Sneaky Art Book Review and Double Giveaway!

When we get right down to it, most of us create so we can share…smiles, joy, and beauty. Quick, easy crafts not only feed our desire to create and spread smiles, they also relieve stress by giving our analytical mind a break. Today I’m sharing a little book that makes it oh, so easy to sneak a bit of art time into your day—no matter what your age. The book is Sneaky Art by Marthe Jocelyn. I’ll be passing my copy on to one lucky winner–along with an extra prize—but first, let me tell you about the book.

MarthebookcoverSneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight is intended for ages 8-12 but appeals to sneaky artists of all ages. The projects are inexpensive and easily adaptable for large groups, making it a good resource for teachers, but the true beauty of the book lies in the underlying lessons in conceptualization and material re-purposing. For instance, can you make a boat using only the items in the recycle bin? Jocelyn uses wine corks or milk carton bottoms…what else could you use? What can you do with cupcake papers other than cover cupcakes? How about making them into fortune cookies!

Each of the twenty-four projects in Sneaky Art are presented in a simple format listing materials needed, craft instructions, suggestions on where to “sneak” your art, and pictures of the finished pieces in their “sneaky” locations. The author offers clear instructions that “Sneaky Art is not mean, defacing, ugly, hurtful, messy, or permanent. Sneaky Art is not graffiti or marking up someone’s property. Sneaky art is funny clever, thoughtful, subversive, playful, and surprising.” Jocelyn even suggests going back to the scene of our “sneak” and retrieving our art if it is still there. To this I will add my own suggestion that any art placed outdoors be created with good stewardship in mind. We don’t want to create litter, and we don’t want to endanger any wild life. So, any paints should be non-toxic. Do not use thin threads or fishing line as they can wrap around the feet of birds and small animals causing injury. Do not use colored beads or fake berries as birds may ingest them and get sick (or worse).

Would you like to win a copy of Sneaky Art? Details on how to win today’s special double giveaway are at the end of this post.

About the Book:

Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight By Marthe Jocelyn

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English

Synopsis:

For young artists, tricksters, and crafters, here is a hip, friendly how-to manual for creating removable and shareable art projects from easily found materials. The sneaky part is in the installation! Each work of art is custom-created for display in public places — a tiny cork-bottomed boat in a public fountain, a plate of tiny paper cupcakes on your teacher’s desk, a penny left on the ground for a stranger, a funny message left on your mother’s bathroom mirror, and more. This utterly unique guide — part craft book, part art-philosophy — offers a stylish and sweet “made-you-look-twice” spirit of fun meant to put a smile on the faces of strangers and loved ones alike.

About the Author:

Marthe Jocelyn spent her childhood in Toronto reading books and putting on plays and circuses in her backyard. Marthe has a long string of jobs: theater usher, cookie seller, waitress, photo stylist, even toy designer before she finally settled on writer. She currently lives in Ontario with her daughters Nell and Hannah.

Marthe Jocelyn’s websites:

http://www.marthejocelyn.com/index.htm

http://sneakyart.com

Twitter: @scissorhouse

#SneakyArt

Double Giveaway!

As part of the Sneaky Art virtual book tour through Women OnMarthebookcover Writing, I am offering a double-prize package consisting of my hardcover, review copy of Sneaky Art and a Rainy Day Art Pack by Marthe Jocelyn.

The Rainy Day Art Pack comes with a body template and a selection of scraps for crafting (decorative paper, pompoms, feathers, yarn, buttons, etc…) Just add glue and scissors! More fun than paper dolls (remember them?) Where will this little character end up? He/she might become part of a collage…or even take part in a “sneaky art” caper!  Rainy Day Artpack

To Enter The Giveaway:

Leave a Comment: Tell us about a time you took part in a sneaky art caper OR tell us about something wonderful you or your child created with re-purposed items OR tell us why this book appeals to you. Make sure your email address is either in your profile or included in your comment so I can get in touch with you!

For additional Entries:

Tweet about this giveaway. Come back and leave the url to your tweet. Be sure to use the hashtag #SneakyArt in your tweet! (Each tweet gains an additional entry!)

Follow @scissorhouse on Twitter (and let us know)

Follow @RCchrps (that’s me) on Twitter (and let us know)

Visit A Ponderance of Things on Sunday, December 15th for more chances to win this Double Giveaway!

Contest runs December 13, 2013 through December 21, 2013. One random winner will be chosen from all entries gathered on Museiddity and A Ponderance of Things. One winner will win the prize package consisting of one hardcover copy of the book, Sneaky Art, and one Rainy Day Art Pack. Items to be mailed separately. Winner to be notified by email and posted in a blog update.

Good Luck!

Update: Congratulations to Pillows-a-la-mode for winning our Sneaky Art double prize! She has been contacted via email 🙂

Creative Spotlight: Interview with Sarah Sequins, Designer of Wearable Art

Today we’re visiting with Sarah Sequins, “a jewelry designer and artist obsessed with all things sparkly.” Sarah hosts the popular blog Saturday Sequins, where she shares her works in progress, creative inspiration, laughs, and smiles. She is also writing an ebook, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about bead weaving, bead embroidery, and working with sequins.

Museiddity: Hi Sarah! I’ve been happily following your blog for awhile now; eagerly awaiting each week’s inspiring post and pics of your latest masterpiece. How did you become interested in sequins and beading?

Sarah: Hi, Robyn! Thank you so much for featuring me! I’m excited that you’ve started this new blog.

When I look back, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t interested in sparkly things. I started collecting them before I even knew what to do with them!

The first time I thought of sequins for jewelry making, I was eight or nine years old, and I wanted to reproduce a pair of sequin earrings I’d found at the mall. I taught myself how to work with sequins and chain without any special knowledge or tools – just my little fingers!

Around that time, my sister, who’s interested in Native American beading, taught me my very first, simple bead embroidery stitches. She helped me make my own leather moccasins one weekend and let me embellish them with beads. She was the one who introduced me to bead weaving, too – I owe her a lot!

Museiddity: I’ll bet they were beautiful!

You’ve often used the terms “bead and sequin embroidery” and “bead weaving,” what is the difference?

Sarah: Both types of bead work involve a needle and thread. The difference between bead embroidery and bead weaving is that embroidery involves passing the needle through a backing – usually some sort of fabric or felt. Bead weaving, on the other hand, doesn’t use a backing; jewelry and other items are made by passing the needle through the beads themselves, and sometimes the thread.

Both bead embroidery and bead weaving have different stitches and variations. They overlap in a few places, though, which makes it a lot of fun to experiment with combining them.

Museiddity: Many of your beading designs include sequins, what skills and materials do we need to work with them?

Sarah: For very basic sequin embroidery, you really don’t need much. Some sequins, a beading needle, some thread (I like Fireline, but mercerized cotton is fine, and so is nylon thread, or Nymo). Something to sew them to. If you can pass a needle through it, you can sew sequins and beads to it!

I suggest something stiff like craft felt, buckram, Lacy’s Stiff Stuff or Nicole’s BeadBacking when you start out, though, just because fabric can pucker if you pull your thread too tight. Stiff material prevents that.

As for skills, if you can sew a simple stitch with a needle and thread, you can sew a sequin! After that, the stitches tend to build on each other – if you can do one, you can figure the rest out.

Museiddity: Some sequins have no hole, how would we apply them?

Sarah: Most, if not all, of the sequins I buy have holes – I’d love to find some without holes and play around. But! There are plenty of times when I find shiny, sparkly bits of confetti in craft and hobby stores and want to turn them into sequins. To do this, I use a 1/16 inch circular hole punch, especially the Fiskars brand.

I’ve also drilled sequins with a hand-held drill before, with mixed success. It’s hard to drill more than one at a time because they tend to slide around, even when I used a vise or tape them together in a bundle. I’m still trying to figure things out – but that’s part of the fun.

Museiddity: I’ve seen the one without the holes labeled as sequin discs. I’m thinking of using them with a two-part epoxy jewelry clay…

It sounds like this has been quite a journey for you! What surprising things have you learned about yourself by beading?

Sarah: I’ve learned a lot about my own learning style. I used to call myself a verbal learner, but really, I’m a tactile learner. I learn by diving in with a basic, bare bones knowledge, making tons of mistakes, and then coming back to books, tutorials and classes when I need to refine my technique. When I let myself learn this way, I’m a fast learner, too – which is really exciting!

I’ve also learned that I’m surprisingly patient and detail-oriented while I bead. I would have never used those words to describe myself in other aspects of my life! Now that I know they exist, I’ve started to apply them to other areas, including non-creative ones.

Museiddity: That’s the beauty of art, it reflects back to us parts of ourselves we don’t normally see.

Sarah, if someone is interested in working with sequins, how would you suggest they begin?

Sarah: I have two answers to this question. This first is to dive in, play around, and see what happens. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to come up with your own innovative techniques – especially if you’re familiar with other types of arts/crafts. You can always bring your past experience to your work.

Not everyone learns the way I do, though. For people who need a little more direction, Stanley Levy’s book Bead and Sequin Embroidery Stitches is the best I’ve found. It’s very, very thorough, and the photos are absolutely gorgeous. His book is more for garment-makers, but most of his techniques translate to jewelry making.

Museiddity: Will you share a picture of one or two of your favorite pieces?

Sarah: Of course! Here are two photos of some of my favorite pieces. The one Floral Fiestawith the red flower is called Floral Fiesta, and it’s a mix of bead embroidery and bead weaving. The second one, the bracelet, is called Goth Birthday Goth Birthday CakeCake because when it’s fastened, it looks just like a birthday cake for Morticia Adams.

Museiddity: They’re both so beautiful…and the necklace is so intricate! You weren’t kidding when you said you were patient.

Thank you, Sarah, for visiting with us!

Connect with Sarah: You can keep up with Sarah Sequins at her blog, Saturday Sequins, or at her Etsy shop.

Sarah is writing an ebook!
Embracing your creative side can sometimes be a struggle, especially if you desire to support yourself with your gifts. To help, Sarah’s book addresses the emotional side of making a creative living. Modeling the book after some of her most popular posts like Don’t Give Up and Instead of Giving Up, Sarah offers much needed inspiration to keep on truckin’.

Sarah says, “It’s about some of the silly reasons people come up with for giving up on the things they love and the one and only reason to run away from your creative work like you’re being chased by raisins (which, if you remember, are evil). It features my oddball sense of humor, and tramples some popular ways of looking at things. And like all the things I write, it’s based on a problem I had and the way I solved it. Also, there’s going to be a fun workbook section.”

The book is scheduled to launch on July 6th; visit Sarah at Saturday Sequins for more information.

Do you love sparklies, beads, or raisins? If so let us know; we love comments and questions!

Guest Post: When You Can’t Wait for Inspiration by Michelle Mach

Today I welcome Michelle Mach to Museiddity. Michelle is one of my favorite craft artists. I first met her while scheduling stops for a book tour; it was her work that inspired me to combine my writing and crafting. Please enjoy this guest post by Michelle Mach.

Beads & BooksWhen You Can’t Wait for Inspiration
by Michelle Mach

I get irritated when artists and writers talk about drifting dreamily around the house waiting for the magical burst of inspiration that will send them to the studio. I’ll admit I’m jealous. As someone who creates for a living, I don’t have that luxury. This weekend, for example, I need to come up with three original project designs–one home decor item and two pieces of jewelry–for a client. I have a deadline less than two weeks away, not to mention a host of other activities, including fulfilling a large wholesale order for a home decor store and editing three forthcoming jewelry books. I won’t be employed for long if I come up empty-handed and blame my uncooperative Muse.

You may not design craft projects for a living, but I bet there are times when you want to create something without a specific idea in mind. Here are three tricks I employ to jump start inspiration:

Examine Your Materials
I get many ideas from new materials such as an unusually shaped bead or a color I haven’t seen in awhile. The materials don’t even have to be new. Sometimes I’ll go “shopping” in my own stash of craft supplies, finding materials that I haven’t used for awhile. If I’m writing, my “material” might be notes in my journal or maybe books that I’m reading. If your own materials have you stumped, ask a friend for help. I’ve written stories prompted by one-word suggestions from friends and designed jewelry with beads that I did not choose.

Keep a Sketchbook or Journal
I keep a couple of different notebooks for drawings of project ideas or jotted notes for stories. Some of these sketches do turn into finished projects, but most don’t. Instead, my journal serves as my security blanket. I know that if I’m absolutely stuck for an idea, I can flip through my notebook and find one. (Whatever you do, make sure your notes are complete. I have a mysterious note about “chicken coffee bark” in an old notebook that I don’t think I’ll ever decode.)

Try Something New
It doesn’t have to be anything related to your craft. A new dessert recipe, a walk through a new-to-you park, or a book in an unfamiliar genre can wake up your imagination. The experiences don’t even have to be positive ones. I once sold a humorous essay about my new, hideously bad haircut.

Treasure those bursts of inspiration where ideas collide in your head and produce spectacular fireworks. But remember you don’t need to wait for those times. You can create any day, every day.

Michelle MachBio
Michelle Mach is a writer, editor, and jewelry designer in Colorado. Her jewelry designs have appeared in numerous magazines, including Stringing, Bead Trends, Easy Wire, and many others. Her essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in nearly a dozen anthologies, including The Ultimate Teacher and Classic Christmas. Visit her blog at http://www.michellemach.com/blog and her Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/michellemach

Creative Spotlight: Destiny Allison, Artist and Author–Guest Post and Book Launch Announcement

Destinyl__3964Today I welcome metal sculpture artist and author Destiny Allison. I first “met” Destiny while managing a WOW Blog Tour for her memoir, Shaping Destiny. Her book, and her sculptures, connected with me in a deep way. Destiny has recently finished her first novel, Pipe Dreams. I’ll share more about that in a minute.

Destiny possesses a compelling “voice”; I find it strong, intelligent and poetic. To give you a taste of her writing I’ve invited her to share an essay about her own creative “awakening”.

Destiny Allison on embracing her creative spirit…

After I discovered my voice, I was quiet. No shout of joy or cartwheel whoop issued from my pressed lips. Hands on hips, eyes narrowed, I contemplated the tiny, regal figure who had freed me. Her brown skin, slick with my sweat, glistened in the morning light. She did not meet my eyes, care for my interest, or notice me at all. Instead, her gaze was to the horizon, focused on something I couldn’t see.

I hungered after her, oblivious to the demands of happy children sticky with juice. Ignoring dishes, spilled cheerios on the breakfast table, and the guttural snores of a sleeping husband, I stroked her hair with a fingertip, pushed my nail deep into the line between her lips, and cemented her expression. She did not mind the pain I inflicted or acknowledge the ache she had kindled in me. I added a bit of clay to her arm, defining and strengthening. Then she looked wrong, unbalanced, and artificial. I tweaked, smoothed, and adored until I destroyed her, my image of who I wanted to be.

I pushed her away, furious with myself, and turned my attention to my youngest. Runny nosed and crying, he had tripped chasing his brothers. I pulled him into my arms, rocking, and as I did my eyes drifted toward the horizon. It shimmered, taunting me with hope, possibility, and dreams.

When my child’s sobs ceased, I set him down and picked up my ruined sculpture. Somewhere in that soft, awkward form was my future. A tiny hand grabbed my leg, but I was intent. He tugged again, asking for a drink. I sighed, stepped into the kitchen, and handed him his cup. Then, for the first time and without regret, I said, “Go play, sweetheart. Mommy’s working.”

Coming June 3rd–Pipe Dreams, A novel by Destiny Allison Pipe_Dreams_preview.1

Destiny’s first novel is a fast-paced dystopian sci-fi made all the more horrifying by the feeling that this scenario could very well happen at any given time. If you like The Handmaid’s Tale you’ll love Pipe Dreams. Here is the author’s description:

Beneath the park bench, a young girl cries for help, her voice a cold hand on Vanessa’s throat. Bruised and ravaged, the naked girl is Vanessa’s mirror twin, but compassion for the Fallen won’t be forgiven. “Please,” the girl whispers. In the empty square, a piece of trash tumbles. A bird settles in a tree. Then there is silence. No voice, no wind, no movement. It’s as if the world is waiting.

Vanessa’s hesitation is her undoing. Unbeknownst to her, Lewis seeks his revenge. The virus, originally developed to save mankind from itself, will be his tool. Once airborne, it will create a slave race and retribution will be his. Vanessa is the symbol of everything he hates. She will be his unwitting pawn. Haunted by her thick, auburn hair, serious eyes, and mocking laughter, Lewis is determined to quiet her once and for all.

As his plan unfolds, Vanessa is forced to flee. Escaping through the sewer, she finds love, heartbreak, and the red beam of a gun sight dancing on the slick, black wall. In the deep dark of the foul pipe, Vanessa also discovers she has been betrayed. That’s when she learns Texas is real.

One reviewer stated, “Pipe Dreams is a dystopian novel set in the near future. If gene splicing could merge Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Collins, the resulting author might write this book.”

To download the first two parts FREE, and get updates on the full release, sign up for the mailing list.

TO PREORDER THE PAPERBACK VERSION OF PIPE DREAMS, CLICK HERE.

Destiny is “paying it forward” by donating 25% of her first month’s sales towards another artist’s goals. Visit her blog for more details.

Rediscovering Creativity with Linda Neas

Have you ever felt stuck?

The feeling of “stuck” can grab you in any area of your life from writer’s block and lack of inspiration to stress cycles or financial burdens. In essence, you need a doorway into a new experience—a new way of approaching the situation. But where do you begin?

Please welcome today’s guest, Linda Rhinehart Neas. Linda is an author, poet, educator, healer, and compassionate soul who is here sharing her wisdom …and a gift! Yes, a free gift! We’ll come back to that. First, Linda has a few words to share on being creative.

Linda Neas You ARE Creative:  Rediscovering Creativity

by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

When I began giving workshops on Rediscovering Creativity, I began the first session with this wonderful reading From On Wings of Light: Meditations for Awakening to the Source by Joan Borysenko, PhD and Joan Drescher.

“Once upon a time love erupted with a mighty roar. A ball of living, breathing light exploded into a universe of fire and ice, suns and moons, plants and animals, you and me. Since that first moment, love has known itself and expanded itself through us. Our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, our dissolution in night’s soft womb and re-creation in the morning’s song are reflections of the divine love that plays its infinite melodies on the tender strings of our hearts. The notes of anguish, exultation and anger delight, pain and grace unite in a sacred harmony when we remember that behind all appearances beyond the illusion of separateness…We are One!

“In that remembering we can rejoice in our divine birthright as children of loves’ first light. Come and let us remember together…”

Let us remember! You see, we are and always have been creative beings, especially women. However, somewhere along the line in our lives, we have been told that we didn’t do it good enough, or that creating things was a waste of time, or we weren’t smart enough, or even the most popular statement, we should get a real job. All of these comments, whether said in an off-handed manner or as a direct command, crippled our ability to see ourselves as creative.

The good news is that we can still create. We don’t have to be gifted, or rich or anything else. We simply must want to make something. But, where to begin?

In my workshop, I have students look at all the aspects of their lives. I explain that there are hundreds of ways to be creative each day. Usually, as we go through the list, participants realize that they had been creative all along; they just didn’t recognize their creative selves.

Once students have reviewed the various aspects of their lives, I encourage them to pick one aspect and try something new. For instance, if they want to work on their emotional self, they might decide to keep a journal. By writing something every day, even if it is only one word to describe how you feel, a journal helps to heal and focus our emotions.

The workbook that I created, which you are able to download as a free PDF, will help you find where YOU are creative. I would suggest reading it slowly, taking time to reflect on each aspect of your life.

Remember, we are our own worst critics. Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself to fail. If something doesn’t work, think of something different or try doing whatever it is you are doing a different way. I couldn’t learn to crochet holding the needle the “traditional” way–between your thumb and pointer. I taught myself, finally, holding the needle in my fist. Looks strange, but I can crochet for hours.

May you find your creative self and may you be filled with the joy of creating! Namasté!

About Linda: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas is an educator/writer/poet. She has two books, Winter of the Soul, (2008) and Gogo’s Dream: Discovering Swaziland, (2010). On January 1, 2013, her story, “The Angel in the Bright Green Jacket,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. She teaches English as a Second language, writing and poetry throughout New England. Ms. Neas lives in an enchanted cottage with her beloved husband, where she gains great insight and inspiration from her four daughters and six grandchildren. Visit her blog at: Words from the Heart.

Free Gift! Whole Person Creativity Model book

Every person leaving a comment on this post will receive Linda’s free downloadable 13-page Wellness Workbook: Whole Person Creativity. This workbook is a “tool to stimulate your creative spirit” by guiding you in balancing the various aspects of your life.

To receive your copy, simply comment on this post by May 15, 2013  Enjoy!

Creative Spotlight: The Award Winning Poetry of Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball

There are different types of poetry. There is the kind that paints a pretty image, and then there’s the kind that causes pause and ponder. I love the latter kind. For me, poetry offers respite, and good poetry marries my heart to my mind.

Magdalena and Carolyn write beautiful poetry—the type of poetry you’ll want to slowly savor…and then share with others. I recently read, and am re-reading, Sublime Planet. This is just one book from their Celebration series. After savoring just a few of these poems I knew you would want to meet these amazing ladies! Please enjoy the following interview and poetry samples.

Hello Carolyn and Magdalena, welcome to Museiddity!

To begin…I’m interested to hear about what place poetry holds in your life. How has writing poetry influenced your life, your outlook on life, or your sense of self?

Carolyn: I love poetry. It’s everywhere in my life. On signs I pass when I’m driving. On scraps of paper floating around my desk. It shows up in my fiction and—yes!—sometimes even in my nonfiction.

Magdalena: I’ve been writing (and reading) poetry for as long as I’ve been reading (say, around 4 y/o), so it has been a key part of how I look at the world, how I view myself and how I communicate with others.  I try, wherever possible, to look at my own life and the world in which I live in a poetic way – that means the use of symbolism, metaphor, and trying to keep my perspective fresh and novel.  I think I’m definitely a poet first as a writer, and that my fiction will grow, sometimes painfully, around my poetry.

You are both strong, successful, award-winning writers on your own. How did you come about collaborating on the Celebration series?

Carolyn: I’ll like to speak to this one because it will save Magdalena from bragging about her own site. My first chapbook of poetry was published by Finishing Line Press and I requested a review of it from Magdalena’s highly respected book review site The Compulsive Reader (http://CompulsiveReader.com/html). I was grateful that she said yes and I did my usual thank yous (part of any great marketing campaign—maybe even more important for poets!) and then more or less forgot about it. There is always so much to do! Then my poetry chapbook “Tracings” (http://budurl.com/carolynstracings) was listed on The Compulsive Reader’s 10 Best Reads List for the year. That set my little marketing brain to work. I realized I needed to know a whole lot more about this talented writer and business woman who lived a hemisphere away from me. Her name is Magdalena Ball and, I’m proud to say, we now have coauthored five chapbooks and one full book of poetry together. And we’re working on our next—also a full book. This one will have poems about (or inspired by) food.

This question also gives me the opportunity to say that, though many caution against the pitfalls of coauthoring (and I tend to agree!), I found the perfect partner in Magdalena. Our literary tastes are very similar, but our poetry is different enough to offer a reader variety. But mostly, she is an angel to work with.

Magdalena:  I’ve been migrating The Compulsive Reader to a new platform and have had to hand set up each review, so I was reminded of the first review I did for Carolyn, otherwise I might not have even remembered how we met.  It felt like serendipity.  Somehow we’ve always managed to support one another, promoting in concurrent, effective ways, and critiquing each other’s work.  Working together has had so many benefits, not least of which has been egging each other on to finish our projects (mostly Carolyn egging me on!).

In an attempt to describe your poetry I find myself using the words “intelligent” and “thought provoking.” How would you describe your poetry?

Carolyn: Absolutely. “Intelligent” and “Thought-provoking.”  May I use that quote in my media kit? LOL.  Magdalena?

Magdalena:  Who am I to argue?  Of course we’re always aiming towards provoking thought, but maybe more than that too.  In “Man Carrying Thing”, Wallace Stevens said “The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully.” I like this idea of the poem and the reader working in sync with each reading towards a new shared sense of meaning, of perspective, of connection. That sense of the poem’s individual performance each time it’s read is something that excites me.

Yes! Each reading reveals a new facet, because the reader is in a different place.

Your most recent collaborative work is Sublime Planet. You mentioned that the proceeds go to World Wildlife Fund; can you share more on that?

Carolyn: We wrote this book to celebrate Earth Day. We already had books celebrating everything from Valentine’s to Christmas but celebrating Earth Day seems like a commitment to something larger. We thought about it for a bit and decided that we wanted an organization that most readers would feel comfortable supporting—indeed that they would want to help support.  But we also wanted something that would have worldwide appeal because the authors (that would be Magdalena and me) came from such different parts of the world. Our diversity is part of what makes this book on Earth and the Universe so special.

Magdalena:  We decided, right from the start of this book, that we would find an ecological charity and donate our profits.  Initially we thought it might be a proportion, but poetry isn’t known for being super-lucrative, so in the end we decided to donate 100%.  I suspect it may end up being more like 150%, but either way, the idea of using our writing to actually help a real live ecological charity, and WWF was a global one that we both felt good about, was something that felt absolutely right.

I want to thank you for that. By the time you add in the costs involved with publication, etc… this is a very generous donation to a respected, worthwhile, and much needed organization.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share a couple of my favorite poems from Sublime Planet: Transparent Love Song by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and The Immeasurable Sea and the Boundless Earth by Magdalena Ball.

Transparent Love Song By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

The amazing glass frog shows her eggs,

innards, and what she had to eat

that day to fellow Venezuelans

and anyone else who cares to look.

The barreleye fish her brains

to those who swim in deep dark

waters to find her. Down in Antarctica’s

ocean depths the crocodile icefish

has an oyster-white heart—not red—

a secret she does not mind sharing

with passersby. Somewhere in a valley

of a deepsea mountain range lives Phronima

whose invisibility protects her from diners

with a taste for the exotic, but not from scientists

who found her anyway, and out Hawaii

way a transparent larval shrimp hooks

a symbiotic ride

with a see-through jellyfish. The glass

squid lives down under, invisible

to passing whales and goblin sharks,

and—when that doesn’t work—rolls

herself into a ball hedgehog style.

A laboratory-designed zebra fish

willing to let scientists watch her cancers

grow, the glasswing butterfly reveals

only flowers beneath her wings. You, my dear,

the one who lives in my own domain

opaque

because, as they say,

Men are from Mars.

The Immeasurable Sea and the Boundless Earth by Magdalena Ball

A knife’s edge boundary

you can’t cross

no matter how loud

your song pressing

boundless earth.

It isn’t really the bountiful, beautiful

Earth you want

not the ocean rich

with mysterious kelp

you’d like to cross.

There’s nothing you’ll find

in your ragged quest

for life

digging dirty fingernails

against pica hunger.

Nothing there

in the uncharted horizon

your life spent mapping

dizzy with knowledge

and misunderstanding

you don’t already know.

Thank you, Carolyn and Magdalena, for visiting with us today and allowing me to reprint two of your marvelous poems.

The Celebration Series by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers both greeting card alternatives (at a greeting card price) and gift alternatives for holidays–using poetry. Carolyn says, “We think of it as a way to popularize/commercialize “real” poetry.”

Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) will soon be here and these books are perfect little tuck-in gifts!

Following ate the titles included in the series so far are. All are available as paperback and e-books.

clip_image002She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood (http://budurl.com/MotherChapbook)

 

Cherished Pulse: Love Poetry for the Rational
(http://budurl.com/CherishedPulse) clip_image004

 

clip_image006Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions

(http://budurl.com/Imagining )

 

Deeper into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity

(http://budurl.com/DeeperPond) clip_image009

 

clip_image008Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
(http://budurl.com/BloomingRed)

 

 

And, of course, Sublime Planet in celebration of the Earth and Universe

(http://amzn.to/SublimePlanet) clip_image011

To hear Magdalena read the title poem: http://magdalenaball.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SublimePlanet.mp3

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson  Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s several careers prepared her for promoting her own books and those of others. She was the youngest person ever hired as a staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune—“A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper”—where she wrote features for the society page and a column under the name of Debra Paige.

Later, in New York, she was an editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping Magazine. She also handled accounts for fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert who instituted the first Ten Best Dressed List. There she moved from reading effective media releases (then called press releases) to writing them for celebrity designers of the day including Pauline Trigere, Rudy Gernreich, and Christian Dior, and producing photo shoots for Lambert’s clients.

Carolyn’s experience in journalism and as a poet and author of fiction and nonfiction helped the multi award-winning author understand how different genres can be marketed more effectively. She has been an instructor for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program since 2003 and has studied writing at Cambridge University, United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University in Prague.

She turned her knowledge toward helping other writers with her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Her marketing campaign for the second book in that series, The Frugal Editor won the New Generation Indie Best Book Award. You can connect with Carolyn at her website.

Magdalena Ball  Magdalena Ball is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagine the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at www.magdalenaball.com.

What is your favorite poem? Share your thoughts with us!