Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book with a View July 2009

New and Selected Poems
Author: John Yamrus
ISBN: 978-1-929878-00-0
Publisher: Lummox Press, 2009
Genre and Target
Market: poetry
Pages: 138
Reviewed by Sarah Moore for WITS (06-09)

I did not approach the latest collection by John Yamrus, titled New and Selected Poems, with any pretense of providing a critical and academic perspective on his rhythmic flow or line structure. I certainly am no expert on poetry, but instead I am simply a lifelong admirer of anyone who can weave together language and create beautiful art. Besides, I always felt that deconstructing a poem and writing a five-page essay on its symbolism or a specific word choice removed some of the unfiltered emotion I could experience from a well-written poem. Despite already learning that works by Yamrus have been studied by both high school and college students, I was able to open his book without viewing it through the lens of academia. I knew that my approach towards the work of John Yamrus would simply be to open the pages of his book and share my personal reaction.

In his poetry, much to my delight, Yamrus himself challenges the notion of academic poetry. In fact, he shares an automatic suspicion of those poets who are embraced by the ivory tower community. The poem “The Academic Poet” describes such a writer as one who
has been included in
countless anthologies
he’s received fellowships
and grants
however his poetry shows that
there is no soul
no guts
it’s so much empty air.

This sentiment, repeated in several of the pieces in New and Selected Poems, resonated with me as I often felt frustrated by professors telling me which writers should be studied and honored and even how I should react to their words. I was thrilled to meet, at least through his words, a poet who displayed a true passion for the purity of the craft.

Most of Yamrus’ work focuses on everyday observations made as he sits with his loyal dog, responds to letters and emails written by those who have read some of his previous work, or makes a trip to the neighborhood drug store. While the circumstances may seem ordinary, Yamrus’ wry perspective and sharp use of language make each poem a piece to be read over and over again. With the risk of sounding trite or simply offering the expected praise, I will freely admit that I found a connection, or at least a personal understanding, with each selection. I appreciate Yamrus’ matter-of-fact approach to each topic that he addresses and the self-awareness that he holds for his place in the world of poets.

The new collection by John Yamrus, New and Selected Poems, includes pieces that he has written over the past twenty-four years as well as sixteen new offerings. Whether is he railing against “poets” who are
saying nice things
only to get the same nice things
said about their own
mindless crap
(my personal favorite) or sharing his tiresome reaction to television news with lines such as
bored with it all,
i turn it off
and walk down the hall…
stumbling toward/eternity.
film at 11

Yamrus employs humor, irritation, reverence, and resignation to engage the reader in the various subjects that demand his response. New and Selected Poems was my introduction to John Yamrus, and offered a greeting that guarantees I will reach back to discover what he has written in the past and wait with anticipation to see what he produces in the future.

Audio Book Review
Author: Janet Riehl
Genre and Target Market: audio book, poetry, folk music
Publication Date: 2009
Reviewed by Sarah Moore for WITS (06-09)

When we diligently read our history books as part of our school’s curriculum, we learn about the famous men and women who earned their spot in print as world leaders, great businessmen, explorers, military heroes, or even criminals. While all aspects of history fascinate me, I must confess that my interest has always been more with the everyday folks who loved their families, took pride in their work, and, although they may never be studied in a classroom, made a lasting impact on the people who knew them. My ninety-eight-year-old grandmother has an amazing memory and can recount in detail an incident that happened with a playmate in 1917. She is also a musician who shares songs and piano melodies that remind her of being a teenager or raising her children during a war. I know from her that the retelling of family history and traditions is the best way to capture a picture of a bygone era. I have discovered a treasure that beautifully captures this appreciation for the warmth of family and home. The new audio book Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music by Janet Riehl is a compilation of very personal music and poetry that is not to be missed.

Riehl’s audio book developed from her written text, Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary, which was published in 2006. With the new release, Riehl adds the elements of down-home music and her own voice bringing life to the poems she created. The musical component features her father’s singing and fiddle playing as he is joined by other musicians for recordings that took place in his living room. The fact that the music was not performed in a high-tech professional studio makes its inclusion even more appealing and appropriate. As you listen to old friends gather to play music, you feel so fortunate to be let into the intimate gathering. I felt that I should be sitting in a rocking chair with my eyes closed as I let the simple beauty fill my soul. Each piece provides a seamless transition for the subjects of the poems it connects.

The poems by Janet Riehl are divided into five groupings that are spread over four CDs. The first section is devoted to her sister Julia (also known as Skeeter), who was tragically killed in a car crash several years ago. The emotional images Riehl creates through her words examine Julia’s work, her love of life, the moment of her death, and the longing of those she left behind. Riehl goes on to share equally captivating poetry about her father, her mother, and two places that have special meaning to her— the family home in Evergreen Heights and her later residence of Clear Lake in Northern California. In addition to the poems themselves, Riehl provides emotional commentary that fills in the missing pieces and develops a more complete memory for the listeners to enjoy. Her words are straightforward, beautifully crafted, and offer a wonderful piece of storytelling.

From beginning to end, the new audio book Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music is a delight for its listeners. The passion that Janet Riehl has for her family, her history, and the beauty that surrounds her is obvious. Even if you already read the printed version of Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary when it was released several years ago, you will want to enjoy the extra features and meaning that are offered through this listening experience as well. The audio segments have been expertly compiled and edited to create the comfortable atmosphere of someone’s home while also displaying professional detail to recording quality and content progression. Each moment of the CDs is filled with warmth, humor, and a deep connection to those who have come before us. Sightlines is a must-have audio book for anyone who appreciates a good love story with the perfect musical accompaniment!


Talk Radio Wants You, An Intimate Guide to 700 Shows and How to Get Invited
Author: Francine Silverman McFarland and Company Publishers (2009) http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/
ISBN: 0786440333
315 pages, perfect-bound $75.00 Order this book on Amazon .
Reviewed by Patricia Fry

You probably know Fran Silverman from the Book Promotion Newsletter. What you may not know about Fran is that she is also a publicist and a radio host. She has done an enormous amount of research to bring authors a new book to help them locate appropriate radio programs where they can promote their books. But this is not just a list of shows, each listing includes the theme of the show and a description, bios for the show hosts, the contact information, a detailed guest profile and even a description of their "guest from hell."

I especially appreciate that Fran has gone to the trouble of listing each show in categories in the Table of Contents and she has a detailed and complete Index.
Do you have a book related to animals? Fran lists 16 radio shows in this category. There are 50 related to business, finance and marketing, around 75 shows seeking guests who can speak on New Age topics, as well as shows about technology, health and fitness, traveling, parenting, self-help, relationships and more. There are also a number of shows focusing specifically on authors.
Some of the 700 shows listed will be familiar. But there are hundreds of others that you were not aware of and that could, conceivably, give your book incredible exposure.
Not only are Fran's listings informative, some of them are also humorous. In her listing for The JPEG Show, a Christian show with JP and Peg (Peuster), she asked them to profile their Guests from Hell. They responded, "We would never interview someone from hell." Others responded to this question by saying, "A person who refuses to stay in sync with the host," "Someone who is talking about a good idea that has not been tested," "Someone who plugs what they have to sell relentlessly," "One who tries to sell their products or services instead of educating my audience," and "A guest who gives one-word answers."
If you are considering going on the air with your book, you really must refer to this book in order to locate the right show with the right attitude and style. But also read the chapters by experts Scott Lorenz, public relations and marketing expert and president of Westwind Communications, and Joe Sabbah, author of How to Get on Talk Radio All Over America Without Leaving Your Home.
A priceless tip from Lorenz is this: "Don't just answer questions. Tell listeners something you want them to know, something they wouldn't know unless they were tuned in, with the promise of more of the same when they buy the product or come see you."

Joe Sabbah suggests, "Stand while speaking. Pretend you're presenting a seminar. Your voice will carry further. And you'll sound more animated."
This is a substantial book (7" by 10" and 315 pages) and it has a hefty price ($75) but, if you have a book to promote, this book could be the difference between weak sales and tremendous sales.
Here's an idea. Consider going in with other authors to purchase a copy. Or buy it through your writers' club and make it available to all members on a loan basis. However you manage it, if you are promoting a book on any topic, Talk Radio Wants You is a good investment in your success as a published author.
101 Tips For Survivors of Sexual Abuse: A Pocket Book of Wisdom
Amy Barth
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690941
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/09)
101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse is a twenty-three page book that does not waste one word. Small enough to be carried around in a purse or briefcase, this book touches on the subject of sexual abuse. Each tip addresses a different issue with which a victim might be dealing or have dealt. By reading the tips, I felt that survivors of sexual abuse will be easily be able to relate to most of them and, in doing so, they will also know that they are not alone with whatever feelings they are experiencing. This especially would apply to the painful areas of feeling guilt and shame.
Each tip has a paragraph space underneath it which also will allow the reader to make personal notes for themselves. This will be helpful because as they go through their recovery, they will probably be experiencing a myriad of emotions at different times. By taking notes, they will be able to address the feeling that they are experiencing at that moment in time, and they will also be able to look back and reflect on how far they have come with their recovery.

At the end of the book is a list of suggestions and exercises for people to do when they are having bad moments. There is a suggested reading list. I think that all of these will make excellent tools for people who need some guidance when they are dealing with their painful thoughts and negative emotions. It will give them something practical to do to help with their healing.
I think that 101 Tips for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Amy Barth will be perfect for individuals, family members, and for people in group therapy. The information within is highly personal, however, it would make great discussion material for both family members in recovery and for group counseling sessions.
Shooting an Albatross
Steven R. Lundin
BookSurge (2009)
ISBN 9781439228005
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (3/09)
In the year 1943 the United States was deeply involved in World War II on the European front. As a result of the war effort, this was also a unique year in the game of golf. It was the only year in the history of professional golf that games were canceled for the entire season.

The 170th Field Artillery Battalion of the Army took over and occupied the El Rancho Golf Course in Hollywood, California. Recently discovered facts of history give substance to this fictional account of Shooting an Albatross written by Steven R. Lundin.
An army General and a naval Admiral arranged to play an unauthorized round of golf in a match which would give prestige to both branches of the military. Knowing their own limitations in the game, they each selected a man from their ranks to fill out the foursome to represent their branch of service. The Admiral chose SN. Bentley Knudson, the General chose Pvt. Evan Wilkins. Athletic, handsome, quiet, and confident Wilkins is relieved from artillery duty to concentrate on preparing for the big game on the prestigious empty golf course.
Mansions bordering the back of the golf course were owned by Hollywood film industry moguls. John Nichols, father of Amanda Nichols, owned one of these. Answering Amanda’s startled scream Evan rushed in to rescue her from an unidentified spy. This effort resulted in a dinner invitation in Evan’s honor at the Nichols home. Amanda introduced Evan to a world of affluence and sumptuous living. She secretly joins Evan’s daily training on the golf course. The young couple’s relationship develops into a wartime romance.
Evan’s commanding officer, Major Floyd Akerly, became annoyed with Evan’s golf privileges. He was soon obsessed with the thought of revenge as the flicker of frustration fanned the flames into fiery passion. He also begrudged the fact that he no longer had any jurisdiction over Evan.
After the dinner party at the Nichols, where Floyd falsely thought he would monopolize Amanda for the evening, he became possessed as his resentment toward Evan grew. His animosity exploded into jealousy and exposed his dark evil side, which produces an anger and rage which ultimately destroyed his sanity.
The golf competition was set for the last day of August. The spectators included newsmen, film industry executives, members of the UCLA golf team, Hollywood celebrities, men from all branches of the military and other golf enthusiasts.
In an attempt to discredit Evan, Floyd was caught in a despicable act. He was beaten, demoted in rank and taken into custody by the Military Police. Left alone in his cell he continued to plan his revenge.
Following the golf tournament, Evan and Amanda made plans to marry as soon as he returned from Europe. The action that follows moves quickly, as Lundin creatively weaves a fast-moving plot of deception, murder, intrigue, suspense, and romance.
The book begins and ends relating a series of visits by a distinguished guest in the home of 94-year-old Floyd Akerly. Floyd narrates the story of the golf game, Evan Wilkins, the European battlefield and of his part in the story. The final scenes lead to a climactic, unexpected, dramatic conclusion.
Golf enthusiasts will know that to shoot an albatross is rare, a double eagle. It may mean shooting a seabird, or shooting an individual that holds back a man’s achievement. Steve R. Lundin has masterfully crafted Shooting an Albatross around this theme.

This is a book for anyone enjoying the genre of intrigue, suspense, or romance. Lundin includes the use of comedy and the game of golf to draw the reader into a look into the past, a heartwarming story, and a madman’s psyche. Shooting an Albatross by Steven R. Lundin is a great read.

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