Poem in MY Pocket Today…

Poetry plays a huge part of the romantic journey my husband and I travel, especially the poetry of Elizabeth and Robert Browning. You’ll find the words from the Browning’s poems not only in our pockets but other places too.

Around our garden, on stepping stones.

In framed silhouettes of us done at Montmartre Art Colony in Paris with the words of Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning between our figures.

On a  special cross-stitched picture which hangs above his dresser.

In case you can’t read the small print, the first line of Rabbi Ben Ezra says, “Grow old along with me, The Best is Yet to Be.”

My pocket poem today is a love poem Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote to Robert in 1845 that carries extra special meaning for my husband and me.

Listen as I read  Sonnet XLIII from Sonnets From the Portuguese to Jerry and you from my porch swing.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. 

Now go find a love poem to put in your pocket and read it to someone special yourself…

PIYP Day is April 26th…Are you ready?

On April 26th, schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and other venues will ring loud with open readings of poems from pockets on PIYP day or Poem in Your Pocket  Day. The idea is simple:

• Select a poem you love during National Poetry Month
• Print or write it out
• Carry it with you and share with co-workers, family, and friends
• Or tweet about your selection on Twitter with the hashtag #pocketpoem.

If you can’t think of a poem to carry, you can click here to download one or simply enjoy the funny, the serious, and the unusual choices when you click on one of the pockets pictured on the page.

At estate sales I often find books of poetry or handwritten poems in pockets, in desk drawers, framed and displayed, and any number of other places. My favorite discovery happened closer to home when my mother-in-love passed away. We found this poem glued in her Bible and another copy of the same poem in her husband’s.

Should You Go First
By Albert Kennedy “Rosey” Rowswell

Should you go first and I remain,
To walk the road alone,
I’ll live in memory’s garden, dear,
With happy days we’ve known.
In Spring I’ll wait for roses red,
When fades the lilac blue,
In early Fall when brown leaves call
I’ll catch a glimpse of you.

Should you go first and I remain,
For battles to be fought,
Each thing you’ve touched along the way
Will be a hallowed spot.
I’ll hear your voice, I’ll see your smile,
Though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand
Will buoy me on with hope.

Should you go first and I remain,
To finish with the scroll,
No length ‘ning shadows shall creep in
To make this life seem droll.
We’ve known so much of happiness,
We’ve had our cup of joy,
And memory is one gift of God
That death cannot destroy.

Should you go first and I remain,
One thing I’d have you do:
Walk slowly down that long, lone path,
For soon I’ll follow you.
I’ll want to know each step you take
That I may walk the same,
For some day down that lonely road
You’ll hear me call your name.

Rosey Rowswell wasn’t a Longfellow or Edgar Allen Poe. In fact, his real job was a broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 19 seasons (1936-54), but he did write books of humor and poetry. And, I love this touching poem.

 More, I love the romantic sentiment of finding a copy in both Bibles. My husband’s parents were married for fifty-nine years before Otho passed away. I’ll guarantee you when Rose went to glory five years later she called Otho’s name and met him on that path.

Will you join us and share your favorite poem in a comment? We’ll pretend to hear your voice.

Announcing the Winners of Shay Fabbro’s book

Drum roll sounding…

A hushed silence fills the porch in anticipation…

And the winners are …

Catherine Johnson and Ginger Calem

Thanks so much, ladies, for stopping by to visit with Ms Fabbro.  She will be contacting you directly.

Enjoy your new books.

Come by the porch again soon.

Sharing Liebster Blog Love

“I’m late, I’m very late ” to  paraphrase the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

At the end of March, WANA alumni and super blogger Elaine Smothers honored me with the awesome Liebster Love Award.

Then life erupted. Holiday company arrived.  

I forgot!

My lovely award sat in my inbox. Lonely and waiting to be shared with others.

No more. Today I’m spreading Liebster Love.  

In case you’re unfamiliar with the legend of the Liebster blog award, let me share the definition from another WANA alumni Mike Schulenberg:

“According to legends that come to us from antiquity, the Liebster is meant for blogs that motivate, inspire, and have 200 followers or less. Its apparent purpose is to summon new followers like some sort of mystical talisman, increasing the power of those of us who are just beginning.”

To Elaine, I send a very, belated thank you for this honor.

And I hereby pass the award to the deserving bloggers listed below. So many worthy bloggers it was hard to limit myself to only five.

Kat Jorgensen for her blog, Mystery writer by day. Knitter by night. Lovable screw-up all of the time

Janice Heck for her blog, My Turn

S. M. Nonnemacher for her blog, Sun on My Face, Sand in My Hair

S.J. Driscoll for her blog, Come Sit by My Fire

Rhonda Hopkins for her blog, When Love Leads the Way

I encourage everyone to stop by and visit these blogs. You’ll love them all just as I do.

And bloggger nominees…

All you must do to accept the award and post the logo on your blog is follow these  few rules.

1. Thank the person who nominated you on your blog and link back to them

2. Nominate up to 5 other bloggers for the award

3. Notify them by commenting on your blog

4. Post the award on your blog

May the power of the Liebster be with you.

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, who knew?

April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH. I didn’t know. Did you?

Seems back in 1996 the Academy of American Poet established the tradition to highlight American poets and encourage people about the pleasure of reading poetry. It’s all explained on their website.  

Though I’m not a poetry writer, I ♥ to read poetry. I’ve memorized many poems by my favorite American poets. I read poems to anyone, willing or not.

To further the observance of poetry month, I’ll be sharing some poems by friends and family. I’ll start with one written by my second oldest grandson.

I may not write poetry, but I am a storyteller so first a little story about how this poem originated.

We were sitting at the kitchen table discussing how he should be doing homework. He’s home schooled, and I promised his parents I’d work with him while he was visiting.

Unfortunately, like father, like son. I remember fighting many a homework battle with his daddy who also hated doing homework. The thought of poetry homework made the task even less appealing, especially when the swimming pool was calling.

He starred outside at the squirrel climbing the pole to the bird feeder. He ate a Pop Tart. He slipped away to play a game of chess with his Pepa.

I marched him back to table and the task at hand. No, I’m not your push-over Nana. Although resisting those big, beautiful brown eyes isn’t always easy!

Then I caught him at the window. Again. This time he was watching a chameleon on the Maple tree.  

I thought he was wasting time and prepared to pull out my mean teacher’s whip! Before I could speak, he pointed to the laptop on the table. “I wrote the poem already.”

 And, this is what I read on the screen:

Lizard Poetry

Lazy lizards leap from leaf to leaf

As green as a Sprite can

Lizards like to hide under the weather

Running, hiding, and sneaking around

Crazily, hastily, and hurriedly leaving their tails behind them

The miniature lizards are tiny compared to the big, blue sky

Amazing I think, don’t you agree?

How quickly I’d forgotten little boys multi-task when you think they’re playing.

YOUR TURN: Share one of your favorite poems!

TEMPTATION: a guest blog by author Shay Fabbro

Join me as guest blogger Shay Fabbro discusses TEMPTATION and  her YA/fantasy novel series, The Adventures of Alexis Davenport. And, if you share a comment there’s a chance you’ll win a FREE copy of one of her Alexis Davenport’s books!

We’ve all been faced with temptation: that delicious second piece of chocolate cake, that cute guy at the office that is married, purchasing something far too expensive, alcohol, drugs…the list goes on and on.

Some temptations are perfectly harmless, though they may drain your bank account! 

Other temptations can do serious harm to you as well as to your family. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol suffer serious physical and mental problems and this often is transferred to their friends and loved ones.

And still other temptations can do serious harm to everyone on the planet. I’m talking about time travel, of course (you knew it had to come up sooner or later!). I think most people would JUMP at the chance to go back in time. I know I would! There are so many people I’d love to meet and historical events I would like to witness for myself.

But time travel could cause some serious problems. What if you inadvertently killed someone? Their descendants would cease to exist. Can you imagine your spouse disappearing? Your children?

Yikes! Talk about terrifying!

What if that someone that you killed was the ancestor of someone in power? Like the president? Imagine the chaos that would grip the country if our leader suddenly disappeared.

But what if you lost someone, a parent early in life? Surely it couldn’t hurt anything to go back and prevent their demise? This brings me to one of my favorite Dr. Who episodes.

For those who don’t know, the Doctor is a Time Lord that travels through time in a TARDIS (it looks like a police box from 1960’s London).

The Doctor always has a companion with him, a human, which he chooses to go on grand adventures through the universe. Ah, what I wouldn’t GIVE to have the Doctor come whirling down in his TARDIS to whisk me away!

My favorite companion is Rose Tyler. She’s such a little spitfire, smart, funny, and a perfect match for the Doctor.

Rose’s father, Pete, was killed in a hit-and-run accident when she was only 6 months old. After traveling with the Doctor for a time, she wants to go back and comfort him as he dies. However, she can’t fight the temptation to save his life. That one act results in a tearing of the fabric of time. Strange creatures appear and begin killing everyone is sight as they try to repair the damage. The rift in time repairs itself after Pete throws himself in front of a car. Rose comforts him as he dies.

Would any of us have been able to stand by and watch as a loved one was struck down? Rose knew of the dangers of messing with time and yet she figured because her father was just some average person, it wouldn’t hurt to save his life. But that one act has devastating consequences.

In my YA/fantasy novel series, The Adventures of Alexis Davenport, Alex must protect the time line from an evil man intent on changing the past. It’s an awful lot for a fifteen-year-old to handle. Especially when she is faced with some tough choices: in one particular case, in order to protect time, she must allow someone to die. Not a very easy choice.

Would you be able to allow someone to die if it was already something solidified in the past? Would it make a difference if it was a stranger or someone you knew?

Weigh in with your thoughts and you could win one of two FREE e-books: Dangerous Reflections or Twisted Reflections!

 

 

 

Connect with Shay and learn more about her!

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Shay’s a busy lady today. Hop over to Patricia Caviglia’a blog  and learn more about  The Adventures of Alexis Davenport and Shay as a teenager.

Writer Branding Iron Symbols – What’s Yours?

Today I’m on the porch thinking on the idea of brand.

Probably too long-winded, but then it’s a lovely spring day to sit and chat.

Being a Texan naturally the first image of a brand that pops into my head is a branding iron symbol on the side of a cow.

CREDIT for photo on right: Fleischhauer, Carl, photographer. “Branding Iron [35mm slide].” Date Recorded 79/10. Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982, Library of Congress.

Cows are products like a writer’s novels are products. Cowboys use a different, very specific iron brand symbol for each owner.

 Commercial product marketing teaches additional ways to brand products.

  • NAME: Unique and distinguishable
  • LOGO: The visual trademark that identifies the brand
  • SHAPES: Think the old Coca-Cola bottle or the Volkswagen Beetle
  • GRAPHICS: The dynamic ribbon is also a trademarked part of Coca-Cola’s brand.
  • COLOR: Owens-Corning fiberglass insulation is the only brand that can be pink.
  • SOUNDS: A unique tune or set of notes can “denote” a brand: NBC’s chimes are one of the most famous examples.
  • MOVEMENT: Lamborghini has trademarked the upward motion of its car doors.
  • SMELLS: I love the rose-jasmine-musk scent of Chanel No. 5.
  • TASTE: KFC special recipe of 11 herbs and spices for fried chicken.
  • TAGLINE or Catchphrase: “The Quicker Picker Upper” associated with Bounty; Verizon brand “Can you hear me now”

Writers and books are different animals than commercial products. Branding irons won’t work. But will any of the other product techniques work to establish our brand with readers?

Books as products lack common distinguishable trademarks unless you count genre. I’m not sure the average reader has any idea what we’re talking about when we say genre. They know the books they like or the author they like.

Plus in this crazy new publishing climate, genre lines have become as crooked as a roller coaster track and about as scary.

Take, James Scott Bell— #1 bestselling author of the writing book Plot & Structure, and thrillers like Deceived, Try Dying, Watch Your Back, One More Lie and many more—has a new series written as K. Bennett. A zombie legal thriller series, which begins with Pay Me in Flesh. Seriously. Paranormal elements combined with a legal thriller. How’s that for blending genres?

Stranger combinations are everywhere. So linking books by genres is not that clear cut anymore.

According to I’m Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro®  “You have to become your own number one product. You must be uniquely you.”

While titles and covers can and do link series. Mostly a novel is a stand-alone work and readers connect by the author’s name.

The other commerical product methods aren’t so easily implemented by writers. Smells, tastes, movement, graphics and/or shapes of product marketing to attract readers to a novel seems a bit daunting. There are some very clever writers out there so I’m not giving up on someone coming up with an idea.

Yet.

As an author, I’ve used the spelling of my name as a brand.  Every teacher, every college professor, every stranger who reads my nametag stumbles over the pronunciation. But they don’t forget the name or me.

For the full story on how I received the name, check my author website: Judythe Morgan

Next I’ve used the color green color for my website and Twitter. With a bit of luck, green brings happy thoughts and Irish to mind.

My blog and my FB pages tie together with the front porch. Lots of greenery in those banners too.

Green=happy thoughts. Porch=down home storytelling.

That’s how I write, that’s what I write—stories about ordinary events in ordinary people’s lives that end happily. Emotional stories about journeys of the heart.

Not straight romance, not straight women’s fiction, not simple love stories. A combination of those genres. See Bell’s not the only one who can blend genres.

My taglines also help readers remember me. “Voices and Views from the Front Porch” tag on my blog allows for a variety of blog topics and lets the reader  “know” me and my varied interests.

My website tagline of “Weaving Love Stories to Touch Your Heart” identifies the type of fiction I write.

Will these strategies work? I wish I knew.

In Kristen Lamb’s course, we learned that getting our names out there with samples of our writing builds our platform. But I have to admit advertising aka branding/author platform still baffles me.

When I had my antiques shop, I had a GREAT location-busy intersection in an active shopping center. My marketing plan was strong. I offered free cookies, lemonade and coffee to customers. A shop full of great merchandise, free cookies and coffee.The people came. Still…

antiques,Most of my customers admitted they came because someone told them about the shop.

So I conclude, a business marketing plan and a writer platform/branding plan are pretty much the same.

Word of mouth
Reputation
Name recognition

Book Industry Study Group’s ongoing Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey in February confirmed my conclusion.  “e-book buyers cite word-of-mouth as No. 2—just like their print book kin.” Read here.

People read a good book; they share the book with others. So a writer’s primary challenge is first to write the very best story they can and second to make readers recognize their name.

Branding is about communicating. Engaging readers.

I’ve shared what I do. Remember I am not a marketing major. My expertise is chatting on the porch, sharing my views. Don Block, founder of WeGrowMedia.com, is a qualified expert and he offers some other specific ways to maximize your branding here.

YOUR TURN: Are you branding yourself? How?