Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet Author Liana Metal

My guest author in the VBT this week is Liana Metal, a multi-talented lady from Greece. I'm certain you will enjoy becoming acquainted with her and her work.

Liana Metal (Iliana Metallinou) lives in Greece on the island of Corfu. She is an author and illustrator, a book reviewer, and a freelance writer. Liana is also an artist. Her drawings/paintings can be found both online at www.aggelia-online.gr and at the Bazaar shop located in Corfu town (at Spirou Vasileiou 23 in Karteria, Kefalomantouko, Greece). Liana is a former Language School owner and teacher, who has a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics. She also is a nature lover.

To contact the artist visit http://LianaMetal.tripod.com or her blog at http://LianasKerkyra.blogspot.com Η or her blog at http://lianastories.blogspot.com

Liana Metal’s newest book is “The White Snail”.

The White Snail
Written and illustrated by Iliana Metallinou aka Liana Metal.

The White Snail includes an exciting story and educational material appropriate for young readers. It is the first of a series of books that aims to encourage children to read stories, while at the same time learn about nature. At the end of each book there are educational activities.

The White Snail’s basic theme is self-esteem that develops from early childhood. The hero of this story believes that he is not equal to the other snails just because he is different. This story is about the differences among people or peoples generally. It caters not only to young kids but also to adults, parents and teachers.

This series also aims to highlight some of the small miracles of nature that we usually take for granted. The White Snail encourages the reader to notice snails closely and learn some facts about them via the educational activity at the end of the book.

This book can be read both in Greek and English. Thus, it caters to Foreign Language education as well as to readers all over the world.

The White Snail is available at Vasilis Savvanis Publications, Corfu, Greece,
www.aggelia-online.gr or at local bookstores and kiosks.

The White Snail
ISBN: 978-960-98648-0-0
Paperback, 32 pages, 16x16 cm

Please check back in a few days because more about Liana Metal and The White Snail will follow.



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Write-up in my local newspaper


The Shreveport Times' Wednesday magazine supplement which is distributed throughout the neighborhoods located in the southeastern area of Shreveport, LA, (my hometown) is called Southeast Voices. It reaches about 40,000 readers out of Shreveport-Bossier City's total population of about 240,000. Today it has a feature article about me and my poetry. (link above)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tom Howard Poetry Contest Winning Poems

Here are the two cash prize winning entries of mine in the 2008 Tom Howard Poetry Contest:

2nd Place ($1,000 prize) Winning Rhyming Storoem:

(The format is stanzas of four lines each. Due to line lengths, many lines are broken here. The rhymes are at the end of the lines read as though they were unbroken.)

--- The Old Salty Poems ---

The Old Seadog

In 1900, he is a stranger come to their town,
now renting, living in the old O’Grady place,
not to farm, not to fix up despite its being rundown,
just to live out his days, what with Death staring in his face.

The word around is he has no family, no friends,
that he has spent his whole life sailing the seas,
but, what to believe, since, when rumors fly, the truth bends.
Reports of disaster at sea…just leave him be, if you please.

As time does pass, the townspeople’s suspicion turns to fear.
The children are warned to keep away from him. “He’s not one of us!”
He ventures into town only for supplies, mostly liquor and beer.
Keeping to himself, he does nothing to allay their fear and distrust.

The children going to and from school walk quickly past his house,
until one day little Sarah happens along as he is at his mailbox…
and she smiles at him…”You don’t look like such a mean old souse.”
she says, repeating what she has heard him called. Her remark shocks,

surprises him, but then he laughs. “Neither do you! What’s your name?”
“I’m Sarah. What’s yours?” “Lately I’ve been known as Jonah mostly,
but since I’m an old seadog, call me Salty.” Every day, the same –
he’s at the mailbox as she passes his house. Then, comes finally

the day she tarries to visit, decides to converse, and his stories begin,
wondrous tales, tall and true, of far-off lands with fantastic sights,
of mysterious beasts, strange adventures, desperate battles to win,
bounty and riches galore, and fierce storms that rage for days and nights.

Soon, Sarah’s friend or two is stopping to listen to Salty’s tales.
More friends, still more…until the parents learn of these sessions.
But, when they come to put an end to it, a story of ships with sails,
South Sea Island natives, and pearls draws them in, changes impressions.

Old Salty becomes the most popular storyteller in the region all around,
never too busy to oblige with a sea tale, always willing to visit awhile
with parent or child. At last, he knows happiness, as friendships abound.
Countless lives he enriches -- all because one little girl wasn’t afraid to smile.

The Legacy Of Friendship

Old Salty and young Sarah share a staunch friendship
until the day he dies. Then the doctor drops by.
“Salty had no relatives. He lived aboard a ship
for more than fifty years. He expected he would die

a lonely, old drunk, but he credited you with preventing that.
So, he wanted you to have all his worldly possessions of value.”
Sarah’s bequest is one battered, old, sea trunk that once had sat
in Salty’s bedroom. Sorting through it, Sarah thinks, it’s true,

that it was nice of Salty to think of her so fondly after all, but
what is a young girl to do with maps, charts, and diary
after diary recounting his travels. Then, at the bottom, what
is this – a leather pouch containing handfuls of small stones. Sorry,

but she was hoping for some of those pearls he had told tall tales
about. Still, these are a pleasing mixture of pretty greens and reds.
The trunk is stored for years, but all of Salty’s stories she tells
to her children over and over, then to her grandchildren, instead

of reading them fairy tales. At each retelling of Salty’s stories, she shows
them the pretty stones, letting each child hold some in their hand.
These stories create unique family memories, each generation knows
them by heart – enriching their dreams, keeping Salty a remembered man.

Decades come and go, changing their town from one of farming
into a mill town. Most townspeople merely switch from an
existence of share-cropping to mill working, their hardships alarming.
When Sarah donates Salty’s trunk to the university library, the man

goes beside himself with glee, calling the charts, diaries, and maps
a true treasure -- this was back in 1960. Now Sarah, nearing 100, thrives.
She has 4 children, 17 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren – and naps
twice a day. But, when awake, she’s still the greatest storyteller alive!

The mill is closing; their jobs going overseas. Times for the family become
grim. Still, to celebrate her centennial, all in the family contribute to pay
for having Sarah’s pretty story stones mounted into a necklace at some
big-city jewelry store. Money in hand, two of her daughters silently pray

that they’ll have enough to mount all her stones. At this fancy jewelry store
they are greeted with disapproving looks, as though in the wrong place.
Their explanation given, the jeweler examines a stone, then looks at more.
As stone after stone is examined, disbelief grows larger upon his face.

“Where did you get these?” “They’ve been in our family 90 years, I’d guess.”
“This amazing collection of rubies and emeralds is…absolutely…priceless!”

High Distinction Award ($200 Prize) Winning Free-verse Poem:

The Assembled Waiters

We all sit and wait.
We wait in a room designed for waiting.
We wait for our names to be called.
Some wait nervously, fidgeting
and checking their watches.
Some wait patiently, reading old magazines.
Some even doze off to sleep.
But we all wait.

We sit on chairs not quite comfortable enough,
chairs too close together so that our space
feels violated when someone sits down besides us.
We rarely speak to each other, filling the room
with mostly silence.
We seldom make eye contact with those
around us, preferring to remain anonymous.

We are a unique group assembled here.
We are both the young and the old,
both males and females,
the rich and the poor.
Here we are all equal…waiters.
Worry, fear, and dread sit on many faces,
for here we all need luck and mercy.
We sit here strangers all,
gathered together at this place
for this one moment in time,
sharing an experience never
to be shared again together.

We wait to give of our blood, our urine,
or to have our insides revealed.
We hope for good answers,
but for some it will be bad news.
For some, it will be routine.
For others, it will alter their life.
For the unfortunate, it will be a death sentence.

As an elderly lady turtles out with her cane,
a teenage boy takes her seat to begin his wait.
The old still outnumber the young.
The boy is wearing sweat pants and T-shirt.
Some wear business suits, some casual attire.
Dress here is of no help, of no importance,
For this room is a great equalizer.
We all wait to have the medical technologist
call our name to have our lab work done.
First arrived, first called…and finally
I am at the front of the queue, hearing
my name called to come give three tubes
of blood so that I can complete my visit
at the doctor’s office this morning.
My wait is finally over.



Thursday, March 5, 2009

PMOOFM won Honorable Mention!

My poetry book, "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" won Honorable Mention in the Fiction, Poetry category in the 2008 Reader Views Literary Awards announced today . :-)



Monday, March 2, 2009

“Writing Poems in the Rain”: A Poetry Book by Mark Bradley

About “Writing Poems in the Rain”: "Words fall from the sky like raindrops . . . " That is the first line in one of the poems in this book. Rain can be looked at in different ways, taken in different moods, and bring about different changes. While it has given life to the world since its beginning, the rain also has given life and inspiration to many writers through the ages. It can be happy or sad, beautiful yet depressing, and sometimes you can see the wide spectrum behind it, if you look close enough. Poetry, like the rain, has refreshing qualities and brings life to those who absorb it. “Writing Poems in the Rain” is a collection of poems that contain a spectrum of emotions and experiences from life, broken down while writing poems in the rain. The book contains poems written in a variety of forms, subjects and lengths, but mostly free-verse poems.

Book Details:
Paperback: 145 pages
Book Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
Publisher: PublishAmerica (April 30, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1424180872
ISBN-13: 978-1424180875

Purchase at Amazon.com : http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Poems-Rain-Mark-Bradley/dp/1424180872/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235449462&sr=1-1

If you enjoyed reading Mark's sampling of poems in the last post, why not get his poetry book and enjoy it again and again? Poetry books also make great gifts for any occasion.

Cheers for now!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meet Author Mark Bradley

My guest author for March is Mark Christopher Bradley, age 27, an aspiring writer from Baltimore, Maryland, where he is currently studying as an English major in pursuit of a career as a writing teacher. Since high school Mark had delved in writing poetry. Having taken a Creative Writing class in his junior year, Mark's imagination was fueled with inspiration as he began launching a barrage of poems from heart and soul, taken from the experiences of his life. Since 2002, Mark has posted his writing online and received reviews and comments about it at Writing.com. Mark has published two books of his poetry to date, his first being "A Parody of Myself" in January 2003, followed by "Writing Poems in the Rain" in May 2007. He is currently working on two novels as well and seeking publication of several of his short stories.


How did you come up with the title "Writing Poems in the Rain"?

That is the title of one of the poems in the book. I thought it would make a nice presentation as to what the book is (poetry) as well as hint at one of the common themes in the book. The rain inspires me, so it comes up quite a bit throughout the book.

Tell us more about your book of poetry "Writing Poems in the Rain". You write about so many topics. How did you decide which poems to put in the book?

I wanted to put a little bit of everything in there to show the different facets of my writing. Some people stick to one subject or style, which works for them, but for me I don’t limit myself to what I write about. I also do this so that my readers can find something in particular they like.

What made you decide to self-publish your two books of poetry?

I knew that the poetry market is harder to get into by means of traditional publishers. I had no experience as far as literary magazines or journals, so I thought that I could use self-publishing as the first rung of the publishing ladder. It would get my name out there, at least, and give me a chance to start a fan base.

Do you write in other genres as well? Any other projects you want to share with us?

I’m getting more into fiction writing now, and my favorite genres are fantasy and other forms of speculative fiction. I’m currently writing a fantasy novel, as well as several short stories in various genres that I would like to put into a compilation.

Examples of Mark Bradley’s Poetry:

I Lost My Appetite
copyright 2008 Mark C. Bradley

No words have been spoken,
since the waiter left our table,
but among the din of
forks and knives clattering against plates
and the silence between,
an entire conversation ensues.
Her foot whispers to my ankle,
asking it to pass along a message to my hand
so it would sneak under the table to return the favor.
She must be drowsy;
her eyelashes keep fluttering, and
she leans into her hand, gazing at me,
dream-like, as when I first met her years ago.
The sauce from her pasta must be sticking to her lips,
for she licks them every so often,
so I hand her a napkin,
not looking her back in the eye.
She tugs her neckline downward, her face aflush.
The candles are giving off too much heat,
so I douse them with my spoon.
The air reeks of burnt wax.
I need some fresh air,
so I drop my napkin onto my plate and
leave my wife alone.

It Was Written
copyright 2007 Mark C. Bradley

Fifty eight thousand, twenty two names
That's over a hundred thousand words,
enough to write a novel,
yet never enough to tell the stories
of the ones who died there in Vietnam.
The book spread open for all to see,
etched in black granite,
written in blood and tears.
My fingers span the shiny pages,
drawing me closer to the many
faceless authors unknown to me.
They will not be forgotten.
They are the enduring characters,
protagonists forever engraved in our hearts
and reflected in the storybook of our history.

The Last Chivalrist
copyright 2006 Mark C. Bradley

Nobody ever throws their coat
over a puddle anymore,
nor do moonlit serenades reach a woman's ear.
Who champions a lady and defends her honor now?
The armor, kept long locked away
in closets hidden from sight,
doesn't shine like it used to.
Besides, maidens don't like to see tarnish anyway,
so I go off to rescue my damsel
in plain clothes, unlike the suitors that woo her
with their fancy vestments and shiny adornments.
I know the real valor lies in the heart underneath
where true chivalry is not dead after all.

copyright 2006 Mark C. Bradley

On a sultry summer evening,
in a field of clover,
I went catching fireflies.
Like collecting dreams in a jar,
I chased the glows in the night.
As I caught one in midflight,
the firefly illuminated the jar,
and I watched, dazzled by its mystery
and its love of light.
But I would not hold on for long,
or the dream would soon fade
into the darkness of memory.

Check out Mark’s blog site: http://aparodyofmyself.blogspot.com

My next post in a few days will highlight Mark Bradley's latest poetry book, "Writing Poems in the Rain". Please drop back by and check out his book.