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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blog Tour for A Small Story for Page 3 by Jack Germond

I am very pleased to welcome Alice Germond, who is on her blog tour for her husband Jack Germond's  riveting book, A Small Story for Page 3. Alice has many merits of her own and I am very happy to have her as my guest today.

Please tell us about your experience. My readers would be interested in anything related to the book, the acclaimed author, and yourself. We can learn more about it from the Press Release.

From the Press Release:

MuseItUp Publishing released political pundit Jack Germond's break out novel, A Small Story for Page 3 on November 6, 2013 in print. Jack completed the final edits just days before his death in August, 2013 and the ebook released on the day of his passing.

Blurb:A Small Story for Page 3

Harry Fletcher can’t for the life of him figure out what exactly the ‘nugget’ of information his colleague, Eddie Concannon, uncovered prior to his death is. Picking his way along the threads of information, Harry soon finds himself at odds with government officials and his own newspaper seems to be involved in the collusion.  Join Harry as he deciphers the clues and enjoy a journey into the world of investigative reporting set against a colorful back drop of characters and locations.

About the Author:

Jack Germond (January 30, 1928 – August 14, 2013) was a retired newspaper man, columnist and TV pundit. But like a Thoroughbred racehorse, a reporter never actually retires—he just writes about other things. The author brings his vast knowledge and understanding of the press and the business of getting the information to public to bear in his breakout novel, A Small Story for Page 3. Mr. Germond was nationally known as a bemused liberal and was a regular on The McLaughlin Group as well as appearing on other public affairs TV programs — CNN, Meet The Press and The Today Show among others. He covered ten presidential elections, and with Jules Witcover wrote a book covering each presidential election from 1980 to 1992. Timothy Crouse made Germond a prominent figure in “Boys on the Bus” his acclaimed book on the 1972 presidential election. Mr. Germond has previously published two non-fiction books, his memoir “Fat Man in A Middle Seat” (Random House 2002) and “Fat Man Fed Up” (Random House 2005) a scride on the decline of politics in the United States. Along with Jules Witcover he wrote a syndicated column that ran in 140 papers five days a week from 1977 to 2001.  2000. 

Chris Farley once spoofed Germond on Saturday Night Live. Germond was known for his no nonsense approach to reporting and his love of good food, good liquor and good friends. He instituted The Germond Rule which two generations of political reporters have adhered to. The rule simply stated that when a group of reporters dined together the tab would be split evenly, no matter who ate or drank more. This caused his many friends to eat and drink defensively when covering stories and enjoying good company.                                                                                      

Jack Germond was one of a kind and he will be missed. MuseItUp Publishing is proud to publish his first and only fiction novel. 

Now I am sure my readers would love to see an excerpt from this book:

Short Excerpt from A Small Story for Page 3

"Oddly enough, ladies and gentlemen of the TV audience," Harry announced in his persona as Larry Largelungs of Action Central News, "the condemned man was smiling and singing as he approached the gallows."
The mood changed when he arrived at Wear's office to find the executive editor and the managing editor waiting and somberly reading printouts of the story.
"This thing has to be settled today," Wear said. "It's gone on long enough, it's tied us in knots, and we need to find a solution."
"I thought we had one," Harry said. "The story shows he has been sailing under false colors as a corruption fighter by trying to protect one of the targets of the investigation with whom he had a connection, perhaps lucrative, not previously disclosed."
"We're not the ones who have to be convinced," Mike reminded him.
When they walked into Marcotte's office, it was obvious he was not prepared to be persuaded. The publisher remained behind his huge mahogany desk and with a brusque gesture he seated the others at the small conference table.
"I've read the story you people seem to think should run on Page One as soon as possible," he said, "I think it’s still libelous horseshit, and I intend to spike it, this time for good. You still have no hard evidence that Tyler Bannister resisted Phase Two because of some personal concern. But Tyler denies it flat-out and there's no quote from him to corroborate it."
Harry was trying to contain his fury. "The only quote from him in reply was “go fuck yourself.” Do you want to use that?"
"Don't be flippant, Fletcher, this is a serious question."
"We all understand that, Dave," Wear said, stepping in quickly. "If you want a clearer denial in more decorous terms, we can do that."
"A denial isn't going to change the fact that we are doing serious damage to Tyler Bannister's reputation and potentially his political career," Marcotte said, his voice rising. "I don't intend to be a party to that."
"That was never our intention," Wear said. "We've gone where the story has taken us. The truth is that this episode raises serious questions about Bannister's candidacy."
"It shows him interceding in behalf of a friend and former business associate in an official investigation," Harry said with some heat. "That's a part of the truth about him that we know but our readers do not."
"Don't give me that truth and readers crap, Fletcher," the publisher said. "I remember you calling him a trimmer way back there. You had it in for him from the start. So did Concannon."
"This story quotes Tom Lawton saying Bannister called him with a warning about being on Carvaggio's list of targets and it quotes Rudy Myers as confirming that Bannister ordered Lawton's name stricken from that list once he agreed to retire from the bench."
"I know what the story says but, as I told you earlier, Fletcher," Marcotte said, "it is the publisher, not the reporter, who decides what appears in the News and I have made the decision on this one." After an interminable twenty seconds of silence, he continued, "I think we're through here, gentlemen. Thanks for coming in." When the elevator dropped them at the third floor, Wear beckoned them into his office and closed the door on Meg. "I don't know what we do now," he said.
"What you and Mike do," Harry said, "is keep faith with the good people here who depend on you to let them put out a good newspaper and hope for change. What I do, is clean a few things out of my desk and walk out of the building. I don't have any choice now."
"What are you going to do about the story," Mike asked.
"I haven't thought it through, Mike, but I'm not going to give it to the Trib or some television station. I don't know if the story is mine to use elsewhere or what. It would take a lot of time and effort for anyone else to duplicate it."
Wear had a different concern. "What are you going to say when the word gets out that you've left the building?" he asked.
"I could just tell the truth—that I have left the News after almost thirty years because of a decision by the publisher to spike a story I wrote. Period." He laughed. "I'll leave it to Amy Whiting to fill in the blanks."
At Wear's office door, he turned to his two old friends. "Look, this isn't the end of the world. Let's all have dinner later in the week, some place public for all to see. Meanwhile, I'll keep you posted." 

A Small Story for Page 3 (ebook ISBN 978-1-77127-385-5  Print ISBN  978-1-77127-437-1) is available from MuseItUp Publishing or ask for it wherever good books are sold. For a review copy please contact the publisher at MuseItUp Publishing.

Now let's talk about you, Alice. Here is a little bit about Alice Germond:

Alice Germond is the Secretary Emeritus of the Democratic National Committee. She was elected Secretary unopposed three times from 2002 to January 2013. Alice also served on the Executive Committee, the Rules and By-Laws Committee and as Secretary for the Democratic National Convention where she called the role of states that determines the Party's nominee. Alice has participated in every Convention since 1974 when the Party wrote its National Charter.  Alice currently is an elected At-Large member of the DNC and serves on the Resolutions Committee.

Active in the Democratic Party for over 45 years, she has held leadership positions in local, state and national campaigns including Political Director for Clinton/Gore in CA, Deputy National Political Director for Michael Dukakis, and Super Delegate Director for Gary Hart. In 1988 Alice moved to Washington DC, and became Director of Political Operations for Ron Brown's successful election as Chair of the DNC. She was named his Senior Advisor, coordinating DNC Party Programs and was his liaison to the 1992 Convention. From 1993—1996 she was Director of the DNC's Government and Party Affairs Departments.
A strong advocate for issues and party values, Alice led the historic effort to put Geraldine Ferraro on the Democratic Ticket while Chair of the National Women's Political Caucus Democratic Task Force. During her tenure as Executive Vice President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Fortune Magazine ranked NARAL as the most effective women's organization in the nation. Alice also worked for the AFL-CIO's Women's Division and for SEIU. One of Alice's earliest experiences was participating in Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" March on the National Mall. 

Alice has broad experience as a speaker and working with the press. Her op-eds have been published by major newspapers and on the internet, and in 1995 CBS hired Alice for their special Convention Coverage Unit. She has spoken at Party Events in 50+ States and for the campaigns, organizations and issues with which she is identified. Her international work includes lectures at Tsinghua University in Beijing, leader of two delegations to Taiwan, presentations in Madrid, London, Barcelona, Toronto, the Virgin Islands and several NDI exchanges including one for the European Parliament. 

In 2013 President Barack Obama appointed Alice to the prestigious Commission on White House Fellows where she currently serves. Prior commissions include the CA Council on Criminal Justice (Gov. E G Brown, Jr.) and the LA Olympics Government Affairs Committee.  

Alice earned her BA from Bennington College, VT in 1965 where she received a non-resident term scholarship and was Chair of the school legislature.  Her MS Degree in Public Administration/Recreation was awarded in 1977 from CA State Un. LA with a 4.0 average.

Now living on a bend of the Shenandoah River in West Virginia, Alice grows vegetables and fruits, goes running with her dog Freddy, and watches the bald eagles who have returned to the region. Coffee on the deck, warm conversation with many friends and visits from six grandchildren are a constant pleasure.  

Reviews of A Small Story for Page 3

5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Political Investigating By A Winner August 16, 2013
A SMALL STORY FOR PAGE 3 by Jack W. Germond

I never expected my first review for author Jack W. Germond to be my last, but I guess if it has to be the last, it might as well be a top notch book to review...and that's the case here.

Inside a major D.C. Newspaper hub where the busy world of digging out political intrigue is daily fair that makes the headlines and sells the papers, Jack W. Germond has created a tense, boiler pot of a story. He shows one and all the glamour we all think the media news possesses is actually coated beneath many layers of tarnish, some obvious, some concealed, some seedy, and some spreading like a dry rot through the majestic limbs of our stately cherry trees.

No one alive today can look at the day-to-day business that transpires within the Beltway and not know lies, deceit, and subterfuge play huge parts in creating the ever shifting sands creating the foundation of politics. Jack Germond's ace reporter, Harry Fletcher knows this seedy world very well, and plays it with the panache of a man who's been at it for a long time.

Upon the death of his colleague and friend, Harry is given what those in the business call a "nugget"...a story not fully developed, and told to flesh it out...find the meat...get the story...if it really exists, but keep it close to his chest.

Treacherous waters. Harry must swim upstream against the odds, but when he does, who will he uncover are the real sharks waiting to tear him fin from fin?

This is a gripping story I read from beginning to end in one sitting. Mr. Germond's story telling skills captivated and had me cheering Harry Fletcher on as he came up against obstacle after obstacle and obstacle while ferreting out the truth. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Insider's Story About News Reporting August 20, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase
Ace political reporter Harry Fletcher has problems: a politician threatening him, a young reporter gunning for his job, a wife having an affair and a publisher who doesn't want to print his latest story. This first novel by veteran newsman Jack Germond gives an insider's look at the job of journalism as Fletcher interviews sources who wish to remain anonymous, tracks down promising leads, rallies his editors' support and finally, confronts his boss. You'll never read a newspaper again without thinking of this "small story" and the ethical dilemma it describes.
5.0 out of 5 stars Turn to Page 3 September 15, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase
I have some newspaper background and the book is written by a former newsman.

The book reveals how newspaper ownership and management can censor and color the news, as it now does.

A bit of sex spices up the story.

Jack Germond is an excellent writer with a lifetime of experience.

5.0 out of 5 stars What is it like to be a political reporter? September 12, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase
I love to read about politics. My favorite political reading is a book looking back on events and giving the big-picture story and, usually, details that didn't make the daily newspapers. My favorite such books were written by Jack Germond and his partner Jules Witcover, especially "Mad As Hell," about the 1992 presidential election. Jack was also a well-known talking head (The McLaughlin Group); Jack was the one that wasn't full of himself.

I had the great pleasure of meeting and getting to know Jack and having dinner with him and his wife Alice over Thanksgiving weekend for most of the past ten years or so. I was in heaven sitting at the table with Jack and hearing his political stories. This novel (his first) was published the day he died. Not surprising, it's about political reporters. It provides a window into their lives and the issues they live with - what is fair to report? how does one build a story? how does a reporter persuade people to help him get to the truth? I suspect it also gives a good glimpse into Jack's own personal life. It provides an object lesson in the ethics of journalism. I highly recommend it to those who care about political reporting and/or want a good read.
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I can't give my own review yet, but it won't be long, because I am in the middle of this story and can't wait to get to the end. 

My thanks to Alice Germond for being a great guest and I hope you will come back here again.

Until the next time I wish everyone who celebrates either holiday a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Hanukkah!! Or Happy Thanksgivikkah. It's only going to happen this year and probably won't reoccur in our lifetime again. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Thoughts on the 50th Anniversary of the Death of President John F. Kennedy

Where were you when Kennedy was killed? This is the question everyone who was living in 1963 is asked. Where was I? I was in a class in college and when the classes changed someone said that the President was shot. So in my next class we all listened to the radio to hear the news and we found it was true.

The moment I heard it was real was the first time I ever felt that the world might not be as good as I thought. I was a nice Jewish girl brought up in Brooklyn and Queens. I knew that people weren't always good and I didn't believe that everything was great in the world, but I did believe that the people who ran our country would always be there for us. So I was in shock for a very long time. Soon after this class the college closed and we were all sent home for the weekend. It was close to Thanksgiving recess anyway.

When I got home I couldn't stop watching TV, though my family and I went to a memorial service at our temple. Here we saw everyone crying as if it were someone in their own family. We got back and I went back to watching Walter Cronkite trying to make sense of the events for us. I saw everything that happened on TV including the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and his shooting by Jack Ruby. They played the footage of the president being shot over and over again and Walter Cronkite stayed up all night covering this event. I know, because I also watched all night. It was the first time I couldn't get enough of the news.

Years later after I was married and we lived in Buffalo the stories of the shooting continued to appear and in counter culture magazines, such as The Realist, conspiracy stories popped up. My husband and I didn't really think much about them, but then the research came out and the Zapruder tape was revealed and suddenly they didn't seem so crazy anymore. Though many people have come to believe it was a lone gunman at Deale
y Plaza my husband and I side with the people who think there were more than one and that shots came from the grassy knoll too.

We will never know the truth until the records on Kennedy's death are unsealed in 25 years. I hope I am around to find out what really happened. However, tomorrow, it is enough to mourn the loss of a truly great President. Was he always the best in his personal life? No. However, he was the first adult to inspire me to do better things. My husband and I enrolled in the Peace Corps and we almost went until we decided it wouldn't be right for us. I sometimes regret we didn't go, because it would have been a great experience, but at least we tried. President Kennedy gave everyone hope as President Obama gave everyone hope. Above all, I believe that is a president's job to inspire people to do great things.

So RIP President Kennedy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

8 Great Books For Children!

It's unusual for me to give up my blog to a guest for posting, but this article is one I think all of you will enjoy. If you don't have children of your own, this will make a good reference for when you do need to buy a book for a child. For those with grandchildren, I think you probably know most of these. I found a few titles I didn't know and the list is mixed with fiction and non-fiction titles. 

The choices this author made do not reflect my own and though I appreciate their value, it is up to you to decide if they are a good fit for you and your children. A few of them are classics and probably if you have never read them, you should read those. I have included the link to Amazon in case you decide you need to read them immediately.:) 

Welcome to my guest poster, Joseph Rodriguez:


8 Great Books For Children

Studies have shown that reading to your children not only gives them a huge head start in early literacy development, it also improves their connection with you, as their parent. Reading aloud to your children can strengthen the parent/child relationship exponentially, so take a look at the following eight great children’s books and make a trip to your local library ASAP to get started! 

Growing Up
Teaching toddlers can be exhausting. Luckily, a number of of children’s books cover every teachable moment; from potty training to manners, check out these three stories to read with your little ones. 

No, David! by David Shannon is inspired by the author's own shenanigans as a child. Your little one will be thrilled by the color pictures and quirky tales of young David getting into all sorts of mishaps, only to be continually told, “No!” by his Mother. But, no matter what David does, in the end he is embraced by his Mother, who reassures him that she loves him no matter what. This is a great lesson to share with your children.

Everybody Poops, by Taro Gomi, sounds mildly repulsive, but can actually be a great learning tool for when your child is reaching potty-training age. This strange little picture book shows a variety of animals and humans alike, and explains how and why they poop! The purpose of the book may seem redundant, but for those particular children who are afraid of the potty, this book can do wonders to ease their fear and lend more to the curiosity of learning to use the toilet. 

Counting Kisses, by Karen Katz is a wonderful book for preschool to kindergarten age children. Turn nap or bedtime into a learning experience as you count how many kisses it takes to fall asleep! It's a great book for getting in a little bit of number learning before bed and reminding your children how much you love them. 

Lessons Learned
Sometimes, it can feel impossible to explain the intricacies of life to your child when “Because I said so”, seems so much easier. Try these three stories when you need a little extra help. 

Fanny’s Dream, by Caralyn and Mark Buehner is somewhat of a Cinderella tale with a twist. Fanny is invited to the Mayor’s ball and she thinks that finally her time has come to meet a handsome “prince” and live happily ever after. She waits and waits in the garden with her best dress on only to realize that sometimes reality is better than your dreams, and you shouldn’t ignore what is right in front of you just to get to the next best thing. A fantastic story about values and hard work. 

Don’t Squeal Unless It’s a Big Deal, A Tale of Tattletales, by Jeanie Franz Ransom explains when tattling is appropriate and when it just causes more problems. This is a wonderful story to open up dialogue with your children about trust, problem solving and conflict management. 

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, by Carol McCloud endorses good behavior and positive attitudes as it teaches children how to share and be kind to others. It also focuses on how when you give away your happiness, more happiness will come to you!

Keeping With Tradition
These last two books not only teach valuable lessons to your children; but are probably ones you read yourself as a child. 

The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss teaches children about environmental responsibility and standing up for what they believe in, even if no one else will stand with them. As many have seen from the recent film adaptation, the story follows the journey of a young boy who wants to bring life back to a desolate earth ruined by corporate greed. The book has been seen by some as “too heavy” for very young children, but don't sell your child short.

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein follows the life of a small boy and his “tree”. As the story progresses, the boy ages and yet the tree always has something to give him to ease his life, all the way to the end of it. There are conflicting views on what the moral of the story is supposed to be, but it is a classic story and can open up discussion with your children on the value of giving selflessly. 

These eight books are sure to bring you and your family closer, ease your teaching troubles and open up many a discussion on important core values.  Reading is my favorite past time - I hope it is yours soon, as well!

Joseph Rodriguez writes all about parenting and education. His recent work is on his plans to join one of the Top Online Child Psychology Programs in the U.S.

Thank you to Joseph Rodriguez for his excellent article and I hope you all found at least one new book to try with your kids. Or maybe you want to reread one you have loved since childhood.:) 

Until the next time, my next guest author is Jacquie White. Due to some unforseen real life situations I had to postpone her from a few weeks ago. I am looking forward to having her as my guest next Thursday. 

Although I am not giving away any free books, please leave a comment and let me know how you liked this guest author's post. I am sure he will appreciate it.:)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Meet Guest Author Anje Hergt

Today, though it is not my usual day to post guest authors, I am introducing you to Guest Author Antje Hergt. She was supposed to be on Thursday, however, with doctor visits and Yom Kippur this week, I was unable to post it. I am sure you are going to love her work!

Let's learn more about Antje Hergt:

You said you travel between Germany and Canada. How do you find going back and forth between countries?

I love it. You get the best of both worlds. Canada was my favorite country ever since I read about it in a children’s novel and wanted to get to know it. Before I moved to Canada, I travelled lots of times to Ontario and Eastern Canada with my family or alone. Then I studied two semesters at SFU in Burnaby and in the end, it was a job offer that led me to the Albertan Rockies.

Was there one person who inspired you to write?

There are so many great children authors out there that I find it hard to select one, but if I had to choose, it would be Lucy Maud Montgomery. The person, who actually encouraged me to write, was a fellow business student. We both hated the subject, but had to pass it. So in order to motivate ourselves, we rewarded each other with writing and sharing a short story for every study session we finished.

Please tell us about your writing process.

I collect random ideas for stories and books until I find one that sparks a story line. From then on, I plunge in and just write. Anything from scenes to dialogue and character descriptions, then I create an outline and rearranged everything.

How did you get the idea for your character, Darinel Dragonhunter?

Actually, from a Goodnight story for my friend’s son. He wanted a knight and fight story, but the dragon popped into my head and how misunderstood he was. So, I told him the scene when Prince Darinel and the dragon meet for the first time.

Please let us know the path your novel took to be published.

To be honest, I never planed for that story to become a book, but the Banff Center for the Arts offered a creative writing course for children's books and I applied. It was a great course and I met very encouraging beginning fellow writers who urged me to continue and write my book. I wrote the first draft of the first and second book fairly fast and without knowing anything about the process of book publishing. Needless to say, after that came many more writing courses and the editing session of the first book and I got acquainted with slow and discouraging process of finding a publisher for my book. After many years and many rejection letters, I met my editor Nancy Bell as she gave a talk about e-book publishing and she encouraged me to submit to MuseitUp Publishing.

Nancy was my editor and she helped me to hone my book so well!!

Are you a "pantser" or a plotter? 

I am more a ‘pantser’ and jump right into the story. I love flow writing and before I know it the characters are developed and demand their course of action. I love not always knowing where my story or characters take me. 

Do you have any books ready to be published?

My first MG novel Darinel Dragonhunter was just released in June and I am editing the second book at the moment while writing the third one.

Do you have any events planned to promote your novel?

A fellow author threw me a facebook book release party shortly after the book was published and we had fun. My book appeared on various blogs of fellow authors and I am active with GoodReads. I still try to engage new readers through various new blog appearances and giveaways. They can always check out my latest interview or blog hop on my website: or they can check out my facebook author page or follow me on Twitter @AntjeHergt.

Thank you so much for having me on your great blog!

It is my pleasure, Antje and I know my readers would love to know more about your book, Darinel Dragonhunter.

Prince Darinel is traveling–for what feels like forever. Expelled from his father’s kingdom, he just wants to find a new home. When a shadow lures him to a wealthy kingdom, he stays to discover more about the darkness, but the citizens are tight-lipped.
Their king welcomes the foreign Prince hoping that he will solve his two problems: the dragon and his strong-willed daughter. Coming from a warrior kingdom, Darinel despises violence, but charmed by Princess Tuskja’s dare, he sets out to confront the beast. Instead of finding a fierce dragon, he finds a friend. The dragon’s malicious humor and his love of fairy tales entangle Darinel in a summer of adventures, while danger stirs in the East, the Dark Prince. Being refused by the Princess and humiliated by the dragon, this proud prince seeks revenge.
       In compliance with the king’s decree, Darinel is torn between his friendship with the dragon and his love for Princess Tuskja, whom he can only marry if he kills his friend. Before he can make a decision, the kingdom is under attack. Now it is up to the dragon to either help his friend or respect his wish to not interfere.
Excerpt (200):
The prince sighed. “Yeah, you’re right. Do you mind if I take a break here?”
“Oh no. Be my guest,” the voice replied, cheerfully.
Darinel dismounted and reached to tie Tibor’s reins to the trunk of a tree, when a dark shadow swished over him. The horse bolted in panic and disappeared. Dumbfounded, he stared down the path they had just travelled.
“Oops!” The voice sounded a bit regretful.
“That was not supposed to happen.” Still shaking his head, he turned to a little sparkling stream at his feet and knelt beside it. He took off his helmet and splashed water onto his face and over his head.
“It is a bit inconvenient, isn’t it?” the voice said. “But don’t worry, the way down always seems faster,” it added cheerfully.
“Yeah, right!” the prince said with a smirk as he slid back to lean on a big boulder behind him. “Now you see I am no threat to you, won’t you come out and sit with me?” He ruffled his hand through his wet hair.
“I’d love to, but don’t you know, there’s a fierce dragon in these mountains?” the voice pointed out.
Antje, your book sounds delightful! Also, I am so happy to have learned more about you.:) I know you are giving away a free ebook to the lucky commenter who wins the drawing!! So please leave your comments. 

Thank you, Antje for being my guest and I hope you had fun.:)
I had a lot of fun hosting you and learning more about you and your book, Darinel Dragonhunter.

Here are Antje Hergt's bio and links:

Born and raised in Germany, I came to explore the Canadian Rockies in Canmore, Alberta in 2003. Taking part in the Writing-with-Style Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2007 encouraged me to follow my passion: writing for children. Darinel Dragonhunter is my first novel, which was inspired by my deep love for classic children literature and fairy tales. My thrill for science fiction/fantasy movies and television shows had an outlet in various genre short stories. I am a member of the Alberta Writer’s Guild and graduated from the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen with a degree in Modern Languages.

Currently, I live in Germany with my snoring cat, Sally, but I miss the magic of the Rocky Mountains. When I am not in Canmore, you can find me in Germany.


MuseItUp Publishing

Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome Robert Lee Brewer of "Poetic Asides"

Today I am very happy to welcome Robert Brewer to my blog!! We have never met in person, but Robert has been a big influence on my writing for years. I joined "Poetic Asides" for the April Poem a Day challenge so many years ago I can't remember. However, when I joined and became part of what we now call "the Street" my true poetic essence emerged. At first I was shy and didn't comment much or participate with the more experienced poets there. I was in awe of the talent I saw every day on that blog. The poets there seemed to have a touch of the magical in their words and I was even more intimidated. However, one day someone commented on my poem and it was then I realized that we were all poets here and that I had truly found the place where I belonged.

Each of us poets wrote to the prompt we found each day from Robert Brewer and the variety of poems was endless! Each of us had a different take on each prompt and soon my April was filled with poetry every day. After April was over I wanted to keep writing poetry, because all this poetry writing had ignited my love for poetry all over again! So I began to contribute to the Wednesday challenges and soon I became very friendly with many of the poets there. Now our core group of poets has formed Poeming Friends on Facebook and from this group we splintered off to the Anthologists. The Anthologists has written two poetry books which were the result of each poet who participated giving an equal number of poems for each one. The first book is called Prompted: An International Collection of Poems. The second book is called Beyond the Dark Room. All of the proceeds from each book goes to a charity. The first book, Prompted: An International Collection of Poems has a Forward by Robert Brewer my guest author. All of the prompts we used were created by him for various poetry challenges.

Robert has been the heart of all of our poetic attainments and that April when I began to write poetry again gave me another way to express myself. Now several of my poems have been published in online magazines. 

Now you know a little more about why I am so excited to have Robert Brewer on my blog. I was very fortunate to interview him. I hope you enjoy learning more about him.

 Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in Dayton, Ohio, and I now live in Duluth, Georgia, which is about 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta on the weekends and about an hour during rush hour.

What made you decide to become a poet?

It’s funny. I didn’t start writing poems to become a poet; I started writing poems to impress a girl in high school. I was too shy to talk to her, so I wrote a poem. She liked it and thought I wrote others—so I started writing more. Eventually, I was hooked on writing them.

As I was reading your profile, I noticed you had disc golfing. Please explain what disc golfing is.

It’s kind of like playing golf with a Frisbee. The discs used are a little heavier, and they’re thrown at metal baskets. It’s a fun, low impact sport.

Thank you so much for explaining that! Sounds like a lot of fun:)

What was your reason for starting “Poetic Asides”?

The Writer’s Digest staff had an editorial meeting for the site years ago, and they wondered if anyone had an idea for a blog. At the time, I was a closet poet, but I wanted more exposure for poetry—so I raised my hand and suggested a poetry blog.

I wanted to do it, but I didn’t have any poetry cred at all—just a love of writing poems. So they let me do it, but only with Nancy Breen, who was the editor of Poet’s Market at the time. It was a wonderful pairing, because I was friends with Nancy, and she taught me a great deal about poetry and the poetry universe.

What would you say has been your most rewarding experience with “Poetic Asides”?

There are so many moments, and the ones that are the most rewarding to me are when poets tell me they wrote their first poem ever because of the blog. As someone who loves writing poetry, I understand how important that can be to a person—to find a way to capture your own voice.

Please describe for my readers a typical day of writing for you.

There’s no typical day. That’s the first thing. Second, I write as I’m inspired. I always keep paper and pen on me, so it doesn’t matter if I’m at my desk or the park or earlier today at a book festival.

I have five kids spread across two states—so I’m not afforded the luxury of a “normal” schedule. I have to scratch and claw for writing time in the spaces between breaking up fights and changing diapers.

How did you get involved with Writers Digest? 

One of my creative writing professors (Erin McGraw) at the University of Cincinnati passed around a notebook for anyone interested in an internship on the first day of her class. She didn’t promise anything, and I totally forgot about it.

Then, a few weeks after the quarter was over, I received a call from the F+W Media (then, F&W Publishing) HR department asking if I wanted to come in for an interview. I did. They liked me enough to keep me around, and it’s been more than 13 years now.

How did you decide which poems to include in your book, Solving the World’s Problems?

The first draft—the draft that was accepted by Press 53—included what I considered my best poems. They were organized according to a loose structure that I understood, but that I would’ve been hard-pressed to explain. As I mentioned, that draft was good enough for an acceptance.

After my editor read through it a couple times, he said it was fine “as is,” but then he said he saw the potential to make it something special. He let me decide whether to accept that challenge. Of course, I had to go for it.

So we cut out several poems—even some of my best publication credits—and added in others that fit what we were trying to do. My editor had a vision, and I could see it too. That made it a much easier process than it could’ve been, because the final draft is very different from what was accepted.

Do you have any WIP’s and are any of them ready to be published?

I’m always writing poems, and now that my 2013 books are finished (the ones I edit and the poetry collection), I’ve had some time to submit them around to publications.

It took me nearly 20 years of poeming to get that first collection together, so I’m not in a super rush to get the next one published. That said, I do have a couple projects in the works.

What do you see yourself doing in five years? Will you continue to do “Poetic Asides”?

In five years, I could be doing anything—or the same thing. I try not to “over” plan, because I’ve found that things rarely go to plan. Maybe that’s the parent in me.

I hope "Poetic Asides" will still be relevant in five years. In fact, I hope I can find ways to make it more relevant. But I’ll take it one day at a time and see what happens.

Give us the criteria you feel a poem needs to be truly great. 

Each poem has its own purpose and rules (whether it’s a traditional form or spoken word free verse piece), so I don’t think there’s a set of general criteria that can be used universally. Like people, I admire poems for the unique attractiveness.

That said, I like poems that use sound, are accessible, and offer themselves up to further exploration. But I’ve found poems in nearly every school of poetry that I love.

Do you have a favorite poet?

Of course, my wife is my favorite poet. But I’ll assume you want me to identify someone else.

It’s impossible to pick just one poet, so I’ll name a few in no particular order (and even that list will be too short): William Carlos Williams, Anne Sexton, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Louise Gluck, Sandra Beasley, Barton Smock, Donald Hall, T.S. Eliot, Denise Duhamel, Nin Andrews, Aaron Belz, William Stafford, Jean Valentine, Gwendolyn Brooks, Patricia Fargnoli, Christian Bok, and a long list of fellow Roberts: Robert Bly, Robert Frost, Robert Kelly, Robert Fitzgerald, and Bob Hicok.

Plus, growing up in the Dayton area, I have to include Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Finally, which is your favorite poetic form?

My first thought was sestina, but I don’t think I have a real favorite. I love learning new forms and wearing them out. I love making my own forms and figuring out what’s best for the poem I’m writing.

Now, I have a question from one of the poets in Poeming Friends, Laurie Kolp:

Do you and Tammie plan on publishing a collection of poetry together? (hint, hint)

Tammy and I have talked about collaborating on a collection for years now. We've actually collaborated on poems previously, and heck, that's how we found each other—through poetry. So we don't have anything specific planned, but I'm sure it's more a question of "when" than a question of "if."

I know that would make a lot of us very happy.:)

Looking at the cover of your book, I am wondering what kinds of poems are inside. Here is one poem you will find here:

dream, by Robert Lee Brewer

the house is empty
instead a barn
filled with junk

and open spaces
he waits for his wife
and a madman or ghost

who wants him to become
a madman or ghost
who wants him to make

this barn his home
but then there is a car
outside that may be 100

miles down the road
nearly parked out front
or just passing by

while honking
and he's not sureif he's in the barn

or the car or his house
even as he reaches
for his wife

What I love about this poem is how you are actually transported into the dream and you find yourself groping too. The repetition of certain words creates this dreamlike experience for me:
"he waits for his wife
and a madman or ghost

who wants him to become
a madman or ghost
who wants him to make

this barn his home"

Here is more about Robert Brewer:

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer's Digest Writing Community, which means he gets paid to edit books, create blog posts, write a column for Writer's Digest magazine, edit a free weekly newsletter, and more fun stuff related to writing. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Brewer recently released his debut collection of poetry, Solving the World's Problems (Press 53). He also curates the insta-poetry series for Virginia Quarterly Review. He's married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Learn more at

It has been so much fun to learn more about you, Robert and I hope you have enjoyed being here too.:) I know that I want to read more of your poems and you have decided to give away a free book to the lucky winner of the comment drawing. All you need to do is leave a comment and you are in the drawing. This post will be up for the whole week until next Thursday so you will have plenty of time to comment.

Until the next time, my next guest author will be Antje Hergt who had to be bumped due to various reasons. However, she will definitely be here next Thursday, September 12. 

Hope you enjoy Labor Day and Happy Rosh Hashanah to all my readers who celebrate it.:) We will be having a dinner on the very last night of the holiday. Happy New Year to all!!!

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