Monday, May 14, 2012

RAOK BLITZ! and FABRIC, a review

The "Random Acts of Kindness" BLITZ! is below, but first, a flash review of an amazing new poetry collection FABRIC by Jessica Bell.

Jessica Bell
You might know Jessica from her blog, The Alliterative Allomorph (link). She's a gifted novelist, musician, and poet, and her new collection is so gorgeous.

It reads like a series of snapshots of important scenes from different lives.

Sometimes they're right when the thing happens, other times they're reflections. And then some are little stories told from a glance, like side-view images.

And it's extremely accessible, so don't think, "Oh. Poetry." (Trust me on this.)

My favorites are the ones that look back on a situation the speaker misunderstood, like in the poem "Mustard," where the speaker's nemesis is not what she seems. Powerful.

Personally, I tend to miss critical moments when they happen, and upon reflection, I realize how I really feel about them. Jessica can capture that beautifully in 500 words or less. Is that brilliance or what?

I planned to go through and highlight my favorite lines to share, but I ended up almost highlighting the whole book. Lines like:

"I hope prison treats you better than I did."
Get this. Stat!

"The gravel shines like clusters of black diamonds. It was summer. I wasn't afraid."

"You hold my hand as if holding heartache--careful."

Uhh! See what I'm saying? In one, Jessica uses a butter knife to trace a path, and in another she writes the same lines in and out--like the reflection on a lake ("Once"). And I just adored every word of "Spandex," and ... OK, this was supposed to be a flash review.

Seriously, if you only have one collection of poetry, this should be it.

It's like a tray of the best chocolate in the world sitting on your counter and any random moment, you can pick it up and read a poem and experience this amazing sensation. And it's only $1.99, so run get it!



Now, bring on the Random Acts of Kindness BLITZ! 

Angela and Becca (The Bookshelf Muse, link) are celebrating the release of their fantastic tool for writers, The Emotion Thesaurus (link). It's a guide to character expression--who doesn't need that?

But instead of telling everyone to go out and buy their book (which you must, link), they asked us to stir some emotions by randomly recognizing a fellow writer who's made our lives better. I picked five.

If you have a minute (or five), please click over and follow these guys. They. Are. Awesome!

Alina Klein
First, Alina Klein (Tip-Tap-Typing on the Lunatic Fringe, link). When I left Indy, I was a a new mom. When I returned to Indy last summer, I was a new author. So I decided to do what new authors do and connect with others like me.

I hooked up with the linkserv for the Indiana SCBWI, and up popped Alina. But in addition to emailing me information, she invited me to coffee, invited me to join her at a conference speaking to high school kids about writing, invited me to be a helper at the IN-SCBWI conference this weekend... She basically fast-tracked my connection goals.

She's an amazing novelist with a new book coming out (link), she's Asst. Regional Adviser for our SCBWI, she heads an "Empowerment Project" (link) for rape survivors, and she's a good friend.

Thank you, Alina! I'm so glad we met.

Second, I have the most awesome critique partners in Tami Hart Johnson (The Watery Tart, link) and Carolyn Snow Abiad (Serendipity, link). (Yes. Be jealous.)

The Watery Tart
These guys have been with me from almost the beginning. They've read my drafts, offered advice, held my hand when I had no clue what an agent wanted in a R&R request...

They've encouraged and reassured me every time I've lost it, but they've also done the virtual slap-slap-slap thing when I've been freaking out.

Thank you, Carolyn and Tami! Where would I be without you?

My newest critter, Susan K. Quinn (Inkspells, link) has been a supercool friend for a few years now. I reviewed her debut novel Life, Liberty & Pursuit (link), and from that, we got to know each other better and better.

Dr. Quinn
Dr. Q is very smart. She's a rocket scientist! And on top of all that, she happily gives away free, valuable advice for writers considering the leap to self-publishing. So if that's you, visit her site (link)!

Thank you, Susan! You are a great friend to me and to all writers.

Last but not least, I can't forget my writing partner Janet Johnson (Musings of a Children's Writer, link), the unofficial Clean Up Fairy.

If it weren't for her 30K in 30 Days challenge, I probably wouldn't have finished my book last month. She made me laugh every day, she cracked the whip, and she sent me a hacky sack. How great is that?

So big ((jugs)) to Janet. Thank you, CUF!

And all of YOU reading are wonderful friends who I value. If I hadn't reluctantly started blogging in 2010, I would've probably given up on this whole thing. So Thank You!

My five got little Amazon gift-card-happies, but Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you--so click on over to The Bookshelf Muse (link) and pick it up.

And please TELL ME about your special people in the comments section. Better still, tell THEM!

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends~ <3

51 comments:

Sarah said...

Man--Indiana seems to contain the *nicest* and most awesome writers. It kinda makes me want to move back, just to be part of it! And regarding FABRIC--that's quite an endorsement! I'll have to check it out!

SA Larsenッ said...

Amazing picks, Leigh! They are all wonderful people. ;D

Jessica Bell said...

Thank you so much for this, Leigh! You've highlight a really great bunch of writers there too. Special people? Er ... YOU. xoxo

Matthew MacNish said...

You had me until you started comparing it to chocolate.

Carole Anne Carr said...

So many special people and also in the blog world. Will follow your example.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Aw, thank you, Leigh! It's friends like you that make this writerly world an awesome place to be! (And I just got Jess's poetry collection!)

Creepy Query Girl said...

awe, all some of my favorite bloggers! Great ROAK post and yay for Jess!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great ROAK choices Leigh. And I'm so excited for Jessica.

Laura Pauling said...

What a great group to highlight! :)

Carolyn Abiad said...

Thank you! I got your RAOK email this morning, and I was wondering what happened to your spell check. Now I understand. :)

And I'm so glad you're getting so much out of SCBWI! I'm going to check her blog out right now.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great choices for your RAOK!

Janet Johnson said...

You, friend, are awesome! Okay, ROFL . . . (((jugs))) . . . it never gets old!

Thank you, thank you. You've warmed my little heart to no end. :D

Janet Johnson said...

Ah! I forgot to mention my special people. You would have been on my list. Amy Sonnichsen over at Green Bathtub, Victoria Dixon at The Ron Empire Wants you (crit partner extraordinaire), Sharon Mayhew at RAndom Thoughts . . . too many people to name them all. :)

Thank you again!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Isn't this writing community amazing? Congrats to your Blitzees!

Pat Hatt said...

The blog world does continue to amaze, as there are plenty of wonderful people on here.

Patti said...

What a great list of people. I mentioned my CP on my blog.

Clarissa Draper said...

So many awesome people! I love Jessica's poems. It amazes me how poets can say so much with so little.

Old Kitty said...

Yay for all these gorgeous bloggie pals and for you too lovely LTM! It's great to make Monday a nice day full of love and appreciation! Take care
x

Lisa Gail Green said...

Love your choices! I also love your nickname for me in my comments this morning. LG2. I may have to keep that one!

Christina Lee said...

AWWW, lovely picks (and GO Jess)!!!

DEZMOND said...

Bell's book sounds interesting!

Angela Ackerman said...

Wow--what awesome RAOK, and I love why you chose each. I so admire poetry too, and a big shout out to Jessica Bell!


Thanks so much for joining in & your generosity!!

Angela

Alina said...

Thanks so much for including me, Leigh! I feel so warm and fuzzy...and blitzed with kindness. I'm so grateful to have you in my life as well! A few writers I have to mention for their constant above-and-beyond support and friendship are Teresa Robeson (@INwriter), Dana Levy (@Danaalisonlevy) and Jess Keating (@Jess_Keating)

Thanks again for the fun surprise! <333

lbdiamond said...

Jesica's poetry collection sounds FAB!

I love your list of RAOK recipients.

M Pax said...

Great elbows you rub with, Leigh. I am so thankful for this community. I couldn't do what I do without everybody and their amazing support.

Congrats to Jessica on the new book.

Alina said...

Gah, can't believe I forgot to say congrats to Jessica on her new poetry book! I loved the poem you let me sneak a peek at. I will definitely be picking it up.

Susanne Drazic said...

Great post! : )

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome choices! This online writing community is full of the most amazing people! :)

Becca Puglisi said...

I love hearing the stories about how people have influenced each other. Such a great community we're part of! Congrats to the 5 winners, and thanks, Leigh, for spreading the love!

Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yay! I recognize most of those names. I wanted to do more than one individual, but then my list would be 20 + long. :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I recognize most of the people in this RAOK post, plus Jessica. I'm off to check out the couple I don't know. Great post!

Glynis said...

Fabric is an amazing book! Congrats to all your stars of ROAK day.

You might like to check out my post 'winners' ;0

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm big fans of Jessica and Susan. I think this is the second place I've seen Susan!

J.L. Campbell said...

I know a couple of your writer friends. Good peeps indeed.

Your review of Jessica's book backs up her comments about the poems.

LTM said...

@LBD--thanks, girl! There is nothing better than great writer-friends. Which you all are! Jessica's collection is so awesome. Everyone needs to grab a copy now... :D <3

Lynda R Young said...

It's wonderful to see so many people in your list. It's almost impossible to name just one person for the RAOK.

Stephen Tremp said...

I know quite a few of these awesome people! You have a very enriched life.

Kari Marie White said...

Thanks for the poetry book recommend, I've actually been hunting around for some poetry to try out!

Miriam Forster said...

I love that you thought of five people, it speaks well for how many fabulous people you know. :) Yay random kindnesses!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Whoa, what a jam packed blog post! Thank you for sharing all of this!!

Liz Fichera said...

Friends make the world go 'round. :)

Also, thanks for the info on Jessica's poetry book. I'm in the mood for some poetry.

LTM said...

@Lindsay--you bet! And I know, there's so much good stuff going on right now. Yay for great writer-friends~ :o) <3

@Liz--It's too true. And Jessica's collection should hit the spot. Run grab it. :D <3

Hart Johnson said...

This is so fabulous! Great review for jessica and thank you so much for being your fabulous self!!!

RaShelle Workman said...

Yeah, I'm WAY jealous!!! Lucky duck. =D

Ella said...

Congrats to Jessica~!
Great list off to visit the ones I don't know~
Thanks for sharing and all of your support ;D You would be one of my five. <3 555 @>-----

Angela Felsted said...

Congrats to Jessica! I think it's so great that she has another poetry book out.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

This is so sweet! And FABRIC sounds amazing. I am not afraid of poetry. I LOVE it. :)

Pk Hrezo said...

Aw, how great! SOrry I'm so late to the party but my blogging has taken a back burner lately. How cool for all your connections. There are some really great peeps out there. :)

Talli Roland said...

Love your picks - there are so many amazing people in blogland, and so super supportive. I don't know what I'd do without them!

Maryellen Brady said...

Love your picks! thank you for posting new people for me to discover :) 'm enjoying connecting with so many wonderful people.

LTM said...

@Maryellen--You bet! And welcome~ :o) <3