Monday, July 20, 2009

Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Song

JANET GRACE RIEHL calls herself a country girl who roamed the world, then followed her heart back home.

Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary is Janet’s family love story, a remembrance narrated in story poems that traverses the boundaries of life and death. In the words of one reviewer, the collection offers “village wisdom for the 21st century.”

Poetry, memoir, short stories—all are genres she has embraced. Further exploration of new arenas led to the publication of an audiobook “Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Song,” a companion piece of music from her father’s parlor and his jokes and stories anchor the original poems in their time and place.

B.H. Welcome to Bookland Heights, Janet! As a fabulously creative, over-fifty woman, have you discovered any special challenges in the release of Sightlines?

J.R. No. In fact, I'm sure my experience made it easier--including my skill and love in collaborating which I discuss in my WOOF guest post.

My poetry book "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary" came out in 2006 when I turned 58. Our audio book "Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music" came out and went into full launch in 2008/2009 the year I turned 60. If anything, age gives us greater wisdom and effectiveness. I found my age in no way a handicap.

B.H. How is your father treating all this fame?

J. R. He loves it! At 93, he has a file collecting all the praise we've received from the advance copies we sent out. It felt good to partner with him fully on this project. To have his voice, stories, and music preserved on the audio book is a gift to him and our family, of course. I travel with it just to hear his voice at night. In addition, people who've never met my father say his character comes right through in that gravelly voice filled with patriarchal authority and humor.

B. H. What other projects are in the pipeline?

J. R. Pop's family and friends poetry anthology "Worth Remembering" is at the printers now. We'll have it in our hands by August I'd guess. Then, back to working on my memoir "Finding My African Heart, a Village of Stories."

"Each moment is filled with warmth, humor, and a deep connection to those who have come before us. Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music" is a must-have audio book for anyone who appreciates a good love story with the perfect musical accompaniment!"

--Sarah Moore, Writers in the Sky

Buy Sightlines: A Poet's Diary
Buy Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music

Read more about Janet Grace Rielh on WOOF: "Achieving your dreams after fifty through collaboration"

Brought to you in part by:
BUY: WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty , BUY: Wendel Wordsworth, BUY: Cynthia's Attic


  1. Janet, so good to "see" you again! This time in Bookland Heights.

    It's obvious you love your life and what you're doing. Is there one thing, however, you wish someone had told you before you undertook your first writing project?


  2. Welcome, Janet! You've had full couple of months with your blog tour, including WOOF and now Bookland Heights.

    As someone who is gearing up for a blog tour, do you have any advice? How hard was it to set everything up?

  3. Diana's qs."Is there one thing, however, you wish someone had told you before you undertook your first writing project?"

    Janet replies: In my case on both project of book and audio book, ignorance was bliss. That way I could take it all step by step. Otherwise, I would have been completely overwhelmed and possibly not undertaken these projects at all. I know this is against all reason and practical advice, but that's how it worked for me!

    I learned as I went through each step. But, that's the pattern of my life: intuitive directness. Do one thing full out as best I can.

    For others? Yes, do study up a bit. Then, have confidence that it will all turn out right if you give it not only your best, but even...your all.

    Janet Riehl

  4. Mary's question: "As someone gearing up for a blog tour, do you have any advice? How hard was it to set everything up?"

    Janet replies: Check out Dani Greer's Blog Book Tour site. She also runs a training group on Yahoo. I didn't go that route. But, I know she's good and comprehensive.

    My pattern is revealed again (as in my exchange with Diana) as relying on experience and a little help from my friends.

    I'd participated in 4 blog book tours and followed several others. I drew largely from that. Before I launched the tour I chatted with Susan Tweit who'd just completed a tour and who knew my work. She brainstormed with me and gave me some tips.

    Then, I just went off and did it!

    The administrative part--setting it up--was the most difficult for me. Delivering the content and chasing after with a bit of internet promotion was far easier. With my stronger intuitive side tracking things closely is much harder for me.

    Usually I keep masses of information in my head rather than making check lists and charts. Belatedly, in setting up the tour, I found I had to use those classic tracking tools because there were so many multiple dimensions.

    There were items I had to fulfill to make the tour work. Then, there were items the blog hosts had to fulfill. I needed to know where we all were in that process or...disaster. Aaack!

    Definitely set that up going in. It'll help you sleep better and proceed calmly step by step.

    With your experience online, Mary, you will do all this easily. The generous nature of the blog you and Diana host will make getting hosts extremely easy. You can choose to be strategic...or, just rely on your network of friends. I chose the latter path and am not sorry.

    You have a series of decisions to make before you start. Here are a few that come to mind:

    1) Will you be strategic or rely mostly on your network of online friends to be your hosts? Being strategic means searching out the highest-ranking blogs (4 or higher Google rankings) in the field covered by your book.

    2) How long will your tour last? How many hosts will you need? From that will flow how many hosts you'll need to invite.

    Most of the people I invited said yes...unless there was a dramatic life situation which prevented them. And, even, during the tour several hosts did encounter life emergencies, but still showed up for their tour stop.I was astonished by the outpouring of generosity by the hosts on this tour.

    In all, the tour has included 24 stops sponsored by 18 blogging hosts. The six extra stops represent stops like this that either featured or reviewed books in addition to a direct interview or guest post...or, a podcast...or Internet Radio appearance.

    It's been a lot of work, but mostly fun. Be prepared for a bit of frustration along the way, as with anything in life. But, hey! We're WOOFER'S right? We can handle it.

    Janet Riehl

  5. Thanks, Janet. You've given me lots to think about and some great suggestions.

    I'm awed by the comprehensive nature of your blog tour. You covered all the bases and provided such detailed information for all your bloggers.

    Thanks, so much, for making WOOF and Bookland Heights stops on your tour.


  6. It was a pleasure to be here...and, a pleasure to be on the tour. Next week is our last week. We'll have two wrap-up posts. Irene Watson, of Reader Views, hosts me on Blogging Authors. This will be a good post for you to see. It integrates text and videos on "How to Make and Produce an Audio Book."

    Then, later in the week Carol Cole-Lewis wraps up the tour with reflections on the experience...both for me personally, and lessons that could be useful to others embarking on such a venture.

    I'd been on other tours. I knew for certain that I wanted each post to be unique. After the tour I plan to compile the good content I've created into a booklet or e-book.

    Good luck on your tour and feel free to keep in touch.

    Janet Riehl