Monday, December 16, 2013

Time Just Gets Away

Happy Holidays everyone!

The usual story for me lately, working and working, both jobs that I love.

Hope your holidays were sweet and restful...

From now on you will find me at Elizabeth Akin Stelling- things are just too busy to run so many sites, thanks for following all these years; it all began in 2008, and has been a great ride!

Peace xoxo

Elizabeth Akin Stelling 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

RIP Vilas Pagan-Afanador aka Author Smyte 9


He is/was a great Philly poet, and I had the opportunity to know the past four years. He is loved by many, and will be missed by us all. My heart was broken to read he had left us last night. I cry every time I see his photo. Smyte was only in his 30s and had very profound poetry. He recited his and others work in a Spoken Word fashion. Something I have always wished I could do by memory.

 The last time I saw him at a reading I didn't know who he was. He grabbed my arm, I looked down and saw this shallow face telling me hello. Then when they called his name I was shocked to see it was him. He had posted the cancer was beaten several times, so to find he was so ill, well, now I wish I could hug him so tight.

Goodbye friend. xoxo

Monday, November 11, 2013

Three New Books Arrived!

Poetry Books & Gothic Fiction by Red Dashboard LLC Publishing-
Memories of When We Were Birds by Ray Sharp
Night-Crawl by M.V. Montgomery
Principles of Belonging by Joshua Gray
I'm proud of what Red Dashboard LLC Publishing is doing. My CTO and Art Team are doing wonderful. Editors have worked hard to make this happen. I hope to continue to publish quality writers and their work for many years!

My book is done, two of them, also doing a make-over on Pasquale's books. There is a lot to be said about self publishing, but more about how respected we are for being picked up by a publisher. It's just the standard MFAs and others have set. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I've Returned

Yes, hubs and I just returned from a wonderful trip (we drove) to Niagara Falls. Was so romantic.

It is our 16th, and we still are as crazy about each other as the first years, which we knew each other two before that, and as friends. That in our opinion is the best way to begin.

Sometimes you see romantic movies where friends realize "Why aren't we in a romantic relationships?", sometimes they slip up, but in the end they always come back together.

We had some slip ups along the way. He thought I was too strict on my children (I made Aaron cry himself to sleep one night, but you should have seen what he did), and shortly after we brought them kids into the relationship as his step-kids Anelisa passed away; it was a rough ride after that until I came out of the fog of grief, but we made it.

He and I are best friends. We tell each other everything. Laughter is at the root of our friendship and love, he makes me laugh daily, and I the same for him. Most of all we adore each other and he has always insisted we kiss at every moment possible, good morning, good-bye, hello again, and good-night. Sweets is what I call him, and he calls me Pumpkin.

Okay enough goo-goo ga-ga-ga. The room (above is night with falls lit up) he book on the Canadian side was WOW! The view out the window after room 30 was WOW! They were suites, so we had a new blogging and FB friend and her husband meet us their. We served them cocktails and nibbles before going to dinner.

Great times, and I always love meeting new on-line friends...

Monday, October 21, 2013


Busy is the reason.

Have had a ton of things going on. Red Dashboard LLC Publishing is one of the main and good reasons. We just put our first book out-

Click here and you'll be able to buy the book! Yes!

Rodney Nelson is one of Cowboy Poetry Press regular contributors. His work is unique. Once an editor himself and now an avid hiker he documents his trails in stanza and into poems.

Working on the next one, a short story collection via an author who also published through the journals I oversee, by M.V. Montgomery.

I have also been busy publishing my own work. Two poems were just picked up by a litmag who puts out a print anthology. There will be a link posted when it goes up.

Hope you all are doing great. I do peek at your sites when I can. Peace.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Water Under The Bridge

I am going to tread on water here, most definitely not walk on it, I'd sink like a rock. But I decided not to get on social media on September 11th. I tire of endless status remarks about what happened that day 12 years ago. Mainly because my daughter passed away a year earlier. When it all took place on television and in NYC I was numb. I could not even feel sympathy, sure I was not happy about it, but as I found out from others who suffered losing a loved one (a child especially) they said the same thing.

A poem came out in the process of meeting others who shared watching television and how we felt that day and days, years afterward. Now I am sure the families of those lost can relate when they also watch a life and death situation on the news. It's just awful, the worst feeling to lose someone you love. I wonder how many have lost a child on Sept 11th and cannot cope period. PTSD can take its toll.

Losing a child might seem harder, but I respect those who have lost period.

Twin Tower I.

Many of us sat and watched from the couch
when one by one NYC twin towers

were hit by planes, taken by terrorists.
People began jumping from windows, but

still numb from my own explosion of bad news
a world no longer spinning with life-

I wanted to dive into the screen
pull each one back into their prospective place

discuss how sad life had gotten
how tiny hearts wrap you up

hold you hostage as their disease squeezes
that terror of not knowing the end date.

Fourteen years earlier I sat in a similar place
and watched a space shuttle blow up

holding my baby- hoping those who died
their loved ones would be okay

walking a road of grief no one is prepared for
as new life is celebrated.

There is a II, but it will remain in my m/s until I publish.

PS- I stole this title from a beautiful poet KMPoetry, my apologies and go check out her site!
Kara M Poetry 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How Do I Love Thee...

Let me count the ways. I woke up in a funny mood and decided to make this my new Facebook status over the course of the next few weeks, if I last that long...

1) I love thee, like nuts love chocolate.
2) I love thee like cacti loves the high noon sun.
3) I love thee like biscuits love sausage gravy.
4) I love thee like plants love the pouring rain
5) I love thee like early birds love their worms

How Do I Love Thee
by Elizabeth Barret-Browning (1806-1861) 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

(picture above taken from a free picture website with poem)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney, RIP

I am sure if some of you read this you will feel how I do when I saw so many mourned Steve Jobs, I was sick of seeing peoples blogs and Facebook posts mentioning him. He just did not influence me at all. Sure he did hubs in some ways, but just never crossed my mind to follow him. Maybe some will not even know, but stop for a moment and bow in quiet as I do when a funeral procession drives past me in the car.

A giant has passed away early this morning. I had the opportunity to see him read in Dublin almost 20 yrs ago. I had no idea of his greater influence on the world of poetry, but I seized the opportunity to do something Irish, and I wrote crappy poetry.

Then I saw him in Boston this past February. I knew who he was, read his work. Jim Knowles even mentioned him, and I knew it was time to revisit his work. I had hoped there would be opportunity when hubs and I visit Scotland to swing over to Ireland again, rekindle my longing for its tea and green country side, and the yearning to hear their accents again and catch a glimpse of Seamus sipping tea in an outdoor pub environment. I can dream can't I!

Ireland was one of my dream trips. Three weeks of driving from town to town, turning down the most difficult roads, and feeling the free-est I have ever felt in my life, at the time of course. It of course has lead me to my current path of happiness. My life has in some ways been very painful, but I would never have it any other way. It is who I am.

I will confess, tears do not come for me so easily, maybe years of  difficulty I put up a wall that is not easily broken through, but today I felt loss. I know loss more than some, less than many, and tears flowed.

Seamus Heaney I bid you a happy journey back to whence you came. You shared in a good life, surrounded by family and friends and a landscape of so much there are no words. I read that you liked to converse with ordinary folk like me, leaving out praise because you are humble, and liked to talk of paths, childhood, travel, and shenanigans.

I wrote this poem with you in mind, trying to create a piece reflective of your work-

At the Foot of the Willows

When it is time, cut no more for me
than the great oak takes up. Greed
does not go with us, nor will I ask more
of Earth’s bounty; if you cannot
find me a place, then I will not pine,
as winter comes, nor fall to the ground
like leaves before me, and disappear.

Simply slice out two or more feet if she’ll spare,
so my words may breathe from her pages.

My father once tied his boat
to peeling birch on rising water,
as we dodged their spiders. Today
their quiet markers
still speak to me; as a father
to his child: of what has come and gone,
what lay ahead, while we dream
under the willows which weep.

A full heart must always carry loss
across the road to another side,
great burden of sorrow for those loved—
for those who sit, waiting,
to be moved again: a heavy job for even the steadiest
of hands. Six or more will march in ready pace if asked
up heavy steps, then down again:

When it is time, cut no more sod near the roots,
than is needed. If you
feel tiredness replacing a day’s work,
hurry on, the moon will for a short time light your path:
shovels can wait, sitting as their shadows dance
effortlessly leaning, toward new morning.

Beauty of the towering trees keeps me company.
Winds howl at my back, I under deep diggings,
at the bottom of a not too steep hill, as peace
places a knowing grip.
Rest will come: then we
shall one by one dream 
under her willows which weep.

(photo taken with my cell during the poet laureate talks at AWP 2013 in Boston- it was an honor seeing him for the second time)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Playboy Club, Dallas, Texas 1977-82

Did I ever tell you my Playboy Bunny Club story?
Trying to find a prompt to get me writing today I had a flash back...
I am going back to my first knowledge of the Playboy Club, hearing my parents discuss whether my dad would join. We had no extra money, so there was no discussion. I also heard my parents gossip about our neighbors (three houses down to the left, facing my parents home)- the husband who quit his profitable job to become a minister, his wife who was very attractive and came out for the paper in her robe, and their two children, both boys. I think they were little brats and she would never let them leave the yard. I thought my mom was strict. I believe we were around our tweens, I was the oldest at fifteen (yes I know, we were bored). The club opened around 1977 in a high rise off of Central Expressway- which is now owned by SMU for offices. Another residence was the Dallas Cowboy franchise, which football players frequented the club.
The wife was rumored to have found part-time employment at the club. We did not let a day go by without harassing this woman after the husband moved out and she filed for divorce. The scandal hardly could contain us. The neighborhood boys wanted to see her come out and lose the robe, so it was always something to get her to the door. My sister, Steve (Leslie's younger brother, my first boyfriend), and Tim always hid behind these enormous (in height and width) bushes and we would ring her door bell just to watch her come and get pissed off at us. We would all run and laugh. Once the hormonal boys were rewarded by her coming to the door in her bunny costume without hiding under her infamous trench coat.

Eventually another neighbor, first house to the left, Janet, for kicks and a dare from her husband went and tried out for the bunny job, and got it. I babysat for them from fourteen to leaving home at sixteen, but often would visit when I came home. When I was about to turn 18 in 1979 they confessed to her having the Playboy Club Bunny job part-time. Then she let me try on her costume, which was black, because she had flaming red hair. It fit. But I am sure it was against the rules. Not sure.
 I was very mature body wise, her husband used to tease me about having boobs. I think he was a boob man, and I gave him a boob cup for a gift once. Janet's sister was visiting and they asked me if I wanted to do something special for my 18th. Her sister was 22 and wanted to go to the Playboy Club, they gave us the key but we all ended up going. There was a lure to this private club scene, and I wanted to check it out. I do remember feeling everyone was so much older than I was.

I ordered a Tom Collins, because I had no idea what to drink. I wasn't much of a drinker, and got tipsy. It was very dark in the, entrances, hallways, and to the bathrooms. I called out 'Oh man is it dark or what' and out of the blue an African American man came out of the darkness, his big white eyes and teeth smiling saying BOO; it was Ed 'Too Tall' Jones. Janet was behind me, excited she told me who it was. He laughed out loud as my heart was beating so fast. I have a picture of myself that night wearing a gown and make-up, and with one of my neighbors wigs on. Janet made me up, so I looked a lot older than I was.

The club closed less than a year later, and it seemed the eighties I loved came around- Madonna, big hair, monochrome colors, music with lots of saxophone and shoulder pads. Did I mention leggings? I miss those and shoulder pads the most. It was fun reading the various sites about those times, my parents era coming to an end. The young seem to grow into their twenties and we older folk stop aging as time goes by, swifter than a jack rabbit on the run...

I see these cute little bunnies all over the landscape here in New Jersey. The jack rabbits of my youth, the size of kangaroo passing in front of my parents car in west Texas, would eat these babes alive. We do remember bigger than life images don't we!

Monday, August 12, 2013

He's On The Road Again

My son is in Columbia South America. This photo is in Cartagena. I was scared to death when he bought the ticket, but hey I have to let him sow his oats.

Confession- it has been nice having our house back this past week. Love is in the air... There is something to be said about parents having their digs back...


Monday, July 29, 2013

Over loaded...

Gosh it has been busy. I attended the FAWC school and am back now. I also ran out and helped a friend, you may remember her Randi's Gourmet? Well I agreed to help her set-up for a wine festival this weekend and we stayed over. She spent the night last night as we got in so late last night (mostly from the crappy rain storm, and not being able to see so I drove 40 miles an hour LOL).

Photos? They are coming.

I did make the cut again for the US1 Summer Fiction contest again. They only pick 20 or so from hundreds of entries. This go round 'Pretty Brook #3' was chosen. #1 was chosen for a journal in 08, so I am excited this version made the cut...

Pretty Brook #3
       a scenic Princeton road

sputtering morning hikes
calming after climbing over railing
through brush tributaries that follow paths
wind down as far as eyes can see

babbling points--
the way to the perfect spot 
    fish jumping
    hearts pumping
as lines are thrown to lure

the fresh taste of things to come

cast iron heat anticipation
with a little oil
and sun drenched cornmeal
    breading and baiting
    patience and waiting

listen to the geese, bullfrogs
small birds and feel the breeze
quiet moments of things to come

watch fly fishermen in waders pass
dipping into holes up to their knees
    in and out of glory
    their big fish stories
close behind are children 
with poles, wiggly worms on a hook

generation of teaching, and love move in steady current

eyes under a hat ping along distraction
a poets pen sketches more history than fish
her husband casting new words on falling landscape

dragon fly locomotion
inspiration found —

through meditation and silent laughter
by afternoon moods change from growing hunger
the smell of activity heats up across the road

a private club livens as tennis balls pop the minutes by
it’s time to move along, but tomorrow gives promise
to the sites down off Pretty Brook Road.

Have a great day and Peace all...

 (photo above was taken in one of New Jersey's tributaries off the northern water shed- my husband fishing)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just Busy...

is the name of the game. Between work and writing and studying, I find time has gone by so quickly.

This was my small stone today on a poetry site I belong...
Busy with studies
of poetry and writers
revisions, writing new drafts, and laughs
because old memories took me
down roads long forgotten.
I give you something my father
used to share, more than his loose change--
don' t take any wooden nickels
from strangers.
(made it into a poem today)

Packing to go to my MFA school
a journey in Cap Cod
maybe no internet, just a
good ole notebook and pencil they said.
I also met with my poetry mentor Monday. I had taken a class with him and his wife and they ask if I wanted to do some one on ones. They found my writing to be worth a focus, for me to aim at getting writing full of things I know. I have tried to write outside of that, but it just doesn' t work. I don' t have that Jessie Carty touch. She can make lines form in a way I just can' t figure out. But I can cook and she can' t nah nah nah. Oh, she and I laugh about that. 
 Getting some of that magic in the kitchen into my poems is also a goal. My fifth project is a recipe poem book. Collaboration of many poets. Then I have some other sights in mind. 
 Hope you are all fine and happy. If not, then work on a goal. It worked for me. And there is a poem over on my site, if you're interested...
Peace friends. -- Chef E, a Texas poet

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Feeling the love...

I have to say I have been very blessed in my life. There were times I doubted myself as far as education went, and a few who felt terrorizing me into a corner (names are not worth saying) was a good thing. Well all it did was make me even stronger. Ha! Whose on top of the hill now!

I have been contacted by a well known poet duo to do one on one's in poetry and prose, kind of a protegee. How exciting since I also will be attending FAWC in Cap Cod in two weeks, and they know my instructors.

My goal is to up the anty on my transitions and material. To strengthen what I am already good at, prose poetry and storytelling.

As far as home life, my son is still living with us. He has begun seeing a new girl- a very cute and sweet, but young African American who is part south American and Haitian. She is a criminal law student, plans of FBI and forensic science. How cool since my son told her I love CSI shows, detective drams, mostly BBC lately. Funny convos going around when she stops by! He is not ready to get serious, that is why the last two walked out on him. He is doing major rock climbing with friends, made lots of new ones, and they go into PA to scale very high rocks. Scary.

Hubs got a new job within the same company and is so happy. He sat last night and talked about how he got kudos from the upper management for his work this week. Happy hubs, happy woman. Oh, I was already happy!

Sister news, no news. She has kind of fallen into a group of online gamers on Faccebook LOL yes, I am afraid she will not hold her own as she is even more sensitive than I can be, but hey she is out of my hair most of the time. We talk once a week and I say ahhhh, but I love that little shit! Her partner lost his job, so I don't know what is going to happen. He is still a Mexico resident and not USA, and always said he was going back in his retirement. I doubt she will go, so not sure what she will do. Her income is below poverty. Sigh.

Well, that is it for now friends, I adore and love you all, even the shits out there!

Peace and hugs


(I may have posted this in the past- my photo and taken in PNW from about four or five years ago, boy how time flies!)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Its my birthday, and I will cry if I want too...

If I eat too many hot chilies! Ha!

Getting ready for a gathering of poets and artist at my house Saturday, my birthday is Sunday.  And I am celebrating all week!

Hope all is well with you. I am still busy with editing, writing, and classes. I love busy!

Peace, hugs and hope you are all having a good life...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Oh Shakespeare, how I did love thee...

Our assignment was to write a sonnet of our choice. The first few days I just could not think, feel inspired, but then I realized no one had submitted a piece for Annapurna Magazine's June Issue-  Strawberry Moon. So, I decided to write something on my own. I also decided to use original Shakespearean form- abab cdcd efef gg rhyme pattern (10 syllables and 14 lines). 

June’s Strawberry Moon
“Now there's no life like the ploughboy's
all in the month of May.” –The Lark In The Morning Song

She wraps around a crescent moons cold sound
    summers crawling playful warmth draws loves pain,
small ivy like hands crept across, broke ground,
    the sixths month's fated to end April's reign.  
Awaiting sweet grains in labor's return,
    lost in brow sweat and lay heaped under earth
the bindweed vines that yoke her heart still burn 
    emerging before morning lights first mirth.
Sweet on lips soft fold; teeth gnashing, grinding,
    tiny seeds even after sleep take tryst—
the lark of mystery no longer hiding
    when release draws closer from the vine of promise.
Maidens remain loyal to the ploughboy
    though his kiss trite beside June’s hearts of joy.

Dear Shakespeare,

I have been in love with you for most of my life, but now that I have labored for two weeks and finally given birth to our love is over. I have moved on.

With the most warm regards,

(photo taken at Grounds for Sculpture- Yebyul and hubs playing with his camera)