The Future Of Poetry

The Future Of Poetry, guest post by John Kaniecki

I believe strongly in poetry. It has worked before and it will work again. It is infused in the culture of every civilization. Whether it’s the Bible, the Odyssey, or Shakespeare, poetry has been extremely popular. Today poetry lacks the prestige it once held. There are no Robert Frosts in our time and age let alone a William Shakespeare. But that will all change with one simple formula. Let me share the secret.
Give the people what they want. Note I didn’t say the editors and I certainly didn’t say other poets. I said the people meaning the masses; the everyday man or woman who make up America. In fact poetry in the form of the musical song is both extremely popular and profitable.

A song lyric is a sub genre of poetry. It has an extremely tight format. There is strict rhyming and rhythm. Also there is a chorus which features a hook. All of this is done with a small amount of lines.
What we have today in the poetry world is poems written for other poets. I heard a friend say that poetry is the only genre with more writers than readers. Why is that? I believe that poetry has lost its way. The exact reasons why this is I do not at this time care to elaborate on. But let me just say it doesn’t matter how much education an engineer has if his invention is inferior to the man who never went to college. This principle applies to the world of poetry as well.
So what makes a great poem?
Number one it has to communicate something. Why do so many people love Adele? I think the primary reason is that when she sings a song people apply it to their personal life. That they recognize in Adele’s lyrics a situation very similar to what they have faced. This is evident in how the crowd sings along, sometimes word for word with the performer. The lyrics aren’t archaic. Instead the opposite is true they are transparent, something is communicated.
Secondly a poem must deliver something when it is read. That is the language must tingle the ears in some pleasurable fashion. This is one of the primary differences between poetry and prose. Poetry is or at least should be the magical wording that entices the soul. Let’s go back to an expert, William Shakespeare. How did he accomplish his success? His poetry is written with strict rhythm and rhyme. We poets would do well to note that. Of course his presentations are enhanced with drama, metaphors, and imagery. But primarily his words sing in a captivating way when uttered.
I went to the book store the other day and looked over the poetry section. As usual it is extremely small, especially when compared to the number of poetry books out there. I noticed an author I wasn’t familiar with and picked up the book. I read one poem and placed it back down. I got nothing out of the poem.
Poems need to make people cry. Poems need to make people laugh. Poems need to make people think. Poems need to define life and give the words that others are searching for. All this needs to be done in a way where the words entice the mind. We need someone like Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, T.S. Eliot or Emily Dickenson. The community of poets needs to get back in touch with what poetry is really about.
And now in conclusion I will tell you why poetry is not as successful as it was. Writing the poetry I’m talking about takes a whole host of talent. Look at great songwriters and one would note that it is a very exclusive crowd. Am I saying no poets have talent today? Absolutely not! But they are developing themselves into writing in a complex format that by nature is cryptic. What they need is a K.I.S.S of keep it simple stupid.
With the world of publishing so wide open with self publishing and small presses a whole new generation of popular poets will arise. When I get a book review and it says something to the effect of “I don’t like poetry but I liked this book” I smile and know I’ve done my job. It is only a matter of time until poetry books will once more be popular sellers.

John Kaniecki is a native of Brooklyn, New York. While he has no memory of New York City but he is proud to call himself a native New Yorker. John spent a few years in Illinois but grew up in Pequannock, New Jersey. After graduating high school John went off to Hoboken to attend Steven's Institute of Technology.
Despite being in engineering school, John was clueless to the direction his life should take. After two years John dropped out of Steven's. He became a Christian and hitchhiked across the United States. Several months later he was hospitalized with bipolar disorder.
At this time John began to write poetry. A self published book called "A Day's Weather" shows his mind at this time. After years of struggle John eventually returned to college and graduated from Montclair State University. John went to work stocking shelves at Sears and then worked with an engineering firm. John married Sylvia Smith in 2004.
Once married John returned to writing. His writing has been published in over seventy outlets. His books are "Murmurings of a Mad Man" a book of poetry by eLectio Publishing, "Poet to the Poor, Poems of Hope for the Bottom One Percent" by Dreaming Big Publications, "Words of the Future" a collection of science fiction stories published by Witty Bard and a horror novella "Scarecrow, Scarecrow" published by Jaded  Books Publishing. Just out is his poetry book called "Sunset Sonnets" published by Local Gem Poetry. Also his memoirs "More Than The Madness" that deals with his successfully coping with mental illness is soon to be published by Dreaming Big Publications.
Presently John is a full time caretaker for his wife. Also he volunteers as a missionary for the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue; which is in the inner city of Newark. He stays up light at night and writing in any free time in hopes of becoming a professional writer.
Twitter         @JohnKaniecki
Goodreads   John Kaniecki
Amazon Page 
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Interview with Tim Applegate

Interview with Tim Applegate

What genre do you write and why?

I’m writing a trilogy of dark, gritty suspense novels with comic undertones. I chose the suspense genre because I’m fascinated by the mechanics of telling a story that holds a reader’s interest throughout.
Tell us about your latest book.

Fever Tree is the first book of a trilogy about a group of expatriates – Vietnam veterans, hippies, struggling artists – who meet in a village in the Yucatan Peninsula in the early seventies, outsiders whose lives, long after they leave Mexico, continue to intersect. In the first book, a mysterious, reticent young man named Dieter arrives in Crooked River, a small fictional town in the Florida panhandle. He rents a room in a local hotel and soon becomes involved in the lives of a number of local citizens, including a drug dealer who’s convinced that he’s a narc.

What formats is the book available in?

As a trade paperback and also in various e-versions.

Who are your favourite authors?

That would be a long list, so I’ll just name a few. Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, James M. Cain, Patricia Highsmith (particularly the Ripley books), and Thomas McGuane.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

At my new website,

Who is you favorite character in your book and why?

The character that anchors Fever Tree (as well as the other books in the trilogy) is Dieter, so naturally he’s the one I relate to the most. But there’s also a character named Colt Taylor I’m very fond of. On the surface, Colt is unappealing: vain, egotistical, violent. And yet despite all the negative aspects of Colt’s personality, I was determined to make readers sympathize with him, the way Patricia Highsmith makes us sympathize with Ripley. In my personal life I’ve known dozens of Colt Taylors, guys who make awful choices and then pay for those choices again and again. And just like them, I wanted Colt to be a tragic figure, a failure with good intentions, a loser with a big, broken heart.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

Because it’s a fast, sometimes darkly humorous story that’s written in a narrative style that combines my background as a poet with the more formulaic conventions of the suspense genre. But above all I hope they identify with the characters, laugh with them when they’re happy and empathize with them when they grieve.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Two years.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

At all of the usual online outlets – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Kobo etc. – as well as their neighborhood bookstores. If it’s not on the shelves of a particular bookstore, the bookseller can always order it through the national distributor that my publisher, Amberjack Publishing, uses.
What are you currently reading?

James Sallis’s Lew Griffin novels set in New Orleans. Sallis is not only a fine novelist, he’s an accomplished poet too. 

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Only One Reason to Write Suspense Novels: To Spin A Great Yarn

Only One Reason to Write Suspense Novels: To Spin A Great Yarn, guest post by Samuel Marquis

Hello World’s Greatest Aspiring Thriller Writer. Have you checked out your New York Times or Amazon bestseller rankings for the tenth time today? Completed your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and author’s posts and addressed your never-ending social media obligations? Read the latest Readers Digest or Huffington Post publishing article or the latest book on How-to-become-a-Mega-Bestselling-Author? Attended yet another costly writers’ conference or short-course peddled by literary snake oil salesmen? Have you driven your agent, editor, publicist, therapist, or significant other crazy rambling on excitedly about your latest marketing strategy or book signing? In short, have you been spending a significant time today on anything but writing and editing your Great American (or insert here) Suspense Novel?

Only One Reason to Write Suspense Novels: To Spin A Great Yarn, guest post by Samuel Marquis
If the answer is yes, then wiser souls than me will point out that you’re on the wrong track and wasting your time. Unless you’re a 1% author—and the chances are 99% that you are not—then the only thing you should be consumed with, and I mean truly consumed with, is writing and editing (or, should I say, re-writing and re-editing?) your book until you have actually created the Great American (or insert here) Suspense Novel.

And what do I mean by the Great Suspense Novel? I am talking about a thriller so riveting that it forces readers to stay up late at night against their will the night before that career –defining company presentation and to literally not want to put the book down until they’ve finished it. A novel so seductively addicting that it holds its readers hostage. As in figuratively chained to a reading chair, bed, or even bathroom seat.

You scoff. But trust me, when you are dead and gone, all that is going to matter is that you have left behind a memorable thriller for the ages. And you can’t write a timeless classic if you are engaged in endless tweeting, Facebook posting, and passively reading about or listening to other people drone on about how to write the next mega-bestseller, as if it is a simple formulaic process that doesn’t actually require invaluable world experience, passion, and raw talent. Quite simply, you cannot write your literary masterpiece unless you are actually committing yourself 24/7 to the nuts and bolts of writing and editing your page-turner.

I know what you’re thinking: social media and book promotion are absolutely critical to success, and writing is a highly subjective enterprise in which one reader’s masterpiece is another’s scathing one-star review. But I politely counter that great is great (think of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s characterization of pornography in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 1964: “I know it when I see it”). I further politely counter that the seemingly lofty and unreachable goal of greatness should be the primary focus of every author. Despite some of their other, admittedly less-than-riveting works, Grisham will a thousand years from now still be remembered for The Firm, Follett for The Eye of the Needle, Rowling for the Harry Potter series, and Capote for In Cold Blood. These novels are timeless and so are these authors because of these masterpieces.

Only One Reason to Write Suspense Novels: To Spin A Great Yarn, guest post by Samuel Marquis
“But you’re a nobody!” you snarl. “Where is your timeless masterpiece?” You’re right, I have not written it. Not yet. But I am striving for that admittedly far-reaching goal with every book I write and, with good old-fashioned hard work, I am, slowly but assuredly, making progress in that direction. In the last year alone, I have managed to have two #1 Denver Post bestsellers, an Amazon Top 15 historical thriller bestseller, and three novels garnering national book award winner or finalist recognition (Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year, USA Book Awards, Beverly Hills Book Awards, and Next Generation Indie Book Awards). From reviewers and readers alike, my four suspense novels are being compared to the works of John le CarrĂ©, Silva, Follett, Patterson, Forsyth, Baldacci, Vince Flynn, and the irreverent Edward Abbey. Why old James Patterson himself even praised my third book, The Coalition, for having “a lot of good action and suspense” and compared the novel to The Day After Tomorrow, Allan Folsom’s classic thriller; and Foreword Reviews’ said of the political thriller, Perfect for fans of James Patterson, David Baldacci, and Vince Flynn, The Coalition is a standout thriller from an up-and-coming writer.”

Not bad for a year’s worth of being a professional novelist. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t mean all that much since I have not yet written the Great American (or insert here) Suspense Novel. You know what I’m talking about: the book that cannot be put down by literally everyone. A book where word-of-mouth and word-of-tweet are organic processes that bring about massive exposure due solely to the book’s impeccable quality.

Penning such a masterpiece should be the sole reason to write suspense novels; there is simply no other valid reason to do so except the pure enjoyment of writing. Unless you’re a mega-bestselling author, there is certainly no reason to do it for the money. Telling compelling stories, then, is the sole justifiable reason to write suspense novels that meets every litmus test. If you’re doing it for any other reason, you’re in the wrong business. It’s about the art of great storytelling and nothing else. It’s about the idea that somebody a hundred years from now will read your carefully crafted words and hopefully be inspired, or at least wildly entertained.

Personally, I will not give up until I have either written such a timeless classic, or I can no longer physically sit at a desk and hammer away at a computer keyboard with my two calloused index fingers. Ultimately, suspense readers don’t care if you received your Creative Writing degree from Oxford or Yale, are a mega-bestseller, or are close friends with Sue Grafton or Lee Child.  They just want a great story, an addictive page-turner with memorable characters. They just want the Great American (or insert here) Suspense Novel.
And by God, one day I’m going to write one. Hopefully, so will you. And together we will become immortal. At least on paper.

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. He works by day as a VP–Principal Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as the spinner of the Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth Series, the Nick Lassiter International Espionage Series, and a World War Two Trilogy. His thrillers have been #1 Denver Post bestsellers, received multiple national book awards (Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year, USA Best Book, Beverly Hills, and Next Generation Indie), and garnered glowing reviews from #1 bestseller James Patterson, Kirkus, and Foreword Reviews (5 Stars). His website is and for publicity inquiries, please contact Chelsea Apple at
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Book Showcase: Regeneration by Stacey Berg

Book Showcase: Regeneration by Stacey Berg

Title: Regeneration
Author: Stacey Berg
Purchasing link:
Book Showcase: Regeneration by Stacey Berg

About the book:
The Church has stood for hundreds of years, preserving the sole surviving city in a desert wasteland. When Echo Hunter 367 is sent out past the Church’s farthest outposts, she’s sure it’s a suicide mission. But just when she’s about to give up hope, she finds the impossible – another thriving community, lush and green, with a counsel of leaders who take her in.
Wary of this new society, with ways so different from the only life she’s ever known, Echo is determined to complete her mission and bring hope back to the Church. She’s unsure who she can trust, and must be strong and not be seduced by their clean, fresh water, and plentiful energy sources. If she plays her cards right, she may even still have a chance to save the woman she loves.
Book Showcase: Regeneration by Stacey Berg
About the Author:
Stacey Berg is a medical researcher who writes speculative fiction. Her work as a physician-scientist provides the inspiration for many of her stories. She lives with her wife in Houston and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas. When she’s not writing, she practices kung fu and runs half marathons.

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Excerpt: Echo (The Player #3) by Nana Malone

Excerpt: Echo (The Player #3) by Nana Malone

Title: Echo (The Player #3) 
Author: Nana Malone 
Publication date: March 21st 2017 
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports
Excerpt: Echo (The Player #3) by Nana Malone

About the book:
Money, power, prestige…freedom. Echo Coulter is—The Player.

You are a Coulter. You will be perfect. That’s what Echo has been told every day of her life. As the only girl in the Coulter clan, she knows it’s her job to be the glue of the family. But with the Olympics looming, the last thing she wants is to follow the rules. She wants to break free, and she knows just the guy to help her.

Cole Atkins has no interest in spoiled little rich girls. Besides, he’s got the job of a lifetime and just met the girl of his dreams…That is, until she ditches him under the cover of darkness. He can put her out of his head and deal with a spoiled princess for a couple of months right?


He knew where his mind should be. But that didn’t matter because right now it was filled with her, and how the scent of her clung to his skin. Someone that was supposed to be a one-night stand had somehow burrowed her way into his mind. Fine, whatever. He’d figure it out. He could find her again. How hard could it be?
Pulling on a pair of boxers, he looked around his apartment for any trace of her, but found nothing. No excuse to look her up to return something she forgot. If he wanted to see her again, he’d have to find her. And he was surprised by how strong that impulse was.
He’d hooked up a lot, but he’d never had a one-night stand that had gone quite like that. But then, he rarely woke during the night, and so he’d never taken the time to talk, like he had with Cece. Or maybe they’d overshared. He wondered if that was what had run her off so easily. He shook his head to force the thought aside. Not with what had happened between them after their little talk. He wouldn’t believe that they’d been able to connect so strongly physically, if the personal things they shared were what had made her run.
He’d never felt a connection like that before. Maybe her friend had dropped digits. If he couldn’t find her, that was it, he’d let it go. But he at least had to try.

Excerpt: Echo (The Player #3) by Nana Malone
About the author:

USA Today Best Seller, Nana Malone's love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she "borrowed" from her cousin. 

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She's been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Want to know when the next book is coming? Hit up her Newsletter here. You'll only get updated when there is a new release or a special promotion for her Sexy, Sassy Readers.

Author links:

Excerpt: Echo (The Player #3) by Nana Malone

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7 Reasons to Embrace the Author Reading

7 Reasons to Embrace the Author Reading, guest post by Anne Rasset

Writers tend to be an introverted bunch.

So when your publisher expects you to do readings and signings to help promote the book, your first reaction may be to blanch and feel a little woozy.

That’s completely normal! However, here’s why you shouldn’t be (too) afraid to put yourself out there.

1. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.

More commonly used when referencing spiders or other creepy crawlies, but also kind of true here. Once you have the label of “author,” you’re automatically given an air of professionalism; you’re now seen as an expert in something. Even working in the industry, I still get nervous and stammer unnecessarily when I meet authors. I can just about guarantee that a good chunk of your audience will feel the same.

2. You’ve been published!

Someone—many someones, in fact—saw your work as worthwhile and invested a lot of time, energy, and money into your manuscript to turn it into a bona fide book. This fact alone should make you feel proud, and give you some confidence to get in front of a crowd.

3. You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money into this project.

Let’s not forget what you’ve put into this book. You’ve probably spent years writing, revising, and re-revising before your manuscript even landed on the desk of your publisher. Don’t let all that go to waste! Especially because . . .

4. You’re building a career.

If you want to build a name for yourself as a writer, you need to be in front of the public. There’s a commonlycited idea that people need to see a product at least seven times before they decide to buy. This means not only do they need to see your book on the shelf, but they need to see you. Besides, how do you think your book gets on the shelves? Yes, by being in the public eye and doing readings and signings. The more active you are, the more stores will happily carry your book.

5. You need to beat out the competition.

Harsh, but true. Bowker & Bowker, the folks in charge of ISBNs (International Standard Book Number, which books need to get into stores), report that in 2015, self-publishing alone accounted for 727,125 ISBNs used (this number is for print and ebooks; the same title with different formats need separate ISBNs, but even if all these were one title in two formats, that’s still about 363,500 books self-published in one year). And what about all those traditionally published books? According to one source, Bowker reported 300,000 traditionally published books in 2013, the most recent year for which numbers are available. So what does this mean? Few bookstores have room for all those titles, let alone those titles plus all the backlist titles people buy on a regular basis. If you’re not getting out there in front of people and you’re not selling, why would bookstores keep your book on the shelf?

6. It’s not necessarily about you.

For all this is about business, don’t forget the reason you’re out there doing events—the people who’ve read and enjoyed your books. The people who come out to your readings and signings are there because you’ve touched them in some way, you’ve said something they can relate to, they love your story, they have a similar story of their own, they’re a writer looking to make a name for themselves; the reasons are as varied as the people. If you keep in mind that the people at your events are just that—people—readings suddenly become a whole lot easier.

7. It’s a lot of fun!

People come to your readings because they want to be there. And these events don’t have to be stuffy affairs—crack jokes, get to know your audience, bring in donuts, whatever you need to do to make the event fun for everyone involved. This is your event, and you can have a good time with it!

Have I convinced you yet? Author events don’t have to be frightening or overwhelming. With these seven points in mind, the next time your publisher asks you about a reading at your favorite indie bookstore, you’ll be able to smile, say “sure!”, buy a big ol’ bag of candy, and get ready to have a great time with some of your biggest fans.​

7 Reasons to Embrace the Author Reading, guest post by Anne Rasset
Anne Rasset is the founder of and editor at Inkstand Editorial, LLC, which provides editing services to emerging and published writers of fiction and nonfiction. In her spare time, she can be found reading, playing with her two cats, or cross-country skiing with her partner in the Minnesota winters. You can find out more about her services on her website and follow her blog for book reviews and more tips for authors.
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