I’m thrilled to share the collaboration has begun with an amazing illustrator for my first children’s book!! The release date will be later this year, specifics TBD. This road is one I haven’t traveled before, so a learning curve is ever present. But the journey will be delightful as I watch my adorable character come to life in color on pages through beautiful illustrations. Not to mention, the important message included in the story for both children and adults. More information will follow throughout the year as progress moves forward, and I’m sporting a Big smile…
So, food for thought in haiku form…
visualize dreams transform into intentions rewards lie in wait
As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, the progress for my upcoming book, Ever So Gently, is slowly advancing. Life has interrupted at times, but the plan is to release it next month. For the cover, I wanted a minimalist design with soothing shades to complement the title and message I’m conveying. I may play around with the font and placing of the text, but below is a mock sample:
A snippet from the introduction:
“Ever So Gently expresses how I welcome nature’s offerings. The gentle way in which I should react to life’s challenges. The gentle grace in my heart that is full of gratitude for the love in my life, for being loved. For the support of my family and friends through every stumble and every celebration. When I greet a new day, I am reminded to breathe and live gently. We live in a world riddled with chaos and tragedy, but beauty surrounds us if we open our eyes. I may not always succeed in gentle, but if I slip up, I will try again. A variety of emotions is felt throughout the collection because life can be joyful, but it can also be messy. As to the style of poetry, most are free verse, but since I enjoy trying different forms, I’ve included syllabic poetry as well.
Style notwithstanding, the purpose of compiling this collection is for you, the reader, to discover at least one, but hopefully, a few poems that will evoke a special memory or remind you that you are not alone living with the emotions in your heart. Perhaps you’ll get a good laugh or experience an aha moment. Most importantly, when you turn the last page, I hope you discover the reward of living Ever So Gently.“
Thank you for reading and for your wonderful support in the past! Stay tuned for more information on both books in future posts. May your weekend be filled with adventure and big smiles! ❤️
I found this form of Cinquain poetry and decided to give it a try. I’m sharing eight poems and would love to hear if any of them resonate or stand out for you. Don’t be shy. Some are serious and some are simply fun. The rules are:
Didactic Cinquain Poem Form 1:
This is a very popular form of cinquain that instead of incorporating stress and syllables, it uses word counts.
The first line is one word which is the title of the poem.
The second line contains two words which are adjectives that describe the title.
The third line has three words that tell the reader more about the subject of the poem or show action. Many times these words are gerunds that end with -ing.
The fourth line has four words that show emotions about the subject of the poem and may be individual words or a phrase.
The fifth line is one word that is a synonym of the title or is very similar to it.
And now for the poems and some of my photos:
Emotions Raw, hurtful Aching, reeling, falling Catches you by surprise Reactions
In the midst of working on my upcoming poetry collection, I carved out time to read some wonderful books. They piled up, waiting for reviews to be written, and I finally finished. All are well worth the five stars I give them, and the order in which they’re presented is irrelevant, as well as the length of my reviews. I enjoyed all of these books equally. There is something here for everyone: for poetry lovers, crime novel enthusiasts, and those who enjoy an entertaining and authentic memoir. I hope you dive in!
Lion Scream by Robbie Cheadle – An effective poetry collection conveying a vital message.
While I turned the pages of Robbie Cheadle’s new book, I became enlightened. I absorbed the information she includes about South African wildlife and the vital message that flows seamlessly from beginning to end. Lion Scream is a unique and touching collection of poetry that takes the reader on a journey to learn about the wildlife in South Africa from Robbie’s personal experiences in the bush, but not to omit “their plight in the face of the Sixth Mass Extinction.” Her passion for wildlife is surely felt throughout the pages.
A wide variety of animals are highlighted in this collection with stunning, color photos. Animals range from lions, tigers, cheetahs, hippos, and elephants to the Hadeda bird that I had never heard of before. Robbie profoundly expresses how the habitats of these incredible animals have been lost due to global warming, and how the animals’ safety has been compromised due to the evil actions of humans, all because of greed. Robbie’s emotions are palpable through her powerful and sometimes distressing poems. The book takes a detour in the end with a short story that touches on mental health, but the story ties into the initial issue of global warming and the lost habitats.
Robbie’s poem entitled, “Lion Scream” may be short, but its message is concise and effective:
There is no jungle/Only acres of smooth stumps/There is no jungle/No habitat, no food source/Hopeless lion screams tonight
And below is a verse from the heartbreaking poem “Rhino Dilemma” –
Savage men move quickly/Hack out valued horn/Animal left bleeding; awakes to sure death/Tears of pain and anguish/Slide from fading eyes
Years ago, I read two non-fiction books about elephants, and I instantly fell in love with them. So, reading Robbie’s poems about these amazing animals and the poaching horrors they endure is beyond heart wrenching. But a few poems are playful, painting a delightful picture:
Now it’s time for some fun/Trunk draws in water/Up it comes, spraying a fountain overhead/Cool drops sprinkle downward/She trumpets with joy
A few of Robbie’s poems made me smile, but most tugged at my heart because of the serious issues of extinction, human actions that result in the animals’ suffering, and climate change. Anyone who wishes to become educated on these issues or who wishes to foster a solution where humans and animals can contentedly coexist should read Lion Scream. Highly recommended.
Poet’s Touch by Kamal Roohani – Beautiful expressions of loving life!
Poet’s Touch by Kamal Roohani is a delightful collection of freestyle poetry that I savored over several days. Each poem evokes an emotion, most are uplifting, but a tinge of sadness lies in a few. I kept Kamal’s lovely book on our coffee table, so each morning I read a few poems while enjoying my cup. I’ve followed Kamal’s blog for a while now, and I find her passion for living is just as apparent in this collection as it is in each of her blog posts. She writes about life, her love of nature, adding a touch of romance. After reading Kamal’s beautiful poetry that often exudes wisdom to live by, I had no doubt that she views life as beautiful, which is reiterated in one of her poems:
Life is a beautiful journey/Do what makes you happy/Let go of things you do not want/And she will take you by her hand/Upon the spiritual doorways of bliss
Kamal inspires her readers effortlessly to feel elation and gratitude as she does when receiving the gift of a new day. Her poem entitled “Key to Happiness” is a leading example:
Unlocking the key to happiness Is purely in your gentle hands. Break open the chains Of tarnished rust Smeared with greasy stains Worn out beyond repairs. Let go of fears that befall you, Oil the locks with golden waves. They will fall as thunderous roars And shatter to imaginative pieces. Once the doors are wide open Happiness enters with a wide grin Radiating the entire room With bundles of infectious delights Snugly tiptoeing in Hearts Made of song and dance And with a pinch of humor Opening gateways to love.
Another favorite is “I Thought to Myself” where Kamal pens “Happily upon the silvery greens/and in this profound silence/a captivating moment of peace/I realized that I am the sphere/and all life in rhythmic fragments/moves within Me.
Poet’s Touch is Kamal’s debut poetry book with a lovely cover created by her son, but I hope she releases more books in the future. Highly recommended for poetry lovers and for anyone who welcomes inspiration and a reminder that life truly is a gift.
The Lilac Notebook by Carol Balawyder – A compelling crime novel unlike any I’ve read before!
The Lilac Notebook touches on three intense subjects: Alzheimer’s, Incest, and Murder. The mystery component is accompanied with the main protagonist, Holly, being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Sadly, she follows in her mother’s footsteps. She’s also been married for two decades to a controlling man who can’t be burdened with her disease. So, Holly finds herself on her own, dealing with the slow declining of her mind. But she meets and befriends two women along the way; both have been abused in their childhood, but both view the abuse from opposite spectrums. And of all things to happen, Holly discovers a dead body! She loses her ability to speak and write, but she can formulate thoughts, and perseveres to the end to find the killer!
Carol Balawyder does a superb job in keeping the reader engaged until the last page. Along with telling a story that kept me on the edge of my seat, she incorporates facts about Alzheimer’s. My brother-in-law passed away years ago from this horrible disease, and even though my sister is a nurse, the effects drained her. It was heartbreaking for her to see the love of her life transform through the various phases, and it was heartbreaking for me to witness her caring for him.
Throughout this compelling murder mystery, I felt compassion for Holly, fearful for her safety, and questioned the trustworthiness of her two new friends. Other supporting characters had me wondering if they were the murderer. This book is a real nail-biter for those who enjoy crime novels, but also for anyone whose life has been intruded by Alzheimer’s. Carol inserts a plethora of information, so reading this story is a way to gain more knowledge on this disease. Highly recommended!
Hidden in Childhood – A moving poetry anthology edited by Gabriela Marie Milton.
Hidden in Childhood is a poetry anthology consisting of the works from 150 poets and edited by Gabriela Marie Milton. The poems are written about the good and the bad as indicated on the cover. Some reflect upon wonderful memories in childhood, the fairytales, while others return to the horrors, the memories wished to be erased. The writing is beautiful, raw, emotional, delightful, and heartfelt in varying styles. It was difficult to read about the horrors, but I respect the authors for telling their story to the world through this poignant collection. My heart broke when reading about the unthinkable scenarios that were so very real. But throughout the book, I also felt joy.
There are too many poems to list that stood out. Several either made my heart sing or cracked it in two. And with the length of this anthology, I prefer not to name any favorites. Every poem is well written, and I congratulate Gabriela in compiling this large collection of emotional writing. I applaud all the contributors, and my heart goes out to the authors whose horrific memories continue to haunt them. I highly recommend this book for all poetry lovers but warn your heart of the hidden truths. We were all children at one time but reading the ‘stories’ in this book will inform that everyone’s experience simply is not the same. Highly recommended.
Grow Damn It! By Cheryl Oreglia – An honest, entertaining, and relatable telling of life!
Grow Damn It! is a collection of essays that interlace into a memoir of moments that made me double over in laughter and turn inward, reflecting on my own life. For anyone living their second half of life, this book is for you! Cheryl tells it like it is. She doesn’t hold back, speaks the truth, and adds humor that is the perfect ingredient to make this book an enjoyable read. But along with laughter, some stories tugged at my heart, and many were relatable being around the same age as her. I also found subtle messages of wisdom to grasp and live by sprinkled throughout the turning of the pages. Her writing is so relaxed that I felt like the two of us were sitting on the patio one summer evening enjoying a glass of wine, catching up about marriage, children, grandchildren, and even dealing with loss of loved ones.
I had many favorites, but to name a few, I could relate to “After You Say I Do” when she writes about her long-time marriage. Having been happily married to my husband for thirty-four years, her words truly touched home. “Life Turns On Small Choices” made me pause when I read about her finding out that her son had been in an accident – the phone call no parent wants to answer. In “Can I Tell You About My Day?” Cheryl talks about sheltering in place during the early days of the pandemic. An example of her humor begins the story, “Good, because if I don’t let it out, it’s going to escape in some other form and, at my age, excessive flatulence is unbecoming!” But setting humor aside, this story ends on a serious note with a valuable life lesson from three precious little girls.
Another favorite is “Honey, I’m Home Forever” in which she inserts these lines that I agree with, “The thing is, home is not the house, or the town in which you live. It’s the people you love and the ones who love you, and it’s not just when you get together. It’s not a place but the experience of each other that creates a shelter as if bricks, one that you carry with you for your entire life, that’s home.” And yet another story that resonates since both of my parents have passed, and my father-in-law just turned 100 years old is “25 Things I Wish I had Asked My Parents.” My father-in-law still gets peppered with questions from his family, and his mind is as sharp as ever. But new questions pop up now and then that I wish I had asked my parents. I can’t help but hold a few tiny regrets.
I could go on and on telling you about the stories that were special to me. All the essays form a wonderful memoir full of life, love, laughter, and tears, and yes, Growth! Highly recommended for entertainment, reflection, and for being reminded that life is meant to live fully!
Grief Songs by Elizabeth Gauffreau – a beautiful, poetic tribute to loved ones who have passed.
Grief Songs is a beautiful memoir written as a collection of poetry about the author’s loved ones who have passed. Most of the poems are written in tanka style which is a syllabic form of Japanese poetry consisting of five lines: 5/7/5/7/7. But even though the words are few, they portray memorable images and pack in emotions that are easily felt. Elizabeth’s words are emotionally personal and complemented by lovely family photos. I found this collection to be a wonderful tribute to her family members who have passed but whose love for them remains in her heart. It is also a book that keeps the special memories alive.
A couple poems that warm my heart are:
On the Porch
brother and sister brave howling winds, snow’s cruel bite safely on the porch snowsuit swish, smile for Daddy no memory of that day
nightly ritual strategic choice of story Daddy called it Time wait till your father gets home not a threat but a promise
“Boy Scout Badge” reminds me of our son’s great experiences in Boy Scouts and all the badges he earned with my husband’s guidance:
walk a dusty road distance meritorious no badge without proof Daddy matched him step for step hot August sun beating down
“For a Crooked Smile” made my heart pause:
oh, that crooked smile he was my little brother teller of tall tales he smiled for me one last time around the tube in his throat
As well as “Grief Song III” –
I held her hand/as she lay dying/death rattle/in my throat
I highly recommend this lovely poetry collection for a chance to remember, to smile, and to even let a tear slide once again. After reading Elizabeth’s poems, I appreciate her opening the door into her life through her heartfelt writing. We all have lost loved ones, so this book is a comforting reminder to keep those precious memories in the forefront of our minds.
Thank you for reading, and I do hope you find one or a few of these amazing books to snuggle up with in those much-needed quiet moments.
This will be short, but first of all, thank you for your continued support to my little corner in the land of blogging. It’s been over ten years and I’m still truckin’ along, loving the journey and wonderful connections this community offers. Not to mention, the online classroom, so many forms of poetry and writing tips shared.
More gratitude for those who have offered tremendous support in any way for my latest book, More than Coffee. You are greatly and graciously appreciated. I apologize for the sappy component. Then again, it’s intentional. 🙂
And in closing, I’ll be taking a little time off from blogland to focus on family. So, I regret to miss your posts, but we all know the feeling that whirls around us when a break is needed. And perhaps, life nudges us with clues as well. Comments are also closed. But I look forward to seeing you all in the beginning of May.
Take care. Stay well. Be happy. Hugs of gratitude coming your way…
I am honored and delighted to be featured on Priorhouse blog today. It was fun to be interviewed by Yvette while we talked about my latest book, More than Coffee. Of course, we talked about coffee, and even tea poured into the conversation, but there is also more to enjoy and learn. And if you aren’t familiar with Priorhouse blog, visit Yvette here . She runs a regular interview series with other authors, participates in photo and writing challenges, and really shares a little bit of everything. And now Yvette will take it from here…
One of the main reasons for this interview is to share about Lauren Scott’s book, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose.
My review of the book is on Good Reads (here) and the book is briefly explored in this post.
Also, if you drink coffee and/or tea, you might enjoy our brief chat about different types of mugs.
PRIOR: Lauren, thank you so much for making the time for this interview. Can you share a little about yourself?
LAUREN: Since my teen years, I’ve always had journals to jot down my random thoughts or emotions, but I began sharing on my blog, baydreamerwrites.com, over a decade ago. Writing poetry has been a joyful experience but also cathartic during difficult times. I also enjoy writing memoir and have dabbled in fiction short stories. Recently, I developed an interest in attempting children’s stories, when inspiration came at full speed, so I have completed two children’s books that have not yet been published. But I have finished the manuscript for one of them, so I have passed it along to my illustrator, and I’m excited for this new adventure and can’t wait to see the finished book.
My husband, Matt, and I have been married for thirty-four years, together for thirty-five years.
LAUREN: I have authored two collections of poetry: New Day, New Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015), and my latest book, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose was published in 2021. My poetry has been included in several anthologies, and I am a published author atSpillwords.com. Currently, another poetry collection is in progress that will hopefully be released in June 2023.
PRIOR: Best wishes with that book release.
LAUREN: Thanks,Yvette. Recent backpacking trips with my husband, along the California coast and Sierra Nevada mountains, have stirred up thoughts to pen about fear, loss of friendship, overcoming challenges, nature, of course, and the possibility that anything can happen.
These wilderness adventures provided a myriad of writing inspiration for the book More than Coffee, as well as for my upcoming book.
Speaking of my upcoming book, the title is Ever So Gently, and will be a larger compilation of poetry, mostly freeverse, but with a modicum of syllabic poems in forms such as Haiku, Tanka, Shadorma, Oddquain, and Etheree. There are three different themes that will be woven from the first page to the last: my love of nature; Love in a romantic form, a deep love after 35 years together, and love for family; and lastly, poems about the many pieces in the puzzle of life, along with the beautiful brush strokes of life’s painting that begins as a blank canvas…joy discovered in many facets, dealing with loss and heartache, the effects of climate change, and a hint of personification.
My writing projects are sometimes serious – drawn from painful subjects and raw emotions – or they spotlight my silly side – pulled from humorous moments.
As you can discern, I am inspired to write about family, love, loss, and nature – the marvelous wild world, the smell of the woods, the sound of a babbling brook, and the chorus of birds singing.
PRIOR: That is another thing your writing brings to the world – you let us feel nature with you.
LAUREN: Nature has so much to offer if we simply open our eyes. Hikes along a local creek remind me that life is fragile. From seeing trout hatchlings to swallowtail butterflies, I marvel at how the world is interconnected and every living thing matters.
Yvette, my honest wish is that my readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in my poetry and stories – I hope every reader will find some detail that resonates with them beyond my words.
PRIOR: Well that is what I took away from More than Coffee when I read it – I felt the “little delights and comforts”. That book is what led to this interview. I bought a softcover copy from Amazon and enjoyed reading a few selections each day for an entire month. I found that your very personal selections were also universal and written in a way that lets us experience many of the memories and reflections with you.
From the back cover of the book:
“More than Coffee is a memoir that paints a picture of young dreams and fears through short stories and poetry. But in adulthood, these dreams and fears transform. This collection touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage and parenting. Humor diffuses fear, and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. This book is a reflective collection of verse and prose best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast, or your preferred beverage.”
PRIOR: It really is a great book to go in and out of. While the Kindle e-version might be ideal for some folks – other readers might want to consider the soft cover of More than Coffee because the experience of reading will be different. It makes a great coffee table book. Here are the links:
LAUREN: That poem has a personal connection, so I’m glad you liked it too.
PRIOR: I also liked the selection 1989.
LAUREN: 1989 is one of my favorites, a story that tells the funny tale of how I met my husband, and how I’m so grateful now, that after 34 years of being happily married to each other, 35 years together, he is my best friend and I am his. We complement each other. Communication is key in any relationship, so it has been a constant in ours. We talk about everything and have held each other up in times of sorrow. Our life has also given us much to celebrate, and he is the subject of many of my poems.
Another favorite is the story, The Way It Was, which is about my childhood dream as a nine-year-old. I wanted to sing professionally and that dream wound its way into high school where I shared how an amazing teacher encouraged me to step out of the box I had trapped myself in regarding the types of songs I sang. I learned something new and great about myself. Moments in the spotlight were not only fun, they were beyond thrilling.
However, that story, The Way It Was, also touches on the transformation of dreams and that it is okay to have more than one dream. We are in control of our own choices, so if we decide to slide into a new lane, it’s alright. Dreams are allowed to change shapes as we grow, without regrets, but with many special memories. Gratitude is also key in this story.
PRIOR: That might be one of my favorite quotes from you:
“Dreams are allowed to change shapes as we grow, without regrets…”
It is wise – encouraging – and something many of us need to embrace. I also like your resilient outlook and I think the wellness messages layered in your book can edify and model wellness ideas.
LAUREN: I love that you have discovered the many layers of messages in my memories. More than Coffee isn’t just about sharing my experiences or even drinking coffee. It’s about the subtle life messages that I’ve sprinkled throughout the book, hoping they’ll enlighten or resonate with my readers, and this book spotlights the people and places that have enriched my life.
PRIOR: Speaking of coffee in the title of your book, what is your favorite brand of coffee?
LAUREN: My favorite coffee is Peet’s dark roast blend called Major Dickenson’s. Peet’s is a popular local coffee shop downtown, a five-minute drive, or a lovely twenty-minute walk.
PRIOR: Do you have a favorite mug?
LAUREN: As to a favorite mug, you wouldn’t think this would be difficult to answer, but I love mugs! I collect them like kids used to collect baseball cards. I can’t choose just one, so I’ll name a few: my daughter and I used to watch “Friends” so I love the “Friends” mug she gave me. My son gave me a pretty blue mug with Rise and Shine on the front, another favorite.
Both of these mugs are big enough so that I can use my milk frother for a foamy touch similar to a latte. And then I have several matching sets that my husband and I have bought on trips we’ve taken – all sentimental.
LAUREN: I have to say that every mug that sits on the shelf in the cupboard holds some kind of significance.
PRIOR: Oh how fun that you enjoy a variety of cups/mugs. I do not collect coffee mugs, but sometimes my husband will tease me when I go shopping and he will say, “No more mugs…” ha – and he might say, “no more bags, pillows, or places to sit” – 🙂
LAUREN: I know what you mean…my husband will say the same about no more mugs!
PRIOR: Well we both know that the mug we use depends on the beverage. Black coffee? Any small mug will do. And for tea? Depends on the kind of tea I am using. I used to make loose leaf tea but I have found what I like in bags. I know some folks will cringe to read that (like maybe Janet– ha – and FYI – here is her interesting post about Irish Breakfast Tea).
LAUREN: One kind of hot tea that I enjoy is Yogi Mango Ginger. Once in a while on a winter evening, a hot cup of tea hits the spot and both of those flavors are favorites. When winter arrives, an occasional hot chocolate hits the spot. Who would’ve thought marshmallows could be so entertaining! Hot chocolate used to be more of a staple years ago when our children were little. Now though, the kids and my husband and I don’t eat marshmallows (after learning the ingredients, reading labels of the foods we eat began years ago) 🙂 . Iced tea is my go-to drink when the sun bears down with all its might in the summer months.
PRIOR: I am glad you mentioned the seasons because I actually drink less coffee/tea in summer months. Do you have a favorite season?
LAUREN: I love the renewal of spring, the colorful blooms poking up through the soil, inviting inspiration and hope. Warm tones of autumn and cooler temperatures bring a sense of relief following the heat of summer. But there is something also relaxing about sitting on our patio on a calm summer evening, feeling a balmy breeze pirouette around us. I also love the coziness that winter brings. We enjoy fires crackling in the fireplace, lighting candles and reveling in their soothing ambience, and feeling grateful that we are tucked inside our cozy home when the rain falls in droves, the wind blows aggressively, while the temperature plummets.
It’s really hard to narrow down all the wonderful past memories into one favorite season. Many seasons brought joy and some brought buckets of tears. The summer and fall months from 2017 to last year when my husband began taking me backpacking will always be special. By this time, I was in my mid-fifties, had some reservations, but I also felt determined, wanting to get that pack on my back and my boots on the trail. I write about my journey in one of the stories, “Ascent.” I express my joy of accomplishment while also grieving the passing of my father. At this time, both of my parents had passed. A chapter in my life I had to slowly process.
All the summers of taking our young children camping and showing them the beauty of the great outdoors, another favorite “season.”
My favorite season, though, isn’t about weather, but rather, about family in a more simple, yet profound manner. My husband and I entered into the empty nest “season” two years ago. Our daughter and son both now live across the country. They are chasing their dreams and we are proud of them. And as much as we talk, text, and visit as often as possible, it’s not enough “in person” time for me. So, my favorite season of all is when our grown children are home to visit and we are all together.
PRIOR: I enjoyed what you shared about seasons. The weather seasons – and then the seasonal changes we experience with family and life’s milestones. It was so well said and it has been a highlight of this interview for me.
LAUREN: It has been fun to share today. Thanks again, Yvette, for this wonderful opportunity to talk about my book, and I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed it.
PRIOR: I enjoyed it for an entire month and I look forward to your release of Ever So Gently. Another highlight of this interview was the brief chat about mugs and coffee/tea.
Variety is the Spice of Life by Sally Cronin is a poignant collection of poetry and short stories. Reading Sally’s entrancing writing is as calming and illuminating as sitting on a slab of granite in the wilderness, witnessing the sun slowly rise to begin another glorious day. The clever cover alone caught my eye – perfect for this blend of poems and prose. Then I turned the pages, and Sally had me at “Key words” which is a short piece packed with power of how words can make our hearts sing or how they can cause our hearts to shatter. Sally writes about life and all it embodies: nature, loss, relationships, and our furry animal friends. The scenes portrayed through her beautiful writing had me drying a tear, reminiscing, and smiling.
A few favorite poems that come to mind are “Expeditions” which inspires us to step out of our comfort zones. “Above the World” speaks of memories from Sally’s youth but evokes wonderful recollections for me of recent backpacking trips with my husband. “Face in the mirror” is accompanied by a lovely, delicate picture of Sally and her mother, which brought forth priceless memories of my mom who passed away over a decade ago. “Seasons” is thought-provoking and speaks not only of nature’s changing seasons, but how life transforms over the years – how hope can be discouraged by “chill winds, the evil that is done by humans.” “Drought” undeniably hit home but ends on a much-needed high note.
Sally’s stories with their realistic and charming characters are beyond engaging as well. I love them all, but the stories that shine are “The Neighborhood Watch,” highlighting the marmalade cat with an impressive left hook. “Miss Lloyd’s Robin” is about a delightful robin, the benefits of forgiveness, and newfound friendship. “The Home Help” touches on loss of hope, unexpected surprises, learning to trust, and renewed excitement for what lies on the horizon.
Variety is the Spice of Life prompts a precious memory or chuckle or a nugget of understanding, whether it’s a poem or story that resonates, brings enjoyment, or simply touches the heart. I love Sally’s writing and highly recommend this collection for lovers of engaging stories and sentimental verse.
Reading Jeff Flesch’s poems in Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow is like strolling along a beach, allowing the waves’ lullaby to soothe your mind from any burdens. He weaves human experiences with the wonder of nature – how we are all connected. The love and sorrow he conveys through his beautiful poetic verses are almost tangible. Jeff’s use of poetic language touches on a myriad of emotions, affecting all senses. And even in sorrow, I recognized that he views life through smiling eyes.
In “Oak Trees” Jeff shares a memory from his youth, “that their branches resemble the veins of my heart or lines of the part you played.” “Slow-Motion Moments” reminds me of my many walks through a forest and how the trees, the birds, and the flowers allow time to think “like an avalanche of thoughts pervade me.” When I am among nature, I revel in the solitude that allows me to breathe in the silence of that moment with deep appreciation. “Cosmic Arts” will take you on a magical ride to contemplate love, surrounding beauty, and the mystery of Heaven “as the sun comes up inside your heart.” “Needle and Thread” tells of a love so deep and relatable; I felt myself tumbling into the beauty of Jeff’s lines. “Did you know it was you lost in my prose? Alas, as the moments tick by, it is you I look for in the wind.”
And then, “Moments Grasped” is sadly the last poem to read, but the lines are enticing, “wafting in the breeze/it’s all I can do to breathe/into this moment and the next/realizing it’s all been/and will be for the best.” Nature Speaks is exactly what the title expresses and is easily enjoyed nestled into your favorite chair, sipping a cup of coffee, tea, or even a glass of wine. Jeff’s writing is sublime, so when you reach the last page, you’ll feel a sense of melancholy. I highly recommend this lovely book for anyone who loves poetry that calms both the mind and soul.
Asunder, Baby by Steven Baird is a profound collection of prose and poetry. In his introduction, Baird conveys that short stories have never been easy for him to write. Yet, his words flow seamlessly, creating such vivid settings that I can’t fathom him having any difficulty at all. His stories and poems reveal loss, beauty, love, and despair with an intensity that digs deeply into the hearts of his readers. Baird’s originality and authenticity in portraying his characters and backdrops are the brilliance of this intellectual compilation.
I found myself dog-earing page after page. Many of the stories and poems turned into favorites, but a few I’d like to highlight are “Where we go dancing,” “Your father’s Delta 88,” “Cinnamon Suites,” “The last angel of the Lord,” and “Rhapsody.”
An example from “Where we go dancing”
“…I can dance the ears off a row of corn when I have a mind to. Why, that corn becomes ashamed of itself and wishes it could be half as worthy as old dry cabbage or a leaf of backfield tobacco then have to endure another minute of the spectaculation of my feet.”
And from “Your father’s Delta 88”
“…and watch the eddies pull quilt-shaped flowers along their creases, folding them, unfolding them, pressing their petals into wine.”
Asunder, Baby is the first book I’ve read from this author, but I look forward to reading more of his incredible storytelling and poetic verse. Highly recommended for those who love prose and poetry that have you pondering and deeply feeling at the same time.
Thanks for stopping by, andI hope you were enticed enough to click on the links for your copies of these three wonderful books! ❤️
Hardbacks, paperbacks, they sit on the shelves, waiting patiently for their pages to be turned, the simple, blissful touch, but some rest with elation knowing their stories and poetic thoughts have been liberated, pages dog-eared for another reading, the words having touched a chord. Seams of the bookcase stretch like stitches in too-tight jeans. The bookcase itself bulges like a belly satisfied from a hearty meal. I feel excitement of a child wandering through a toy store when I peruse new for the shelves… Is it fair to own so many captivating adventures and poetic musings? Quiet moments await for me to immerse into those other worlds…
Sometimes wonderful surprises occur when we least expect them, and that’s what happened to me yesterday morning. It was Monday, the start of my work week and not my favorite day, but one I’m thankful for just the same because even Monday’s are a gift. Besides waking up and enjoying that first sip of coffee, I woke my laptop and Marie’s comment greeted me like the brightest and most welcoming smile. She wrote a touching and beautiful review for More than Coffee that I can’t let slip by without sharing. What’s even more surprising is that my book has been out for a little over a year now, but these wonderful reviews are still coming in. My heart is filled with gratitude. And here is Marie’s review:
“I am not that good at saying why I love books. That’s why I rarely share about my favorite reads!
But today I’ll make an exception.
Cause the one I just finished was just a gem that I wanted to share about it. In my own way!
I met Lauren when wandering from blog to blog and from the day I started reading her, I can say I fell in love with her writing.
She is a poet and you can feel her spirit blooming in every word she is sharing with us.
More than coffee is really more than coffee. I don’t drink coffee, I just love the smell of it, so I sat down with Lauren and a warm tea. It felt like being with a friend and chatting about life, its ups and downs and how to keep the bright side and sight alive.
I only know Lauren online and just for a couple of months but her kindness and generosity are real, you can feel it in her lines and stories.
I really enjoyed the way she took me by the hand right into her world, with vivid descriptions of the place she lives in, the sites she visited, her relationships, the loss, the grief and what we make of it.
What we decided to make of it.
I ended the book knowing I would scroll through it again, for wisdom or just a gentle reminder of life’s blessings.
I want to thank Lauren for giving me the chance to read her and to get to know her better, while reflecting about some of my life outstanding questions and overwhelming feelings!
I know Marie spoke about my kindness and generosity, but I can say the same about her. Her touching words are nothing less than kind and generous. I hope you’ll visit hersite where she shares her deepest feelings beautifully in poetic form and stories. She writes from the heart, thoughts that are genuine and raw, and the emotions she wants to stir flow freely after reading her thought-provoking posts.
So, another Big Thank You to Marie, and I apologize for repeating, but thank you to all who have read More than Coffee and who have written reviews. And I am beyond grateful for this fabulous blogging community!