Saturday, December 8, 2018

Feliz cumpleaños a Libros 787

Luego del Huracán María, mucha gente no sabía qué hacer. Muchos se fueron de la Isla, otros cambiaron de industria y hasta hoy día el proceso de recuperación continúa. Pero para los fundadores de Libros 787, no importaba que un huracán categoría 5 haya destrozado la Isla; ellos iban a lanzar sí o sí. 

Ese tipo de actitud y compromiso dice mucho de la familia entera de Libros 787 y el ejemplo que dan al pueblo. Tienen valores y ganas, un término que más nunca traduce al inglés de la misma manera que se expresa en nuestro idioma nativo. 

Su misión de llevar literatura puertorriqueña y por puertorriqueños al mundo es algo plenamente alineado con mi misión como autor y agradezco su apoyo y la oportunidad de llevar mis obras a más sitios. 

Aunque escribo en inglés porque es el medio que mejor he trabajado, para mí la intención es de que gente alrededor del mundo se queden confundidos cuando sepan que soy puertorriqueño. Escribo en inglés porque es el idioma que más consumo pero mi alma late con son de una clave y no un mero 4 por 4. Para mí un mundo puede ser 100 x 35 y siempre me da un gusto increíble ver las grandes cosas que hacemos y que salen de nuestra Isla siendo un cantito de tierra tan pequeño pero tan sagrado.

Por eso te invito a que si en algún momento me has querido leer, que compres mis libros a través de Libros 787. Amazon tiene suficiente dinero y aunque he publicado a través de ellos y mis libros están disponibles en Kindle, quisiera que todos mis libros los vendiera en eventos y a través de Libros 787. Para incentivarte, si pides a través de ellos y me envías una foto con el paquete y mi libro, te regalo cualquiera de mis libros en su versión electrónica, un demo de 3 canciones que grabé en el 2016 en Puerto Rico y un EP de canciones electrónicas en su estado actual (no lo he terminado pero te lo envío con gusto a ver qué te parece).

Para mí, cualquier incentivo que pueda dar para comprarme a través de ellos intentaré ofrecerlo, porque aunque mucha gente dice que hay que apoyar lo del patio, siempre hago la aclaración: hay que apoyar lo bueno del patio y Libros 787 es de la crema, de pura cepa y de lo mejor que tenemos para ofrecer al mundo. 

Saludos y sonrisas,


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Coming soon: Magic in Disguise by Katie Salidas

There's always something so very awesome when friends gear up to release a new book. In this case, Katie Salidas, co-host of the Spilling Ink show, cool human, and a proud member of of Gryffindor House is releasing the next installment in her Agents of ASSET series. Seems like my TBR has no plans of getting smaller, and I can't be happier. Below is a bit more about the book, but you can go to the link in the blog post title so you can connect directly with this great indie author. And if you visit, tell her JD sent ya and that he says that "Ravenclaw is just as good as Gryffindor." You may add neener neener to your comment. 

* * * *

The Weapon of Magical Destruction is within her grasp, but will Sage be strong enough to resist its seductive power, and destroy it?

You've marveled at the world hidden under our very noses, discovered the four families of magic:
Terra, Ethereal, Shade, & Elemental, and witnessed the well-oiled machine that is A.S.S.E.T (Anonymous Supernatural Security and Elimination Taskforce).

Now, watch as it all falls into anarchy unless one rogue agent can find a way to destroy the Weapon of Magical Destruction once and for all.

Magic in Disguise is an incredible suspense thriller that promises to keep you on the edge-of-your-seat to the very last page.

Make this book your New Year's Resolution.
Pre-Order Today and be the first to read on January 1st 2019.


Haven't started reading the Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series books yet? There's still time to catch the Magic!

A Weapon of Magical Destruction is on SALE at Smashwords.
Get Book 1 for 50% off using the code HG36F at checkout
(Offer good through Dec. 26, 2018)

Also Available at the following retailers:

Google Play

Agents of A.S.S.E.T.
The world is full of magical creatures and artifacts.  The Anonymous Supernatural Security and Elimination Taskforce is on the front line, maintaining the balance of power, ensuring humans remain safely oblivious to the dangerous magic around them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Marvel in our lives

Stan Lee passed away recently. Anyone who knows who Stan Lee is and read his work is coping with a couple of things. We’re telling ourselves his health wasn’t doing great, that he was 95, that his wife passed away… we’re all trying to look for a reason to be OK with his passing… and we’ll all continue to fail. 

95 and gone too soon. That sums up part of my feeling about Stan Lee. He hadn’t written in a long time; some people might say… but how did you feel every time you saw him in a cameo in a Marvel movie? What do his characters mean to you?

For me, it’s no accident I sometimes refer to myself as your friendly neighborhood JD Estrada. That’s just one of the quirky things I do that are influenced by Stan. The thing is that anyone who has ever been proud to call themselves a geek is hurting. Some people might call us ridiculous, because comics are “silly”. There’s been quite a lot of that going around and although part of me wants to retaliate, Stan would frown upon that. Instead, he’d laugh it off. Hell, he never took himself that seriously and just eventually realized that he’d done something rather amazing.

As a kid, I had a couple of years of incessant comic book reading, though my gateway drug wasn’t a Marvel comic. Funnily enough, my entry comics were wushia kung-fu comics of Jademan Comics, lore. But through them I picked up Marvel… and DC… and Dark Horse… and Valiant… and Image… and any comic book that caught my attention. 

As a 38 year old, I still recognize the power and value of the stories I read in comics. Some people might label them childish because they have pictures… but we have to remember, we’re geeks. Some people aren’t meant to get it, and with Stan, it wasn’t just OK to not let that affect us… it was cool. He was cool. He was beyond cool. He was the man. 

Seeing so many of his creations come to life, every single time I saw him in a cameo made me giggle. Here was a guy who other people didn’t take seriously and along with Jack Kirby and some other all-time greats, they made the world better through story telling. They taught us values, respect, manners, strength, compassion, equality, tolerance, and so many other lessons. Lessons that have been ignored by many entrepreneurs and politicians and intellectual snobs that look down on comics, rather than embrace them for what they are… another medium to tell a story. And a beautiful one at that. Read Swamp Thing, read the Sandman, read V For Vendetta, Read Watchmen, read X-Men, read Super Man, Read Spider-Man and Dare Devil, and tell me there isn’t something special there and I’ll disagree every single time. 

These characters matter. These stories matter. This man matters. And you read right, matters. Not mattered. Not in the past. Because stories penned by the guy will outlive all of us. Because with great power, we know comes great responsibility even if many who are in power have forgotten this. 

Above all else, Stan Lee was a kind guy. A sweetheart. Some people insist that nice guys never win… and then I see Stan and know how wrong they are. As a creator, I look up to the guy and some people might say that he was like a grandfather to them and some people might think that we lost a grandfather or grand uncle… but that’s not it… it’s worse than that. We lost a friend. A 95-year-old friend who died too soon… but man did he make our lives better. By being more Marvel than man perhaps… or by being a good example of what a good human can be. 

Damn are we going to miss you. 

Peace, love, and Excelsior, my friend. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

#Humans4Humans - Yabucoa edition

Although this blog post has been pending for a long while, I’m happy to have the time to write a few words and then let the pictures speak for themselves. Firstly, all the thanks to Zaida Burgos, my friend in Puerto Rico who helped organize this effort. After Hurricane María, some students in Yabucoa on the southeastern part of the Island needed help with school supplies. And I’m very thankful for all the people who cooperated and offered support via supplies or money. You can read more about it in the original blogpost I wrote

People have asked why I’m supporting smaller efforts and the reason is simple, I know who is involved and I know what gets done with the money and supplies. I won't say more than that now because this is a post to give thanks for the efforts made by so many people to help others. Several amazing friends raised their hands when I asked if anyone could help and it goes to show that a little help makes a big difference. I could mention every single person who offered help and sent supplies, but I suspect from how these people are that the main thing is that the kids got the help and I want you guys to know you made a huge difference. Zaida asked me to give thanks to everyone and below is the fruit of the labor. 

So without further ado, the kids from Yabucoa and the fruit of your generosity, my friends. 

Cheers and here’s to always being #Humans4Humans and helping each other out on this ride called life. 

Peace, love, and maki rolls

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

#Humans4Humans: Giving for Given

As part of the launch of my 13th book, Given to Fly, I wanted to do something special as a thank you to my favorite band for the inspiration for the title of my new novel. For those who know me, it’s clear I’m a Pearl Jam fan through and through and to be honest, part of me wants my book to inspire people to listen to them more and if they have a show in your town, I hope my love for them inspires you to go. It’s truly one of the most amazing experiences in my life and I’m due a live show as soon as they’re near enough for me to go. 

That said, part of what I’m doing for my launch is taking any and all online proceeds from my books and donating to EB Awareness. I will admit that I only know about Epidermolysis Bullosa thanks to the efforts of the band and most notably Eddie Vedder, their lead singer and also a pretty kick as third guitarist, as well as a topnotch human. Pearl Jam has always been more than just a rock band, they’ve stood up to Ticket Master in the past, they encourage people to be activists, and they use their voice to try and make a difference. It’s something that I’ve always admired and do my best to do in my own right, even if it's a drastically smaller scale. Although far from a huge activist, I do my best to help in several causes, be it in support of Alzheimer’s Research, Cancer research, or through my #humans4humans efforts, which started with Puerto Rico in the #humans4PuertoRico efforts I did last year for Hurricane María.

For this year, I want to take any money I earn and donate to EB Awareness as my thanks to the band and all they do. Their music has helped shape my life and has influenced pretty much all aspects of my life, from how and what I write, to characters, to the music in my head when I’m on a wave, and beyond. So this is the least I can do, because I honestly believe we’re all in this together. Regardless of how effectively we segregate, differentiate, and insist on division, we are better together and if I can help a good cause, then why not? 

So from here until the end of the year, anything I sell via KDP or Draft 2 Digital goes to EB awareness, more than likely matching to a higher number. And this means every title I’ve released, not just Given to Fly. My thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered and anyone who has supported me throughout the years. It means the world and I thank you for letting me have the opportunity to offer at least a little help to good causes. 

If you want to learn more about EB, click here

If you’d like to make your own donation, click here

If you’d like to buy my books on Amazon, click here

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

13 is a Lucky Number

A lot of people are wary of the number 13. Superstitions abound and the whole Friday the 13th shtick is also kinda cute. But for me, I love the number. I was born on a 13 and it's been a number that along with the #4 has tagged along soooo often it's almost crazy.
So naturally, for my 13th book I wanted to do something special. Something from the heart. Something that will hopefully inspire people to read and write and thus came to be Given to Fly. Some people might ask why I'd choose my 13th book to be a middle-grade fantasy about a boy who dreams about flying, but most of the people that read me have said that's par for the course because it seems I have a knack for not following patterns and of course I'd write a book intended for audiences 11 and up after releasing not one but two non-fiction books that are pretty much self-help books.

But that's me and as an indie author, I need to show how broad the spectrum is when it comes to my work. As for Given to Fly, well a good first question to ask yourself is if you've ever wanted to read a book that dreams about becoming a Studio Ghibli film? That's what I set out to do with this book and that's why I insisted on avoiding violence. If you see movies, TV, video games, or the news at any given moment, it’s almost as if violence is a required ingredient in whatever medium we enjoy. Given to Fly is a book that avoids the use of violence even when talking about real issues like death, financial and professional struggles, and life in general in favor of finding joy and life lessons through the fantastical.

The tale lets us tag along 11-year-old John Rivers, a kind hearted kid who dreams about flying. He’s just moved to the Pacific Northwest with his family to a house that although it’s very lovely and very cozy, it’s not exactly magical. What he doesn’t know is that magic is actually closer than he thinks.

After strolling up a hill near his house, he finds a cliff with a cove at the bottom and a huge tree growing over the water. What’s special about this particular tree is that it currently serves as the resting spot for a house that defies logic while embracing the amazing. As curious as he is kind, one look at Od Manor would have been all it takes for him to consider heading into the sideways house, but when he sees a shadow inside, he climbs down to make sure no one is in trouble. Once inside, he discovers that no one is in trouble but that the term "living room" has never been as literal as when an ottoman starts asking him questions. The house’s owner is called Fäet Odstein. Adventure ensues as Fäet discovers that John dreams about flying. Intent on helping the boy out, they seek the help from a library pillaging bookworm, angels, spiders, and even take a moment to contemplate at the meaning of life in the linen lagoon as they try to discover what it takes to fly.

Apart from a whimsical adventure that feels like a lover letter to works by Hayao Miyazaki, Given to Fly is also the first of what will be a series of stand-alone middle-grade novels with Fäet Odstein as one of its protagonists. For those who find the ä in Fäet a little familiar, you'll know that it is my literary incarnation, or more so, who I am when passed through the filter of who and how I am as a writer. There's a little Wonka, a dash of Cheshire, and a whole lotta me.

If you've ever read me, you'll know it's not the the first time I've written middle-grade fantasy stories. Some people have described my Daydreams on the Sherbet Shore as whimsical bedtime stories with a lot of heart. That same heart was the main driver for this story. Like most of my works, Given to Fly was written longhand in one of the best gifts I've ever received in my life. A long time ago, my wife Janelis gifted me a hard cover notebook. She had asked me what image meant the most to me. Without batting an eye, I looked up the image to the Pearl Jam single by the same name. A couple of months later and with misty eyes, she gave me a hard cover notebook with that same image and the name could only be Given to Fly. But what to write about…

The question lingered in the air and rumbled in my brain until a trip to Orlando had us visiting Epcot Center and getting on the Soarin’ ride for the first time. As sights, sounds, and smells washed over me in the beautiful flight simulator, an idea was born and by the end, I found myself soaring straight into an epiphany. “It’s going to be about a boy who dreams about flying,” I told Jane through tears of joy after getting off the ride.

Several years have passed after that ride and finally Given to Fly is ready for you to read. It is a tribute to things that bring me joy and a song that makes my soul smile. In honor of the band that has inspired my life so much, all proceeds for Given to Fly and all other Estrada books for the remainder of 2018 shall be donated to in support of #EBAwareness. Epidermolysis Bullosa is a family of rare genetic disorders that affect the body's largest organ: the skin and Eddie Vedder (lead singer for Pearl Jam) has worked hard to support this cause. It is a small token of gratitude for everything the band means to me and aligns with my #Humans4Humans efforts to support different causes and try to make a positive impact through my writing and any other efforts to support good causes that help our fellow humans.

To purchase your very own copy of Given to Fly, you can pre-oder the kindle copy by clicking here.

Thanks for reading, for supporting, and for letting me share 13 magnificent experiences in book form. It's an honor and fills my life more than I can logically capture.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.


Monday, November 19, 2018

A PSA: Public Sock Announcement

Firstly, and foremostly: my deepest thanks to everyone who participates week after week on #SockItToMe. It’s a heck of a lot of fun to share random sock pics and shenanigans and on my behalf, that shall continue… but a few things will be changing and I wanted to let you know. 

OK so, I realized I’ve never properly explained #SockItToMe, why I do it, and why I insist on flooding people’s feeds with sock pictures. If you don't know, every Thursday I take random pictures with my socks and share them on social media with the hashtags #SockItToMe and #SockFamily. The main purpose of it is to have fun. I see the ridiculous division we live on a daily basis and how simple it is for us to fall in patterns of negativity, anger, frustration, etc. and part of me honestly has a genuine desire to try to lighten things up. So if there were to be a Mission Statement, it would be as follows. 

“The Sock Family is committed to adding some silly to the general dialogue on social media to find a safe place where we can all find something goofy to smile about.”

This can at some point change but in short, it’s a feel good thread for anyone to participate in. It is very important that no one ever on any of the threads discriminate based on gender, sex, nationality, religion, creed, social class, or political affiliation. We may not always agree or even get along, but we can all find a moment to be silly and sometimes we need that to get a smile on our face. That’s my honest belief and my intent with #SockItToMe, #00Bananas, and most of what I do on social media. Btw, people who have nothing good to say are reported and blocked, which includes people who comment on other people’s feet negatively, people who turn the good family nature of #SockItToMe into something unwholesome and sexual, and anyone in the mood to troll. 

The thing is that I haven’t gone about this in a proper way and have even fallen into sock spam in a certain way and for that I apologize. Some people have come to me because they’re freaked out by pictures of feet, think it’s a waste of time, or makes it harder for them to use social media in the way they wish to. For that, I’m fully to blame and I’m sorry. I should ask, but instead, I tag a ton of people and some of them haven’t been too keen on it, which is their right and my oversight. I also always try to tag people in threads that I think would get along or would make a good fit with each other but come this Thursday, I’m going to stop doing that because regardless of my intention, some people aren’t into it and I want this to be a positive thing in someone’s feed, not something annoying. I never want anyone to feel uncomfortable or irritated by anything I do. 

Simply put, anyone who knows me knows I love funky socks… but I also love collectibles, and mugs, and quirky t-shirts, and comics, and books, and CDs (ACTUAL CDs!!!) and artwork, and drawings, and I love sharing it with other people. I want people to share their goofiness and quirks as much as I want to share opinions about other things, but in other threads. This isn’t a thread to make some super deep philosophical assessment and it’s not a place to talk about our differences. It’s a place to be goofy, and smile, and remind yourself that not being serious is a wonderful and liberating thing. 

So come this Thursday, I’ll post a picture and pin it on Twitter… and if you want to join in, you respond to the picture. Feel free to tag people that would be into it, but on my behalf, I’m taking a break from doing that because more than mine, I want those goofy moment to be ours

So with that, a big hug, best wishes, and sock dreams. 

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Writer Wednesday: Kristin Garth

If you read varied enough, once in a while you come across someone whose voice is so unique and authentic that you can’t help but pay attention. Knowing so many indie authors, I’ve been blessed to read some really unique voices in both prose and poetry. In the case of Kristin Garth, she is another very unique voice and an interesting human for several reasons. During these times of polarizing topics and the fight for equality and expression, Garth presents us with a unique version of what sexuality can be and it’s my pleasure to have her on For Writing Out Loud. So let’s get to it and dive right into the questions.

1. Hi, Kristin and thanks for visiting our corner of the net. Tell us, who is Kristin Garth, how do you describe yourself and what should people expect if they read you?
Thank you, JD. Wow, that’s a question I could write a novel about and not entirely answer. Kristin Garth is a complicated creature – she’s a womanchild, as you’ve read before. The definition of that, to me, is a chronologically mature adult woman but with aspects of a younger person. In Pink Plastic House, my first chapbook I quantify that emotional age with a poem called Sixteen. For those of you who would like to read it, you can at Speculative 66 here: (page 17). I tell people in the annotations in Pink Plastic House (I write my thoughts in pink ink about the poem's teenage diary style to people who buy the books through my Twitter or my website ), though my chronological age is decidedly too shocking to mention, my emotional age varies on a good, confident day from about 16 (as this poem describes) and dips on a sad, insecure day to about 12. 

An example of this womanchildness you are aware of from reading Pink Plastic House is that I stripped for a living for five years of my life, a very womanly career, of course. However, I did this in catholic schoolgirl and cheerleading uniforms accessorized with things like heart-shaped sunglasses and Blowpops. And at night when I was done taking off my clothes for a living, I often played with my Barbie Dreamhouse or purchased items to acccesorize it from a Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. It was how I engaged both sides of myself in this career. There are always these two sides of my nature.
This womanchildness, as I call it, is a direct result, for me, of my abuse history which I talk about often in my work. I spoke with a friend recently about abuse and how, for the two of us, we had a part of ourselves stunted that we very much feel in our day to day lives. It sounds totally negative speaking of it this way. It certainly started negative. I’ve learned though that this stunted part of me deserves a life and pleasure, like kneesocks, lollipops, and dollhouses. I try to keep her nurtured and let her heal.
For my last birthday of draconian digits, I wanted to forget because they don’t define how I feel at all, I wrote myself a birthday sonnet. It’s called Nymphette, which defines how I feel and isn’t, for me defined by a number. You can read it here.

2. It’s always a treat to have you participate in #SockItToMe with the #SockFamily. Tell us, when did your fixation with socks begin and what do socks mean to you?
I’ve always loved socks. It partially comes from an insecurity about my toes that stems from some childhood playground commentary. I wrote a CNF about that will be in Sidereel Magazine in November. It’s called "Toe".

I grew up in Florida which for a good part of the year is incredibly hot and a sandal mecca. I’ve never felt so happy about my feet. In fact, I made a joke with a girl on Twitter that inspired this CNF piece actually where I tweeted, “I stripped for five years and never showed a toe.” It really only struck me then how deep this psychological compulsion to wear socks is for me. I stripped for five years down to a g-string and high heels, but I always wore either ankle or knee socks. I never showed a toe.

I’ve always thought socks are my security blanket. A sock loving friend of mine said once “socks are hugs for the feet.” I like that a lot. I’m sure the security blanket feel, for me, comes from feeling like I was hiding something I was teased about (a longer second toe – scandalous). I think it’s ironic that I’ve become very known in the Twitter community for my socks and my legs because the sock obsession started as a way to hide what I saw as a deficiency. I think it’s a fundamental part of my personality that I turn negatives in my life into trademarks. I think I’ve done that with the stripping – a thing a lot of people might hide but I embrace in my writing.

3. Your poetry definitely feels as real as it gets. How personal is poetry to you and how much do you enjoy people wondering what’s true and what’s fiction in your verses?

I write a lot of poetry – almost every day for the last two years. I recently took a two-day break, meant to be a week. That didn’t happen. The point of me telling you this is I write a lot of stuff. Some of my poems are very autobiographical. Usually when those are promoted on Twitter I own that. Pink Plastic House has a lot of autobiographical poems in it like the title poem that was originally published in Anti-Heroin Chic here.
However there are plenty of poems in there that I didn’t live through, too, like the definitely fictional poem Little Brick House (that is one of the first sonnets I wrote after coming back to writing after a 15-year-plus break. I joined a writing/critiquing site to get back into writing after I made the commitment to write again. A man contacted me on social media, whom I’d been involved with when I was in grad school. I knew him before I dropped out to strip, to have financial freedom from abuse. He was dying of a brain tumor, had lost most of his ability to write and reminded me who I was. I started writing a novel, joined this site. Inside the novel I wrote sonnets for one of the characters. This was one of them.
I’m sure in this example, it’s hard for a lot of people to tell the difference between my fictional poems and my non-ficitonal poems, free standing in journals. That doesn’t really bother me. I have two books coming out that I call poetic memoirs because they are poems that tell true events. Candy Cigarette (Womanchild Noir) tells the story of me stripping in the Deep South in pigtails and cheerleading uniforms, dating, living as a sex worker in a highly  
puritanical society. Puritan U is a book about my sexual assault at Brigham Young University many years ago. It’s a prequel of sorts to the former book, how a very sheltered Mormon girl becomes a stripper – for me that path was abuse as a child, Utah, sexual assault.

4. If you had to design your own lollipop or lip gloss flavor, what would you call it and what would it taste like?

I would call it Unbearably Hot but I’d have to get licensing from Jelly Belly because that’s the trademark of my favorite Cinnamon Bears, they are so tiny and incredibly hot. So it would be an homage and require me being very wealthy (as I’m not at all) to pull it off. It would taste like the hottest cinnamon and be super glossy red, but it would be sweet like a teddy bear, too. This is all totally me and my aesthetic. This may be my favorite question ever asked in an interview. I love it.

5. Ageism, sexism, and so many isms have a way of trying to silence us. What’s your response to all the naysayers and all the isms you have to face?
I’ll start with ageism. I think it’s so prevalent. I feel like it’s the luckiest thing in the world that I have a young looking face though I used to hate it when I was young. When I was in college back in Florida after I returned from Brigham Young, I was 22, and I went to dinner with my parents and the waitress brought a 12 and under menu. I wrote a sonnet talking about this incident called Your Body Is His Blessing, how at this time of my life it was just one more thing about my body that I felt oppressed by.

Now, I do see my youthfulness as a blessing because I think society has a big obsession with youth. I think it helps me that for the superficial they see my socks and my babyface, and they read the work. If they read it closely, they’ll pick up on that I am clearly not a girl in my 20’s, but they’ve read me and then they can judge me on my work.

I think ageism and sexism are prevalent and terrible. Artists should be judged on their work – not the year their parents decided to have a child or the gender they were born into. No one should discriminate against a poet because they are a certain age, old or young or a certain gender. We all have our own stories to tell reflecting the lives we live, and they are all valuable, unique, and extraordinary if we are brave enough to tell them.

5. Every day, women of all colors, ages, and creeds have to face scrutiny, censorship, and inappropriate behavior from the male population. How freeing is expressing yourself under your own rules and if you could share a message with men and women of all ages, what would you say to them?
There are a lot of problems women writers have to face when we put out intimate details of our sexuality or abuse into our poetry. The power of poetry is truth, candor woven artfully with words into something else, but it’s that truth inside of it that resonates in the heart. To be a poet, you have to be vulnerable and trust people with information that can be used against you, if a person has malicious intent.

I wrote a poem called Preditor about my own experience when I was new, submitting my first manuscript (Pink Plastic House.) I was led on by someone who read my works, was well aware of my abuse history and made me feel that I needed to keep him interested in me in order to pursue a publishing deal.

None of that ever came to be. It was a learning experience. There are power imbalances in any community, the literary community as well.

Editors have a lot of power, and people want to please them, want their books and poems published.

Some editors abuse their power, and when they do I think in our community poets can be uniquely exposed and vulnerable, many with histories, triggers, published and searchable. I would say that people that abuse the privilege and responsibility of being an editor to gratify themselves are predators. They take people’s greatest dreams and defile them with their desire for sexual gratification, and they make me very angry.

I am now an editor of my own poetry column that is becoming in March a mini-journal within a larger journal that hosts, Rhythm & Bones Lit. It’s called The Sonnetarium. I take the privilege of publishing people very seriously. Art is a refuge for a lot of people who have suffered terribly, and we should not play a part in creating further suffering. We are privileged to make and publish art, and we should all treat people with respect. 

6. Poetry is definitely your strong suit but it seems very cathartic. How important is poetry in your life and what role has it played in your evolution as a human?
Poetry is everything to me. It is how I get through a day, process pain. It’s how I make sense of the world. I’m not in therapy, and I haven’t been since college when it was included with my tuition. Poetry is my therapy. I know it’s that for a lot of people. It’s another reason I feel it’s very sacred and should not be violated by abusers because for some very wounded people this is what we have.

Publishing poetry in the last two years since I started doing that has connected me to the earth again, to artists. I live in a small town. I’m a recluse. I’m not a person who is in circles with artists in my day to day life. I write a poem, publish it and sign on to Twitter and engage with other artists about it. It’s magical. It’s given such a confidence as a human I never had before.

I love to read other people’s work and find familiarity and communion there. I feel less alone even if I don’t know these people as bodies in the physical world.

They are my Twitter soulmates, and when I’m alone in my house, when I’m breaking into tears on a bad day making small talk at the grocery store, I know that I am more than this crying mess in real life. I have people that love me, read me, support me and feel as isolated in ways as I do. Poetry has given me a universe.

7. I had the utter delight of reading an annotated copy of your collection “Pink Plastic House”. How did the idea to annotate come about and describe people’s response to having something so wonderfully personal with their collection?
Thank you so much for responding to my annotation. I’m really honored that you enjoyed it. I got the idea of doing annotations from some female poets I saw on Twitter, two in the matter of a week I saw offering annotated copies. I knew people signed copies, but I had no idea that people annotated them. It was an idea though that I instantly fell in love with. I made a little tweet offering annotated copies for $15 including shipping and I instantly got my first order. I’ve made so many of them now, and I love doing them.

When you write sonnets (which I primarily do – I have now published more Shakespearean sonnets than Shakespeare), you only have 14 lines to play with. As you can tell from this interview I am very long winded. I like the constraint. It makes me be dense and get to the point. It is, of course, by its very nature limited. What I love about annotations is that you have the beauty and brevity of the poetry, but then I write little notes explaining other details just conversationally on the page. Someone compared it to watching a movie with a director’s commentary track. I always love those, and so I love that comparison.

People have been so kind about the annotations. I feel like it’s a chance for them to get to know me outside of 14 lines, kneesocks, and provocative or emotional tweets. They feel like penpal letters with my Twitter friends, and it always feels like a gift from the universe when I get to do one.

8. You are given the opportunity to do a Broadway or theater show. What would be the title and what would be happening on stage?
Shakespeare for Sociopaths, for sure, would be the title, and is the title of my chapbook being published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press in January of 2019. It is a chapbook of all Shakespearean sonnets on sociopathic characters in true crime, movies, my imagination, some who were in my bed. When I came up with the title for this chapbook, I told a friend, and he said that is such a great title it sounds likes a broadway show. So it’s the obvious choice. 

The action on the stage would be a series of vignettes -- historical figures, serial killers, boyfriends, horror movie villains, family members acting out, singing songs about some of their sociopathic deeds. Of course, there would be perhaps a heightened level of absurdity attached to singing sociopaths. They made a Broadway musical of American Psycho though so, you know, I think it’s possible. 

9. You’re extremely prolific in your writing, give us a summary of what you’ve written so far and where people read you and connect with the amazing, socktastic, and powerfully poetic Kristin Garth?
I have a website that has links to a lot of my published poetry, sonnets, creative non-fictions and even a short story. It’s – it’s lacking about half of my published work. I’m always too busy writing to completely keep up with it, and I’m not great at tech. I’ve done a lot of work on it recently though, and it’s improving a lot. It has links to all of my books which include Pink Plastic House (available now, on my website or through Maverick Duck Press), Shakespeare for Sociopaths (January, via Hedgehog Poetry Press), Puritan U (March, Rhythm & Bones Lit) and Candy Cigarettes (April, Hedgehog Poetry Press). I also have two collaborative chapbooks, one on abuse, Pensacola Girls, with the poet Elisabeth Horan (available now through Bone & Ink Press) and an erotic collaboration, Good Girl Games, with the poet Yara S. Nerida (available now through my website and through Maverick Duck Press.) I have two anthologies I’m editing one on the Slenderman called Mansion, co-edited by Justin Karcher, that will be published by Dancing Girl Press in February of 2019. Then I have another, You Are Not Your Rape, co-edited by Tianna Hansen, a sexual assault anthology being published by Tianna’s press Rhythm & Bones Lit. I have 311 publications since I started writing again less than two years ago. You can always catch up with those on both my Twitter: @lolaandjolie and my website


Here are links to a few poems I really like:

What is Dead

The Lady Who Loved Lightning

Ophelia Interrupted

Pink Plastic Houses



My sincerest thanks to Kristin Garth for this amazing interview and the generosity with time and her answers. Below is some info on things to keep an eye out for and places where you can contact her. 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like Glass, Yes, Five:2: One, Anti-Heroin Chic, Former Cactus, Occulum, Luna Luna, & many more. She has a chapbook Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), three forthcoming: Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press, Sept 2018) and Shakespeare for Sociopaths (The Hedgehog Poetry Press Jan 2019), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Lit March 2019) Her full length, Candy Cigarette, is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press). 

Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie), her weekly poetry column ( and her website (

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Release - Clay and Blood by Rebekah Jonesy

It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome back the wonderful Rebekah Jonesy to For Writing Out Loud and if this reads like the transcript of a talk show, that’s just how it’s gonna come out on this occasion, because Bekah inspires that type of relaxed atmosphere where we can just chit and chat. 

So firstly, welcome back Rebekah and to start people off, why don’t you tell us what brings you back to the blog and yes you can consider this your Red Carpet moment. 

RJ: *sets down steaming cup of coffee*

*sashays down the Red Carpet doing an exaggerated beauty queen wave while smiling goofily*

Helllo dahlings! Thank you so much for coming to my debut. Oh wait this isn’t my debut.
*picks up coffee cup again*

Hi JD! So happy to be here! What brings me back is that I wrote another book, mostly so I could come and hang out with you again. Totally worth it too. 

This would be your second novel in the series. What can you tell us about it and what would you say has been easier this time around?

RJ: Yup, this is Clay and Blood, the second book in the series after Moss and Clay. You might notice the naming scheme. The third book will be Blood and Steel. That is definitely the easier part in writing this one. For the first book I had to make dead certain with the name so that all the other names in the series will work the way I want them to. I also had to decode what type of person my main character would be. And I think that really came out in this book. 

She is what she is. And what she is , is a baby. A baby with a vast wealth of knowledge, but not a lot experience or personal maturity. That was a much harder thing to deal with in this story. Poor Gillian is struck by a massive wave of homesickness, but doesn’t understand it and doesn’t know how to deal with it. It hits her in this story just how very dangerous and alien this new world of America really is to everything she knows. And the only comfort she has is a mute kelpie. My editor really had to poke at me to get this to come out well and fully.

How has being with OWS impacted your Writer Journey?

RJ: Oh they have been amazing. I love my editor, JK Allen. She did my first book too so she could point out what I was missing from the feel of this book, and it really bloomed with her help. And Heidi and Isa are … magical. I dunno. They focus on the marketing side of things and even I, who hates having to do the marketing stuff, can follow along and actually get my marketing set up and working. Heidi still makes my ads for me, cause wow rookie here, but I at least know what to do for the tours and newsletters and things like that. 

Without a doubt I have become a better writer because of them. And the support I get through them has given me the confidence to write in this new genre and still keep writing in my old genre. And I don’t feel like I’m an imposter any more. Nope with these ladies backing me I know, I’m an author. Hear me roar!

*sips coffee again*

You are a voracious reader to put it lightly, but you also seem to have quite the appetite to write. How do your reading and writing habits compare and contrast?

RJ: I take breaks and breathe between chapters when I am writing. I am much faster at reading too. I can read, skimming, 60K in 15 minutes when I am rushing. But even when plotting I can’t write that fast. 

When I read I watch it play out in my head. I hear it, feel it, taste it smell it, all at once.
When I write I write the plots and the dialogue over a series of days or weeks. Then I take a break of a day or so and let it ferment a bit. Then I read it again and write in the sounds, feelings, textures, flavors, smells, and nuance the dialogue. Then another break and another read through and usually take some bits out, tighten it up. 

So that’s what it really boils down to. Reading is about relaxing and seeing farther and farther. Writing is about tightening it up and focusing more and more on each bit.

This would be book 2 in the series, where to now and how far does the rabbit hole go for Gillian?

RJ: Next up is the Jersey Devil! Which amuses me because she started in New Jersey. But that is not where she runs into the Devil. And obviously it is no devil. And that books is where Gillian really starts going down the rabbit hole. She doesn’t know it yet, but books 0-2, which by the way you will be able to buy as a bundle soon, but all the signs are there for what is about to happen. And she won’t fully come out of that rabbit hole for about another 30 books or so. And the rabbit hole goes so far it reshapes how she, and her mother and aunts, view the world. And considering their mother Danu is the world … it gets a little dramatic. 

What is important for you to tackle with this series and how does Book 2 figure into the bigger picture?

RJ: The reality of reality and truth. Gillian cannot lie. And that has a lot of consequences she doesn’t fully appreciate yet. Because she cannot lie she doesn’t have to be careful of her words, but it would do her a lot of good to listen to her own words because that would teach her a lot. If she pays attention to her actual words. So in book two she says a lot of things that point to what is really happening that she, and the readers, won’t learn the rest of it for a few more books yet. 

Of course, you can’t come to For Writing Out Loud and not be given thanks for all the banana support and get asked a banana question or two: 1. Have you ever tried banana bread beer? 2. Do you have any special requests for 00 Bananas?

RJ: I do like the banana love!
1 Banana bread beer?! I have not heard of such a thing.  I am intrigued and would like to know more about this.

2  Wait, can’t be dirty. Right. Right. Uhm. *sips coffee* Oh! 007 movie intro with bananas! Or super dorky, and a 00 Banana in pajamas! 

Once upon a time, you said you didn’t feel like you belonged as a writer. Clearly this has changed and you are coming into your own. How does it feel to be on someone’s TBR and to read how people react to your stories?

RJ: I’m not just on people’s TBRs now. I am on the TBR of people I admire. That is … *fans face* that is .. leaving me speechless. That’s like having a chef come to your restaurant and wait in line to get your food. Again I think that has a lot to do with OWS and what I learned there, before I even joined the company. I don’t feel like I am flinging ideas at a wall to see what sticks. I took the courses, I watched how these things worked for other authors. I went and checked with established authors and learned that they are doing these things too. So just knowing that I know what to do and being able to do them, gives me a lot of confidence. And not doubting myself makes it easier to write too. Which is another confidence boost. And of course being supported by amazing people like you boosts me up too. 

Although I appreciate your work ethic and talent, your biggest attribute will be the kindness you bring to any equation. What is your take on kindness and its importance in the world at large and in your work?

RJ: Kindness is the best thing you can give. It’s like glitter, except not evil. The act of handing it out covers you in it as well. It grows as you give it. And it brings you just as much joy to give it as it does to receive it.

And finally, any extra comments you want to share or questions you want to add to this post? After all, the only rule here is to have fun.

RJ: What’s my favorite position?

For sure, it is the COO of OWS Ink LLC. It gives me enough books and submissions and stories and information that I always have something to read. Which is not easy to do, as I am sure you understand. I also like it because I can say I am the coo one of the group. And that joke never gets old despite what my co-workers might tell you.

And please join me on the rest of the stops on my book release blog tour for Clay and Blood. I did a lot of fun interviews, different flavor for each one. I also wrote character spotlights and articles that I thought were a lot of fun. So check out for those links or my blog the list, that’s also where I post glowing reviews on all of JD’s works so far. I will also be posting the links on my reader group on Facebook where I let my geek flag fly proudly and talk about my books and writing.

- Kindest thanks to the amazing Rebekah Jonesy, and if you like, here's a book blurb for her new book Clay and Blood.

Gillian Gilchrist has no time to rest after completing her first mission. There is still the cleanup which leads her to a trail of devastation left by a rogue fae.Somehow this one moves through the trees without leaving any trace, except for the tattered and bloody clothing of its victims.

Pitch and Gillian  can’t tell if the culprit is insane, sick, or simply acting out its true nature.