All posts by Jodie


918studio press is preparing for its first 2017 release with local author, Mikes Bayles’, literary collage piece, Breakfast at the Good Hope Home, which follows a son visiting the nursing home where his father is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The book will be released at a launch party on Thursday, February 23rd, at 8 p.m. at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Avenue, Rock Island). The event is free, open to the public, and will feature readings from Breakfast and other local authors.

Mike Bayles, a lifelong Midwest resident, has lived in mid-sized cities, small towns and rural areas in Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. While spending summers at a cottage on a lake in Minnesota, he found a deep appreciation for nature. He enjoyed family life as an only child, but also enjoyed visiting aunts, uncles and cousins on their farms. He attended Iowa State University, and The University of Northern Iowa, where he received a B.A. in Sociology.

 To learn more about Mike, visit his website at To reserve your copy of Breakfast at the Good Hope Home, visit


Our Latest Book Releases December 7th

We are preparing for our first 2016 release with Illinois author, Tom McKay’s, short novel, Another Life, a story that explores what happens when the cute girl you had a crush on in high school returns to your life as your son’s future mother-in-law. Another Life, with cover art by Ingrid Kallick, will be introduced with a launch party hosted by Midwest Writing Center at the Rock Island Public Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7th. Tom will read from the book and answer audience questions at 7 p.m. Refreshments will also be served at this free event open to the public.

We will be celebrating our next release in February, 2017, with Mike Bayles’ literary collage piece, Breakfast at the Good Hope Home, which follows a son visiting the nursing home where his father is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  We are open to submissions of poetry collections (chapbook or full length) or prose (non-fiction or fiction, short story collections or novels) with strong geographic ties. Go here to read our submissions guidelines.
Tom McKay is an historian and museum consultant who lives in his hometown of Hampton, Illinois. His debut novel, West Fork, was published by East Hall Press at Augustana College in 2014. His short stories have appeared in the Wapsipinicon Almanac, Vermont Ink, Downstate Story, the Wisconsin River Valley Journal, the Book Rack Newsletter, and the Out Loud Anthology series of the Midwest Writing Center.

To learn more about Tom, visit his website at

Announcing Our 2016 Publication Selections

Tom and MikeWe are excited to announce our selections for 2016 publication. Another Life, a short novel by Tom McKay of Hampton, Illinois, is about what happens when a very attractive girl who you had a crush on in high school comes back into your life as your son’s future mother-in-law. Breakfast at the Good Hope Home is a literary collage work by Mike Bayles, of Davenport, Iowa, and shows a son struggling with his father’s final stages of Alzheimer’s. Both books are planned to be release later this fall. Please subscribe to get updates on these books as well as our next reading period.

Robin Throne – Gambling the Aisle 2015 Fiction Chapbook Contest Winner

Robin cubecoverGambling the Aisle recently announced on Facebook and Twitter that 918studio press author, Robin Throne, won its 2015 fiction chapbook contest, the third annual, with her flash fiction collection, The CUBE & other flashlings.

When Gambling the Aisle notified Robin that her work had been selected, they said, “Your language bites in unexpected, wonderful ways, and we dig this,” to which Robin said, “[It] was very moving for me that someone actually got it!”

Visual artist, Will Ross, won the cover art for the chapbook, and his intense interpretation of his work also fits so well with the storyline. Read it at

Thoughts about The CUBE & other flashlings from Robin:

This collection was first inspired when I saw Jimmy Carter on Charlie Rose talking about his 2014 book, A Call to Action, and was struck when he said the most dangerous place in the U.S. for women is college campuses. It intrigued me and I began to consider how women who were sexually assaulted in high school or college fare within the power structures of corporate America, and The Cube began to emerge.

I have been writing what I used to refer to as ‘minimalist’ fiction since my master’s degree program in creative writing at Minnesota State University in Mankato, now more than 20 years ago. My thesis was a novella written in a very minimalist style that not everyone really embraced back then. But I kept on with it anyhow. The recent trend with flash fiction has given my work a frame I needed to place it within a fitting subgenre. Most would assume flash fiction is a work less than 1,000 words, and then I saw an online journal that referred to works less than 500 words as ‘flashlings’ and I knew this would give me a disciplined frame for each of these segments of Jennifer’s experience with a thread between them.

Collection synopsis:

If you have ever worked in a corporate cubicle, you might relate to these flashling fiction excerpts from Jennifer’s corporate worklife. It’s 2005 and her company has invested in one of the most artistic cube designs for call centers among Fortune 500s. This collection offers her insights from inside the cube farm.

Robin’s collection is being prepared for publication and sale. In the meantime, you can read Gambling the Aisle’s magazine for Winter 2015 here.

Review of A Bizarre Sentence By Mary Davidsaver

mary d for postI bought a copy of A Bizarre Sentence by Trisha Georgiou as a Christmas gift. Before wrapping it, I carefully scanned it to find the poems Georgiou talked about at her launch party. I especially wanted to see the “visual” poem about world peace written in many languages, including two forms of Greek: classical and modern. I also wanted to read the poem about the cover photo. The incongruous words on the wrecked sports stadium’s door handle sent the poet off in search of other bizarre bits of sentences and provided an inspired theme for this collection.

I found “The Towers Are Falling Down” a poignant reminder of a horrible day. Georgiou was able to get a call through to a friend in New York City. While we watched the televised coverage over and over, her friend looked out a fifteenth floor window to see debris flying by. It’s a powerful image for a poem.

“Energy Works” described the core of our being in scientific terms: DNA, nucleotides, inherited traits, patterns from our ancestors and added “Now, imagine letting it all go… Your mind can choose…” A sentiment I can appreciate.

The most fun poem I found on my quick read was “Midterm Elections.” Iowa has the joy of hearing from many candidates early and often, so the chances of coming across the bizarre wording of ill formed sentences are extremely high. The sad thing—the real quotes used in this poem don’t sound all that different from what I’m hearing for the present round of politicking. Georgiou expertly captured the essence of the whole campaign process and conveyed the bizarreness in a few well chosen words.

I had to handle the book carefully, it still had to be a nice looking present, so I couldn’t read everything as carefully as I would have liked, but I was impressed with the variety and quality of a strong collection of poetry. Trisha Georgiou has a winner here—a gift for us all.

How our Latest Project’s Author Trisha Georgiou Tackles Book Marketing

by Jodie Toohey, originally appearing on her website blog on 11/19/2015.

Trish BWTrisha Georgiou, fellow Midwest Writing Center board member, is set to release her latest poetry collection, A Bizarre Sentence, on December 9th at Read Local at 7 p.m. at the Bettendorf Public Library. A Bizarre Sentence is the latest title published by literary publisher 918studio, soon to be known as the selective subsidized publisher, 918studio Press, which incidentally, I have partnered with Lori Perkins to run. Independent of those relationships (though not unrelated), I asked Trisha to provide her insights about book marketing for this Author Spotlight edition.

Trisha has not had a formal, written marketing plan, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t given deliberate thought to marketing her books. About her marketing, Trisha said, “Before A New Life was released, I had the opportunity to attend a writing workshop given by Hay House. It was through this workshop that I learned the difference between marketing your book and marketing your name. This has been my focus since. Instead of focusing on marketing my individual book titles, I shifted my energies to market my career as an author and poet. The goal for this shift in energy is to create a name or brand. Because my name remains a constant, it is easier to market as my titles increase. In essence, I am building a reader base so the sale of each title remains constant. In turn, with each new title released, this marketing approach provides more ‘news’ to help market myself.” This is a great point. Often, after our first book, we are just excited to get that out into the world and don’t stop to think about our long term branding goals.

Trisha believes that every writer of every genre must market their books. She said, “There are thousands of titles being published yearly from a variety of publishers and self-publishers. How do you entice people to buy your work, pick your book? Marketing is the key to selling books. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to have enough confidence in my work to get it out into the public. After a few successes and finding a niche, it became much easier. Writing is my passion. I am excited about the written word and promoting literary arts. It is through this excitement that begins conversations and opens doors to new opportunities.”

When asked if she has had any surprises while book marketing, Trisha said, “Every new experience, success and failure, is a learning opportunity. I have learned a great deal through my experiences and being a part of the writing community through the Midwest Writing Center. Marketing for me certainly has not been an exact science and I can’t say I have a natural talent. What has helped me is word of mouth. That has been my best advertising. When your readers are excited about your next title and you share their excitement, it is a great thing.”

Trisha hasn’t focused on marketing strategies or tactics other than attending a marketing workshop. Instead, she focuses on getting out in the public and sharing her passion. “I am not saying wear a neon sign with your book cover. When an opportunity naturally happens, take advantage of the moment. As an example, I volunteered to speak at book clubs. This has been a huge success for me. I not only sell the book we discuss but it also helps to build a readership.” Trisha has followed this passion-based approach to book marketing in her paid advertising as well, “I donated money for an ad benefiting a music program my children were involved in. The ad was placed within the concert notes which announced the release of Quartered Enlightenment. I received a lot of positive feedback and publicity, not only for the contribution to the children’s concert but advertising my career and upcoming book.” She warns that paid advertising is tricky and she isn’t sure she’ll ever solve the math proof to warrant it. “I believe there are advertising opportunities that exceptionally target your reader base. That is a very individual, case by case situation considering most books have a zero or limited advertising budget.”

In addition to building relationships and very selective advertising, Trisha uses social media to market herself as an author. She said, “I am just shocked how it has helped me and the contacts that I have made throughout the world for my books and freelance opportunities. In a cybersecond, hundreds of people can be reached globally with a snippet of insight about your latest work and upcoming events. Book titles are not frequent. Somehow the momentum needs to keep steaming ahead. Readers need to get excited about your upcoming work. I think social media, freelance publishing, and blogs are essential to maintain a following. I use most of the big social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

I asked Trisha what advice she had for authors who are just embarking on the book marketing journey. She said, “This is a great question. I certainly do not consider myself an authority. What did take me time to discover is not everyone is going to like your work. In fact, some will really hate it. The sooner you can honestly be ok with that concept and gravitate to the niche you are writing about, it saves a lot of wheel spinning. If you are writing about knitting, target knitters, not necessarily readers. For example, a few years ago author Jennifer Chiaverini spoke at an MWC luncheon. She has a huge following with multiple books on best-selling lists. She writes stories relating to quilting. Who bought the most tickets to that luncheon? Was it writers or readers? Nope, it was quilters. Quartered Enlightenment and A New Life both have garden themes, targeting middle aged women who like plants. It is this category where I focused my time and energy. I was invited to speak at garden clubs and books clubs, which again helped build my readership.” Trisha explained that marketing is essential and an author’s books are the extension of the author and advises that if authors find marketing difficult, they should invest in marketing services to help them get on the right track.

On the writing life in general, Trisha said, “Writing for me is a lot like breathing. You just have to do it. Writers look at the world so much differently. I am really thankful that I have been cursed with these writing glasses. Yet at the same time, it is difficult, heart wrenching, soul searching, and absolutely chaotic. If it is a part of you, you do it.” Well said.

Trisha’s body of work includes My Name is A (1999), Quartered Enlightenment (PbPublishing, 2013), A New Life and other poems of Living Passion (918studio, 2014), and A Bizarre Sentence (918studio, December 2015). Learn more about Trisha and her books on her website at or read her TrishaGeorgiouHerWritingLife blog. Reserve your copy of A Bizarre Sentence at

918studio Authors Shine at Community Poetry Reading

Five 918studio authors read their poetry (four pictured) on Saturday, November 14th at Midwest Writing Center. The reading was part of MWC’s 2015 Fall Poetry Residency led by Holly Norton. All contributors read their poems posted on the community poetry blog as well as an additional one or two. Lanny Biehler read his poems, Delusional Images and Footballese. Robin Throne read Derelicta, Trisha Georgiou read Blood Moon Dare, Ryan Collins read “This building is no longer here,” and Jodie Toohey (not pictured) read Circulation. Go here to read all of the fabulous community poetry. Thank you to Holly Norton for managing the blog, MWC for hosting the reading, and to Robin Throne for sponsoring the residency.


Welcome to the new 918studio press website. We are getting things ready, but have already got a lot done. Feel free to browse to learn about us, what we’re about, and what we’re currently thinking for submission guidelines. To keep up-to-date on 918studio press happenings, be sure to subscribe. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.


We are under new ownership and ready to celebrate our first book launch, a new poetry collection by Trisha Georgiou. A Bizarre Sentence will be released December 9, 2015, at the Bettendorf Public Library’s Read Local event at 7 p.m. A Bizarre Sentence, with cover photo by Ciaran O’Sullivan and cover and interior design by Renee Busha of Sliced Moon Designs, is a chapbook of poems searching for, questioning, and observing life on this planet as we experience the human condition. Bizarre sentences, we live in and write about, are the purpose, the mission of Trisha’s book.

We are thrilled to be handling Trisha Georgiou’s latest collection, her fourth poetry book. A New Life and other poems of Living Passion (918studio, 2014) was received and accepted by His Holiness Pope Francis. It was also featured at the 23rd Annual Poets House Poetry Publication Showcase, New York, NY. Her other books include Quartered Enlightenment(PbPublications, 2013) and My Name is A (1999).

Trisha’s most recent freelance work has been published in Eastern Iowa Review and Midwest Writing Center’s blog; she’s also appeared on WVIK, Quad Cities’ NPR station on Art Talks, and Nurturing your Creative Spirit.

To learn more about Trisha, visit her website at To reserve your copy of A Bizarre Sentence, visit