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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Interview with Author Sarah Outen




Dare To Do

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
I have always loved words and writing and it seemed natural to me to write about my journeys to be able to share them.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Dare to Do is all about my bid to loop the planet using only human power, charting the ups and downs of my journey which I called London2London:Via the World. The audience is broad - from folks who were involved in the journey at any level to outdoor enthusiasts to armchair adventurers to school children. I hope it has enough depth to be stimulating but enough accessibility to be broad in its offering.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
I hope they have a sense of the wonders of the wild and the kindness of strangers, as well as having the courage to step out on their own journeys - whatever that may be to them. I also hope it encourages more people to be more open and aware about mental health issues.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Seek and listen to the opinions of others in relation to your work and remember you are not writing the book for you - it is for readers.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I think books are here to stay - they are intrinsic to our lives. I just hope that people keep leaving enough time in their life for books. I would like to see more diversity in the adventure publishing world where often stories by white middle class men dominate.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
My book was written off the back of a long and arduous expedition and with a fiercely short deadline. Processing my journey and the pressure of trying to write so quickly came together in a rather frightening implosion of depression and anxiety. Sometimes it would take me three hours just to get downstairs in the morning, whereupon I wouldn't know what to do. My partner took to leaving breakfast out for me already, getting my clothes ready and calling me every half an hour to coach me through. That was before I even got in front of a desk. Happily there were good times in writing too. 

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
I am pretty confident that it will be unique in content and I am certain that it will leave you wanting to get on your bike and go pedaling, just as one person in the book does. It always has some beautiful pictures of wildlife – who doesn't want to see a sea turtle staring out of the page?!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."

Friday, March 30, 2018

Interview with Author Glen Aaron




The Curse of Sacerdozio:
Conspiracy in the Judiciary

Glen Aaron is an experienced trial lawyer and international business and banking consultant. He has an English degree from Baylor University and a JD from the University of Texas. Please see: www.glenaaron.com and https://www.facebook.com/glen.aaron.35 


1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016 on a Texas ranch retreat down by the Rio Grande. I saw this occurrence as an opportunity to write a murder mystery. Moreover, as a lawyer, I never agreed with Justice Scalia's judicial philosophy. Thus, the opportunity to express an opposing view through my protagonist, Tommy Jon.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
A Supreme Court Justice is found dead, floating face down in a hot mineral pool on the Texas ranch retreat, Indian Hot Springs. His clerk, Tommy Jon, the first Jicarilla Apache to graduate Harvard and clerk at the Supreme Court is the FBI target suspect for murder. Readers of the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Washington Post, Time magazine, etc. are the targeted audience.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
There are powerful political forces at work in any judicial appointment. That judges bring with them the influences of their life experiences, religion and political philosophy that bend their judicial opinions and decisions.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Research your subject matter well, whether your genre is fiction or nonfiction.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
While traditional publishing will always be with us, it is slow and bureaucratic. Independent publishing allows the author to get the book published quickly and get on to his/her next inspiration.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
My main challenge was creating within the reader the feeling of attraction and love between the two Sacerdozio clerks, Tommy Jon and Catherine Welch.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
My book is not only a tantalizing murder mystery, it is also a disclosure of how Supreme Court Justices are appointed and the potential evil influences that exist in the process.

“To write is to put one’s obsessions in order.”
--Jean Grenier, Albert Camus

“Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.”
--Bertrand Russell, in Look magazine (23 Feb. 1934)

“Poetry is often a mirror to the condition of a nation’s culture.”
--Saunders Lewis, ‘Diwylliant yng Nghymru’

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."





Thursday, March 29, 2018

Why Poetry?



I fondly read a book about poetry, in part, because the book made poetry more enjoyable and understandable than poetry really is.  It’s called Why Poetry, by Matthew Zapruder, who recently served as the editor of the poetry page at the New York Times Magazine.  His book shows us that misunderstanding poetry interferes with our direct experience of it.  However, Some don’t know that they will ever find poetry as enjoyable as they find it to be frustrating at worst, incomplete at best.

The award-winning poets book makes an impassioned call for a return to reading poetry and an incisive argument for readers to embrace it.  He explores what poems are and how we can read them.  He notes that poetry can enlighten us in an age when information is often mistaken for knowledge.

Poetry, unfortunately, has a lot of drawbacks and obstacles.  Poets often won’t just say what they mean.  They make it so hard, as if speaking in code, to convey what they really want to leave us with.  Poetry seems to obfuscate, providing roadblocks to communication.

However, poetry can be a beautiful form of art. I have had the pleasure of representing several great poets. One was the Poet Laureate of Vermont, Sydney Lea. Another, is a current client, J. Chester Johnson (www.jchesterjohnson.com), the author of Auden, the Psalms, and Me. He was fortunate enough to work with W.H. Auden, one of the most prominent poets of the 20th century.  In honor of April being National Poetry Month, here is a Q and A I did with Mr. Johnson about poetry:


1.      What inspires your poetry? I used to write poems that struck me in a moment, with a particular idea, on a slant, or a combination of those three, and although I would return again and again with revisions, the original inspiration continued to flow through the poem. Now, I find that I’m attracted to a more complex set of ideas and events. For example, I recently completed a long poem on the Elaine Race Massacre of 1919. There were both personal and historical features to the event that I simply could not release until I had written the piece. The first part is all prose, mostly previously published, but the second part is poetry with persona voices representing important players in the drama that the Massacre had become. 

2.      Which writers or poets do you marvel at?  Why? I love the work of many poets, but I’m partial to Walt Whitman and W. H. Auden. They both have written poems that particularly excite me in various ways.  That may be surprising to conflate the two with Whitman’s iconoclastic style and ways, and Auden, the traditionalist, who occasionally bragged, half-facetiously, that he may have written a poem in every formal structure known to man – at least to English-speaking man. However, they both gravitated to and were comfortable in big ideas. I believe that poets should be obsessed and invigorated with big ideas: Whitman – with his “great exception” concept for the American poetic future –  and Auden with his deeply spiritual and citizenry manifestations in verse.

3.      What advice would do you have for a struggling writer today? Struggling can have several slices: struggling to be recognized or struggling with one’s work. I wouldn’t worry so much about being recognized; in fact, I think there is a real danger in recognition. Often, when a poet is recognized, he or she finds that there is then a tendency to repeat the technique or approach that got them recognition, and that can lead to dryness. C. P. Cavafy, the great Greek-Egyptian poet, fought the effect of recognition and chose to send his work to people he admired and to friends – away from the public; for Cavafy, too much public acceptance could lead to a desire for continuing public approval, a condition that he characterized as dangerous for artists and poets. If you’re struggling with your work, that’s a very good sign you’re serious about the direction your work is taking.


4.      What can be done to promote poetry to the masses and to have society embrace it? Poets are inheritors of big ideas. If the world about which we write in our verse simply shrivels, then there is a very real likelihood that the audience for the work will also shrivel. Events happen that require poetry – all wars have their poets. Acts of violence and mayhem often result in words being produced that describe, give solace, or inspire. After 9/11, there were poems that circulated through the populace – many people found comfort in Auden’s “September 1, 1939” poem written decades ago. Others read Galway Kinnell’s poem about the towers falling. Perhaps, my own poem, “St. Paul’s Chapel,” can be included among them. Poems occur where things happen.

5.    Perhaps your most famous work comes from tragedy.  Over one million visitors to New York’s St. Paul’s Chapel have been handed your signature poem, St. Paul’s Chapel, since September 11.  Please tell us what the poem means and why you feel it has resonated with so many. It’s a poem about standing in the face of unimaginable destruction.  Some people have even retitled the poem over the internet, “It Stood.” Everyone needed that assurance and endurance after 9/11. St. Paul’s Chapel stood in two different, but important ways. First, though it was only yards away from the North Tower, across Church Street, St. Paul’s Chapel was not damaged. So many buildings went down or were rent, but not St. Paul’s Chapel. The second way it stood was probably the most significant. Almost immediately, it became the relief center for the recovery workers at Ground Zero, those working on the Pile. It served those workers twenty-four hours a day – a place where caring was always present, a place that actually “stood” for caring. The workers faced hell only a few yards away, but St. Paul’s Chapel provided meals, pews for sleeping, love and tenderness, music, stuffed animals for pillows, shoulders, and many, many hugs. I distinctly remember the hugs. “It stood,” as lines from the poem keep repeating. Yes, it stood. St. Paul’s Chapel stood. I think that’s why people – from all over the world - still come by the Chapel, even now, to pick up the poem card. A literary group in Italy decided that “The New Colossus,” whose words appear on the Statue of Liberty, by Emma Lazarus and “St. Paul’s Chapel” were the two poems that capture the American spirit.

Unfortunately, poetry reading may be in decline.

According to the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, the share of Americans who read at least one work of poetry in the previous year dropped from 17% in 1992 to 6.7% in 2012, a significant drop over 20 years. The rate may even be loser in 2018.

“It seems that our ability to grasp why we are reading poetry, for reasons fundamentally different from why we read all other forms of writing, is what makes poetry so hard to understand," writes Zapruder.

Zapruder seems to really delve into what poetry is – and could be – if we just understood it better.  He says:  “The experience of getting close to the unsayable and feeling it, and how we are brought to that place beyond words by words themselves is the subject of this book.”

He believes poetry provides a necessity, that it matters, and that it can help us live our personal and public lives.  It puts us in an imaginative, contemplative, and free space.  Poetry allows us to live beyond ourselves.

Zapruder's book contains a number of verisimilitudes about poetry.  Here are 16 excerpted thoughts from his most worthwhile read:

1. The desire to write anything begins out of a basic human desire to express oneself, to be heard.  Writing poetry in particular also comes out of an inexplicable attraction to the possibilities of the material of language itself, a kind of play.

2.      That is, there was something about the level of language, its beauty or complexity or heightened qualities that gave a piece of writing the status of poetry, and distinguished it from prose.

3.      The energy of poetry comes primarily from the reanimation and reactivation of the language that we recognize and know.

4.      No one can seem to tell us why poems are written, what they are for.  Why are they so confusing?  What are we supposed to be looking for? And what is the point of rhyme, of form, of metaphor, of imagery?  Is it somehow to decorate or make more appealing some kind of message of the poem?  What is the purpose of poetry?

5.      Poems exist to create a space for the possibilities of language as material. That is what distinguishes them from all other forms of writing.  Poems allow language its inherent provisionality, uncertainty, and slippages.  They also give space for its physicality – the way it sounds, looks, feels in the mouth – to itself make meaning.  And poems also remind us of something we almost always take for granted:  the miraculous, tenuous ability of language to connect us to each other and the world around us.  The elusive, quick-silver, provisional nature of language is by necessity suppressed in ordinary conversation, as well as in most other writing.  What makes a poem different from any other use of language is that it remains the sole place designed expressly to make available those connections that are hidden when language is being used for another purpose.

Unlike other forms of writing, poetry takes as its primary task to insist and depend upon and celebrate the troubled relation of the word to what it represents.  In following what is beautiful and uncertain in language, we get to a truth that is beyond our ability to articulate when we are attempting to “use” language to convey our ideas or stories.

6.      Good poets do not deliberately complicate something just to make it harder for a reader to understand.  Unfortunately, young readers, and young poets too, are taught to think this is exactly what poets do.

7.      Poems can return us to an understanding about language, and the world, that is related to the most basic truths of existence.

8.      Poems are the place where the actuality of language and of life is most made available.  And it is up to us not to evade it.

9.      Too many of us have been systematically taught to read poetry as if it is full of symbols that stand in for meanings not obviously present in the text itself.  The reasons for the pervasiveness of this idea are complex.  Regardless of why, so often I have seen even the simplest poem, full of single-syllable words any five-year-old knows, greeted with incomprehension.  And I think one big reason is the way we have been taught to think about the genre of poetry:  a place where objects are no longer what they are in the world, but symbolic.

10.  There are many things we need to say and think that we almost cannot.  These vital things approach, without ever attaining, the inexpressible.  Poetry pushes away some of our usual ways of using language, of thinking, in order to lead us up to those moments together, so in the moment of reading, and perhaps right after, we can feel and know something we otherwise could not.  Reading or listening to poems is such a different experience from the rest of our lives.  The more we are colonized by our devices and the “information” and “experiences” that they supposedly deliver, the more we need a true experience of unmonetized attention.

11.  The poem places us in the middle of the inherently contradictory nature of being.  While reading the poem, it is possible for us to be in touch with a deeper truth.  Negative capability is just one way of describing this feeling, of being in a place of possibility and freedom that is intimately related to the slippery, provisional, wondrously meaningful nature of language itself.

12.  Most serious readers of poetry realize sooner or later that it is far too limiting to look for a single meaning in a poem.  There can, however, be an overreaction to this realization, an idea that poems don’t really mean anything specific at all, that they are totally subjective and ambiguous, and whatever the reader gets out of them is just fine.

13.  One of the great pleasures of reading poetry can be that encounter with aphorism:  that simple, concise formulation of a thought that feels original, memorable, and somehow as if it is perfectly articulating a thought we often have but have never really been able to put into words.

14.  It turns out that all poets are symbolists, at least to some degree.  Poets are interested in the possibility of words to resonate, to mean, more than they usually do.  Somewhere, in every poem, there are words that shine forth, are activated, light up, almost as if plugged in.   This is what poetry can do form language, and for us.  This is why the symbol has always been a part of poetic activity.  Poets have, in all cultures and at all times, stumbled upon it as a way of making poetic meaning.

15.  Poets of course are also fascinated with these very same borders, the limits of words.  How far can a word be pushed and still mean?  Yet not just poets but lawyers too can desire the expansion of the limits of the word, in the interests of permission.

16.  Poets need in their poems not only to expand but also to define words quite precisely in their contexts, in order to avoid meaningless ambiguity.  Poets and lawyers both area deeply concerned with what lies at the limits of language, and the fearful and intensely attractive nothingness beyond.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."

Interview with Author Bruce Berlin




Breaking Big Money's Grip on America: Working Together To Revive Our Democracy


1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
I was and still am very angry at how Big Money controls our government and public policy to the detriment of most Americans, including myself. The fact that Pres. Obama let the bankers who caused the Great Recession of 2008 off scotfree while I lost $100,000 that was my daughter's college fund. And, those bankers are doing better than ever while many Americans are still struggling. The fact that the Affordable Care Act was for the most part written by the private healthcare industry to benefit them, more than American consumers. That over 90 % of Americans favor universal background checks, but we don’t have sensible gun control because of the NRA and the gun manufacturers, which puts all our lives at greater risk every day. I’m sick of being dictated to by Big Money’s desires. Our country is a plutocracy run for and by the very wealthy, who already have way more than they need or know what to do with, and the rest of us have practically no say in how our country is run.  

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Huge sums of money unduly influence elections and public policy in the United States today. A growing number of people see the United States as a plutocracy run by and for the very rich. Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America provides convincing evidence to support this view and explores how a nationwide Democracy Movement can overcome the ruling status of Big Money and convert our government into one that serves the true needs of the American people. Moreover, it demonstrates why breaking Big Money’s grip on our government is critical to solving other crucial issues, like affordable healthcare, climate change, gun violence, immigration reform and income inequality. The book provides a vision as well as concrete strategies for Americans of all persuasions who want to eliminate the corrupting influence of money in politics and establish a political system accountable to the people and the public interest.

My target audience is anyone who is concerned about the future of our country and wants to help build a movement to revive democracy.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
That mass movements are what makes real change in our country. That those movements have been built by ordinary Americans who believed in their cause and were willing to fight against great odds to achieve their goals. That millions of Americans have died to preserve our democratic ideals. And now, it is up to us, We, the people, to overcome Big Money and create a more just and equitable nation by building a grassroots, mass movement for democracy.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Believe in yourself and only write about what you believe in. That is the only way you will get through the rough times when you want to give it all up.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I’m not that familiar with “the book world.” But, I would say one trend is writing about what you know personally and what can grab someone’s emotions.
I think the industry is moving in the direction of more small and independent publishers as well as self-publishing.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
The great challenge was sticking with it when I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere, or what I was writing wasn’t very good. The challenge was to keep in mind that all the struggle, time and energy it took would be worth it once I had completed my book.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
If you are concerned about your future, or that of your family, your community and/or your country, Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America is the book you must read. The United States is on the verge of a constitutional crisis. The heart and soul of our democracy is under attack. At the center of this ruthless attack is Big Money. If Americans, including you and me, do not grasp how Big Money is destroying our democracy and that time is running out to save it, the United States may soon become an authoritarian or fascist state. Our personal freedoms will be lost. Our lives will be drained of all real meaning. Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America spells out a clear and easy-to-understand explanation of this critical issue. Moreover, it provides a viable roadmap of how We, the People can come together, overcome Big Money’s control, and revive democracy in America.

A retired, public sector, ethics attorney and social change organizer, Bruce Berlin earned his B.A. in government from Cornell University and his J.D. from NYU School of Law. He has devoted himself to social justice issues for almost 50 years. Berlin is the founder and former executive director of The Trinity Forum for International Security and Conflict Resolution, a nonprofit organization that brought together policymakers, academicians, NGO organizers, and concerned citizens from a wide spectrum of political perspectives, to develop broad-based, bipartisan approaches to a variety of policy issues from national security in the nuclear age to economic development and diversification. In 1988, Berlin was awarded a Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship from the United States Institute of Peace to bring together parties in the Nicaraguan conflict to explore paths to a peace agreement. During his career, Berlin has been involved in a number of local, state, and national political campaigns. In the early 1980s, as the state coordinator of the New Mexico Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, he directed a successful statewide effort to lobby the New Mexico legislature for the passage of a resolution in support of a US-Soviet freeze on the development and deployment of nuclear weapons. Berlin resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  See more info at: www.breakingbigmoneysgrip.com

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."