Tag Archives: poetry book tour

Damnation and Cotton Candy by Alan S. Kessler Review

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

Author and poet Alan S. Kessler take readers on a journey of beauty and melancholy in his book “Damnation and Cotton Candy”.

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The Synopsis

A book of poetry from Alan S. Kessler, the award-winning author of the 2022 Eric Hoffer Finalist Ghost Dancer, and other books. These are poems best served with hot cocoa, melancholy, and a sharp knife.

The Review

This was such a profound and captivating collection of poetry. The author’s ability to weave macabre imagery and atmosphere into the poetry while offering commentary on life itself was so engaging for a reader to behold. The natural way the author is able to weave dark tones with profound emotions was truly inspiring to behold.

Yet to me, it was the way the imagery blended with the deep-seated themes of this narrative. From politics and warfare to hollow niceties between strangers and corporations as a whole, the message of finding hope is not in the materialism of our current world but in the philosophy and spirituality that exists just on the fringes of our society as a whole. 

The Verdict

Mesmerizing, haunting, and emotionally driven, author Alan S. Kessler’s “Damnation and Cotton Candy” is a must-read book of poetry. The imagery and atmosphere do a great job of portraying the capitalist machine of our world with the truly dark and macabre aspects of life, and readers will be hard-pressed to put this creative, artistic, and chilling book down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alan Kessler grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He says, “Childhood shapes us. Mine was, ironically, a gift. The sadism of my mother and the violence of my father, a murderer who died in prison, created within me a countervailing force, the ability to write empathetically about characters who, as Faulkner said, not merely endure but prevail.”

“Resilience isn’t an achievement, it exists as a matter of luck. I was lucky. I have a wonderful wife and four caring, intelligent children–even a dog,” according to Kessler. “I am blessed.”

https://www.alanskessler.com/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B9NZV8NB/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61425691-damnation-and-cotton-candy%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DozDQcx97Lh%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Guest Post: The Story Behind The Poem “Unacknowledged” by Author Chelsea DeVries

On March 10, 2020, I sat down and wrote “Unacknowledged,” but before I ever sat down and wrote that poem, I already had so many poems I wrote while working in the toxic workplace.

I began working there as an administrative assistant after Thanksgiving 2018. I recognized that the place was dark and dimly lit and seemed to be full of problems. After the interview, I realized how much I truly did not want to take that job but felt like maybe the difference I made at my last job by being a force for good by choosing kindness and mercy would be something I could extend to this place.

Everyone I know was happy for me as I finally would be working full time following college, but not everything that glitters is actually gold. 

To cope with the harassment and abuse, I would write poems, but a lot of my poems started hinting at something I never saw coming. I was definitely falling in love fast and hard with the young man I had befriended there. 

It was therapeutic to work eight hours a day there and try to do whatever good I could while also have this secret love that no one knew about.

Which was how “Unacknowledged” came to be. I had all these feelings that were basically suppressed instead of expressed, which I understood was the key to my healing. 

Once I sat down and wrote that poem on March 10, 2020, I knew it was time to let this poetry collection pour out of me. 

“Unacknowledged” was 35 stanzas and 738 words. And what came out when I sat down to write this poem is the same poem you read in the collection. I present to you “Unacknowledged.”

Unacknowledged

I shouldn’t be writing this

A psychic told me that

“Nothing would come from this situation.”

A counselor told me not to feed you

With my thoughts or mental energy

I keep thinking about when I put a novel out

Should I acknowledge you and your seasonal

Part in my story?

It’s this persistent picture that

keeps playing in my head.

I see your nickname on the page

Where you dedicate a book to someone.

How do you dedicate a book to someone who blocked you on Facebook?

Ignores your texts?

Never offered an explanation

About why he no longer wanted to be friends with you?

Were you scared that I would beg you to love me?

I am sorry that I left without telling you

Why 

That I would never blame you for the

Bad and evil things I witnessed and experienced

at the hands of someone

with envy in their heart

and greed stuck

between their tongue

and their teeth.

I didn’t know what to say to you

I didn’t know if you would 

Tell me to stay or

be angry With me

Because

I saw them

For who they are

Instead of just pretending

I was dumb, deaf, and blind.

Gone is your musical laugh and the sparkle in your eyes

As you would smirk at me  

With this synchronicity

You thought it was

All a ringless circus too.

The guy in the top hat

The Greatest Showman

No Hugh Jackman

He couldn’t juggle,

Tell jokes,

Or tame a caged lion.

Spitting fire was his one and only talent

As the master of Ceremonies,

The elephant he rode

Would spray water from her trunk

Killing dreams, Hopes, and new ideas

Left and right

Unlike Dumbo,

She was angry because her ringmaster clipped

Her wings and convinced her she couldn’t fly.

Fly she could but he kept her chained.

Chained and dependent on him

for bread, water, and a place to rest her head. 

Yet, he would demean her

Keep her feeling small

So she always had to

Validate herself 

In his eyes only…

It was a dark and dreary

Tim Burton movie

We were a part of

But like Zac Efron and Zendaya

In the Greatest Showman,

The characters we played

Were not convinced

Their love was enough

To make it.

Were you mad that I cared about you

Or were you mad because

there was nothing we could do about it?

Were you mad that I had the courage

And open door to grasp my freedom

Before they hung me

Like the witch they believed me to be?

I did care about you.

I was so thankful for you.

I think you are a beautiful person.

So ordinary but extraordinary all in one person.

So complex

Such an enigma.

To me, you will always be a mystery.

Our timing was neither wrong nor right.

You were good to me.

I encouraged you.

You made me feel heard.

You didn’t look at me

For my body or physique.

Yet, whenever I looked at you

I felt ok to be me.

And for that,

I can’t regret

How I fell for you

With no real

Motive or reason.

I just loved you.

I still love you.

But you won’t talk to me.

So I guess I will write you the dedication

After all.

Because it feels better to acknowledge you

Than pretend you didn’t matter to me.

That you still matter to me.

That I don’t think of you when I listen to Billie Eillish

And remember how I made you laugh because I said she may be a Satanist.

She’s not.

Yet, just the notion of that didn’t make you

Flinch or judge me, and you never forget

Someone like that.

Someone who runs towards you and your outlandishness

Instead of away from it.

Someone who makes you repeat what you said

Even if you mumbled it because it deserved to be

Heard.

Someone who always helped me, talked to me,

And believed in me until you didn’t.

Someone who I miss

Someone who I pray for every single day

Someone like YOU

You have to acknowledge someone like that.

Even if it was only a series of moments

they made an ordinary boring job and 

made it

memorable.

Just the thought of you makes me look back

At those months of my life and smile.

Even with tears in my eyes.

I’ve let you go

 but I just had to let you know  

that I acknowledge

all you were to me and

all I hope you become.

Mr. Suncoast,

This is for you

About the Author

Chelsea DeVries wanted to be a writer at the age of 7. Her first publishing credit came at the age of 14 with a poem in a student anthology. She then wrote nonstop while doing IB classes in high school. She published two YA novels while still in high school which after over 10 years she rewrote as a NA romance that she looks to put out as her next publication. She is a seeker of justice and uses her words to free this world’s outcasted, peculiar, and underdogs from the chains that bind them. When not writing she runs and does PR for authors and musicians with her bookish brand The Smart Cookie Philes. Though she’s Florida born and raised, she has New Jersey in her veins. She currently lives in Port Richey, FL with her squad of two dogs. In October 2020, DeVries was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of Autism.

Still, The Sky by Tom Pearson Review

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

Author and Poet Tom Pearson take readers on a coming-of-age journey using classic mythological tales and poetry to paint a picture of love and loss in the book “Still, the Sky”.

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The Synopsis

Still, the Sky is a speculative mythology rendered through poetry and art that combines the tales of Icarus and the Minotaur and creates for them a shared coming-of-age through a correspondence of written fragments, artifacts, ecofacts, and ephemera. This metaphoric framework conjures a labyrinth of fragmented memories, confessions, and tributes, all mixing in fever dreams and reflections on innocence and experience, flight and failure, love and loss.

The Review

I absolutely loved this collection of poetry. The immersive style of writing the author displayed brought the iconic and classic Greek myths and legends that people have come to know and love to live in a visceral way. The blend of poetry with mythology, as well as installation artwork and artifacts, made the collection feel vibrant and captivating.  The themes the author explores through these myths were quite profound, from the pursuit of glory and the realization of failure to the profound sense of love and loss. 

To me, the author’s ability to not only take these iconic myths and transport the reader into them through poetry but to give a more in-depth analysis and approach to these iconic figures was so mesmerizing and heartfelt. The depth of character development and heart that these poems brought to life was so invigorating, and the imagery used in the author’s writing and the art itself really captured the magic and power that ancient mythology tends to hold.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, emotional, and thoughtful, author Tom Pearson’s “Still, The Sky” was a marvelous and moving work of art that fans of poetry and mythology will not be able to put down. The natural fusion of imagery and poetry in this book brought the heart and passion that these classic mythological characters needed. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tom Pearson is an artist and poet who works in dance, theater, film, visual art, and multi-media. He is known for his original works for theater, including the long-running, off-Broadway immersive hits THEN SHE FELL and THE GRAND PARADISE and as a founder and co-artistic director of the New York City-based Third Rail Projects and Global Performance Studio.

He is the author of two books, THE SANDPIPER’S SPELL and STILL, THE SKY. More information available at his website and on social media at: tompearsonnyc.com and @tompearsonnyc.

https://tompearsonnyc.com/

Sticks and Stones: Full Story Edition by Chelsea DeVries Review

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

Author and poet Chelsea DeVries take readers on a journey of finding the strength to rise above the toxicity in life in the book “Sticks and Stones:  Full Story Edition”.

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The Synopsis

In Sticks and Stones, DeVries paints a poetic picture of rising above toxicity, love found and love lost, and delves into what it means to find strength in the human spirit. Through poetry, the reader finds a voice of strength and the rebuilding of one’s heart a home with all the sticks and stones thrown upon it. Newly expanded with more full color photos, 41 new poems, and a rewrite of Drowning in An Ocean of No Tomorrows, DeVries shows a full poetic picture of turning pain into poetry in order so you can rise above whatever is pulling you under.

The Review

This was a brilliant and heartfelt collection of poetry. The author did an incredible job of creating poems that evoked strong emotional responses within the reader while also speaking to the reader on a multitude of levels. The imagery and tone the poems struck were particularly powerful, as the poems crafted their own narratives in the reader’s minds that evoked the raw feelings that the author was able to put onto paper.

For me, the themes the author explores in these poems made them feel that much more compelling. The ways in which the author brings important topics to life,  such as mental health, workplace harassment and harassment in general, toxic behavior, and the prospect and loss of love, made this collection feel truly engaging and mesmerizing.

The Verdict

Haunting, emotional, and thoughtful, author Chelsea DeVries’s “Sticks and Stones: Full Story Edition”, brings hope in the face of adversity through powerful poetry in this must-read collection. The personal and thought-provoking experiences the author shares with readers at the beginning of this book keep the reader invested in the author’s journey, and speak to the hope and strength that they drew upon to face down those adversities to become the person they are today. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Chelsea DeVries wanted to be a writer at the age of 7. Her first publishing credit came at the age of 14 with a poem in a student anthology. She then wrote nonstop while doing IB classes in high school. She published two YA novels while still in high school which after over 10 years she rewrote as a NA romance that she looks to put out as her next publication. She is a seeker of justice and uses her words to free this world’s outcasted, peculiar, and underdogs from the chains that bind them. When not writing she runs and does PR for authors and musicians with her bookish brand The Smart Cookie Philes. Though she’s Florida born and raised, she has New Jersey in her veins. She currently lives in Port Richey, FL with her squad of two dogs. In October 2020, DeVries was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of Autism.

Interview with Author Luanne Castle

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

Sometimes it seems as if I was always a writer. When I was a baby, I used to love magazines and would rip out each page and wad it up. Maybe I was being a critic, but I like to think that I loved the paper, ink, and pictures—not to mention the sound of the crumpling paper. I have always loved books, reading, and writing. However, I don’t think I was ready to begin to write in earnest until I was in my late twenties, when I had enough life experiences.

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What inspired you to write your book?

Rooted and Winged came about from the experiences I had throughout the writing of the poems and the memories that came to light during that period. The book took about five years to write as I began it after my chapbook Kin Types was published. Then, after COVID surfaced, I finished the final poems. These pandemic poems can be found in Section IV. Death, loss, aging, and terminal illness inhabit the final part of the book along with the lonely surreal feel of living in the first few months of a pandemic. “Hearing Aids” describes how my mother bought her first hearing aids during these scary months when we were both trapped within our homes almost two thousand miles apart, feeling isolated yet united:

“She pours tea there / and I pour mine here. Our spouts speak the same.” 

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

I hope readers draw what they personally glean from the poems, drawing upon their own perspectives and experiences. Writing poetry is a discovery process for the poet. I don’t know what I am going to learn until I complete a poem. From this collection, I found that the images of flight are meaningful to me as both a spiritual site and as a source of great power. But without roots to tie me to earth and its human and animal inhabitants, I would lose the balance that guides the power.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I have loved poetry since I was a child. I still love to read poetry, but I also enjoy memoirs and mysteries. I tend to write in short bursts of time regularly, which is very conducive to writing poetry. To write a novel, I would need large blocks of time. Also, I love the imagery and succinct quality of poetry.

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

Definitely my blog, Writersite.org. I started it ten years ago and have made wonderful friends through blogging. My readers are so supportive of my writing and me personally. Facebook is an excellent way to share my writing with friends from different parts of my life and with other writers. I like Twitter because I can keep up with what is going on with other writers. Instagram is fun, but I use it more for my art journaling since it is a visual social media.

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

Read, read, read in several genres, especially in the genre you want to write in. And take every in-person or online workshop or writing class that you can. Many free or low-cost ones become available, so watch for them. Don’t publish too soon. Even if you are planning a novel or full-length memoir, start with smaller projects and submit stories and poems to literary journals. Finally, don’t publish a book that hasn’t been adequately edited. 

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

I just completed my memoir in flash nonfiction “scraps.” Fittingly, it’s called Scrap: Salvaging a Family. I’ve also been assembling a chapbook of poems based on Little Red Riding Hood stories.

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About the Poet

Luanne Castle’s Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Award.  Her first poetry collection, Doll God, winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, was published by Aldrich Press. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she studied at the University of California, Riverside (PhD); Western Michigan University (MFA); and Stanford University.  Her writing has appeared in Copper Nickel, TAB, The American Journal of Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Verse Daily, Saranac Review, Lunch Ticket, River Teeth, and other journals. An avid blogger, she can be found at luannecastle.com.  She divides her time between California and Arizona, where she shares land with a bobcat. Her heart belongs to her rescue cats.

Luanne blogs at Writer Site and The Family Kalamazoo.

https://www.luannecastle.com/

Book Spotlight & Author Q&A: Flowers Grow on Broken Walls by Farena Bajwa

Hello everyone! Welcome to a special post today, where I am lucky enough to share with you the upcoming book from author Farena Bajwa, Flowers Grow on Broken Walls, a beautiful collection of poetry about healing and finding out who we are in the world. I hope you’ll enjoy this special spotlight, including a fantastic Q&A with the author. 

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Synopsis:

Flowers Grow on Broken Walls is a unique collection of poems and prose that talks about healing and finding yourself in a world that constantly tells you that’s who you shouldn’t be.

The poems, which tell a story, go over our everyday human emotions; from being heartbroken and questioning our self-worth in a world of judgment and scrutinizing social media, to finding ourselves and appreciating those really important in our lives – especially our inner, true selves. 

The collection displays a raw and honest portrayal of an artist who cannot help but create something beautiful in the midst of the ugliness she has been put through, and who continues to hope against all odds, as she lets go of what she has been told is important and finds herself in one truly is.

The story that starts with heartache ends with healing, it starts with rejection from someone but ends with self-acceptance, which is the only way for true healing.

Author Bio:

Farena Bajwa is a talented poet, storyteller, actor, filmmaker, and voice-over artist. Even though she studied Marketing Management, her creativity comes from her heart. Whether it’s filmmaking, voice-over, or acting, she owes it to her life philosophy: ‘’learning by doing’’. ‘’Flowers Grow on Broken Walls’’ is Farena’s first written collection of poetry that speaks about the journey to self-healing after experiencing the loss of someone, but mostly, the loss of yourself. She wants to inspire her readers using her power of words to make them feel less alone and to let them know that no matter what they go through, healing is just around the corner, already cheering for you.

Website: https://farenabajwa.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brilliant_mess/

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Author Q&A

On writing:

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

I am primarily inspired by my own experiences, but I love to hear and to learn about other people’s experiences too. I am also inspired by situations going on in the world.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been journaling my whole life. But I only started writing poems when I started writing Flowers Grow on Broken Walls. The interesting thing is, I’ve always had thoughts running through my head formed in a poetic way. When I didn’t understand, when something happened, I would think those thoughts in small poems. I thought art would be able to lift off the weight from unpleasant situations I was dealing with right away. And oftentimes, it turned out to be true. 

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

Yes, constantly. But I don’t get intimidated by it. Whenever I have a writer’s block I just feel like: “Oh, I am probably not meant to be writing right now. So let’s see what I can do to take are of myself/have fun/get some other work done etc. And eventually the block ends and I am inspired again. The key? Letting go.

What is your next project?

All I know is that I am currently writing poems. One poem after another. I don’t have a specific theme, I guess I’ll find out when the time comes.

What genre do you write and why?

I write poetry because poems are able to give my feelings a voice. They help me understand what I am feeling and also how I can deal with these emotions.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

The invisible life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. A magnificent piece of work dancing between different timelines, magic, and blood cold reality that we often think boring. But truthfully, it is our reality that is more enchanting than magic if you stop taking friendly gestures of strangers, or new shortcuts you discovered etc. for granted.  

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

A reviewer wrote:

I loved reading Shakespeare and feel that this author could certainly be a modern day version of him. The disappointments, loss, love, and other happenstances of life are well within these poems.”

Just reading the name Shakespeare connected to my book gave me all the right chills- and I am so grateful for it😊

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?

The biggest challenge was having to go back to these intense negative feelings that I was experiencing. I had to recall every emotion and I was scared I would be pulled back into the dark. The biggest reward was knowing that I had overcome these feelings. While I was writing the pages for the first few chapters that cover those lower feelings, I realized how much I had changed and how it didn’t affect me as I thought it would.

On rituals:

Where do you write?

Primarily in Cafés. The smell of coffee, the cozy ambience and the gentle, faint talking of people inspires and energizes me. 

Do you write every day?

No, only when I am inspired. I can’t write if I don’t feel the words I am writing. If a word only feels like a word to me and not like an emotion, I can’t write because it doesn’t seem truthful to me. Afterall, poetry is all about a feeling wanting to take shape, so it can be released.

What is your writing schedule?

I don’t set specific timeframes to write, nor do I schedule specific days. I write when I feel like I have something to say, when something is bothering me, when I need to put my feelings into written words. I can write for a whole week and create 3 poems a day or I won’t write for weeks. I can write and pretend but I can’t lie about how I feel. Also, readers are not stupid, they know instantly if someone is being authentic in their words or not.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

I almost only write my poems on paper. Flowers Grow on Broken Walls was entirely handwritten. I bought a notebook with colorful flowers on the cover when I started writing my book. I saw that notebook and it just called out to me. I didn’t know then, “Flowers” would become the main message in my book😊 

Fun stuff:

Favorite dessert?

Cake. In any shape or form. I love cake. I would die for cake.

What TV series are you currently binge watching?

Killing Eve and Peaky Blinders. My two favorite series I’ve already watched a thousand times. Both series are brilliant. Amazing writing, amazing acting, fast paced, dramatic with moments of fun and ease in between and – I just love these kinds of series!

What song is currently playing on a loop in your head?

There are actually two songs:

Love wave by The 1-800

Ebb tide by The Platters

What is your go-to breakfast item?

Coffee. Always and forever coffee. 

Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

Ash Ketchum of Pokémon…I mean come on. How can you not find that drive and that determination that boy had attractive? He wanted to become the Pokémon master and he was GOING for it. Damn.

One thing no one would expect from you.

I have a deep love for dinosaurs. I am fascinated by the thought that there’ve been huge reptiles walking on our earth once. I used to collect dinosaur figures, read books and watch documentaries (and of course Jurassic Park). I wanted to become a paleontologist when I was a child because I always hoped to find a living dinosaur one day. It is my dream to see a real-life sized skeleton of a dinosaur someday. I never had the opportunity to see one.

Really? What is your favorite dinosaur?

A Brachiosaurus. You’ve got to love this teeny tiny head on this big fat body. The fact that it weighed more than 28 tons but only eat plants, it belonged to one of the tallest dinosaurs and could easily crush another dinosaur with a slight step – but still was one of the friendliest and more peaceful reptiles is just ridiculous- and so cute. 

Interview with Judy Croome 

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

I was born in Zimbabwe and now live in South Africa. I could never find my working niche, but the one constant in my life was my love of reading. From when I was a teenager, I’d always wanted to write but lacked confidence and discipline. In my late-30s I decided to finally write! My first novel took ten arduous years, but once I wrote The End, I knew I was doing what I wanted to do.

What inspired you to write your book?

The fear and panic that swept the world when the covid pandemic began made me consider that the modern generation has such mental, emotional and spiritual pressure in a world that is so uncertain and dangerous. I wanted to explore how the pandemic deepened these challenges.

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

To inspire the belief that, no matter how bleak or dark life seems, the human spirit can face —and overcome — anything if we hold onto hope.

What drew you into this particular genre?

Poetry became my primary genre by accident. Like most authors, with ever-increasing daily demands on my time, I constantly struggled to find long periods of unfractured time to write. Wanting to write every day to keep my creative juices flowing, I discovered that I could write a poem a day until I had enough for a whole volume. 

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

Leaving book reviews on Goodreads. Keeping active on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Write every day –once you’ve started a new writing project, never miss a day of writing even if you only write 100 words a day. 

Be authentic. Try to avoid writing what you think will sell, what people say you must write. Whether you’re writing an entertaining genre novel or a literary masterpiece, leave your soul on the page.

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

Currently working on a collection of short stories, predominantly magical realism, although some of the stories have no magical realism element. Barring any unforeseen delays (like writer’s block!) that book should hit the shelves in the South African summer 2022. After that I’m toying with the idea of another volume of poetry before tackling a long-held dream of mine – a trilogy of novels starting with the Anglo-Boer War, then the South African Border War and the final book will be set in post-1994 democratic South Africa.

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About the Author

Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories, poems and articles have appeared in various magazines, anthologies and newspapers, such as The Sunday Times, The Huffington Post (USA) and the University of the Witwatersrand’s Itch Magazine. In 2021 and 2016, Judy was the poetry judge for Writers2000’s Annual Writing Competition. In 2021, Judy presented an hour long workshop to Writers 2000 called “The Gift of Poetry”

Judy loves her family, cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.)

Her fiction and poetry books ‘the dust of hope: rune poems” (2021); “Drop by Drop: poems of loss” (2020); “a stranger in a strange land” (2015),”The Weight of a Feather & Other Stories” (2013), “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available from Aztar Press.

“Street Smart Taxpayers: A practical guide to your rights in South Africa” (Juta Law, 2017) was co-authored with her late husband Dr. Beric Croome (1960 – 2019). Follow her on GoodReadsFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Jan. 27: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (review)

Feb. 3: Anthony Avina Blog (review)

Feb. 8: Wall-to-Wall Books (review)

Feb. 9: Little Miss Star (review)

Feb. 17: Necromancy Never Pays (review)

Feb. 22: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (review)

March 2: Anthony Avina Blog (Interview)

March 8: True Book Addict (review)

March 17: Pages for Sanity (review)

March 22: the bookworm (review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #dustofhope and @judy_croome

the dust of hope: rune poems by Judy Croome Review

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

Author and poet Judy Croome takes readers on an emotional and calming journey through the modern-day anxieties we all face through a return to the meanings and power behind ancient Nordic runes and poetry in her collection, “the dust of hope: rune poems”.

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The Synopsis

Judy Croome’s latest collection of poetry returns to the ancient ways of the Nordic runes, to shine a light of hope and healing as we navigate through the wilderness of anxiety permeating these early years of the twenty-first century.

The simple verses console the reader with a calm acceptance that, even during a global pandemic, everyday life ebbs and flows with the natural rhythms of the timeless oceans.

Here are poems that invite us to stop, to breathe, and to see the world around us from a new perspective birthed within the centre of our souls.

The Review

This was such an intriguing and captivating book of poetry. As someone who has been fascinated with mythology, ancient history and cultures, and the study of ancient belief systems, this book really spoke to me. The idea that each of the author’s poems represented an individual rune was so unique and was amazing to see connect with the author’s message and themes. The way the author was able to captured personal experiences and emotions they had been going through and tie them into the overall narrative of this collection was a brilliant sign of the author’s ability to invoke imagery and tone within her poems.

The balance the author struck between the representation of the ancient runes with the modern-day struggles both internally and externally we all face was perfectly captured. The eloquent yet powerful way the author captured the isolation and pain that the quarantine and COVID-19 Pandemic has caused over the last couple of years was not only relevant but emotionally hard-hitting and gave voice to an emotion we all have felt at one time or another over the last couple of years.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, beautifully written, and thoughtful in its approach, author Judy Croome’s “the dust of hope: rune poems” is a must-read book of poetry. The woven way the author brings together the personal experiences and emotions they hold with the magic and healing nature of the runes and their history made this such a calming and intuitive experience, and a wonderful read overall. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories, poems and articles have appeared in various magazines, anthologies and newspapers, such as The Sunday Times, The Huffington Post (USA) and the University of the Witwatersrand’s Itch Magazine. In 2021 and 2016, Judy was the poetry judge for Writers2000’s Annual Writing Competition. In 2021, Judy presented an hour long workshop to Writers 2000 called “The Gift of Poetry”

Judy loves her family, cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.)

Her fiction and poetry books ‘the dust of hope: rune poems” (2021); “Drop by Drop: poems of loss” (2020); “a stranger in a strange land” (2015),”The Weight of a Feather & Other Stories” (2013), “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available from Aztar Press.

“Street Smart Taxpayers: A practical guide to your rights in South Africa” (Juta Law, 2017) was co-authored with her late husband Dr. Beric Croome (1960 – 2019). Follow her on GoodReadsFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Jan. 27: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (review)

Feb. 3: Anthony Avina Blog (review)

Feb. 8: Wall-to-Wall Books (review)

Feb. 9: Little Miss Star (review)

Feb. 17: Necromancy Never Pays (review)

Feb. 22: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (review)

March 2: Anthony Avina Blog (Interview)

March 8: True Book Addict (review)

March 17: Pages for Sanity (review)

March 22: the bookworm (review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #dustofhope and @judy_croome

Your Words, Your World by Louise Belanger Review

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

A beautiful collection of poetry with an equally stunning pairing of photographs brings poet and author Louise Belanger’s poems of faith, love, and trust to life in the collection, “Your Words, Your World”.

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The Synopsis

Poetry For Your Soul – Stunning Photographs

Zoom to Heaven

The most beautiful love poem

Where God is not there

Promises…

A handful of cloud

Clowns…

During the night

These are some of the titles of the poetry you will read in this beautiful, inspiring collection complemented by captivating nature photographs.

Read poems about God and having a relationship with Him. Poems about trust, missing a loved one, childhood memories, Christmas, Heaven, Easter…

Other poems are lovely stories, the length of a page.

The poetry is easy to understand. It is for everyone whether poetry is your genre or not, you will enjoy it. 

The Review

This was a heartfelt and emotional blend of poetry and photography, bringing the warmth and heart of nature into the creative landscape the author created with each and every poem. The balance of storytelling with artistic imagery each poem evoked within the reader was great to read and stirred within us all the emotions that really resonated so strongly.

Now while I personally am not religious, I thought the author found a way of blending the underlying theme of faith in the poems with the more open-ended interpretations that others could gather from these poems, and made the narrative of these poems really shine brightly. Of course, those who are religious will absolutely love the call to faith and God that she brings to life, and the artistry with which her words flow is just brilliant to read. 

The Verdict

Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, and thoughtful, author and poet Louise Belanger’s “Your Words, Your World” is a must-read book of poetry. The imagery and narrative-style poems will inspire and allow reflection for those who read them, and those who turn to faith will feel such a strong connection to this read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I am a Canadian poet and the author of Your Words and my new release: Your Words Your World.

Both books are beautiful and inspiring poems complemented by nature photographs.

I started writing poetry in the spring of 2020. Pouring my emotions on paper, describing beautiful scenery and stories that came to life in my head was quite new to me. With the encouragement and help from many friends, my dream became a reality.

I invite you to visit my website at https://www.louisebelangerauthor.com/