Saying Good-bye to “Delilah” – But not for long

After long deliberation I have come to a rather painful decision. After April 2022, Delilah will no longer be available through any book outlet. Delilah has been on the virtual shelves for five years now, and really hasn’t had many sales, even after adding forwards from authors Robert Hanlon and Paul L. Thompson, and a new cover and new back cover matter, so I’ve decided not to renew my contract with Dusty Saddle Publishing.

Originally, the story I wrote for Delilah was very different. I made major changes to the plot after the first draft was complete, based on feedback from a beta reader, which at the time I felt was valid, so I basically rewrote more than half of the story. The Delilah that I published, was not the same story that I originally conceived. Upon re-reading to see if I could determine why it might not be selling, I discovered several places where the story feels forced, where I was trying to make the events fit into the amended plot line and it was like trying to fit a round peg into a square whole. One of things authors must strive to accomplish is to write a good story that draws readers in and then provides a satisfying ending, so as not to disappoint readers, delivering on the promise. I think I’ve failed to do that with Delilah, leading to sales not being as good as I had hoped.

Delilah: A Western Adventure

The good news is, although Delilah will be disappearing from the virtual shelves for now, I’m going to go back to that original story, at least as much as I can, as I resurrect her and revise this tale into the one I originally wanted to tell. Before the end of 2022 I plan to re-release Delilah in a revised edition complete with new cover (above) and ‘blurbage’. If you already read Delilah and liked it, the revised edition will be even better. It will be a story that is true to character and creator; the story that originally should have been and almost was, will be again. So watch for this new and improved western adventure to be released in June.

_________________________________________

Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribing to e-mail or following on WordPress. If you found this content helpful or entertaining, please share.


Writer’s Corner: Lessons for submitting to short fiction markets

Writer’s Corner

Short fiction doesn’t sell well. – That’s what I keep hearing. Anthologies are hard sells. So why would you even write short fiction, if it is so difficult to sell?

What many authors need to realize, is that while an anthology may be harder to sell than a novel, when you have work featured in an anthology, it is a project involving many authors, each with their own following which they bring to the table, creating a much bigger marketing network than you would have for a novel. Being a part of an anthology expands your marketing reach exponentially by the number of authors involved, which could actually make the marketing and promotion of the anthology easier and allow marketing to a much larger audience.

For the past few months I’ve been exploring short fiction and short fiction markets from the other side of things, as I worked to compile two separate anthologies. My solo project for my masters in publishing is The Best of Weird Tales 1926-27, which meant reading twenty-four issues of Weird Tales and selecting what I felt were the best stories to represent the publication, then compiling them into a single collection. It had to be a careful selection process, because much of what was socially acceptable in 1926 & 27, is far from acceptable in 2021.

The other project required for my degree involves being on the editorial team for the Mirror, Mirror anthology. You may have seen the call for submissions posted here on writing to be Read back in July. And there’s a chance that you even submitted to it, since we had over 600 submissions. That’s a lot of short stories to read. But I learned some valuable lessons from the experience:

  • It pays to get your submission in early. The early submissions get fresh eyes and open mind. But those submitted closer to the deadline, are seen by eyes that are tired by minds that have read so-o-o many stories, many of which are similar in theme or concept, if you wrote to the submission guidelines.
  • Follow the submission guidelines. This experience drove home to me how important this one really is. Going into this, my instructor and mentor, Kevin J. Anderson drilled in the importance of following the submission guidelines and took great care to make them clear in the call for submissions. It called for proper manuscript formatting, something every author should be familiar with, but just in case, he also included a link to a site that defined and explained what proper manuscript formatting is, and still we got manuscripts that were not formatted properly. Toward the end, I know improperly formatted manuscripts got set aside without a full read, because it hurt my tired old eyes too much, so this is really an important one, but many authors just didn’t get it. Publishers don’t want to work with authors who cannot follow simple instructions and format their manuscript properly or follow the guidelines, because this hints that they might be a pain to work with.
  • Only submit a story that fits what the call is looking for. I was surprised how many stories we got that didn’t have a mirror in them at all; not even a compact for the character to check their make-up. Who sends a story without mirrors to an anthology titled Mirror, Mirror that requests a mirror be central to the story. I’m told that last year someone submitted Christmas cards for the call for submissions for Unmasked, last year’s anthology, which may evoke a chuckle when you hear it, but for editors overwhelmed with submissions, reading through a story that doesn’t even come close to meeting the guidelines or match the theme, it feels like a big waste of time. Editors have feelings, too. Be kind and only submit stories that meet the theme and guidelines, instead of trying to cram your story into a frame that doesn’t really match.
  • In today’s market, busy editors are looking for something that is close to being publishable as is, so be sure your manuscript is polished. I feel like I shouldn’t have to state this one, but with as many seemingly unedited submissions, I guess it needs to be said. I was expecting it toward the end, when authors were rushing to meet the deadline, but even early on there were manuscripts that were riddled with misspellings and typos. Many of these may have been good stories, some even written to guidelines, but they were passed by because they would have required too much editing to ready them for publication. It would have required more time than my class of student editors would be able to give. So, I strongly urge having another set of eyes give a critical look over all stories prior to submission. Turning in a clean manuscript will strengthen the chances of your submission being accepted, or at least read clear through for a fair evaluation.
  • Choosing favorites is much harder than I thought it would be. We were cautioned that last year’s anthology received over 500 submissions, with more than 100 received in the last week of submissions. Mirror, Mirror received over 600 and so many of them were truly excellent stories that choosing the few that we had the budget for was really difficult, especially since not everyone had the same favorites. In the end, we ended up with a heck of a selection of stories for this anthology. I think it will be great!

Although all of my personal favorites couldn’t be included, I did find a way to make 2022 a great year for anthologies at WordCrafter Press, with two by invitation only anthologies in addition to the annual short fiction contest and anthology. I gave you a sneak preview for the submission call for the annual anthology, which will be titled Visions, here. The official call for submissions will be posted in January, so stay tuned.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribing to e-mail or following on WordPress. If you found this content helpful or entertaining, please share.


A Challenge and a Review: Dead of Winter

“Winter Comes”

The Challenge

This post is a response to a challenge issued on Teagan Riordain Geneviene’s blog, where she challenges readers to create a piece of art in the medium of your choice, inspired by her book, Dead of Winter: Journey 1: Forlorn Peak.

Recently, I’ve been dabbling in Japanese and English syllabic poetry, and I knew that I wanted to create a poem for this challenge. The image and poetry above is my response to Teagan’s challenge. It is a Shadorma poem, an form of syllabic poetry which may have originated in Spain, comprised of a sestet, or six-line poem with a syllabic count of 3-5-3-3-7-5 (Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, by Sally Cronin). Although no where have I found that Shadorma can appear with images to add meaning, like the Japanese Haiga poetry, I’ve found nothing that says it can’t, so I have featured mine with the image above.

They both create a feeling like what I felt after reading Dead of Winter, so might actually serve as a different type of book review. I think the poem could easily stand alone, so maybe that’s okay.

Dead of Winter

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RBBVRGX?tag=relinks-20

My Review

Dead of Winter: Journey 1: Forlorn Peak, by Teagan Riordain Geneviene is a brief little tale that sets the stage in a world where strict control prevents the protagonist, Emlyn, from revealing her gift of seeing and communicating with the dead. In this short tale, Emlyn receives a warning of what’s to come in the rest of the series. “Winter is coming…”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribing to e-mail or following on WordPress. If you found this content helpful or entertaining, please share.


Dark Origins – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

In the spring of 1843, Charles Dickens read a government report on child labour in the United Kingdom. The report, compiled by a journalist friend of Charles Dickens, comprised of a series of interviews with working children. It detailed the long hours, crushing work, and poor conditions suffered by these children.

The new and heartless attitude towards child labour was a result of three things:

  • an increase in the population by 64% in 30 years;
  • workers leaving the countryside and crowding to the cities in search of work; and
  • the demise of cottage industries and there replacement with mundane and menial labour in factories.

Employers thought of the workers as commodities whose labour was measured purely on output and productivity.

There was a lot of controversy among the wealthy classes and the clergy as to whether assistance should be extended to the poor. A lot of people were of the opinion that people were poor due to their own laziness and malingering and that giving help would exacerbate these tendencies.

The work houses of the day split up families, provided minimal food, and extracted hard labour from its occupants, including children, in an effort to discourage the poor from seeking help.

I am reminded at this point of the song Food, Glorious Food from the musical Oliver based on the book by Charles Dickens:

Rev. Thomas Malthus advocated letting the poor go hungry to decrease the population. His view was that it was better to let the poor starve to “decrease the surplus population”.

Charles Dickens’ response was to write the novella, A Christmas Carol, which eloquently expressed his views on employer responsibilities towards workers.

If you don’t know the story of A Christmas Carol, this is a very brief overview:

The story opens with Ebenezer Scrooge sitting in his counting house on Christmas Eve. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, is sitting shivering in the anteroom because Scrooge won’t spend any money on heating. He turns down his nephew, Fred’s, invitation to a Christmas party and chases away two men collecting money for charity. At the end of the day, he returns to his cold, dark home.

After Scrooge has retired for the night, he is visited by the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley is weighed down by heavy chains and is destined to make his way through the afterlife dragging them after him because of his mean-spirited and selfish life.

Picture caption: https://www.charlesdickenspage.com/illustrations-carol.html

Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts that night, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. The ghosts show Scrooge where he made mistakes in his past life due to choosing money over love and life, how his clerk and the Cratchit family are suffering because of his present day meanness, and show him a lonely future death. Scrooge is offered, and takes, an opportunity to change his ways and find redemption.

If you are interested in listening to A Christmas Carol beautifully read by Stephen Humphreys, you will find the links on Rebecca Budd’s blog: Clanmother: https://clanmother.com/2021/12/07/stephen-humphreys-reads-a-christmas-carol/

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas if you celebrate or Happy Holidays.

Although I cannot compare my take on Victorian child labour to Charles Dickens’ brilliant works, I have written several times about this and I thought I would share this short extract from my book, Through the Nethergate, about a serving girl in a tavern in Bungay in 1589.

“The rich, amber fluid flowed into the waiting tankard, in striking contrast to the damp, darkness of the barrel filled cellar.

The small, frail girl stood with the tankard in her trembling hand. She was hungry, thirsty and cold. She hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since last night’s frugal supper of leftovers in the Inn’s kitchen. A wave of dizziness washed over her as she contemplated the drink. Its golden depths seemed to entrance her as she lifted it to her lips.

At least the kitchen was warm, she thought, remembering the delicious heat of the enormous, roaring fireplace. The kitchen was a much better place to steal a moment of rest than this freezing cold
cellar, in the bowels of the building.

The strong, rich taste of the ale brought a smile to the girl’s pale face. She greedily drained the tankard, closing her eyes and allowing a feeling of well-being to permeate through her skinny, undernourished body. The girl, called Lizzie, worked as a servant at the pub and she was twelve years old.

She knew she should be grateful for the job, but it was hard to forgive the heavy-handed punishments metered out to her by Will, the owner of the establishment.

A rough hand grasped her shoulder, its thick fingers digging viciously into her flesh.

“What have you done?” the loud, grating voice of Will blasted through her euphoria.

Lizzie jerked with fear and the tankard fell from her fingers, clattering to the stone floor before rolling away.

She looked up into piggy eyes staring out of a fat and well-fed face. Will’s usually florid complexion looked even ruddier and coarser than usual.

“Why, you little thief,” continued Will. “You know what we do with thieves in this Inn.”

A short while later, Lizzie found herself chained to the wall of the cellar. Her pleas and cries for mercy had fallen on deaf ears as Will, filled with righteousness and piety at her ungodly action, attached the manacles to her wrists and ankles.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Dark Origins” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Inviting You to Join My Street Team!

Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Streat Team group

You are reading this, so chances are good that you are familiar with me and my writing, as well as WordCrafter Press and its books, because I talk about all of these things a lot. Since you are hanging out here, reading my posts and those of my wonderful blog team members, there’s also a good chance that you are interested in my work, so you will be interested in this opportunity, as well.

Being a multi-genre author creates the need to reach multiple target audiences. I write western, paranormal, science fiction, dark fantasy & vampires, and maybe even a little bit of romance. Although unpublished, I’ve even written a children’s series. That makes it more difficult to hit my target market and find readers who enjoy the kind of book I write, but I’m learning that I’m just not a write to market kind of girl. I have to write what my heart says, and it refuses to remain in a single genre.

I’ve decided to build a street team to help spread the word about new releases and release events. So, I’ve created a private Facebook group Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Street Team” group, where you can help by becoming a beta reader and providing feedback prior to release, or reviewer, or just an enthusiastic fan, sharing new release and release event information on social media to help get the word out.. This is a group for those who want to help create, promote or just support me and my books, and find opportunities to free books, for an extra perk. As a member of the group, you will be privy to news regarding works-in-progress, new releases and upcoming book events, as well as early cover releases and sneak previews.

I hope that you will click on the link above and join us, as 2022 looks to be a exciting year, with between 7 and 12 new releases coming!

WordCrafter Press will be putting out, not just one, but three anthologies this year, including the resulting anthology from the annual short fiction contest. The call for submissions for the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest will be posted in January, this year’s anthology will also feature the stories by invitation, which will not be included in the contest, but will be included in the Visions anthology. The other two anthologies will be by invitation only, Once Upon an Ever After, and Slivered Reflections. WordCrafter Press will also be doing a new edition of the writer’s reference, Ask the Authors and a new edition of Poetry Treasures. For my own books, I will be dropping my contract with Dusty Saddle Publishing and publishing a special edition of Delilah myself, and publishing at least the first three books of my science fantasy Playground for the Gods series, and possibly the fourth.

If you join my street team group, you’ll be privy to all the latest news about all these great releases and more! Bring your enthusiasm and help me make my writing dreams come true. And don’t forget the free books and other perks. See you there!


Treasuring Poetry – An introduction to Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse edited and compiled by Colleen Chesebro and Jules Paige

Today, I am delighted to introduce you to Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse, The Moons of Autumn, a delightful collaboration of syllabic poems by a variety of poets, edited and compiled by Colleen Chesebro and Jules Paige.

By way of background, Colleen Chesebro has run a weekly syllabic poetry challenge on her blog, Word Craft: Poetry and Prose for years. She has been a guiding light to the poetry community, sharing her knowledge about the many different forms of syllabic poetry and encouraging poets to experiment and all learn together.

What inspired you to put together a poetry anthology, is it a once off or will there be others?

My inspiration for the syllabic poetry journal came about when I realized that many of the poets who joined in my weekly challenge did not have the ways or means to publish their own books of poetry. I envisioned a yearly journal filled with creative syllabic forms. I’m not aware of another journal that presents both Japanese and American versions of syllabic poetry. This is a different concept and I think it has paid off.

Also, to note, the poet’s retained ownership of the poems submitted to the journal. All rights reverted to the respective author/artist upon publication. All we asked, was if their work was republished, we appreciated a mention that the Word Weaving Poetry Journal was the first place of publication.

While I planned this journal, I realized I wanted to host a poetry contest on wordcraftpoetry.com with paid prizes. It was logical to use the royalties from the sale of the Word Weaving Journal to pay for the prizes. As for another journal… I’ll let you know after the poetry contest in 2022. I’m aiming for the month of June for the contest on wordcraftpoetry.com. I’ll reevaluate at that time.

Which poem in the anthology touched you the most? Please provide the test of the poem and the author

This is a hard question to answer. My co-editor, Jules Paige and I first selected our favorites. We deliberated for some time over the poems… they were all so good! In the end we selected Ken Gierke’s gogyohka poem:

warmth of a pale light

found as clouds part

rewarded

while seeking the moon

on a cool autumn night

© Ken Gierke

We both felt this gogyohka best illustrated the concept of the “Moons of Autumn.” At the end of the Journal, Jules and I shared our three favorite poems by D. L. Finn, Merril D. Smith, and Ken Gierke.

If I had to go in deeper, my next favorite would be D. Wallace Peach’s tanka prose Idyll. The imagery in this poem is one of my favorites.

“Moon-spun”

November’s moon spins upon the tip of a white fir. Her fairy light whispers across the glades where alders part their leafless fingers into spindly shadows. The night glow sends the trolls trudging into the deep forest, brittle twigs crunching beneath their knobby feet. With nothing to fear, the deer lie down in a silver meadow. Old owl watches the coyotes croon to autumn’s stark beauty as they whiff the delicate scent of the coming snow.

a moon’s enchantment

befalls the northern forest

her magical light

banishes luring prowlers

inviting the night to sing

© D. Wallace Peach

What attracts you to syllabic poetry as opposed to other forms like freestyle and rhyming verse?

Syllabic poetry, especially the Japanese forms with their brevity of words, fills a special place in my heart. Not only do I like writing these forms, but I also enjoy reading what others have written. There is a simple beauty in haiku that I don’t find in other forms. Written mindfully, haiku are small poems with large meaning. It’s those a-ha moments of connection, I find the most pleasing.

For example:

summer clouds—

kayakers floating

the river

© Colleen M. Chesebro

In this haiku, I worked on imagery. The idea was to connect emotions by associating two or more images together in strange and unusual ways. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I find it is always best to look for alike or contrasting images to feature in my poem.

I targeted the “summer (my kigo) clouds” and the “kayakers floating the river,” as a summer activity. Clouds float – kayakers float, which are alike images.

A haiku should present an event in an image. It should SHOW us what happened without telling us about it or what emotion to feel. In the haiku above, what emotions do you feel?

Haiku poems share a specific event or observation. Haiku are not generalities, and we never use a simile or metaphor. Most haiku are written in seventeen onji (Japanese sounds) which equates to around twelve syllables (3, 5, 3). Most rhyming poetry doesn’t give me the same emotional impact as the simple haiku does. Although, I do enjoy creating some of the syllabic forms that use rhyme and meter.

What advice can you give people setting out on the path of writing poetry?

Poetry is about expression and creativity. Poets should write poetry daily. If you don’t practice, how can you perfect your craft? I write my poetry on my author blog at colleenchesebro.com and in a handwritten journal.

It’s best to get involved in a poetry community with poetry challenges where you can stretch your wings and try new things like we do on wordcraftpoetry.com. If you can’t find a challenge you like, start your own! Learning how to comment, critique, and write about the work of another poet is crucial to your own poetic journey.

Write more poetry! Find what forms bring you the most joy to write. Write them! Then, learn everything you can about that type of poetry.

Submit your poetry to literary journals and contests. I’ve had more poetry rejected than accepted, but that hasn’t stopped me yet.

What are your plans for Word Craft: Prose & Poetry going forward?

Wordcraftpoetry.com will continue to be a safe place to write syllabic poetry. We’re in our fifth year of the #TankaTuesday Poetry Challenge. Each week, I strive to make the challenges interesting. In 2022, we will have a few new prompts to freshen up our creativity. I will continue to feature a poet and their poem almost every week. Depending on the challenge week, the poet will choose the prompt for the next month’s challenge. It’s important to me to involve the poets in the challenges. That is what community is all about. Stay tuned. Who knows what I’ll think of next!

Thanks so much, Robbie for featuring me and the Word Weaving Journal on Treasuring Poetry.

Colleen M. Chesebro
Colleen M. Chesebro

Author biography

Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. She sponsors a weekly poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry.

Along with JulesPaige, Colleen is also a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. The debut issue of the journal published October 2021, with a kindle and print version of the journal.

Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in various other online publications. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for the Carrot Ranch literary community at carrotranch.com. She hosts a challenge as a guest of the Saloon, every third Monday of the month.

Colleen’s poetry has poetry in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures,” a collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on “Writing to be Read” in 2020.

Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House.

Find Colleen Chesebro

Find Colleen at Word Craft: Prose & Poetry at wordcraftpoetry.com.

Find Colleen’s author blog at colleenchesebro.com.

Find Colleen’s pagan blog at awitchsbrew.wordpress.com

My review of Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse

This book, edited and collated by talented poets Colleen Chesebro and Jules Paige, is a delightful collection of meaningful poems by a variety of different contributors. The theme of the book is Harvest Moon and each poem gives insight into the meaning of this expression to the particular poet. Some poems are practical and some are ethereal, yet others are colourful and then there are the silvery ones, but they all share the common feature of being beautiful.

The poems in the book demonstrate as wide a variety of styles as there are contributors, with a common thread of all being syllabic. I came across a number of forms that were new to me, including senryu, haiga, and gogyohka among otehrs. There are also the more familiar syllabic forms such as haiku, tanka, haibun, tanka prose, etheree, nonet, shadorma, and cinquain.

My favourite poem in this collection is written by Kerfe Roig. I like it because it is filled with mystery and delight:
“who is this Other
come to greet me
glittering shadowed
behind and before
a changeling of light”

All the poems are gorgeous and this collection is a most worthwhile read for poetry lovers.

What Amazon says

Word Weaving is a yearly poetry journal, and for our first issue, we bring you poetry crafted from a broad mix of new and established voices across the spectrum of Japanese and American syllabic poetry forms. Enjoy this collection of poems that celebrate the Moons of Autumn.Contributing Poets:

Annette Rochelle Aben, Mona Bedi, Nancy Brady, Colleen M. Chesebro, Goutam Dutta, Bill Engleson, Elizabeth F., Andreea Finichiu, D.L. Finn, Jeff Flesch, Ken Gierke, Franci Hoffman, Thom Kerr, Sujata Khanna, Ruth Klein, Jules Paige, D. Wallace Peach, Gwen M. Plano, M. J. Mallon, R.V. Mitchell, Elaine Patricia Morris, Lisa Smith Nelson, Pat Raffington, Susmita Ramani, Kerfe Roig, Aishwarya Saby, Akhila Siva, Merril D. Smith, Willow Willers, and Cheryl Wood.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Treasuring Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields – Overdose!

Mind Fields

I didn’t think one could overdose on cannabis.

I was wrong. You can. I did. 

I use tincture that I buy from a local grower. It wasn’t the tincture’s fault. I made a mistake. The bottle comes with an eye dropper for dosage measurements and this particular bottle was so low on tincture that I couldn’t fill an eyedropper. So I simply up-ended the thing and poured it down my gullet. That’s not even a dose’s worth, I thought, and proceeded to add another half dropper from a new bottle.

Uh oh. 

I’ve been a hard core doper for much of my life and cannabis didn’t scare me one little bit. The most egregious overdose I ever had was with pharmaceutical Ketamine. Oh lord, that was dangerous. I made a perilous mistake and measured out a decimal point one too many after reading the Physician’s Desk Manual. I guess I wasn’t tracking too well even before taking the drug. That decimal point represented a ten times overdose.

After taking that stuff, I became completely dissociated. I was alone in the house. I sat in front of a candle, too terrified to move, while the candle burned down from its top to a mere stub. It was dark when I took the ketamine. It was light by the time I recovered enough to take stock and shake myself out of the trance. 

That was my most profound and wretched experience in a lifetime of drug abuse. Until yesterday.  I didn’t have enough awe for the cannabis tincture. I should have known better.

I proceeded with my normal day of chores and piano practice until I was pretty bone tired. I retreated to the bedroom, where I joined my wife for some late afternoon TV watching. 

I began to roll around inside my body. That was very strange. I felt VERY STRANGE and somewhat close to a state of panic. My cognitive ability retreated to a little corner of mind. About ten percent of me was still present. In that corner I recognized that I had taken too much THC tincture. I could use that ten percent to get out my tool box for the treatment of anxiety. Deep breathing. Yoga. Everything. The alternative was simply panic.

My wife recognized that I was in an odd state. She is forbearing and reluctant to interfere in my escapades. I had to slide the words out of my mouth. “I am feeling very dissociated.” 

I was confused. Where am I? I had to ask of myself. What is that? I was referring not so much to the TV but the programming that was on it. I recognized one of our favorite shows, a veterinary adventure, but I couldn’t connect with the content. I wanted to. It seemed petty and ridiculous in light of my emergency. I tried to explain it to Fox.

“Too much THC”. I struggled to form the words. Fox got the message.

“Can I help?” I didn’t know what to tell her. The idea of food crossed my mind. It might dilute further enhancement. It might bring me down. I wanted to come down. “Can you…banana dr…drink?”

“Don’t move from there,” she cautioned wisely. I didn’t move. I felt the urge to get up, but I listened to what my astute partner said. 

It’s easy to say, “I was sooo fucked up!” What does that mean? There are a billion versions of “fucked up” and some of them are not great. I was so fucked up that my very consciousness was tied in a knot. I didn’t know where “here” was. I didn’t know whether or not I was “here”. 

For further reference, it’s a good idea to know that you are “here”. Not knowing is a weak place, it’s ghostly and things can knock you over. I don’t want to ever get knocked over by anything.

I am HERE.


Review: Bats, Bandits & Buggies

Bats, Bandits & Buggies

Bats, Bandits & Buggies, by Nancy Oswald was the light, entertaining read I needed after two months of serious short story selection for two separate anthology collections. A thoroughly enjoyable read, this book is a nonstop adventure that is sure to put a smile on the face of readers of all ages, not unlike the other books in her Ruby and Maude Adventure series, featuring a young girl named Ruby and her ice cream loving donkey, Maude.

In the first book of the series, Rescue in Poverty Gulch, Ruby and Maude come to Cripple Creek, Colorado in the 1800’s, but over the series the cast of characters has grown to include a cat named Trouble and a young donkey named Willie, and they’ve all moved down the mountain to Colorado Springs. But, trouble always seems to find Ruby and her friends in a whirlwind of seemingly unrelated events, which somehow leads to danger.

In Bats, Bandits & Buggies, Ruby and Maude set out to go into business offering buggy rides around Colorado Springs. But, when Ruby tries to help her friend Roy earn the money to pay his aunt for a book that was ruined, she finds herself with an uninvited partner. As Ruby trains Maude to pull the buggy and set forth on their new business venture, odd occurrences lead her to believe that something strange is going on in Colorado Springs. First, someone abducted her cat, Trouble, while Ruby was napping; then there’s the string of recent robberies in which the bandits leave the store with the stolen merchandise and mysteriously disappear; and then there’s Roy’s peculiar aunt, who seems to be taking advantage of her young nephew, and alternates her mood faster than you can blink your eye. Ruby isn’t sure what is really going on, but she’s determined to find out.

If you want to know more, you’ll have to buy this delightful book, for you won’t find spoilers here. But I will say that Bats, Bandits & Buggies is a purely fun read, all the way through. The pacing is wonderful, carrying the reader pleasantly moving along through the story, and the characters are delightful. I give it five quills.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Bats-Bandits-Buggies-Maude-Adventure/dp/1737754800

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kaye Lynne Booth offers honest reviews in exchange for a copy of the book. If you have a book you would like a review for, contact her at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


The Many Faces of Poetry: 74

The Many Faces of Poetry

74

November 13, 2021

Old.

I am old. 

Why is that so good?

I have a lot of experience. 

That’s part of it.  Experience

gives perspective.  The mature mind

knows how swiftly things change,

how needless is the stress we impose

upon ourselves.

Old

means closer to death. Thoughts of death

sometimes visit.  I have no problem with

death.  Once, I would have raged at the prospect

of dying invisibly, and all my creations vanished.  Never mind applause.

I don’t need that.  It would be embarrassing.

The universe is vast and varied.  My bit of it,

my earth landscape, has been just as varied and strange.

Every person is a universe; we live in a universe of universes that never end.

Old?  If I could live another hundred years

I wouldn’t want to.  These times are terrible.  Humans

have multiplied without limit, till the earth groans.  Why is it that only humans fuck up?

Whales don’t fuck up.  Elephants don’t fuck up.

It must have to do with free will. Nah!  It’s just stupidity.

It takes a lot of work to be smart.  And even more work to be wise.

To be smart and wise, it helps to be

old. Whales and elephants: they’re old. 

They’re old enough

and smart enough

to die off before the world becomes so miserable

that it’s no longer a wise place to live.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “The Many Faces of Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Growing Bookworms – Teaching children about charity

Christmas is just around the corner and many people are gearing up for holidays, family gatherings, presents, and lots of delicious food. Of course, not everyone is in this privileged position and there are millions of people who will not have any of these things.

I thought December would be a good time to write about teaching children about charity.

People who care about earth and the people and animals we share it with want to raise generous children who understand the importance of charity and giving back to society. It is a good idea to raise the concept of charity with our children early on and this can be done in a way that doesn’t scare them or make them fearful.

From a young age, I told my children that while there are many children whose families are wealthier than we are and who have more than we do, there are millions of children who have far less. We discussed children that have lost their parents and who are living in orphanages or as foster children. We spoke about schools that give children a hot meal at lunch time and I explained that for some of those children it is the only meal they get in a 24-hour period.

I tried to involve my boys in my own charity activities which included making up packs of groceries for needy pensioners, donating books to underprivileged schools, and giving used clothing to various charities.

When children are part of activities that help others who are less fortunate than they are, it gives them a sense of perspective about their own good fortune to have a nice home, food to eat, and schooling. As they get older, they will also learn to appreciate a loving and supportive family. Being generous helps children learn to appreciate what they have and be more grateful. It makes them feel useful and fosters empathy.

My children have both grown into caring and empathetic young men who see a need and are willing to put their own money and time behind helping other people.

Quote from Michael: “Children need to learn about charity because people have to work together to create a good environment.”

Every Christmas, my sons and I undertake 10 hours of community service each. Michael is auto-immune so we do their hours from the safety of our own home and, as Michael and I like to bake, our activities often involve these activities.

Last year we, the boys and I, made 150 goodie bags for the elderly residence of a local old age home. My nephews helped with this activity and the four boys baked and iced 80 gingerbread boys. I made 70 slices of shortbread and each bag contained a baked good, some chocolates, and a Christmas joke.

This year, we baked two beer-box cakes for a Christmas party for an underprivileged school. We had fun adding the sprinkles.

We are also making 150 Christmas crackers filled with three delicious chocolates for the old age home. So far we have made 40.

These are all fun activities to do with children, you can invite the kids in the neighbourhood or your nephews and nieces, and they bring a lot of joy to the recipients.

Another way of teaching children about giving and generosity is through reading to them.

I will never forget the scene from Little Women when Marmee asks her four daughters if they will give their Christmas breakfast away to a poor family:

“‘Merry Christmas, little daughters! I’m glad you began at once, and hope you will keep on. But I want to say one word before we sit down. Not far away from here lies a poor woman with a little newborn baby. Six children are huddled into one bed to keep from freezing, for they have no fire. There is nothing to eat over there; and the oldest boy came to tell me they were suffering hunger and cold. My girls, will you give them your breakfast as a Christmas present?’

They were all unusually hungry, having waited nearly an hour, and for a minute no one spoke; only a minute, for Jo exclaimed impetuously,—

‘I’m so glad you came before we began!’

‘May I go and help carry the things to the poor little children?’ asked Beth, eagerly.

‘I shall take the cream and the muffins,’ added Amy, heroically giving up the articles she most liked.”

This is just one of many wonderful books that teach children about sharing, giving and the real meaning of Christmas.

Another, one of my personal favourites, is How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Book Quotes. QuotesGram
Picture credit: https://quotesgram.com/how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-book-quotes/

I must admit that every time I read that quote I get goosebumps.

This is the last Growing Bookworms post for 2021. If you celebrate, I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the New Year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, have a happy holiday period.

About Robbie Cheadle

IMG_9902

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.