Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Title: Inspirational Verse for Those Who Hunger and Thirst
Subtitle: A Book of Poems to Feed the Soul
Author: Artemis Craig
Genre: Inspirational and Religious Poetry
(Sale Sheet Info Below)
Reviewer: Marlan Warren

I have respect for anyone’s spiritual journey. And I have a lot of respect for the poet Artemis Craig, whom I met at USC, while we were both in film school studying screenwriting. We only met once, in the changing room of the gym, but her feisty humor made a lasting impression.

“Before they’re done, this school’s gonna own the drawers on my butt!” she said. I don’t know about her, but that school does own the drawers on my butt. The one thing I do know that we share is post-film-school depression. A not uncommon affliction in L.A.

Now, a couple decades later, Craig has risen out of the ashes of Hollywood as an evangelical poet who has walked through fire, and lived to tell her story in the form of Inspirational Verse for Those Who Hunger and Thirst: A Book of Poems to Feed the Soul.

With straightforward honesty and a gift for storytelling, Craig has arranged the poems in this anthology as an odyssey washed in the blood of heartaches, losses, and disappointments after returning home as the Prodigal Daughter. All the elements that make  “inspirational verse” inspirational are there (finding and praising the Grace of God), woven into searing moments from Craig’s life, told with her flair for dramatic prose and metaphor.

Her post-graduation first experience--pitching to execs at a major studio--soured her forever on staying on that track. Many film school alumni can relate (this one does). A sensitive soul, Craig stayed away from the written word until she began writing poetry in the 21st Century, finally gaining the spiritual strength to openly share it in 2013 with this book.

The poem that opens the book, “Speak Now,” reflects the pain felt by many a disillusioned film student:

Without words I became invisible which was fine by me,
Found a home for my anger and bitterness in my invisibility.
Disappointment and hatred festered inside all the while,
But none knew because through it all I wore a smile.

I felt personal resonance with her personal poems about loss. One deeply regrets missing the passing of her grandmother because Craig was busy pursuing her career on the other coast. I was at USC editing my film for class when news of my father’s sudden passing came.

One of the most moving poems is “Life Not Mine to Save,” remembering her futile attempts to save her father’s life when he died of heart failure:

One, one thousand, two, one thousand
Chest compressions like I’d been taught weren’t enough
Formed a seal over your mouth and into it blew a quick puff.
Stay with me! Stay with me! But you refused to wake

Afterward she fills such bitterness, that she questions God’s actions:

Though it’s hard to believe, your life was not mine to save.
Anger at God is all I can feel,
That along with the hope that somehow
This can’t possibly be real.

The poem plays out like a short film. With a “resolution” that is accepting and spiritual:

Away from me, Daddy, your body lies in the cold grave
It seems like only yesterday, try as I might,
Your life was never mine to save.
But mine to cherish in moments of panic and doubt,
To keep as memories when I feel trapped and can’t get out.

I had an elderly aunt who would tell the story of her life and end it with “I didn’t know they’d throw the book at me!” Here, Artemis Craig, has thrown a book out of her life for others to gain some solace as they grapple with their own journeys.

As Charles Bukowski once said: “What matters most is how well you walk through fire.”

About the Author
Artemis Craig was born in a rural town in Birmingham, Alabama to a steelworker father and educator mother. She graduated with a BFA in Cinema and Television from the University of Southern California. She is the mother of one son, Roderic, who is her inspiration. Her hobbies include writing poetry in the Gifts of a Wordsmith group at her local library, as well as, performing at the On Stage at the Carver Theater open mike showcase. Currently, Artemis is finishing her second poetry book, Southern Fried Comfort Food: Recipes to Encourage the Soul, as well as her first novel, a sci-fi murder mystery, A Little Taste of Death. She divides her time between Birmingham, Alabama and Newport News, Virginia.


Title: Inspirational Verse for Those Who Hunger and Thirst
Subtitle:  A Book of Poems to Feed the Soul
Author: Artemis Craig
Publisher: Artemis Craig Publishing (Nov. 6, 2013
Paperback: $15.00   Pages: 64
ISBN-13: 978-0989087605
Genre: Inspirational and Religious Poetry


Monday, July 30, 2018


If someone tells you that it's wrong to X, where X is something 
native English speakers do regularly, you can be pretty sure the rule is bogus.
̶:The Joy of Syntax, June Casagrande

The first thing that popped into my head when I first began reading June Casagrande's lively, informative The Joy of Syntax: A Simple Guide to All the Grammar You Know You Should Know was me in the backseat of my parents' car circa 1960, listening to Mom and Dad engage in a heated argument over incorrect vs. correct grammar. I don't recall what "rule" they were debating, only the yelling. That's how seriously a grammar mistake can affect us.

When it comes to syntax, I suspect people may be divided into three categories: those who know what syntax is and care; those who heard about it in English class but it didn't stick; and those who do not care at all. The first group contains people who love words or need them to advance their careers, future careers, and/or social standing. Those are the people who stand to get the most out of this book.

Casagrande's style is simple, direct, and friendly-humorous. The book's contents reflect a trove of enlightening trivia such as "Well as an Adverb and an Adjective;" "Dangling Participles and Other Danglers;" "Language Myths" (brace yourself). Part I focuses on "Syntax" and Part II on "Usage and Propriety." The latter goes beyond the average English speaker/writer's grasp of what is grammatically correct and explains that the acceptability of certain words can depend on whether they have been accepted into common usage.

Did you know that if a word is found in the dictionary, it's considered "valid"? Not necessarily appropriate for your dissertation, but not "wrong" in more casual contexts.

Pop Quiz:
True or False?
(1) It is always wrong to say or write "ain't."
(2) "Nauseous" and "Nauseated" can be used interchangeably.
(3) "Tomorrow" is both a noun and an adverb.
(4) Most, if not all, grammar questions can be answered by looking in the dictionary.

Here's a hint: number one is false. Surprised? Want to know why? Read the book. As for the rest...read the book. It won't kill you and you might even learn something.

The Joy of Syntax: A Simple Guide to All the Grammar You know You Should Know 

Author: June Casagrande

Publisher: Ten Speed Press (July 24, 2018)

Paperback: $14.99   Pages: 272

ISBN-13 9780399581069

Genre: Reference/Writing


Penguin Random House:  

About “The Joy of Syntax” Author
June Casagrande is a veteran journalist and syndicated columnist. She is the author of “Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies” and “Mortal Syntax” (Penguin). She is a former Los Angeles Times staff reporter, and her “A Word, Please” grammar column appears in newspapers in California, New York, Florida, and Texas.

About the Reviewer:
Marlan Warren is an L.A. journalist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, blogger, and publicist with Roadmap Communications and Book Publicity by Marlan. Her blogs include “Roadmap Girl’s Book Buzz” and “L.A. Now & Then.” Her press releases are published in Broadway World Book News and the BBC Record. She is the author of the novel, “Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All’s Not Fair in Love or War.” Marlan is now in production for the documentary “What Did You Do in the War, Mama?: Kochiyama’s Crusaders” based on her play “Bits of Paradise” about the women of the Japanese American Internment. She was recently named to Yelp’s “Top Publicists in Los Angeles” list. [http://bookpublicitybymarlan.blogspot.com]

Originally posted on L.A. Now & Then Blog
Contact Reviewer With Comments: memoircity at gmail

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Announcing the Book Publicity by Marlan Newsletter First Issue! To subscribe, please visit: Book Publicity by Marlan Newsletter

You can also subscribe to Roadmap Girl's Book Buzz (see link in upper right corner).

Bukowski Mural: Los Angeles

Welcome to the first installment of the Book Publicity by Marlan Newsletter! I began representing indie authors four years ago when my longtime friend, Luke Benoit, published a book that I thought was terrific (All Storms Pass: The Anti-Meditations). I ran a book review and an author interview in my blogs, and the rest...as they say...is history. Since then, it's been a thrilling--and educational!--ride as I hone my publicity and marketing skills, while assisting indie authors (self-published and small press) with their book launch campaigns, book reviews, press releases, press kits, speaker engagements and of course, book signing bookings. My services sometimes include editing (copy editing, as well as full-on revision suggestions and rewrite/ghostwrite).

Every client experience has been a teaching episode. It is not enough to throw your book up on Amazon and hope for the best. And each PR effort requires diligence as well as knowledge on the part of all who are promoting a book.

Why am I smiling? I'm on vacation!

I'm an "Artisanal Publicist"--each book campaign that I design for an author includes a carefully crafted one-sheet, "elevator pitch," and consideration of the target market, as a well-researched plan for attracting media interest and interviews.

This month, I find I have a short list of Writer-Author-Publisher items that might interest you. So here we go!

PS - I will consider articles you submit for this newsletter. So please feel free to submit your pearls of hard-won wisdom via the Contact Form on this newsletter! Thank you!

For more info re Book Publicity by Marlan:
Visit http://bookpublicitybymarlan.blogspot.com
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