I hope you’re doing well!I am nearing the finish line with my new poetry collection, Ever So Gently, to be released at the end of the month. But along with fine-tuning, I carve out quiet time to read. So, without further ado, I introduce two wonderful books by talented authors, Alex Craigie and Darlene Foster:
The Bubble Reputation by Alex Craigie – A social media eye-opener!
Connecting with friends and family, and posting about hobbies and travels is the allure of social media, right? While reading The Bubble Reputation by Alex CraigieI was reminded of the disturbing side. Social media is the ideal platform for mean-spirited people who intend to destroy others.
Emmie Hobson enjoys the exciting ride as a popular children’s book author and TV personality. She has a fabulous partner in life, Luke, who will support her to the end of time. Her relationship with her sister may be rocky, but she loves her parents dearly. What could go wrong? Her life seems picture-perfect. But Craigie introduces Ursula, a ruthless editor, who is searching for a juicy scoop. She zeroes in on Emmie to publicly mortify. The higher reader ratings are well worth the underhanded behavior. Emmie’s world is shaken, stirred, and turned upside down. The readers choose what they want to believe, whether the words speak the truth or whether they imply false information. And then social media is the ideal mode to spew the vitriol that spreads like wildfire.
I sympathized with Emmie and Luke, but Emmie’s relationship with her parents was heartwarming. Feeling a strong dislike for Ursula who caused Emmie’s life to crumble was effortless. I wished this story was pure fiction, but we all know these horrific situations headline the news, and some stories conclude with tragic outcomes. I was thoroughly engaged in Emmie’s dilemma, where I couldn’t put the book down. I had to find out how she would survive and come up for air.
The story is compelling from start to finish and enlightens the reader about the misuse of social media. You’ll have to read the book to find out if Emmie comes up for air! Highly recommended!
You Can Take The Girl From The Prairie by Darlene Foster – Touching stories about family and farm living.
Foster compiles a lovely collection of short stories inspired by her memories of growing up on a prairie farm in Canada. Family is the touchstone in each heartfelt story, and Foster’s writing flows so genuinely as if she’s narrating her memories to a group of friends relaxing around a crackling campfire. She admits in the introduction that she didn’t appreciate her life on the prairie as a young girl. “But over time, I realized that what I had as a child was special – the freedom, safety, fresh air, home-grown food, friendly neighbors…”
You Can Take the Girl from the Prairie reveals how hindsight is twenty-twenty.
I’ve always lived in the city, but as I’ve grown older, the solitude offered in a country setting is appealing. So, I looked forward to reading about Foster’s life on the farm. She pays high regard to her parents and grandparents and everyone she has met on her path. There is no doubt she possesses a grateful heart.
I enjoyed this entire collection, but a few heartwarming favorites spoke about Foster’s baby brother entering her world as though out of a fairytale. The love in her heart for her cowboy, heroic dad shines, and when she writes about a special teacher, I thought of a teacher from my high school years who instilled the same positive effect. Foster infuses humor in “Good Hands,” which made me laugh when I read about her dad chasing a cow that jumped off the back of a truck on the way to the vet. But one story that made me teary-eyed and tugged at my heart is “Losing Tim,” which gave me a personal glimpse into the author’s life.
Each memory pulled me in deeper, so I read this book in one sitting. Each story draws out various emotions known to the human heart. I highly recommend this beautiful collection to anyone interested in life on a farm, but who also enjoys touching family stories.
Thanks for stopping by, and Happy reading!
~ Lauren ❤️
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King
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! ❤️
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.
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.
While I work on my upcoming poetry collection entitled,Ever So Gently, I am delighted to still watch beautiful reviews for More than Coffee continue to trickle in. As I mention in the preface, “Whatever roast I sip, it’s the people, places, experiences, and memories that matter most to me-coffee just happens to be a bonus.” And this is exactly what compiling these memories was all about in the first place. Of course, you can sip any drink you enjoy while (I hope) relishing my stories and poems. But I’ll add that the cover of the book is a photo that was taken at Spider Lake in The Sierra, a favorite backpacking spot of mine and my husband’s. And there’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee in the mountains in the early morning hours when the sun is just waking up.
A big thanks to Michele, Debby, Darlene, and Alex (Trish) who are fabulous writers in our amazing online community! ❤️
Reading the poems and stories found in More than Coffee, by Lauren Scott, felt like being served a combination of delicious home-cooked food, with hot coffee of course, engaging in conversation with a friend, and strolling through family photo albums. If you are in the mood for a wholesome read about family, written by a writer who comes across as grateful, sentimental, and compassionate, then I recommend Scott’s charming memories in verse and prose.
A beautiful book of short slices of poignant moments of life in the author’s life, enhanced with poetic snapshots of life.
Scott invites us into her gratitude, loving memories and pieces of time that were stepping stones to her growth in life and relationships. I could relate to her stories, even though they were her stories. How legend Barbra Streisand was her idol and spurred on her love for music and singing into her hair brush microphone, how in a moment she knew her husband would become the love of her life and how time played out until their meeting was ripe.
Memories in verse and prose of personal times and achievements in romance, love growth, like when the nest became empty, love and loss with her father in law, pushing limits to go backpacking in later years. Written in a personal telling as though the author opened up her heart and shared memories, inviting us into her slices of life that many of us will find relatable in our own lives. This book is a love letter of gratitude of a life well lived and felt.
I enjoy the natural, easy-to-relate-to, style of Lauren Scott’s writing. In the preface, she mentions that – “Whatever roast I sip, it’s the people, places, experiences, and memories that matter most to me-coffee just happens to be a bonus.” I’m sure I will be forgiven for relaxing with a cup of tea as I relaxed and devoured her collection of short vignettes and poems inspired by her life, past and present. Some of my favourite pieces include “Silver Heirlooms”; memories of parents no longer with us. “Red Lipstick” which made me recall watching my own mother put on her make-up. “Belong” is a perfect poem for couples in love; perfect for Valentine’s Day. “97 Years” is a wonderful legacy of a man of substance and made me think of my dear mom and how she had to deal with the loneliness of the pandemic. “The Phone Call” reminded me of my daughter and our lengthy phone calls discussing everything and bringing us closer in spite of an ocean between us. There is something for everyone in this well-written collection which is definitely more than coffee.
By Alex Craigie
This collection of poetry and short stories is described by Lauren Scott as ‘memories in verse and prose’. She has captured the mood and experiences so well, they resonated and reminded me of my own. The author writes about simple, everyday moments. In The Right Time her poem about letting go of things contains a familiar note of caution – “some things do need to be held onto. To let go of everything/would be like watching a balloon/ escaping into the big blue sky/ slowly fading away.” These short pieces delight, comfort, amuse, and paint grief and longing as effectively as a full-length novel. Laughing Spiders made me chuckle with recognition (as an arachnophobe) whereas The Phone Call is a poignant piece about empty nesters. 1989 tells of falling in love but carries a warning: “Don’t ever think you can change someone. Accept them for who they are or move on.” This advice could save many a relationship! The selection is personal but the truths captured within them speak to everyone. There are references to family life and the grief of losing parents, but also to well-observed moments including backpacking and camping trips, singing in concert halls and falling in love. Two of my favourite pieces are Simple Existence and The Gift – both are syllabic poems and the writing is exquisite. These are poems that made me stop and take stock. They gave me goosebumps.
Below are two favorites mentioned in these reviews:
Tranquility embraces – the sun’s exit advances. Listening to whispers among the trees, our time here is a gift, and when we depart, the gift will belong to someone else.
Do you trust me? Will you take my hand and let me lead the way to a place transcending boundaries of our reality? Let us get lost in tranquility – dancing to the majesty of the surroundings, feeling rhythm vibrate through our bones. For as long as our hearts desire, this is our destination. Time is but a memory. Its existence leaves no trace on the path where we tread. There is only you, me, and the intensity of our belonging to each other.
And another favorite of other’s for this new season of spring. One daffodil in the sunshine provided inspiration…
Its canary boldness rises up to the sun alone, yet not lonely, hearing nothing, but wearing bravery on each petal – standing tall with spirit in lean green attire, as if soaking up the day’s endless possibilities.
I am grateful for these lovely reviews and for all that my book has received. And Thank You in advance to those who may decide to sink into my memories in the future. And as I’ve read here in the land of blogging, reviews are like hugs, so if you enjoy my book, well, I won’t ask...🤗
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! ❤️
At what point do Indie Authors stop sharing awesome reviews of their books? They certainly don’t intend to put their friends to sleep with yet another to read. I honestly don’t know the answer because each commentary is individual, offering a different aspect of the book touching that sole reader. So, how can I not share Paula Light’s beautiful and moving review of More than Coffee? One detail I’ll note is that I admired her honesty about visiting my blog, and I’d be hard-pressed to think that many of us couldn’t relate to her words. In case you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Paula, you can find her here, and she is a fantastic writer of poetry and fiction. You’ll also notice her selection of books for sale, all in kindle format, and I have just bought Ghosted that I can’t wait to begin reading!
Sometimes a writer has such an engaging style that you feel you’re old friends after reading them. That’s the way I feel about Lauren Scott after finishing her memoir More than Coffee. Her vignettes and poetry are so honest and vivid that it seems she must have shared the stories in person, over coffee of course. I teared up when I read her parents’ love story, and I was right there with Lauren when she found a tarantula in her house (eek!). Lauren and I are about the same age with adult children who have moved away (though happily both of mine are only around an hour’s drive), so I can relate to many of the emotions she describes about being a parent and transitioning from living with your children to helping them leave the nest.
I’ve followed Lauren’s blog for a while, but like many of us I lazily read her posts as they appeared in my reader without actually visiting her site. Thus, I did not even know she had books for sale until she posted the link to a review by Mark Bierman. The review intrigued me so much I bought Lauren’s book, and I am glad I did. It was such a pleasure to savor this rich and tasty brew, redolent with love, loss, adventure, hope, and, above all, family bonds.
Thank you for sharing your life so beautifully with your readers, Lauren.
Thank YOU, Paula, for this beautiful review that truly brightened my Saturday morning, while (of course) enjoying a cup of coffee. ❤️
Thanks to all of you for stopping by, and don’t forget to visit Paula’s site! And if after reading her fabulous review, you feel the need to turn the pages in More than Coffee, I hope you enjoy the memories as much as she did! ❤️
I just found this latest, wonderful review for my book, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, and of course, I have to share! I’ve heard that book reviews are like hugs for indie authors, sohug away!!Trish’s review may be short, but it’s very sweet, packed with all good things to say!
MacTrish gives More than Coffee 5 stars:
Touching, funny, and reflective:
This volume is a delightful collection of observations about life and of the small, ordinary things viewed through fresh eyes. Some of the stories and poems made me chuckle, others were reflective and some were poignant and moving. This is one of those selections that is perfect for dipping into when the mood takes you. (If you’re an arachnophobe, you’ll enjoy Laughing Spiders!)
I am thrilled that another reader enjoyed my memories and the messages they conveyed. So, again, a Big Thanks to all of you who have bought a copy and indulged in a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) while dipping into my memories, some funny, and others reflective and moving like Trish mentioned). And if you haven’t written a review, there is always time (but please, no pressure from me.) 🥰
One of the poems from my book:
With childlike fascination, I leaned against the door frame watching her apply a little powder to her nose, a touch of red to her lips. No more, no less. She was flawless. Then our eyes locked – an unspoken connection. Questions never-ending, I gently tucked her wisdom in a safe space where I could draw from it easily. I’d love to share tales of life she’s missing. Perhaps, again someday.
Extract from Laughing Spiders:
Mornings began to fuel unfamiliar anxiety as spider social calls manifested soon after the crack of dawn. The sun brightened the sky and another high school day was on the horizon. I grabbed a towel to dry off after showering when I felt something unnatural. Looking down, I watched in horror as a brown spider scuttled across my chest. I jumped, avoiding a nasty fall in the tub, and brushed the spider off not caring where it landed. I just wanted it off my skin.
These creepy-crawlies seemingly watched for me so they could plan their next prank. During another shower with my head full of shampoo suds, I spotted a black spider near my feet. The dance I did wasn’t a happy one. With a swish here and there, my foot managed to nudge the scary intruder down the drain with ripples of water, as I imagined it whirling into the dark depth of the water system. I quickly rinsed the suds out. Just as I felt calm run through my body, I looked down and saw that damn spider climbing out of the drain. This could only happen to me.
Extract from Ascent:
When we reached the top and I looked down that sleek granite dome, I was amazed at what I had achieved. Never underestimate our abilities. On the other side of the dome, Shealor Lake was in full view. We gave our legs a short rest, drank some water, then headed downhill with the enticing pull of the lake’s beauty. As we neared the bottom, my emotions ran wild. I was relieved that we finally made it, but a sudden wave of grief washed over me. We removed our packs and sat on a log for a time-out. I was so overwhelmed that the tears found freedom. I didn’t fight them. I cried for the loss of Dad. I cried for having completed this hike that I didn’t think I was capable of. I would’ve backed out graciously had I known the details.
After a few minutes, I composed myself and looked to the lake. The water, a jeweled phenomenon. It sparkled, inviting us for a swim. While we set up our back-country camp, the orange-hot sun blazed down on us as if we had drastically turned up the thermostat, so the cool lake water soothed our sun-kissed skin. The fact that we were all alone in this canyon full of forest and smooth granite was beyond welcoming. The tranquility offered me the chance to reminisce about Dad and my parents together. The solitude afforded a perfect destination to grieve, think, remember, and cry. Mourning the loss of one parent was difficult enough but losing both felt surreal – a new stage of life had begun.
If you’d like to purchase a copy, just click on “Buy on Amazon” below, and by the way, the holidays just happen to be around the corner in case you know of someone who may just want or need a gentle read.💜
I am thrilled to receive two more wonderful reviews for my latest book: More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose. As many of us have heard, reviews for books render the same effect as Big, Bear hugs! So, I’m loving these new hugs!
The first review is from my lovely friend, Jane Sturgeon at https://janesturgeon.com/blog. Jane always exudes positive energy, love, kindness, and calm. She is insightful, supportive, and has the most compassionate heart, and she is a lovely and wonderful writer about all aspects of life. I encourage you to visit her blog. You will leave feeling more at peace and full of that positive energythat will put a spring in your step!
The second review is from my dear friend, Scott Mitchell. We began our blogging adventures around the same time about ten years ago. Scott’s writing has always revealed his romantic heart and a sea of emotions, not to mention, his breathtaking way with words. He hasn’t blogged in a few years, but his poems can still be found athttps://evokingthedeep.wordpress.com. I hope you’ll visit Scott’s blog, immersing yourself in his stunning words.
More Than Coffee: So Much More Than a Memoir of Verse and Prose by Jane Sturgeon
I loved every word in this book. Scott’s style and loving expression took me into the heart of life and to what truly matters. Her thoughts of Wil, her father-in-law, are compassionate and delightful in equal measure. Scott’s love for her family and the life she and Matt have built for their children shine through. Belonging and Riding With The Wind are two of my favourite poems.
More Than Coffee is a delight from start to finish and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a dip into the magic of life.
Deep and Inspirationalby Scott Mitchell
My favorite poet does it again in this publication. Lauren Scott is a deep end creative soul that finds the very words to pull in the reader. I’ve enjoyed her work for about 10 years.
A BIG thanks to Jane and Scott, to those who have written amazing reviews, and to all of you for stopping by.