New Promotion!

Participate in this contest that celebrates writing, authors and excellence in publishing.  If you solve the puzzle, you receive prizes and encourage and support a small and extraordinarily receptive publishing house to gain new levels of success.

 

This is a to celebrate the growth of Writers AMuse Me, and the opening of our US location, we invite you to participate in the revealing of our new corporate slogan!

 

Visit all our authors’ websites and/or blogs and search for the blue letter hidden there. You will know them when you see them. When you have them all, unscramble the letters to form our new corporate slogan, send in your answer to darens@writersamuseme.com along with the WAMM book you would like to read, in what digital format you would like it and the address we can email it to. If you are one of the first one hundred to get the slogan correct, we will send you a free e-copy. All correct entries will then be put in a draw to win an additional three books of their choice, in the format of their choice, including print.

 

Be sure to use all the letters collected. Some are duplicated because they show up more than once in the answer.

 

Only one free book per person, other than for the Grand Prize winner.

 

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __      __ __ __ __      __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

 

Hints:

1st word – John Lennon song

2nd word – cereal

3rd word – boundless

Contest runs from June 25th to June 30th, 2014.

Play Publication Day

Steves plays

 

I’m happy to announce that WAMM is publishing four of my plays today!  I hope anyone interested in theatre and theatrical production will give them a look.  As always, my thanks to Mary for her editing skills and inspiration.  The plays are Reunited We Fall, Totally Necessary Men, Ruby Lips Above the Water, and Mere Image.

http://www.writersamuseme.com/fulllengthplays.htm

Local Newspaper Feature

My sincere thanks to Bemidji Pioneer Arts & Entertainment journalist, Patt Rall, for the following feature article:

On a trip of discovery: Steve Saari ventures into a new genre — poetry

BEMIDJI — Although Steve Saari has been writing scripts and composing music for years, he might just have conquered another mountain — poetry.

The Bemidji man’s first collection of poems, “This Long Trip to Myself” — which range from the deeply personal to the jocular — has received five different award nominations, including the Minnesota Best Book Award, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the Eric Hoffer Award and the ForeWord Book of the Year.

“This Long Trip to Myself” was released by WritersAmuseMe in August and has captured the attention of reviewers in all the genre of publishing, including Kindle Book Review Team member Jim Bennett, which gave the book four stars.

“I am a tough reviewer. Saari’s book easily rated four stars; if you like poetry that is powerful and accessible,” Bennett wrote. “‘Again in Alice’, we have a personal experience of an old person reliving a long-ago unpleasant occurrence. This poem shows Saari’s power at its best; it seems very simple and it is all quite clear what is happening, while the poem takes you forward on several levels at once.”

In “6,740 Days in the Life of a Bookworm — A bizarre limerick for Adult Readers only” readers can evoke the youthful dreams of physically entering the world of the printed word:

“He sat with the knight’s ’round King Arthur’s table.

He strolled with Pooh while Piglet was napping.

He felt quite at ease in the writings of Shakespeare

Though in Plato he was often found napping.”

Opening up

Putting himself out there is nothing new to Saari. He already opened his heart and mind in his play “Ruby Lips Above the Water,” which enjoyed two different runs in Bemidji. Saari is not afraid to address social issues of how people strive to protect the developmentally disabled adults who long to be an integral part of society and who sometimes fail despite their best efforts.

A different slant on masculinity was evident is Saari’s play, “Totally Necessary Men,” a physical comedy that has played throughout the area. The publishing house that printed his poems will soon publish his plays, including those mentioned above but also “Mere Image” and “Playing the Bill.”

But Saari has also commanded the stage in other productions, most notably those produced by his company, Saaren’s Productions, and also Bemidji Community Theater in two shows “Moon over Buffalo” and The Game’s Afoot.”

Saari has been director of several non-profit organizations since he arrived in Bemidji to take over the helm at the Headwaters School for Music and the Arts in 1999. Saari has been unafraid to fulfill his dreams of being a person who not only connects easily with his audience but also is straightforward in bringing his talent to different genres.

Saari and his partner, DeeJay Arens, have focused their recent work on film, as well, having just finished a public service commercial for public television warning against the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. They are expecting to film other public service commercials in the near future.

“This Long Trip to Myself” is in print, digital and kindle format and is available through most online bookstores through the Writers Amuse Me website and locally at Harmony Co-op or Kat’s Book Nook.

http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/content/trip-discovery-steve-saari-ventures-new-genre-%E2%80%94-poetry

Award Nominations

It is my honor to join the company of fellow WAMM authors Barbara Townsend, Shakey Smith and Robert Clark in receiving award nominations.  The nominations for my poetry collection, This Long Trip to Myself, include:  the Foreword Book of the Year Award, the NIEA Indie Excellence Award, The Next Generation Indie Book Award, the Eric Hoffer Award and the Minnesota Best Book Award.

My thanks to the editors at WAMM for their encouragement and kindness.  I am thrilled the book has been deemed worthy of nomination for these awards.

First Book Signing a Success

I would like to thank all those who attended my first book signing hosted by Kat Kaplan, owner of Kat’s Book Nook, in Bemidji, MN on Friday, September 6.  It was a pleasure to meet new people and greet friends and family.

Two hours passed quickly amid great conversation, appetizers and beverages, and the presence of numerous interested readers who purchased a copy of my book and browsed the shelves in the store.  Kat’s Book Nook is a customer-friendly used bookstore with a comfortable atmostphere that is further enhanced by the owner’s two Shih tzus and a sweet-natured foster cat from the local Humane Society!

I hope “This Long Trip to Myself” will resonate with people of varied life experiences and backgrounds.  No matter our differences, I believe there exists a common through-line we all share in the frailty and wonder of being human.   Make the most of the journey!

 

New Reviews Bring Good News!

I am grateful to the following reviewers for their kind words and insight:

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

This Long Trip to Myself by Steve Saari is the author’s journey, the happy and the sad. It is a mixture of dramatic and abstract; a collection of thoughts put together to give you a peek into the author’s mind and spirit, his inner feelings and struggles, and his personal experiences.

I thought the collection was beautiful for many reasons. First, it opened the soul of the poet to the reader. They have a chance to explore his personal space. Secondly, the formatting of the poems is exceptional. They not only speak of the theme but they are also highly visual.

Many of the poems in This Long Trip to Myself are lyrical. All the emotions are handled with finesse and elegance. The language is beautiful and simplistic. Some of the poems are haunting and strike a chord within you. Some of them are metaphorical and poignant. They make you want to go back and read them again and again. The poet’s struggle with his own self is revealed beautifully in this collection.

This Long Trip to Myself has some beautiful illustrations to go with some of the poems. ‘The Tomb’ speaks about the gloomy mind of the poet and he comes out of it abruptly with the next exquisite poem ‘Hope’. ‘Prison Window’ is another poem which speaks of the poet’s somber mood. I was highly impressed by the formatting of ‘Me’. It took the poem to another level altogether. On the whole, it is a beautiful collection and all poetry lovers will enjoy the poems.

http://readersfavorite.com/book-review/12784

Rabid Readers Reviews

This Long Trip To Myself is a collection of poetry delving into topics of life, death and existence.

The author, Steve Saari, gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

I have said on this blog before that I am not a reader that “gets” poetry. I can appreciate the use of language and the complexity of structure but deeper meaning eludes me. There are the rare poets into whose work I delve. It’s those Poets who present straightforward ideology as well as lyrical stanzas. Saari is a poet accessible to my somewhat pedestrian understanding of the subject. It came as no surprise to discover that this poet is a composer and many of the poems read like song lyrics.

In This Long Trip To Myself, Saari gives the reader a path into the soul of the poet.  He gives the reader depth and lyricism in the very creepy poem “Shadowland” — If you die/And I attend you/I also will learn. Much of Saari’s poetry is introspective. Much of it deals with internal struggle and death. The poem, “The Tomb” brought to mind pictures viewed of Holocaust victims. The poem brought forth stark imagery of jutting bones and being surrounded by death. Likely not the intent of the poet but poetry is a personal experience.

The poem “Alice” tells the remembered tale of a girl losing her shoes and a woman restrained in what sounds to be an asylum setting. The poem is powerful and moving in the sense that no matter where a reader is in their life, they have those pivotal moments to which they might or will cling in the end. I read the poem a few times in an attempt to absorb the enormity of the event for this woman and her loved one or caretaker, who within the poem, wishes they had known her when she was vital.

My favorite poem was decidedly Seussical, “6,740 Days in the Life of a Bookworm.” The poem was funny, symbolic and poignant.

If you like to read poetry or like haunting lyrical stanzas, the work of Steve Saari is for you.

http://www.rabidreaders.com/2013/09/01/this-long-trip-to-myself-by-steve-saari-author-chris-arens-illustrator-and-julie-quanrud-illustrator/

Sharing My First Review

This is the first review I’ve received!  It is written by Mr. Jim Bennett of Kindle Book Review:

Different, personal, sometimes disturbing insight. Accessible poetry.

Four stars.

This is an interesting, sometimes pleasant, and sometimes disturbing collection of some thirty-seven poems, some in blank verse, some rhymed, of various lengths.  As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. This book deserves your consideration. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later.

Saari is sometimes philosophical in that he deals with life’s trials and losses; for example, in To Live we find this: “Have triumph played on a lonely reed,/ And tragedy soothed by a chorus of strings.” I am reminded of a quote by David Gerrold: ‘Life is hard. Then you die.’ (Google the quoted string for the entire statement.) Saari has been there.

There is a neat self-reference and an expanded simile in Continual Motion. No quotes: I won’t spoil the surprise. In The Way Back we have rhyme, a bit of mystery, and sorrow of loneliness. A favourite.

In Shadowlands we have a bit of enigma, with spooky imagery: “I will be there,/ Following close your course,/ Hidden,/ In the scorching shadows.” If you’re looking for social commentary, it is here in Becoming: “Idealism becomes conformity”. Again in Your Girl, bad things happen to unsuspecting people who become themselves. If you’re scrolling for the tiny carps, there aren’t any.

Introspection occurs in another favourite, the longer poem Ciphers, where we find this: “Passing places you always/ Wanted to see/ Instead of watching them/ Disappear through the rear window.”

There are scary pieces too, Asylum being a fine example, as is One May Morning. This book is not for children, nor for squeamish adults. Again in Alice, we have a personal experience of an old person reliving a long-ago unpleasant occurrence. This poem shows Saari’s power at its best; it seems very simple and it is all quite clear what is happening, while the poem takes you forward on several levels at once. Buy the book and read this poem first.

For personal tragedy in relationships, turn to Nothing More to Say.

Finally, there are some truly fun pieces like Yikes! and At Least It’s Not Raining. The final three poems in the book are haunting and sad.

Given all that, how do I come up with four stars? My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. Saari’s book easily rates four stars; if you like poetry that is powerful and accessible, you may rate this volume higher. Clearly recommended.

Jim Bennett, Kindle Book Review Team member.

Book Signing

I am excited to be signing my book, “This Long Trip to Myself,” at Kat’s Book Nook, 750 Paul Bunyan Dr. NW, in Bemidji, MN.  The signing will take place on Friday, September 6th from 4 pm to 6 pm.  Thank you to Kat of Kat’s Book Nook for hosting the event!

Image: Kat's Book Nook

Release Date Approaching!

Book Cover

Book Cover

Life is a singular journey filled with upheavals both joyful and tragic. Whether you have walked life’s path for a short time or have experienced a good length of the road, “This Long Trip to Myself” will speak to you personally. Dramatic, yet quietly reflective; humorous and offbeat; this collection of poems is the beginning of a new life adventure for the author, Steve Saari.