Saturday, November 29, 2008

Learning Curve

Several weeks ago I began writing about my journey as a writer and told about my first publishing experiences. After attending conferences, reading books, and improving my craft I began having things published in periodicals and newspapers on a regular basis and had definitely become a professional writer. But my dream was to write books for children, and I finally signed a contract for a picture book that will be published in the Fall of 2009. Soon I'll be an author, not "just" a writer.
Now I'm learning an incredible amount of new information about book publicity and marketing, especially the internet kind. As a beginner, when I joined the virtual book tour group I didn't realize it was far too early to begin that sort of publicity for my own book, so I won't be doing that sort of thing again for a while. However you can still expect to see book reviews here every so often because it's hard to resist sharing about the ones I read.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, lots of people are counting their blessings. Maybe instead of worrying about all the problems in the world we should do that every day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Relevant Book

Yesterday I read Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Patterson. This story about children and the horrible working conditions, dishonest mill owners, and labor strikes back in the early twentieth century is well told and appropriate for kids to read in our own difficult economic times. Even with all our problems, we're so much better off than we were back then.
Patterson's book makes me wonder if the overseas "outsourcing" by some of our companies results in employees in other countries dealing with conditions today like those we had here a century ago. But would those people's lives be any better without the jobs? If they went on strike the owners could just move their factories to other countries. The only way labor unions could make much difference today would be if strikes were worldwide, and that's not likely to happen.
Wouldn't it be great if we could figure out how to solve our economic problems in a way that helps people everywhere? It isn't likely, but it's not impossible because modern technology like TV and the internet has united the world in a way nobody could have imagined back then. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More About Harry Gilleland

For those of you who have read the review of Gilleland's book and his interview, here are some other things you might like to know about him: Harry E. Gilleland, Jr. is a 64-year-old southerner. Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, he earned a B.S. (1966) and a M.S. (1968) in Microbiology from the University of Georgia in Athens. Following three years of service in the U.S. Army as a captain, including a tour of duty in Vietnam, he returned to earn a Ph.D. in Microbiology from UGA in 1973. He then headed north to complete a two-year fellowship at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. In July of 1975 he joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. After twenty-nine years of teaching microbiology to medical and graduate students and performing vaccine research, Harry retired in July of 2004. Today Harry lives in Shreveport with his wonderful wife Linda and their Corgi, Rusty. Harry enjoys being able to engage in his passion for writing full-time. Harry has previously published three books of his personal poetry: Poetry For The Common Man: Storoems and Poems (2003, ISBN 1411600649), Gilleland Poetry: Storoems and Poems (2005, ISBN 1411629272), and Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man (2008, ISBN 978-1-4357-1242-3). In addition, Harry has published two books of prose, a tale of fantasy entitled Bob the Dragon Slayer (2005, ISBN 1411633156) and a contemporary romance story entitled White Lightning Road (2006, ISBN 978-1-4116-8693-9). They are available at Harry Gilleland's poetry has been included in four multi-author print anthologies of poems and short stories, in several poetry e-zines, and on numerous Internet poetry forums, in addition to his own three published collections. His storoems (story-poems) and poems are readily accessible to all readers, including those who do not regularly read poetry. Harry views the world with a poet's eye. Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man is a new collection of 81 storoems and poems that will engage its readers by making them think about life and leaving them pondering their emotions and beliefs. It will also bring smiles and maybe a tear or two. Contained within this collection are forty-seven rhyming poems and "storoems", a format coined by Gilleland. A storoem is a hybrid between a story and a poem, i.e. a story told with poetic techniques. The collection also contains twenty-eight free-verse poems, four acrostic poems, and two limericks. These writings are poetry for the thinking person, be he/she someone who is a poetry lover or someone who normally does not read poetry. This poetry is easily readable and accessible to all -- poetry for the poet and the common man alike. A wide variety of subjects are addressed, including everyday life events, observations of nature, tales of fantasy, expressions of love, and much more. This wonderful collection will surprise and delight all readers. For more information about Harry Gilleland and his writing please go to He has blogs at, Facebook, and WordPress and he can be reached by e-mail at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Interview With Harry Gilleland

Welcome to OnWords Blog, Harry. Here are some questions for you: Q. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up and did you do it? A. As a kid, I was always interested in nature and animals. I loved the woods and collecting bugs, catching tadpoles to watch them turn into frogs, turning over rocks to see what crawled out. I was a biologist at heart and wanted to be one when I grew up. At the University of Georgia, I discovered microbiology and fell in love with biology on a micro scale.I became a microbiologist and had a career as a teacher of microbiology to medical students and graduate students at LSUHSC, School of Medicine for 29 years before retiring. As a Microbiology Dept. faculty member, I conducted scientific research into a bacterial vaccine and published papers, wrote grant applications, presented my data at conferences. I accomplished my childhood career dreams fully. Q. How do you define your writing, A. I see myself primarily as a poet whose storoems and poems address everyday topics in a way that speaks to the common man, people that don't normally read or like poetry. You don't need a M.F.A. to understand and enjoy my poetry. Yet some of my poems address profound subjects. I'd call my writings thought-provoking and engaging. Q. You told me storoems are story poems. Can you please explain why you write? A. Writing is pure pleasure to me. Using words well so that I deliver my message precisely as intended gives me such a feeling of satisfaction on those occasions when I feel I have accomplished this. I have so much I want to say that I have to write. It fulfills a need deep inside me. Plus, I want to leave behind something to represent who I was for posterity. I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to know what sort of man I was once they reach adulthood. Even if I am dead by then, my writing will be their window into my mind. Q. Why do you write poetry instead of prose? A. I started writing poetry late in my life and career in 2001. I had written scientific prose for years by then. Scientific writing is quite formal and strictly objective - just the facts, please. One day while brown bagging it at my desk for lunch, I was using the Internet and a pop-up ad appeared. It read, "Write a poem, and win a super-duper prize." On a whim , I tried my hand at writing a poem. I found it fun and liberating. Imagine after years of strictly writing scientific prose, being able to take flights of fantasy, use humor, use emotions in my writing. I loved writing poetry immediately and have been writing it ever since. Hopefully, I've gotten much better at writing poetry over the years. However, I do write prose occasionally. In fact, after writing only poetry for several years, a friend of mine challenged me to write a prose story. It turned into a YA-Adult novella, published as Bob the Dragon Slayer. Since then I have written a second prose novel, entitled White Lightning Road. I was trying my hand at contemporary romance with that book. Nowdays, I scatter some prose writing into my primarily being a poet. It sounds like you're doing well. Thank you so much for sharing with our readers today. (I'll post more information about our guest, Harry Gilleland, in a few days.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Poetry Book Review

As a former English major, it's embarrassing to admit that I seldom read poetry anymore. However I recently made an exception and read an unusual book of poems, "Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man" by Harry E. Gilleland, Jr.
At first, while I was impressed with Gilleland's honesty in revealing his personal experiences, I wondered if the book would reach a very wide audience. People don't often read about others they don't know except for celebrities. But as I continued to read, it became clear that the musings in the book went far beyond his own experiences. Gilleland covers everything from everyday life to historical events, including love, beauty, religion, politics, birth, death, and everything in between. His poems are really about the meaning of life and, like life itself, are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, and can be tragic, joyous, and of course all that's in between. Gilleland seems to be a wise man and I look forward to interviewing him here in the near future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Can They Mean?

One of my college Linguistics professors told us when someone is studying a different language and they come to a term the native speakers can't define it means the word represents a concept  absolutely basic to that culture. In recent years there have been several terms we used to define easily in American English that people no longer agree on. For instance there have been conflicts about what it means to be dead, how to define a human being, and the meaning of the word "marriage." Although our country has been a "melting pot" made up of immigrants from all over the world, most of us have always agreed on the definitions of those basic terms. But things don't stay the same and our world is certainly changing. In fact there have probably been more changes in the last hundred and fifty years than in the preceding thousand years. I predict that it will be quite a while before we can ever agree on those basic terms again.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What You May Call It

As a high school student I spent my summers volunteering with a society for "crippled" children, who had various "handicaps" like being "deaf and dumb" or "mentally retarded." Later those terms stopped being used and "disabled" was substituted as something less insulting. But wait! (as they say in TV commercials.) The new term was also considered demeaning by some so we've tried things like "developmental delays," "special needs," "differently abled," and a few other ways to describe people who have various limitations, but are still worthy of respect.  I think the last one does the best job of describing their situation, but it's probably too long to be accepted by everyone. Besides, we all have different abilities just as we all have special needs. 
Hey! Maybe that's the point. Just because people have physical or mental limitations doesn't mean they aren't people first. What an amazing idea. 
If you'll pardon me for being politically incorrect, my response to that is, "Well, duh!" 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Blog Tours

     I've just added a list of other people's blogs, which you can see below the history of this blog. Some of the ones listed are other authors or artists published with Guardian Angel Press, which will be publishing my picture book, Secret Service, A Call to Adventure. The rest are other authors and there will be more in the future. We want to help each other get the word out about our books by sharing information on each others' blogs. 
     Authors used to depend on book tours, which involved traveling around the country doing book signings and events, for publicity, but today, although we still do some of those, it's so much easier for authors to spread the word through the internet. When people cooperate, everyone benefits so we'll be hosting interviews and doing book reviews for each other. Those are called blog tours or virtual book tours and you can look forward to seeing many of them here in the future. Maybe you'll see me on some other sites too.