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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Next Month in This Awful Awesome Life (September 2018)

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September is Banned Books Month. This is one of my favorite months because I get to talk about some of my favorite books and their authors. We’ll be discussing some of the reasons books are banned around the world. You might be surprised to learn that many classic children’s books have been banned.

We’ll be celebrating Labor Day and all things Back to School.

USA Today bestselling author Annette Dashofy will be joining us for a Q&A and I’ll be reviewing Cry Wolf, the latest book in her award winning Zoe Chambers Mystery Series. Cry Wolf is scheduled for release on September 18th.

I'm also celebrating our writing team. I am so fortunate to have such talented people contributing to This Awful Awesome Life.

Terry Kish is celebrating one year with This Awful Awesome Life. I can’t begin to tell you what her support has meant to the magazine and me personally or how much she has elevated the caliber of our writing.

Orlando Bartro has been with us from our first issue. His support and loyalty have been instrumental to our continued success. When Jay Speyerer and I started This Awful Awesome Life we wanted our focus to be on writers and their books…from the classics to memoirs, mysteries, literary fiction and every genre. Orlando’s extensive knowledge and love of literature always give his articles a unique perspective. We will keep you posted on any of his speaking engagements in the Pittsburgh area.

Linda Cahill appeared in an article for our inaugural issue and joined us as a contributor a few months later offering recipes and cooking tips as an independent consultant with The Pampered Chef. She will also be sharing tips about her Vegan lifestyle in selected issues.

Corey Flynn joined us during 2017 to offer tips on fitness and nutrition. She has helped us form a connection to the University of Pittsburgh which enables us to share lay articles from some of their students in the Nutrition and Dietetics Department.

This year, veteran author Jim O’Brien joined us to share some of his best columns about family life and Pittsburgh Sports. I met Jim and his lovely wife Kathy a couple of years ago when I was writing a feature on their family. From the first day we met, Jim’s willingness to share his experience and expertise has helped me become a better writer.

Author Gail Neustadt has recently joined us to help make our world a little greener.

We are looking forward to new articles from guest contributors, Ann K. Howley, Eric Magliocca, Jackie Zataweski, Rob Kalchthaler and Joy Bufalini.

We’ll have book recommendations and of course a quiz to keep those neurons pumping.

See you next month!


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The answers to the August Quiz:

Match the poetry term to its definition and example:

Terms and Definitions:

Acrostic- a poem read vertically. The first letter of each line spells out a word, name, or phrase.

Allegory – a poem with a hidden meaning which is usually a moral or has political significance.

Ballad – a poem or song told in short stanzas.

Blank Verse – poetry written in regular metrical unrhymed lines. It is almost always in iambic pentameter.

Conceit – an elaborate metaphor

Couplet - two lines of rhyming verse which form a single unit or are part of a poem

Epic - a long narrative poem in grandiose language celebrating the adventures/accomplishments of a legendary or conventional hero.

Epitaph – a phrase or statement written in memory of someone who has died.

Free Verse - A poem without rules. Rhyme scheme, syllable count, punctuation, number of lines or stanzas, or line formation is up to the author.

Haiku - This ancient Asian form of poem writing consists of precise punctuation and syllables (5-7-5) with only three lines.

Limerick – a five-line witty poem with an A-A-B-B-A rhythm scheme.

Lyric poem – formal poetry expressing personal emotions, often put to music.

Narrative poem - A poem that tells the story of an event.

Ode – a lyric poem in the form of an address in varied or irregular meter about a specific subject.

Pastoral – a poem reflecting an idealized version of country life.

Petrarchan sonnet – a poetic form about ideal love 14 lines long written in iambic pentameter with a flexible rhyme scheme.

Quatrain – a stanza or complete poem of four lines with alternate rhymes

Shakespearean sonnet – a poetic form of 14 lines with the first 12 lines divided into three quatrains with four lines each which identify a problem followed by the final two lines, the couplet, which resolves the problem.

Sonnet - a short rhyming poem with 14 lines. 

Terza Rima – poem arranged in rhyming triplets, usually in iambs, with the rhyme scheme aba bcb cdc…

Terms and Examples:

“Cats” (acrostic)

By Kathryn Pond             


  Actually sleeping          

  Teetering on a stool


“The Faerie Queen” by Edmund Spenser (allegory)         


“The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll (ballad

“The Mending Wall” by Robert Frost (Blank Verse) 

“The Flea” by John Donne (Conceit)

“Good nature and good sense must ever join;

To err is human, to forgive, divine.” “An Essay on Criticism” by Alexander Pope (Couplet)

“The Odyssey” by Homer (Epic)

“Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.” Tombstone of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Epitaph)

“Fog” by Carl Sandburg (Free Verse)


Too dark to read the page

Too cold”

By Jack Kerouac (Haiku)

“There was a Young Lady of Dorking” by Edward Lear (Limerick)

“I Felt a Funeral in my Brain” by Emily Dickinson (Lyric poem)

“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe (Narrative poem)

“Ode to Sadness” by Pablo Neruda (Ode)

“The Passionate Shepherd to his Love” by Christopher Marlowe (Pastoral)

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus (Petrarchan sonnet)

“It is an ancient Mariner,

And he stopped one of three.

By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,

Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?”

“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Coleridge (Quatrain)

“Astrophel and Stella” by Sir Philip Sidney (Shakespearean sonnet)

“When I have Fears that I May Cease to Be” by John Keats (Sonnet)

“The Divine Comedy” by Dante (Terza rima)








Building a Team

July 2018 in This Awful Awesome Life