Tag Archives: Blog

Book reminiscing: Doll God by Luanne Castle

To celebrate this charming and personal review of Doll God by Robin at her blog, I am offering for one last time a donation event to receive a free copy.
For one lil ole donation of a minimum of $10 to Home Fur Good no-kill animal shelter in Phoenix, you will receive a signed copy of my book and a cat or elephant charm with free shipping (and tax write-off from the shelter).
My book is valued at $14 and the charm at $5, plus I am picking up the shipping myself. All I am asking is that you donate a minimum of $10 (for shipping to US address!!! (For international, please email me to discuss shipping costs). Feel free to donate more if you can, but only one package deal per person, please.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE: Home Fur Good donations

Go here for full details including how to email me the information.

witlessdatingafterfifty

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I read my friend from Michigan’s book,

“Doll God,” over a period of days.

Luanne Castle heads off on some

interesting, curious, twisted paths

in numerous directions taken.

Natural, mystical and physical

worlds inexplicably melded,

in her 2015 prize-winning

book awarded by the ~

“New Mexico – Arizona

Book Awards.”

All found within a collection of

54 deeply moving, tense and

alternatively relaxing, poems.

I had wished to write with parts

of each poem originally to intrigue

and entice you with snippets

but we had to cut back

featuring several instead.

Partnering up with my mother,

past 30 year teacher of high school

English, World Literature and Spanish,

we tackled thought-provoking poems.

Floundering a bit in our lack of abstract-

thinking abilities, both more practiced

in concrete-level of comprehension.

Quick summaries may also

provide clues to what hidden

gems may lie underneath the

piles of pages, like leaves, which

hold…

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Filed under Book Review, Doll God, Dolls, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Poetry reading, Writing

Summer Reading

Marie from 1WriteWay and I are finishing up our Flash Essay course. We’ll be posting about it before too long. I’ve had a very full work and personal (not fun stuff) schedule this summer, so adding that course was a bit much, but it did get me writing again. That’s always a good thing, even if just for my mental outlook.

I’m enjoying having Nakana part of the household but because of travel and a non-recorded leukemia test on Nakana I’ve had to wait to introduce her to the other cats.  I’m sure they wonder who that is behind the closed door! Tiger is especially curious and waits in the hall for me when I’m with Nakana.

I’m reading two books right now. One is Writing Our Way Home, a collection of writings by people who have been homeless, edited by WordPress blogger and Southern writer Ellen Morris Prewitt. I’m going slow and savoring.

41EaKva8i8L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The other book I’m reading is one suggested for class: The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction:

FlashNonFiction_200Because I am way too overtired this summer, I am falling asleep the minute I sit or lie down, so reading books where I can read in digestible chunks is wonderful. These are both well worth putting on your list.

As I move into the August hubbub and end of summer doldrums (brief pause to hurriedly look up “doldrums”–yup, that fits–“a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression,” but I think I also meant dog days, which are the hottest days and a period of sluggishness), I might post less regularly. I try to usually post Mondays and Thursdays, although sometimes I add in an extra or switch a Thursday for Wednesday or Friday. But I don’t plan on sticking to any particular schedule in August. Then I’ll re-start my regular schedule in September. I’ll be checking on your blogs as I get online!

If you are still thinking of picking up a copy of Doll God, it’s also a book that can be read in small chunks–a poem a day, for instance.

castle-promotional-cover

About summer in Arizona, Doll God has this to say:

the heat hints at its future
when all will be blue blue blue.

Blue sky over everything. Only here in Phoenix is blue not a cool color, but a FLAME HOT color!

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Filed under #AmWriting, Blogging, Book Review, Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Reading, Writing

A Poll for Writers that Anybody Can Take

Are you a writer? (Hint: if you’re a blogger, you’re a writer)

Do you write in more than one genre? Do you want to expand to another genre?

Hippocampus Magazine, one of my favorite creative nonfiction lit mags, is advertising their August “HippoCamp.” On the website for the conference, they say this about “genre-hopping.”

Writers often take up creative nonfiction only after having established themselves in prior genres, bringing with them unique strengths that inflect their work, whether in the process of writing it, in the finished product, or both. This presentation features three writers who discuss the close relationship between creative nonfiction, poetry and fiction, as they share observations made in the process of moving from one genre to another, and on what we can gain as nonfiction writers when we make forays into other forms.

It’s true for me that I began with poetry and even fiction before I moved to creative nonfiction. I’ve noticed a fair number of poets move to creative nonfiction–even Carolyn Forché. It definitely surprised me the first time I saw her name as an editor on a volume of CNF.

I’d like you to respond to this poll, if you’re up to it.

Thanks for participating. I’ll post the results in a few days!

Grandma’s buttons

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Filed under Blogging, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Novel, Poetry, Writing, Writing goals

Mourning, Memories, Story, and Reflection

Between extra work, mourning, and a new project, I am wiped out. My cats have sad faces and obviously miss Mac. Felix, my big tabby, hid under the bed during a thunderstorm–something he’s never done before. He’s frightened not to have Mac around to protect him.

Grief has an insidious way about it. There is the past and then there are the stories we create about the past and our reflection upon them.

I’m still trying to rise out of the swamp around me.

To that end, along with Marie from 1WriteWay (yay!), I’m taking a four week course from Apiary Lit in “Flash Essay on the Edge.” You’re right: the title is perfect for me right now.  I’ll keep you posted. When we’re done, Marie and I will review the course.

Have a wonderful fourth of July. When I was a kid, I used to spend it on the lake with my father.

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Filed under Blogging, Cats and Other Animals, Essay, Memoir, Nonfiction, Research and prep for writing, Writing, Writing goals, Writing prompt, Writing Tips and Habits

Luanne Castle’s new book of Poetry: Doll God

Poliblog wrote such a cool review of Doll God–as a poem!

thepoliblog

Golden laurel wreath, probably from Cyprus, 4th/3rd century BC; Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim, Germany, photographed by Andreas Praefcke in April, 2007. Golden laurel wreath, probably from Cyprus, 4th/3rd century BC; Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim, Germany, photographed by Andreas Praefcke in April, 2007.

Luanne Castle, whose very popular blog is at http://writersite.org , has just published a book of poetry, Doll God.

Here is the review I posted on Amazon.

Trajectories:
The changing feelings and conditions
Of a person,
Of two people,
Of an animal,
Of an object,
Over an hour or a lifetime,
Each captured in a concise slide-show,
Each snap-shot taken
With empathy
And insight.

If you wish to comment on this post but do not see a box where you can submit a comment, that is because WordPress does not include the mechanism for commenting on the page that shows all of the recent postings. Comment boxes are available only on the page for the individual blog post. So click here, scroll to the bottom of the post, and…

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Filed under Blogging, Book Review, Books, Doll God, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing

Let’s Talk About Writing Process

Sherri Matthews who writes A View From My Summerhouse tagged me to write about my writing process.  She wrote about her own here. Sherri’s very welcoming blog shows her wonderful personality, her stories, and her photographs. I particularly love the way she crosses the pond by writing about her life in the UK and her experiences living in the US.Sherri

Sherri discovered her true calling to write three years while supporting her daughter through her diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome.    Since then she has had articles, poems and a short story published in magazines and two anthologies. She is writing her first book, a memoir telling the story of her three years spent with her American G.I. and the catastrophic events that changed both their lives forever. A born and bred Brit, Sherri moved to California in the mid 1980’s where she raised her three children for seventeen years.  Returning to the UK after her marriage broke up in 2003, today and happily remarried, she lives, writes and takes endless photographs in the West Country of England with her hubby, daughter, two cats and an African Land Snail called Vladimir (her daughter’s). Sherri publishes regularly on her blog, ‘A View From My Summerhouse’.

You can read about Sherri’s memoir book project here.

Writers meme

When I agreed to be tagged by Sherri, I had forgotten that I already wrote about my writing process last spring. At first I thought, why bother to think about this again. But after reading what I wrote at that time, I realized that a lot has changed. For that reason, I thought I’d think about the process again. Also, I wrote a lot about blogging at that time, but today I’ll focus on my other writing

1. What am I working on at the moment?

Last spring I was putting together my full-length poetry manuscript and working on my book-length memoir.

Since then, my poetry collection Doll God is being published by Aldrich Press. I finally started thinking of poetry beyond the book and began to write a series of poems based on old family photographs and the results of my genealogical research. Maybe I’ll collect them into a chapbook, eventually.

However, I just heard from the publisher of Doll God. Kelsay Books plans to put the book out earlier than expected! Perhaps mid-January. I’m getting excited, but I’m also getting too nervous.

I started working on short memoir pieces to send out. A chapter of my memoir was published here. Several other pieces are in various stages of completion and two have been submitted to magazines. Since I’ll be working on my memoir during my Stanford University certificate tutorial this winter, I will have to set aside the shorter pieces.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I wasn’t given this question last time. It’s a very difficult one to answer because I haven’t looked at my own work with the analytic eye necessary for that. Instead, I write by instinct, using my own individual voice, experience, and outlook. I’ve been told often enough that I’m a little bit of a nut or that my view is “idiosyncratic,” so I’m pretty sure that means that my take is a little different. But I’ve also been told that my experience resonates with others, so maybe everybody is a little different, a little “nutty.”

My memoir is a story that is specific to me and to my family, but it has commonalities with the lives of many other people. It’s an emotional history of a family.

My poetry springs from the interaction of heart and head.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I write poetry because I love to play work with language and see a poem take shape that is more complex and rich than what I envisioned when I began.

Why memoir? Because I am writing a burdensome history out of my body. Once it is shaped on the page, I no long have to carry the burden. The more well-crafted it is, the better job I’ve done at moving away from the raw material. Additionally, I am learning (in a therapeutic sense) how to recast my history in a light that feels healing.

4.  How does my writing process work?

The process I go through is the same as it was last spring:

For prose, I write in Word, one scene at a time. When I feel that I’ve taken a scene as far as I can at that moment, I put it away and move on to another scene. But I always print out drafts, revise by hand, and then make the corrections on the computer. I revise over and over and over again, often times for several little changes each time. It’s a big tree waster, but one I can’t seem to avoid at this point in my writing. However, I do turn the pages over and re-print on the other side.

Poems sometimes start out by hand, but in general, I don’t have an affinity for writing by hand and wonder how Jane Austin ever did it.

Process also includes what I do once I’ve taken a piece as far as I can. I do like to have a trusted reader read my work. My in-person writing group–Rudri at Being Rudri and Renee at Unpacked Writer–give me great feedback on where to improve and what to rethink. I have another long-time friend who is a fabulous writer and editor who is also a fabulous reader. These women help me bring my prose to completion. I wish I had friends who were this reliable as poetry readers, but I have not been as lucky in that genre.

I would like to introduce my three  four (rules are meant to be broken) nominees who will post their responses to these four writing process questions on their blogs. 

First up is American Ellen Morris Prewitt, an award-winning fiction writer. I love her stories. She’s recorded many of them in audio format, too, and listening to her read is quite the experience. She has a southern accent and a sort of deadpan delivery. What a delectable combination! Have a listen here.

Here’s a description of Ellen’s fascinating life right from her own distinctive southern voice:

My life has been shaped by two very early events: I was born into the racism of the civil rights South, and I carry the grief of my daddy being killed by a train. Much of my writing carefully picks at the nuances of racism, and many of my stories involve the child trying to understand the space left by a missing parent. The two jobs for which I’ve been well-paid are lawyering in Jackson, Mississippi and walking the runway in Memphis. I follow my own peculiar definition of God, which led me to start a writing group of men and women who have experienced homelessness. I love all the people in my life but mostly my husband, my dog (yes, she’s a person), and my two grandbabies. I’ve been known to appear in public in costume.Ellen

Ellen blogs at www.ellenmorrisprewitt.com under the tagline “Ellen Morris Prewitt: My Very Southern Voice.  In addition to Ellen’s skillful and engaging stories, I love reading Ellen’s posts for their heart and inspiration. Her work with the homeless is so important.

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Next up is my Canadian buddy Sue Fletcher aka Menomama3. Sue writes two blogs.  I’ve been reading her first blog since I started blogging. She’s got a great voice and wonderful sense of humor–and I think eventually she will need to start sending out her memoir pieces. What she shares on her blog are wonderful stories and observations. This is what she says about herself:

Here’s a confession: When people read and comment on something I’ve written, I am thrilled to bits. But I also blog because it feels good to explore what’s in my head and work it out through writing. In a way it’s like taking your clothes to the dry-cleaners. Inside the closet they looked kinda dingy and lost among all the dresses and blouses and skirts and slacks. But when you show them the light of day and look at them one at a time and give them a good cleaning they look all new and fresh. Just like memories.

I call myself Menomama3 because when I started blogging four years ago I was deep in the throes of menopause, and my three daughters were like hormonal pressure cookers. Release was essential and writing was the form. Better than running away from home – me, not the girls.

Anyway, there are two Menomama3 blogs. “Wuthering Bites” is poetry, photos, and a few little stories. The other, “Life in a flash”, is an assortment of whatever comes into my head during dog-walking. Then I have to bolt home and write it down before I forget. Which I suppose is also what the blogs are about. Writing memories down before I forget.

menomama

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Let’s go Down Under to meet novelist Dianne Gray.

Dianne is Australian author who lives in tropical Queensland, Australia. She has won numerous writing awards for her short stories and novels and is currently renovating an old club house she had moved to the family farm in 2012. She is currently working on three new novels which will be published in the coming months.

Dianne’s Freshly Pressed adorned blog can be found here. She blogs about her life on the family farm, as well as other aspects of daily living in rural Australia. Her resume is chockfull of book publications and writing awards.

Dianne

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Quite recently, I found Adrienne Morris’ blog. And I love it. It’s intelligent and quirky and always has something new to say about the past.

Adrienne Morris is a writer, living in the country, who milks goats, chases chickens and sometimes keeps the dogs off the table while writing books about the Weldon and Crenshaw families of Gilded Age Englewood, New Jersey. Her first novel, The House on Tenafly Road was selected as an Editors’ Choice Book by The Historical Novel Society. http://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/the-house-on-tenafly-road/

You can find her blog, Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained–Books & Writing at Middlemay Farm, here.

Adrienne MorrisEnjoy getting to know these bloggers if you don’t already read their wonderful blogs–and watch for their writing process posts!

 

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Filed under Blogging, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Memoir, Nonfiction, Research and prep for writing, Writing, Writing goals

Summer Spotlight: Luanne Castle

Jill Weatherholt interviewed me for her Summer Spotlight series. I had a blast answering her great questions. Each one made me think of a story I would love to write ;)!

Jill Weatherholt

Luanne CastleLuanne Castle has been a grad student, college instructor, businesswoman, wife, mom, crazy cat lady, and more. Woven throughout those other identities has been writer, but more often than not writing has had to come second to everything else.

After years of dreaming of retiring and sitting in a pretty office writing her first book, Luanne seized the day when she partially retired. Now she works from home for the family business and writes—blogs, poetry, and memoir. Her office is beautifully decorated with her creative colors of ivory, coral, and black. Instead, she sits at the kitchen laptop, alternating between writing and handling the business demands by phone and email. She finally learned that it’s better to write “some” than “none.”

Recently, Luanne completed Doll God, a poetry manuscript. She is sending it out to publishers and contests. She also sifts through her memories and the family story, arranging it…

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Hop On Board: Writing Process

She’s gone and done it! Yup, I’ve been drafted into a blog hop by Caitlin over at The Siren’s Tale. And it’s a topic dear to my heart: My Writing Process. As you know, I am always trying to figure out about my process and that of others.

I’m going to follow Caitlin’s lead and answer the same questions she did on her blog. Then I’m going to tag someone else so more writing secrets are shared ;).

A little about Caitlin, in case you haven’t made it over to her blog yet.  Caitlin’s blog began as a way for her to “reconnect” with herself. She was a writer, a college student, and more, when she realized through her blogging and writing that happiness for her meant homesteading. Toward that end, she is now learning about “agriculture, beekeeping, herbalism, and organic farming.”  Her blog will give you that feeling of satisfaction that comes with connecting with the land and all that is around you–of really living this life.

What am I working on as a writer?

On Writer Site I’m sharing memoir reviews on Thursdays. My focus is to find something I learned–generally about memoir writing–from reading each book. On Mondays I share stories from my life or posts about writing. I never lack for something to write about. That’s an advantage to having lived long enough that I have to find the positive in aging ;).  I tend not to participate in blog hops and writing prompts and awards (any longer) because I try to keep to this schedule. I made an exception for Caitlin and her great topic.

I am also writing a memoir called Scrap: Salvaging a Family. I like to say it’s about growing up over a bomb shelter and in front of the city dump, but as much of it takes place in the here-and-now as it does in the way-back-when. It’s a bit of a discovery process about family secrets, a bit of a mystery, and all about forgiveness. Also, this past year I put together my first manuscript of poetry, both in book form and in chapbook form. I am starting to send it out to contests, but I want to widen that to sending to publishers outside of the contest arena.

Why do I write what I do?

I write my blog entries because I love the sense of community on WordPress, and I love reading the blogs of others and getting feedback on my writing and my writing analyses from fellow bloggers. Also, blogging is a regular writing exercise that keeps my writing fit and in shape.

My book is a way to understand, discover, and contextualize my experience growing up and living within my family of origin. I hope it helps readers do the same with their own lives–and that they will enjoy reading my family’s odd version of events of the 20th century. My poetry stems from my love of language and sound, the thrill of shaping it, and an appreciation for the magical aspects of life.

How does my writing process look?

For blogging, I usually put the memoir I’m writing about next to my computer and start writing into the white space on the “new post” screen. Or I start writing my story. Or copy and paste a bit of writing I want to revise for a post. Very clean and easy.

Then there is my book writing. I write in Word, one scene at a time. When I feel that I’ve taken a scene as far as I can at that moment, I put it away and move on to another scene. But I always print out drafts, revise by hand, and then make the corrections on the computer. I revise over and over and over again, often times for several little changes each time. It’s a big tree waster, but one I can’t seem to avoid at this point in my writing. However, I do turn the pages over and re-print on the other side.

Poems sometimes start out by hand, but in general, I don’t have an affinity for writing by hand and wonder how Jane Austin ever did it.

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For this blog tour, I’m tagging my two in-person writing buddies. These ladies and I share manuscripts and table goodies (not necessarily in that order).  Rudri at Being Rudri and Renee at Unpacked Writer both write wonderful blogs. I’m thrilled to share in the writing process of both Rudri and Renee!

What does your writing process look like?
What motivates you to write?

 

 

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Filed under Blogging, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Memoir, Nonfiction, Research and prep for writing, Writing, Writing goals

No Time to Write

I’m feeling stressed about working on my book. I have to get a draft together for the spring tutorial for my Stanford writing certificate. My parents will be living near me for two months, so we will be compressing a lot of visits into that time period. And lately, every day work gets out of hand and I don’t get to my writing.

So I was thinking that it would be smart to re-post or re-blog some posts that I liked but that didn’t get a lot of traffic when they were first posted.

But how do you feel about re-posting versus re-blogging?  If I re-blog, you will have to follow the link to get to the original post.  That way you can join the commenting over there, if you see fit. If I re-post, you get the whole post on the page, looking fresh as the day it was written. And it would start with a blank slate for commenting.

I’d like to start this right away and keep it up until fairly early in January.  I’ll still be around to read other blogs and to respond to comments, but the time I would spend writing posts probably ought to be spent on the book for the rest of this month.

So which is it? Re-blog or re-post?

Thanks for taking the poll and letting me know how you feel!

On another note, when my kids were in town, we all went to see the ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo. We had a good time together, although I was not impressed with the customer service of the zoo management. Here are a few pix from that night.

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Filed under Blogging, Creative Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Photographs, Sightseeing & Travel, WordPress, Writing, Writing goals

WordPress Groupie No More

[I’m going to cross-post this on Don’t We Look Alike? because the same holds true on that blog.]

Since I began blogging in July 2012, I’ve been a devoted fan of WordPress.com. The organization of the system and the ease of use hooked me from the first day.

What have I liked?

  • I don’t know very much about computers or the internet, but I was able to set up my first blog without any help from anyone, other than glancing through WordPress for Dummies.
  • The look of my first blog was just what I wanted. It was a snap to blend my taste and that of my daughter (the first one was our adoption blog Don’t We Look Alike?) with the theme WordPress had to offer.
  • One of the best parts of WordPress blogging has been the sense of community. I participated in blog awards for many months, although I have decided more recently not to do so any longer. It was fun getting to know about other blogs through the award posts when bloggers would list their ten or twelve favorites.
  • It felt as if I quickly caught on to blogging and, within five or six weeks, one of my posts was Freshly Pressed. I hadn’t even been blogging long enough to know what Freshly Pressed was! Then I realized I could access all the other Freshly Pressed posts as one way to find other blogs I wanted to read.
  • I learned how to read some of the stats. The part that I found of particular interest was that I could see the list of followers of my blog—and I could use that list to check out followers’ blogs and decide if I wanted to read and follow.
  • My favorite part of WordPress has been the list of blogs I follow and my “reader.”  Under the edit function for the blogs I follow I could set up email notifications for new posts. I could decide if a blog warranted a daily or weekly notification or if I needed to know instantly when a new post hit the internet.

My experience with WordPress has been so rewarding that I have been sad when I’ve lost blogs I follow to Blogger or to WordPress.org or some other platform. I like to keep it all in the family.

NEVERTHELESS, I CAN NO LONGER CONSIDER MYSELF A FAN OF WORDPRESS.COM.

I am so disappointed.

First, the easy access to emailing support for troubleshooting disappeared.

Then, I started getting lots of spam followers. Once you get too many spam followers, it’s not smart to keep checking out who your new followers are, so you stop looking. It’s hard to believe WordPress doesn’t have a way to keep out the majority of these fake followers.

Most recently and most disturbingly, I no longer get email notifications of blogs I follows.  That is, I only get a couple.  I used to look forward to a long line of emails every Monday morning and a shorter line-up on the other days. If I felt overwhelmed I deleted some without looking, but I was pretty faithful.

Without those notifications, I have to go through my reader to find posts, and honestly, the same bloggers show up over and over. This is great for me to keep reading their blogs, but what about the others? A lot of my regulars are not showing up—at least not at the times that I scan my reader. If you haven’t been getting all the love from me I’ve shown in the past, this is why!

I’ve been faithful to blogging on WordPress, but WordPress has let me down.

Where do I go from here?

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Filed under Blogging, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Nonfiction, WordPress