Weather Report. Jan. 24

Menu. With forks and white table linen stock photos
Photo from Dreamstime)

Our currently featured books, “When We Talk of Stolen Sisters,” by Jessica Mehta, “Opal Lee,” by Alice Faye Duncan and “Loving Monsters,” by Laura Eppinger, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JAN. 25-JAN. 31

“MAY WE SUGGEST,” BY ALISON PEARLMAN (NON-FICTION)

Restaurant menus are everywhere. But we know little about how they work. In May We Suggest, I investigate how they try (and sometimes fail) to influence what we buy, how we dine, and how we feel about both.

No book about restaurant menus is quite like this. It defines restaurant menus in the most expansive way: considering spoken variants and displays of real food, not just sheets of paper and signboards. This analysis of menus draws on an unprecedented range of disciplines, from experience design to behavioral economics. It is also the first study to examine how menus don’t persuade alone, but cooperate with restaurant décor, service, and other merchandising devices in the restaurant theater.

“TO A NEW ERA,” BY JOANNA FUHRMAN. (POETRY)

Writes Joanna: “I started working on the poems in this collection around 2014 when I finished my last book The Year of Yellow Butterflies. Originally, I thought the poems in the collection would blend the feeling of a fable with the idea of a history lesson. At one point, the book was titled Fablesque or Neon Arboretum. When Trump was elected, I became depressed and unhappy with what felt like the overly light tone in the manuscript. I took out a lot of poems, and the collection became darker. That said, most people who have read the book have commented on the feeling of hope and love at the center. The poems are angry, but it’s not a nihilistic collection.”

“RABBIT IN THE MOON,” BY HEATHER DIAMOND. (MEMOIR).

From Heather: ” Moving between Hawaii, Hong Kong, and the US, Rabbit in the Moon explores the challenges of mid-life reinvention, intercultural marriage, and navigating families on opposite sides of the world. In her mid-forties the white American author falls for a Chinese ethnomusicologist from Hong Kong. When the couple settles in Hawaii, her world expands, but when they move to Hong Kong, she finds herself on the small island of Cheung Chau with his extended family. Although she is a culture-shocked introvert who misses her privacy and independence, she has a background in cultural anthropology and is fascinated by the cycle of festivals and traditions she gets to witness up close. After learning to appreciate his family, she experiences reverse culture shock with her own family, and must use what she has learned abroad to fit in at home in the US.”

“THE WINGSPAN OF SEVERED HANDS,” BY JOE KOCH (HORROR/FANTASY).

Writes Joe: This book began for me as an exploration of the Grimm’s fairy tale The Maiden Without Hands. I’ve written several retellings of classic tales, but never tackled this gruesome and little-known story of an abused daughter stripped of autonomy and seeking empowerment. At the same time the story was gestating, I was frustrated with all the talk of kings and masculine figures in Lovecraftian mythos. I’d been threatening to create a Yellow Queen mythos in answer to Chambers’s Yellow King for some time before the plot of The Wingspan of Severed Hands appeared to me, and when I connected the story of mother-daughter abuse with a twist on classic cosmic horror, it opened the narrative possibilities up into a book I’d never read before and wanted to bring into the world. I really didn’t think I could write it! The conceptual challenges and plot intricacies still feel a bit beyond my ability, not to mention my commitment to retaining a level of ambiguity that some readers find frustrating but is essential to the truth of the story.

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When We Talk Of Stolen Sisters

This week’s other featured books, “Loving Monsters,” by Laura Eppinger and “Opal Lee,” by Alice Faye Duncan, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

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THE BOOK: When We Talk of Stolen Sisters

PUBLISHED IN
: 2021

THE AUTHOR:  Jessica Mehta

THE EDITOR
: The cover art is from fellow Cherokee Nation citizen Brenda Mallory.

THE PUBLISHER: Not a Pipe. Not a Pipe Publishing is a small, independent publishing company formed in 2013 and located (fittingly) in Independence, Oregon.  Working with groups like the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, Literary Arts, and Project GirlSpire, Not a Pipe Publishing is committed to supporting fine literature in our region, across the country, and around the world. Focusing on high quality genre fiction for young adult and adult audiences, Not a Pipe Publishing seeks to both entertain and enlighten readers by bringing diverse voices to the market, engaging in the struggle for human rights, and giving voice to deeper truths best expressed through fiction. Like reading corporate mission statements? If so, you’re a weirdo. If not, you might like ours

SUMMARY: “This collection of Jessica Mehta’s powerful, beautiful, vulnerable work spans “from dates so long ago I can’t even recall” to her most current poetry in the midst of a pandemic. Her poems call our attention to the unsung disappearance of Indigenous women, the cultural genocide that still continues, the eating disorders that consume us from within, and to love, family, and the courageous choice to see the world from a different angle in the face of death.”

THE BACK STORY
When We Talk of Stolen Sisters is a collection of new and revised poems (the latter of which from the past 20 years). As such, I cannot really say how long it took me to write—I do not see art, including poetry, as linear (or, for that matter, cyclical). It is ever-changing. However, given the state of the vast disparities in NDN country today, including the reality of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, and boys, when I was approached by Not a Pipe I was excited to further expand upon my work.

WHY THIS TITLE?: I’ve found that the MMIWG movement is eking into mainstream media a bit, but we still have a long way to go. Look at the latest Dexter reboot, which largely focuses on women and girls missing in NDN country. However, we need to be the ones to tell these stories, lest they get manipulated and taken from us. What does it mean when we talk of our stolen sisters? What does it look like? This is one Native woman’s perspective of these tough talks.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? 
As a Native poet, writer, and artist, I’ve long been aware that Indigenous audiences are a natural fit for my work. To me, it’s a form of Ceremony. Of healing. However, those who might benefit the most in different ways are non-Native. I believe we all need to read more works by Native authors. After all, we are all occupying this stolen land and so much Truth has been buried or erased already. It’s time to dig it up and words—poetry—are just another form of storytelling.

AUTHOR PROFIL
E: As a queer, two-spirit, Aniyunwiya (citizen of the Cherokee Nation) poet and artist, I consider it my responsibility to use my platforms and work as a means for amplifying Native voices, realities, and experience. I create experiences for sparking discourse and highlighting the authenticities and histories prevalent to NDN country. I prioritize collaboration whenever I can, such as exclusively working with fellow Natives for cover art on books or as models for my performance work.

I began my career as a poet many years ago, and to this date most of my 15 published books are poetry collections. Although poetry is my best and most natural form of communication, I have long been aware that only certain people will ever pick up a poetry book or attend a traditional reading. I began incorporating other mediums into my practice, such as 2-D work, installations, performance, and interactive technology (VR) because I also believe it is my responsibility to engage with audiences on multiple levels. Art and artists do not exist in a silo, and yet the inherent design of many mainstream platforms is quite niche and exclusive (think “traditional” gallery openings).

Every project I undertake, no matter the medium, directly addresses Native truths. This ranges from disparities and issues, such as the history of residential boarding “schools” in what is today called the United States (of which my father survived), to celebrating the rich traditions (such as incorporate traditional flute-playing into openings). Another example of the latter is my residency at Radar Productions in conjunction with the San Francisco Public Library where I accessed scholarly works on two-spirit histories and recreated a series of poems based on academic research. This aligned well with my doctoral work, in which I undertook archive digs around the globe and was granted rare photography permissions during my Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship at University of Indiana, Bloomington.

My goal as a person and an artist is to inform, create conversations, and in many cases to educate—particularly non-Indigenous audiences. Art demands quiet. Listening. It’s why we are naturally shushing ourselves and each other in cinemas and museums. Through art we have a window to connect, and it is in those slices of time that I have found my purpose most powerful.
  
AUTHOR COMMENTS:
 I am currently undertaking numerous projects related to this collection. Currently, I am preparing for my Fulbright Senior Scholar aware to India where I will be curating an anthology of works written in the colonizer’s language (English). I am also getting ready for my first post-doc fellowship with Forecast Change Lab where I will be addressing language used in open calls to Native artists. My MBA program in American Indian Entrepreneurship begins in summer 2022. When We Talk of Stolen Sisters is also a natural extension of my previous 14 books, all of which are available on my website or from your favorite indie book store. 

SAMPLE:

When we talk of stolen sisters
we talk of bodies gone to ghost
or given back for goodness—as if

we are

sweets snatched from superettes
discovered post-wash in sticky pockets.

When we think on stolen girls

we imagine                                        

pluckings from roadsides,
                                    wild

flowers wafting honey-sick. Passed ‘round,
stuffed in vases to wilt,
before given back to ground.

When we hear of stolen daughters

we listen
with colonized minds. Settle
into armchair arguments,
share, shake heads, repeat.

When we read of stolen women,

we say,

But it’s not me, my cousin,

(until it is).

When they speak

of taking us

it’s not an outing, a going,

a coming back ‘round again.

Stolen implies ownership, so

            who then owns these sisters?



LOCAL OUTLETS: Ask your local indie bookstore to order! You can also find my books on Amazon.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Everywhere you like to shop. 

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:  www.thischerokeerose.com

Loving Monsters

THE BOOK: Loving Monsters

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

THE AUTHOR:  Laura Eppinger

THE EDITOR: Leah Angstman (AND cover-designer!)

THE PUBLISHER: Alternating Current

SUMMARY: A clever vampire hides her secret by convincing her lovers that they have bedbugs. The Jersey Devil fans conspiracy theories in a world shut down by a pandemic. A haunted house, newly decorated in a minimalist style, wishes for more clutter to throw at its inhabitants. Laura Eppinger’s flash collection Loving Monsters gives voice to the supernatural beings who are just as confused in our modern world as the mortals who made it. It turns out that even becoming undead is no substitute for a good couples’ therapist.

Alternating Current Press: Loving Monsters: Flash Stories by Laura Eppinger

Content warnings: violence, suicide, domestic violence, eating disorders, death, body shaming

THE BACK STORY: I’ve been trying to hone my flash fiction (very short stories, 1,000 words or less) for at least a decade. In 2016 a literary journal published my ironic listicle “Five Issues That Didn’t Get Resolved After We Turned Into Vampires” and also nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. I couldn’t believe my most “successful” writing to date was about trying to save a broken relationship by becoming vampires, only to realize you’re now going to be stuck in this misery for all eternity. I published another few flash pieces with magical realism elements or monsters here and there, but something about pandemic social distancing in 2020 got me into full monstrous mode. (Are you going to make me admit this? Another tenant brought my building bedbugs in April 2020 and I was still stuck at home because of COVID. One day I was feeling particularly sorry for myself as I blasted the heat to kill the bugs, was too hot to wear anything but a bathing suit, and watched movies based on Stephen King books to soothe myself. It occured to me that a vampire could disguise their identity by convincing their victims they had bed bugs instead of a monstrous lover. A story with this idea appears in this collection!)

I haven’t enjoyed this global pandemic at all, but something clicked while my life ground to a halt and I was stuck at home for a year: I could assemble the monster stories I already had and write a few more, and it could be a flash fiction collection.

WHY THIS TITLE? The title came to me on a long walk I took during the height of COVID-19 lockdown in spring of 2020. I kept jumping off the path through a park to text myself ideas: this collection needs a haunted house, and I need to explore my childhood fascination with the Jersey Devil. Also, the title!

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It is mercifully short! This is a collection of seven stories and each story is 1,000 words or less. I’m not saying this was easy to write–because it wasn’t–but it is intended to be a breeze to read. My favorite compliment is that what I have written is funny, so I try to make you laugh! Monsters appear here but no gore, I promise. I’m a weenie and scare easily, so no nightmares ahead.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“The best thing about a Laura Eppinger story is the way it makes you laugh in the moment before you suck in your breath in painful recognition. In these monstrous stories, the couples are hilarious, are wounded, are horrifying, are us. Eppinger captures the darkness (and the moments of light!) of these relationships with a skilled, light touch. This is a magical collection.” —Cathy Ulrich, author of “Ghosts of You”

“LOVING MONSTERS isolates and unsheathes the horror-kitsch burrowing in every toxic relationship. Siphoning extracts from the source to find what kind of contagions it might instigate. Eppinger’s work fluctuates with ease, shifting from foreboding to mischievous and back again.” —Mike Corrao, author of “Gut Text” and “Smut-Maker”

“In the brilliant, twisted world of LOVING MONSTERS, the supernatural constantly bumps shoulders with the mundane. A 50-foot woman describes her unexpected growth spurt in a series of Twitter threads. A perfectionist housewife takes a night off and transforms into a raging beast. Somewhere in the swamps of Jersey, a devil cruises conspiracy theory websites. These flash fictions blend magical realism and social satire as they bring traditional monsters into the world of contemporary technology. Freed of their gothic castles, these are the monsters next door: a murderous vegan, a vampire with body issues, a ghost haunting a house furnished by IKEA. Each brief story is its own world, filled with unexpected detail and, often, touches of dark humor: ‘What did it have against humus?’ a forlorn husband wonders as a ravening beast attacks the plastic compost rotator in the backyard. As always, the monsters most to be feared are those that live in our own human hearts.”
— Kathryn Kulpa, author of “Girls on Film” and flash fiction editor of Cleaver magazine

AUTHOR PROFILE: Laura Eppinger works as a youth development professional in New Jersey. After work she likes to cross-stitch and tend a vegetable garden.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Growing up in the Garden State, I really did have a 5th grade history textbook titled, “You, New Jersey, and The World!” I learned about this monster legend in school, and have been fascinated with folklore and cryptids ever since. My first experience of heartbreak came at the same time as my first experience reading about Anne Rice’s vampires. Monster stories are human stories, and are always true if not factually accurate.
SAMPLE: Please read this sample at the Alternating Current site (link to https://www.press.alternatingcurrentarts.com/2021/01/excerpts.html#lovingmonsterssp)

LOCAL OUTLETS: There IS a small bookstore rate, I’d love to work with more local booksellers. Info here: https://www.paypal.com/webapps/shoppingcart?mfid=1641757679649_f7713263060fe&flowlogging_id=f7713263060fe#/checkout/shoppingCart

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Indiebound, from the publisher at: tinyurl.com/eppingermonsters

PRICE: 13.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: lauraeppinger.blog and facebook.com/eppingermonsters

Opal Lee

Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free Educator's Guide: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth

THE BOOK: Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth.

PUBLISHED IN: 2022.

THE AUTHOR: Alice Faye Duncan (Author), Keturah A. Bobo (Illustrator).

THE PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson.

SUMMARY: The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation’s creed of “freedom for all.”

SIS Alum, Children's Author & School Librarian Alice Faye Duncan to Publish  Two New Books - School of Information Sciences

Every year, Opal looked forward to the Juneteenth picnic–a drumming, dancing, delicious party. She knew from Granddaddy Zak’s stories that Juneteenth celebrated the day the freedom news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation finally sailed into Texas in 1865 — over two years after the president had declared it! But Opal didn’t always see freedom in her Texas town. Then one Juneteenth day when Opal was twelve years old, an angry crowd burned down her brand-new home. This wasn’t freedom at all. She had to do something! Opal Lee spent the rest of her life speaking up for equality and unity. She became a teacher, a charity worker, and a community leader. At the age of 89, she walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C., in an effort to gain national recognition for Juneteenth.
Through the story of Opal Lee’s determination and persistence, children ages 4 to 8 will learn:
● all people are created equal
● the power of bravery and using your voice for change
● the history of Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, and what it means today
● no one is free unless everyone is free
● fighting for a dream is worth every difficulty
Featuring the illustrations of New York Times bestselling illustrator Keturah A. Bobo (I am Enough),

Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free celebrates the life and legacy of a modern-day Black leader while sharing a message of hope, unity, joy, and strength.

THE BACK STORY: I am very intentional with my words. I write books to help young people explore unpopular moments in history that deserve celebration. I love poetry. I like the rhythm and images a sentence can make. During graduate school, I took a course in Children’s Literature. I discovered then that picture books are actually long lyrical poems for kids. As a student in elementary school, I wanted to be a writer and make magic with words. But it was in library school at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville that I decided, “picture books are the books for me.”

There are many adult books that discuss Juneteenth and the aftermath of American slavery. But Juneteenth books for children are very rare. So, I challenged myself to write Opal Lee’s story in a way that is lyrical and engaging, as it also shares the somber reflection and ecstatic joy that makes Juneteenth an unforgettable holiday. Like a traditional spiritual, the book is written as a “call and response.” Also, at the conclusion of the book is a recipe for “Red Punch” Strawberry Lemonade. This party activity allows students with teachers or parents to connect in the spirit of
unity and fun.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free is a book that proposes, “No one is free, until everyone is free.” Look around. People can be divisive and mean, across the globe. Opal Lee’s life encourages little children to love one another and use their agency for peace and justice.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“A joyous account of Juneteenth’s meaning that doesn’t overlook the harsher aspects of history or the work that is yet to be done.” — Booklist Starred Review.

AUTHOR PROFILE: I am my mother’s only child and Memphis is my home. I went to library school at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). While there, Professor Glenn Estes introduced me to picture books. At the University of Memphis, I took a Children’s Literature Class from Professor Ramona Mahood. She introduced me to author, Charles Turner, who inspired me to write WILLIE JEROME — my
very first book. Macmillan published it in 1995. Picture books are my favorite to write! They allow me to “sing” without a music education or singing voice.
YOU DON’T WANT ME TO SING. Really.

I discovered the poets, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, when I was a child searching the crowded shelves in my parents’ personal library. While I loved each poet, my early writing was most similar to Paul Laurence Dunbar. I wrote for the ear to hear and the voice to speak words like I heard them spoken in school, church and the sundry store. Langston, Gwen and I, have Dunbar in common. It was Paul Laurence Dunbar who moved us early in life to make words our vocation. Words are my work and my pathway to words began with poetry.
My picture books include biographies of Black artists and moments in American History seldom told. I also write lyrical stories that celebrate the sustaining power of love between a mother and child.

My books are illustrated by award winning artists like Gregory Christie, Xia Gordon,
Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (YES! of the Famous Pinkney Family) and Mary Uhles.

MEMPHIS, MARTIN AND THE MOUNTAINTOP won a 2019 Coretta Scott Honor Medal for illustrations. MORE good news is brewing!

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I hope that readers take away that Juneteenth is more than Texas, dancing bands and BBQ. The meaning of Juneteenth is “freedom.” And freedom is for everyone, no matter who you are.

SAMPLE: https://www.amazon.com/Opal-Lee-What-MeansFree/dp/1400231256#:~:text=The%20true%20story%20of%20Black,to%20see%20their%20dreams%20blossom.&text=Opal%20Lee%20spent%20the%20rest,worker%2C%20and%20a%20community%20leader.

LOCAL OUTLETS: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781400231256.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Your local bookstore!
PRICE: $17.99
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: https://alicefayeduncan.com

Weather Report, Jan. 17

Missing Indigenous Women Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime
(Photo from Dreamstime)

Our currently featured books, “And No One Saw It Coming,” by Marci Glidden Savage, “Re-SURGE,” by Mary Newell and “A Burning Lake of Paper Suns,” by Ellen Webre, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

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UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JAN. 18-24.

“WHEN WE SPEAK OF STOLEN SISTERS,” BY JESSICA MEHTA.

Writes one reviewer: “This collection of Jessica Mehta’s powerful, beautiful, vulnerable work spans ‘from dates so long ago I can’t even recall’ to her most current poetry in the midst of a pandemic. Her poems call our attention to the unsung disappearance of Indigenous women, the cultural genocide that still continues, the eating disorders that consume us from within, and to love, family, and the courageous choice to see the world from a different angle in the face of death.”

“OPAL LEE,” BY ALICE FAYE DUNCAN.

The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation’s creed of “freedom for all.”

“LOVING MONSTERS,” BY LAURA EPPINGER.

A clever vampire hides her secret by convincing her lovers that they have bedbugs. The Jersey Devil fans conspiracy theories in a world shut down by a pandemic. A haunted house, newly decorated in a minimalist style, wishes for more clutter to throw at its inhabitants. Laura Eppinger’s flash collection Loving Monsters gives voice to the supernatural beings who are just as confused in our modern world as the mortals who made it. It turns out that even becoming undead is no substitute for a good couples’ therapist.

And No One Saw It Coming

This week’s other featured books, “Re-SURGE,” by Mary Newell and “A Burning Lake of Paper Suns,” by Ellen Webre, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

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THE BOOK: And No One Saw It Coming

PUBLISHED
: January 7, 2022

THE AUTHOR:  Marci Glidden Savage

THE EDITOR
:  BookBaby editorial staff

THE PUBLISHER: BookBaby

SUMMARY: August 13, 2014, Marci found Paul, her beloved husband of thirty-four years, dead by suicide on their backyard patio. No warning. No explanation. No final good-bye. Less than five years later, on March 15, 2019, the unthinkable and unimaginable happened. Michael, Marci’s second husband of only eight months, was found dead by suicide. In this captivating book, Marci vulnerably shares her intimate journey from anger, hopelessness, and sorrow to acceptance and joy while offering hope to others facing similar situations today.

Suicide is considered one of the most challenging types of loss to sustain. Your grief is complicated, messy, and haunting. In 2019, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States – an alarming fact and dangerous epidemic. With dogged determination, Marci uses her grief and sets out to expose the ill-conceived and biased attitudes toward mental illnesses standing in the way and keeping many individuals battling depression and anxiety from seeking help, particularly men.

Image preview

In the grip of unrelenting pain, Marci courageously meets grief head-on. With grit and candid openness, she opens the door into her personal story of lost love, betrayal, abandonment, shattered dreams, unanswered questions, judgements, and harmful social stigma. Vividly, Marci reveals the catastrophic impact of a suicide death on loved ones left behind. From the first page, her riveting, original, and profoundly moving open letter to mental illness exposes the insidious way it torments and holds captive its victims under the guise of silence. And why no one could see the end coming. Twice.

THE BACK STORY: Following the deaths of my two husbands by suicide, I experienced how differently this type of death is viewed by family, friends and society at large. I also understood why many families choose to keep a suicide death private. The feeling of shame, along with judgements leveled at your loved one is overwhelmingly painful and difficult to navigate. I believe we need to focus on the causes or conditions leading to suicidal deaths, not just the manner of death. Remaining silent adds to the problem. I want to be part of a solution, and to encourage others to talk about their experiences, I must first be willing to share my story. 

WHY THIS TITLE?: Most people are shocked when they learn of a suicide death of someone close to them or a well known celebrity and often say, “They didn’t see it coming.”

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? 
Although the book centers around the catastrophic impact suicide deaths have on family and friends, readers will also find a love story, personal ups and downs of grief, and the will and determination to rebuild one’s life after experiencing unimaginable tragedies.

REVIEW COMMENTS

“A captivating account of losing two husbands to suicide – and the courage and determination to rebuild one’s life after unspeakable tragedy. With profound honesty, along with an engaging writing style, Marci educates and confronts common stigmas of mental illness which deter many people struggling with their mental health to reach out for help. This unforgettable story is impossible to put down. Be prepared to be inspired and changed forever.” —Kathy Jo Stones, M.A., L.M.F.T.

“A riveting story of love, heartbreak and healing after the suicide of two loved ones. Marci’s raw and powerful memoir will take the reader on an eye-opening journey of understanding mental health, suicide and grief recovery. This is an incredible resource for this who have lost a loved one to suicide or those who want to support them.” —Anne-Marie Lockmyer, Award Winning Author, Grief Specialist and Founder of the Grief & Recovery Network

AUTHOR PROFILE: Marci Glidden Savage is the CEO of a family-owned packaging supply company. After experiencing the catastrophic impact of suicide twice, Marci emerges as a fierce proponent for eliminating the “social stigma” attached to mental illness which keeps many individuals battling depression and anxiety from seeking help. Marci lives in Southern California where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and endless hours of genealogy research.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I’m happy to say I’ve already had the privilege of hearing from readers about the impact the book has made on their lives, and the truth is, I’m humbled. My hope from the beginning was that my story would be of help to others. For readers who have a personal connection with suicidal deaths, I hope they find a measure of peace knowing they are not alone and the courage to talk about their own experience. We can’t be silent any longer. For the reader looking for ways to help someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, I hope you find a way to become their “lean in hero.” For the reader who is trying to understand why anyone dies by suicide, I hope you learn more about this growing epidemic and will join the conversation. None of us can afford to stay silent any longer. And for the reader who sees the harm social stigmas play surrounding mental health and suicide, I hope you will shout with me, “Game over and Game on, insidious opponent. We will be silent no more!”

SAMPLE/EXCERPT: Excerpt available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/No-One-Saw-Coming/dp/1667800582/

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

PRICE: eBook: $4.99
Paperback: $15.00


CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Connect with Marci at marcisavage.com.

Re-SURGE

Image preview

THE BOOK: Re-SURGE.

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

THE AUTHOR: Mary Newell.

THE EDITOR: The book did not have an overall editor; people who gave input on particular poems include Stacey Balkun, Jeffrey Levine, Ruth Danon, Kristina Marie Darling, and members of two poetry exchange groups.

THE PUBLISHER: Trainwreck Press is a small Canadian press that features innovative writing.

<trainwreckpress.com/re-surge>.

Image preview

SUMMARY: Within a narrative that draws on a mermaid tale interwoven with ecological issues, Re-SURGE portrays characters emerging from challenging experiences to find new vitality, to “surge” on. The topics include personal and ecological loss, awkward embodiment, recovery from trauma, and finding/ recovering one’s voice. I see the book as a life-healing narrative, for those who immerse in its flows for a while and interpose their own life stories.

The Re-SURGE narrative begins by rewriting “The Little Mermaid,” which is grim in the original Grimm Brothers version: http://www.fijihosting.com/dload/grimms_fairytales.pdf.

Meli, the mermaid, sacrifices her tongue for the possibility of capturing the heart of the prince whose life she saved. The second main character, Jenn, is a gardener and writer who fears drowning. Jenn’s challenges around speaking are not so obvious, but there are hints of hard-to-digest past experiences. In their intertwining, the two characters learn from each other. Meli’s transformation into human form traverses the swamp of awkward body image. And what can happen after such a major transformation? What takes the place of unrealizable dreams – the charming prince, who is after all a leftover stereotype? The denouement of the book suggests inter-and cross-species connections and appreciation of the wondrous enfolded within the everyday. Although deep water was a location of trauma for both women, differently, they can reengage with this fundamental element by dancing at the water’s edge – a basic affirmation of the life within and all around.

THE BACK STORY: I spent a year, give or take, on the book. Although this is a short book, its several roots are deep in my life. It incorporates experiences that women I know have passed through and some personal history, alongside larger ecological issues. The mermaid story bothered me since I first read it in childhood. It ignited a proto-feminist sensibility and a sense of justice. Why, just because a prince wouldn’t marry her, did the mermaid have to disappear into foam? I had an early injury that caused me to feel asymmetrical and awkward; I ran with a limp and had a corresponding sense of incapacity, in spite of succeeding at school, etc. I’m sure that experience is part of what motivated me to become a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, a mind-body modality that relates to the whole person, not just the physical symptoms. I see Re-SURGE as a narrative about healing from one’s past, not by denial but through creative, embodied reconfiguration. And not forgetting the planet that needs healing too.

Why poetry and not a straightforward story? Sometimes indirection gets underneath the skin in a way that narrative may not. I wanted to tell many interwoven stories, not just one; and then, I enjoy giving attention to the language and meter and other elements of poiesis. It puts a demand on readers to leap across or fill in the blank spaces – but most readers will have their own life material to interfuse, and in that way, they can make parts of the story their own.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The narrative is about re-emerging from what swamps or suppresses you – not just surviving but surging – challenging gravity and entropy to live with full vitality.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? I thought the book would appeal to women who’ve had parallel experiences; to people considering or enacting gender changes; to mermaid and shoreline aficionados; and to ecologically oriented readers, for starters. (Now that crowd would make a good party!)

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Always a startle, the way Newell uses language so intensely, such unexpected words and combinations. A glitterpath to a completely new view. Giving us fins roots wings. Joy in vol, Deep intake, As we Lunge into spacious.

“I especially like the lines, ‘I see clearly who I’m clinging to.’” — Fran Shaw, writer

“In Re-SURGE, Mary Newell’s liquid undertones and songs of loss haunt quiet inquiries, and lay in astute assembly a terrace of hushed fluidity. Through flux and current, what can only grow from having spent a long time with water knowledge, carries the shifting balance of voices and bodies losing parts to the sea. Without sound land or guide, Newell’s voices astray in swell, take in like water, an invocation of internal, weightless, sonorous drift.” — Jennifer Spector, author of Hithe.

“Mary Newell’s ‘Re-SURGE’ brings us into the elemental realms of the physical and the sea-immersed. Land and water become the two surfaces for a transfiguration of both verbal and emotional revelations. In the unforgettable voices of Jenn and Meli, these poems explore the body and mind as they revel and reveal stories of their individual plights, and yet share a singular renewal of being. Their epistolary communications provide a breathtaking context for poems that urge us to consider memory, imagination, and identity. Beautiful and enticing in its forms and images, ‘Re-SURGE’ asks us to consider how the body can be both cage and harbor; in doing so, these poems provide what the best poetry does: Language as illumination.” — Philip F Clark

AUTHOR PROFILE:

Writing website: https://manitoulive.wixsite.com/maryn

My occupations: I am a writer and editor; a teacher at college and workshop venues; and a guild-certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education with an extensive background in mind-body approaches toward wellbeing. As a Feldenkrais practitioner, I work with individuals and groups to facilitate entering more fully into embodied being. This engagement feeds into my perspective as a writer. I try to deepen my understanding of life and its sources through a life-long spiritual practice. In free time, I garden on rocky slopes at wood’s edge, planting for pollinators, who need all the help we can offer.

My previous chapbook, TILT/ HOVER/ VEER is available at <https://www.codhill.com/product/tilt-hover-veer-mary-newell/&gt; and bookshop.org.

My essay “When Poetry Rivers” (Interim journal 38.3) is at https://www.interimpoetics.org/383.

I am co-editor of Poetics for the More-than-Human-World: An Anthology of Poetry and Commentary and the forthcoming (2022) Routledge Companion to Ecopoetics.

I curate the Hudson Highlands Poetry Series.

Poetry Readings in 2021 include

Ecopoetics Writing Group reading, December 4, 2021 https://youtu.be/y3B9HX_lNO0&gt;. Readers are in alphabetical order.

Helsinki U. Environmental Humanities Month Ecopoetry reading November 17, 2021

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MMFwyUUImw&t=7s&gt;

Live reading from Re-SURGE < https://www.crowdcast.io/e/1vtuted8&gt; August 21.

This was an outside reading and sound quality is limited.

Plants and Poetics panel through Kelly Writers House, March 31, 2021: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCSoDITUJHQ&gt;, around minute 50.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Ecological concerns preoccupy many of us. How to face this music? I chose to try and create a sense of interconnectedness through the medium of water, which makes up 60% of our mass and surrounds the continents we live on. It carries a heavy toxic load now, in the oceans and in many of our bodies. Yet we can still honor the air and water that sustain us, and let that honoring encourage us to be mindful in our actions.

BONUS: There were two poems I had to leave out of the book, to keep it to 30 pages. I’ll be happy to send them to anyone who buys the book and emails me at mnewell4@gmail.com with purchase receipt.

SAMPLE: Because it is a narrative, individual poems cannot give the full impression. Here are three poems with very different tonalities to give a taste.

Adrift in undrinkable waters
“Between words and deeds there is a sea”

— Angela Merkel

As a toddler, bewitched by
starfish, a rip tide almost
carried me away. Safe arms
surrounded tumbling hollers.
“Almost” is a long way from
drowning. Sand in the mouth,
sea vomit, limbs flailing —
then home to lap of comfort.
Distant calamites trouble calm
attempted rescues, urgencies:
salt/ famish/ heatstroke/ topsize
Ocean swallows without a burp.
Arms can’t reach through
a newscast to help those
stripped from home land
who risk the turbulent vault
The ocean tantalizes.
Seduced by its rhythmic pulse,
I forget undertow, dead zones,
toxic cargo permutating cells.

A Burning Lake of Paper Suns

THE BOOK: A Burning Lake of Paper Suns

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

THE AUTHOR:  Ellen Webre

THE EDITOR: Eric Morago

THE PUBLISHER: Moon Tide Press

SUMMARYA Burning Lake of Paper Suns is a book of twisting love poems, scintillating through a heart bursting at its seams. With the decadence of stars and pomegranates, Ellen Webre’s poems illustrate the transfiguration of a girl to a monstress. Here she is ravenous, and tender for what desire haunts. Yearning alchemizes through the bones of this book, each page a siren song to lure readers into a blooming grave, where they may find themselves on the threshold of myth and miracle.

THE BACK STORY: This book is an exorcism, an honoring of the dead and living hopes that tracked my movements through love and heartbreak. There are five sections in the book, each a story arc of first love, true love, grief from its loss, healing, and the real love that comes with the right person. I started writing these poems to process and immortalize what I felt, hoping to express its magic through arabesques of language.

May be an image of outdoors

WHY THIS TITLE?: “A Burning Lake of Paper Suns” is a line from “Into My Arms,” a poem in the book that sings of an approaching paradise, a true love that was to come. I chose the line for the imagery it invoked, a glittering sea of splendor, the very fire of stars. It became a jumping off point in my collaboration with my friend Amanda Le in creating the cover, setting a stage of light for her to explore the heart of my writing.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? This book is for lovers and sensualists, for people who enjoy decadent language, and want to be enthralled by surreal imagery. I hope it reaches those who want to see grief made gentle, and hungers made ravenous.

REVIEW COMMENTS

“Ellen Webre’s work sinks the reader into a world full of decadence while she becomes a queen, a shepherd, a voyeur, a creature hiding in the woods. Her writing is savory, tart, and brimming with umami as she explores such relatable themes like everyday love, heartbreak, and selfhood. Like pomegranate syrup, A Burning Lake of Paper Suns bursts with a flavor and richness that lasts long after you’ve had your first taste.” 

— Sheila J. Sadr, author of Birthday Girl

“There, I feasted on dandelions like ambrosia with only ghosts to witness what I longed for.” Never have I experienced the climax of all five of my senses at once like I do when sinking deep into A Burning Lake of Paper Suns. Ellen’s ability to capture taste, sound, touch, smell, and sight, all with the meticulous simplicity of such hauntingly magical words is nothing short of a miracle. The imagery in this collection impeccably calls every reader to excavate their heart by hand and rediscover themselves and what it means to love, to ache, and to live. If ever poetry transcended both the page and the universe, it’s through this book.”

 — Dania Ayah Alkhouli, author of Contortionist Tongue

“Imagine one of those blooming teas, a bundle of leaves wrapped in flower petals, arranged to be observed unfurling as it infuses the hot water inside of a glass teapot. Ellen’s poems are like that, except the glass teapot is also a plague doctor mask, and that blooming tea plague doctor mask-pot is this book. Also the tea leaves were smoked over fires fueled by fossilized fae passions, after being harvested by albino ravens during a midnight eclipse following several weeks of unseasonal storms.”  

 – — Marc J. Cid, author of the forthcoming Your Funeral Sucked, by the Way

AUTHOR PROFILE: Ellen Webre is a biracial, first-generation Taiwanese-American poet, born in Hong Kong and raised in California. She attended the Creative Writing Conservatory of the Orange County High School of the Arts, and received a degree in screenwriting at Chapman University. She is currently acting as a social media marketing specialist and videographer for Moon Tide Press and Two Idiots Peddling Poetry. Ellen’s debut book, A Burning Lake of Paper Suns, was released in October 2021 with Moon Tide Press. Her poem “Metaphors for My Body in Midwinter” has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2021. Ellen’s other poems have most recently been published in FreezeRay Press, Sh!t Men Say to Me: A Poetry Anthology in Response to Toxic Masculinity, DARK INK: A Horror Anthology, and Voicemail Poems. 

LOCAL OUTLETS: Libromobile

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT:

Moon Tide Press: https://www.moontidepress.com/books

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735037877/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_Y5Q97AY5ZCXF2VJ07C8N

PRICE: $15.00

CONTACT THE AUTHOR

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellenwebrepoetry/
Instagram: @lnwebre

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59470108-a-burning-lake-of-paper-suns
Email: marketing@moontidepress.com  

Weather Report, Jan. 10

Suicide prevention in the subway station. Chicago, Illinois, USA : October 10, 2018 : World suicide prevention day - SUICIDE PREVENTION in the subway station royalty free stock images

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JAN. 11-17

“AND NO ONE SAW IT COMING,” BY MARCI GLIDDEN SAVAGE.

August 13, 2014, Marci found Paul, her beloved husband of thirty-four years, dead by suicide on their backyard patio. No warning. No explanation. No final good-bye. Less than five years later, on March 15, 2019, the unthinkable and unimaginable happened. Michael, Marci’s second husband of only eight months, was found dead by suicide. In this captivating book, Marci vulnerably shares her intimate journey from anger, hopelessness, and sorrow to acceptance and joy while offering hope to others facing similar situations today.

“RE-SURGE,” BY MARY NEWELL.

Writes Mary: “Within a narrative that draws on a mermaid tale interwoven with ecological issues, Re-SURGE portrays characters emerging from challenging experiences to find new vitality, to “surge” on. The topics include personal and ecological loss, awkward embodiment, recovery from trauma, and finding/ recovering one’s voice. I see the book as a life-healing narrative, for those who immerse in its flows for a while and interpose their own life stories.”

“A BURNING LAKE OF PAPER SUNS,” BY ELLEN WEBRE.

A Burning Lake of Paper Suns is a book of twisting love poems, scintillating through a heart bursting at its seams. With the decadence of stars and pomegranates, Ellen Webre’s poems illustrate the transfiguration of a girl to a monstress. Here she is ravenous, and tender for what desire haunts. Yearning alchemizes through the bones of this book, each page a siren song to lure readers into a blooming grave, where they may find themselves on the threshold of myth and miracle.

Nightjar

This week’s other featured books, “Becoming Westerly,” by Jamie Brisick and “The Magical Girl’s Guide to Life,” by Jacque Aye, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.

——————————

THE BOOK: Nightjar.

PUBLISHED IN: 2021

THE AUTHOR: Michael Simms.

THE EDITOR: Ellen Foos

THE PUBLISHER: Ragged Sky Press (a boutique publisher of poetry books in Princeton, New Jersey. Founder Ellen Foos is a managing editor for Princeton University Press, and Ragged Sky is a project she does on the side.)

SUMMARY: In this richly imagined collection of poems, Michael Simms draws inspiration from history, psychology, biology, and astronomy, yet at heart he is simply a man with stories to tell. A poet returns home from the funeral of his parents to find that the language of grief is inadequate to describe his complicated relationship with his father, so he invents new words to describe his feelings. An autistic boy on a family vacation to Carlsbad Caverns descends deep into the earth, and breathing the darkness, he becomes a bat. A high school performance of Euripides’s The Trojan Women becomes a terrifying prediction of what will happen to one of the girls after graduation. A conversation between two old men about Schubert’s Death and the Maiden recalls accusations of sexual harassment one of the friends faces. And in a humorous ars poetica, Simms dreams of kidnapping Charles Bukowski and spiriting him to an AA meeting where Buk slings insults, jumps out the window and flies to the nearest bar on black wings, leading Simms to realize that American poetry needs its misfits and outlaws, and in fact, he prefers poems with a little dirt on them.

Amazon.com: Michael Simms: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Simms is a poet who writes as easily about the microfauna in a compost bin as about the complexities of love. He explains the hermeneutics of suspicion as adroitly as a visit to a dog park. He describes an old couple at the seashore through the eyes of an artist drawing them and the climate crises from the perspective of a bronze age king watching his city crumble. Gifted, smart, and flawed, frank about his alcoholism and other personal failings, Simms gives us poems that twist and turn and yet always remain clear in their intent. His empathy is all-embracing, and he challenges the reader’s expectations by elegantly expressing abstract ideas through wildly creative, wholly original imagery. These poems keep returning to their central concern of how love can endure in a world that is collapsing. In language both musical and vernacular, Michael Simms stretches the limits of poetic autobiography until personal anecdote rises to the level of timeless myth.

THE BACK STORY: In 2016, after many years of working as an editor and publisher at Autumn House Press, Simms turned over the publishing company to his assistants and left, planning to retire from the literary field. His parents had recently died, his children were grown and on their own, and he had a nice life, but he wasn’t content with merely cooking, gardening, and doing volunteer work as he’d planned. He felt compelled to come to terms with many of the unresolved conflicts and issues in his past. Out of this desire to make peace with himself came the book Nightjar, a series of songs and stories about some of the most troubling and beautiful events he’d experienced.

WHY THIS TITLE? Nightjar refers to a large family of nocturnal insect-eating birds sometimes called nighthawks. The name nightjar reflects the European folk-belief that the birds suckle goats by night, causing them to cease giving milk. The American whip-poor-will, a species of nightjar, is said to have the ability to sense a soul departing and to capture it as it flees. Nightjar is also the name of the title poem in the collection, which is about a post-apocalyptic world after the human species has become extinct.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? The poems are well-crafted songs and stories about love, death, nature, family life and memory. These are universal experiences, so everyone should be able to relate to the poems and, perhaps, use them as starting places for their own inner journey. More specifically, the author identifies as being on the autism spectrum and as a recovering drug addict and alcoholic with decades of “clean time.” Readers who have grappled with these issues, or who know someone who has, will find inspiration in these poems.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Nightjar gives you that sense of showing up at the back door, unannounced, unheralded, and exhibiting all the signs of having gone through a rough journey—a journey that might not be quite over yet [….] But always, at the heart of this, is the poet whose name is Michael Simms, displaying the great grace of his powerful art.” – — Jose Padua, writing for Coal Hill Review

“…one of the most wonderful books I have ever read… Every poem gave me something to recognize, something to grapple with, some magic that made me see the world in a new way.” — Alexandra Umlas, writing for Cultural Daily.

“The poems gently insist we can be greater than our worst impulses… and therein lies the magic of the book. By confronting the darkness, Simms enacts a restoration of the light.” — Kristofer Collins, writing for Pittsburgh Magazine.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Michael Simms is a poet, writer, editor, publisher, and teacher. Three full-length collections of his poetry, four novels, and two widely adopted poetry textbooks have been published or are under contract with publishers. In 1998, Simms founded Autumn House Press, a literary publisher that has released hundreds of award-winning poetry, fiction, and nonfiction titles. Autumn House books have been widely reviewed in publications such as Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Prairie Schooner, The London Times Literary Supplement, and The Jerusalem Post. In 2011 Autumn House Press received a Certificate of Recognition from the Pennsylvania State legislature for AHP’s contribution to the arts.

OTHER WORKS BY THIS AUTHOR: Michael Simms’s Amazon Page.

LOCAL PITTSBURGH OUTLET: White Whale Bookstore. You can shop in one of the WWB Pittsburgh stores, or you can order a book for delivery anywhere in the United States.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: order the book by sending an email to redcedardistribution@gmail.com. Wholesale discounts available for bookstores and other retailers.

LIST PRICE: $17.00.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MICHAEL SIMMS: Website: https://www.michaelsimms.info Listen to the author read his poems.