I Marvel at Mockingbirds

The book proof for Thorncraft’s 7th title arrived in the mail during a late summer rainstorm while the sun was shining. As I opened the book, I suddenly heard bird songs and chatter, and I looked up expecting to see starlings or a similar flock.

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Cover designed by etcetera… Cover image by SaltH2Ophotography

 

I realize that they are mockingbirds. I’ve never seen this many mockingbirds in one yard. I count over 20 of them playing around the dying garden, in the field, flapping from cedar tree to fence to persimmon branches to vitex bushes. Around 30, I give up the count and watch as the birds swoop and the white of their wings flashes against the green of the field. They whistle, chip, tweet, chirpity chirpity chirpity, st-weeet with a little trilling laugh on the end of the call. The calls and songs are so varied that I grasp for ways to describe them. It’s better to listen and enjoy. I marvel at the similarity in this first volume of the BreatheYourOMBalance book, thoughtfully selected and introduced by S. Teague.

As I read through the stories and poems, I am taken aback by the number of voices moving through Thorncraft. I’m always grateful for each book. Each one has represented a different stage in the publishing process for me, new awareness, and growth into another form. Every book has been unique to the author and my relationship with that person, as I care for all of the books that we make throughout the process.

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The Breathe book includes work from 28 women who have enriched my experience as a publisher by sharing their voices, and some of them by opening themselves to working through the editing process. I’m humbled that they trusted me to share their ideas, and I’m proud of their courage and dedication, both of which shine in these stories about the transformative practice of yoga.

This is Thorncraft’s 7th book. Five books of fiction. One book of collaborative nonfiction. One series book about yoga by women. 4 book authors. 28 contributing authors. I marvel that this creative endeavor continues to grow and include women who make me proud to share their work.

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Now, the book proof goes into the trusted hands and under the “red pen” (she actually uses blue or black most of the time) of senior editor, Kitty Madden. In the meantime, we’re excited to share some blurbs about the book from authors as well as fitness and yoga instructors. Book Forthcoming, Fall 2016. Visit http://www.thorncraftpublishing.com for more details about all of our books and authors

The Trail of Words: Running Words from 5K to Ultra

Words lead to not only more words, if you keep writing, they also create paths and spaces. I didn’t believe the land of words could be so much like trail running when I convinced myself to make words the focus of my career. I had to be careful, to share the trail with my authors, to know when to go it alone, to understand how to step back and “rehydrate” my author’s brain while being a publisher who represents other authors, and most enchanting, to discover new beauties and struggles on the writer’s path just as I discover them on the running trails.

I started a blog way back in 2005 with Yahoo360. It was like a couch-to-5K for my writing life which had soured into a ritual of grading English Comp papers and writing way too much feedback to the students. At first, like trail running, blogging hurt and I was getting about one hit an hour. How could this go anywhere? My forehead rested on the desk. I stumbled through writing about pregnancy and staying on target with one blog post a week. I was passed by professionals, out of my league. Winded and exhausted after those first attempts, I got wise and followed the people in social media to the MySpace blog world, and led a happy blogging life at blogspot, too. After a short time, I was content with these familiar trails, and I knew people on them, and it didn’t hurt so much anymore to expose myself as a writer. I blogged about motherhood and students in my classes. This was not nearly enough, even with thousands of hits. I yearned to write something more. It was time to add distance and a faster pace to my writing life. Through social media, I found Her Circle Ezine, and eventually became the Editor-in-Chief, wrote my own novel in the meantime, & tried to shop it.

The run was going strong and even getting hot, and my writing revealed more, new adventures. I helped with The Institute of Arts and Social Engagement with Misty Ericson, wrote articles about Mexican women for Lake Chapala Review magazine, interviewed bands & musicians for a Nashville music magazine, felt inspired to create books by women, and took odd writing jobs. Sometimes, I felt smothered by the trail. I couldn’t see my way out of it to the next place. There were traditional maps, but they weren’t working for me. I was in an endless loop. So, out of frustration, I started Thorncraft Publishing to publish my own novel, and then people joined me. I read Beverly Fisher’s novel, decided to publish another author, loved Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo’s work, jumped at the chance to publish her work too, and life kept going. The vistas open up sometimes, and allow more space. The trick is to keep going through the stumbles, brambles, heat, and more, until you reach new paths. Now, we’ve trained up for “ultras,” and in the running world this means 30+ miles per run. In our world of words, this means multiple books published every year, a literary magazine, a stage play, and more.

What’s happening now:
We have a new author at Thorncraft, Salty Teague. She and I wrote a book together earlier this year and launched it at Parnassus Books in Nashville. Seasons of Balance: On Creativity & Mindfulness is a self-help creativity journal, with poetry and stories thrown in the mix with affirmations and meditations. The book was chosen as a regional Wounded Warrior Project book, and Salty and I spent a beautiful afternoon at an event at The Yoga Mat that honored caregivers of Wounded Warriors.

The literary yoga journal, BreatheYourOMBalance Volume One will be finished later this year. Our open reading period was a success. Salty chose 28 contributors for the first volume of BreatheYourOMBalance: Writings about Yoga by Women (Forthcoming, Fall 2016). The contributors range from homeschooling moms to nurses, from yoga teachers to yoga beginners, from university professors to students. We are featuring the contributors on the Thorncraft website, so that you can read about them individually.

Salty and I continued working with everyone at The Yoga Mat by having writing workshops. Our next one will be Sunday, October 9. We are excited to partner with The Yoga Mat for Volume Two of BreatheYourOMBalance, which will focus on yoga and healing. Volume two will not be published until 2018.

Salty and I were promptly inspired to get going on a children’s book together. We’ve been planning it since last fall. You’re going to love the adventures of Luna the dog and Salty the raccoon. Forthcoming, 2017.

In 2015, Grace Among the Leavings by Beverly Fisher was adapted for the stage by Kari Catton and Dennis Darling, and performed at New Salem’s Theatre in the Park in Illinois. It was further adapted into a one act play by John McDonald, and performed in June 2016 at the Roxy Regional Theatre. We have more plans for “Grace” on stage in the future.

imageMelissa Corliss DeLorenzo is working on a new novel, but no word yet on what it’s about. She’s back on the blog, usually writing every week. She has several events this fall in Massachusetts, including the New Bedford Book Festival.

Check our Events page at thorncraftpublishing.com to stay up to date. The publishing website is updated weekly with the newest announcement and events.

Sacred Art & The Power of Support

Support. We all want it. What we create is sacred to us and requires building up & even, protection, at times. Support comes in a variety of forms–encouragement, freedom, sharing time and energy, giving, etc. We want family, friends, and even strangers to support what we do, what we create, and give us their blessings.

Kitty's art--created from found/donated objects

Kitty’s art–created from found/donated objects


My biggest supporters are my family and closest friends. I receive the support of sacred creativity from my friend and our Editor at Thorncraft, Kitty Madden. In her presence, I feel free to express my truth about art & creativity & business, free to talk about my interests, but I am also free to listen to nature and her poetic speech about her garden and art.
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Kitty’s singing water bowl


She is a healer, and through her belief in my abilities and actual follow-through, she helped to heal any excuses and self-doubt I had about making books.
Motivational artwork Kitty created as a chant & yoga movement for balance.

Motivational artwork Kitty created as a chant & movement for balance.

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She is open to expansiveness. I’ve changed the focus of my publishing company recently to open up to a book about yoga, and she has been encouraging & supportive in that endeavor. Being in her sacred space of found art & natural patterns, I am accepted & I accept her artwork.

Kitty's photo of me in her sacred art garden.

Kitty’s photo of me in her sacred art garden.


I write often about her, as her creative inspiration propels me forward every time I’m with her. She is more than an editor, she is an artist and a true friend to me for all the encouragement she gives. Being behind the scenes as an editor isn’t always easy, so I’m always happy to shine a light upon Kitty.
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This path is not glamorous or even glorious. Metaphorically, often it’s not marked adequately, and trails have to be blazed or re-cut. Sometimes, it is dark & mysterious, but we are following our truth to put new stories out into the world, stories that need to be heard. Kitty continues down this publishing path with me, pausing only to ask, “so what’s next?” I look forward to our future journeys together. I’m grateful for her inspiration and friendship.
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Music Creates Magic in the Story

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Music is essential to our lives. We use it to change our moods, propel us forward when we need an extra boost of energy, to motivate us, to woo a sweetheart and set the mood, to soothe a broken heart, to comfort when lost, and to give a healing balm during the most challenges times in our lives. We make friends over songs. When I was growing up, my friends and I used to make mixed tapes and stay up all night watching music videos, we made song requests to radio stations at midnight, and later, in high school, my brother and I begged our parents not to throw out the CDs that came with explicit lyric warning stickers. I see my characters the same way–they have worlds of music, too. I create playlists for the characters in my novels. How does music change their moods? What is the role of music in their lives? Are they musicians? Do they sing in the car? Can they “carry a tune,” as my grandparents called it?

I’m like a kid during this stage of crafting a story. I learn new songs, cry through old ones experienced anew, discover a fresh meaning for a tune I’ve never liked in relation to my own life, and notice how music affects the choices we make whether we admit it or not.

Music and food play a central role in the Ballard family, the focus of Poke Sallet Queen and the Family Medicine Wheel, my latest novel. From songs shared during family get-togethers and hootenannies, to town festivals, talent shows, and bands forming during college, music connects people and is one of the guides on the journey of life. We follow our favorite bands and become connected with people over our shared tastes in music. We discover new rhythms and create our own melodies.

I’ve added part of my playlist (some with YouTube links) for the characters of Poke Sallet Queen & the Family Medicine Wheel:
1. Wildwood Flower by Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters
2. Rattle My Bones by The Secret Sisters
3. Pretty Thing by Bo Diddley
4. Fever by Tom Waits
5. Tennessee Waltz by Patsy Cline
6. That’s Alright Mama by Elvis Presley
7. Dirty Lie by Bob Dylan
8. Laundry Room by The Avett Brothers
9. Wabash Cannonball by Roy Acuff & the Smoky Mountain Boys
10. Polk Salad Annie by Elvis Presley
11. Wang Dang Doodle by Koko Taylor
12. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club
13. Fortune Teller by Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
14. Live and Die by The Avett Brothers
15. Hurt by Johnny Cash
16. Wildwood Flower by Loretta Lynn
17. Tennessee Me by The Secret Sisters

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Join us at Parnassus Books on May 9, at 2 p.m., for the Book Launch of Poke Sallet Queen and the Family Medicine Wheel

NaNoWriMo 2011 Novel: Poke Sallet Queen

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