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Red Silk Press Blog

Inaugural Blog series; Science writing, Science Fiction, Poetry

November 14, 2013


Joe and I have gotten involved in the past few months in activities involving the interests which had initiated Mason-Dixon Publishing. Jore has been working in the Green Party for city council elections in Bowling Green, OH. I have attended book festivals as part of our marketing strategy for Red Silk Sari.

However, in addition to our usual Mason-Dixon news and general blogs, there will be a roughly rotating series on science writing, science fiction, and poetry. These are the main areas which Mason-Dixon Publishing champions, although we love to read all great writing! In the future, the topic will appear in the title

We begin this series with science writing. In this provocative column, the writers suggests several ways that the public can influence the course of science research, so that it is not wholly determined by government and business (Grant) money.

“How can nonscientists influence the course of scientific research” The Guardian, by Cath Ennis

Responses to this blog are encouraged, especially to counteract the cranky comments in The Guardian!

Decatur Book Festival; Contest Semifinalist

October 23, 2013


Whew! I DID NOT mean to be away for so long from this blog!

Decatur Book Festival

The Local Poets stage was quite a treat.  I got there an hour or so before my stage time to listen to some wonderful Atlanta poets, and I stayed for a couple of hours afterwards. As turns out, Atlanta has quite an active poetry scene.

The Decatur Book Festival itself certainly must have hit the expected turnout of 70,000 people, and I could see why. Stages of famous authors, an art exhibit, dance and music performances, and a huge book fair. There is an extensive independent author/publisher book tent, for which the author does not even have to be there. The festival volunteers handle it all.That table was a mix of both self-published and true independent press offerings.  This year a place in that tent was $180 per publisher, so while I missed it this year, I will be sure to send copies of Venusification and Red SIlk Sariill.

Semifinalist in William Wisdom-William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition 2013

My poem “Air India Poster of Mother Kali” was a semifinalist in the 2013 competition, which is also referred to as Words and Music. That was an honor indeed.

And here is my nugget of advice: The goal of writing a poem is not to publish it or win an award, but to write the poem the best way you can. After that,  all we can do is work consistently and regularly to get work out there, by reading our poems in a public forum, by entering contests, by submitting work to publications. I keep the submission process as simple as I can with a spreadsheet to track my submissions. Since 2010 I have submitted 111 poems in 49 venues. As for actual publications,some of my poems were published a couple of decades ago, but since 2009 I have had 3 publications, Iif you know of a more efficient way to promote your poetry , come share your experiences to this blog!

And how many new poems have I written?:Well, I am less sure of that, so I suppose I could track that better,  Since 2011, I count 66 poems, apparently 61 poems previously (that I can retrieve from faded notebooks). along with 38 haiku and 10 tanka. That is actually a slow rate, but I would rather take my time with each poem.

AJC Decatur Book Festival 2013 - Ujjvala on the Local Poets Stage

August 18, 2013



Saturday Aug 31, Local Poets Stage, 11:45

I’ll be reading from Red Silk Sari. Come by and see me! There will be 32 Georgia poets on the stage on Saturday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, each of us for 15 minutes a piece. The moderator Kodac Harrison will be on stage around noon. 

Unfortunately I will not have copies of Red Silk Sari on sale at the Emerging Writers Pavilion - missed the deadline!! - but if you like what you hear, please come chat with me after the reading and I’ll do what I can. I’m thinking of bringing some copies with me anyway, but there is always our website right on your mobile device, and Joe and I will turn your order right around. And with the Mason-Dixon Publishing website, you can get the e-copy if you prefer, as well as check out Joe’s science fiction collection Venusification, his poetry collection Nine Horses Nearly Trampled Me (a take-off on Billy Collins) and Tony Demare’s ASL travel video Mt. Aetna Adventure.

Of course I’ll listen to my fellow poets on stage. But this is my first time here at the largest independent book fair in the country and I intend to look over the book market, attend a few panels and readings, and check out the Experimental Writers Asylum, a writer’s event in conjunction with the AJC Decatur Book Festival.

The festival is sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Now in its eighth year, the organizers expect over 70,000 visitors.

Semi-Finalist, William Faulkner-William Wisdom Competition

August 13, 2013



My writing coach Rosemary Daniell let four of us know that we placed in the finals of the 2013 Wiilliam Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. My entry, “Air India Poster of Mother Kali,”  was a semifinalist, among 64 chosen from 232 poems.

The competition is held annually by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, founded in honor of William Faulkner and dedicated to fostering excellence in current literature. In 2013, there were over 1300 entries in 7 categories.

The website goes into detail about the completion and the society, and you can find a link to the list of finalists.

Wow. I am still stunned!!

Savannah Asian Festival; consider submission to publications amd ezines

August 07, 2013

Ujjvala Rahn

A late blog! Well, the 2013 Savannah Asian Festival has come and gone. Mason-Dixon was the only book vendor there. We exhibited both our new poetry collection Red Silk Sari and our science fiction collection Venusification, as well as the Mason-Dixon website on our laptop. Next year we are considering a collaborative table for local Asian-American and Asian-themed books.

People came by to talk about their dreams to publish their books. They were surprised and grateful for my reply: they should also consider submitting to literary journals, ezines, magazines, and other periodicals. So should you. Here’s why -

1. Editors who don’t know you will actually read your work, which is not always the case with traditional book publishers, and certainly not with self-publishing.

2. If you get published, you will not have to pay anything! Publishers of periodicals do not charge you to publish your work. (You may even get paid!)

3. If you get published, you will have added to your marketing platform for the cost of some postage stamps, and only if they do not accept electronic submissions, which is becoming less likely with time.

How do you find out about these periodicals? There is a subject search on the web, but a better source would be references like the Writers Market and Poets Market, as well as magazines such as Writer’s Digest.

But I also like browsing in a library, in a chain store, or in a small bookstore. Read an issue or two. If you like what you read, and especially if you think your writing can fit, look around for submission guidelines.

That’s how I got published over the years.



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Red Silk Sari

Order a copy of our first book of poetry. These poems explore the complexities of being, Indian and American in experiences such as childbirth, death, love, and joy.

Venusification and Other Stories

Click this link to read "The Old Spaceman," an award winning story included in the book.These provocative short stories will challenge you, taking you to exotic places and times


Our latest offering! This memoir by Avinash Bagal is a story of the South Asian immigration experience from the early 1960s up to the collapse of the World Trade Center. .