Sunday, December 14, 2014

A mid-December update

Back-to-back-to-back editions of the magazine have kept me hopping for weeks now, punctuated by weekends spent on Leaving Paris. The finish line is in sight, sorta. I'll wrap up the January edition of Atlanta INtown this week and will have an extended break before having to start work on February. That should allow me to meet my deadline of having a complete first draft of the novel before the end of the year – before Christmas as a matter-of-fact.

After I finish this post, I have a couple of small scenes to rewrite and then it will be – at last – time to print a hardcopy and begin the read-through and redline edit before serious corrections and rewrites begin. Then it's on to Kathy Dean, who has edited all of my manuscripts before they go to the press for another edit. My self-imposed deadline for getting Leaving Paris to Sibling Rivalry Press has been May, but I think it will happen before the end of winter. Just after the holidays, I'm meeting with a book publicist to discuss marketing for Leaving Paris and the trilogy as a whole. The next couple of years are going to be very exciting, and I'm ready to visit new cities, share my fiction and meet readers. 

Also in the new year, a trip to London and Paris, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the visit that inspired The Venus Trilogy of novels. I'm saving my pennies to afford a night or two in the Bel-Air Hotel (now called Le General) on rue Rampon. While Leaving Paris will be complete by then, I hope to write something there for the novel – maybe the acknowledgements. 

I'll also be working on the reissue of my first poetry collection, Better To Travel, with Poetry Atlanta Press. More details on that soon.

Below is a Spotify playlist of the music that has inspired me while I've been writing Leaving Paris. It's an hour-long eclectic mix – from Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald to Bjork and Kate Bush – that will helps set the mood for the novel.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pushcart nomination, Indies First & a book giveaway

I hope all of my stateside friends had a good Thanksgiving holiday. Now it's the headlong rush to Christmas, Hanukkah and the new year.

Just before the holiday, I was delighted to learn that I've been nominated for a second Pushcart Prize this year for my poem "In Tavistock Square", which appeared in Flycatcher. Many thanks to Christopher Martin and the folks at the lit mag for their support. You can read the poem at this link. Earlier in the fall, Animal nominated "The Beat of Black Wings". You can read that poem here.

Tomorrow, Nov. 29, is Small Business Saturday, a movement formed to encourage holiday shoppers to buy from "mom and pop" stores rather than large chains. It's also Indies First, a campaign to support the locally-owned, independent bookshops in your community. It's also a day for authors to volunteer as guest booksellers at those shops to meet readers and make recommendations.

I'll be a guest bookseller at two bookstores tomorrow: Eagle Eye Bookshop in Decatur from 10 a.m. until noon and Bound to Be Read Books in East Atlanta Village from 3 to 4 p.m. Come by, pick up copies of The Venus Trilogy novels or Render and check out my other recommendations for your "must read" list.

Speaking of The Venus Trilogy, I'm giving away at couple of copies of Book 1, Conquering Venus, via Goodreads. You can visit this link to enter. Book 3, Leaving Paris, is nearly done after many weeks of rewrites. I'll have a complete first draft by Christmas and then it's time for the serious editing to begin.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

On the radio, in the store...

I'll be the first guest on "Promote This! With Jennifer Perry" on Blog Talk Radio's Authors On The Air on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. EST. Tune in as we discuss ways for authors to promote their books via social media and more. Click this link to stream the show live on Tuesday night.

On Saturday, Nov. 29, I'll be at Eagle Eye Bookshop in Decatur to help promote Indies First day. The event helps promote the importance of independent bookstores across the country and gives authors the opportunity to meet readers and sell books. I'll be at the store from 10 a.m. until noon with Joshilyn Jackson, Carmen Deedy and  Renea Winchester. Also appearing that day will be Carolyn Dingman, Hank Klibanoff, Charles McNair, Kathy Trocheck, Steve Berry, Marc Fitten, Tom Mullen Vicky Shecter, Lynn Cullen, David Fulmer, Jedwin Smith and Jessica Handler. Eagle Eye will have all of our books on hand and we'll be suggesting titles by our favorite authors as well.

I'll also be a guest bookseller later that same afternoon at Bound to Be Read Books in East Atlanta Village from 3 to 4 p.m. Come by, say hello, buy some books and support your local indies!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Listen to "HalfLife Crisis" on Spotify

My 2004 spoken word album, HalfLife Crisis, is now at Spotify. The album features work from Better To Travel and poems that would eventually appear in Slow To Burn and After the Poison. My friend Christeen Snell reads some of the work, while producer Denton Perry provides groovy music. 

We decided to keep in the conversations and asides as we recorded HalfLife Crisis, so it's not just a straight reading, but a conversation Chris and I are having punctuated by the poems. I love Chris' take on "Better To Travel" and "Exhibit 1," the live version of "Why I Want To Be Pam Grier" at The Ugly Mug in California and the bonus track outtake still makes me laugh. 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pushcart nomination, Twin Peaks anthology and more

Many thanks to Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine and editor Stephen Mills for nominating my poem "The Beat of Black Wings" for a Pushcart Prize! You can read the poem at this link.

The Private Press has reissued the Twin Peaks-inspired chapbook anthology A Slice of Cherry Pie as an eBook. It's available in the Amazon Kindle store at this link (this is the U.S. link, but check your country's Amazon portal to purchase in local currency). Contributors include Emilie Zoey Baker, Jilly Dybka, Elena Knox, Jared Leising, Daniel Lloyd, Siobhan Logan, Eileen Tabios, Maureen Thorson, Andrew J Wilson and Maike Zock and yours truly.

NYQ Books has acquired Rabbit Ears, an anthology of poetry about television, for publication in 2015.  Edited by Joel Allegretti, the anthology was originally supposed to come out this fall from Poets Wear Prada, but was dumped at the last minute. The anthology contains work by 130 poets, including Billy Collins, Regie Cabico, Amy Gerstler, Timothy Liu, Tony Hoagland, Ellen Bass, Matthew Hittinger, Grace Zabriskie, Bob Holman, Chip Livingston, Ron Padgett and my tribute to Farrah Fawcett ("Girl Crush").

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October Updates

I'm not sure where this month (or year) has gone, but the last few weeks have been insanely busy. Here are a few updates.

The Georgia Literary Festival has been postponed until November 2015 due to funding issues. It was originally supposed to take place Nov. 7-8 in Augusta with keynote speaker Jessye Norman. I'm not sure if I will be a guest author next year or not, but I'll keep you posted.

Sibling Rivalry Press founder Bryan Borland has stepped down as editor of literary magazine Assaracus, but he went out on a high note with a special issue featuring some of the best work I've read in ages. I'm thrilled to have a new poem included. "I Was Letty Mason." You can order a copy at this link. The fab poet Joseph Harker is the new editor and he's already hard at work on the next issue.

I don't usually talk about my day job as the editor of Atlanta INtown, but the project I just completed took up the last five months of my life, so I'm posting about it here. The 20th anniversary issue of INtown is out now and you can read the digital edition at this link. I have worked at the newspaper for 12 of those 20 years, so putting this issue together – going back through the archive, choosing photos, etc. – was a big trip down memory lane.

Best show you might not be watching: Transparent, which was produced by Amazon Studios. Jeffrey Tambor is heartbreakingly good as the sixty-something professor who announces to his family that he is transgender. He deserves an Emmy and so does Gabby Hoffmann, who is brilliant. Watch it!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Bits & Bobs

I'll see you again in 25 years...
Many thanks to poet January Gill O'Neil for her guest post at the Best American Poetry blog about the #poetparty I moderate each month on Twitter. Created by Deborah Ager at 32 Poems, the #poetparty celebrated its fourth (!) anniversary this past Sunday night. On the first Sunday of each month, poets use the hashtag to discuss a wide range of topics for an hour. There are updates on new projects, sharing links for submissions, tips on organization and much more. The next #poetparty will be Sunday, Nov. 2, at 9 p.m. EST. Join us!

This past Friday, I headed over to the Alliance Theatre with friend and fellow poet Julie Bloemeke to see the staging of former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey's collection Native Guard. A hybrid poetry reading, theatrical production and art installation, it beautifully brought Natasha's work to life. You can read my full review at Atlanta INtown.

I'm now in the rewriting phase of Leaving Paris. After allowing myself to veer wildly off the original outline, I'm now pulling all the threads back together. I posted on Facebook that I had to kill a lot of darlings over the weekend, but it's all in service of the plot and characters. I feel like the set pieces in this book (assassination plots, riots and the alternate reality state where Martin and Irène find themselves) are some of the best of the trilogy. I hope you'll agree.

After seeing Kate Bush twice in London last month, I though nothing else could shock me, but then David Lynch announced yesterday that new episodes of Twin Peaks will air on Showtime in 2016. Mind officially blown.

Collin Kelley: Modern Confessional

Welcome to Collin Kelley: Modern Confessional, the website for poet, novelist, playwright and journalist Collin Kelley.