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Congratulations Gianna Russo!

Gianna Russo reads from One House Down

Congratulations, Gianna Russo on a successful book launch!

It was a huge success, and we couldn\’t be happier for her. Last night, she officially launched her One House Down. There were about 100 people there and they gave her a standing ovation, an encore call, and then bought every single book!

She read at the beautiful University of Tampa, where we well be attending the Other Words Conference with her in just a few short weeks. It was the perfect venue for this collection of poetry focusing on Tampa, and Gianna is the perfect person to tell the stories of this, her hometown.

So, again we say, congratulations, Gianna Russo! You deserve it.

Here are just a few of the comments from early readers:

“…happiness is a snow globe, our house glued inside…: This is what I feel when reading One House Down, this fantasy in verse, this beauty contained in sprawling lines and stanzas. Each poem, a song. Each song, a swoon. Russo’s newest collection is both a love song and an indictment of a place she knows so well, a Florida without palms and sun, a Florida that is grit, a Florida that represents our world-one which breaks the heart and heals it in the same beat.

—Ira Sukrungruang, author of In Thailand It Is Night

One House Down is filled with story-poems from the unsung American South, where natural beauty butts up against strip malls and human ugliness. Tracing her family’s history in Tampa, a city many readers will be surprised to visit, Russo documents with terrific detail a diverse and fascinating culture in this original exploration of a very particular place.

—Heather Sellers, author of You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know:
a True Story of Family, Face-Blindness and Forgiveness

Get ready. You’ve read the tour-de-force of an opening sentence, a poem hurdling you into the world of One House Down. Now watch Gianna Russo illuminate histories so electric and elegiac, and shadows of shame so persistent, they’re writ in our bones. Yes, this is a book very much about place; but, more importantly, this wonderful collection examines the emotional spaces we occupy as we strive for satisfaction, safety, and meaning. As Russo writes, “Flash at sunset like the luck I never spied.”

—Erica Dawson, author of When Rap Spoke Straight to God

 From front porches to the places where we live, work, and love, to the highways that lead us both out of the city and back home again, One House Down takes us on a precise and lovingly rendered tour of the rhythms, movements, and loves of a city and its people. Gianna Russo’s poems, expansive yet intimate, make a case that perhaps poetry, rather than the evening news, is the true first draft of our collective history.

—Steve Kistulentz, author of Panorama and Little Black Daydream

When it comes to one’s place of origin, the tides are strong—the pull to hold on, and the push to let go. In this luminous, thoughtful collection, Gianna Russo explores the bittersweet legacies of old Florida. One House Down is rooted rooted deeply in place, whether Nebraska Avenue and Central Avenue, cultural seats such as the Fun-Lan Drive-In and the Sanwa market, or the ripe specificity of “Faedo’s Bakery [as] men roll loaves / of Cuban bread, turnovers of guava paste.” I appreciate Russo’s musicality and her formal agility, as she experiments with ekphrasis, ghazal, pantoum, and pecha kucha. Whether the stubborn advice of the Methodist Women’s Society Cookbook, or the dark chuckle of a plaster cat on a funeral home’s roof, these are poems we need.

—Sandra Beasley, author of Count the Waves

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Why Do Writers Need Websites?

Old typewriter keyboard with www keys side-by-side

It\’s all about creating a brand

Authors need websites dedicated to their work. This foundational building block of brand creation is essential in today\’s world where if you want your work to find an audience, you have to roll up your sleeves and do the bulk of the publicity yourself. This may seem obvious to self-published authors, but it is also true even if your book is published by a big-five publisher. You may think that if a traditional publisher buys the rights to your work, you\’re home free, but that is not the case. Publishers\’ budgets no longer stretch to a lot of publicity or advertising.

This is true for writers of all sorts. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, or magazine articles. The Internet is now the first place your audience or prospective publisher will turn when they want to find out about you and your work.

You’ll want to have a website even before you sell your book. It’s ideal to include a link to your website in your signature for query letters to agents and publishers, for example.

Here are the essentials:

Purchase your domain name

( It costs about $15/year, and you should do this immediately, even if you are not yet ready to use it. If the name you want is unavailable, come up with an easy to remember variation. If you wait to do this, you may have a hard time securing your desired name, and it may be very expensive.

.com is still the most popular, but people often elect to purchase the .net variation as well so there will be no confusion or lost website visitors. (It is easy to make both domain names resolve to the same website.)

Avoid using dashes or underscores in your domain name. That gets very clumsy when you are giving radio or t.v. interviews.

A Writer’s Website should display the following information:


  • Author’s BioSee Best Practices for Writing Author Bios. Note that for your website, you can list ALL the awards and publications. Just keep a shorter version for publication with books and articles.
  • Clips—If you seek freelance work, you need clips. This term “clips” derives from the practice of collecting newspaper and magazine clippings to demonstrate a writer\’s published work. These clips may be scanned copies of published works, such as copies of pages from anthologies Your clips may also include links to your articles that have been published online.
  • Samples of your writing—use this term if you don’t actually have any published clips. You need to put your best work on display but be aware that first publication rights are gone once it appears on your website, so the sample you use can only be sold as a reprint later.
  • A Blog—excerpt from: Should You Blog? And If So, What Are Best Practices? by Jane Friedman on the Writers Digest website:For fiction writers and poets, a blog should exercise your creative muscles and let you write in an unpressured way. Sometimes it can help you stumble on insights, as well as new friendships. However, for an aspiring writer, you have to be careful it doesn\’t detract or replace the “real” work of writing the book or the manuscript. For nonfiction writers, blogs can be an essential part of your marketing and promotion—the author platform that helps you get published in the first place.


  • Sales Pages for your published work. It is not necessary to have an entire online shopping cart. Your publisher or POD vendor will have a page you can link to. You may even be able to earn a few extra pennies from each sale if you sign up for affiliate sales programs. Amazon and B & N have affiliate programs, for example.
  • A calendar to show any upcoming publication dates, book-signings or events you plan to attend.
  • Links to Social Media This is a big subject all its own—just know it should connect to your website.

The least expensive way to get started

I recommend authors with limited resources start by signing up for a free blog like the ones at You’ll end up with an address like You don’t even need a domain name, but if you have one, it’s a simple matter to “forward” your domain name to the WordPress address. Your domain registrar will be able to talk you through this.

For just a little bit more

I prefer to purchase domain name registration together with the economy hosting from a well-known registrar or BEWARE, GoDaddy will try to sell you all sorts of things when you check out. When you get started, don’t buy anything but the domain name. You can add those other services as needed, but you’ll be wasting money if you don’t understand what you’re buying.

Kimberly Davis holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and a BA from Columbia College-Chicago in Arts and Entertainment Media Management. She is currently the Director at Madville Publishing, where she solicits literary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. In addition, Kim has been designing websites for 20 years. See her portfolio at Sublime Design Studio.

Contact her at to speak to your group.

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Poetry for Fall 2019

Poetry Collections by Two Award-Winning Poets in Fall 2019

Have we told you about the the outstanding poetry collections we have leading off our Fall 2019-Spring 2020 offerings?

 \"AA Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, by Jeff Hardin

978-1-948692-18-2 paper 16.95
978-1-948692-19-9 ebook 9.99
6×9, 72 pp.
September 2019

If the taste of the eternal “is increasingly absent in our words,” then Jeff Hardin’s sixth collection, A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, attempts to behold language anew, to listen in on its “preview of eternity.” Aware of ambiguities that plague our lives and given to swerves of logic and dislocations, to echoes and reverberations “too numerous to see in some totality,” his poems nonetheless speak openly to existence, to the mind’s “attempts/to console itself,” and to the “intoxication of incoherence” existence so often feels like. Here in a postmodern world, is it still possible to step boldly into certainty, into clarity, to find a sacred and shared space where “all moments blaze up with a speaking/voice”? Hardin listens intently, discovering more and more how “wanderingly vast” enchantment still might be. In the presence of so many options for understanding, he chooses to believe “a new/parable unfolding, still instructive,” pointing him toward a fellowship with others who likewise “lean toward thinking some healing is already/underway.”

Jeff Hardin is the author of five previous collections of poetry, most recently Small Revolution and No Other Kind of World. His work has been honored with the Nicholas Roerich Prize, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Hudson Review, North American Review, Gettysburg Review, Southern Poetry Review, and many others. He is a professor of English at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. Visit his website at


\"OneOne House Down, by Gianna Russo

978-1-948692-20-5 paper 16.95
978-1-948692-21-2 ebook 9.99
6×9, 72 pp.
October 2019

The candid poems in Gianna Russo’s One House Down are grounded in experiences of ambivalence and oneness, not unlike those we sometimes find in true love. Russo ruminates on the past and scrutinizes the present in her hometown of Tampa with honest affection, concern, anger and delight. She asks an essential question: How can we treasure a place whose history and values have sometimes supported injustice? And if those wrongs are still evident today—then what? With family roots in Tampa that go back over a century, Russo skillfully pursues an answer in these inventive, surprising poems.

Gianna Russo is a Tampa native and third generation Floridian. She is the author of Moonflower, winner of the Florida Book Award Bronze and Florida Publishers Association Silver awards. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has had publications in Green Mountains Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, The MacGuffin, Tampa Review, Valparaiso, Ekphrasis, Crab Orchard Review, Florida Review, Florida Humanities Council Forum, Water Stone, Karamu, The Bloomsbury Review, and Calyx, among others.  She is founding editor of the Florida poetry chapbook publisher YellowJacket Press ( She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Tampa. She is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University where she directs the Sandhill Writers Retreat.

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Familiar Essay at Madville 2019

Two Masters of the Familiar Essay Join Madville in 2019

The World was My Garden, Too, by Sam Pickering

\"The978-1-948692-14-4 paper 19.95
978-1-948692-15-1 ebook 9.99
5½x8½, 304 pp.
Familiar Essays
May 2019

The World Was My Garden, Too is a collection of familiar essays in which Sam Pickering wanders the blooming world. He roams New England, Arkansas, the Caribbean, Nova Scotia and the familiar and odd plots of mind and thought. He explores shorelines and climbs “hillish” mountains. He sits on porches and talks to passersby and their dogs. He meets strange and delightful people, most of whom are real. “Reading Pickering,” a reviewer wrote in The Smithsonian decades ago, “is like taking a walk with your oldest, wittiest friend.” “Now,” Pickering says, “I am old, and the friends who thought me witty have fallen off the perch. But that’s okay. What I write makes me smile and mutter, ‘What a guy.’” And what wonderful essays these are—pages that awaken the affections and make readers smile and embrace the beauty of this bruised world.

Sam Pickering grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He spent 67 years in classrooms learning and teaching and has long been a rummager and writer wandering New England and the South, the Mid-East, Britain, Australia, and Canada. He has written some thirty books and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

A Third Place: Notes in Nature, by Bob Kunzinger

\"A978-1-948692-16-8 paper 16.95
978-1-948692-17-5 ebook 9.99
5½x8½, 144 pp.
Familiar Essays
August 2019

A Third Place exists in the extremes, pinpointing the details in nature which demand attention, and finding within those details our place in the bigger picture. Set in a series of observations and experiences, A Third Place on the one hand brings us all closer to nature through the eyes of the author yet makes us wonder if he has been following us around on our afternoon walks.

Bob Kunzinger is the author of eight collections of non-fiction, and has been widely published in publications such as World War Two HistorySouthern Humanities Review, the Washington PostSt Anthony Messenger, and more, including notations for essays in Best American Essays. He lives and writes in Virginia.

We also want to give a shout out to our long-time friend, Nancy Parsons at Graphic Design Group in Conroe, Texas, who designed these two beautiful covers.