Word Play is now available for the Nook!

book cover

What do two elderly continental-breakfast thieves, a fire-bug artist, two underplayed video game characters, an over-worked fairy god-mother, and a couple on the verge of breaking up have in common? Their tales all come to life, in the new work by Rachael Stanford, Word Play, intertwining questions of humanity and reality with a touch of whimsy and tragedy which is guaranteed to entrance the reader.

I’m pleased to announce that my book, Word Play, is now available on Nook Price for the great, low price of 2.99…(a version for the Kindle will be available shortly).

For the price of a cup of coffee, you can enjoy a collection of award winning plays and monologues while supporting an avid indie artist and blogger!

This has been a labor of love for me. I’m pleased to finally take my work out of the theatre and into the homes of people all around the world!

Hoop on over to the NookPress or use this link.

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oh the things we could have done….

oh the things we could have done, if we only took the first step.

Yet here I am, a city deer starring at the blurring headlight sun, one foot hanging, delicately balancing, refusing to take the first step.

extraordinary-girl-inspiration-life-quote-Favim.com-128258_large

I had a lot of plans this year, plans which I have absolutely sucked at. Life, my impossible high standards, and fate aside (it’s been on heck of a year emotionally), I have made inlets this year: poems and plays published, a job in teaching, another prospective job (I’ll blog about it later) in teaching play-writing to little nugs, work beginning on my graphic novel as well as my kid’s books (yay!!!!) and an ever growing blog audience (you guys rock).

…But there’s on thing I linger on…….

Releasing my ebook of plays.

It’s been available on the Nook now for a month, maybe two. Tucked away, unpublicized by my fear of something.

And the insane thing, I don’t much care how much money I make. It’s low priced, I might even put it a bit lower.

All I really want if for people to read my previously published plays and maybe, if they like them, throw up a show of their own.(Though a bit of an extra income is always nice as well.)

I need to release it and move on. I need to figure if five people buy it and read it, it was worth the effort of editing and the pain of my ego.

I think I’m going to do it this week.

Stay tuned.

The odds and ends of being an artist

This has been a busy week! (And as I’m writing this I feel I’m writing a short, not as amazing “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”). I’ve been asked before, sometimes, that as an artist, what is it that you do?

Sometimes I think when you tell people you are an artist people automatically envision romantic Paris-wine dreams . Not so much.

The reality is that like most people I work (as a tutor and an English instructor) and manage to find time for my art usually at the expense of my house hold choirs.books

So for those who are wondering, here is a sample of my week:

First I received an email that my poem “We Is” is going to be published in July in torrid magazine. It was a nice email (though a pang of sadness as I couldn’t call the first person I always do) especially because I have not been submitting anything as of late (too too busy).

Then, I spent the first part of the week, furiously getting a portfolio together for a grant program for the Illinois Art Council. It’s a long shot. They announced over 15,000 in grants. However, the announcement came with a 3 day turn around (talk about pressure.) I will keep you updated. Also if you live in Illinois check out the Art Council page for more programs.

Afterwards, I had a Skype date cue the fancy music, first date jitters and a wine with a fancy illustrator friend of mine,  Riki,check out her work) to discuss working on a children’s book (Lots of exciting info to be coming!)

The rest of the week was a hodgepodge of emailing about guest blogs, contacting a graphic artist about a graphic novel, talking to my best friend Ashy about doing a collaborative art show and a few other art odds and end on the promotion side.

Notice no writing 😦

But life goes on doesn’t it? How was your week as an artist?

 

 

I feed the madness and it feeds on me

I grew up with a healthy fear of schizophrenia, an unusual those probably not my strangest fear and given the family I grew up in, not without warrant.

My grandmother had a very late onset of schizophrenia (nearly thirty) and I grew up in the smashed shell that was her unintended legacy: a father who had essentially raised his five siblings. they would sit around and laugh, telling stories of the time, grandmother, thinking her daughter had been replaced with a robot sent to spy on her, chased the Aunt Bert around with a knife until my father wrestled it away.

Broken china dolls. Carefully glued back together, but the shiny paste still lingered in the cracks.

vangoghinsaneI was like her, my family said, with my wit, intelligence, and the art.

Oh the art.

My grandmother had never been an artist, until the early days of her illness.  She would draw, everywhere.Elaborate murals usually of Disney characters. My father told me it was wondrous, as his childish eyes say it.

Until she started talking to the drawings.

And they answered her back.

I still wonder some days if there isn’t some correlation between art and madness. And though I have had nothing as severe as my grandmother, I have always been a bit off. From my carefree youthful days of car-surfing to my more turbulent twenties and my occasionally bouts of depression (which I can usually control with diet, exercise and meditation, those I have had to take medicine a few times.)

There’s an interesting article in scientific America talking about the history of mental illness in art. It’s worth taking a lot even at the sanest of times.

 

 

 

 

 

Writers wanting a free ride

Ok, I won’t lie. This is an amazing idea. Amtrack is offering free residency for one of their long rides. It’s a program which on a rolling basis which accepts promising new writers! The form is quick and easy to fill out (yes I might be filling it out right now! ) so why not give it a try! Maybe you can be the next great traveling writer. 🙂

* Note, as in the comments, it’s been noted that what you submit can be (though may not be) used by Amtrak. I always suggest writing pieces specifically for contests. In short, don’t give a piece that you are supper attached to/don’t want them using. 🙂

train

The periodic table of storytelling

I’ve run across one of the neatest sites/resources for story telling, the periodic table of storytelling. It’s an interactive periodic table with all sort of great information for people who want to know the art of story-telling. Warning though, this website is super addictive, and you can spend all day on it!

Enjoy.

periodictableofstorytelling

http://designthroughstorytelling.net/periodic/

First publication of the new year

Good afternoon, Rachael!
 
I wanted to drop a quick note to you with good news!  Your monologue “The New Girl” has confirmed entry into Volume III of ‘interJACtions: Monologues from the Heart of Human Nature.’  Congratulations!
This greeted me in my inbox today!
jump

I was very excited to have this monologue published. It was originally a short story which I wrote during an exercise at University of Indiana.  It’s a dramatized piece about my experience of switching from a private Lutheran school (15 people in my class, all girls) to a public school.

Hopefully this year will continue to be a productive year for publishing (both indie and traditionally) for me!

Anyway, sorry for the brevity of this post, but I wanted to share the good news!

A rat in a cage (Indy vs traditional publishing)

Publishing is a game. You learn that early in your studies if you go through an university. Be it an scholarly  journal or creative writing, it’s all hoops you have to jump through to establish yourself and further your career. And the more you become engrossed in it, the more you realized it’s not just about talent, but who you know and how much press they will get for publishing you…..

Why is it that way? Because they say so.

Now, I’m not sure who they are. Though I suspect it might be the publishers and those profiting off of mine and yours work….

I also think that’s partly why being an indie writer is so looked down up.

plays

Ok, we will get it out of the way. The problem with vanity press is that anyone can do it. And frankly there are so god-awful works that in my opinion see the light of day. There are also a lot of scams, and publishers that try to hide that you will be footing the bill,  so if you do wanna pursue vanity press, research it and do it because you want your work out there…..

But if you do self-publish in any form, expect to be look down upon for it.

“Oh you’re an author, who published your work?”

“….I did…”

Awkward silence…..

That might be my least favorite part about the writing game. This weird need that most artist have to inflate their own work at the cost of others. I remember excitedly telling a professor of my first real publication (in a fairly respected online journal) only to have him brush it aside….*in a stuffy accent* “well if you’re still writing and publishing when your forty, then we will know you have what it takes to be a writer”….just to have him a few months later blow up my Facebook feed with how amazing the journal was and blah blah blah because his wife had a poem published here….

….Don’t even get my started of a few of my friends who decided to start their own journals…..Somehow editing an online webpage and calling it a journal must turn nice rational people into cut-throat, pretentious snobs. Stories. So many….more than I care to share of how the publishing/promotion game has soured perfectly nice people.

It’s like all writers are perpetually stuck in high school, insecure jocks that have to pick on everyone else around them in a desperate attempt to hide the fact that they aren’t gods among men.

But that wasn’t always the case. In the 19th century it was common for established writers to pay for publishing their own books.

(A stolen bit for Wikipedia for you from their vanity press article. Let your “More you know star”shine:)

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was common for legitimate authors, if they could afford it, to pay the costs of publishing their books. Such writers could expect more control of their work, greater profits, or both. Among such authors were Lewis Carroll, who paid the expenses of publishing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and most of his subsequent work. Mark TwainE. Lynn HarrisZane GreyUpton SinclairCarl SandburgEdgar Rice BurroughsGeorge Bernard ShawEdgar Allan PoeRudyard KiplingHenry David ThoreauWalt Whitman and Anaïs Nin also self-published some or all of their works. Not all of these well-known authors were successful in their ventures; Mark Twain’s publishing business, for example, went bankrupt.[6]

Ernest Vincent Wright, author of the 1939 novel Gadsby, famous for being written entirely in lipogram, was unable to find a publisher for his unusual work and ultimately chose to publish it through a vanity press.

(By the way, if you go back to the early early days of publishing, there are way more writers that are well known that used vanity publishing at one point or another in their career…but anyway back to my own thoughts.)

But the truth is that success or failure is not guarantee your art is good. Emily Dickinson had only a handful of poems published in her lifetime, still she is greatly studied, admired and remembers. Yet, Ursula Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea which was immensely popular in the 1970’s and was later borrowed heavily upon for a certian scared-wizard series is  almost completely forgotten.

Time and people can only tell us how art stands the test of time and who it can affect. As far as I can see, the more art that is out there, on any level, the more chance for us to grow and discover. And how do you measure success? Frankly, if one poem/essay/play/story I write helps one person, then I consider it a success. And when you consider the ripple effects, well, it’s hard not to make a case for more art in this work isn’t it?

In short, yet blogs, indie publishing and vanity press have no standards. They are the mutts of the art world. But it is still art. And some of it is darn fine. 

So if anyone gives you crap for being , a self-publish artist or vanity press artist, tell them at least you had the guts to do something with you life and put yourself out there.

 All of this makes me just want to run to my piano….the piano doesn’t judge me!

Rant over. Time to get back to playing the game and self-publishing. I have college applications to finish, journals to submit to and the finishing touches on my Nook Book.