I wrote “incantatory verse!” Love, love, love this! (You can read  more once the SLJ’s Sept. issue is published.) Thank you to Fred, Rebbeca Davis my editor, Kerry McManus who is handling  promotions at Boyds Mills Pres, and everyone involved!

And thank YOU again for following along with me on this journey – I appreciate your support. Simply taking the time to read my blog posts means a lot to me. For all of today’s Poetry Friday links and fun, you can find the complete roundup at Kathryn Apel’s blog, where she is celebrating child’s play!

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“The verse is incantatory…a simple idea that’s engagingly executed” – School Library Journal

“Delicious language…ingenious metamorphoses” – Kirkus Reviews

“[Esenwine and Koehler] don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will be inspired to…create their own journey” – Alyson Beecher, Kidlit Frenzy

“Imaginative…fantastical” – ALA Booklist

“An old fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure” – The Horn Book

“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!

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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: Phoebe babies and another great review for “Flashlight Night!”

(Click to enlarge)

This photo was taken about a month ago, but I’m just now getting around to sharing a poem with it because I’ve been so busy with kids and work and everything else that fills up a summer. But I wanted to post this, because the phoebe family keeps coming back year after year, building and rebuilding their little home above the front door to our home…and they have become as much a part of our family as the creatures living inside.

ALA Booklist loves “Flashlight Night!”

I’ve mentioned before how happy I was to receive a positive review for my debut picture book from Publisher’s Weekly…and a starred review from Kirkus was just outstanding! Now, I’ve learned that the American Library Association’s Booklist will be publishing their review of Flashlight Night next Wed., August 2 – and it appears they, too, seemed to enjoy it:

“A flashlight becomes a gateway to a whole new world in this imaginative picture book…Despite the excitement, the gentle rhyming text will wind young listeners down and help prepare them for dreamland adventures of their own.”

Those are just the first and last sentences of the review…wait’ll you see what the reviewer has to say, in-between! (I’ll be sure to share the link here and on Facebook and Twitter once it comes out – but I’m sure you could’ve guessed that, right??)

By the way, Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise is hosting Poetry Friday today with a fun, unusual poetry prompt and lots of links to more poetry…so be sure to head over and say hi!

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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!
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: “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!