Thursday, June 9, 2011

Poet, Writer, AND Versatile Blogger

A couple of weeks ago, I received a message from novelist and blogger Cathryn Louis, saying she had nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. After a few days of puzzling why anyone would do such a thing for a middle-aged, otherwise unknown poet and short story writer, I realized what an honor this was! This award nomination comes from a fellow writer and blogger. And one who said such an embarrassingly nice thing about me on her blog, No Reason Whatsoever, too. Thank you so much, Cathryn, for your continued support and for the opportunity for me to support other blogging friends.

The Versatile Blogger Rules:
1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you. (Done.)
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself. (Uh-oh. Gulp. Done.)
3. Pass the award on to 5 blogging buddies. (A pleasure. Done.)
4. Contact the winners to congratulate them. (Done.)

Seven random facts about me:
1. I coached girls scholastic basketball–-every grade from 3rd to 12th–-for 30 years. For 27 or 28 of them I was a pretty good coach--even installed in the Sports Hall of Fame at the high school where I coached. The last few, as noted in About Me, I drew closer to the realization I needed to devote more of my “free” time to writing.

2. I may be the world’s worst-reading person who defines himself as a decent “writer.” I’ve finished six novels in the past year, and two of them were titled “The Sun Also Rises.”

3. When I was 17, putting together my 1st Semester schedule as a college freshman, the counselor asked, “Joe, what do you want to do with your life?” I was torn between Phys Ed/English teacher or journalist. Counselor stared at me, foot tapping. Flummoxed, and not wishing to bother him any longer, I took the road less-traveled. The rest is infamy.

4. Years ago, I broke my internal thermostat when I suffered heat exhaustion (may even have been mild heat stroke) on a golf course. Ended up peeing sawdust for two days. Now I painfully soldier through the winter in the Northeast and have trouble with the heat in South Carolina. I’m thinking of moving to an air-conditioned greenhouse in Virginia.

5. As a kid, I hated the taste of coffee and beer. Today? Staff of life, baby.

6. I’m the oldest of six kids. There was always a sense of duty, of propriety, involved in that situation. Thus, when I went away to college, I jumped the reservation. Bigtime.

7. As a baby newspaper reporter, I was lucky enough to cover pieces of an Olympics, a Presidential election, and the United States Bicentennial celebration, all in the same year. Baptism of fire.

Nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award:
It was difficult for me to come up with five nominations, since I browse through so many terrific blogs, but here are some where I always linger…
1. One Stop Poetry. It’s not like they need even more kudos after garnering a Shorty Award this year, but One Stop Poetry is probably the reason anyone outside of a small circle of friends and an even smaller circle of editors know that I write passable poetry at all. More than likely, One Stop is why you’re here reading this. The One Stop team is committed to promoting both new and seasoned artists. As well as, shall we say, “seasoned” new artists like me. Be sure to click on the One Stop team member’s individual websites and blogs, too. Hey, that’s nine great sites already! 

2. Heather Grace Stewart. Heather’s one of my closest tweeps and Internet friends. Her website/blog, Where the Butterflies Go, features her award-winning, thoughtful and thought-provoking poems and photographs. She’s constantly updating content with new poems that run from the emotionally touching to flat-out hilarious. Heather also posts essays that address life as a mom/writer/wife/poet/in-line skater/publisher. The site also is a gateway to her wonderful publications, including the latest, The Groovy Granny, a book of her funny poems for children (and the parents and grandparents who love them), illustrated by her daughter, Kayla.

3. Natasha Head. Natasha is a doll, one of the sweetest folks I’ve met in the more-often-than-not unruly wilderness of the Internet. Her recently renamed blog, The Tashtoo Parlour, features a compilation of her inspiring poems, pix, music, and an year-round valentine to her beloved Nova Scotia (hence, the “-our” in “Parlour,” readers from the US). Natasha’s seemingly perpetual positive attitude has kept poet-me above the emotional Mendoza Line more than a few times. I humbly thank her for her constant support.

4. K.M. Weiland. Katie Weiland is one busy writer. She’s the author of two novels Behold the Dawn and A Man Called Outlaw, with (at least) two more in progress. Her blog, Wordplay features tips and essays about the writing life to enlighten and encourage those of us inflicted with the scribbling disease. She says she created Wordplay “to help writers understand the ins and outs of the craft and the psychology behind the inspiration.” Katie’s blog is just the tip of her artistic iceberg. Give her a visit, you’ll find all kinds of content to capture your fancy, either as a reader or a writer.

5. Elizabeth Spann Craig. Yeah, this mystery writer and blogger has copped a couple of these before, but, darn it, you'd be hard-pressed (I am, at least) to find a blog that carries or leads to more solid information for writers than Mystery Writing is Murder. Heck, it's even one of Writer's Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2011. Earlier this week, Elizabeth launched the latest book in her Memphis BBQ Mystery Series, Finger Lickin' Dead under her Riley Adams nom de plume.

Okay, so now I'm left with one question, as you might be: "Where are the dudes?" Better step it up guys, the ladies are rocking my little corner of the Web.


  1. Wow, Joe. You really put some time and thought into writing this blog. You could have just rhymed off our names and sites, but you took the time to explain why our blogs have affected you. You aren't only a versatile blogger; you're an excellent one! Thanks so much for this special honour. I will try to reciprocate in writing a similar post for 5 blogging friends, but please give me some time, as I want to do it as well as you did. Thanks so much.
    Coffee and beer for the world!

  2. I am flattered, honored, and to be completely unworthy of such praise! Joe, you have made my year, and I count you to be one of the voices I run to when the world get's me down. (Your pep talks have been AMAZING, Coach Joe!) Like Heather, I will need some time to think about this and reciprocate in kind...can I send it right back to you? Do you think Heather would mind getting two...and Onestop!? Oh my! See houw I prattle when I get excited! Okay...time for me to get to work! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  3. You just made my day! Thanks so much for passing along the award, and in such a nice way too!

  4. Wonderful new blogs to visit! Thanks Joe for sharing.

  5. Thanks so much, Joe, for the honor. I appreciate it! :)