Friday, January 30, 2015

Order of the Four Sons series also signed with Kensington Gore



Earlier this month, I announced I'd signed a deal with Kensington Gore Publishing to do a horror trilogy based on my short story, "Our Miss Engel."  I'm pleased to announce that Kensington Gore has also picked up The Order of the Four Sons series, which I co-author with Coyote Kishpaugh.

The Order of the Four Sons series is a sprawling, fast-paced, scifi/fantasy adventure that encompasses multiple worlds and an ensemble cast of characters.  Two ancient organizations, the Order of the Four Sons of Horus and Starry Wisdom, have been battling for centuries for possession of a powerful artifact known as the Staff of Solomon.  Whoever has possession of the staff can rip open the very fabric of existence.

Coyote and I self-published Book I, The Order of the Four Sonsin 2009.  Book II, Carcosa, was released in 2011.  Book III, Where Flap the Tatters of the King, was released in 2013.

Book IV, Going Forth By Day, is still in progress.  We're hoping to have the first draft finished later this year.

Now that we've signed with a publisher, Books I-III are going to be unavailable while they undergo some revisions and get new cover designs.  Books I and II will tentatively be released later this year.

Book III, because of its extreme length, will be released in two volumes in 2016-- which means we have to come up with an additional title.

Book IV's release will be pushed back to 2017.  It will probably also have to be divided up into two volumes.  So instead of the four books we'd planned, there will be at least six.

I'll leave up the excerpts and any other O4S-related posts I've made on this blog so you can whet your whistles in the meantime.

Once again, Coyote and I would like to thank family, friends and readers for staying with us on this long journey.  We hope you'll hang in there just a bit longer.  We're very hopeful that now we've signed on with Kensington Gore our work will reach a wider audience.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Coyote and I have a pomegranate juice toast we need to go make.  Cheers, everybody!







Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Backwoods and Back Words: Poems by Nicky Yurcaba


Valentine’s Day

the raven bled
black
upon cerulean sky--
circling, crying, quoting
to we mere mortals scattered below,
who weaved a barbed-wire way betwixt
securely tamped locust posts and across
rocky river ground.

the Angus cattle flooded
black
upon winter riverside pasture--
lowing, sparring, churning
their hallowed ground
to cold-molten mud,
and we mere mortals
bowed
our unworthy heads in futile epiphany:

when we are gone, lowered
and churned into
our hallowed earth’s brown blood,
the raven will circle, cry, declare
“I am the master of these fields;
 I am the keeper of these bones"


The Farmer's Right Hand
For Rodney

The farmer's contagious Monday anxiety
seeps through the John Deere tractor cab's silage-scented atmosphere
incinerating his hired hand, who, in quiet faithfulness, rides beside him.

There is never enough time.

A muscle-building, mechanically-inclining
year-and-a-half of working, learning, adapting beside him--
shoveling feedlot feed bunks, tall-stacking square bales in hay barns,
stretching and tacking barbed wire across and into locust posts--

has implicitly taught her
that when he wants a task done,
the farmer will either bear the task's cross himself
or hand her an unlined three-by-five--
scrawled with black ballpoint;
pulled gentlemanly from his left shirt pocket--
dictating her mucked, mired, muddied,
manure-splattered fate.


Night Vigil

"...but now a more dismal and fitting day dawns, and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there." - Thoreau

Past midnight conversation
begins always with the same interrogating question:
softly hollered from above high,
cloaked in full moon's milk,
illuminated by flicker-flicker fireflies--
"Who?",
which on before-dawn's new breaking
becomes the land's most melancholic wondering
being asked to one unsatisfied dying-ember soul,
the unknown violating trespasser,
lurking the twilight's gone-gleaming
led by sword-wielding Orion,
haunted by your spreading death-knell wings
through Life's criss-crossed tangled woods-web
while again you maniacally-and-double beg
"Who? Who?"--:

Who dares trespass, break boundary into
your darkened forested dominion,
 arch-angelically you dwell?
Who falls prey to your graceful, missiled predator-swoop?
"Who? Who?"
you ask, wise and dominant,
from skeleton-branch perches,
your razored talons warrior-braced for war-flight
when the unsatisfied dying-ember soul,
the violating trespasser
aimlessly wanders into your farsighted godliness
answering, humbled with pitiful self-admittance,
"I don't know;  I don't know".


Thou Shalt Glow
           
the Artist—painting necrotic portraits of a phossy-jawed human race
                        dancing beneath a fluoresced radium sun;
                        swimming in cesium-137 lagoons;
                        building isotopic snowmen in strontium-90-laced atmospheric cocaine—
licks his camel hair paintbrush’s tip to straighten, to smooth, the half-life bristles.



Purchase Backwoods and Back Words


About Nicole Yurcaba
Nicole Yurcaba hails from a long line of Ukrainian immigrants, West Virginia mountain folk, academics, artists and writers. She began reading and writing at age three, and that first love of literature and words has propelled her into the arms of numerous publications: VoxPoetica, The Atlanta Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Philomathean, Bluestone Review, Floyd County Moonshine and many others. In December 2013, Yurcaba graduate from Tiffin University's Masters of Humanities program and also published her first poetry, photography and short story collection, Backwoods and Back Words, available on Amazon. She serves as English faculty at Eastern WV Community and Technical College.

Connect with Nicky


Thanks for reading!  As always, please feel free to leave questions/comments below. 

If you love poetry, check out these posts: Scott Burkett, Angela M. Carter, Jeanette Powers and T.L. Washington.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Earthworms & Stars: an interview with poet Jeanette Powers

I’m really excited to share this interview with you because it’s one I actually got to do in person—Jeanette Powers is a poet right here in my hometown, Kansas City.  She’s become a fixture in KC’s vibrant art and literary scene.  She wears many hats: poet, spoken word performer, mathematician, painter and tireless promoter for the arts.  She just released her second volume of poetry, the delightfully titled Earthworms & Stars.  Her first volume of poetry, Absolute Futility, came out in 2012.  I can’t wait to see her new work!

Let’s get to it:

Lauren: Tell us about your new work.  Is it very different from Absolute Futility?

Jeanette:  It’s much shorter than my previous work and there are no older poems.  Everything is new.  Earthworms & Stars is a very experimental work.  It’s all absurdity.  There’s no narrative structure.  I’ve had a lot of people congratulate me on getting a new book published, but I don’t measure success by it.  Today, success for writers comes in many different forms.  Maybe it’s publishing a book, but it could also be five million YouTube views.

Lauren: Earthworms & Stars is part of a poetry series.  Tell us about that.

Jeanette: It’s the first of a project called Twelve Poets in Twelve Months to be released throughout 2015It’s something that Jason Ryberg, who’s also a Kansas City poet and my best friend, and I came up with one day while we were getting drunk and hanging around the bookstore.  I started going to Prospero’s [Bookstore] when I was nineteen.  We thought we’d gather twelve poets who’ve been in the KC scene for the past twenty years and publish them as a series.  We got a grant underwriter and raised enough money to publish the books through Spartan Press.  We’ve almost got all twelve poets lined up for the year.  All the book covers will be selfies.  Their bio photos are going to be photo booth shots.  Creativity is encouraged.  But we wanted the books to reflect the ethic. 

Lauren: Do you think your love of absurdity ties into your mathematics background? 

Jeanette:  Yes, I think of myself as a logician philosopher more than anything else.  I’m a very logical person.  I’ve always been great at math, from a very early age.  I love physics even though I’m terrible at it, which is why I quit the master’s program.  Left handed absurdity is my passion.  It’s how I frame my poetry.  But if you want to read my whole life’s work, read Absolute Futility

Lauren: When did you become a poet?

Jeanette: I began writing seriously when I was nine.  I was terrible at it, but it was something I always wanted to do.  I wanted to be an astronaut and a writer, a mathematician and a poet. 

Lauren:  What about painting?

Jeanette:  That’s just a hobby.

Lauren: Are you from KC originally?

Jeanette: Yes, born and raised in KCK.  But I love the whole city, both sides of the state line.  I think when people ask which side of the state line you’re from, they’re really asking, ‘Are you from Johnson County?’  I’m not, I’m from the Dotte.  I’m proud to be from there.  We keep it real.

Lauren: You’re on KC’s first ever slam team.  What’s that like? 

Jeanette: It’s been a whirlwind.  I haven’t had time to feel.  We’ve been doing fundraising, producing, practicing.  I’ll feel afterwards.  But we’re not technically the first slam team—KC had one in 2004.  They were certified and registered and everything, but for some reason it fell through.  They ended up not going to nationals.  We are the first KC slam team to actually compete at nationals, which will be held in Oakland, CA.  So far, we’re doing great.  We won both interstate competitions, one in Nebraska and one against an Arkansas team. 

Lauren: How did you get into slam poetry?

Jeanette:  Slam poetry is new for me.  I only got into it in August 2014.  Absolute Futility has no slam poetry pieces; Earthworms & Stars has four, including “Breaking Plates,” which I’ve been performing for the KC slam team.  I love the performance aspect.  I’m a total adrenaline junkie, which is ridiculous, because I suffer from panic disorder.  I love riding the rip cord at Worlds of Fun.  I want to go bungee jumping.  I think it would be awesome to go zip lining through the jungle.  But I’ve always performed.  I think it’s just another part of communication.  Public speaking never daunted me.  I’ve always done gallery showings, and of course, I taught. 

Lauren: How has slam poetry affected your writing? 

Jeanette: With slam poetry, I’m working to expand my subject range.  There’s a lot of political slam poetry out there, a lot of white guilt.  Of course, I have to write about things I care about.  I have feminist poems.  It’s been an interesting discovery process.  For a few months, I wrote nothing but slam poetry, now I’m back to absurdist.  “Breaking Plates” is an absurdist poem. 

Lauren: Oh, I thought it was a feminist poem!

Jeanette:  A lot of people do.  For me, it’s not.  Remember, the refrain of the piece is, “Grandpa says,” a man.  Most people need to assign some sort of meaning.  For me, that poem is about destroying everything in your life once in a while.  I think that’s how you grow.  Most people aren’t willing to do it.  I don’t know that many happy people.

Lauren: Who are your favorite writers?

Jeanette: My favorite writers are Margaret Atwood, Wislawa Szymborska and Rilke.  I read a lot of poetry.  It inspires me and broadens my ideas.  I read and watch a lot of slam poetry.  I love Dominique Christina and Buddy Wakefield.  I also love Vincent van Gogh’s letters to Theo.  Reading those changed my life, my entire ethic.  I sleep with that book by my bed.   

Lauren:  What are you reading right now?

Jeanette: Right now, I’m reading Anis Mojgani’s poetry and the Game of Thrones series.  It’s awesome.  I don’t own a TV, so pulp fiction is my entertainment.  In addition to poetry, I read a lot of nonfiction.  I’ve started a new routine.  I’m hoping to gain more discipline.  My routine is working out and reading.  I have a bone condition.  I’m unable to absorb Vitamin D.  I’ve had seventeen broken bones and other minor traumas.  There’s no medication for it.  My only treatment option is to lift weights.  So I’m doing that.  I’m also trying to read more.  I take hour-long baths and read.  It’s joyful.  So far, I’ve read five books in the last two months. 

Lauren: The bone condition-- is that what your tattoo means? [Jeanette has a tattoo on her upper arm, “Punished Enough.”]

Jeanette: No, that’s because I’m a masochist.  I punish myself.  I also have a tattoo on my calf of a shark eating its own tail.  I have a Pokemon character that my daughter designed.  There’s a bunch more, lots of ink.    

Lauren: What does your writing process look like?

Jeanette: For the first nineteen years, I always wrote in notebooks.  I wrote so slow, there were no drafts.  I wouldn’t put a line down until I knew exactly what I wanted to say.  Now I just write my ideas in a notebook first—flooding the page with ideas.  I rip them out, type them up on the computer and arrange them.  Then I print them and start to memorize.

Since slam poetry and spoken word performances are better memorized, it has really changed the way I write.  Something may sound great on the page, but that doesn’t mean it works in a performance.  So I alter it to facilitate memorization and performance—I give myself triggers to remember the next line.  Sometimes, a poem will change on-stage just for one night, for that particular audience.  The poems are never finished.

Lauren: You’ve been writing since you were nine.  How do you feel your work has changed over the years?

Jeanette:  It’s definitely evolved.  It’s less autobiographical, less obscure.  For the most part, my poems are shorter now.  My poetry is more deliberate.  I feel like I actually have something to say.  I didn’t start going to readings until I was eighteen.  I had years of writing under my belt, but I didn’t understand that I wasn’t communicating anything.  It wasn’t until I went to a reading and heard real poets that realized how much I sucked.  I wrote a poem called, “Little Jenny Sue,” which was advice to my younger self.  I’ve changed a lot since then.  I attained some self-recognition.

Lauren: What would you say are the recurring themes in your work?

Jeanette: Mythology, persona poems, absurdity.  No love poems. 

Lauren: When you’re not writing and performing, you work at the Uptown Arts Bar.  What do you do there? 

Jeanette:  I’m the general manager and booking agent.  I’ve been there since October 2013.  I’m a total workaholic. 

Lauren: Besides the slam team, what other projects do you have going on?

Jeanette: I’m the producer at Poetic Underground.  I’ve been doing that since July 2013.  Basically, I help hold it all together, all the behind-the-scenes stuff, bringing big acts to KC.

Lauren: I feel like most artists have to have a lot of jobs.  What else have you done?

Jeanette:  I’ve been a server, a tutor, a bartender.  I also taught grad level physics at KU. 

Lauren: Quite a range.

Jeanette: Again, I’m a workaholic.  It’s a coping mechanism.  In some ways, it’s no different than drinking.  It’s a negative obsession.  

Lauren: What are your plans now?

Jeanette:  A dream I have right now is to bring big-name poets to Kansas City.  We’re bringing Pages Matam in this month.  I hope one day to bring in someone like Margaret Atwood.  But next year, I probably won’t try to get on the slam team.  I need to take some time off for my own mental well-being.  I’m setting boundaries—not to limit myself, but to see what all I can be. 

Thanks, Jeanette!  Best of luck with the new work and the slam competition!   

As always, please feel free to leave questions/comments below. 


Jeanette Powers Bio
Jeanette Powers is a poet painter who fancies herself immune to the drudgeries of adult life.  She can be found living as performance art in Kansas City.  She wears broken shoes and collects questionable artifacts from the city life around her.  Her resume may be quite astonishing, math and physics degrees, poetry lecturer and performer, numerous art openings, broke her arm while dancing, winner of the Curator's Award at the Fermi Lab's ART Gallery in 2010, winner of the medal for the Best Mathematician in her graduating class in college and notorious bed hopper; but that is all less interesting than spending the evening with her.


To purchase Earthworms & Stars, send $10 via PayPal to poeticundergroundkc@gmail.com

To purchase Absolute Futility, click here.

Friend Jeanette Powers on Facebook (she pretty much accepts all friend requests)

Twitter: @poundkc, #Showmeshowup


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Crimson Guard Trilogy: New YA fantasy by Dana Journey



About The Crimson Guard Book I: The Apprentices

“The burning was too great to withstand, I let go.  My mind, still functioning, allowing me to watch and possibly understand, but this time I was not going to regret my body’s actions.”

Lyndon a student on his way to training, an old forgotten lighthouse and a simple life turned upside down by a scroll, and a man in a dream.   Not only is his life in Townsend coming to an end, but his life itself may be in danger.  The power that had been there all the time, just waiting to escape,  A power so great and deadly for everyone around if he cannot learn control.

From Slavers, to the Keeper of a deadly Library endlessly burning, Lyndon must learn about himself before he is thrust into a war and web of deceit and treachery that leads to a rag tag group fighting for their survival.

With immortals and mortals seeking to ruin his path, will Lyndon learn to lead the four apprentices and balance being a leader and a friend. Or will his future end with the destruction of the known world and the end of the Guardians?


Excerpt

Besides sickness, the people had never known danger for all lived in harmony, until a great army of evil arrived.  None of the Humans knew whence they came or why, but their arrival meant the downfall of the great city.  Thousands of Shlocks descended upon the defenseless town killing all in their wake. 

Shlocks are half men and half something else; they stand a head taller than the tallest human and have none of their weaknesses; their size does not however hinder their swiftness. The Shlocks skin is as pale as the moon, and their hair is dark as night. They have many of the same features as Humans yet their customs cause a significant difference.  The Shlock warriors mutilate their ears causing them to have a very noticeable point, they consider it a badge of honor reserved for the brave.   To the Humans, Shlocks are a species which only appear in legend and song. 

Usually the songs end with devastation and death followed by an evil unlike any other.  They are thought to be beings of extreme intelligence and ruthlessness.  Their arrival may have been unknown, but their savagery is still well remembered.  The town was nearly destroyed; all of the pearl white houses and grand markets were burned.  

Available at: AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy
Date of Publication:  November 15, 2014
Publisher:  Wizards Keep Publishing
ISBN-10:  1503071928
ISBN-13:  978-1503071926
Number of Pages: 214 


Author Bio

Dana Journey has always been a reader of fantasy, ever since his dad introduced him to Star Trek and Star Wars as a young child.  Dana is originally from Crescent, Oregon. After attending Eastern Oregon University he moved around working in versus professions prior to settling in the Columbia Gorge Region of Oregon. He shares his home with his wife, son, and dog Vader. When not working or writing, Dana enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his immediate and extended family.


Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to leave questions/comments for Dana below.




Friday, January 2, 2015

Horror Series Signed with Kensington Gore


Happy New Year, folks!  Looks like 2015 is already shaping up to be an exciting year.  I've signed a contract with Kensington Gore Publishing (UK) for a horror trilogy based on my vampire novella, "Our Miss Engel."

The novella took place in 1909.  A young schoolteacher, Clara Engel, takes a job teaching at a girls' Catholic boarding school, only to find that her students are not what they seem.  It was inspired by a story I heard on the midnight vampire walking tour in New Orleans a few years ago.

For now, "Our Miss Engel" will no longer be available on this blog, or as an ebook on Smashwords.  But don't worry-- I still have plenty of other works out there for your perusal.

Plus-- a trilogy!  About vampires!  The working title is The Amaranth Trilogy.  

Coyote Kishpaugh and I are also discussing a book deal with Kensington Gore for The Order of the Four Sons series.  I will keep you all posted.  

In the meantime, many thanks to all of my friends and family who have supported my writing habit over the years, especially my husband, Patrick.  I couldn't have done it without you.