"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Monday, April 30, 2012

Laurie Laliberte

One of the contributors this month (I'll resist the temptation to name names) sent me a poem at the 11th hour because s/he had sent the piece to several people to read it before it appeared. S/he wanted to make sure it was "good enough." It was delayed in getting to me because only half the readers actually read it and responded. When s/he told me this, I sent the response you'll read below. I thought it relevant. Besides, you all pretty much know who I am. I'd feel silly introducing myself.

"My philosophy, for want of a better description, about poetry is pretty simple. If it truly comes from your soul, from you, if there's a part of you in it, it's beautiful. Poetry written for the sake of writing poetry is the best kind.

"One poem I wrote years ago, called "Altar" (originally titled "Altars") stemmed from a magazine article about how we tend to build altars in our lives, often without even realizing it. And I had this image in my head of how, for months after my father died, his headphones still hung on the arm of his favorite chair. They were big headphones; the Walkman hadn't been released yet. Nobody but me sat in Dad's chair after he died. When I moved out of the house, I took the chair with me.

"One afternoon, right after reading that magazine article, I happened to look at the chair in the corner of my living room. There it sat, with my roommate's headphones hanging from the arm. I don't know, don't remember, which of us had left them there, but it was comforting somehow to see that same image again. It resonated with me just the way that article had done. That was my altar to my father.

"I sat down and wrote that poem, about 8-10 lines. It's on my blog somewhere I think. Anyhow, I thought the poem was too short, so I added two more stanzas. One as a tribute to my mother and one of my own. They didn't work because they were forced. They didn't come from my heart. They came from a writer's need to round out the body of the poem rather than a writer's need to write. So I scrapped the two added stanzas and ended up with a short, but beautiful, work of literary art. And if it appeals to only me, so be it. I wrote it for me, not for anyone else.

"That, in itself, is poetry. You don't need beta readers to tell you your poetry matters. You just need to trust your own instincts."

Eros and Thanatos will be available on
Amazon as soon as I finish writing it
Twice Shy

Old wounds.
Filthy. Festering. Painful.
Reminders of what once was.
What never was.
Healed scars.
Until you call. Or text. Or email.
Bloodied gauze.
Tears on my pillow.
You don't deserve this power.
You don't deserve me.
But I deserve so much better than you.
There is no room in my life.
 Quick Crochet for Kitchen and Bath
will soon be available on Amazon
No room in my heart.
I've moved on.
But I weep.
Because for one short moment
One flicker in time
I was yours.
But you were never mine.
You never wanted me.
The real me.
The me who actually exists.
You loved the illusion
You could pretend I was.
I refuse to fit your mold.
So I nurse my wounds.
  Resistance Front is available
on Amazon for 99 cents
And I leave you to your delusions.
This time for good.

To borrow a favorite adjective from a fellow All-Star (Courtney Cantrell), this month has been cramazing. I want to extend a huge thank you to all of my colleagues and my readers for joining me on this journey. Next year's poetry slam already promises to be just as special.

My short story "Fear of the Dark" (the clean version) appears in the Kindle All-Stars first charity anthology Resistance Front. All proceeds go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The extended version of "Fear of the Dark" is part of my anthology of erotic shorts, Eros and Thanatos, which will be available in time for summer reading. And my first crochet pattern book, Quick Crochet for Kitchen and Bath, will be available for Kindle devices and in print very soon.

[ed. The extended version of "Fear of the Dark" is NOW available on Amazon as a 99 cent single.]


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Courtney Cantrell

What more can I say about Courtney that I didn't tell you in her last post? How about The final book in her Demons of Saltmarch trilogy will be available very soon? Or she's the acquisitions editor for The Consortium, a group of writing professionals that is reinventing the way writers get published? Or, and this one's my favorite, her favorite exclamation is, "Cramazing!"

blueberry beer, u2, and a fedora
Find Shadows after Midnight
right now on Amazon

i stand at the bar
a lifetime away from the stage as
thoughts about my identity flood through me

but i do not struggle to remember who i am

this time, i don’t need to know
because a brown fedora rests on the end of the keyboard.

the singer claims he still hasn’t found
what he’s looking for
but i say he’s discovered a rhythm to
move my blood
pulse my heart and
throb my core.

i step forward
into the open space at the foot of the stage
where the crowd does not dare tread
in spite of their weizen, their vodka,
their long island ice tea.

to my name i have only blueberry beer
it hasn’t replaced my blood
only infused me with delight

no eyes on me
i walk on strains of melody 

and my toes tap a syncopated beat.

at the foot of the stage
i look up
into the keyboard player’s soul-questioning eyes
i reach up
and do not blink as i pluck his brown fedora
from where it waits

with his smile and nod in time to the song
he answers his own question as i step back
behind me i feel the crowd’s shocked anticipation
and i slide that fedora onto my head

i let go

and i dance

my hands sweep down my every curve
my lips part to exhale joy
my body undulates, intoxicated
by nothing but passion.

oh release.
how i have missed you.

with the wondering eyes of the crowd on me
at the foot of the stage
i dance
i dance shake rattle and hum

i make love to life
wearing the keyboard player’s brown fedora

that is how i think it could happen anyway
as i stand a lifetime away at the bar
and imagine.

Courtney Cantrell is a writer of high fantasy, low sci-fi, and medium horror. The making of things and the sharing of those things with others is her passion. She enjoys chocolate and coffee and tries to keep these from making her sentences unnecessarily complicated. http://courtcan.com

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Douglas J. Lane

I'll be honest; when I first began reading Doug's submission to the Resistance Front anthology, I rolled my eyes and maybe whined a little. I seriously thought I was going to be stuck reading another 20 pages of oh-my-God-I-can't-take-any-more. The last few pieces I read before "Exhuming Harry Truman" simply didn't make the cut. It happens.

I just realized that makes it sound like I hated the beginning, which is not the case at all. It just took me a page to fall into the story. I was so happy I soldiered on because it was well worth it. Although I firmly believe every piece in the book belongs there, that memory makes Doug's a truly special story for me.

Doug's short story "Exhuming Harry Truman"
appears in the Resistance Front anthology
The Girl On The Bench At Hudson Park

Soft eyes, once;
Tender brown tunnels
To the soul, grown steely;
Too much of the world watched
From strangers' arms
Behind ragged blinds, past midnight.

Red lips washed to pale quivers
pout back from the glass,
forgetful of the warmth
an honest kiss can bring.
No coin in this realm for such

The embraces are harsh;
probing hands do not
caress, but grope,
voices with hollow words,
no capacity to bear the weight of
wanted words.

Black night, empty with the
fullness of another offer accepted --
for the bench is as cold
as the light from the bare
bulb in the ceiling of the room
around the corner.

Doug Lane is a writer of multiple sorts. Today was poetry day.
He's a transplanted New Yorker who makes his home in Houston, TX.

Find Doug on twitter @finderdoug
More of Doug's work can be found on Pure Francis.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bernard Schaffer

When Bernard pulled "Wait and Wait" from his youtube channel he told me he would send me another poem to replace it for this event. I thought he had, but I was mistaken. (We've both been really busy.) So I swiped this one from his Knife Fights collection because I really like it. (How could I not? It begins with a football reference!)

Meh. He probably won't even notice. And if I smile pretty he'll forgive me almost anything. He's good like that.

Anyhow, if you click on the title, you'll be able to see Bernard himself read his words. Check out the tat while you're at it. That's one reason Courtney Cantrell and I call him SGTB.

Knife Fights is currently available
on Amazon for kindle 
It is always fourth and inches
always knee deep in the mud
always lost somewhere behind enemy lines
always a bill collector calling
always the ex-wife demanding more.
Every day a new dictum from on high
based on whim
based on fragile, vicious egos.
It is always too late
too much to ask and too soon to talk about it
always nobody who wants to get involved
or losing heart and abandoning ship.
So there you are
alone again
steering into choppy water
crashing into rocks with wind and hail that blinds you
binding yourself to the ship's helm
so that if it overturns
you go down with it
and if it doesn't, somehow,
you live to fight another day.
It is always the final round
and you are always down in the judge's scorecards
none of it is easy
stop wishing it was
none of it is fair
don't expect it to be.
When I arrive at my destination
I'll have lost no little amount of blood
and all of my scars
will map the road I traveled to get there.
It is always someone else's turn
their destiny
their fated time to shine
but while those anointed ones
are patiently waiting for their hand-out
we'll be running them over
in diesel trucks made of iron will and sweat-soaked effort.
While you wait for it
we'll take it.
People ask me if I ever sleep
well I don't
I paste pictures of my enemies' faces
to black painted walls
in windowless rooms and
I stare at them for hours on end
and I get ready.
I get ready.
I get ready.

Bernard J. Schaffer is the bestselling author of Superbia, Superbia 2, Guns of Seneca 6, and Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes among others. He is also the founder of the Kindle All-Stars, a royal pain in the ass, and one of my favorite people on the planet. Follow him on twitter @apiarysociety or visit his website www.apiarysociety.com.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Keri Knutson

I thoroughly enjoy working with Keri. She's truly a team player who is always around when you need a pair of hands, a piece of advice, or just someone to make you smile.

I never in a million years expected this whole KAS thing to blossom into a network of friends and colleagues around the world. I think we've all been blessed with each other's company.

Director's Cut is currently
available on Amazon
To Lochlainn, On the Occasion of his Birthday

How wonderful our little child,
A baby once so soft and sweet;
We've catalogued each little smile,
Each step, each laugh is ours to keep.

And now it seems you're not so small,
Your shadow long upon the grass;
The world is waiting, after all,
To watch as you run, laughing, past.

Keri Knutson is a writer and editor currently living in New Orleans, author of the novels Darker By Degree, Director's Cut, Running Red, and the forthcoming Lost Things.
twitter @KeriKnutson

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Matt Posner

My initial intent with this project was to post one long poem or two shorter ones from each poet. Matt sort of messed that up. I fell madly in love with this poem the first time I read it, but instead chose to borrow "Famous Fathers," the one I posted earlier this month. Still, I couldn't get this one off my mind. My decision to post each poem separately had a lot to do with this particular piece. I really hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Vampire Poet

When I was one-and-twenty

I heard a vampire say,

Give nuts and guts and gullet,

but not your poems away.

Give veins away, and arteries,

But not your words for free.

Oh, I was a youthful poet,

No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-thirty,

The vampire said again,

The words given forth from spirit,

Will draw you down to pain.

They yield you shame and misery.

You know not what you do.

Now I am one-and-forty.

The vampire's words are true.

Originally from Miami, Florida, Matt Posner is a New York City based novelist and special educator. Matt is the Dean of School of the Ages, America's Greatest Magic School.  Matt's poetry, featured in this post, is part of his participation in The Exploration Project, New York's premiere avant-garde improvisational band. Talk to Matt at his facebook fan page "School of the Ages Series" and at his website http://schooloftheages.webs.com.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tony Healey

I'm a firm believer that every girl needs a brother, even if he isn't related by blood. Thanks to the Kindle All-Stars, I have about ten. Tony is the one who teases me the most. And I'm okay with that. As I write this, Tony and I have recently finished one project; we're working on a second; and a third is already on the horizon. I may complain a bit about "my writers," but the truth is I wouldn't change any of them.

I'm sharing this with you so maybe you'll better understand why this particular poem, and the email to which it was attached, hit me hard.

Find pasted into the body of this email my second poem. I wrote this for my brother Danny, who passed away nearly 25 years ago now.


The Honeycroft Series is available on Amazon
Decades drifting downstream,
But no more than a day,
Since you were taken away
Old scars pull at the seams

Every time you rise within my thoughts,
My heart aches,
I wish you were here with me, with us, around
To see how we’d have loved you
But the tide took you; caught

I need you, I want to see you,
Just one last time, hold you,
Against my breast to hear
My heart-song,
I want you near

A higher power,
Says its right to take you from us,
Brother, and the Brother next door,
But regardless I’m still wishing

I have lived a lifetime of conversations unspoken,
Empty, hollow sadness rolling down cheeks,
A pain in the walls of my heart,
Anniversaries of yesterday and what was
And what might have been

If only I could forget about you,
Let the river take you,
Carry you far away to the valley before the dawn,
To eternal night

And are you there,
Beneath the great wheel,
The big dipper, the belt of Orion?
Looking where I’m looking?
Feeling what I’m feeling, perhaps,
And knowing how I wish you were here?
Haunted ‘till the very end,
When we will meet again.

Tony Healey is the author of The Honeycroft Series, The Stars My Redemption, and others including a collection called Double. By the way, he also designs all his own covers and he's done a few for other KAS authors as well. (As we speak, he's tweaking a design I came up with for one of mine.)

Visit Tony's website:  www.fringescientist.com

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Douglas J. Lane

I don't know Doug well. What I do know is that when his story "Exhuming Harry Truman" hit my desk, I had to recommend it be added to Resistance Front. I loved it. I still do.

Another of Doug's short stories appears here
Summer Turned The Carousel

A magic hand without a wand
makes the horses buck and sway;
Wish I was young, for a handy excuse
to slip into the saddle, seize the reigns,
ride until twilight again.

The children laugh ‘til nearly blue,
around and back, then up and through
my line of sight once more.
Engrossed, they ride as pioneers
before the Rio Grande did surely go.

And I picture you astride
the spotted one with wild eyes
and knowing smile, trimmed in green--
tangled fingers, yours and mine
As summer turned the carousel.

Doug Lane is a writer of multiple sorts. Today was poetry day.
He's a transplanted New Yorker who makes his home in Houston, TX.

Find Doug on twitter @finderdoug
More of Doug's work can be found on Pure Francis.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Miles Cressman

Miles is one of the youngest contributors to the Resistance Front anthology. Miles' short story submission "Deconstruct," is quite unexpected and clever. He's also the author of The Dream Metropolis.

Miles first novel, The Dream Metropolis
is available on Amazon
in print and Kindle format.

Dark chocolate black evening
Butterscotch streetlights
And the angelic grace of a passing by car
Some sorrowful electronic song blaring through his earbuds
The world is silent.

He walks to the beat of his own feet
the tapping upon the concrete his lone song.
Familiar faces and familiar places beckon and call
And he waves at them like each one's nothin' more
than a passing memory.

But he feels discontent
There's a kink in the machine
Throwin' off his tilt, going against his grain
He doesn't know what it is but it's tearing him asunder
Piece by piece like a short story
that doesn't quite work.

The color of his battle is unknown
a melange of paints and dyes and bleaches
And when you throw them together against a wall
it comes out intangible
and so he continues down the path, the faces now a blur.

Rejections and revelations
All smattering together at once
Overloading, oversensualizing
He can't deal with it all at once so he hides
Waiting... always waiting.

Into a mirror he looks
At the sagged eyes and the unshaven nascent beard
Specifically at the vessels of sight he sees
In them no beginnings
Only the promises of endings.

Miles is a 22 year old recent graduate of the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's in English. He is currently going back for his postbac degree in Education, but in his spare time he writes novels. Currently, he is at work on a four-part science fiction series called A Paean to Dreams.

Visit Miles's website:  http://paeantodreams.wordpress.com/

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My 100th post (Warning: contains bad words)

It's not every day you hit a milestone. This one is huge for me. It's my 100th blog post. Therefore, I knew I had to make sure it was something special. Easy peasy.

When I began assembling this collection, I made sure our fearless leader was in the loop. He was in the midst of finishing off the Resistance Front anthology, writing the novel (Superbia) that he knew could destroy his career as a police detective, and probably trying to decide what to get his kids for Christmas.

So the last thing I expected to see in my email was a poem from him. He said he wanted to show his support, that I didn't have to use it if I didn't like it or didn't want to. I don't think he realized how much that simple act meant to me.

By the way, as I'm sitting here writing this introduction, he's sitting in PA revising the darn thing...again. Writers.

If you click on the poem's title, you'll be whisked away to Bernard's Youtube page where you'll have the unique treat of watching the man himself read the poem, a slightly different version than you'll read below, which is a slightly different version than you'll read in his collection Knife Fights. That same video got him sent back to uniform.

We later discussed this post and I was going to use a different one from the Knife Fights collection, but I noticed that Bernard had re-posted the video and asked his permission to use it. He replied, "Sure. We can do wait and wait. Fuck em!"

Superbia is available on Amazon
for your Kindle and in print

(originally titled WEIGHT)

by Bernard Schaffer

Waiting for the dealer to arrive
they are always late
moving through life with
no need to be concerned about
the overtime that is accruing or
the women who are growing impatient while their men
sit in trash covered cars
pissing into empty coffee cups
because the dealer might arrive at any moment
their customers will wait and wait
just grateful for the fix they bring whenever they
feel like showing up.
The buy money is pre-recorded
the CI is searched
the team is given the operational plan and
everyone is in their assigned positions.
I am always calm
always need to piss again
always need more coffee
always waiting for the transaction that will take
ten seconds to happen
so that after it is sold
and brought back to me
I can secure it, photograph it
record it, bag it
tag it, and produce it later at court.
The dealer will make me wait
and I will oblige him for now
when it is my turn
to go and see him
I will be right on time.

Bernard Schaffer is the best-selling author of Guns of Seneca 6, Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes, and more.  Visit his website at www.ApiarySociety.com

Because I can't resist, here's the first bio B sent me:

Bernard Schaffer is most amazingly awesome muhfukka on the planet.  Give him the rock when there are ten seconds left on the clock and he’ll take it to the hole.  Guaranteed.  He doesn’t need a link.  The internet was invented to showcase him.  Word.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

David K. Hulegaard

Noble is currently available on Amazon
and the sequel Noble: Bloodlines will be there soon
I rarely call David by his given name. In my brain he goes by his nickname from college that all his buddies call him. This is because I had to separate him from another David. Online, he's "Little Bro" or "Big D." Why? Because he reminds me of my younger brother and there's only a year separating the two of them. I call him "my brothah from anothah mothah" because I'm a Bostonian and Rs were outlawed in Massachusetts back in 1690.

But I kid. Truth is, I love David like family. We live 3000 miles apart, but thanks to the Internet, we can "see" each other any time we want.

The Ballad of the Forgotten
By: David K. Hulegaard

We were there.
Though you’d be hard-pressed to tell now,
Time once belonged to us.

Inches of thick concrete now entomb our resting bones,
But we were there.
Layers of asphalt have buried the cobblestone that marked our streets,
But we were there.
Victorian homes, once so elegant, so prominent in our time;
Stand broken and weeping, subdivided and rented out for a buck.

But we were there.

Our treasures have been tucked away in attics;
Shoved to the bottom of uncatalogued boxes.
The fruits of our sore hands have been covered up by advertisements and spray paint.
The sounds of our brass instruments, played to perfection, threaten to become lost to time.

But we were there.

We did our part before passing the torch to the next in line;
Instilling the knowledge we accumulated from our broken backs.
We set an example and left the rest up to you.
We closed our eyes, squeezed the stems in our palms, and said goodbye, one-by-one.

But we are not at rest.

Our hearts have grown weary, and our eyes brought to tears.
We can only watch as you dismantle in no time what took us decades to build.
Our constructions have been torn down to the foundations we poured,
While throngs of disenchanted idlers inherit the space we once called home.

But we were there.

No matter how hard you try to erase us from existence,
We were there.
No matter how many fresh coats of paint you apply,
We were there.
No matter how many children will never speak our names,
We were there.
No matter how many of our cemeteries you encroach with apartment complexes,
We were there.

We mattered.

David K. Hulegaard is an author and student of film and music. Among his writing credits are the Sci-Fi series NOBLE, the paranormal novella THE JUMPER, and the short-story collection STRANGERS. He currently lives in Oregon City with his fiancee, and their Welsh Terrier, Tobi.