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Cover Art Reveal: Green River Valley by Robert Lashley

We can’t keep this incredible cover art under wraps any longer! We’re excited to reveal that the cover for Robert Lashley’s forthcoming poetry collection, Green River Valley, will feature stunning photography by Jody Poorwill! Take a look at Jody’s photograph below, titled “August 19, 2018 • Tacoma, Washington”!

Some of the things we love about Poorwill’s photography is their attention to subtle variations of color, composition, and stark contrasts between manmade objects and nature. This photograph features all three of those components, as well as relays a sense of dissatisfaction with the “progress” of industrialization. That same dissatisfaction is also found in Lashley’s poetry. Still, both Lashley’s and Poorwill’s work also capture the beauty that continues to pervade our landscapes and lives, regardless of “progress,” gentrification, or intrusion.

To showcase the parallels in their work, we decided to let readers peek at one of the poems within Lashley’s Green River Valley, titled “Value Village Love Poem.” Enjoy!

“Value Village Love Poem” by Robert Lashley

Old jackets don’t fit, love, but did they ever?
Insignias and hats fade in the cycles
of discount trend racks.
Jerseys and spanks contract arbitrarily,
and scarfs hollow in the klieg lights
without the heads that gave them meaning.
Age and price may dictate our shape
but wherever you are is the boulevard.

Let me adorn you a crown of price-check rosaries.
Let my love be the alms that never signal
for without you, hoop earrings are metal,
extensions just threads away from their orbit,
away from their center and star.

Let them price to infinity
our posters and memories.
Let them splice the hood
to the meridians of invisibility.
In my arms, you are never gone.

My dear around-the-way girl,
dance with me by sale colors.
Time may erase all style to memory
but the intercom is playing our song.


To pre-order Green River Valley by Robert Lashley, click here.

To learn more about Jody Poorwill and peruse their art, click here.

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BCP Fall Reading

For those who couldn’t make it to our Fall Reading, never fear: we recorded the full event! You can now enjoy it at your convenience! Our reading lineup was made up of authors whose non-fiction writing graced our pages (and screens) earlier this summer. The lineup included Yousef Allouzi, Gina Hietpas, Tamiko Nimura, and Samuel Snoek-Brown. Grab a glass of wine, sit your butt down in a soft chair, and hit play, friends!


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

YOUSEF ALLOUZI is an author and data analyst currently living in the Pacific Northwest. He holds a BS in Economics and a Master of Public Policy from Oregon State University. He’s also the author of The Bedouin, a memoir essay and chapbook published in July, 2020 (Blue Cactus Press).

GINA HIETPAS is a self–taught poet, born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Nowadays, she lives outside Sequim, Washington, on a small farm with her husband, a few cows and a passel of chickens. She’s the author of Terrain, a poetry collection delving into allyship, healing, nature and care, published in September, 2020 (Blue Cactus Press).

TAMIKO NIMURA is a third-generation Japanese American and second-generation Filipina American. She’s a freelance writer, essayist, community journalist, and public historian. She just published her first book, Rosa Franklin: A Life in Health CarePublic Service, and Social Justice, in 2019 (Washington State Oral History Program).

SAMUEL SNOEK-BROWN teaches and writes in the Pacific Northwest. He’s the author the Civil War novel Hagridden, the short story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, and flash-fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin. He also works as a production editor for Jersey Devil Press, and he lives online at snoekbrown.com.

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NEW Call for Submissions

Hello, readers and writers! We wanted to share some BIG news! Blue Cactus Press is now accepting submissions from Women of Color (gender non-conforming and women identifying individuals of Color included) for an anthology of non-fiction creative writing highlighting and uplifting the voices of Women of Color (WoC) in the greater Tacoma area.

The anthology will be published in Winter 2021 and will be created with support from the Tacoma Women of Color Collective (TWCC), an organization working to cultivate spaces for professional WoC to nurture community, collaborate, and share professional, educational and life resources. All contributors whose work is accepted for publication will receive a $50 stipend and a copy of the anthology upon publication.

To Qualify for Submissions, Interested Writers Must:

  1. Identify as a WoC, to include gender non-conforming and women-identifying individuals of Color
  2. Produce creative works in and/or reside in the greater Tacoma area

Submission Guidelines:

Submissions should be non-fiction, to include (but not limited to) essays, poetry, or content addressing social/cultural issues faced in our community and/or lived experiences. Works that demonstrate a potential to inspire community dialogue and/or shed light on lived experiences often ignored by mainstream culture and media are highly encouraged. 

  • Submissions should be sent in a single document (.pdf, .docx or .doc format) in 12 point, times new roman font
  • Poetry Submissions may include up to 3 poems, but must be 10 pages or less. 
  • Essays and narrative work must be 10 pages or less.
  • Please include a short bio and contact information (full name and email address) along with your submission. 

Submissions should be emailed to BlueCactusPress@gmail.com with the phrase “WoC Anthology Submission” in the email subject line. 


*This call for submissions will remain open until December 20, 2020. Writers whose work is accepted for publication will be notified in January 2021. 

**Simultaneous submissions are permitted, so long as you let us know where your work is already being considered. Please include this information in the body of your email. 

 *** By submitting your manuscript to Blue Cactus Press, you are guaranteeing its content is your own, original work and is not plagiarized, borrowed or reproduced from other sources. 

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“Community Partnerships” Launch

We thought we’d take a few minutes to bring you up to speed, dear readers, about who and what we’ve been up to all year! As you already know, we’ve been working on crafting books all year (duh), but not just our own! We’ve also been working with self-published authors to help them publish and market their own books, on their own terms, for several years.

We provide editorial, design, and project management services to authors whose work aligns with our values and goals as a publisher, which are to craft books that inspire dialogue about the undercurrents of humanity, to build local economy, and to uplift and honor voices and stories from underrepresented groups in our communities.

And because we’re hustling, trying to make our way in the publishing industry as a BIPOC and Queer-owned (and centered) business, we are excited to share a new development: we’re now working with several authors whose books we’ve helped shape to sell their books right here at bluecactuspress.com and at local markets! We encourage you to check out these books on our Community Partnerships page. Two authors we’re featuring now are Lawrence Garrett, author of The Equity Starter Kit, and Philip “Sharp Skills” Jacobs, author of You Are the Solution.

We are proud to have worked with these authors – both of whom are community leaders and small-business powerhouses – on their books, and to partner with them in making their books more widely accessible to audiences. If you feel called to the work, please consider purchasing a copy of their books. Doing so supports their presence and impact in our community, and that of Blue Cactus Press in the process.

About Our Community Partners

Lawrence Garrett is considered a modern-day cultural savant. Known by many for his knack of decoding cultural behaviors that either support or undermine values and performance, Lawrence has grown a reputation for getting to the heart of the matter by identifying specific behaviors that are directly impacting business outcomes. Over the last 15 years,  Lawrence was able to hone these skills through his current consulting practice, Eight-Twenty-Eight, LLC., focusing on Leadership and Inclusion in the greater Pierce County area, his prior role as Executive Director of Advancing Leadership, as well as his numerous partnerships and consultative work with various non-profits within the community.

Philip “Sharp Skills” Jacobs is a hip-hop artist, author, business consultant, and speaker. He is the author of Accuracy: A Guide to Living Skillfully and Successfully in Today’s Crazy Times (2014), and his music has been featured in television shows including Sons of Anarchy, America’s Next Top Model, The Mindy Project, Castle, Bones, Nakita, Signed and more.  Philip earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Seattle Pacific University and he was the recipient of the institution’s prestigious Medallion Award in 2019. He is passionate about equipping creative leaders to realize their full potential and leave a positive impact on the world. He lives in University Place, Washington, with his wife, Menzelle, and two sons. Find him online at The Sharp Skills.


Make sure to check back at our Community Partnerships page periodically to see who we’re adding to our roster of engaged, impactful community members and books!

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Publisher Christina Butcher ft. on “We Art Tacoma”

Last week, BCP publisher and poet Christina Butcher recorded a podcast episode with our friends at We Art Tacoma, a podcast about the arts in Tacoma, Washington, and the story of the people behind the art.

Listen to the podcast here and enjoy a short conversation between Christina and We Art Tacoma host, Erik Hanberg, about how Blue Cactus Press got started, the literary scene in Tacoma, and who has time for their own creative writing (hint: not Christina).

For those of you unfamiliar with We Art Tacoma and the podcast network it’s a part of, let us fill you in! We Art Tacoma is a part of Channel 253, which has multiple podcasts about Tacoma, featuring conversations on art, civics, journalism and more. Check out more of their podcasts here.

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Learning From My Garden in Four Colors


Learning From My Garden in Four Colors

An essay by Tamiko Nimura

Green

Mid-March 2020, Washington state. Too anxious to even buy seeds. Too soon to plant seeds outside. I remember what I’d started a few years ago: my desktop garden. The ends of romaine heads, the tops of carrots, the bottoms of baby bok choy. Soon I’ve got trays of vegetable scraps on my work desk.

Daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, I begin to “upcycle” (hoard) the plastic clamshell containers for strawberries, the aluminum trays and clear covers that came with our takeout dinners.

Continue reading Learning From My Garden in Four Colors
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Pre-orders & Poems

Terrain 2020Guess what, friends?! We’re officially halfway to meeting our pre-order goal for Gina Hietpas’ forthcoming, debut poetry book, Terrain! Since we launched the pre-order campaign back in January, we’ve raised half our printing costs for the book! We are incredibly grateful for your show of support through pre-orders and social media love, and we’d like to say: Thank you, truly. This book would not be possible without your support, especially during this emotionally and financially taxing time.  

We still have a few months left to go before publication, which is now set for September 10, 2020, and we’re hoping you, dear readers, will continue to support Gina’s work (and the press) by pre-ordering a copy of the book if you haven’t already. If you have, please consider sharing the pre-order information with folks you think would enjoy it.

You can pre-order a copy of Terrain here.

In the meantime, here are a few poems from Terrain, by Gina Hietpas, to get you through  this Monday morning. Continue reading Pre-orders & Poems

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We’re Taking Pre-Orders!

That’s right, it’s officially time to pre-order your copy of our two newest poetry books:

What Us Is by Kellie Richardson (Richardson’s debut poetry collection, newly re-published with BCP and sporting a swanky new cover design)

Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Price: $17.00
Pre-order here

What Us Is offers readers a glimpse into the head space of one of Tacoma, Washington’s most respected poets, Kellie Richardson. In her debut poetry collection, Richardson turns herself inside out to let others know they’re not alone.


 Terrain by Gina Hietpas

Publication Date: August 1, 2020
Price: $17.00
Pre-order here

In her debut poetry collection, Terrain, self-taught poet and educator Gina Hietpas offers readers a way to return to the land with care and dignity. Drawing from a deep well of personal observation, connection and participation with the natural world, Hietpas’ poems explore themes of allyship, care, and ultimately, healing. 


Why Pre-Orders Matter

🌵 When community members pre-order a book from an independent bookstore, booksellers are better able to gauge market interest and order accordingly. In turn, this helps small publishers (like us) determine how many books to print before we launch, gain traction with regional audiences, and spur initial book sales.

🌵 Pre-ordering books also helps authors by increasing their odds of making it onto bestseller lists, potentially opening doors for future book contracts, and increasing their rankings on Goodreads and other influential literary sites. All of these are important components for an author’s long-term market success. 

 🌵 Lastly, when community members pre-order books directly from publishers, we’re able to ensure we have enough capital to cover printing costs (one of the biggest expenses of a book’s production costs), and focus on other aspects of publishing (like setting up cool events and readings for you, dear readers). 


With this in mind (along with your burning passion for poetry and art), we hope you’ll consider pre-ordering your books directly from Blue Cactus Press, or with your local, independent bookstore (like King’s Books). Happy reading, friends!

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Cover Reveal: The Art of Naming My Pain

We can’t keep Kellie Richardson’s book cover under wraps any longer! It’s too good to keep to ourselves, and the story behind it – and behind Kellie’s creative work in collage – is worth sharing. So, let us introduce you to The Art of Naming My Pain, a collection of prose, poetry and collage by Kellie Richardson.

The cover of is based on one of Richardson’s collage pieces, “Listen,” created in 2019 with acrylic, tissue paper and found items on canvas.

Continue reading Cover Reveal: The Art of Naming My Pain