MOOC 4: Breaking It Up

Last week’s assignment was to take the pantuom we wrote earlier, and now cut it up, break it apart and get experimental. I love this quote from the class:

Pablo Picasso once stated, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” A writer is an artist with words, crafting entire universes and histories onto the page with the stroke of a keyboard or a pen.

I took my last assignment, Peace of Paper, and went after it with my cursor with vengeance. I have grown to like murdering my own words. It’s payback for all the sleepless nights they cause.

After I finished my Dexteresque dissection, I put the poem back Frankenstein style—a bit of this attached to a bit of that.

I dug deep into the graves in my mind for material and stitched it all together into a monstrosity I call Just In Case. Click it to read it full size.

I think you can still join this Massive Open Online Course. We are in week #5 and the deadline for submission is Sept. 5. Plenty of time!

You can read the rest of my MOOC assignments here:

MOOC 1: Unfelt Flames of Kate Leone

MOOC 2: The Match

MOOC 3: A Trio of Pantuoms














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Poetry Exploration 1 ONLINE Now Open

I’ve had quite a few requests to offer some of my classes online for those that aren’t in the local area. I’m happy to announce that I have signed on with CourseCraft and will be offering the Business of Creativity and Writing as Therapy online soon.

My first class, Poetry Explorations 1, is up and available now. Part one of four 13 week classes, you will learn about different types of poetry and how to write them.

Understanding the various elements of poetry gives us the tools to create better work. Once the rules are understood and mastered, they can be broken and reforged.

Available now, this ongoing class costs $33. Sign up is through CourseCraft.

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Haiku Shape Poems

Something I’ve been playing with today… using haiku for shape poems:

Shape poems are a type of poetry that describes an object and is shaped the same as the object the poem is describing. You could write your shape poem on anything. The text of the above poem reads:



You can do multiple colors for a different effect:

The text on this one reads:




For me, haiku seems perfect for this kind of shape poem. It’s simple but heavy with imagery. Here’s another:

And the text:



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Typewriter Tech

I bought a vintage Webster manual typewriter the other day. I’d had my eye out for one on a good deal ever since watching A Place of Truth about Abi Mott, a wandering poet that writes poems for tips. I didn’t think I’d actually enjoy writing on it, but I thought it would make a good performance prop. Today I opened it up and fiddled with it.

At first I couldn’t imagine using it for writing. This little Webster is cute, but I really had to slam the keys down to get it to write. I set it out on the picnic table outside and asked Mr. Smith to give me a topic for a poem on demand. In the middle of changing the RV’s water filter, he suggested “filtered water.”

I started typing, slamming keys down, creating a poem. The sun was setting, and a dragonfly swooped me, pausing for a moment on the Webster to watch. My fingers didn’t glide across the keys like on my computer, but there was something alluring in the feeling that I was building a poem physically. By the poem’s end, I was feeling fond of the clunky way of writing. I gave him his poem, on actual paper, the only copy in the world.

I doubt I’ll ever be writing a book on “Webster,” but I can see bringing him along to book signings. I love the idea of poetry as an interactive effort between reader and writer. I want to come up with a series of poems created in different environments, inspired by a variety of people.

Who knows where Webster and I might go? All I know for now is I like him a lot more than I thought I would.

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Bitter Suites is Finished!

I just finished the last chapter of The Bitter Suites, my book about a hotel that specializes in recreational suicide experiences. A novella, at 23,833 words, the story follows some of the death experiences before following a few characters in particular.

Azreal is the owner with honey tipped lashes that prefers a hands on approach to hotel management. Killian and Yoshiko are a couple of artists that create using opportunity as their medium of choice. Then there’s the unnamed “pop guy,” a first person character that travels through the stories. The next two books in the series are already mapped out.

Book two will be Suite and Sour, where things are not going so well at the hotel. The nano tech that makes renewable death possible has been stolen and available on the black market without all the pesky regulations that usually hold death enthusiasts back. There are usually rules for a reason, however, and in this case breaking the rules breaks everything.

The third book will be Sweets to the Suite. Many people think of this as a romantic phrase, but it originated in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. In this scene, Hamlet’s mother, the queen, is scattering funereal bouquets over Ophelia’s grave. Here are her words:

Sweets to the sweet, farewell! I hop’d thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife: I thought thy bride-bed to have deck’d, sweet maid, And not have strew’d thy grave.

Hamlet Act 5, scene 1, 242–246

Knowing this, Sweets to the Suite is a perfect title for the third book in the series as it signals an end to Azreal’s project to better mankind. It heralds a finish to the Bitter Suites as it stands at the beginning of the story, but every end is really a beginning in disguise.

Now comes all the fun stuff—covers, editing, beta readers, editing, copy editing, promotion, preview readings, editing, book release party, editing… Bitter Suites will be release early in 2018. By the way, the first chapter of this book was my submission that got me accepted to Borderland’s Press Boot Camp.

Bitter Suites is available now, as serial chapters, on the free Radish app. The final chapter will go up this Friday.

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MOOC 3: A Trio of Pantuoms

Last week’s assignment:

Write a pantoum or a poem with strong meter. In this poem, address a cultural tradition. You can depict this tradition clearly, or you can try to give the reader a strong understanding of what it is without directly describing it. You can celebrate this tradition, or you can condemn it, but try to show the reader the fullness of this tradition: its beauty as well as its ugliness; its place in history as well as its present-day role.

My reaction to last week’s assignment (after figuring out what a pantuom was): WTF?!? At first glance, I decided I hated pantuoms. It made no sense to just chop up a verse or two and rearrange the pieces like a ransom note. But, knowing that I don’t know everything, I gave it a try with an open mind… and fell in love.

On my first try I thought pantuoms must rhyme, so this is my official assignment piece:


Then, after further study and a chat with John Reinhart, I realized pantuoms don’t have to rhyme. So I came up with this:

I had fallen in love with the pantuoms. It takes a fragment of thought and turns it into a surreal journey in verse. Pantuoms are the poetic equivalent of a Salvador Dalí painting—everything merges into a  split reality that that brings metaphor and immediateness together into a hyper realism. Then, I was given a prompt for the 2nd Tuesday Poetry and Music Jam open mic… space heater. This is the result.

What I have learned… pantuoms are wonderful vehicles for fragments of idea. I’m not alone with that thought. Did you know Neil Peart used the form for the lyrics of “The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum),” the fourth track on Rush’s 2007 album Snakes & Arrows, also released as a single.

I think you can still join this Massive Open Online Course. We are in week #4 and the deadline for submission is Sept. 5. Plenty of time!

You can read the rest of my MOOC assignments here:

MOOC 1: Unfelt Flames of Kate Leone

MOOC 2: The Match


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Meet, Greet & Eat with Arlene Karian

Arlene Karian is another one of the authors appearing at the upcoming Author Meet, Greet & Eat at Cafe Bienville on Aug. 19 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. If you are interested in meeting Arlene Karian, and 14 other local authors, stop by Cafe Bienville on August 19! You can find details on this and other local events on my calendar page. You can read about other local authors by clicking #ReadLocal.

Please introduce yourself and tell me about your book.
Arlene Karian—My name is Arlene Karian, and I live in Miramar Beach, Florida. My book (Mentoring Your Child to Win) chronicles my journey as a former divorced welfare Mom who discovered an original process enabling me to mentor my young son to eventually rise up to become a multi-millionaire before the age of 30, in an enterprise that also contributes to others.

In a parallel journey, I also was able to change my mindset and create an entirely different kind of life experience. This book, and the process I created will hopefully help others to live the best version of themselves, in a world that needs our contribution more than ever, to heal a serious spiritual deficit.

What inspired you to become a writer?
Arlene Karian—As a child, I was attracted to poetry, it that was my first love. As I grew and developed more abilities, I wanted to share them through the writing process. Now, as a Mentor and Transformational Life Coach, being able to articulate my messages through writing has been a true gift for me, as a pathway to share my message.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
Arlene Karian—Realizing and making the following transition: Though my book highlights my son’s success, it has been an enlightening process to write about my emergence from being a victim to becoming a Victor. And having this knowledge, and personally representing it in my life, the emergence through life-obstacles has been the healing message I want to bring to others.

What has been your biggest triumph?
Arlene Karian—To see the life my son and his family are enjoying as the result of the foundation he was given – in spite of my struggles. We have inside of us, all we need to become what we must. Sometimes it just takes a guide to unlock that treasure. I truly believe that I can provide that healing guidance to bring out the best in others. Also, to live the process I created, and present myself as a representation of it.

What do you hope to achieve with the Author Meet, Greet & Eat?
Arlene Karian—I hope to gain exposure that this work deserves and to offer my free talk to those venues that want to host it.

What is your advice to new writers?
Arlene Karian—Hang on. Record your thoughts, messages, ‘voice’, in whatever way you can – whenever, and there will come a time when you are ready to compile it and take the next step. When you have the clarity, the space to create it will open up in unforeseen ways.

Please include links to your social media and blogs so we can find you. / Arlene Karian @lifepath12 / Arlene Karian

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Meet, Greet & Eat with Terry Miles, Jr.

Terry Miles Jr. is another one of the authors appearing at the upcoming Author Meet, Greet & Eat at Cafe Bienville on Aug. 19 from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. If you are interested in meeting Terry Miles Jr., and 14 other local authors, stop by Cafe Bienville on August 19! You can find details on this and other local events on my calendar page. You can read about other local authors by clicking #ReadLocal.

Now, here’s Terry Miles Jr. to introduce himself and his book, Nautrame.

Terry Miles Jr.—My name is Terry Miles Jr. I am originally from Chicago, Illinois born into a military family. With my father Terry Sr., mother Lori Miles and brother Anthorny Miles, we were stationed in various places around the world from Germany to
Turkey, to New Mexico and eventually we came here to Florida. It has been our
home ever since.

My book is titled Nautrame. The title is taken from the two French words,
‘Nautrillic ame,’ meaning natural soul. It is an inspirational work of fiction based on
the book of Job in the Bible. It introduces the reader into a different world of
elements and hardship through the lens of a young girl named Ritan, who
suffered the loss of her family when she is young. However, thanks to the
kindness of a stranger, she revives her spirit to gain a spiritual gift of ‘White Fire.’

What inspired you to become a writer?
Terry Miles Jr.—Various inspirations came together for me from a desire to write fan-fiction for a game I used to play to a desire to pass an English coarse at a local college. But the biggest reason I was inspired to write this book was when I went on a fast
and during it read the book of Job during it.

I soon wrote down the verses I liked and jotted down some notes. Once I read them over, I started expanding on them. Notes became paragraphs, paragraphs became pages, and pages became chapters. Before I knew it, I had a bases of what I eventually have published now.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
Terry Miles Jr.—I have encountered various challenges from time management, to writers block, to knowing when to stop editing. But to me, the biggest one was following up on this book for a sequel. I have tried multiple times to come up with a sequel to this
book and it cost me years. I eventually stopped and took a break, working on other projects and coming up with other ideas before coming back to this work and now I have finally come up with a sequel.

What has been your biggest triumph?
Terry Miles Jr.—Aside from marrying my wife, I would say earning my masters in creative writing. I was the first in my immediate family to earn one and one of the first of my blood family to earn one.

What do you hope to achieve with the Author Meet, Eat & Greet?
Terry Miles Jr.—Gain experience in this passion, get my name out there and meet some more local people for this meet and greet.

What is your advice to new writers?
Terry Miles Jr.—Love what you are doing. And if you are discouraged thinking writing is a dead art, remember that someone had to write The Avengers. Even the movie Gone
with the Wind had to be rejected many times before it was brought in for publishing.

Please include links to your social media and blogs so we can find you.

To reach me myself:

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Sign Up for Creative Community Day

Calling all authors, artists, crafters and others of the creative persuasion!

Friend and fellow author Tami Kidd and I are planning a large scale Creative Community Day event at the SpaceBox Storage property in Niceville from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be two entertainment areas with performances by local musicians, martial arts demonstrations, animal adoptions, costume contests for kids and adults, an open mic event, Bloodmobile, food trucks and more. Children will be invited to trick-or-treat along our community promenade during the event.

Spots will be available for locals to showcase their creations, network within the community and sell their work. Vendors will need to provide their own tables, treats for kids and anything else they may need. Electricity, bathrooms and water will be available, courtesy of SpaceBox Storage, Niceville. Our local SpaceBox is generously allowing us to use their property for this event.

Please grab a ticket at the following links. Tickets to attend Creative Community Day are for organizational purposes only and will not be required for attendance.

Vendor spots will be first come, first served and tickets will be required to prove advance sign up.

RSVP for our first-ever Creative Community Day here:

Sign up for vendor spots here:


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From Soraya: Interview with Owen King

Soraya Murillo Hernandez

Another interview today from my friend, Soraya Murillo Hernandez, from Spain. Soraya speaks Spanish, and I only speak English, so our friendship has leaned heavily on technology and Google Translate.

She has sent me a dozen or more of these interviews she conducted in the past for me to reprint here. She has so many, incredible interviews, I’ve created a category for her work. You can find all Soraya’s interviews at From Soraya. Today, she shares her interview with Owen King.

It has been told about you that you have the ability to capture the macabre side of our daily lives. Do you think we have a good side too or is it that you prefer the negative part of human being? Why?

Owen King

Owen King—I’m attracted to characters who are flawed, who are deeply conflicted, who make mistakes. Which is to say, I like characters who are like real people. So that’s who I try to write about. And I’d say I’m in good company.

Whether we’re talking about great mainstream fiction – The Corrections, for instance – or classic fantasy fiction – The Hobbit, for instance – the characters that grab us certainly have their positive qualities, but they’re also distinctly imperfect.

You have written short tales and a short novel. Which one do you feel more comfortable during the writing process?

Owen King—Both forms are incredibly challenging. I’d say that, in either case, the key is finding the groove of the story – just the general way that narrative wants to be told. That’s often difficult. A concrete difference between the two forms is that novels tend to require a bit more research. That’s an extra burden, although I usually enjoy research.

In an interview I asked Jack Ketchum what was fear for him. He answered that for him was everything that you couldn’t control. What’s fear for you?

Owen King—His answer is an excellent one: that fear is lack of control. You don’t know what’s next, or what’s right, or who’s out there. Fear is also aloneness. It would be awfully scary to find yourself alone in this world.

You grew surrounded by horror, literally. How did that influence you when writing?

Owen King—I literally didn’t grow up surrounded by horror, though! There were no vampires in my childhood home; zombies never came groaning up from our basement. I grew up around people who made believe for a living. My parents went to their offices every day and did their work and that was it. That’s what influenced my writing: their dedication.

How is being your father’s son? Is it hard to catch your place under the shadow he casts?

Owen King—I can’t complain. Certainly there are expectations that some readers bring to my work, and some of them are disappointed that what I do doesn’t slot into the horror genre. That said, I do dabble in fantastical areas now and then. While my latest, the graphic novel Intro to Alien Invasion, is primarily satire, it also functions as a good old-fashioned science fiction adventure. But lots of readers who have come to my stuff as fans of my father’s work have been willing to give it a chance and I couldn’t be more appreciative. I’m very lucky.

As a son and brother of writers, have you ever considered the possibility of writing something in collaboration with one of them?

Owen King—Oh, for sure! I have, in fact, collaborated on a couple of different screenwriting projects with my brother. I hope we get to do that again at some point down the line. He has a wonderful sense of humor, a tremendous imagination, and a really devious knack for narrative. Joe’s just a pleasure to work with.

What are your present and future projects?

Owen King—I’m working on a couple of novels right now. One of them is a little bit stalled, but I still have high hopes for it. The other novel is flying right along. I’m also pushing forward on a handful of different tv/film projects.

Soraya Murillo Hernandez

From  Soraya Murillo Hernandez: I am an early reader, I started reading very soon and I was interested in terror, I liked to look for monsters and ghosts in the stories. Then I knew that the greatest terror came from humans. I am a book reviewer in Spain, I do it free to help its authors to know their works.

Soy una lectora precoz, comencé muy pronto a leer y me interese por el terror, me gustaba buscar monstruos y fantasmas en las historias. Luego supe que el mayor terror venia de los humanos . Soy reseñadora de libros en España, lo hago gratis para ayudar a sus autores a conocer sus obras.


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