Chicken Soup for the Soul

It’s always special to learn that one of my stories has been picked up by Chicken Soup for the Soul. I was informed this morning that my latest story will appear in the upcoming volume Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope and Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey. Even after five years, it’s still difficult for me to write about my cancer journey– it is truly something I would much rather forget about altogether. But it is always with me, and not only is it cathartic to deal with it through writing, it is my hope that by addressing the issues that arise in an honest and open, while still life-affirming way, this will help others facing their own diagnoses. The book will be released on September 4, 2012, and can be ordered from Amazon, or I will have a limited number of copies to sell.

 

Caught

I discovered the VoiceCatcher collective two-and-a-half years ago, when I was still predominantly a writer of prose. I submitted two prose pieces to VoiceCatcher 4. Neither was accepted, but with the second, I received a really thoughtful page of feedback for improving the story. I edited both stories, and the first one (“The Tao of Laundry”) ended up in a Cup of Comfort for Mothers, while the second (“The Power of Music”) won the first Chicken Soup for the Soul Wednesday Giveaway Contest.  Still, the VoiceCatcher stories and poetry tended to be a bit edgier than either of the above, so I did not submit at all in 2010, instead re-grouping. This was also the year I turned mostly first to general poetry, posted on Poetic Asides, Read Write Poem, and Big Tent Poetry, and then haiku. So when submissions for VoiceCatcher rolled around in February of this year, I was undecided on whether or not to attempt submitting again, and if so whether to go with poetry or prose. Finally, I decided to submit haibun, a form that had long intrigued me, but that I had only recently begun to write. And my haibun (“30 Degrees from the Horizon”) was accepted! I had the pleasure last night, of reading it aloud to a roomful of other women writers/poets/artist and collective members, at the book launch party for VoiceCatcher 6, an anthology I am truly proud to be a part of!

A limited run of VoiceCatcher 6 is available at Wordstock, any of the VoiceCatcher readings, Powells (Burnside and Hawthorne only), and New Seasons Markets, or it may be ordered directly from VoiceCatcher.

All proceeds support the VoiceCatcher mission:

“VoiceCatcher is a non-profit collective that nurtures women authors and artists in the Portland/Vancouver area and strengthens the local creative community by offering publishing opportunities, educational grants, and respectful editorial guidance.”

Publish, Don’t Perish

Day 22 of the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May-Book Giveaway.

Today’s question: Last time I asked a question about self-publishing, it was about whether or not you would consider it. This time, let’s pretend you are considering it at some point in your career and it’s not so much about what you’ll self-publish as what you won’t self-publish. Give us an idea of what you will self-publish, what you won’t self-publish, and why.


My response: I think self-publishing would be a great route to go with for the poetry and haiku I write, since poetry is generally published in limited edition chapbooks anyway. And a collection of personal essays would also be a good candidate for self-publishing, because with the popularity of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, I don’t think there is much of a market for an anthology of personal essays by the same author, unless they are already famous. But beyond that? I guess if I felt I had an idea for a book with universal appeal, or more accurately, with the ability to attract publishers because of its potential to produce revenue, then I might try traditional publishing first. But in all, I don’t think I’d have a problem self-publishing anything.

It’s not too late to join in! The complete rules for this giveaway can be found here.

Icing on the Cake

Day 15 of the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May-Book Giveaway.

Today’s question:Ah, query letters. You love writing them…right? Or maybe not. Tell us how you feel about writing queries and/or about selling your words in general. The truth now. No fudging.

My response:

The long and short of it is, I don’t really enjoy writing query letters. It feels too much like I’m selling myself, not my words. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t like the feeling that I’m selling my words, either. I write. Period. And although I gratefully accept compensation for my writing, that has never been the primary reason why I write.

My favorite method of submission is via an email or an online form, and perhaps that is one of the many reasons I feel so drawn to submit to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. The submission process via their website is no muss, no fuss, and to receive compensation on top of the exposure of being published in a best-selling series is icing on the cake!

It’s not too late to join in! The complete rules for this giveaway can be found here.

Winter Hiatus

Life has a way of interfering with even the best of intentions. But although I haven’t been posting here lately, I have been writing and firing off submissions. Another submission to Chicken Soup for the Soul, lots of haiku, and some poems in the new poetic form I recently discovered: the sevenling. You can read some of my sevenlings and those of others at the  Poetic Asides blog, and even enter a few of your own (by 1/15/11), if you feel so moved.

November 2010 Recap

Another month! My list of  writing accomplishments  for the month of November:

– I wrote 33 poems in 30 days for the 2010 Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge. I extended my repertoire, by trying new poetic forms, including a rondeau, triolets, a pantoum, skeltonic verse, a shadorma, a hay(na)ku, bell curve Fibonacci, and a blitz poem.

– Took 1st place in the November 2010 Shiki  Kukai, free format section, with my “garden spider” haiku.

– Took 4th place in the November 2010 Shiki  Kukai, kigo section, with my “departing year” haiku.

– Submitted three haiku to the November/December Sketchbook “first snow” haiku thread (#1, #20 and #22).

– Took part in the 19th  Caribbean Kigo Kukai , with my “December again…” haiku.

– Wrote  “Under the Harvest Moon” and “Passing Through” to Big Tent Poetry weekly prompts.

– Had two Chicken Soup for the Soul stories make it to the finalist round. “Expert Advice” will appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms in March 2011, and “Taken by Storm” will appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat’s Life in April 2011.

– One of my haiku was accepted to the winter issue of Frogpond.

– Did a guest post about Kukai for my haiku buddy Kirsten Cliff’s wonderful Swimming in Lines of Haiku blog.

– Put lots more into the pipeline.

Time to edit my PAD poems for the chapbook challenge!

A Self Review

The prompt  for the January  Write On! Online Challenge  was to write a review of something we’ve written. It was challenging indeed, to strike just the right balance between modesty and blowing my own horn.  In the end, I decided to approach it by pretending I was writing a review of someone else’s work. 🙂 I was thrilled to learn today that I won 2nd place (http://bit.ly/b1m4uY), for this review:

The Ten Best Things, in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings (http://bit.ly/34wABN)

Category: Creative nonfiction

I stumbled across Cara Holman’s story The Ten Best Things in a volume of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings. As a cancer survivor myself, I appreciated the forthrightness and honesty with which she presented the story of how a writing group she joined shortly after her cancer diagnosis helped her to deal with her treatment and aided in her emotional recovery.

A cancer diagnosis can be a frightening and isolating experience. Many studies have shown the value of support groups for cancer patients, and in The Ten Best Things, Cara recounts how joining a writing group for women cancer survivors functioned both as a support group for the “eight or so” women in it, and as a way to channel their creative energies into the process of healing. While Cara is quick to conclude that obviously no one would have chosen to have been diagnosed with cancer in the first place, she firmly believes that she and the women of her writing group are in a better place as a result of having to confront their own mortality, and reassess their priorities in life.

As I reflect upon the lesson of this story, I find myself in agreement with the sentiments expressed by this author, namely, that many of us cancer survivors have learned “to be kinder, more compassionate, more life-affirming people and never to forget how much we still have to be grateful for.” I found this story to be life-affirming, without ever becoming maudlin.

I would encourage readers who are interested in honest writings about surviving cancer, losing one’s parents, and just everyday stories about raising children, becoming a writer, and hitting midlife to check out some of Cara’s other equally engaging, and often humorous writings. A full list of her publications, both online and in print, can be found on her blog Prose Posies.

The Power of Music

This is the time of year that I miss my mother the most. It has been almost two years since that heartbreaking day that she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with terminal cancer. My story about how I find solace in music was just selected as the winning entry for the first Chicken Soup for the Soul Giveaway Wednesday on Facebook. I hope the story brings comfort to others who are facing loss at the holidays. http://bit.ly/7300c5

Triple Good News

Last week’s Komen Lunch for the Cure that I attended raised $132,000!

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings, containing my cancer writing group story The Ten Best Things, is now available on Amazon(http://bit.ly/34wABN) , at Powells.com(http://bit.ly/4xsrpz) and presumably also at your favorite bookstore. I was excited to receive my contributor copies last week!

My streak of good luck seems to be holding. My story, The Eyes Have It, took first place in the Write On! Online October Challenge. (http://bit.ly/2fJCZE) What made this an extra special win for me, was that I was writing outside my comfort zone, trying my hand at fiction instead of non-fiction.