A Particle of You by Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis will be awarding an ePub copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In this new collection from well-established authors Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis, enjoy a series of love poems delicately crafted to stimulate emotional and endearing aspects of our deep connections with each other.

Cendrine and David have selected poems for this volume that perfectly capture feelings and nuances relating to romantic notions. They explore how love can fundamentally shape and change you, how it can feed your innermost muses/desires and ultimately how it can define you as a person, if you fully embrace it with every fibre of your being.

Love need not be scary or complicated. This collection shows us that even the simplest of intimate gestures can mean more to us when speaking from the heart and soul.

 

Enjoy an Excerpt

Loving You

Loving you is easy.
Your heart beats like
The midnight breeze,
Caressing the strings of my essence.

Loving you is easy.
Your smile tenderly
Invites reveries,
Exposing the chords of my mind.

Loving you is easy.
Your voice is like
Music to my inner ear,
And honey to my soul.

Loving you means completeness.
You answer the questions
Of my inner interactions.
You bless the seasons
Of my secret divinity.
God sent you to enlighten
The epiphany of my pen,
So that I can describe beauty
In words and thoughts,
And open the door to invisible realities.

Loving you makes me aware
Of my purpose in life.

Loving you brings me peace.

Loving you…

Loving you…

Is easy.

 

About the AuthorsCendrine Marrouat is a poet, photographer, author, and creator of literary forms. She has released more than 40 books, including Tree Reflections (2022), In Her Own Words: A Collection of Short Stories & Flashku (2022), After the Fires of Day: Haiku Inspired by Kahlil Gibran & Alphonse de Lamartine (2021), Songs in Our Paths: Haiku & Photography (2020-2021), and In the Silence of Words: A Three-Act Play (2018). 

Cendrine’s work has appeared in many publications. She is the creator of the Sixku, Flashku, Sepigram, Vardhaku, and Reminigram.

David Ellis is a poet, multi-genre writer/author and co-creator of literary forms, with a fondness for found poetry. 

He has released several poetry collections including Life, Sex & Death (which won an Inspirational Poetry Award), Soul Music the Colour of Magic, Lemons, Vinegar & Unvarnished Truths, See A Dream Within (based on the entire collected poetic works of Edgar Allan Poe), along with a Fifty Shades of Grey parody 50 Shapes of Cakes.

Think of him like a thriller novel – fast paced, relentless and impossible to put down!

Cendrine and David are the founders of Auroras & Blossoms, a platform dedicated to positive and inspirational creativity. Its flagship publication, the PoArtMo Anthology has given a voice to artists ages 13 and over from around the world for the last three years.

Cendrine and David have co-authored many books together, including Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography (2021) and Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku (2020). They have also created several poetry forms: the Kindku, the Pareiku, and the Hemingku.

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Go with the Flow by Rob Roy O’Keefe – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rob Roy O’Keefe, who is celebrating the recent release of Small Stones. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Go with the flow

One of the more common challenges that authors are asked about concerns writer’s block. That’s not the topic for today, however. What I find more interesting is the opposite state, something known in psychological circles as “flow.”

Here’s a somewhat clinical definition: flow refers to a state of mind which brings together cognitive, physiological and affective aspects. Flow is characterized by high levels of engagement or immersion in the particular activity you’re involved in. It’s sometimes discussed in context with sports, when it is usually referred to as being “in the zone.”

Whether I’m engaged in short format writing, like this article, or long format writing, it’s not unusual for me to experience this state of flow. The good part about it is that ideas seem to come out of nowhere, not just while writing, but when I’m involved in other activities like taking a long walk, working in the yard, or taking a really long walk so I don’t have to work in the yard. They’re usually the kind of ideas that feel like I’ve caught lightning in a bottle. I want to write them down immediately. They don’t always work out, but there’s a good chance they do.
I can attribute the development of some of the more interesting character traits in my book, Small Stories, A Perfectly Absurd Novel, to being in this state. Early on, I had decided to write one of the characters, Walt, as someone with a lot of anxieties, but I wanted him to express those in more unusual ways. The solution? When he’s anxious, he sneezes. By itself that might not seem all that unique, but Walt sneezes in languages that he doesn’t speak – Mandarin, Swedish, Farsi, and a host of others.

The downside is that when I’m in this state, I’m much more internally focused, which comes off as seeming distant or aloof to other people. It’s nothing intentional, it’s just hard to shut it off. Keep that in mind the next time someone doesn’t seem to be paying attention to what you’re saying. Sure, maybe they’re just being rude, or maybe they’re working on the next great novel.

Here’s an excerpt from my current novel, Small Stories, A Perfectly Absurd Novel

“First question,” announced Wanda. “Who are you and why are you running for Town Council? We’ll start with you, Mr. Small.”

“Wait!” Sasha interjected, catching everyone off guard.

“What’s wrong, Sasha?” Wanda asked.

“I just wanted to say this is very exciting!” Sasha exclaimed, keeping with tradition.

“Yes, I suppose it is,” Wanda acknowledged. “Okay, Duncan –”

“Wait!” Sasha was obviously still excited.

“What is it now. Sasha?” Wanda inquired, hoping to get back to the task at hand.

“I hope I win! No, I hope Duncan wins! Maybe we can all win!” Sasha was gushing enthusiasm, kind of like the verbal equivalent of Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser, dependable and dramatic.

Duncan decided to move on with the debate. “As you know, I’m Duncan Small, and –”

“Ha!” interrupted Walt.

“What do you mean ‘ha’?” asked Duncan.

“You’re using a classic Post Hoc fallacy,” Walt announced.

“I am? I don’t even know what that is.”

“You’re putting forth a premise that you are Duncan Small simply because you say you are,” Walt almost explained.

“But I am who I say I am,” Duncan asserted.

“We need proof.”

“Everyone here knows who I am!” Duncan countered, borrowing an exclamation mark from Sasha.

“Now you’ve simply inserted an Appeal to Authority fallacy. Ad verecundium,” Walt finished in Latin.

“Stop showing off,” Wanda pleaded with her brother. She then offered some background. “Walt was the top student in his Logical Fallacies class at Welcome Wagon University.”

Sasha jumped in. “I know all about fallacies! We learned about them in CIA training – Obfuscation 101! I’d tell you more, but I’m only allowed to describe it in misleading terms!”

Engaging in a debate seemed to profoundly change Walt. Suddenly he was calm, credible, and commanding. As for Sasha, in some way Duncan couldn’t quite grasp, she was making sense.

Duncan’s brain felt like it was under assault. While it tried to sort through all the layers of improbability just encountered, his mouth stepped in. “Huh? Welcome Wagon University??” was the best it could manage.

“Grata illustratio, receperint mundi,” Walt recited proudly. “‘Welcome enlightenment, welcome the world.’ Our class motto.”

Duncan’s brain hit reset and after a brief pause, came back online. “I think I need a break.”

A little tale of trial and error. Okay, mostly error.

Duncan and Maya Small have just moved to an out-of-the-way town filled with odd characters, quirky customs, and a power-obsessed local official who one day hopes to be declared emperor. Duncan is sharp enough to know something needs to change, and delusional enough to believe he’s the one to make it happen. The only thing standing in his way are feral ponies, radical seniors, common sense, and Duncan’s inability to do anything without a list.

Small Stories: A Perfectly Absurd Novel, is a tale of power, bake sales, manipulation, the Welcome Wagon, and diabolical forces at work in the shadows (mostly because they can’t afford to pay the light bill), although the Smalls soon discover nothing is at it seems. One thing is certain, however – there’s something funny going on.

About the Author:Rob Roy O’Keefe was raised in the Antarctic by a colony of emperor penguins, which explains both his love of fish and his intense anxiety when in the company of sea lions. At the age of 12 he left to go on walkabout, but upon learning that Australia was over 3,000 miles away, he took the more expedient route from Cape Melville, Antarctica to South America’s Cape Horn.

He wandered north through the Andes, accumulated an abundance of practical knowledge, such as how to convince a hungry condor that you are not carrion. He eventually stumbled upon the hut of an Incan shaman who took him on as an apprentice. After a decade of immersion into the mysteries of the unseen world, Rob departed, fully prepared for his eventual success in the fields of talking, commuting, and sitting behind a desk.

Today, Rob resides in New England’s Merrimack Valley, where he lives in a tree house made of Good Humor popsicle sticks held together by the discarded dreams of retired sailors.

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Home to Clare Harbor Box Set by Jacie Middlemann – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jacie Middlemann will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

They started out as strangers…but didn’t stay that way for long…

A devoted granddaughter willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe. Strangers who meet during the worst of conditions and become friends in the midst of chaos. Unexpected romance under the most unlikely circumstances. A puzzling mystery with its roots in historical events that took place centuries ago. And a storm that hides an ominous purpose that could change all their lives forever.

Sara knows before she walks into her grandparent’s home that her grandmother’s greatest fear will never be the storm or the threat it poses but instead the unknown that lays just beyond her front door. She knows too its cause and grieves that there is nothing she can do to change it.

Throughout the years of his career John has covered numerous battlefields including those that are a result of nature’s unyielding tempest. He fears this might be the worst one yet.

Mel didn’t expect to spend more than a few days in the large house where they’d taken refuge. She figured the storm would pass by and then they’d be off to their next assignment. The last thing she expected was David Payne.

Despite the fact that Lance was the bane of her teenage years, Tish knows that without the help of her father’s assistant, that the trip to North Carolina likely would have been a lot more challenging than it was. She’d been unequivocally terrified but his presence gave her strength she didn’t realize she had. She wasn’t certain how she felt about that…or him…or that he no longer irritated her the way he used to.

When Gary arrived at his family’s home in the mountains of North Carolina, he’s relieved that Sara and her grandparents along with their elderly friends are already there. But he is unable to take an easy breath until Tish finally arrives with Lance…and is not at all surprised at what he hears from Lance about their trip and the potential dangers they’d just barely been able to avoid.

He’s determined to do everything he can to keep their location safe…and unknown. Their knowledge, skills, and ingenuity are their greatest defense. For a time they would have to depend on themselves…it hadn’t take long to discover that the storm was never their greatest threat…but what is could change all their lives for the immediate future…or longer.

If you enjoy uplifting and heartfelt women’s fiction, young and older heroes and heroines filled with courage and compassion as they share joys and triumphs, and united they face and overcome tremendous challenges and tragedy, this book is for you.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Sara looked into her grandmother’s eyes. Because she knew what to look for, she saw past the forced cheeriness to the fear. In that moment she knew that no amount of pushing was going to do anything other than make her dig in her heels.

“Actually, I think I’m going to sit down here with you and your cohorts and play some bridge,” she said as she pulled out the only empty chair around the table.

“But…” Mel began then quieted when she saw the look she was getting from John. She looked over towards the table again, saw the worry in all of the faces around the table except the woman who’d just sat down in their midst.

“I forget exactly how this one goes. Someone explain the rules to me again,” Sara said cheerfully. She hated card games and everyone around the table knew it including her grandparents.

But she also knew that the fear her grandmother felt was overwhelming and very real for the woman who’d been all things to her. There was only one possible way she knew of that could possibly push her into doing something that otherwise terrified her.

“Now, Sara, don’t you think you should be getting on,” her grandmother said softly. “You know all the mountain roads and I’m certain many of them are still open.”

“I’m sure they are but I’d much rather sit this out with all of you. I can’t remember the last time I played cards. Deal me in.”

Maisie let out a long sigh. “I just want to grab a few things before we go.”

About the Author:Jacie Middlemann lives in Texas with her husband and a couple of cats who believe they rule…and sometimes they do.

When she’s not watching classic sitcoms or working on a needlework project for one of her kids, she loves to read women’s fiction and sometimes a good mystery suspense.

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An Imaginary Affair by Diana Raab – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Diana Raab will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

An Imaginary Affair is a collection of sensitive and sensuous poems for poets and non-poets who appreciate the challenges and intricacies of being human.

The poems touch on key human elements, such as love, desire, passion, memory, loss, and gratitude. The poet celebrates the joys, and pains inherent to a woman’s heart, while honoring the wisdoms and tones of Neruda’s poetry. Some of the epistolary poems are directed to Neruda in response to his riveting poems.

“In this intimate collection of poems, Diana Raab pays tribute to the sensual physicality of Pablo Neruda’s work and to her own real and invented lives. With unvarnished honesty, An Imaginary Affair celebrates a woman’s heart and mind through a handful of odes, epistolary poems, and the idea that memory and anticipation can sustain and nourish us; even drinking a glowing hot toddy is transformed into a meditation on how an ordinary act can awaken desire. Her unvarnished honesty gives equal attention to matters of mortality, where loss is lyrically considered (“…will you run from me / when trains sleep at their stations”), and also explored in the spirit of open curiosity (“How long does it take / for a pine casket to disintegrate / in this caving land…). These poems remind us that to be alive is to try and balance joy and lament, and how through this effort we more deeply inhabit the world and ourselves.” –Emma Trelles, author of Tropicalia and Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara

Enjoy an Excerpt

My Heart Broke Loose with the Wind

My Heart Broke Loose With the Wind

On the pages of a Khalil Gibran journal

my voice was freed—the wind squalled

through my brain beaten

down by words, abusive.

Such liberation possessed me wholly.

His revelation bloomed,

so unlike my mother’s mutterings

as she drifted in and out of madness.

My lines, at ten, engendered

many other poems holding and healing

me—once so deeply shattered.

Those words now yearning for the divine

just like the prophet Khalil Gibran.

About the Author:

Diana Raab is an award-winning, memoirist, poet, blogger, inspirational speaker, and workshop facilitator. As the author of nine books of nonfiction and poetry, Raab teaches workshops on writing for healing and transformation, inspiring others to use creativity for healing and self-discoveries. Her 2 latest books are WRITING FOR BLISS: A SEVEN-STEP PLAN FOR TELLING YOUR STORY AND TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE and WRITING FOR BLISS: A COMPANION JOURNAL, available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Publisher’s Weekly says this about WRITING FOR BLISS: “This thoughtful and detailed primer…targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir.”

Raab has written over 1000 articles and poems including her contributions to Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Wisdom Daily and many others. She has taught at UCLA Extension, the Santa Barbara’s Writer’s Conference, 1440 Multiversity, Hugo House and others.

Her chapbook, An Imaginary Affair: Poems Whispered to Neruda is written in response to his work.

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As an author, what scares me the most? by Abby Wynne – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Abby Wynne will be awarding a International – €50 off any of the digital products on the author’s website www.abbysonlineacademy.com to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

As an author, what scares me the most?

The blank page is something I’m used to, I worked as a scriptwriter for an education company. I would have a structure and a framework to write to, and a word count, and I’d usually be able to come up with something by the end of the day. So it’s not a blank page that I’m scared of.

Finishing something maybe is a little more frightening. Wondering if I said all the things, if I gave credit enough to each character. But the way that I write, the book practically writes itself and I only include whatever is important to keep the story moving along. When it’s finished, it’s finished, so I’m not afraid of that after all.

Now that I’ve written book 3 of The Inner Compass Trilogy, I don’t know what I’m going to write next. That excites me rather than scares me, because the space it provides, for me, is pure potential. It could be anything – stepping into one of the characters and writing a side story, a book on healing emotional eating, or one to teach people how to raise their energetic vibration. These are all things that are lurking around the corner. So it isn’t this that scares me the most.

People not liking my books. Well, people haven’t liked my healing methods, or my other books, so instead of being upset about it, I believe that those people just aren’t my people. Maybe they’re just not ready for the way that I think. Or maybe, my philosophy of ‘do your inner work means actually show up and do the work’ simply doesn’t suit everyone. Of course it doesn’t! Otherwise everyone would be doing it.

So what scares me the most? I guess selling the book, to you, to the world. Having to do a blog tour like this, to say what’s so great about what I am offering, to get bookshops to stock it, and someone to represent me and sell it to a wider audience. It’s not that I’m scared of doing interviews, I just don’t enjoy trying to convince someone to buy one of my books. If the book appeals to you, then please go buy it, and if you like it, buy one for your friends, leave me a great review, that sells the book for me! Because yes, that’s what I dislike the most. But I don’t think I’m really scared of anything. Universe – please don’t test me on that!

Thanks for reading!

When Marissa’s fiancé leaves her unexpectedly, she is left trying to put the broken pieces of her life back together again. The magical years of her childhood are now lost or long forgotten and, trapped in a downward spiral of worry and anxiety, nothing seems to be bringing the magic back any time soon.

Training to become a therapist, Marissa discovers an unforeseen talent for helping others and, for a while at least, she puts her own needs and concerns to one side. An unexpected windfall prompts a spontaneous trip to Peru, and an encounter while she is there triggers an astonishing series of events. Shaken but excited, Marissa embarks on a wonderful journey of revelation and adventure – after which, her life will never be the same again.

Marissa’s story is your story, is my story, is everybody’s story: we each must find our own true path through life, our one true way.

Abby Wynne, author and Shamanic Psychotherapist, brings all her wisdom to bear on Marissa’s amazing tale of discovery and healing. A catalyst for people’s healing processes, Abby is a problem solver, a creative artist, an alchemist, a healer, a mother, a daughter, a lover of life – and it shows in this, her first novel.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Marissa felt a huge wave of something come over her – was it excitement? Anxiety? She didn’t know what it was, only that she was relieved she was sitting down. She looked at her burrito and chips and suddenly didn’t want them anymore. She sipped her drink until the feeling passed. She wiped her forehead, yes there were drops of sweat there. What is wrong with me? It’s a gift, it’s money, I get to choose what to do with it. Calm down.

Marissa came back to her desk, still a little shaky, and discovered a brochure for Peru had been shoved under her keyboard. As she pulled it out she saw the colours and the mountains and her heart leapt as if she had discovered contraband. She held her hands out in front of her and saw that they were shaking. What is this about? She felt hopeless, whatever this was, she needed to surrender to it. She shoved the brochure quickly into the top drawer of her desk and sat down, catching her breath and bringing her focus back to the moment. She woke up her computer and there was an email in her inbox from Sarah with just three words in the subject line: Come with me. She deleted the email immediately and, still shaking, slowly opened up her spreadsheet.

Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Her stomach was nauseous. As she looked at the numbers she started to feel a little more settled, the shaking subsided, then another email popped in from Sarah. ‘Well?’ it said. Jeezuz it’s as if she knows what’s going on inside me. But I have money now, I actually could go… How much money did he give me? Marissa opened a tab on her web browser and logged into her bank account, not really knowing what to expect. There was a deposit of €8,000 with a note ‘from Uncle Louis – first instalment’. Suddenly, a wave of calmness swept over her and something inside solidified. That’s enough to pay off my loan and cover my college fees, with some left over. I really could go to Peru with Sarah.

The texture of this thought felt very different from the ungrounded, anxious thinking she had been doing the past few days. I could ask Michelle from the upstairs flat to mind Tobermory for me. Half term is coming up, so I’d not miss too much college. This would be a great adventure and it would also be educational – What am I afraid of? I’ve got the money.

She emailed Sarah back: ‘When are you going and how much will this cost me?’

Like magic, Sarah was there at her desk with a big beaming smile.
‘Are you serious?’

Marissa nodded her head as the butterflies flew in droves in her stomach against the calmness, it felt like she had swallowed one of those majestic mountains.

‘Look. At. Me.’ said Sarah. ‘Are you serious?’

Marissa turned to Sarah and looked her in the eye. ‘Yes. Yes, I am serious.’ Marissa was suddenly calmer than she had been for a whole week.

About the Author

Abby Wynne is the bestselling author of the “One Day at a Time Diary”, “How to Be Well” and “Energy Healing made Easy.” The Inner Compass Trilogy is her first novel, weaving her knowledge of shamanism, psychotherapy and energy healing into an exciting, fast-paced story which spans across many dimensions. Abby’s based in Ireland and lives with her husband, 4 children, a dog and a cat! Abby offers many ways to feel supported while you are on your path of healing; her mission is to empower people by teaching them how to heal themselves.

Website | Abby’s Online Academy | Healing for Healers Podcast | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

You can buy The Inner Compass Trilogy on all good online bookstores.

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Is a Poet “made” or “born”? by Paul Guerin – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Paul Guerin will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Is a Poet “made” or “born”?

“Poetry – a literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.”

I don’t know the answer to the question of whether a poet is “made” or “born”, but I suspect the answer is the latter. We can’t help it – we were born that way. In my own case, I know that my life experiences [education, upbringing, opportunities or the lack thereof, love, pain and adversity], all played an important part and all of those experiences were instrumental in what ultimately emerged as “Paul Guerin the Poet”.

Poetry means different things to different people. For me, it is all about feelings. If it captures the emotions of the reader, a poem will resonate and fill the soul. It can mean everything to one person and not much at all to another. The mood of the reader and no-one else, determines the outcome.

For example, love poems are wonderful when you are in love and their passion is amazing. If you are facing adversity however, love poems likely will just annoy you.

Making a decision to “let the inner poet emerge” is not easy. This is particularly so for a professional person, known for providing down-to-earth and sound advice to business clients over a period of decades. The fear, of course, is that my inner poet will not be taken seriously.

It is not surprising therefore, that it takes considerable courage to write about one’s innermost thoughts and feelings and then a whole lot more courage to actually proceed to publication and share those secrets with the world at large. But I proceeded throwing fate to the wind and published Poetry from my Heart; A Journey through Feelings. Shortly after the book came out, all four of my children told me how proud they were of the courage I showed in sharing my life’s experiences with the world. That was very humbling as a father but also was the icing on the cake that affirmed I had made the right decision to come clean and share the real me!

My creative writing abilities were dormant for years, buried inside until I was able to find and accept a sound level of emotional freedom and belief in myself. After that, it took many more years of soul searching and positive encouragement from close friends, for me to come out of the literary closet and admit to family and friends, to clients and even to complete strangers, that YES I am a poet and I have stuff to share with you, some of which you will most definitely find personal and sensitive.

My poems span the period from my birth until now at age 75. They are based on my life experiences – those “designer moments” that I refer to elsewhere. So I guess you could say I was born into poetry and groomed by life itself from day one until I found the courage to be out here.

Poetry has a healing power that nurtures the soul and quietens the mind and so I hope that Poetry from my Heart; A Journey through Feelings will do just that for the reader. Whatever a reader’s situation is in life, I hope there is something in my book to ease his or her journey.

Warmly,
Paul Guerin

Poetry: writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience, in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm.

Poetry means different things to different people. For me, it is all about feelings. If it captures the emotions of the reader, a poem will resonate and fill the soul. It can mean everything to one person and not much at all to another. The mood of the reader and no-one else determines the outcome.

For example, love poems are wonderful when you are in love and their passion is amazing. If you are facing adversity, however, love poems likely will just annoy or even anger you.

In “Poetry from my Heart”, I have attempted to divide the poems into categories which will fit your mood no matter what you are experiencing at the time you choose to explore them. There should be something for everyone, no matter whether you are in love, out of love, you hurt, you are lonely, angry, abandoned, or you are facing other challenges in your life.

Poetry has a healing power that nurtures the soul and quietens the mind, and so I hope that whatever your situation is in life, you will find something here that helps you safely on your journey.

Enjoy an Excerpt

You awoke my world

I met you and you awoke my world
Suddenly the birds sang louder
And the music seemed more magical
Our souls touched and our hearts beat as one

We both know that this is not possible
We will pinch each other to see if it is real
We both know there are hurdles ahead
But just now we do not care

I promise you I will never control you
Promise me you will love me always
Let us promise each other forever friendship
Let’s become the best friends of our dreams

I promise you can be free with me
That I will always want you to fly on your own
I will always be here for you no matter what
I swear these promises to the God inside my soul

Time will pass and we will climb mountains
We are a team of simple, pure, amazing grace
The changes we have made in our lives are huge
Let’s move forward with the speed of mutual lightening

At times I feel afraid of the pace and the risks this change may bring
At times I simply want to be alone to figure the right path
At times I stagger, falling and getting back up
Always, I have been there for you without a word

When you need space, it is freely yours to have
I will never hold you when you need to be free
My soul will never smother your free spirit
I will always hold you when you need to be held

About the Author:As a very young boy, I lived in a small Irish townland village called Castletownroche. The village was situated in the very beautiful and pastoral County Cork. I had an Irish uncle who played in a showband and who taught me to fish at age four. I wrote a poem about that. My mother was absent and I never knew my father. I wrote another poem about that. We lived in abject poverty. I survived by the grace and loving kindness of an old Irish grandmother sporting a black dress, black shawl and a wicked temper driving a razor-sharp tongue. I called her Nana.

Nana taught me to fear her retribution and used it to keep me safe and provide security that I could find nowhere else. Well into my teens, my inner world was cast in fear and I had no real sense of belonging or attachment to anyone or to anything. The inability to handle those feelings eventually led me to substance abuse. My journey along that road has generated much of the poetry of adversity, hope, and inspiration that you will find in this book. I truly hope that those poems in particular will salve the souls of those of you who are still trudging that happy road to destiny on your way back from hell.

Not surprisingly, I have had difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships throughout my life, and much of the love poetry is about those failures and many, many, sorry attempts to return to love. Those painful/happy experiences had a major influence on my writing.

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Toxic Beer by Simon Bullock – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Simon Bullock will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Unemployed computer engineer Sidney Ramsbottom inherits a small fortune from his late father’s business investments after he is found dead floating face down in a large vat of beer accompanied by two scantily-dressed Polish pole dancers and their three performing sheep Brittany, Lulu, and Michaela.

Before Sid has a chance to enjoy this unexpected windfall, however, he is abducted by a group of thieving alcoholic aliens who have been bumping and burping their way across the universe while on the run from the Intergalactic Police in a stolen spaceship.

Sid is left unconscious in the spaceship’s smelly cargo bay and left to rot while the aliens set forth to carry out their plans for the planet Earth.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Newly promoted, Harry now found himself with an additional problem. Before the chief had got himself shot, he’d explained the situation with the spaceship’s propulsion system, which was helpful, but not how to solve the problem, which was far from practical. Harry knew that they’d needed additional parts to fix it. Harry racked his brains for a suitable solution. He then did the only thing he could think of that would help by suggesting that they land on the nearest planet before the ship blew itself to pieces. Once he had explained the problem to his senior officer and the captain, Harry went ahead with their blessing and started searching for a habitable planet.

However, after searching for intelligent life and not having much luck, Harry was about to give up when one of his junior engineers, a chap called Chas, came running in one afternoon with some good news. ‘I found a planet that’s habitable, Harry.’ He could hardly keep the excitement out of his voice. However, Harry wasn’t convinced. ‘Where?’ ‘I checked the planets several times for intelligent life, and the computer came up blank every time.’

‘Look, Harry, I’m not messing you about.’ ‘It’s most definitely coming from the planet earth. You need to come and listen to it yourself if you don’t believe me.’

Harry followed his engineer to the ship’s main communication room to see all the fuss was about. The engineer was correct in his calculations, and the signal came from the earth. It overjoyed Harry when he heard the good news, realising that this would mean they could get the vital spare parts they needed to make for repairs, perhaps some alcohol. Harry rushed back to the ship’s bridge with the good news of his discovery. Dick was equally excited and informed the captain.

Harry suggested landing the spaceship on a small abandoned planetoid that orbited the planet earth.

About the Author: Simon, who works as a medical engineer, has had a lifelong passion for writing as well as a sci-fi comedy.

Toxic Beer has been a decade in the making but, as readers and critics alike attest, has been worth the wait. Simon’s zany, joke-rich and earthy storytelling will appeal to anyone who loves the likes of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, the writing of Robert Rankin, as well as classic British TV sci-fi comedy, show Red Dwarf and the cult sci-fi comedy film Galaxy Quest.

With his first, critically acclaimed novel having gone down better with readers than a cool pint on a scorching day, Simon is now working on a follow-up to Toxic Beer–a prequel revealing the bleary-eyed aliens’ escapades during their extended inter-galactic booze cruise.

A hoopy frood who always knows where his towel is, Simon also plays blues harp in the rising Dutch blues band, BluesShack.

Originally from the UK, Simon currently lives in Utrecht, Netherlands, with his wife Chrissie and two cats. In his free time, he enjoys cooking and likes to brew homemade Beer with more kick than an Arcturian MegaDonkey.

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Listening to Your Editor, Listening to Yourself, Listening Out Loud by Lou Kemp – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lou Kemp will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner, a 2nd randomly drawn winner a mug and pen with the book image and a 3rd randomly drawn winner will win a eBook via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Listening to Your Editor, Listening to Yourself, Listening Out Loud

All views expressed below are either personal experiences or advice from other authors I trust. The worth of this information has been verified by a steady improvement in my writing and in the comments that I receive from readers. A review from an astute reader will also mention what isn’t working, and that is like gold.

If you are a beginning writer…

Avoid:

Run away if a friend or relative offers to critique your writing (of course after thanking them, and perhaps even telling them why). A critique by a parent or close friend will usually be tainted with:

a) pride in knowing you are a writer, protecting you from bad news, and withholding what they thought,
b) fear of telling you what they thought so as not to hurt your feelings,
c) they may see something that needs to be changed, but are not sure why, so they do not mention it.
d) all of the above

This situation will not propel your skills forward, it could even give you a false sense of security that will eventually be blown apart when you try to sell your work.

Covet:

Writing Groups and writers conferences, whether online or in person. There are many types, and like shoes you may need to try on a dozen till you find the one that is just right, not too advanced, or not too junior of a group, not too cold, or not too hot, but just right.

Once part of a writers’ group, don’t feel obligated to read your writing to them until you are ready. When you do, listen to the feedback. Beware there are some authors in the group who may not be a good match for your purposes. To decide, take all feedback in, digest it, and determine if it is valid. Example: if more than one critique complains about the way you use the word “anyhow,” then it is probably time to rethink how you use it. If you balk at a particular suggestion, get another unbiased opinion, and compare. If both say the same thing…time to change it.

When others in the group are reading their writing, listen to what works and what doesn’t and apply it to your writing (it doesn’t have to be the same genre—you’re looking for pacing, characterizations, skill, and more). You’ll hear kernels of ideas from other writers to water, and watch grow into something fantastic. Are their characters vivid and wonderful, but there isn’t a discernable plot? Does it sound like your cat wrote it? Is the plot stellar, and you can picture it as a movie someday?

Listen to yourself:

Decide if you are writing just for yourself, or to make money. If it is money and glory you want, you’ll need an editor eventually. This stage is sometimes known as beta reading, but that is a loose interpretation. Beta readers come in a variety of experience and are at times used to see if the work is on the right track, and at other times they occur right before the book debuts. Just like a writers’ group, one editor’s point of view will not be another editors. Case in point: In my Celwyn series I’ve heard complaints about how I use the character Bartholomew. I also hear feedback that he is not only loved but readers follow what he does and can’t wait for the next book. These are completely differing points of view, and I tend to take it somewhere in the middle.

Again, there are dozens of levels of editors with the prices to match. The amateur editor/friend will do initially, but…they are usually limited. Really good editors are not there to just correct your grammar (line editing), but to use their innate sense of what is missing, what is not moving fast, where the scene is not set up with enough detail, where you write something illogical or without any background to justify it (one of my habits), where the piece is going and how will you get there with it?

If you notice things still do not read like you think they should, or that much of your feedback points to problems, look for another editor, preferably one with a good track record and who does it professionally. There are also writing classes, good ones, out there.

A final word about editors: I know of no one, big or small, who snagged a great literary agent without having their work edited by a professional.

Two tricks:

One, when you have finished a section or major part of your writing, let it sit at least 2 weeks without looking at it. Then, read it. You will see much you didn’t before because we subconsciously memorize what we write and think it is wonderful. It isn’t.

Two, ask someone (now is the time for a friend or relative) to read your writing out loud while you are sitting there. You will hear plenty you didn’t see when you edited it yourself.

Quotes:

A great quote can set the tone, explain life, scare the beejeebers out of a reader, or up the tension until the reader swears it is dripping off the walls. One of my favorites, just to explain life, that I have given Celwyn is:

“Xiau, I’d miss Earl Grey very much if I died.” This is usually repeated by someone every time he is wounded, and almost dies.

As the music dies, the magician Celwyn is mortally wounded. His darker, immortal brother Pelaez brings him back, barely, with his magic. The party of protagonists travel on the Nautilus to the Cape Verde Islands and the healer of immortals. During the journey, Professor Kang and Bartholomew can not tell if Pelaez will keep his brother alive. Captain Nemo is ready to evict Pelaez forcibly, and keeping Celwyn alive is the only thing that restrains him.

After Celwyn is saved, the healer requests payment for his services. This sends the adventurers to the catacombs in Capuchin where their experience is one they will not forget. Before it is over, several of the protagonists question why it seems everyone from warlocks and vampires to witches, seem to be congregating in their world. Before it is over, some of them become surprising allies, and a few of their allies turn against them.

In part II, work on the new flying machine begins in earnest bringing attention from the Mafioso and a cherub-like warlock called Duncan. After a final battle with Duncan, the flying machine is destroyed and everyone at their compound is murdered by one of their own.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Prelude
The rolling hills near Odessa, north of Constantinople 1867

With each step he took, Professor Xiau Kang sensed the intensity, and importance of what he would find. Above all, he felt the weight of his sadness. He had done his best to ignore that there was no guarantee Captain Nemo had located Thales, if Nemo failed to find him, Jonas Celwyn would be dead within a matter of days, perhaps hours.

A long time ago, on the Zelda, the magician had doubted a mechanical man could feel. Kang paused, swaying on his feet as he fought to regain his control; at this moment, the automat knew real despair, a wrenching grief that they would lose Jonas. He swallowed hard and walked faster, climbing to the top of the berm.

There she was! The long black submarine lay still in the water. A single sailor stood on patrol, and another perched in the cage on top with a spyglass.

Kang called, “I’ll get Mr. Celwyn. Please let the Captain know we’re here.”

Conductor Smith joined him as they ran back to the coach. The others had seen them and began unloading the magician onto the stretcher that Kang had fashioned for this moment. He skidded to a stop and grabbed Celwyn’s hand.

“The Nautilus is here. It isn’t far.”

In the distance, a low hum reached them; the sound sputtered and grew stronger.

The magician’s eyes opened slowly, like a thread from his memory raised his lids, impelling him to look. Everyone, including Jonas, gazed upward, as if they had already known what was to come.

The noise grew louder, and then a bright yellow flying machine crested the low hills and headed toward the estuary.

“Yes!” Kang shouted, raising his fist in triumph.

The plane swerved to the north, banked, and then flew toward them again in a wide arc.

“Oh, my God, it’s Bartholomew,” Elizabeth exclaimed.

Bartholomew wore a broad smile and his scarf fluttered in the breeze as he sailed over them. He waved. As he banked again, the engine revved and he turned, descending for another pass. Celwyn raised himself onto an elbow to wave back.

“Hurry,” Kang said. “Bartholomew is going to land. We have to get Jonas onto the ship.”

About the AuthorEarly work was horror and suspense, later work morphed into a combination of magical realism, mystery and adventure painted with a horrific element as needed.

I’m one of those writers who doesn’t plan ahead, no outlines, no clue, and I sometimes write myself into a corner. Atmospheric music in the background helps. Black by Pearl Jam especially.
More information is available at LouKemp.com. I’d love to hear from you and what you think of Celwyn, Bartholomew, and Professor Xiau Kang.

Milestones:

2009 The anthology story Sherlock’s Opera appeared in Seattle Noir, edited by Curt Colbert, Akashic Books. Available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. Booklist published a favorable review of my contribution to the anthology.
2010 My story, In Memory of the Sibylline, was accepted into the best-selling MWA anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris. The immortal magician Celwyn makes his first appearance in print.
2018 The story, The Violins Played before Junstan is published in the MWA anthology Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry. The Celwyn series begins.
Present The full length prequel, The Violins Played before Junstan, to the Celwyn book series is published on Kindle. The companion book, Farm Hall is also published where Pelaez, another immortal magician and Celwyn’s brother, makes his first appearance. The remaining books in the series: Music Shall Untune the Sky, The Raven and the Pig, The Pirate Danced and the Automat Died, will be available beginning in August 2021.

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What Would I Tell a New Author? by Phoenix Blackwood – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Phoenix Blackwood will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What Would I Tell a New Author?

While I’m kind of a new author myself, there’s some things that I would’ve liked to hear (and some that I did hear) that would’ve helped me get to where I am now, with a fully published book.

Believe in your story. Whatever you’re trying to accomplish by telling your story, believe that it’ll get there. It’s a difficult thing to do sometimes, but it’s worth it in the end to have a piece you can stand by and hope to put something good out into the world. My stories are about marginalized communities, my goal is to make people feel seen, have characters they can relate to, see themselves in a piece of media. Whatever your goal is, follow it through until the end.

Find someone enthusiastic about your work. I’m extremely lucky to have a couple friends and a publisher that all cheer on my work. You don’t need a whole group, just one person. Whether it’s a friend, critique partner, family member, or anyone else, find one person that sees the soul in your work. Someone that’ll urge you on when you don’t feel like your piece will make it. You’re going to have doubts, that’s normal. That’s the time when you need someone to turn to who can set you straight.

Be persistent. Getting published is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re going to get rejections, that doesn’t mean that your piece isn’t worth publishing. It just means that you haven’t found the right place for your piece yet. It’s going to take some time, years even, and that’s okay. Eventually, you’ll find the right match that will take your work and run with it. Maybe you just need to sit with your work a bit longer, put a few more touches on. I’ve had short stories rejected that then turned into full novels that were accepted elsewhere. Don’t give up on your work.

Keep writing. It doesn’t have to be constant, it doesn’t have to be a lot. People write at different paces, in different quantities. I personally shoot for a thousand words four or five days a week, but that’s because I have a work schedule that accommodates this. If you’re working five days a week, maybe you only have the energy to write a hundred words when you get home. Maybe you’ve got writer’s block and don’t write for a week, even a month. That’s okay. That’s more than okay, that’s the perfect pace for you. Just keep at it, don’t lose your spark for telling stories. Work out of that writer’s block, write those hundred words. In the end, no matter how long it takes, it’ll be beautiful and it’ll be yours.

At sixteen, Liz had already trudged through hell and back. Having bounced from one foster home to another most of her life, she finally finds herself in a stable home. But stability poses its own challenges after a life of unsteady fooling, and Liz grapples to find a way to be still. Her past still plagues her in this new world. Everything feels wrong, she is at odds with her own body and mind, and struggling to survive.

Liz finds an unlikely friend in Alex, a girl who may not share Liz’s troubled past but strives to understand, even though it means becoming a pariah at school. With Alex’s help, Liz searches for the strength to confront her demons, and the two see each other through addictions, transitions, and the dangerous consequences of coping.

Unable to let herself trust and love, even in this new space with new support, Liz’s trauma begins to drag her under. Some secrets kill, and some truths fight to stay hidden. Unearthing them all will require Liz to trust others despite a lifetime of learning just how dangerous that is.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Fluorescent lights flickered overhead, making me squint even more than usual to try and see everything going on around me. The air smelled of overripe fruit; just looking at the tables in the crowded classroom made me feel sticky. Trying to ignore the stares of students as I walked by them, I made my way to the back corner of the class and sat down. I started squirming in my seat due to the texture on the desk’s surface – it was like someone had spilled a cup of fruit juice and let it dry there. A few kids looked back at me and snickered. I was the new kid again, and fifth grade in this school would probably be just as ruthless, if not more so, than in the others.

About the Author:Born and raised in New England, Phoenix has always been a creative – whether it’s painting or writing. From a very young age, Phoenix has envisioned and created characters, writing them into existence and exploring them through visual arts. Having graduated to first-time short story author, Phoenix is embarking on a journey towards novel writing as they finally bring characters they’ve known for years into the world. Phoenix is neurodiverse and intersex and hopes to bring more representation to both topics with their writing. They believe in creating relatable characters that people can find themselves in and empathize with.

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Lady Wild Fowl by Ivana Hoxha – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ivana Hoxha will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Lady Wild Fowl is an unusual, self-developing story, that analyzes the deepest repressed feelings and emotions, narrated from the romantic mindset of a twenty-six years old lady, who has never had a man in her life.

Nicole has been raised in a society that teaches her nothing about the value of the woman and her feelings, and she leaves home to accept a job offer in China, where she meets Benjamin. In the messy, unpredictable, and, at the same time, exciting Shanghai, Nicole and Benjamin see life from another perspective. While Nicole is facing the lies on which she based her life, revealing secrets she had kept hidden, embracing all the new unknown feelings blooming in her heart; Benjamin has to face the loss of important relationships and fight not to lose himself along with them, as he discovers how stubborn and deep love can be.

Discovering other perceptions of life and love, facing the unknown feelings that come along with them, and fighting the patterns of the social definitions on relationships, will they be able to discover who they really are? And maybe, experience love on the way?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“We realize time after time, – I spoke to fill that deafening silence, – how small and powerless we are. When we think we have it all figured out, something happens to change everything we know. And we lose balance and we lose control, and there is nothing we can do, but surrender. And this is what hurts the most. Knowing that you would be able to do anything for that love, but seeing that the other person doesn’t have the same intention with you. And you realize that this is your battle only, because the feeling is only yours.”

I wiped a tear off my cheek because that period still hurt, and I got the pillow he handed me. This had become a ritual. It was our therapy session; his understanding and my healing.

“Oh my God, Nicole, – I saw his eyes were filled with tears as well, and I hated witnessing his vulnerability. – How can you find the words for everything?”

His hand was trembling as he put it above his heart. I had never wished to see him like that.

“Because I’ve felt it Gem,” – I had no courage to look him in the eye because I didn’t want to make him feel guilty, but it was true.

I knew it all because of him.

About the Author My name is Ivana and I am from Albania, but I am a citizen of the world. I have studied languages and literature, and I currently speak 5 languages.

3 years ago, I decided to move to China and I lived there until Covid started. After that, I transferred to Bali, where I lived for almost another year. Currently, I am traveling around Europe.

As you can see, I love traveling, and this is where I find my inspiration to write. I write about experiences, people I meet, and everything that impresses me. People become my characters, and places I live in, become the book’s environment because there is nothing more beautiful than finding meaning in the everyday life. I have combined my love for writing with my experiences and brought to life “Lady Wild Fowl” which is the book I am publishing right now in the women fiction genre.

I have also published two books in the Albanian language some years ago, titled “Nje mengjes ndryshe” (A Different Morning) and “Nen shiun e vjeshtes” (Under the Autumn Rain) both of them in the genre of teenage fiction.

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