Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Poetry Storm Coming to Sandusky [UPDATED]

That's me reading at Mr. Smith's 11/8/2014
[photo by Dianne Borsenik]
[UPDATE: Due to icy roads and so forth this event has been rescheduled for January 27th. Hope to see you then!]

I look forward to being the featured poet this Saturday, 13 January 2018 at Mr. Smith's Coffee House in Sandusky, Ohio. Larry Smith and the Firelands Writing Center are always such wonderful hosts, and the venue and people are always so warm and welcoming, that I don't even mind so much that I might have to drive well over an hour each way in a snowstorm to join them.

There will be an open mic as well. So please come help us heat up the city!

Mr. Smith's Coffee House
140 Columbus Avenue
Sandusky, Ohio 44870

Monday, January 8, 2018

This Could Be the Last Year for Crisis Chronicles Press

Earlier this week, I calculated total sales and expenses for Crisis Chronicles Press. Our expenses were higher in 2017 than in any other year since our founding (in 2008). Meanwhile our total sales in 2017 were the lowest they've been in any year since I began keeping comprehensive records (in 2012). Take a break-even endeavor, increase expenses and significantly decrease revenue and, well, despite my best efforts, it becomes even less sustainable than it already was. Several great small presses went under in 2017, and I can understand why. But don't worry. If this one ever does, we will fulfill all our publishing commitments first. I'm very excited about the 12 books we have coming out in 2018, and I know you will love them. Meanwhile, please feel free to buy some of our great already published titles to support this ongoing work. And thank you from the deepest chambers of my heart to those to have already done so (in some cases, repeatedly) these past 10 years. However long it lasts, it's been a good run.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Reviews of Recent Crisis Chronicles Press Publications

It's been about 6 months since I shared links to new Crisis Chronicles Press book reviews on this, my personal blog, so here are a number of reviews and other accolades that have come to light since that time. I feel extremely grateful to be associated with such wonderful authors and books, and am especially grateful to the kind souls who not only enjoyed these books but have gone the extra mile to share their thoughts about them publicly.

CC#87 - 13 Poems from the Edge of Extinction by Adrian Manning:
Review by Matthew Hall in Screaming with Brevity.
Review by John Greiner at Goodreads.

CC#88 - Scraping the Sky by Luba Gawur:
Nominated for a 2018 Ohioana Book Award.

CC#89 - The Black Between Stars by Elliot Nicely:
Review by Randy Brooks in Frogpond.
Editorial review in the inaugural issue of Scryptic.
Nominated for a 2018 Ohioana Book Award.
Nominated in its entirety for a Pushcart Prize.

CC#90 - Sandpaper Lovin' by Victor Clevenger:
"Love Letters" from this book nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

CC#91 - Turnstile Burlesque by John Greiner:
Review by Kevin Hinman at Goodreads.
Review by Carrie Crow at Goodreads.
"Jane in Her Business Suit" from this book nominated for a Pushcart Prize

CC#92 - Diary of a Feminist Thug, Volume I: His[tories] of Her Land by Lyz Bly:
Nominated for a 2018 Ohioana Book Award.

CC#93 - Snap by Dion Farquhar:
Review by Christina Brooks at Goodreads.

CC#94 - Inquiry into Loneliness by Meg Harris:
Review by Michelle Reale at Rag Queen Periodical.
Reviews by Marcia Trahan, Christina Brooks, Jennifer Juneau and many more at Amazon.
"Crystal" from this book nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

CC#95 - Hourglass Studies by Krysia Jopek:
Review by Michelle Reale at Rag Queen Periodical.
Review by John Sweet at The Bleeding Horse, Avenged.
Review by Chris Stroffolino at Thing.
Review by Will Mayo at Goodreads.  
Nominated in its entirety for a Pushcart Prize.

CC#96 - Oct Tongue 2 by Anderson, Bashaar, Borsenik, Cerveny, Cook, Jordan, Lifshin & Wallace:
Review by Christina Brooks at Goodreads.
George Wallace's "America, Land of the Bitter" from this book nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Happy new year, everyone!

Monday, January 1, 2018

My 2017 by the Numbers

39 days spent at the hospital
11 books published via Crisis Chronicles Press
54 books I finished reading
35 concerts attended
51st birthday
1 new car
4 theater productions seen
20 featured readings given in 10 states
29 United States visited
326 days without Geri Lynne Burroughs

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Amazon revokes my selling privileges though they make as much or more than I do on many books I sell

Amazon has revoked my selling privileges because I have failed to "valid tracking" numbers on at least 95% of my shipments, and my account is "under review." Here's my conversation with them, followed by an example of how they rip off small publishers and independent sellers like me.

Their message to me:

Your Valid Tracking Rate is below the goal of 95% in the following categories: Book

As a result, you may no longer sell merchant-fulfilled items in the affected categories on Your listings for those categories have been removed from our site.

My response:

Dear friends,

Many of the books I sell are thin and light and that means the post office allows me to send them as "large envelopes" instead of as parcels, saving me money on shipping charges. As such, they do not come with free tracking.  When I sell a book, you (Amazon) are in many cases already making as much off it as I am (thanks in part to your phony $3.99 shipping charge, because none of my books really cost 3.99 to ship). If I pay extra for tracking, I make even less than you do. So it does not always make sense for me to pay extra for tracking on a small book.

In other cases, with bigger books, I send them via media mail, which does provide free tracking, but these comprise far fewer than 95% of my sales.

Their further response:

Your account is still under review. We ask for your patience while buyers leave feedback for you.

We will send you an email when our review is complete. Until then, we may not reply to further emails about this issue.

The numbers:

Here's just one example: I sell Elliot Nicely's Crisis Chronicles Press chapbook The Black Between Stars for $4.99 in the Amazon marketplace. Amazon makes the buyer pay an additional $3.99 for "shipping." So the buyer is charged a total of $8.98. Then Amazon takes their fees:

Closing fee:
Per-Item Fee
Referral Fee on Item Price:
Shipping commission:

After all that, Amazon gives me, the publisher, $4.84. But then I have to [pay to] ship the book. Because this is a small and light chapbook, it only costs me 70 cents to mail as a "large envelope."  So of the $8.98 the buyer was charged, I end up with $4.14, the post office gets $0.70 and Amazon gets $4.14. They receive exactly what I do on the transaction. And they didn't have to publish the book.  But now they insist I pay extra for tracking on top of this?

And no other book I sell is as light in weight and small in dimensions as The Black Between Stars.  Here's another example: I don't just sell books I publish on Amazon. I also sell used books I pick up here and there. Last week I sold a copy of Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross for $4.99 on Amazon.  The numbers for it were exactly the same as the numbers for selling Nicely's, except for the fact that The Fiery Cross is a much heavier book. So in this case, the least expensive way for me to mail it was Media rate, which cost me $3.12. At least I got free tracking with Media rate. But again, Amazon made WAY more than I did overall.

And now they want to burden the independent sellers and small presses they're ripping off even more by forcing us to pay more to provide tracking on every single book. For shame!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

NE Ohio Poetry / Literary Calendar Updates

I just spent three-plus hours updating the Northeast Ohio literary calendar at If your event is an hour's drive or less from Cleveland and needs added or updated, please let me know.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Interstellar Poetry 21 November 2017 in Hamden, CT

Crisis Chronicles Press and Sol's Path Writing Center present an evening of poetry featuring Leslie McGrath, Krysia Jopek, Meg Harris and (all the way from Cleveland, Ohio) John Burroughs at The Outer Space, 295 Treadwell Street in Hamden, Connecticut. We will celebrate the release of two new Crisis Chronicles Press books, Harris' Inquiry into Loneliness and Jopek's Hourglass Studies. Please join us for this out of this world event. Free admission, and an open mic will follow the features. 

Click here to RSVP.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crisis Chronicles Press publishes Oct Tongue 2, feat. 8 more of my fave poets

Achtung! Crisis Chronicles Press is pleased to present the long-awaited Oct Tongue 2, our biggest book yet (it's like eight books in one!). See October (and so much more) through the eyes of eight of America’s finest poets: George Wallace, Lyn Lifshin, Mark Sebastian Jordan, Juliet Cook, Kathleen Cerveny, Dianne Borsenik, Margaret Bashaar and Eric Anderson.

Where Do You Want It?

Each of these eight writers wrote and submitted at least 31 poems in response to editor John Burroughs' October 2014 poem-a-day invitation. Life intervened and it took awhile to get this fine collection into print, but we believe it is well worth the wait.  Oct Tongue 2 features 258 poems on 328 pages, and is 6"x9",  perfect bound, with cover photo by Chandra Alderman. ISBN: 978-1-940996-47-9. It will make you laugh, make you cry, make you angry and make you glad you read it.

Available for $15 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

Please join us for a special book launch event Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 2 to 4 p.m. during the Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge series at Main Street Books, 104 N. Main Street, Mansfield, Ohio 44902.

About the authors:

Eric Anderson is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry has appeared in The Sun, Connotation Press, Prairie Schooner and other journals. His novella, Isn't That Just Like You? (Cleveland State University Press) won the inaugural Ruthanne Wiley Memorial Novella Contest. His "A Couple of Scars on My Back" earned a Lantern Award for best poem from The Lit. And his first full-length collection, The Parable of the Room Spinning, is available from Kattywompus Press.

Margaret Bashaar’s first book, Stationed Near the Gateway, was released by Sundress Publications in 2015. Her poetry has also been collected in four chapbooks and dozens of literary journals and anthologies. She co-organizes the annual event FREE POEMS with Rachael Deacon. And she lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her partner, her son, and her kitty cats, and edits Hyacinth Girl Press (

Dianne Borsenik is active in the northern Ohio poetry scene and regional reading circuit. Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Rosebud, Slipstream, Lilliput Review, The Offbeat, Chiron Review, Poems-For-All, A Rustling and Waking Within (OPA, 2017), and Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems for the Resistance (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017). Crisis Chronicles Press published her first full-length collection, Age of Aquarius, in 2016. She won first place in the Best Cleveland Poem Competition in 2013 and 2014, and Lit Youngstown put her poem “Disco” on their tee shirts, which makes her feel like a rock star. Founder/editor at NightBallet Press and producer of BeatStreet Cleveland, Borsenik lives in Elyria with husband James and dogs Bodhisattva and Michel-Angelo. Find her at

Kathleen Cerveny, has been a working artist, an award-winning producer for Cleveland Public Radio, and Director of Arts Initiatives for the Cleveland Foundation. Her poems have appeared in the Southern New Hampshire University journal Amoskeag, the e-journal Shaking Like a Mountain, and in several Pudding House anthologies, as well as in in Future Cycle Press’ international anthology Poems for Malala Yousafzai. In 2014 Kathleen received the Robert Bergman Award from the Cleveland Arts Prize and she served as the 2013-14 Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights. Her first collection, Coming to Terms, was published by NightBallet Press in 2015. Kathleen’s blog, Pay Attention, can be found on her website, She currently teaches arts management in the Conservatory at Baldwin Wallace University.

Juliet Cook's poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, including Arsenic Lobster, Diagram, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Hermeneutic Chaos, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including Red Demolition (Shirt Pocket Press, 2014), a collaboration with Robert Cole called Mutant Neuron Codex Swarm (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015), and a collaboration with j/j hastain called Dive Back Down (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), with more forthcoming. Cook's first full-length individual poetry book, Horrific Confection, was published by BlazeVOX and her second full-length individual poetry book, Malformed Confetti is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press. Her most recent full-length poetry book, A Red Witch, Every Which Way, is a collaboration with j/j hastain published by Hysterical Books in 2016. Find her at

Mark Sebastian Jordan is a refugee of the corporate business world, where he spent a decade in packaging purchasing. Finding himself compulsively writing and creating to escape the unfulfilling day job, he fled when a corporate buyout ended his position. Since then, he has only worked jobs that offer personal fulfillment and creativity. He has written three full-length plays, several one-acts, and four books. He covers concerts of the Cleveland Orchestra for Seen & Heard International and performs widely as a director, actor, storyteller, and improv comedian. His humorous mystery Slammer, Private Dick was published by Sinister Hand Media in 2017.

Lyn Lifshin won the Jack Kerouac Award for her book Kiss the Skin Off, the Paterson Poetry Award for Before It’s Light, and the Texas Review Award for The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian. She’s been praised by Robert Frost, Ken Kesey, and Richard Eberhart, and is the subject of the award-winning documentary film Not Made of Glass. Lifshin earned the distinction “Queen of the Small Presses” for her dedication to the small presses which first published her, and for surviving on her own apart from any major publishing house or academic institution. Her most recent books include Femme Eterna (Glass Lyre, 2014), #AliveLikeALoadedGun (Transcendent Zero Press, 2016) and Little Dancer: The Degas Poems (NightBallet Press, 2017). Find her at

George Wallace has been described as ‘a kind of Max Ernst stuck in the up-down elevator of America’ (A.D. Winans) and a poet who ‘navigates between high and low diction with generosity, elegance and power’ (Angelo Verga). “If you want to know what America feels like in your mouth, read his poems out loud,” writes Huffington Post’s Robert Peake. The editor of Poetrybay, co-editor of Great Weather for Media and author of 31 chapbooks, George is a fixture on the NYC scene and travels internationally to perform, lecture and teach workshops. Poet Laureate, Suffolk County, LI NY (2003-2005). Writer in residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace (2011-2017).

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Oct Tongue 2 book release Saturday 11/18 in Mansfield (plus pre-order info)

This month, Crisis Chronicles Press will celebrate/release the long-awaited collaborative book Oct Tongue 2, featuring at least 31 poems each by Lyn Lifshin, George Wallace, Dianne Borsenik, Eric Anderson, Juliet Cook, Mark Sebastian Jordan, Margaret Bashaar and Kathleen Cerveny during Borderlands: Poetry on the Edge at Main Street Books in Mansfield, Ohio. At least five of the authors will read. Hope to see you there!

To pre-order Oct Tongue 2, send $10 (plus $3 for shipping) to Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134.

Where Do You Want It?