The Great Grinchy Giveaway

mood: decidedly un-Grinchy | drinking: stuff

xmas_books

People keep telling me it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t necessarily believe it… there are lots of other times of the year that are arguably more wonderful than this.

But I’m going to shrug off my inner Grinch and just go for the holiday cheer this year. Strap on your helmet.

This year, for the first time ever, I’m instituting what may very well become a yearly tradition: The Great Grinchy Giveaway. I’ll need your help though.

Here’s how it will work:
The first 5 people to respond in the comments (here on She Says, NOT on Facebook) will receive a shiny free poetry book complete with an autograph so you can sell it for 20 bucks when I’m rich and infamous.

You get to choose which book: Shedding the Angel Skin or The Secrets of Falling. And I’ll throw in some lovely postcards for you, as well. (You can even request which postcards you’d like to receive.)

All you have to do is comment down below and tell me two things:
1. Who’s your favorite poet ever: Tennyson? Bukowski? Frost? Eliot? Plath?
2. Which book would you like to get for free?

In order to comment, you’ll have to become a registered “user” of this site, by means of the little link which is either over there on the right under “Login” or down below this post under “Leave a Reply.” That way I’ll have your email address and I can congratulate you on your winnings and get your snail mail address. It only takes two seconds. Or maybe five.

This is a great time for all you secret lurkers to come out from under the bushes and wave hello. I know you’re out there. Don’t be shy.

So, how about it? Want a free book? (If you’ve already got a copy, you could always gift it to a friend. I’m all about helping you out with your holiday shopping list.)

Ready? Set? Comment!

-Lo, getting her wrapping paper ready.

{UPDATE 12/10/09:} I’ve got my 5 winners, even though several of you had trouble getting WordPress to let you add a comment here! I apologize for your troubles. Hopefully that pesky problem is now fixed, thanks to my trusty webmaster. But those of you who were determined and sent me emails have been added to the list of winners. So: Anna, Charmaine, Jennifer, Maria & Amy can all expect to receive shiny packages in the mail very soon. And Eric, you’re getting one too, just because you’re special. Thanks, everyone!

-Lo, off to the P.O.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Mood: Celebratory | Drinking: *Clink*

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Come on in, the water’s fine!

I’m so very pleased to introduce you to ladonnawitmer.com, version 4.0. She’s been a long time coming — nearly a year, in fact, and I couldn’t be happier that I finally get to show her off to the world.

I’d like to give you a quick tour, but first I have to thank a few people who pulled a lot of strings and spent a lot of their late-night and weekend time to make this happen.

First, let’s talk about my far-away friend Eric Oehrl, working his Flashmaster magic out there in the wilds of Michigan. The nifty navigation over there on the left? That’s Eric. The amazingly awesome Flash movie that now introduces this site (lovingly dubbed “the cinébyte”) — that’s Eric, too. EO, my friend, without you, none of this would have been as moving. I bow down before your mad skilz. You rule.

Next, the ever-lovely Miz Kathy Azada. My partner in various crimes, misdemeanors and art projects. Kathy has already brought one miracle to life in the form of our art & poetry book, The Secrets of Falling. And have you seen all those must-collect postcards in our shiny new Store? Those are all designed by the fabulous Kathy, too. My friend, you make all things lovely. Thanks for dreaming with me.

None of these dot com shenanigans would ever have happened if not for one mister Chris Brown, my fearless web guru. It was he who came to me sometime last year and said, “We’re gonna redo your website.” And I was all, “Pshaw, why? I like it the way it is.” And he said, “No, trust me, we can make it better.” And I’m so friggin’ glad I listened! Chris, if this site doesn’t get you a truckload of new clients, nothing will. Thank you a thousand times over.

If you’re wondering who shot all these gorgeous underwater photos, may I direct your attention to my all-too-often behind-the-scenes husband, Bruce. One day last summer whilst on vacation in Mexico, I pulled a red ball gown out of my suitcase, handed him a waterproof camera and said, “Let’s go down to the pool.” One hour and lots of “1-2-3-holdyourbreath” counts later, we had a roll of film (yes, old school) full of aqua and red. (Check out Bruce’s gallery to see all the photos from the underwater shoot.) Thanks for going along with my crazy scheme, Bruce. As always, I owe you one.

Be sure to click around this site from top to bottom, starting with the home url, www.ladonnawitmer.com, where you’ll be instantly immersed in a mini-cinépoem called “Submersion” that will take you on an underwater adventure. Be sure you have your sound turned on for that one.

You’ll notice that some things that are familiar — The Writer still contains some foul language pertaining to one Mr. Johnny Depp, but check out the wee seahorse for a new treat. The Library still contains music from Franky & Wil, along with poems for your reading pleasure, but the poems are new.

The Others still contains links to lots of old friends, and a few new ones, too. And you can still send me an email via Says You, but you can also now comment on this blog — I know lots of you have asked me about that over the years, so you’d better make use of it!

Speaking of this blog, She Says is now a fully functional weblog with an RSS feed and everything, so you can add me to your blog roll and all that fun stuff. You can also search the archives via keyword for old entries, if you’re into that sort of thing. All of the old entries made the migration to their shiny new home.

The Cinépoems have a lovely new page with an upgraded and higher-quality video player for your viewing pleasure. We’ll be making ongoing improvements to that page over the next few months, too, because we’re not satisfied with mere perfection. Must. Keep. Tweaking.

Oh, and notice that the newest cinépoem is one you haven’t seen yet… Bright Neon Love was shot in Las Vegas over the holidays and gets to debut with the big site unveil, that lucky little poem.

The Gallery has been completely retooled — all the old photos are still there, but they’re much easier to view now. There are new photos, too, from Bruce, from a fabulous young photographer named Caitlin Bellah, and from recent cinépoem shoots as well, so be sure to check that out.

And finally — my pet project — our Store. My two books, Shedding the Angel Skin and The Secrets of Falling are available for purchase (and well worth the asking price), as always, but now you can also get yourself some of those pretty postcards I mentioned earlier, as well as a few photographic art prints.

The Store lives on etsy.com, which is an amazing site in its own right and one of my new favorite things ever. Lots of very cool artists hawking their wares on Etsy, so be sure to explore. After you purchase a book and some postcards, of course.

So that’s the tour. Please make yourself at home, get a little wet, and let me know what you think. I’m off to go splash around a little myself. I just don’t get tired of playing with all these new toys!

-Lo, who should mention that it’s not really about drowning.

The Amazing Amazon

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Mood: Uppers
Drinking: Green Tea

Nothin’ but good news over here, folks.

Amazon.com now carries our little book, The Secrets of Falling. You can find it quite easily just by searching Amazon for the title of the book, or by entering my name or Kathy Azada’s name.

This is exciting not only because of the huge potential market of people we can now reach but also because, well, you just feel like a “real” writer when you see your book all shiny on the Amazon screen. Tingly feelings, that’s what I’m having.

So please, tell all your friends, neighbors, and distant relations – hell, you can tell the checkout chick at the grocery store, too. Tell them to put Secrets in their shopping cart, on their wishlist, on their list of Christmas presents.

If you already have the book and you feel all fuzzy about it, feel free to write us a little review on Amazon and tell perfect strangers that they should read it, too.

While we’re on the subject of online shopping, just a short click away from Amazon is the lovely Etsy.com, a site chock full of crafty goodness. It’s also another new online host, not only for Secrets, but also for my first book, Shedding the Angel Skin, as well as the new limited-edition chapbook, She is a Death Star.

Even better, you can now purchase fine photographic prints from our book at the This Blank Page shop on Etsy. This is the first time we’ve been able to make the prints available online. Before this, the only place to buy them was at our book release party or the recent Old Enough to Buy Art show.

But now, even if you live way up in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Hi EO! Hi Jillie!), you can order your favorite art print for yourself or somebody special.

Right now there are 16 prints available, in sizes of either 8×10″ or 16×20″. We’ll be adding more over the next few weeks, and soon all 35 prints that were featured at our book release party will be available for purchase at our Etsy site.

So. Next time you feel the urge to shop, poke your head in at Amazon or Etsy and say hi.

And don’t forget, if you’re in the Bay Area, the Berkeley Film Festival starts tomorrow, and our award-winning cinepoem collection “Slippery Shiny Feathery Things” screens tomorrow night at 8:55 p.m. at the Landmark California Theatre in Berkeley. See you there!

-Lo, who is learning how to run.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

girls_forblogMood: Tired
Drinking: Tea

The time has come to party.

Tomorrow (Thursday), is the big shebang for The Secrets of Falling… Wine, women, song, possibly an interpretive dance from our friend Melissa. (But only if we spin some “Billy Jean”.)

Seriously, folks, it’s a big deal.

The fabulous miss Kathy Azada and I have been working on our book for over a year, and it feels like we’ve been planning our party for about that long, too, but that would be crazy.

We’re exhausted. We’re exuberant. We’re tired. We’re terribly excited. We’re both little bundles of sleep-deprived joy. (Perhaps that’s why I’m rambling so?)

Onward to the point! To all of my fellow San Franciscans and outlying Bay Areans, we’ll be so happy to see you tomorrow at Space 180 (from 6-9pm). We’ll be so thrilled to unveil our book. And show off all of Kathy’s artwork. And introduce you to all the other people who made this book happen.

For all our further-away internet friends, we promise that the book itself is almost as good as the party.

I’ve wanted to follow up Shedding the Angel Skin with a second book for years now, and Secrets is well worth the wait, even for me.

The theme of the book is the double-edged nature of hope. How impossible it is to live without hope, but how painful it is, how slippery it is, to hang on to hope. Secrets is built around a four-part poem titled “Spei Captiva Sum,” which means “I am a prisoner of hope.” (I have it tattooed on my right wrist as an ever-present reminder.)

Many of the 53 poems in Secrets were written for or about or around two of my very dear friends, who have both been on their own separate journeys to hell and back over the last three years.

I almost lost both of them, at different times. Watching them struggle and fall and climb back up and fall again — watching them, and struggling with them, and hoping against hope that they would get back up again — it inspired many of the words now printed on pages for others to read and maybe even take comfort in.

I think it matters, it makes a difference to know that in the midst of your bleakness, in the depths of your darkness, hope still flickers somewhere. Hope can be yours, once again.

I’ll be reading a few of my favorites from Secrets tomorrow, around 7 p.m. So be sure to stop by — new friends, old friends, internet friends and strangers. …It’s only a day away!

-Lo, who still knows all the words.

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