Posted in reviews

Part of Me: Lost and Found by Cisel Ozbay Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The painful process of losing oneself can often lead to some pretty insightful discoveries, as readers are sure to find out in author and poet Cisel Ozbay’s “Part of Me: Lost and Found”. 

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The Synopsis

A journey of self- discovery involves completely losing yourself in order to find yourself again. This collection of poems captures all the ways the author has lost herself, and all the truths she has found in doing so.

The Review

The author has managed to blend the artful and emotional side of poetry with the more thoughtful and engaging aspect of philosophy, with readers taking a journey into the author’s process of eliminating all preconceived notions about herself and the world and making new discoveries. 

Each poem is equal parts creative, equal parts philosophical. An early poem that stood out to me was “Ash”, as it speaks to the troubles in our lives that quickly give way to feelings of anger, and yet burning out that anger can lead to the rebirth in a way of our new selves. It speaks to the Phoenix of mythology, which sees rebirth in the aftermath of a great fire, the perfect metaphor for feelings of anger or rage that could easily overtake us if we let it. 

Meanwhile, poems like “Rare” explore the realization that comes from thinking outside of what’s considered the norm, as it can lead to isolation and loneliness, major contributors to feelings of fear and dread. It is about finding a balance and seeking out those who understand your particular approach to life, making these poems incredibly powerful and insightful.

The Verdict

A momentous, emotional, and thought-provoking read, author Cisel Ozbay’s “Part of Me: Lost and Found” is a must-read book of poetry. The last year and a half especially has been hard on us all and has given many of us moments to pause and reflect on our lives. The author captures this enlightening moment of her own and creates a powerful connection with the reader through their profound words and creative approach to the genre. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Cisel Ozbay is an author from London who began writing during her time at University in Aberdeen. She was inspired by her own life experiences and the turbulent times in her life. Acknowledging the benefits of writing on her own self growth she now writes regularly. Her Parts Of Me: From Me to You, and Parts Of Me: Lost of Found books contain poems written during this same period in her life.

https://www.instagram.com/parts_of_me_poetry_/

Posted in reviews

Swan Songs of Cygnus: The Weight of Black Holes by Vincent Hollow Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An astronaut yearns to reunite with the ghost of his lost love even at the cost of his own life as he hurtles through space in author and poet Vincent Hollow’s unique story-driven book of poetry, “Swan Songs of Cygnus: The Weight of Black Holes”. 

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The Synopsis

Side A: horizon

Mourning the death of his love. A bereaved astronaut signs up for a deep – space mission to reunite with her ghost.

Even if it means becoming a ghost himself. Traveling at the speed of light. The astronaut jettisons through the solar system. Pausing only to gaze at its celestial splendor.

Cast under the grandeur of the planetarium. Seeing her apparition in every sphere…

The Review

A truly haunting and beautiful read, author and poet Vincent Hollow has crafted a one of a kind narrative-driven book of poetry that readers will instantly connect with. The overall story of a man suffering from loss who gives up everything to pursue a chance to find his love once more is something many readers will identify with, while the imagery and visual cues the author places throughout the book feel as if they are witnessing the journey of this astronaut themselves. 

The emotional struggle of this volunteer astronaut and writer really is the heart of the narrative. Reader’s hearts will break as they witness the emotional toll that the narrator’s loss takes on them as the journey progresses, and the tragic beauty that comes from having a connection that strong and powerful with another person. 

The Verdict

Breathtaking, heartfelt, and incredibly written, author and poet Vincent Hollow’s “Swan Songs of Cygnus: The Weight of Black Holes” is one of the most unique, creative, emotional, and memorable books of poetry I’ve read in years. A great story with lots of powerful imagery connects readers with the poet and the book’s protagonist in a whole new way and makes for one of the best poetry reads of 2020. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

VINCENT HOLLOW is an astro-poet and interstellar storyteller living aboard the space vessel, Aquarius. Shooting from the star system to star system. Vincent spends his time gazing out into the universal abyss and the depths of himself where he hopes to find his place in the cosmos through the words he weaves in the fabric of spacetime.

https://www.facebook.com/Vincent-Hollow-105005078127184/

https://www.instagram.com/vncenthollow/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Girls Like Us by Elizabeth Hazen Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A powerful book of poetry that dives into the complex nature of female identity and the roles they’ve been forced into playing in society throughout history comes to life in author and poet Elizabeth Hazen’s book, “Girls Like Us”. 

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The Synopsis

Girls Like Us is packed with fierce, eloquent, and deeply intelligent poetry focused on female identity and the contradictory personas women are expected to embody. The women in these poems sometimes fear and sometimes knowingly provoke the male gaze. At times, they try to reconcile themselves to the violence that such attentions may bring; at others, they actively defy it. Hazen’s insights into the conflict between desire and wholeness, between self and self-destruction, are harrowing and wise. The predicaments confronted in Girls Like Us are age-old and universal—but in our current era, Hazen’s work has a particular weight, power, and value. 

The Review

What a moving work of poetry. The author does an incredible job of bringing the pain and emotion that many women in life have had to endure through society’s expectations and the roles cast upon them through her work. As someone who considers himself a feminist and someone who has always wanted to live in a world where my mother and sister could live knowing they were viewed by everyone as equals and were respected, this poetry really spoke to me on a personal level while also feeling personal to the author at the same time. 

What really captured my attention as a reader was the way the author writes, in which many of the poems were written with such precision and detail-oriented writing, and yet felt personal to the author and broad enough for others to connect to on their own personal levels. The complexity of the layers of this poetry speaks to the simple desire for equality so many seek throughout their lives, and the ongoing fight to bring that equality to life. 

The Verdict

A truly one of a kind read, the author and poet Elizabeth Hazen and her book “Girls Like Us” is a truly amazing work of poems. The raw emotions combined with the true and often sad realities the poems capture of life connect with readers on an intimate level, and the theme and heart of the book speak to so many that readers will not be able to put it down. Be sure to grab this quick yet powerful read today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hazen is a poet, essayist, and teacher. A Maryland native, she came of age in a suburb of Washington, D.C. in the pre-internet, grunge-tinted 1990s, when women were riding the third wave of feminism and fighting the accompanying backlash. She began writing poems when she was in middle school, after a kind-hearted librarian handed her Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. She has been reading and writing poems ever since.

Hazen’s work explores issues of addiction, mental health, and sexual trauma, as well as the restorative power of love and forgiveness. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, American Literary Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. Alan Squire Publishing released her first book, Chaos Theories, in 2016. Girls Like Us is her second collection. She lives in Baltimore with her family.

GoodReads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50162841-girls-like-us

Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2U4wdtg

Alan Squire Publishing (also available is a SoundCloud Audio reading from her first collection): https://alansquirepublishing.com/book-authors/elizabeth-hazen/

Schedule for Blog Tour:

May 4: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)

May 15: Allie Reads (Review)

May 19: the bookworm (Guest Post)

May 26: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

May 28: Impressions in Ink (Review)

June 2: Vidhya Thakkar (Review)

June 9: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)

June 11: Read, Write and Life Around It (Review)

June 15: Readaholic Zone (Review)

June 16: Read, Write and Life Around It (Interview – tentative)

June 24: Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

June 26: Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

June 30: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Review)

July 9: The Book Connection (Review)

July 22: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)

July 7: CelticLady’s Reviews (Spotlight/video)

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Posted in reviews

O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss And A Year Of Mourning by Lee and Andrew Fernside Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

An emotional and reflective collection of essays, poetry and more bring the lives of celebrities lost in 2018 to the forefront in authors Lee and Andrew Fernside’s “O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and a Year of Mourning”. 

The Synopsis

O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and Mourning is an artists book created by siblings Andrew and Lee Fearnside. This book mourns celebrities who died in 2016: David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Gwen Ifill, Alan Rickman and 11 more. Relief print portraits are paired with personal narratives by 23 writers from around the country, including poet laureates, journalists, community organizers, professors and activists. Winner of the 2018 IPPY Independent Voice Award.

The Review

This was a beautifully written collection. The illustrations and personal connection felt between the authors and those the world lost in 2018 was felt immensely. Showcasing the way these celebrities and influential people impacted the authors highlights how those in the public eye have more influence and connections to the world at large than anyone truly realizes. 

Normally these reviews are focused solely on the book itself, but in order to perfectly capture the book’s emotional connection with readers, it’s only fitting to mention the personal connection I had as a reader with the book. 

The two chapters that spoke to me the most involved Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. This year, as many of you know, I lost my grandmother on my mom’s side, whom I was really close to. Six years or so before that we lost my grandfather on my mom’s side, and so it has been a heartbreaking year personally. However one thing that always makes me feel close to them is Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

My father was a carpet installer for his entire life, and one of the clients he worked for was Debbie Reynolds. As he was working, Carrie Fisher as a young child jumped onto his shoulders and asked for a piggy-back ride. Debbie Reynolds apologized but he laughed and obliged, and the young Carrie Fisher got her wish. Personal stories like that have always made me feel connected to my wonderful grandparents, and these two chapters opened up those emotions wholeheartedly, showcasing the author’s powerful approach to the topics as a whole.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel of 2019. While these celebrities hail from 2018, the message and impact of those losses resonates still as 2019 comes to a close. An emotional journey to discover how people as a whole impact our lives and the journey to come to terms with their loss. A beautiful way to honor and keep these memories in our hearts, be sure to grab “O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and a Year of Mourning” by Lee and Andrew Fernside today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.chimeraprojects.art/

Posted in reviews

Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: THESE POEMS IN THIS BOOK DEAL WITH THEMES OF ABUSE, SELF-HARM, MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER STRUGGLES. READ WITH CAUTION IF THESE THEMES TRIGGER YOU.

Author and poet Robin Williams returns with a beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poetry that touches the soul and lays it bare for all to see in her book “Dear Nobody: a poetry collection”. Here’s the synopsis.

The Synopsis

From the letters addressed to no one, comes a strong collection of poetry. With themes of heartbreak and love, to the far less tread upon mental health and trauma, is a work of art you won’t want to put down. Take the road less traveled and read a broken girls words to the world.

The Review

Poet Robin Williams has a beautiful and clear way of showing the world a visual representation of the pain and anguish many struggling with mental health and traumatic experiences have to undergo on a daily basis. From toxic relationships and abusive situations, to feelings of loss and desperation, the author does a marvelous job conveying these strong emotions in a way that elicits both an emotional response and wakes the reader up to the hidden struggles many face in isolation.

The poems in this book will speak to everyone. Whether you are looking for a poem that speaks to the pain you are feeling from a breakup or the powerful and overwhelming feeling of love, to the seemingly hopeless feeling that overwhelms us at times and the need for hope in an all too often hopeless world, these poems are sure to bring a tear to your eye and capture the emotional essence that only true poets can do.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fantastic poetry collection. A story of one woman’s struggles laid bare for all to see, this novel showcases some of life’s toughest challenges, especially in this modern world where issues of online bullying, self-harm and hopelessness are far too common. The author is a master poet and world class writer that everyone should pay attention to, so if you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams today. 

From backpacks and planners, to study guides and textbooks, B&N has everything you need to start off the second semester right

Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2BdHPQR

About Robin Williams

My name is Robin Williams. I am an 18-year-old introverted author living in southern Pennsylvania.

I’m an activist for equality between men and women, a fighter against global warming, a member of the lgbt+ commmunity, and a privileged voice for the minority.

I write for myself and for others about things I have gone through, and about things the people around me have gone through. My most highly praised piece is titled “Racism is Over” and tells stories of the racism POC still face today. As I interviewed those for the poem, my heart stung as I saw how blind I was to the discrimination, and I made it a priority to use my voice when they cannot.

I’m a survivor, and so are you. Keep fighting.

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Israfel Sivad (December 2018)

1)      For any newcomers to my blog, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Well, the truth is I’ve pretty much always written. After my parents split up when I was in fifth grade, I started writing myself to sleep at night. I did that all through middle school. I wrote lyrics based on all the song structures in the liner notes to the heavy metal tapes I owned. In high school, I turned that talent into an opportunity to write lyrics for the punk rock bands I played in. I wound up collecting many of those lyrics in my book Soundtrack for the New Millennium. Then, when I went away to college, I started keeping journals, and eventually those journals evolved into stories, novels and poems.

2)      What inspired you to write your book?

We Are the Underground initially started as a project for a writing group I joined when I left New York City in 2012 to move back down to Richmond, VA for a little while. I met a group of guys and girls at a café, and they started giving me writing prompts. Eventually, after I had already written a handful of random poems, I decided I wanted a theme running through the work as a whole. The poems so far had been very personal to me. So, I decided to incorporate my childhood spirituality into the work. Having grown up in Southern California, that wasn’t quite the same as many of my peers. It was based on the mysticism and philosophies my grandmother studied. She called herself The White Witch. Those poems eventually turned into the “Zodiac Cycle,” and that determined the structure for the rest of the book.

3)      What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I really hope readers will be inspired by We Are the Underground to create for themselves, whether that be artistically, spiritually or simply in their day-to-day lives. In addition to that, I’d love for readers to go deep with these poems and find their own meanings in them. I believe I’ve left a lot of room open for interpretation with this book. I hope people will explore all those meanings.

4)      What drew you into this particular genre?

I started writing these poems as a break from another project I was working on (the novel you reviewed earlier, Anthony, The Adversary’s Good News). The poems were able to be jotted down quickly and then revised and modified slowly over time. That allowed me to feel like I was making progress when my novel was progressing so slowly. After finishing the novel, I kept working on the poems as breaks from a handful of other, larger projects I’d started.

5)      What major differences (other than genre) did you notice when writing this book as opposed to The Adversary’s Good News? Would you say it was more difficult or easier to write this book?

Writing The Adversary’s Good News was harder than this book. The Adversary’s Good News took me nearly ten years to complete. It was a massive undertaking. The plotting and wordsmithing was unbelievable. However, We Are the Underground surprisingly required a great deal more research, particularly for the Zodiac Cycle. The Adversary’s Good News was inspired by books I’d already read. Whereas, with We Are the Underground,I spent a lot of time researching astrology for the poems themselves as well as poetic structures so that I could vary the styles and tones of each poem while simultaneously finding forms fitting each one’s content.

6)      Since we last spoke, what social media site has grown to help you connect with readers the most?

Instagram has been garnering a lot of my social media attention. I find it to be a great medium for reaching readers and interacting with the world in general.

7)      What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors or poets out there, or to anyone looking to expand and explore the poetry genre as a whole?

First, to aspiring authors and poets: Believe in yourself, and don’t give up. Nobody else can determine if you’re a writer. Only you know that. Don’t believe in artistic “gatekeepers.” Nobody else can tell you whether you’ve succeeded in accomplishing what you want to accomplish. As far as expanding and exploring the genre of poetry, I urge everybody to read everything from yesterday’s classics to today’s big press and self-published authors. Read everything from Instagram poets to The Epic of Gilgamesh. And while you’re doing all that, keep exploring what this world makes you think and feel. Write it down. Write it all down. The structures will come. You’ll discover them. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to live.

8)      What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m pretty much always working on new projects. What I’m most excited about right now, though, is the first draft of a new novel I recently completed. I hope to release this project in the next year or two. It’s currently called Pomegranate Sutra, and it’s the story of how to find love when you believe you’re too damaged to ever let that emotion take hold. I look forward to sharing it with you all when it’s finally ready for publication.

About the Author

Israfel Sivad is the founder of Ursprung Collective, which has been referred to as “fantastic brain food” on ReverbNation. His first novel, “Crossroads Blues”, has been compared to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Palmetto Review). His second novel, “The Adversary’s Good News”, was a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Paranormal Book Award. His stories and poems have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, The Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal. 

Website: www.IsrafelSivad.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/israfel_sivad/

Twitter: twitter.com/UrsprungCollect

Facebook: www.facebook.com/UrsprungCollective/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ursprung-collective

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Posted in reviews

We Are the Underground by Israfel Sivad Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

I am happy to share that I have reunited with author Israfel Sivad to bring you an in-depth look into the passionate, creative and unique book of poetry the author has collected. Titled “We Are The Underground”, the poetry explores the intricate journey into the depths of the human spirit. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

More than a simple collection of poems, We Are the Underground delves into Israfel Sivad’s psyche to inspire you to liberate your own. With each carefully defined section, you’ll explore inner worlds and find the keys you need to unlock hidden truths. For, as Israfel Sivad demonstrates, it’s when we enter our own personal depths that we find true freedom. This poetic journey is your invitation to go deeper than you ever have before. Don’t remain content staring at what the rest of the world has already seen. Look through these inspired poems. Unravel Israfel Sivad’s “Zodiac Cycle”, which contains one poem for every astrological sign in the Western and Chinese zodiacs. Enter the underground, and discover this hidden revolution of souls.

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The Review

This was a truly moving work of art to partake in. One of my favorite poems was What Is Poetry?, which artfully dives into the concept of poetry and beauty in the world being in the eye of the beholder. What is “poetic” to one person may not be to another, and we and we alone can determine what makes for poetry. 

The truly special part of any good book of poetry is when the poems themselves allow the reader to take their own meaning from the work themselves. Poetry is the gateway to the heart of any person, and as we are all individuals, we all view works in our own way. The creativity of adding the zodiac cycle into the works was a stroke of genius, giving the book a unique feel that few others have had before it.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fantastic read. Touching on truly emotional aspects of every person’s life and exploring the concept of growing up, individuality and making your own mark on the world, author Israfel Sivad has done a fantastic job creating a one of a kind poetic experience. If you haven’t yet grab your copy of We Are The Underground today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Israfel Sivad is the founder of Ursprung Collective, which has been referred to as “fantastic brain food” on ReverbNation. His first novel, “Crossroads Blues”, has been compared to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Palmetto Review). His second novel, “The Adversary’s Good News”, was a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Paranormal Book Award. His stories and poems have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, The Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal. 

Explore the Best Books of 2018 at BN.com
Posted in reviews

The Book of FU by Benjamin Davis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One author’s life story blends into a magical realism setting in one of the most creative poetry books I’ve read this year. I’m talking to you guys today about author and poet Benjamin Davis and his book, “The King of FU”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The King of FU is a magically realistic poetic memoir about growing up in America in the nineties on the cusp of the age of the internet. It is a voyage that navigates through family tribalism, supervisors, white-gloved Sheriffs, bullies, sex, suicide, dead prisoners, drugs, porn, middle school, and Jesus; all in search of answering one of life’s greatest mysteries: what is the point of adults? This artistic masterpiece comes from the mind of author Benjamin Davis with illustrations by Russian artist Nikita Klimov.

The Review

This was a truly fun, compelling, humorous and engaging read. A healthy blend of the abstract with magical realism and a beautifully told poetic memoir, author Benjamin Davis has painted a often chilling, funny and realistic image of what the 90’s were like for kids growing up in the United States. 

You can feel the author’s struggle through some of life’s deepest challenges as he touches on themes of religion, death, family, abuse and so much more. The incredible illustrations by Nikita Klilmov help to bring the powerful themes and fantasy elements of the poetry to life. 

The Verdict

Overall this was a phenomenal read. The passion, creativity and often hilarious contrast between the view of the world through the eyes of a child versus that of an adult brought this one of a kind novel to a whole new level. The book itself was a fast and easy read, which worked well as it’s poetry was so engaging that putting it down was impossible. If you haven’t yet grab your copy of Benjamin Davis’s novel “The King of FU” today!

Rating: 10/10

Perfect for holiday gifting – Buy Online, Pick-up at your local Barnes & Noble store within an Hour!

About the Author

My name is Benjamin Davis. I am an American writer and Journalist living in St. Petersburg. I grew up in a no-name town in Massachusetts where I was more likely to hear horse sex or a pack of wolves eating a rabbit than cars driving by or drunks fighting, as I do now. I work as a freelance editor, tech-journalist, native-speaking-content-monkey, and social media manager for English speaking markets. To cope with the sterility of corporate writing, my fiction sometimes gets a little out of hand.

From 2016-2017, I wrote one story every day for a year for the project Flash-365, creating a community of people who appreciate the short-winded and the weird. To me it is where I found my voice and where most of my stories found their home.

May of 2018 my first book The King of FU was published: a magically realistic poetic memoir about growing up in America in the nineties on the cusp of the age of the internet. It is a voyage that navigates through family tribalism, supervisors, white-gloved Sheriffs, bullies, sex, suicide, dead prisoners, drugs, porn, middle school, and Jesus; all in search of answering one of life’s greatest mysteries: what is the point of adults? An artistic masterpiece with illustrations by Russian artist Nikita Klimov.

Instagram: instagram.com/davis.benjamin.s

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/benjamindavis

Personal website: benjamindaviswriter.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/benjamindaviswriter

Also, here is a landing page for the book, if you wouldn’t mind including that as well:

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author/Poet Lamar Neal

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is me making tv shows with all of my toys. I would have legit tv shows with commercials and everything. I guess my first formal introduction to writing was me at 12/13. I can’t remember what exactly motivated me to put pen to paper but I do remember it being a coping mechanism. I wrote down my thoughts and how I was feeling and I would tear it up. It became my way of letting go.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My mental health. I like to think that this is my therapy session. I just sat down and vented to myself about everything that bothered me. This book is very autobiographical. I wanted to tell my story in hopes that it can inspire other individuals to tell their truth.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Don’t be afraid to be imperfect, it’s natural. I would hope that we as individuals and a society understands that everything in life is a process. We have to work to keep growing. With that said, we have to have moments of introspection to address something that needs fixing. We have to be able to look in the mirror and tell ourselves, “you were wrong.” That type of self-awareness is lacking in the world-well I think it is. To get personal for a moment, therapy is like a curse word in my family. We can look past everything like adultery, drugs, alcohol, abuse, but therapy is where everyone draws the line. I hope that people can read this book and feel empowered to speak their truth-ugly or not. We cannot process as people or a society without that happening

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Music. I love music but I don’t have the talent to create my own. Songs aren’t anything but poetry over beats, In my opinion. I took the musical aspect out of it and just wrote. I love just how raw and honest you can be in a poem. You don’t have to worry about anything but saying how you feel. I love writing narratives like novels and short stories but at times it’s confining. With a poem, I’m just free.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

James Joyce. I would ask him what was that old man doing in “An Encounter.” I know he was doing something gross but I want him to tell me specifically. In that short story, he never explains what he’s doing, and the kids just reacted. So I just need to know. Besides James Joyce, I would love to sit with Gil Scott Heron. He’s not an author but he’s amazing. I don’t even want to ask him a question, I just want to hear him talk.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Instagram. Most definitely. I’d probably say 100% of my fan base came from Instagram.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write. And never stop writing. It doesn’t have to be everyday but keep writing. And forget all these rules. Write what you feel, write what you think. I remember when I first started writing poetry, I was trying too hard to follow all these rules and textbook examples of what poetry should look and sound like. Then I realized that there are no rules in art. You just express yourself and I guarantee you there would be dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of individuals who feel the same way.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I like to tell myself I’ll retire but I have a soul of creator so I’m always going to be writing in some way or another. My last two books were collections of poetry but I think I want to go back to my other love, writing novels. So before I’m 30, I might try to publish another novel.

About the Author

Author/Poet Lamar Neal

Outreach specialist by day at a community college. Writer and creative by night. Trying to balance a creative mind in the professional world without succumbing to the doubts every self published writer has. Hopeful that the world will be able to see my writing, not so I can be rich and famous but so I can have my voice heard and connect with others. 

Instagram– @theghostcharades

Twitter-@Ghostcharades

Facebook– /lamarKeonNeal

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