Poetry Friday: CYBILS Awards, a favorite past winner, and ‘Beginner’s Guide’ is popping up in the world!

Even if I didn’t know I had a new book coming out next month, I’d still know – because only when a new book is due does life get this busy!

I’ve been coordinating interviews with bloggers, corresponding with bookstores, getting marketing posts out and scheduled, and already signing copies of A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human (Beaming Books, 2022)!

My first creative nonfiction book (from the publishers of Once Upon Another Timeintroduces the very human concepts and emotions of love, creativity, and empathy, and I hope you’ll check it out. (You’ll certainly have plenty of opportunity to do so, as the number blog posts, reviews, interviews, and podcasts will start increasing as we get closer to publication date of Oct. 18!)

I’ve already seen the book on the shelf of one local bookstore, Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH (guess they couldn’t wait, ha!), and yesterday I spent part of my afternoon signing all the fresh copies that had just been delivered to another local bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, NH. I absolutely LOVE this!

As if I wasn’t busy enough, I’ve just learned that I will be a First Round Panelist for this year’s CYBILs Awards! I’m always eager to see what books get nominated for the various categories (I get to judge poetry!), and I’m especially excited because there are finally, finally TWO separate categories for poetry collections and verse novels.

Many of us have been requesting this for years, because it’s impossible to compare a collection of poems written for a 2nd-grade reading level with a YA verse novel. They might both be poetry, but they are as different as a board book and an early reader – they are two completely different genres, and it’s nice to see the CYBILs recognizing this.

Nominations for all the categories will open on Oct. 1, so be sure to check out the CYBILs website for all the info – and bookmark it so you can stay updated!

So to celebrate the CYBILs, I thought I’d reach back in time and share a poem from the book that won First Place in the Poetry Category the very first year I participated as a panelist or judge: 2013! (Wow, has it really been 9 years?)

The winning book was Forest Has a Song (Clarion Books, 2013) by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who at the time I’d only recently connected with on social media. Over the ensuing years, however, Amy and I would get to know each other better through our poetry, our books, and a mutual friendship with the late, great Lee Bennett Hopkins.

We’ve even had the privelege of contributing to each other’s books – me, by writing a soccer poem for her book Poems are Teachers (Heineman, 2017) and her, for contributing a poem to an upcoming poetry anthology of mine.

One of my favorite poems from her book has delightful wordplay and is beautiful in its simplicity and brevity – neither of which is an easy task, when it comes to poetry:

Image ©2013 Clarion Books and Robbin Gourley, all rights reserved

If you click the image, you’ll be whisked away to Jama Rattigan’s original blog post celebrating the publication of Forest Has a Song, so I hope you’ll check it out if you missed it 9 years ago!

Here in present day, however, Tabatha is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, The Opposite of Indifference, and sharing a cute pussy willow poem, “The Willow Cats,” by award-winning poet Margaret Widdemer.

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

I’m very happy to be 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 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 here to view all my books and 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: Flying Jet Packs, Bacon Steak, and the Rule of Subtraction – What I learned at the State Fair, Part X

As you may know, I’m the PA announcer for our local state fair, which takes place every Labor Day Weekend from Thur. afternoon through Monday, Labor Day. It’s a roughly 55-hour weekend, and between oxen pulls, demo derbies, and giant pumpkins, it keeps me busy! With anywhere from 80,000 – 100,000 people attending, I’m letting folks know when the next musical performance is, how to get tickets for the monster truck show, or where the nearest ATM or bathroom can be found.

That’s a lot of talking – and, since I don’t use a booth, it’s also a lot of walking.

I recall using a FitBit or something like that one year and discovered I had walked 9 miles in just ONE DAY. And really, if one is going to consume a weekend’s worth of fair food, one needs to fit as much exercise in as possible, ha!

In amongst all my walking and talking, I always learn new things and make discoveries – and as is tradition here at the ol’ Triple-R, I share what I learn here. In the past I’ve told you about chainmail socks, the invincibility of teenagers, and the beautiful perfection of donut cones.

This year is no different, and I will be including a poem at the end of this post, for Poetry Friday!

Although this is my 10th year of sharing these little tidbits of knowledge (and my 12th year of announcing), it seems there’s never a dearth of things to learn about…

For the most part, food vendors tried to keep things affordable. It was nice to see that, in an age where inflation runs rampant and everything is 2-3 times more expensive than it used to be, fair food wasn’t dramatically overpriced. Most (not all, alas, but most) food vendors had only raised their prices by a buck or so, which was reasonable, considering the circumstances. There were some who didn’t post any of their prices – so you discovered the prices only once you got to the front of the line – but generally, vendors were pretty responsible.

Speaking of food, the giant stuffed baked potato remains the most perfect food on the planet. It’s got something from every food group, every food pyarmid level, every kind of vitamin and mineral you could possibly want – because just about every food item ever invented is on it. Heaven on a plate.

You may not be able to tell from the photo, but it was so big it probably weighed at least a pound. That’s how it felt sitting in my stomach, anyway. A good night.

Llamas can hum. As I’ve told you before, I always learn something new at the fair. I may not learn anything particularly useful, but I learn something new.

Giant pumpkin growers take their vocation seriously.

That large one on the left won 1st place at 1195 lbs. This year was a smaller year than normal.

I always make a point to chat with the farmers who specialzie in growing the giant pumpkins and they often share some of their tips with me: use good quality giant pumpkin seeds; till a good pile of compost into the ground in the fall, mulch it, and let it rest until spring; pull off any flower buds untill the vine is about 1-12 feet long, and then once you start seeing pumpkins growing, pull them all off except for the best-looking one.

Some have said they inject milk into the vines, others say to cover the fruit when in direct sun, as the skin hardens faster, preventing growth. And I could go on and on. I don’t know if any of this actually helps, but they sound like they know what they’re doing.

I want to do this when I grow up:

That’s right – water-powered jetpacks lifting stuntmen 50 feet in the air. It’s called the Jet Pack Flying Water Circus and it’s my next big career move. They are affiliated with the Nerveless Nocks, descendents of a famous Swiss acrobatic family and they have quite a reputation for putting on incredible shows!

Pay attention to the folks serving you and preparing your food. I ordered a sub from one of the vendors and after the guy took my money and gave me my change, he grabbed a roll and started making my sandwich. Bare hands, the entire time. One would think after what the country has gone through over the past two years, people wouldn’t be this stupid – but apparently they are. That was a big NOPE for me.

“Bacon steak” is a thing. Somehow, over an entire 5-day weekend, I never got around to trying this or even taking a picture, but there was a food vendor selling what they called bacon steak: a one-to-two inch slab of bacon that was cut into giant chunks, put on a skewer, and deep-fried. It was $15 per serving. Did I mention it was deep-fried? I think I remember now why I never tried it. (Hey, even I have my limits!)

Robots have invaded the state fair. Being an agricultural fair, there is a very large 4-H presence here – with horses, cattle, sheep, rabbits, and just about every other farm animal represented. We also have an entire building devoted to showing off the 4-H projects on display, from arts and crafts to vegetables.

But this year, we had robots!

The local 4-H Robotics was on hand to show fair attendees what they do, what they are learning, and how the robots they have created function. This particular team has won numerous awards, too, so it was wonderful to be able to chat with them and see their robots in action. Bonus: none of the robots tried to launch an uprising, which was a relief.

Glazed donut burgers aren’t as awesome as you might think. I keep hearing people saying how incredible glazed donut cheeseburgers are (whereby you use a sliced glazed donut in place of a normal bun). The one I tried – for the first time in my life – was mediocre. And I know it wasn’t the burger, cooked by a friend of mine who operates a food truck, and I know it wasn’t the donut, either, because I know the folks who make the giant donuts, too, which are phenomenal. Alas, the glazed donut burger was less than sum of its parts. Glad I tried it, but not worth trying again.

Chainsaw carving follows the Rule of Subtraction. This is according to master chainsaw carver Ben Risney, who is a regular fixture here at the fair. He takes huge logs like these…

…and turns them into works of art like these:

What Ben means by the “Rule of Subtraction” is that he always has to be aware of what he’s cutting, because the entire process is a process of removal – once it’s cut, it’s cut! There is no, “Oh wait, let me put this piece back.” Every sculpture is created using nothing but chainsaws – he has many different size saws, but no chisels, no picks, no knives.

And if you think these sculptures are incredible, also consider the fact that each one is completed in the time it takes for Ben to do a demonstration – 45 minutes to an hour! He’s amazing AND fast.

So in keeping with today’s “fair” theme, I thought I’d share a fair-themed poem with you for Poetry Friday. This one was actually written specifically for a fair by Leslie Ball, a writer and singer from Minnesota who wrote this poem for the Minnesota State Fair:

The Fair is a Living Thing
.

Just past six a.m.

Light starting to leak into the sky.

They predict rain.

We don’t care.

Today is day one of our beloved State Fair.

People already streaming onto the grounds.

Three teenage boys cross in front of us, each wearing a feed cap, Each leading a newly shorn lamb.

We hike past the old Machinery Hill…
.

– © 2006 Leslie Ball, all rights reserved (read the rest of the poem HERE)

.

I would also encourage you to check out “Country Fair” by Charles Simic, one of the preeminent poets from our state and the former U.S. Poet Laureate who succeeded the late, great Donald Hall, also from New Hampshire, in that role. It’s less about a country fair and more about the side shows, but it’s worth reading and contemplating.

Looking for more poetry? My friend Kat Apel is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup from Down Under – at her blog, Kat’s Whiskers! She shares some updates as to what she’s been doing recently, between book festivals and book releases, poetry swaps and picture book polishing!

Me? I’m just excited for what’s about to happen in just one month:

COMING SOON…

Arriving everywhere books are sold on Oct. 18 from Beaming Books!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

I’m very happy to be 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 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 here to view all my books and 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: Thoughts on the “Tao Te Ching”

I feel bad I neglected to post for Poetry Friday last week; however, I had been spending the first half of the week preparing for my live announcing gig at our local state fair, which began Thur., Sept. 1, at which point I began my 55-hour weekend.

I’ll share my thoughts and insights on the fair, as I do every year, next week – but for now, I’m sharing a golden shovel poem based on the famous words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who is credited (likely improperly) with writing the Tao Te Ching, a series of texts upon which the philosophy and religion of Taosim is based.

In a nutshell, Taoism is the belief that aligning oneself with the Tao – also known as The Way, the universal rhythmic force that binds everything and everyone – is the key to happiness. Rather than fighting in opposition to the flow of the Tao, a Taoist allows the flow to guide them, using a principle of wu wei, roughly translated as “action through inaction.” This is not to mean one should be lazy or exert no effort at all, but to work with the flow of life and not against it.

With this in mind, I took a walk along the brook that borders our property and was inspired to write a short golden shovel using a portion of Lao Tzu’s famous quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”:

My friend (and wonderful supporter) Carol Varsalona is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today at her blog Beyond LiteracyLink with a couple of poems celebrating the season we are leaving behind, one of which is a cento – a poem created from lines of other poems. I see we are both openly inspired by others’ words today!

COMING SOON…

Arriving everywhere books are sold on Oct. 18 from Beaming Books!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

I’m very happy to be 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 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 here to view all my books and 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: Rainbow Eucalyptus Part II, the poem you never saw

Sometimes, blog posts just sort of create themselves.

Case in point: last week, I shared my Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree poem that was included in J. Patrick Lewis’ The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Kids, 2015). But then just a few days later, I discovered that I’d never shared the poem that didn’t make it!

You see, when Pat asked me to write a poem about these trees, I had to do a lot of research – having never heard of them before, I needed to learn about what they looked like, why they looked like they did, and where on Earth one would even find them. This took me a solid day, at least. I then set about trying to come up with a poem worthy of a National Geographic book, and eventually wrote two of them.

The poem I shared last week, the one that made it into the book, was actually the second poem I wrote; the first one never saw the light of day. I sent Pat both poems so he could decide which he preferred, but I was glad to see he chose the second poem, as that was my favorite of the two, as well.

But that first poem was nice, nonetheless, and I always regretted that no one would ever read it. So why not publish it here??
.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Near a clearing in the forest,
jungle pixies paint with glee
the canvas of a eucalyptus;
Nature’s artist-tree.

– © 2014 Matt Forrest Esenwine 

.

Rainbow Eucalyptus, Wikimedia Commons, by amelia

You can probably see why both Pat and I preferred the second poem; this is nice, but very simple and not exceptionally engaging. The second poem is much more vivid and contains fun, inventive wordplay.

Analyzing it now, this feels more like the “rough draft” of the second poem – although I didn’t realize it when I wrote it. Just goes to show you how important it is to keep working at your project, even when you think you’re done, ha!

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head on over to Tanita Davis’ blog fiction, instead of lies, where she shares a poetic exercise that was a lot more taxing than she ever imagined!

ALSO:

My next picture book, A Beginner’s Guide to Being Human  (Beaming Books, 2022) is only two months away from publication, and we could use your help!

My first-ever creative nonfiction book comes out October 18 and you’d like to help share the news with the world, I’d love for you to be part of our official Launch Team! Just send me an email at Matt (at) MattForrest (dot) com and let me know. We’ll send you a link so you can read the digital ARC (Advance Review Copy) and will coordinate news and announcements with you to share.

It’s not a lot of work – sharing social media posts, leaving reviews, etc. – but it’s a significant way you can lend a hand in showing support for a book you like. And if you’re a blogger or influencer and would like to be part of our official blog tour/virtual launch, I can make sure you’ll receive a free copy of Beginner’s Guide to give away to one of your followers!

Image © 2022 Beaming Books, all rights reserved; reprinted with permission

Again, just email me if you’d like to learn more and I’ll take it from there. I hope you’ll jump on board!

And thank you so much for all your support – I couldn’t have come this far without you!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

I’m very happy to be 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 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 here to view all my books and 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 10th anniversary of blogging? Can it be true??

Apparently…yes!

It’s hard for me to believe, but my first blog post was ten years ago on August 1, 2012. It was an introduction to me and why I had even begun the blog (to showcase my poetry and market my writing and voiceover business). I had just left my job in radio the month before and was eager to begin my new journey!

A few days later, on Aug. 3, 2012, I published my very first Poetry Friday blog post – a poem I had written as part of my wedding vows a few years prior:
.

Constancy
For Jennifer

How many have, before me, tried in vain
To capture beauty, constancy, and love
Through fluent phrase, in happiness and pain,
And simile of summer, star, or dove?
Their words so eloquent, imagery lush –
In perfect imperfection testify…

(you can read the rest HERE)
.

I made a promise that I would re-post that poem every year here at the ol’ Triple-R in order to celebrate our 14th anniversary on Aug. 10, and I’m honoring that today. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support (emotional as well as financial!) of my bride, and I’ll never be able to repay her for it.

Another ten-year milestone was my leaving fulltime employment on July 5, 2012, which our local bookstore celebrated last month with a special one-day only book bundle. Five books out so far, 30+ poems published, and several more books on the way; it’s amazing hard work, perseverance, and a smidgen of talent can do!

Over the years: a few blog stats, by the numbers…

82,000+: total number of views
49,114: total number of visitors
1,024: total followers
674: posts published
176: number of distinct countries that have viewed my blog

Honestly, it boggles my mind that there are that many people who care what I have to say every week. But I’m grateful, nonetheless! And although I don’t focus so much on radio/media or even parenting quite as much as I did when I first began, I continue to post poetry and share interviews with children’s lit authors and poets – and will continue to do so as long as the blog keeps rolling along.

~ GIVEAWAY! ~

To celebrate my 10-year “blogiversary,” I’m offering a signed copy of any one of my five books! Just leave a comment below letting me know you’d like to be entered in the drawing – and if you’d like an extra entry, simply share this post on Twitter and tag me! I’ll pick one name at random next Thur., Aug. 11 and announce the winner here on Fri., Aug. 12.

Looking for more poetry? Molly Hogan is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Nix the Comfort Zone with a couple of original baseball poems and all of today’s links!

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

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 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 here to view all my books and 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 4th-grader celebrates a famous flycatcher with a poem

I always love seeing kids writing poetry. I don’t know if it’s because I see my younger self in them or if it’s because I want to encourage them to engage writing in a genre that is both highly esteemed yet gravely misunderstood.

Either way, I’m happy to show my support by publishing students’ work here whenever I have the opportunity. Today, it’s a poem from a young writer who is OK.

He’s actually a really cool kid, with lots of interests, kind heart, and an inquisitive mind. I say he’s OK because…those are his initials!

This young homeschooled poet has taken a great interest in writing poetry lately, and his folks shared one his poems with me a few days ago. I thought it was so well done for someone so young, that I offered to share it here with the world:
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Phoebe flying, perching low,
On a windowsill below.
Milky belly, silver back,
Catching bugs with beak of black.
Partners switch, pumping wings
As it sings,
……….phoe-be,
………………..phoe-be.
Sitting on a mossy ledge,
Sipping on the river’s edge.
Back to nest, to feed their young,
A Phoebe’s work is never done,
Make it strong with grass and twig,
Web works best
to form the nest.

– written by O.K., July 2022

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Pretty impressive for a 4th-grader, yes? I told him I’m quite partial to phoebe flycatchers, which are quite plentiful around here, so I was extra-excited to share it on my blog. Well done, OK! You and your folks should be proud.

For more poetry, be sure to check out today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup at Unexpected Intersections, where Elisabeth shares an original poem about breaking routine and changing direction. Also, if you happened to miss National Mac and Cheese Day yesterday (July 14), you can still celebrate with my ode to luscious fat and carbs HERE!

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new
creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN

(Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

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 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 here to view all my books and 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 haiku

This post was originally published on July 13, 2018. My family and I spent our annual vacation back at York Beach this week, so my brain is still full of sunshine and sea spray. I thought I’d bring this favorite of mine back this week, since I’m doing my best to not work. 😉

Janice Scully has today’s Poetry Friday roundup at her blog, Salt City Verse!

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

(click to enlarge)

My wife captured this photo during the last week of June, while we were staying at a friend’s cottage along York Beach, Maine. We were walking along the shore around 6pm or so, and after a brief rainfall, we noticed the sky attempting to display three separate rainbows. Alas, they were only pieces, but I’ve had this image stuck in my head for some time now, and wanted to find a few words to accompany it. Finally did!

By the way, if you missed my little “tip of the hat” to elementary school teachers, you’ll find a mid-summer poem HERE – along with links to a few of the summer reading lists that include Flashlight Night (Boyds Mills Press, 2017)! Of course, if you’re still hungry for more poetry, you’ll find all of today’s links at Poetry for Children, where Sylvia Vardell is hosting Poetry Friday.

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

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


  (coming Sept. 25, 2018!)

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 FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: A 9th grader’s ADHD poem and Matt’s ‘Book Bundle’!”

I’ve shared my son’s poetry here before, but today I want to share with you a poem written by a friend of his, who happens to be a few years older and suffers from ADHD.

He wrote a poem about ADHD and submitted it to his school’s literary magazine – and was thrilled to discover they decided to publish it! And for good reason, too. It’s an incredible insight into the life and thoughts of a young person dealing with this troublesome condition. I asked him if he’d mind if I shared it here, and he was more than agreeable!

So I present it to you, directly from the school’s journal:

(click to enlarge)

One can sense the anxiety, confusion, and frustration that comes with ADHD, and it’s my hope that more people can get a better sense of what it’s like to deal with ADHD on a daily basis by reading this young man’s words.

For today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup, head over to my friend Catherine’s blog, Reading to the Core, for a special end-of-school-year poem for all the teachers out there!

The First Five! (click to enlarge)

By the way, this upcoming July 5 will mark the 10-year anniversary of me leaving full-time employment to be a stay at home dad and begin my journey towards publication in children’s literature. Ten years!

I had been working nearly 50 hours a week in radio – both on-air and in production – and eventually realized I was netting $150 a month. It just didn’t make sense to be employed! So I took a huge leap of faith (and honestly, my wife took that leap along with me) and now here I am with five books out and at least six more on the way, and more than 30 poems published in various anthologies and magazines.

You can understand, then, why I’m so thrilled that our local indie bookstore is offering a special “Book Bundle” of all my books – for ONE DAY ONLY! Just go to MainStreetBookEnds.com and you’ll find a specially-priced package of all five of my books – and shipping is only five dollars! Plus, they can all be individually, personally signed, so if you have five different kids you want them signed to, I can do that very easily.

Ten years. I think that’s even more surprising to me than the fact I turn 55 today. Ten years! I still can’t get over that.

This special package sale is only available July 5, but you can pre-order right now!

Learn more about my journey and the sale here:

And a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of this journey with me! I couldn’t have made it this far without your support, and I truly appreciate it.

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

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 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!

Available 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: 2022 Summer reading lists and “Night Wishes”!

Well, it’s that time of year again – the kids are getting out of school for the summer and parents are wondering how to keep them busy!

Many schools and libraries share lists of suggested summer reading for parents, of course, and I’m very proud to see several of my own books showing up on these reading lists and blogs.

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SUMMER READING LISTS!

A few of the folks I’d like to thank:

Kansas NEA Reading Circle – Recommended Title (Flashlight Night)

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School (MO) (Flashlight Night)

We Are Teachers (Flashlight Night)

Fairfax County (VA) Public Library “Picture Walks” (Flashlight Night)

Emirates Education Program “Summer Reading List 2022” (Flashlight Night)

World News Era “Summer Reading List 2022” (Flashlight Night)

West Vancouver Memorial Library “Summer Reading Recommended Titles”
(I Am Today)

The Contented Reader “25 Wonderful Books for Earth Day” (I Am Today) (True, this was initially posted for Earth Day 2022, but why not celebrate the Earth year-round??)

Book Trib “Celebrate Our Planet” (Once Upon Another Time) (This was published last spring, but I didn’t come across it until today, so I wanted to make sure I included these nice folks!)

Advent Lutheran Church (NYC) (Once Upon Another Time)

Severna Park United Methodist Church “Caring for Creation (Addressing Climate Change)” (Once Upon Another Time)

Compassionate Christianity (Once Upon Another Time)

Newton (MA) Free Library (Night Wishes)

Book Nerd Mommy “Not-to-be-missed Picture Books” (Night Wishes)

Book Nerd Mommy “Fantastic Poetry Picture Books” (Night Wishes)

Hello, Wild Things “Flashlight Book Basket” (Flashlight Night) (This was posted in 2020, but I just love the concept!)

Asa Books July Reading List (Flashlight Night) (This was also originally from 2020, but I just came across it yesterday and wanted to give them a shout-out. Thanks, folks!)

Last but not least, I want to thank Jena Benton for reviewing Once Upon Another Time on her blog this past April for National Poetry Month! I never realized it until this past week, so thank you so much, Jena!

Since it’s Poetry Friday, I thought I’d share two poems from Lee Bennett Hopkins’ anthology Night Wishes (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2020), which has received so much love from librarians and children’s book lovers!

One of the poems is my contribution and the other was written by my friend Rebecca Kai Dotlich. I was surprised to see that we both used the term, “child” – which I think helps maintain the book’s continuity – even though neither of us saw the other’s poem until the book was published!

There’s a lot more poetry in store! Today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup is at MoreArt4All, Michelle Kogan’s little home on the web, so I hope you’ll stop by and check out all the links and fun!

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how to get published without an agent, I hope you’ll join Natasha Yim, Ashok Banker, and Yours Truly for what I hope will be a fun, informative panel discussion with San Francisco Northeast Bay SCBWI hostess Gennie Bruce Gorback next Wed., June 22!

Registration closes TODAY, June 17 – so don’t delay!

Only $5 for SCBWI members, $10 for non-members – so no excuses! I’ll be watching for you. 😉

.============================================================

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

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 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!

Available 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: New “Stargazing” picture book announcement!

Wow, what a busy week it has been! I’ve written a new poem for an upcoming anthology, I’ve had a new book list published at Shepherd.com (more on that below), and librarians across the country are taking advantage of a package of ocean-themed activities that my 2022 picture book marketing group and I have put together as a way to supplement CSLP’s summer reading program.

In the midst of all this, you can imagine my joy when I learned from my publisher that I can officially announce the awesome news that I have ANOTHER picture book coming out!!

The Thing to Remember about Stargazing – a book that has been nearly TEN years in the making – will be published by the incredible folks at Tilbury House (fingers crossed for the latter part of 2023), and the illustrator they’ve signed is none other than the amazingly talented, award-winning Italian artist, Sonia Possentini.

Sonia Maria Luce Possentini

If you are unfamiliar with Sonia’s work, you need to visit her website and check out some of her beautiful work. She’s had numerous art exhibitions in addition to her illustration work and I believe she will bring an elegant and pastoral tone to my book.

What is Stargazing about, you ask?

Well, it answers the question: what is the most important thing to remember about stargazing? Is it when to do it, who to do it with, what to look for? (Hint: It’s none of those!)

Written in a loose, lyrical narrative, it is my hope that Stargazing – with its unique blend of poetic text and science – encourages, entices, and enchants. And with Sonia’s illustrations, I’m sure it will!

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So remember when I mentioned earlier that the book has been nearly ten years in the making? Well, Stargazing actually started off as a poem. Way back in 2014, the late poet, educator and anthologist Paul Janeczko asked me if I had any poems he might consider including in a poetry anthology of “how-to” poems he was putting together – which would eventually become his posthumously-published The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog (Candlewick, 2019).

One of the poems I sent Paul was a much shorter, slimmed-down version of Stargazing. He decided not to select it for his book, so I held onto it for a while and a few years later asked our mutual friend Rebecca Kai Dotlich what she thought of the poem. She liked it, but suggested it might be a bit too long for a children’s poem – perhaps, she said, either pare it down to make it shorter or flesh it out into a picture book manuscript.

Not really wanting to cut anything from what I’d written, I opted for the latter. I added, revised, tweaked, and polished – and eventually began submitting it. Twenty five rejections later, Tilbury House read it and immediately contacted me to ask if it was still available! (This is why I tell newcomers that you must, must, MUST keep subbing – if you believe in your story, don’t give up on it)

You can see now why I felt Poetry Friday was the perfect time and place to announce the official news; a poem that ahs become a picture book! I’ll be sharing more details over the next year and a half, of course – but I can’t tell you how excited I am for the world to finally see this book.

By the way, speaking of poetry, I have a new list at Shepherd.com – a website that allows you to find exactly the types of books you’re looking for, because the books are categorized into Top 5 lists created by authors themselves!

Looking for historical fiction books about World War 2? Science fiction books published in the last 2 years about cyborgs? All children’s books about robots for 8-year-olds?

This is how specific you can get with Shepherd.com – and not only is it great for book buyers, but I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot of traffic from authors and illustrators using it as a means of finding comp titles. I do hope you’ll check them out!

Since my new list features what I consider the best children’s poetry collections about animals, I thought I’d share one of my favorites poems from David Harrison’s A Place to Start a Family (Charlesbridge, 2018):

Click to enlarge. ©2018 Charlesbridge, all rights reserved

By the way, I say this is my “new” list because I have another list, as well: the best children’s poetry collections about nature, which you can find HERE. I’m hoping to create at least one more list of picture books, which I’ll share once it’s been created and posted.

If you’re an author or illustrator and would like to learn more about Shepherd, head to their website and read all about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and the progress they’re making!

LIBRARIANS! Click the graphic to learn more about how you can receive TONS of free ocean-themed activities from my PB22Peekaboo partners and me – for use this summer, or beyond!

Since it’s Poetry Friday, there’s a lot more poetry awaiting you! Be sure to visit my friend Buffy Silverman’s blog for today’s complete Poetry Friday roundup!

.

Be sure to check out all the cool new picture books arriving this year from my PB22Peekaboo partners!

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

Be sure to PRE-ORDER my upcoming new creative nonfiction picture book,
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BEING HUMAN (Beaming Books, Oct. 2022)!

Order a PERSONALLY-SIGNED copy of my latest picture book, I AM TODAY (POW! Kids Books),
or ANY of my books from my local independent bookstore!

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

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 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!

Available 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!