Sunday, November 24, 2013

Five Events Later....

What a sprint!  I confess this last one was an effort to get to.  A Friday night after an intense work week, following a month of intensity with the book tour, and I was ready for a night off.  

But, fighting fatique, I hauled my brain into gratitude mode, and, with roadie Arwen, my books over to the Peachtree City Library for An Evening of American Pie & Poetry.  It was an astonishing night.  One of the organizers counted over 60 people--a shocker, frankly.  Before the event started, we writers had our typical conversation: "Wonder how many will come tonight..."    Kudos to Paul Lentz for a stellar PR job, and a crew of worker bees who helped set up, serve coffee and goodies, and Tom Watts, working his folk/Americana/blue music. 

My new French poet friend (from the Books Down South event) showed up.  A number of colleagues showed up, plus new fans and the usual suspects of fellow writers from our writers' circle.   Pies were sliced, Blue Donkey Coffee served. There was a festive, expectant air--helped no doubt by the approaching holiday.   

And off we in the hot seat with first position, followed by a fantastic story teller reading one of Paul's stories, and fellow FLP poet Sara DeLuca, reading her works.  Tom played a set, and then we reprised poems, story, poems.  The evening was over before we knew it.  And, IMHO, a home run.  Thanks to all who made it happen, who listened, supported, participated, served.

In fact, I'm already at work on reprising what proved to be a very successful formula.  Watch this space for another event in January.  In the meantime, I'll close the year out with one more event in December:  

Dec. 6: "PoeTea," 3:30-5:00 pm, at OM, 285 Lynnwood Ave., Tyrone, GA.  Readings, signing, poetry exercises, tea and light refreshments.  Sponsored by the OM Bookstore, with discounts for the season, so c'mon in, sip some tea, write a poem, and squeeze in some Christmas shopping to boot!

You can also order your stocking stuffers here: link for The Boatman's Daughter, and Poems from the Boatyard  is now available on Kindle.

Have a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Flagler College

After a quick check-in at the Holiday Inn, I headed over to Flagler College, where the Other Words Conference would be held, and into the adventure of parking in St. Augustine.  I easily found the college (after a quick detour to a boatyard :), and as for parking...let's just say a good workout was in order anyway, after the 6-hr. car ride.  

I registered and looked for the Finishing Line Press peeps, who were nowhere to be found, and spent the few minutes I had left photographing the incredible rotunda and decoration of the front hall.  Architectural ecstasy.  (Yankees, picture a Newport mansion...even the bathroom had a fireplace in it!)   

One elevator ride later, to the 4th floor of Ponce de Leon Hall, more goodness awaited: the newly opened, newly renovated Solarium, the crown jewel of a National Historic Landmark.  I confess it held my attention longer than the opening poets.  More photos, a few sketches, and jottings of thoughts inspired by the arrival in a coastal town.     

The building was one of two posh hotels Henry Flagler built in the 1880s—an incredible Spanish Renaissance–revival structure with towers, turrets, and stained glass by Tiffany.  When we moved from readings to nibbles, I followed some out onto the terraces, where St. Augustine twinkled by Matanzas Bay.  Magical.  "I get to spend four days here?!" I marveled.  With only my iphone with me at the time, I quickly filled my camera roll with dozens of shots of the panoramic views (none of which I can download at the moment unfortunately--but do follow the links above).

The renovation completed this summer, to mark the 125th anniversary of construction of the hotel. Ponce became Flagler College in 1968, and the Solarium was used as a library, occasional classroom, writing lab, and offices for the college newspaper.  It was closed off in the 1970's for safety reasons.  What a shame.  What joy for me.  Writing, talking about writing, learning about publishing, editing and the digital convolutions going on in all of the above, in a national landmark, surrounded by beach, boat and salt marsh...can you spell B.L.I.S.S.?!  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sailing along...

The book tour continues, with another event under my belt, new friends and connections, and a few less copies of books on hand. 

Books Down South was an awesome gathering of local literati, filled with a lot of energy and camaraderie.  My highlight: I was stationed next to a French poet!  How cool is that?  So while the literati swirled around us, Brigitte Byrd and I chatted in French.  If anyone approached our table, Brigitte leapt up to announce, "We are the poets!"  Who could resist the charm of a French accent?! 

Well, quite a few actually.  We had a few sales, and while I was quite satisfied with mine, Brigitte was frustrated.  When one of the organizers consoled us with typical American cheer--"It's more about the connections you make than the books you sell!"--Brigitte stared her down.  Awkward silence.  The typical French reaction at that point would have been to flip all the books up in the air, and storm home to write about it.

Sure enough, as soon as our chirpy organizer left, Brigitte looked at me and said in French, "That's not French.  We would fling all these books in your face and leave!" 

I laughed, and she relaxed a little as I bought one of her books and asked her to sign it.  We will be in touch for coffee soon; in the meantime, I am enjoying her  "Song of a Living Room."  Brigitte has invited me to read at Clayton State University's poetry lecture series next year.  Mais oui!  Bien sur!

In the meantime, the next clambake for me is in St. Augustine, FL.  I leave Thursday, coming back in time for the Dogwood Gallery evening.  And another event has edged into the calendar the following week. 

Looking for more amazement and hope you are part of it!  

Nov. 7-10: 2013 Other Words Conference, Florida Literary Arts Coalition, Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL.  I'll be attending as a poet with Finishing Line Press, but this also affords time to promote my book, take advantage of a number of workshops, and network.  I'm looking forward to a little change of pace and a day or two to explore St. Augustine.   

Nov. 14: Dogwood Gallery, 6:30-8:30 pm: Book Launch Party. Stop for some poetry, art, wine and nibbles! 

Nov. 22: An American Tour in Words and Music: Friends of the Peachtree City Library invite you to “An American Tour in Words and Music” from 7:00—9:00 PM on Friday, November 22. Local authors Pat Butler, Sara DeLuca, and Paul Lentz will read from their recently published books. Music will be performed by Tom Watts, and will include selections from his recent album, “One Sweet Day.”  (This is an “after-hours event; only the front door of the library will be open.)

Pat is the author of the autobiographical chapbooks, “Poems from the Boatyard” and “The Boatman’s Daughter.” Sara’s poetry has been published in numerous regional and national journals. She will read from her new chapbook, “Shearing Time.” Paul writes of rural Georgia during the Great Depression in his coming-of-age novel, “The Gospel Truth: Tales from Ty Ty.”

Refreshments by Blue Donkey Coffee—a regular at the Peachtree City Farmers Market in the Aberdeen Village Shopping Center. 

Dec. 6: "PoeTea," 3:30-5:00 pm, at OM, 285 Lynnwood Ave., Tyrone, GA.  Details to follow!   


To order The Boatman's Daughter,  here's the link.

Poems from the Boatyard  is now available on Kindle.

Website:,  &  iphone app!