I was thrilled to be invited to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario last week to do a workshop on the many new ways we can publish our writing (e-publishing and Print on Demand publishing) and to speak on the panel about my training and work as a freelancer in ‘traditional’ journalism. One of the organizers Claire Owens blogged about this fantastic event, and included the Queen’s TV feature. Take a look!
My talented author pal Elisa Lorello tagged me in a blog hop, and I thought it would be a fun way for you to learn more about her, more about me (in the interview below), and to ‘meet’ some of my other talented author friends.
Elisa Lorello is a best-selling novelist and the author of four books: Faking It, Ordinary World, Why I Love Singlehood (co-authored with Sarah Girrell), and her latest, Adulation. Currently on sabbatical from teaching, Elisa recently returned to the northeast from North Carolina, where she is busy developing new projects (she’s superstitious and never talks about her works in progress!) and getting re-acquainted with snow. Elisa’s blog post will be about Adulation–perfect for Oscar season! Please visit Elisa at I’ll Have What She’s Having.
I am tagging the following authors in this ‘blog hop.’ Could you please visit them this week? I think you’ll love getting to know them and their work.
Arianna Merritt: Author, M.Ed., Learning and Development Specialist
Nate Hendley: Author & Freelance Writer
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW…
AN INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER GRACE STEWART
Tell me about your writing process. Do you plan out what you’re writing or sit down and do it? What was the greatest surprise about this writing process for you?
I plan to write, but I don’t always plan what I’m going to write. Unless I have a magazine deadline or I’m writing a presentation, I set aside time, usually 7:30 in the morning to noon, to write creatively. I try to avoid distractions like the Net and the phone until noon. As far as plot, poems just come to me and I go with the feel of the poem and then edit later. I’m working on a novella right now, and I did plot a little down on paper, including character sketches, but I find what works better for me is to just sit and write for a few weeks without any rules. Just stream of consciousness, every morning.
That’s been the biggest surprise to me. I didn’t realize plotting out can sometimes strain my writing. The Friends I’ve Never Met. was a story that just woke me up like an alarm clock at 4 a.m. every morning for several weeks, without fail, and I found I just had to go write this story down. After a few weeks I went back and made sure the plot and characters were working, and then I fattened everything up, and did many, many edits.
Ideas come to me in the shower, and especially while I’m driving alone, so I have learned to use a small tape recorder whenever I go on a road trip. I used to try to write on a yellow sticky note at the stop lights, but I could never read my writing later. I’m going to try texting myself, too!
What was your worst job ever? (doesn’t have to be about writing) and why? What did you learn from it?
When I was 16 I worked at a Rifle Range. I had to sweep up barracks and clean the toilets. That wasn’t so bad, but the army officer in charge was weird and made me put up heavy tents in the blazing July heat, and then take them down as soon as they’d been put up, as if I were in the army too. I experienced a lot of harassment and sexism that summer. I think it made me ballsier. I didn’t take crap from a boss ever again after that. Ha ha, maybe that’s why I work for myself!
If you knew tonight was your last meal for a week, what would you eat?
Probably many many slices of pineapple cheese pizza with green olives. And a pint of beer – Heineken or Tsing Tao- mabye even a Hoegaarden. And vanilla ice cream for dessert, with Smucker’s hot fudge on top. Okay this interview is making me hungry.
How do you feel about frogs?
I have a special relationship with frogs. I truly love them! Besides being fascinated by the biology, like how they get oxygen through their skin, since I was very young, I’ve been able to catch them easily ( the other kids coined me the Green Lake Frog Catcher) and get them to stay on my palm for over 10 minutes with out hopping off. I rub their temples and pat them and they stay. I’m the Frog Whisperer.
Where’s your favourite place to chill out, and why?
There’s a private beach on Cape Cod ~ it’s actually the cover of my latest book, Three Spaces, and it’s so quiet and full of fascinating aquatic life. My daughter and husband love exploring it after the tide goes out late afternoon. We try to save crabs and starfish by throwing them in deeper. The private beach belongs to a small motel, and compared to other places we’ve vacationed, it isn’t expensive to stay there, but if I tell you any more it won’t be my favourite place to chill out any more.
Full disclosure: Heather Grace Stewart is my friend. She also happens to be one of my favorite poets. And her poetry collections only get better over time. Her latest, Three Spaces, is proof.
Stewart introduces the collection by informing us: “We are living in an age of three spaces: public space, personal space, and cyberspace. This book is my attempt to connect, take apart, and examine those three spaces that co-exist in our society.” That she does, and more. As always, Heather Grace Stewart integrates verbal and visual by using photographs that splash simplicity and delicate beauty and partnering them with words that evoke the same. Every poem, every picture, every part of this book tells a story.
She also intersperses poems with short prose chock full of depth and introspection. “Everyday Heroes” is an intimate portrait of an early male figure in her life. “To Infinity, and the Bus” is a slice of childhood; and although the child is hers, we can’t help but re-live a moment from our own. Additionally, Stewart uses dialogue and lyrics to tell her stories, and we’re more than happy to join the conversation.
“Cyberspace” offers the most humor, I think. “A Twittertine” is a 25-word love letter that would’ve melted me on the spot, had I been the recipient. Stewart also examines the silent personal connections authors make with readers, one that can’t be measured or detected by analytics or metadata. As an author, I could relate, and it reminded me of just how important those face-to-face interactions still are.
Above all, this collection is a reflection of Heather Grace Stewart’s radiant spirit. She is both a witness and a participant of life. She embraces her inner child as much as she does her daughter. She appreciates and celebrates the little things. She loves and lives out loud.
Buy this book. Get hooked. Add it to your space. You won’t be disappointed.
~ ~ ~
Elisa Lorello is the author of the Amazon best-selling books Faking It, Ordinary World, Why I Love Singlehood and Adulation. Find her books here
Three Spaces is available in Kindle stores worldwide and coming soon to Kobo, iBooks, Nook, & Sony Reader.
February 15, 2013
Canadian Poet Heather Grace Stewart launches her fourth poetry collection, Three Spaces
Three Spaces is a ‘brave new collection’ of poetry, prose and photography from Amazon and iBooks Canada bestselling-poet and journalist Heather Grace Stewart. It examines themes within three spaces of our society: public space, personal space, and cyberspace.
“I wanted to put out a collection that was a reflection of our society today, of how we’re trying to balance our public lives with our lives in cyberspace, all while trying to maintain some privacy in our personal lives,’ Heather explains.
“There are dark and intense poems that start this collection, but then I move into tender, humorous poetry and prose to lighten the mood, and colourful images that can provide space for introspection,” Heather explains. “As always, I try to give my poetry substance, but make it accessible. I don’t want my readers scratching their heads or pulling their hair out after reading one of my poems! I want them to relate in some way. I’d like for them to walk away from the experience of reading this book feeling moved, energized and entertained.”
Early reviewers describe Three Spaces as ‘inspiring’ ‘heartfelt,’ ‘professional’ and ‘modern.’ Best-selling Author Elisa Lorello (Faking It, Adulation) writes,
“Buy this book. Get hooked. Add it to your space. You won’t be disappointed.”
Three Spaces is available now in Kindle Stores Worldwide, including Canada, USA & India, the UK, Germany, and many other countries, as well as on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, and many other epub readers.
It will be available in print on Amazon and in bookstores in April, IF there is enough initial interest (at least 100 requests ) to warrant the production costs.
Heather will appear at Chapters Pointe Claire, Quebec on April 14th to celebrate National Poetry Month and to read from Carry On Dancing and a Kobo version of Three Spaces on her Kobo for IPad app.
Heather’s poems have been published in Canadian literary journals, newspapers and magazines, nation-wide school textbooks, international print anthologies, online journals, and in the British small presses. She was awarded Queen’s University’s McIlquham Foundation Prize in English Poetry (1995) and the UK journal Various Artists’ Poet’s Poet Award in 2008 and 2012.
Her third collection of poetry and photos, Carry On Dancing (Winter Goose Publishing, 2012) hit #1 on Amazon Canada’s Bestselling Poetry list in April 2012, and stayed there for several weeks. It’s now topping the Canadian Kindle Bestselling Poetry charts along with Where the Butterflies Go.
Her second collection of poetry and photos, Leap (Graceful Publications, 2010), has been described as a “lovely lilt of language,” and, “a must for new and already hooked fans,” by reviewers. Where the Butterflies Go (Graceful Publications, 2008), was reviewed as “whirlwind poetry that never hesitates…always delightful and rarely what you expect. We need poetry like this.”
Heather is also a children’s poet, and enjoys screenwriting. The Groovy Granny (2012 Kindle version; Special Audio Version on iBooks) and The Friends I’ve Never Met (Romantic Comedy screenplay, 2012) are her best-selling Kindle books.
Her photographs have appeared in Equinox and National Geographic Traveler among others, and on the cover of over a dozen poetry books.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, she lives with her husband and daughter near Montreal. In her free time, she loves to take photos, scrapbook, cartoon, inline skate, dance like nobody’s watching, and eat Swedish Berries — usually not all at the same time.
In case you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I wanted to let you know that today and tomorrow only, November 24 & 25th, 2012, my publisher is having a Holiday Sale on all their books.
Printed books are just $10.99 when you shop at their site http://wintergoosepublishing.com and their ebooks are $2.99 at their site, on Kindle and Bn.com. Don’t forget that you can download free reading software from Amazon.com if you dont have a Kindle!
My first collected poems, Where the Butterflies Go, is just 0.99 on Kindle until midnight EST tomorrow, the 25th.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for buying The Friends I’ve Never Met on Kindle – it was my biggest selling item for first-day sales on Kindle ! and I’m thrilled you were interested and shared about it with your friends and family.
Happy rest of weekend!
This work of collected poems by Heather Grace Stewart is original and truly unique, that digs deep within your soul and touches your heart. The writing is beautifully mesmerizing and captures the essence of life, from youth to adulthood. I was touched and moved by how I could relate and empathize with what the writer was trying to say, that connected to my own life and self in such an analogous way. I found them emotive as I connected to them, being deeply touched by an author whose observations on life are spot on. They painted an honest, clear picture of growing up with a touch of added femininity that is memorable and poignant. These poems seem to speak for themselves and take on an entire new deeper meaning, as you relive life surrounding you with the past, present and future before you. The sections pain, growth and family were well thought out and introduced you to each different phase within life, with fluidity that made you want to read on. Each poem tells a different story, presenting to the reader a new message that is thought-provoking to the core and which you ultimately identify with. Each poem is truth-drawing, showing the world as it is in vivid color with nothing glossed over but left bare for you to explore. This has to be the most wonderful anthology of poetry that I have ever been fortunate enough to have read; hence I cannot enthuse enough to all those readers who as yet have not discovered Heather Grace Stewarts work. It is atmospheric, genuine, unforgettable and truly remarkable by an accomplished and skilled writer who has something to tell. I could feel what the writer was feeling through each word, which was carefully chosen to express those emotions and thoughts that were happening. Every poem was brought to life with imagery and description that was so precise and defined; all down to the meticulous effort that was apparent by the writer. This collection of poems is highly readable, enjoyable with underlying poignant messages.
I’d like to thank Kindle Nation Daily for highlighting Where the Butterflies Go as a freebie! Now, go get it!
I’ve begun my very first book tour, and guess what I like most so far?
Is it the signing books with a fancy silver pen? No. That’s cool, but no.
Is it the applause after my readings? No. I always feel a little silly about that.
Is it getting to try out new heels? Well, yeah! Of course! But that’s besides the point…
You can stop guessing now ~ I’ll tell you.
In this hyper-networked world, where we Tweet and Like and Google one another, but, at times, don’t actually engage with one another, it’s comforting to be able to greet people the way I was first taught to say hello.
Looking someone in the eyes. Shaking their hand. (My daughter’s first hello to another human being was sticking her fingers in their ear at 4 months old, but let’s ignore this fact for now).
Friday night, I was listening to the talented jazz singer Kimberely Beyea perform at Herbs Cafe in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, and she and the cafe owners kindly asked me to read a few poems from Carry On Dancing. The audience was attentive and kind ~ I even got a few laughs. A couple of ladies asked where I’d be reading next. I didn’t really expect to see them the next afternoon, but sure enough, Marnie and Ann showed up to see me at my first official Carry On Dancing reading at Librarie Boyer in Pincourt Saturday afternoon.
Ladies, this meant the world to me! I’ll never forget it. It was wonderful to look you in the eyes and thank you for coming, Marnie and Ann, and it was also wonderful doing so with old friends and new friends who came by to hear me read. Thank you so much for coming by to say hello.
Please come say hello at one of my upcoming events. I may poke, Tweet or LIKE you later. But let’s try the old fashioned way first, shall we?
Here’s my upcoming events schedule!
CARRY ON DANCING: THE BOOK TOUR
Meet the Author (book signing) Chapters Pointe Claire, Quebec: Saturday April 28th, noon- 4 p.m.
Meet the Author (book signing & reading) Chapters Kanata Centrum, Kanata, Ontario: Sunday, April 29th, 1-3 p.m.
Carry On Dancing Launch Party! (party party party) Casa Del Poplo, 4873 St. Laurent Street: Tuesday, May 8th, 8:30 p.m. Featuring Music by Kimberley Beyea & Barry Turner
PWAC (Professional Writers Asssociation of Canada) Literary Night Reading, NOW Lounge, Toronto, Ont., Wed., May 23rd, 7 pm..
Wine & Cheese & Reading & Book Signing, Novel Idea, 156 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario: Friday, May 25th, 7:30 – 9 p.m.
* I wish to acknowledge the kind support of the League of Canadian Poets and The Canada Council*
Check out the pink poster on the bottom left corner!
This is getting exciting. Casa del Popolo is such an excellent venue & I am thrilled to be celebrating the launch of Carry On Dancing there with my friends! I know many of you live too far away to attend my launch party May 8, but I’ll be sure to post photos and maybe even a video clip.
I’m going to be busy holding many readings & book signing events this month and next. I hope to see some of you there! Thanks to the League of Poets and the Canada Council for their support.
Here are some of my April events (Please check back soon for info. on May events)
More poems coming to this blog soon – I promise.
Thanks to everyone for reading & sharing news about Carry On Dancing.