Historias: Stories of Survival

December 3, 2014

Rachael Ikins’ new poetry collection:

Not so many years ago, my mother saw an ad for art lessons in our 
local newspaper. Perplexed as to what unique gift to find for me for 
Christmas, she called me to ask would I be interested in art classes.

I had been creating pen and ink art trading cards for several years, coming out of decades of belief I could not draw. I said, ” Yes.”
When classes began, the teacher who had survived the loss of her husband to cancer when she was only a young mom with 2 toddlers, one day made a comment that has stuck with me: ” It is not enough to survive. You must thrive.”
Life is, without doubt, about loss. These poems and stories in this collection talk about loss of all kinds. They share with us how important it is to make good choices after the loss and how to put one foot in front of the other when your heart is broken.
I am thankful for the many teachers who influenced me in the creation of this book principal among them poet Patricia Smith and fiction and memoirist 
Ethel Rohan, both of whom I met in the castle in Lismore, Ireland a year ago. Both Ethel and Patricia offered a unique direction to travel. “Find the thing in your mind that is a wall over which you would never climb, the thing you would never write about…now write it.” 
At the end of a weeklong workshop with them, I read ” 40 Years Later, the Slumber Party” from this collection to the assembled audience of Pultizer prize winning authors of all genres, publishers, agents and students and Irish staff from the castle. I never would have had the courage to read it if not for Ethel and Patricia.
This summer past reknowned poet and novelist, Marge Piercy advised me to slow down, revise, and to submit, submit. She gave me the courage to pull out of storage poetry I never would’ve dared read aloud anywhere let alone at
Wellfleet Public Library to a packed house. The result of all my summer revisions and submissions has astonished me.
Most recently I had the honor of introducing my 8th grade English teacher, 
Elizabeth Patton, a fine poet in her own right at a reading. The spring of my 14 th year, she read the poem I was reworking over my shoulder one day and said, ” You are a poet.” 
They say ” Those who can do and those who can’t teach.” Couldn’t be more ignorant or wrong. Those who can, teach, pay it forward, and they do and do and do. They stand up and celebrate their students. If they are all lucky, student and teacher go on to become friends. 
I must also give a nod to my 4th year college Spanish professor who was a native of Argentina. I wrote poetry in every language I spoke or studied and so it was only logical to bring him my Spanish poetry. His support and joy resulted in the pieces I chose for this book. A young woman reader from Colombia wrote me in recent years when several were published: ” I feel like you know MY life.”
I can’t think of a better thing for a poet to hear.
So, I invite you to travel the paths within these pages, and to watch how the people in the stories face their losses and what happens next. Climb the wall you would never dare and find out what is on the other side. Thrive.

From Finishing Line Press

December 3, 2014


In praise of Rachael Ikins’ Historias:

The poems in this new collection by Rachael Ikins, a few in Spanish, most in English, sing out of survival and perseverance. From A Fairytale to Historia to Survivor, and more, the poems are vivid and true with “la profundidad de una nube.” Her voice will stay with you, like a “mermaid’s song” with the call to “vivir: sentir y palpitar” life to the fullest.

–Treanor Baring, Poetry Editor, National League of American Pen Women, http://www.nlapw.org & The Pen Woman Magazine.


Rachael Ikins’ poems are about the small and the large moments in our lives, the nuance, the crises and the sorrows. Her voice is a deluge of playfulness, naughtiness, heartbreak, and triumph. Ikins unravels her most private thoughts and reveals the wide physical and emotional geography the poet has traversed
—Dorothy Alexander, poet, storyteller and country lawyer. She and her wife, Devey Napier, own Village Books Press of Cheyenne, Oklahoma..


Histories: Stories of Survival introduces the reader to lyrical poems in which aging, the sense of our own mortality, and the fraility of the mind and body threaten to overwhelm the speaker. These paeans to life—always freighted with emotion and moving in their pathos and insight into the human–are also lovely constructions whose rhyme and verse form symbolically mirror the human need for inner support in dealing with these issues. Ikins’s love of the sea and animals, especially cats, provides ballast for her journey here. And the last poem, in which she and a young girl in her building share secrets—just “two girls”—is beautifully characteristic of the grace that comes in small moments throughout this collection.

—Jane Chance
Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, Rice University

Quotes and Writing Tips from Stephen King

October 30, 2014


One of my favorites

Originally posted on Whimsical Words:

With Halloween just 2 days away, I had to share 2 quotes from horror and dark fantasy master, Stephen King: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

I agree. I’ve known talented people who never finished writing a book or painting a picture. I’ve also known people who worked hard on their craft and finished their projects. The hard workers are always the most successful.

And a bonus quote from Stephen King: “People think I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.”

Now, that’s the kind of quote you were expecting! But it shows a bit of truth (I think Stephen King does still have the heart of his boyhood self), and a sense of…

View original 68 more words

Call for submissions

October 10, 2014

NLAPW.org poetry editor Treanor Baring is asking for PW poets to submit moon themed poetry for an upcoming anthology. Send to pwpoems@aol.com and put ” moon anthology submission” in subject line.
Make sure to check NLAPW.org to see weekly poem and art. Many moon poems have also appeared there & on our PW blog. If you’ve already sent poetry in and just want her to consider that, just shoot her an email saying so.

On Finishing …

October 9, 2014


He sounds just like me in upheaval etc. Excellent post here.

Originally posted on ShadowSpinners:

by Matthew Lowes

the end

For twelve years I have been working on a trilogy of fantasy books. In that time I have lived in two different countries, three states, and six different homes. I’ve had eight jobs, gotten a Master’s degree, and gone through one marriage, one divorce, and two deaths in my family. Through it all I have been writing, among other things, this single epic tale. During the process, moments of boundless enthusiasm and despair mixed with long periods of just moving forward, doing the work, writing the next scene, the next chapter, the next book.

Last week I wrote THE END. I finished the last chapter of the last book and sat back, stunned by the moment and the magnitude of what I’d done. I had before me a single complete story spanning 300,000 words, roughly 1200 pages, and the occasion has gotten me thinking about finishing things, and endings in general.

I’ve talked…

View original 453 more words

Nathan Fillion Loves Reading

October 1, 2014

Originally posted on Whimsical Words:

Nathan Fillion, even the name brings images of Firefly, Serenity, Browncoats, and, of course, mystery writer Richard Castle. Whether you’re a fan of Nathan Fillion or not, I hope you’ll find his support of reading admirable.

“Whatever our bedtime was as kids, we could stay up an extra half hour if we were reading. My parents didn’t care as long as I was under the spell of a Stephen King or a Douglas Adams. Now I read in bed. I read at work. I read standing in line. It’s like, ‘Hello, my name is Nathan and I am a reader.'”

I, for one, believe the future belongs to readers!Nathan Fillion Reading

View original

Use Your Talents

September 24, 2014


Wonderful perspective

Originally posted on Whimsical Words:

Cardinal in Holly “Use what talent you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best.” – Henry Van Dyke

I think this quote is one of my favorites. Not everyone will write the “Great American Novel,” but there are lots people who enjoy writing and create worthy poems, stories, plays, and books. Not everyone will stitch a blue-ribbon quilt, but there are many quilters whose hours of cutting, piecing, and stitching result in beautiful quilts. Not everyone will paint a “Masterpeice,” but there are countless people who find joy in art. The same can be said of playing the piano, dancing, singing, crafting, carving…the list is endless.

The most important thing is for each of us to use what talent we’ve been given. The beauty of an orchestra or choir isn’t the soloists — it’s the combined sound of different voices and different instruments.

I urge…

View original 14 more words

Fall has Arrived

September 21, 2014


Magic indeed

Originally posted on Clover's pages:



It is now official:  autumn has arrived with blossoms of “fall crocus” (Colchicum), also known as “naked lady” or “meadow saffron.”  These little flowers are a magical sight this time of year.  Leaves grew in spring, when bulbs such as daffodils and tulips are bursting into bloom.  But nothing happens; the leaves die back unnoticed–until September, when one day, there they are in their bright colors of lavender with bright orange (saffron color) stamens.  Such a welcome surprise at the end of the growing season!

Info: Colchicum  

View original

Problem Words

August 14, 2014


This is a great one! Thanks for posting, Vonnie!

Originally posted on Whimsical Words:

I try not to be guilty of any of the 30 problem words and phrases listed in this blog post. Alas, there are times when I fall into the pit of bad grammar and cliches.

Some writers say readers don’t notice or care if they make “small” mistakes. I say, readers do notice and do care. Writers who respect their readers should work hard to avoid sloppy writing.

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. :-)

View original

Northern Barred Owls

August 9, 2014


More cool owl lore

Originally posted on Whimsical Words:

This is the twelfth blog in a series of owl-focused posts to promote Owl Light, my new YA-friendly collection of stories featuring owls. Each post features a mix of owl art, facts, folklore, quotes, and links to owlish sites. If you’re a fan of owls, or know someone whooo is, follow my blog, buy my book, and be kind to these beautiful birds.

12 Bells small Owl art: One of my owl pen and ink sketches from Owl Light.

Owl fact: Owls are found on all continents except Antarctica. But, alas, only 19 species of owls are found in North America.

Owl folklore: Artemidorus of Daldis, a 2nd century Greek diviner and dream interpreter (and author of Oneirocritica or in English: The Interpretation of Dreams), believed to dream of an owl meant a traveler would be robbed, shipwrecked, or meet with some other disaster on his journey.

Owl link:…

View original 54 more words


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 533 other followers