Friday, December 30, 2011

The winner of our Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is UNCOMMON CLAY!

We are thrilled to announce the winner of our annual poetry contest: Uncommon Clay by Darlene Franklin-Campbell.

Franklin-Campbell's Appalachian heritage was a major influence in this collection of poetry. Her writing is part of her mission to raise awareness to combat Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia.

Our finalist judge was Jay Parini, a poet, novelist, and critic who teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont.  His numerous books include The Last Station and Robert Frost: A Life. Parini said he loved in Uncommon Clay what he called an "aura of a hovering spirit."

"This is a poet with a deep sense of not only nature but spirit," Parini said. "She sees nature as the embodiment of spirit, and she brings rich native tradition into play here, in language that is strict and pure."

Uncommon Clay will be released in print and as a digital edition on March 19, 2012.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize finalists are here!

What an amazing set of chapbooks we received for the first year of our poetry prize!

We could not be more pleased with the semi-finalists, and the decisions were very difficult. We had several come so close that they were read by multiple people to get a consensus.

But these three amazing poets have moved to the final round. Their chapbooks have been forwarded to our amazing poet-judge (oh, we can't wait to tell you who it is!) Because our final judge is a very busy poet, we are giving him a little leeway with the timeframe to judge. We may know before the end of the year, but it may be early January depending on his schedule.

Finalists, you'll be hearing from Casey Shay Press very soon about details we'll want to settle out before the winner is announced.

Congratulations to all of you amazing poets. Those of you who are not finalists are eligible to send your work in again next year.

So here they are, alphabetical by title:

"Becoming an Island" by Mary Stone Dockery
"I Can Make Life" by Nicole Breit
"Uncommon Clay" by Darlene Franklin-Campbell

Monday, October 31, 2011

Our newest picture book release -- My Big Brother's Birthday by John J. Asher

As more e-book platforms embrace the picture book, we've decided to begin releasing some titles aimed specifically at the iPad and iPhone market. They will also move to the Kindle Fire when the new e-reader is released.

We're very excited about our newest e-book title, My Big Brother's Birthday. John J. Asher is the easier-to-Google pen name for long-time children's illustrator John Jones. He's done illustration work for every major publishing house over his career, and we are thrilled to produce his debut writer/illustrator picture book! Learn more about him on his own web site.

My Big Brother's Birthday is perfect for the harried mom, trying to prepare for an older child's party with a younger child underfoot. Sit them down with your iPhone or iPad and pick up this lovely $2.99 title so they know they aren't being left out on their sibling's big day!

Download a PDF of sample pages HERE.

Find it on the iTunes iBook store by clicking HERE.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Semi-Finalists for the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize are announced!

We had over 100 entries to our inaugural contest. The field has been narrowed to 15 semi-finalists.
Cynthia Baculi-Condez
Nicole Breit
Jill Carpenter
Meg Eden
Linda Eve Diamond
Mary Stone Dockery
Maria Elliott
Darlene Franklin-Campbell
Martha Deborah Hall
P.J. Johnson
Dawn L. Meisenheimer Lewis
Cari Oleskewicz
Venetia Sjogren
Emily Stokes
Martin Willitts, Jr.

The three finalists will be announced on Nov. 1. Congratulations, poets!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New books a'comin'

We purposefully held off blogging to make it easy to find our Chapbook Prize contest rules, but the judging has moved into semi-finals, which will be announced Saturday!
Meanwhile, we are perilously close to the release of our next title, the adult women's fiction Baby Dust. The book has already been getting great reviews--check out some of these:

Baby Dust sheds a light on the all-too taboo subject of miscarriage in a raw, compelling, and incredibly realistic way.
Kristin Cook

Absolutely stunning, compelling, and unlike any other book related to pregnancy loss that I have read.  I could not put it down.

Robyn Bear
Founder of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I will say that this book is a MUST READ. I became involved in each of the characters and ... the kinship of their circle reminded me of the community I have become a part of here online.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is open!

In honor of National Poetry Month, Casey Shay Press announces its first Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize.

Mary Ballard Wright wrote poetry, but almost no one knew it. She raised three children through two marriages, kept a home, and scribbled verses in those moments when she dared to think of something other than daily life.

In 1979, a tornado swept through her town of Wichita Falls, taking her home and everything she owned. Among the things she lost were her life's work, handwritten poems kept in a closet.

Mary died in 2010, and here at Casey Shay Press, we have decided, in her memory, to publish one poet each year. It is our hope to keep others' work from sudden loss, be it a natural disaster, a technical failure that destroys a hard drive, or a personal loss in the theft of the laptop where we kept our work.

The winner of the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize will receive $500, 25 printed copies of the chapbook, and a book contract for the sale of physical and electronic versions of the chapbook.

There is NO fee to enter this contest, but each entrant may submit only one manuscript.

Rule for Entries:

Deadline: August 31, 2011

  • The Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is open to all poets, published or unpublished.
  • Poems should adhere to a theme, however loosely.
  • We consider themes for adults as well as collections for children.
  • Individual poems may be previously published, but poems should not have been published as a group in any form, including self-published collections.
  • No more than 10% of the poetry should have been posted to blogs or web sites previously, and print and digital rights to any published poems should have reverted to the author to be eligible.
  • Manuscripts may be either a collection of poems or one long poem and should be a minimum of 20 pages and a maximum of 40 pages (not including the title page).
  • All poems should be single spaced and typed in size 12 Times New Roman or similar font.
  • Each manuscript should include a title page. This page should include the title, a one-sentence explanation of the chapbook's theme, and contact information on the poet. Please use your real name for your submission. If you prefer to use a pseudonym on your chapbook, that will be arranged later.
  • If any poems have been previously published, please indicate their titles and where they were published.
  • If the poet already participates in readings, poetry groups, or writers' organizations, we would love to hear about that, but it is optional.
  • The reading period for the 2012 competition begins on April 13, 2011. Entries must be submitted by August 31, 2011. Submissions will only be considered if received between those dates.
  • The semi-finalists will be announced October 2011.
  • We are all-electronic. How to submit: [Edited -- our submission process will change in 2014. Watch the blog for details.]

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The cover for Baby Dust is here!

We can finally reveal the cover of our next release, Baby Dust: A Novel about Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss.

The novel will be released in October 2011 during Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Month. We will be hosting several events on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which is October 15th, including a candle lighting during the International Wave of Light, a book reading, and possibly a Walk to Remember. Plans will be developing over at in the coming months.

Back cover copy for the book:

The five women sitting in the circle of chairs all had great dreams of motherhood.

Then their babies died.

Melinda joins the support group after she is forced to leave her miscarried fetus in a trash can rather than inconvenience her power-lawyer husband on a business trip. There she meets Dot, who believes the wrath of God caused the baby conceived in an extra-marital affair to grow without a brain.

They are joined by seventeen-year-old Tina, who is ejected from the high school for pregnant teens when her premature baby lives only a few hours.

Their friend Janet’s miscarriage has evolved into uterine cancer. And Stella, who leads the group, must face the old choices that cost her a family of her own.

Based on the stories of dozens of real survivors, Baby Dust is a moving tribute to the strength of mothers who must endure this most impossible loss.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Growth, Expansion, and Change

As we release our third book and begin planning the fourth, Casey Shay Press is definitely expanding in new directions. The movement to ebooks and the shift in attitude toward independent publishing is helping this.

The big six publishers are in trouble, and they are well aware how authors are ready to take their futures in their own hands. We feel there will be a rush to self-publish for a while, and then authors will realize--it's hard work creating a good cover and formatting books correctly for digital devices.

At that point, many will be ready to get back to just writing. Not every sort of book is easy to e-publish, and it's no fun to spend a year writing a book only to see it sell a few copies to friends.

Small presses like mine will be there and ready for them. I have a wonderful team of copy editors and book designers, as well as photographers and artists. We love what we do.

The Mary Ballard Chapbook Series is our next new direction. We'll be publishing a chapbook each year in March. Once the winner is announced, the cover art will also be a contest. This will include cash prizes as well as hard copies and ebook versions--money flows toward the writers and artists here. Even if the rewards are not quite the six-figure-advance gambles the Big Six take, we recognize that all of us have invested time and talent in our work.

Lots of great articles on the shift of publishing from the legacy model to independents have come out in the past week. Take in a few:

The original conversation:
An agent's view:
Another author's view:
A publishing consultant:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kids Show Kids How to Make Balloon Animals in Japan

Japan has picked up Kids Show Kids How to Make Balloon Animals and wow! It skyrocketed to number #791 in overall ranking on Amazon Japan.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Support the film Peekaboo!

A movie on the topic of stillbirth. Wow! It's called Peekaboo, and it's being made in the UK by award-winning Big Buddha Films with an amazing pair of lead actors. In the story, a mother loses her triplets, and the movie deals with the aftermath in her life.

Shooting begins in mid-March, so it's time to show them some support--time to say--it's ABOUT TIME to get this issue more out in the open!

What can you do?

1. "Like" them on Facebook. Leave a comment. Get the word spreading.

2. Get a copy of the DVD when it comes out by donating. There's no sure thing that it will be widely available to see, so ensure your copy right now by going to the Indie Go Go site where people like YOU help fund independent films. (They have just a few thousand dollars to go to be completely funded--they've already raised several thousand on their own.)

3. Already buying one of the Baby Memorial Books for your sweet angel? Casey Shay Press is donating $10 towards the filming of Peekaboo for every book sold through the end of February. That adds up fast! So GO, buy yours now! The book is $18.99 and is made specifically for babies lost to miscarriage or stillbirth, emphasizing the sweet memories of your pregnancy as well as having space for memorials and angelversaries. You don't have to do anything special, the donation happens automatically.

4. Take action, talk about this, and know you have done something for yourself, for your baby, and for the moms who will come after you. The more we do, the easier it will be for each successive generation of grieving mothers to talk about their babies. Remember how no one used to talk about breast cancer? Look at the pink explosion now. Let's make this happen for miscarriage and stillbirth too. We don't have to shut our mouths. Our babies were real, our grief is real, and we shouldn't just be quiet and get over it. The only way is to get involved.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

New video from our Balloon Book author

Elizabeth Chauffe, the co-author of Kids Show Kids How to Make Balloon Animals, saw that parents were posting to Amazon about how impossible it was to use the spinning plate kits.

Since she has a lot of experience juggling from Magic Camp, she decided to make a quick video showing kids how to spin a plate properly.