Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Upcoming Tiferet Talk with William Kenower

In celebration of my upcoming Tiferet Talk with William Kenower next Monday, 6/3/13, at 7 PM EST, I'd like to share a recent blog post of his. But first, allow me to introduce him to those of you who may not already be familiar with his work. Kenower is the author of Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion and Editor-in-Chief of Author magazine, an online magazine for writers and dedicated readers. He writes a popular daily blog for the magazine about the intersection of writing and our daily lives, and has interviewed hundreds of writers of every genre. He also hosts the online radio program Author2Author where every week he and a different guest discuss the books we write and the lives we lead. 

Write Within Yourself is getting great reviews! Two of my favorites blurbs are below:

"This is a book you'll want to keep on your nightstand or desk, always available, ready to inspire you."                         
                                             -- Erica Bauermeister 

"These stories and essays can't help but land in the heart of the reader." 
                                               -- Laura Munson 

And, now, for the post:

What Isn’t There
by William Kenower

During my brief tenure at Concord Films, B Movie King Roger Corman’s small but profitable film company, I had one opportunity to get close to the great one himself. His personal assistant needed two hours for a doctor’s appointment, and I was recruited to man the desk. It was my Big Chance. Corman and I would fall to chatting, and being an insightful, streetwise Hollywood mogul, he would spot my intelligence and moxie—and the rest would be history.

It turns out my job was to sit at a desk ten feet from his closed door and answer the phone. The assistant whose job I was filling explained to me that unless the person on the other end of the line was one of Mr. Corman’s children, I was to apologetically inform the caller that Mr. Corman was “in a meeting.”
For two hours I answered call after call, apologized for Mr. Corman’s indisposedness, and recorded the callers’ names and numbers in a kind of ledger I suspected would never be read. I felt as if I had been recruited into the role of soulless gatekeeper in a Kafkaesque drama. The assistant returned from the doctor and reclaimed her chair. Corman’s door remained closed.

Years later I was flipping through my son’s copy of Top 100 Horror Movies, whose forward, lo and behold, had been written by Corman, who waxed nostalgic for the days when filmmakers were forced to frighten their audiences with what wasn’t there. “It’s [the audience’s] imagination that does the heavy-lifting,” he wrote, “not some digital effects house in Hollywood.”

I have to agree with my old boss. We always frighten ourselves in this way—filling in the details of an unwritten future with nightmares we dream today. When the nightmares don’t come true, we usually forget we ever dreamed them.

I can’t think of Corman without seeing that closed door. Like so many executives, editors, and agents, he can easily become one of those monsters hiding in the shadows of his early films, a cold closed door of a soul, uninterested in the aspirations of new talent—not a busy man, hoping for a call from his children.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Six Weeks to Yehidah Wins 2013 International Book Award for Children's Fiction

I'm thrilled to announce that Six Weeks to Yehidah won the 2013 International Book Award for the Children's Fiction category. This is the 5th seal for this book. I'm humbled, honored, and feeling the need to put my nose back to the grindstone for the next book. Thanks to all you wonderful people who have been so supportive of me, especially my publishers, Phil and Deb at All Things That Matter Press!

In other author news, The Tiferet Talk Interviews is on blog tour and is receiving wonderful reviews. My two favorites so far are from Christine Bissonnette at The Positivity Project and Janet Boyer at Fizz of Ideas. Huge thanks to both of them for the extensive time and care they obviously put into the reviews.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Release and Audio Release

I have a few exciting author updates this week. First, The Tiferet Talk Interviews, a collection from my first year with Tiferet Talk, has been released by Tiferet Press. The Tiferet Talk Interviews contains thought-provoking and inspiring interviews with literary and spiritual luminaries, such as former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Guggenhiem President Edward Hirsch, author and medical pioneer Dr. Bernie Siegel, and creativity guru Julia Cameron. These wonderful authors share insights about writing, craft, spirituality, and more. You can watch the Tiferet Facebook Page for news of upcoming online release parties and other related events. 

As well, I have recently learned that my wonderful publisher for the Yehidah books, All Things That Matter Press, has contracted with a producer to release an audio version of Six Weeks to Yehidah. The audio book is due for release mid-summer. As new developments arise, I'll continue to post more news.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Mnemosyne Monthly: Poem Forty-Four (Evening Chant) and TIferet Talk with Natalie Goldberg

Photo by Kevin Moul

Tomorrow I will have the great fortune of speaking with author, poet, teacher, and painter, Natalie Goldberg about her forthcoming book, The True Secret of Writing for Tiferet Talk. Goldberg is the author of the seminal writing books Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind, Thunder & Lightning, and Old Friend from Far Away, which, together with her life-changing workshops, have rent open the landscape of creativity and inspired a revolution in the practice of writing in this country. Goldberg’s own gorgeous creative works include the novel Banana Rose; the memoirs Long Quiet Highway and The Great Failure; and the painting and poetry books Living Color, Top of My Lungs, and Chicken & In Love. 

Goldberg’s books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and her extraordinary teaching methods have drawn students from across the globe. The True Secret of Writing, due for release 3/19/13, is the capstone to four decades of Goldberg’s teachings and reveals newly-developed methods not found in Goldberg’s previous books.

Of The True Secret of Writing, Noah Levine states, “Natalie Goldberg has done the unthinkable, she has shared the secret teaching. The buddhas of time immemorial are rejoicing and the literary bodhisattvas are smiling in silent approval. Read this book, then write a revolutionary manifesto!” 

In celebration of this interview, I'd like to do something a little different with Mnemosyne this month and memorize a chant instead of a poem. Mnemosyne started because I was so in love with certain poems that I wanted to bring them into my breath and being. I wanted to feel them in the beats of my heart. I feel the same way about this chant, "Evening chant," which is a traditional opening for mediation sessions and which has many variations. I like Goldberg's version the best of any I've heard, because it is more immediate and visceral than the others.  


I beg to urge you everyone:
Life and death are a Great Matter
Awaken, awaken, awaken
Time passes quickly
Do not waste this precious life

(Natalie Goldberg's version of the Evening Chant, written on the wooden han)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tiferet Talk with Julie Maloney

This upcoming Monday, 2/25/13 at 7 PM EST, 6 PM Central, I'll have the pleasure of interviewing writer and writing teacher, Julie Maloney for Tiferet Talk. Maloney’s first poetry collection, Private Landscapewas published in 2007, and in 2003 she founded Women Reading Aloud, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women writers through special events and workshops. Maloney is a trained workshop leader in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, an organization whose philosophy is that “every person is a writer, and every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn, and develop craft.” Maloney’s teachings focus on what she calls the 3-in-1 principle, which asserts the equal value of the writer, the reader, and the listener. “Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other,” Maloney says.
Of Maloney’s first collection, Poet and Barnard University Lecturer Charlotte Mandel states, “Julie Maloney's poems in her collection - Private Landscape - move with the exquisite grace of her abilities as a dancer and choreographer. Dream narratives sing in delicate imagery. Pain of cancer is here, honestly revealed and transcended; love is here, in its greatest giving. There is not a trace of easy sentimentality. This is a collection to remember, at once personal and universal.”
As well, Maloney, has been kind enough to share one of her new poems with us below. Enjoy!


Darkness seeps over the walls,
slides across my mouth and
silences my wail.  Inside the palm
of my hand lays a dead emergency button.
Broken and unplugged, the button drags
me down inside a pool of piss.
Squeeze tight.  Squeeze tight.
Where do I put my pee?
No one to hear me, no where
to drain the neglected vessel.
I fantasize letting it all run down
my legs onto the clean sheets.
Relief sends a shiver up my body. 
“Yes, do it,” a voice says.  “Let it go.”
I stare down the pain of being full.
Focus on the steady contraction
of a bladder bulging into ferocity.
I call on my resolve and wait 
through the night without a clock
to tell me how long I have lived.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Mnemosyne Monthly: Poem Forty-Three (Shikibu)

Izumi Shikibu

This month's Mnemosyne poem, by Izumi Shikibu, comes from The Ink Dark Moon and is translated by Jane Hirshfield, who I will interview this upcoming summer for Tiferet Talk. If you're not familiar with her work, Izumi Shikibu is a mid Heian period Japanese poet and a member of the Thirty-six Medieval Poetry Immortals--a group of Japanese poets chosen by Fujiwara no Kintō as models of Japanese poetic ability. Because of her numerous affairs and marriages and the passionate nature of her writings, Izumi Shikibu became known as The Floating Lady. Enjoy ...

                                                   In this world
                                                   love has no color
                                                   yet how deeply my body 
                                                   is stained by yours.

                                                   --by Izumi Shikibu

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Montgomery County Book Festival and Inteview

I'm thrilled to be hosting the Tweens Read Too Panel at the Montgomery County Book Festival. Here's an interview with me at the festival blog site: Melissa Studdard's Interview. For the panel, I'll be interviewing the authors listed below, and all of us will be signing books and book plates between sessions. Hope to see some of you there!

Kimberley Griffiths Little is the critically acclaimed author of the Southwest Book Award, Winner of the Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel of 2010, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011, Crystal Kit Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist. Her books have sold several hundred thousand copies in the Scholastic Book Fairs and have been chosen for many state reading lists. She lives on a dirt road in a small town by the Rio Grande with her husband, a robotics engineer, and their three sons. Kimberley is a favorite speaker at schools around the country, presenting "The Creative Diary," a highly successful writing workshop and has also been a keynote speaker at various conferences. She is a co-founder of SPELLBINDERS, a national newsletter for Educators and Librarians to create life-long readers. Learn more about her at her website.

Nikki Loftin lives with her Scottish photographer husband just outside Austin, Texas, surrounded by dogs, chickens, and small, loud boys. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, is available now! You can visit her online at or at twitter: @nikkiloftin or Facebook at Splendid Academy. The website for the book is

Bethany Hegedus is a well-published author and owner of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat and workshop space in Austin, Texas. Her award-winning books include Truth with a Capital T (Delacorte/Random House) and Between Us Baxters (WestSide Books). Forthcoming from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster is the picture book Grandfather Gandhi, co-authored with Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma. Bethany has served as the Hunger Mountain Young Adult & Children’s Editor since the prestigious journal went online in 2009 and once worked at The Writers’ League of Texas as Office Manager. A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults, Bethany teaches privately and speaks across the country. She lives in a private home, with her husband and their dog, Toby, on the same 7.5 acres that The Writing Barn shares. Learn more about her at her website.

Jo Whittemore is the author of the tween humor novels, Front Page Face-Off, Odd Girl In, and D is for Drama, as well as The Silverskin Legacy fantasy trilogy. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and is one of the founding members of The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels. Jo has also written for, and been featured in, newspapers and national magazines. When she isn't writing, Jo spends her time with family and friends in Austin, dreaming of the day she can afford a chocolate house with toffee furniture. Discover more about Jo Whittemore at her website.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Tiferet Talk Schedule

Hip Hip Hooray! The first Tiferet Talk interview of 2013 is tonight at 7 PM, and I'm excited to also share the schedule for the year: 

                                    Judith Hanson Lasater 1/28, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Julie Maloney 2/25, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Natalie Goldberg 3/17 or 3/25/13, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Jim Hanson 4/29, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Molly Peacock 5/20, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Jane Hirshfield 6/17, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Doug Anderson 7/29, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Ann Hood 8/19, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Andrea Polard 9/30, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Alfred Corn 10/21, 1:-1:30 PM EST
                                    Helene Cardona and John FitzGerald 11/25, 7 - 7:30 pm EST
                                    Kanta Bosniak 12/16/13, 7 - 7:30 pm EST

For more information about the talks or to subscribe to the journal, please go to:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Judith Hanson Lasater on Making Peace with the Present Moment

Judith Hanson Lasater with B. K. S. Iyengar

On  Monday, 1/28/13, from 7-7:30 PM EST, 6-6:30 PM CST, for Tiferet Talk, I will have the honor of speaking with writer, yoga instructor, psychologist, and physical therapist Judith Hanson Lasater about how to live your yoga and other vital topics. Lasater, who has been teaching yoga since 1971 and is the president of the California Yoga Teachers' Association, is a founder of both the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco and Yoga Journal magazine. As well, Lasater is the author of many books, including What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication (with Ike Lasater, 2009), Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life (1999), A Year of Living Your Yoga (2006), and Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times (1995), all published by Rodmell Press

In praise of Lasater, Patricia Walden states, “Judith Lasater presents timeless wisdom with clarity and insight. She is a well-seasoned yogini, who writes from personal experience on how to use the events of daily life as yoga poses for the mind and heart.”

Erich Schiffmann states: "Yes! Living Your Yoga is what it's all about. Here is a clear and friendly book that will help anyone embody the wisdom of yoga by consciously bringing it into daily life. The exercises are fun. They can help you learn how to do yoga all the time—now and now and now—when you are in the yoga room and when you are not. Take this book to heart."

Below, you will find some words of wisdom that Judith was kind enough to share from her blog, as well as a link to the show. The link will become active once the show goes live on Monday.

Make Peace with the Present Moment
by Judith Hanson Lasater

Too often our mental process is to judge ourselves for what we are thinking or feeling. A thought arises and our inner dialogue says something like, “Oh, I shouldn’t be thinking that” or “How can I be thinking/feeling that when I am a yoga student, teacher or meditator?”

Then we react to those judgments with even more judgments for judging, and we are caught in a repeating pattern from hell.

A practice I have been enjoying for some months now is to “make peace with the present moment.” That means that when thoughts arise followed by thoughts of judgment I tell myself that the whole process is part of my practice: the original thoughts and the secondary or following thoughts as well. I do this by saying to myself, “how human of me to have a thought of X.” This helps so much when I look at the behavior of others as well.

When I say silently to myself, “How human of him to act/react with anger or fear or disappointment” then there is a space for compassion to arise in me. And I like how that feels. Then I am at peace with the present moment.

Copyright 2013 by Judith Hanson Lasater. Reprinted with permission.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Mnemosyne Monthly: Poem Forty-Two (Doolittle)

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)

As noted last week, The Mnemosyne Weekly has now become The Mnemosyne Monthly, and we're moving right along to the forty-second poem. What a joy it's been to carry these poems around through my days, pulling them deeper and deeper into my being until they reside among the internal resources I can call on for wisdom and beauty. With the new monthly format, I'm looking forward to even greater intimacy with the poems.

This week's poet, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) was recommended to me by my friend R Jeffreys of The Write Step. I've been somewhat familiar with H.D.'s work in anthologies, but this past weekend I sat down and read my first full H.D. collection, the salty, blossoming Sea Garden, from which I selected this beautiful poem, "Orchard." 



By H. D.

I saw the first pear
As it fell --
The honey-seeking, golden-banded,
The yellow swarm
Was not more fleet than I,
(Spare us from loveliness)
And I fell prostrate
You have flayed us
With your blossoms,
Spare us the beauty
Of fruit-trees.

The honey-seeking
Paused not,
The air thundered their song,
And I alone was prostrate.

O rough-hewn
God of the orchard,
I bring you an offering --
Do you, alone unbeautiful,
Son of the god,
Spare us from loveliness:

These fallen hazel-nuts,
Stripped late of their green sheaths,
Grapes, red-purple,
Their berries
Dripping with wine,
Pomegranates already broken,
And shrunken figs
And quinces untouched,
I bring you as offering.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Changes for the New Year

Alex Rio Brazil

Happy 2013 everyone! I was talking to a dear friend on the phone the other day, and he commented that I'd never even mentioned here at Bareback Alchemy that my story "Terminal" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Hoot & Hare Review. It made me wonder what other author news I may have neglected. So in 2013, I resolve to be more frequent with my updates. Another change for the upcoming year is that The Mnemosyne Weekly will become the Mnemosyne Monthly to allow for more variety in the blog posts. You can look for the Mnemosyne Posts towards the beginning of the month, starting with January's post next week. Additionally, I plan to post more about inspiration, upcoming Tiferet Talks, and other exciting writerly topics. Please stay tuned for more later, and have a wonderful week!