How a Book Becomes a Book

March 16, 2019

Thoughts on how Eating the Sun came together.

A few years ago my aunt gave me the book Good Grief by Ellen Stimson. It is a memoir of her family life in a small Vermont town. Not normally a huge reader of memoir, this book pulled me in. I forgot I wasn’t reading fiction. I think one of the burdens on memoir is to be successful in writing, the author needs to show not tell. Because we tell our favorite or horror family stories as we meet new friends or reminisce at gatherings, we are already telling. So making the gear change to showing can be a challenge.

Ellen uses the homely object, a table, as the vehicle to carry us through her story. Whether it is the nicked antique dining room table, a bedside table stuffed with books or a new kitchen slate counter top the table is the symbol of family because we do gather around it in all its forms. I’ve never forgotten this.

Fast forward to last summer when the idea for doing a mixed genre memoir about my marriage and my husband came to be. At first I put alternating text, poems, and recipes in chronological order. This meant some of the poems were written by a very young poet and then spanned 30 years as I grew into and honed my voice.

Luckily for me, my manuscript was accepted and then the editor assigned to work with me was Laura Williams French. She was able to rearrange my chronology into seasons, creating the metaphor for a love story between a much older man and a young woman. The manuscript became dynamic and the flow smooth and readable. Poems and recipes were included with whatever season they involved and not necessarily in age related order. I was amazed when I read the first proof. She had converted what I had submitted into a living breathing book.

I asked several authors and colleagues to write back cover blurbs. Yesterday I received the first one by Linda Lowen who writes for Publishers Weekly and whose specialty is memoir though her yearning is fiction. When I read what she wrote, I was again amazed in a good way, by how clearly she interpreted the book and understood the story.

My point, hearkening back the Ellen Stimson’s Good Grief, is that unwittingly and with the help of my excellent editor, I have created a book that uses the garden in the way that Ellen used tables.

That makes me very happy. Reading is one of the most important ways to learn to write. Memoir is way out of my comfort zone as a poet. And yet, those who’ve seen parts or proofs of Eating the Sun are enthusiastic and excited by it.

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When a Dog Loved a Cat Part 1

March 11, 2019

https://katzenworld.co.uk/2019/03/11/a-dog-loved-a-cat-part-1-by-rachael-ikins/

Tips for Poets

March 7, 2019

Hey, just a reminder tip for all enthusiastic poets out in cyberworld. I’m seeing quite a bit of original poetry directly posted recently. If you post a poem on social media typed as the post, that is considered “published.”

Which means if a potential editor/publisher asks for “previously unpublished work” and you submit it, and they check your social media platforms and find it 👎. nowadays the number of followers you have and your platforms do come under scrutiny. It is the world we write in.

Don’t put new work on social media.

SO, how to get examples of your work out there? Well, when the journal comes out OR when your copies of your new chap or other book arrive in your mailbox, open to a page and take a pic of the page, then post that w a blurb abt the book. Its easy to copy the post and share to 4 or 5 social media platorms in less than 5 minutes. Doing this allows you to post on more ie Instagram takes photos.

This will accomplish two things. First, the world gets to read your excellent work, and second its a great way to market your book. You can add a front cover shot and link to buy in the post as well.

Tummy Rub Tuesday

February 12, 2019

https://katzenworld.co.uk/2019/02/12/happy-trt-tummy-rub-tuesday-week-237/

At Katzenworld. And if you scroll down the text the first kitty in sun with my socked feet is our Gabster!

Review of For Kate

February 9, 2019

https://katzenworld.co.uk/2019/02/09/for-kate-a-love-story-in-four-parts-by-rachael-ikins/

How to trick yourself into loving vegetables

February 5, 2019

Lots of ppl dislike vegetables. Nobody makes jokes about having been forced to sit all evening at the table because you wouldn’t eat all your chocolate cake, do they? or if you crave, say, salad, yay, you. Nobody says “your body must need it” if you crave double stuffed Oreos.

In my case when I was a kid my mom was not the most inspired cook, and frozen food was quite the craze in the 50s-60s so we had a frozen block of khaki-colored limp spinach, green beans whatever nightly, take you pick. Tasted like crap, was nauseating texture-wise and there ya go. I couldn’t stand em.

Salads were a piece of iceberg, a crunchy fake ripe tomato slice, and a dollop of cottage cheese. 🤮

LUCKILY IM A GROWNUP NOW! Recently I‘ve been wondering how many people fall in love with vegetables as adults rather than as kids. just listening to convos around me.

Saw a news story on the health segment the other night about variations and combos for smoothies.

I love traditional breakfasts but reserve that for eating out. My daily breaking of the fast is a smoothie, coffee and a glass of cider. Anyway here are some tasty combos. And save leftover veggies from the night before.

1.Cooked carrots + oranges

2. Kale/spinach + blueberries or strawberries, kiwi, banana

3. Beets + strawberries

4. Pineapple + kale

If you happen to be a protein shake or Slimfast person and like chocolate flavor, a tsp of that.

All mixes well (not all of these at once,) but each pairing with them. I like almond milk, but you can use yogurt, or dairy milk. A tsp of peanut butter goes well with banana.A handful of oats to any makes it more filling.

I once discovered around 2002-4 that then a cart of fresh veggies cost me one time only $25. I remember a cashier counseling a new SNAP user on how they could buy “donuts, pie, chips, cookies” I wondered why would you buy that garbage (I like a lot of said garbage) and spend way more $ than on a cart of vegetables? See above, my beginning premise.

Anyway, I share my smoothie combos with you. Thanks, NewsChannel 9.

If you ve read this far, be creative. Post your own unique combinations when you invent them.

Brushing Ruby

January 29, 2019

Enough fur to make a life sized felt kitten sculpture. Ruby and I had, as a friend likes to say, a “come to Jesus” moment. Idk if she truly was uncomfortable enough by now covered in mats that she wanted the help or what. I tired of brushing the cat towers instead of cats tho this does collect fur very well. Cato had a warm up brush, and then I got Miss Ruby by the scruff and began brushing. I wish I d had video. Thankfully I disnt have a laughing fit. We started on one tower w excited dogs swirling at my feet, Ruby squalling all the way. I managed not to let go of her scruff.

We maneuvered to the next tower, across the back of the couch and ended up with her hanging upside down from the last tower like a squirrel, me brushing away and talking to her in a calm voice. The dogs commenced a loud wrestling match by my leg and Cato tried briefly to rub his body along hers for comfort, but in her upside down position he gave up.

Gabby closed in for the kill, eyes black and horrified staying just close enough to make snotty comments about long hair but out of reach of the brush. Ruby continued squalling and in between pauses to empty the brush one handed, i held her face and told her what a good girl she is. I don t think anyone would “choose the option of being shaved bald by the vet. What would Gabby call her then?”

After two enormous mats came out and my bathrobe, the ottoman and rug near the tower were covered in fur and a truly horrible mat is now hanging off her behind half out, I quit.

I put the fur outside and a crow took it almost immediately. Brushed my robe on the deck. Washed up. Made tuna salad for wraps for lunch and rewarded Ruby (and Cato and the dogs) w the juice and can. Gabby sniffed it with grave doubts as to the sanity of anyone consuming it and later enjoyed beating up my arm on top of the tower. The dogs had a running streak. Ruby and Cato, a big grooming session. I’m exhausted and shocked to see it is only 8:45. 17 lbs of cat has a lot of hair.

The Complicated Process of Coming Home

January 26, 2019

https://katzenworld.co.uk/2019/01/26/the-complicated-process-of-coming-home/

The Fishercat

January 10, 2019

Every cat should have some pets of her own. Gabby, short for Gabrielle, the dragon protagonist in my novel, “Totems” (logcabinbooks) is no exception. She enjoys caring for the mini ocean we have. When Tom of APM comes to maintain the tank she is right there to supervise and help him.

If I shake the container of fish food and call “Feed the fiddies” she runs from wherever she is, hops up on the stool to watch the fish eat their meal. Cato took it a step further, once managed to claw a lid open and barely missed me catching him up to his armpit fishing. Literally. The splash sound of water, large puddle on rug and innocent Cato industriously licking a soaking front leg across the room did not fool me. Luckily, the fish all had the sense to hide in the rocks. Snow brought to us all the way from the Pacific is piling up on the deck today, but inside we are scuba diving off Costa Rica.

Gone Dogs almost ready

January 9, 2019

Im so excited. The editors at GoneDogs.com posted on Instagram that the book has reached the final proof. It looks stunning. My poem “Memoir of an Elderly Dachshund” by my little old man, Lowrider who died 2 years ago in November at age 18, and multiple photos of him are in this wonderful anthology of poems and stories of dogs loved and lost, where love endures. Books can be ordered from the above website. Authors receive several copies. The editors advise me that there might be a second volume call going out. Anyway stay tuned for more news.