So, the week, again got ahead of me and I didn’t get a new post written. So, I went back to look at what I was doing this time last year. It would seem I’m perpetually behind. But at least I’m consistent? Please enjoy a little self-love talk, in this, the final week of Februrary.
(original post 2-24-2022)
I had planned a vibrant book review. But some weeks the flow of energy is a low and staggered and we have to return to center ourselves. This week, it’s all about finding my solid ground again, being my own safe space, and casting away the self doubt that has saturated my soul.
How often are we paralyzed by the expectations we put on ourselves? By what we want to be for others, or because of others. How often are we overcome with despair when we fail to meet those expectations, to garner that acceptance, to find that love?
Here is what I know to be true–
Yours is the only heart you will have for your whole life time. From its very first beat. Until its last.
Lovers, spouses, friends, parents, even children will come and go in your life, in the natural waxing and waning of time and experience. But your heart, your soul, your presence is the only one you get to spend the entire journey with. So take care of your vessel…from the engine, to the machinery, the fuel and the fire. Take care of you. Love you. Believe in you.
And now, this.
Was there ever such a silence as this?
sun warmed skin and the echo of
small chirping voices
amongst the barking magpie and
reverberation of holy time
etched into the sides of mountains
silent, pine needle prayer
I’ve been a complacent wanderer
following the strongest flow
eyes on wayward trails
never forward, exactly
but they tempt places I yearn
and it feels
like losing my ground
or finding it.
It’s in the din of life
the marked and constant boxes
that we lose our true course
give away our feet on earth
silent places to find
I miss these mountains
and cultivating space between
what I dreamed of becoming and
what I’ve become.
What have I become?
Hey Cats and Kittens, (I have no idea why I wrote that. It’s been a very strange, life altering week, and I’ve filled up all the confused spaces with a lot of marketing so…I can’t be trusted with vocabulary)
I any case, Check out my new newsletter! You should be able to access it every third Thursday. If you follow the blog, it should be some repeated information but I’m trying to throw some new things in. Every month, I’ll also be running a recipe from my upcoming book “Raising Elle” and giving dates of book launches, signings, and events coming up this summer.
If you like it, share it, and spread the good word
Also, don’t forget to send me your submissions for the Beautiful Twist. Come on, I know you have some poetry laying around needing a home, a cozy little book with a breathtaking cover. Something you could show off to your family and friends (look I’m published!) So don’t hesitate. May will be here before we know it. (Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org titled “BT Submission_your name”. Further details can be found here: Submit
Finally–if you live in Wyoming or along the Front Range of Colorado and you’re interested in hosting a signing or even a talk about writing, send me an message here on the website or via my email: email@example.com and we’ll work something out.
Hello writers, readers, and future submitters. I wanted to put out an update about the Beautiful Twist anthology. First, to all of those who have submitted, thank you so for sharing your words and stories. I’ve gotten a few really interesting and engaging submissions but the truth is, I haven’t actually received enough entries to complete a book. So, I am extending the deadline to May 30th 2023. This of course will push the publishing date back but I would rather put out a good quality book that we can all be proud of.
I hope the new dates will give people more time to find something fun and twisted to send in. If you need details on the submission guidelines, here they are:
Dates: Submission will open until May 30th
Winners will be notifiedJune 5th, 2023
Publication Date: TBA June/July 2023
Submission guidelines: The Beautiful Stuff will be accepting, short stories (2000-5000 words), Flash Fiction (200-1000 words), Poetry (up to 5 poems allowed per submission), novel excerpts (up to 3000 words), and Personal Essays (up to 2000 words) all centered around the theme. I’m pretty lenient as far as genre. I will accept non fiction, fiction, speculative fic, western, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, erotica, historical, hysterical, time jumping primates, talking frogs, brains in jars, and ANY combination thereof. Submissions translated to English are preferred. All humans are encouraged to send in their work, regardless of how they identify, what color wrapper they come in, or who they love. I may judge your font, but I’ll never judge you.
Contest is open to domestic and international writers but awards will be paid in US dollars. Please submit your work as an attachment to your email, which will be a lovely cover letter about you (name, email, job, what you write, what you love to do, your submission’s title, and the secret of life–haha, just kidding we all know its 42). Email subject line should read BEAUTIFUL TWIST SUBMISSION_name (not just ‘name’–use your name). The submission file (please use .doc, .docx, or another Word friendly format) should be the title of your submission and your last name i.e. “Merry Krampus-Reichert”
Top 3 submissions will earn prizes as follows: 1st–$30, 2nd–$20, 3rd–$10 paid via PayPal or Venmo (or check if need be). Runners up will be published in the anthology with a chance to compete in the Colorado Book Awards.
You may submit in multiple formats, multiple times (ie poems and flash, or novel excerpt and essay) but each submission must be in a separate email. You can copy and paste your cover letter…I’m not going to make you rewrite that thing, they’re a pain in the ass.
PLEASE DO NOT submit anything that has been previously published or that you no longer own the rights to. I can’t even begin to process the legalities, so just don’t. Don’t double dip. Simultaneous submissions are absolutely fine but LET ME KNOW if your work gets accepted elsewhere as soon as possible.
Prohibited subject matterincludes: overtly violent or gruesome content that does not further the story, non consensual sexual acts, racist/homophobic/misogynistic/hate filled writing, violent or hurtful actions against children or animals, and anything that judges, stereotypes, or seeks to harm another human being based on their human being-ness. I’m cool with erotica done tastefully and along the lines of the theme. I’m also cool with expletives if they fit the character and scene and you’re not just using them like a 7th grade boy to look cool. Cool?
All right, now that you all have a little breathing room to get your stuff in (or procrastinate until May 29th) here’s a little poetry:
Good morning! Today I’m just going to leave some poetry out here, and see if anyone wants it. Part thick blankets of scars, part unrelenting love, part battle weary hearts. But all truth.
The Man was Made of Scars
Weren’t you ten feet tall
a bulletproof liaison to the world
sent to make it so much a better place
until bombs exploded
shrapnel hit and bullets sang
crushed the air between barrel
and your unwilling skin
until you shed blood,
with hands that once combed
through sun bleached hair
from a world made of cotton candy
and Ferris wheels
to one painted red
in the sands
of another country
Weren’t you found
and lured away from those neon streets,
and beach-lived boardwalks
by promises of adventure
and the sunlit coast
generator lit and
full of shadows in
Weren’t you soft in creation
borne of love and hope
until the world sent armies of mercenaries
disguised as honest work
and missions accomplished
all adding layers
to the thick wall of scars
armoring your body
and chaining over
the door of your heart
Weren’t you ten feet tall
and always . . . for the rest of your life
until these damn wounds
Would That I (On the Matter of Anorexia)
would that I could save you
wrap my arms around and
you are enough
the final word on the matter,
would that I could save you
bring your tears to halt
calm the incessant raging of doubt and hurt
that runs blades around your brain
and makes you forget
you are not these
would that I could save you
carry you up and over
these days of engulfing uncertainty
help you come home
to a place of just being
of looking into a mirror
you were born perfect
and nothing has changed since then
would that I could save you
slay this dragon and hang
its bloodied head on the mantle
reminding all destructive beasts
they’ll meet destructive ends
at the hands of my love.
But I cannot kill this dragon for you.
I can stand beside you
I can give you the sword,
point out its weak spots
and steady your hands on the hilt
I can give you rest from battle
so you can outlast the nights
until we come out, victorious.
I’ve made a full-time job
out of trying to save your heart
but the hours are long
and the pay is low
the benefits are murky
and there’s no time off
no one else
can cover my shift
I reattach pieces as they come undone
hold your hand
and stitch with the other
but the flesh is over sewn
and each seam gets weaker
and every time I knot the end
of one line
another begins to fray
and fall away
and I press my hand to it
and steel my nerve
and tell you it will be alright
even as you thrash against the pain
and fight my efforts
to keep it from killing you
wishing I’d just
wishing I’d just leave
can’t hurt if it’s not beating
you tell me
but it’s my full-time job,
and I wouldn’t know what to do
if I couldn’t save your heart.
Just a quick blog this week to let you know I’ve finally gotten Westbury Falls set up on Kindle Vella, and the first episode will be available Sunday, July 10th. I’ll send a link out via all the socials on it’s release date. There will be additional goodies written into the chapters, so even if you’ve been keeping up so far, you’ll get new insights to Lillian and Matthew’s adventures.
For those of you waiting for the next books (The Sweet Valley Series) I’m afraid you will have a little while longer to wait. I’m exploring some different opportunities but I guarantee that when I hear news you’ll hear it too. My goal is to have them out sooner rather than later.
Also worth mentioning. My science fiction adventure novella is now a completed audiocast! Here are the links in various formats to listen to it.
I’m so proud of this project, and love hearing the story brought to life. A thousand times a billion thanks to Ngano Press Studios and their amazing work. I hope I can collaborate with them in the future on other projects.
Submissions for The Beautiful Stuff Anthology 2023 are still open! Contact me here for more details or visit the submissions page to get a list of the rules. The theme is “A Beautiful Twist” and I’m accepting multiple formats (poetry, short story, flash fiction) of writing.
I attended the Fan Expo in Denver last weekend and was blown away by the amount of talented, generous, and wonderful writers in attendance. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing up some reviews on their books and services they offer.
In the panels I was able to attend, I met a lot of beautiful humans, both readers and writers, and was able to engage in some great discussions about where the genre of Romance is headed, why it’s important to utilize it in other genres, and how to expand your audience and reach. All in all, it was a successful, fun, and engaging time and I wanted to thank everyone who stopped by.
I’m always heartened by how many people are out there, aspiring to write, working hard on finishing their works in progress, and struggling as we all do. Keep up the good fight. Keep writing. Don’t let life, distractions, or self-doubt kill that desire. Write. Write. Write.
That’s my quick catch-up and I hope in the next weeks to get you some book reviews, write ups on Point of View, how romance has changed and evolved, and what we can look forward to in the future with genre trends. Also, links to more of my work and some exciting things coming out.
Again, feel free to contact me with questions about submitting to the anthology!
Second– The Beautiful Stuff 2022 Anthology “A Beautiful Twist” is still open for submissions. I have a long submission period and you can find the details about the submission here:
So far I’ve gotten some amazing poetry, a few great flash fic pieces, and one short story. There will be plenty of room so if you’re hesitating, don’t.
FInally–I am writing my little heart out on a new project with co-author Kerrie Flanagan, that will be due out this summer and will include (hopefully) some book signings at some totally awesome 80’s venues. The romantic comedy is due out in June but I will keep you updated!
Well, there’s a catch up. I hope you’re able to enjoy the podcast and are looking forward to the new novel as much as I am looking forward to getting it out into the world. Take care and don’t forget to send me your submissions for this year’s anthology!
Good morning. Today’s poetry comes to us from a former and continuing contributor to The Beautiful Stuff’s Poetry Anthology. Ms. Byrne has a knack for gripping the guts with her poetry and, as an almost graduated student at the University of Boulder, she is finding her way with a powerful voice in the world.
I want to wipe away
of your skin
and its heated strokes against mine
and darken the unforgiving universes
of your eyes
that know and
do not know me.
But the treasonous mind
casts wayward glances,
over shoulders turned cold
and the love and ache of wounds
that should be healed over
resound in weakening heart beats.
The disloyal heart
casts out lines and currents that have
battled the boards of my ship
and sunk it deep, now lies
desolate and quiet a tomb
on the ocean floor
waiting, in vain,
for a tug of interest.
My dissonant soul vibrates in time
to the sound of yours
even when the harmonic waves
shake my teeth and
dislodge my brain
and seize my nerve endings
and tell me
to clean you off
close my eyes,
turn my back to
and cut the lines
cover ears and
what once was
Good morning! Today’s guest blog comes to us from the incomparable Nina (pronounced 9-uh) Naylor. She will be featured in the “Wilderness of Soul” anthology and I’m excited to share her work here with you. Nina has a beautiful approach to the world, writing, and how we all feel as wordsmiths with regards to calling ourselves ‘real writers’.
Here’s a little bit about her:
Nina Naylor is a writer, poet, and essayist. She wrote her first poem at age 8. She is a member of Northern Colorado Writers and the Academy of American Poets. She has had poems, essays and articles published in organizational publications.
Nina was able to take early retirement and has been focusing on her writing dream. She is currently working on a poetry book, a book of prayers, and a memoir.
The subject of her first poem? A dancing pig!
I spent the last few days fretting about driving down to Denver alone to visit my granddaughter. The address existed in an area my mind at once equated being outside my comfort zone. The various degrees of fear rampantly invaded my rational thinking, and my inner critic flooded my brain with negative outcomes and reasons why I should not go. But this cannot be the individual I confidently relate to when I envision that person inside me in its truest form! That woman who embraces all things new and enterprising…who still wants to experience the exhilaration of adventure – the kind that excites and awakens my soul, that allows me to explore new cultural diversities in an unbiased demeanor…who wants to see the Divine Light that shines throughout!
This same consternation relates to my internal dance of viewing myself as a writer and not. To move past the wishing stage and be vulnerable enough in sharing myself with the world. My writing engulfs me – it lives in my soul and to lay myself open to ridicule, critiques and rejection seemed incredulous.
Nevertheless, my adventurous soul still burns – aches to be released and my lifelong dream to write and be published flourishes! Friends and family encouraged my writing throughout the years, but not until I found the fortitude to believe in myself along with the willingness of mind, body and spirit did my journey come to fruition. Last year at Christmastime a dear friend rewarded me with the ultimate gift of support: a poetry book by another woman who recently found the courage to share her soul along with my friend’s accompanying sentiment “I’ve been fortunate to hear some of your poems and stories. Now, I want others to experience the joy of reading them.”
Each year I choose a word to live by and this year my word comes from Debbie Z. Almstedt’s book Zibu: The Power of Angelic Symbology . My word Rakumi means “clarity of purpose” and the accompanying affirmation is “I continue to gain clarity as I listen within knowing the answers unfold with ease.” To fully embrace the adventure and accept myself as a writer opens opportunities each day by being willing to believe and surround myself with positive motivations. This entails positive friendships, writers’ groups, reading the genre l like to write, and sending my work for consideration. I encourage you to seek out what truly fulfills your soul.
Just so you know, I still can have doubts, but they don’t last. The night before I found out two of my poems would in the anthology, I had thought to myself, “who am I to think I can write?!” Believe in yourself…put yourself out there…be willing.
I like to write acrostic poetry and I will leave you with one using my word for this year.
R eceiving A nswers and K nowledge. U nfolding M yself I ntentionally.
By the way – the outing with my granddaughter and her boyfriend in Denver? Joyous!!
Hello writers and readers! Today’s blog comes to us from a winning contributor of The Beautiful Stuff’s 2021 Poetry Anthology “Wilderness of Soul”.
Liyona considers herself an “average joe” kind of writer who likes to think about ordinary things and then write them down. Ever since she can remember, she has been rhyming words and creating lyric poems. During her college years, she took a more serious bent toward writing and started to post on her blog, The Life and Times of a Quirky Character (https://liyonadancer100.wordpress.com/category/writing-2/). Currently, she resides on the East Coast of the United States just north of the country’s capital. Liyona’s prose have been published in Visual Verse, Flora Fiction and Spillwords. You can also find her commenting and collaborating as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Cafe.
As you read through this journey of one writer’s process, I urge you to think about your own methods, style, obstacles, and ‘safe’ spaces for writing.
Hello everyone, my name is Liyona. I am so excited to be sharing a bit about myself and my writing journey.
I have always enjoyed writing and creating stories. From a young age, I scribbled down notes and stories about fantasy worlds and characters. As I grew older, I found writing to be a cathartic way to transmit my thoughts and feelings and continued to write but through poems and short prose pieces.
My favorite and ‘safe’ space is found in free form poetry where there is no rhyme or meter. In this form, I love to create rhythms and beats that are evident if you read the poem out loud.
Over the past year, I have been challenging myself to submit to online magazines and weekly prompts. This has been an amazing challenge that has pushed my writing to the next level. I find that by working to time frames and prompts I am required to be intentional about word choice and decisive in editing. Usually, I take time mull over a prompt and let it sit in my subconscious for a while. Then, I take only a few minutes to respond to a prompt or to create a new poem. This allows me to release every idea onto the page. From there, I will re-read/edit my work by reading the poem out loud.
The rhythm is very important to me; during this stage I will make changes based on beats and measure, almost like a song. I tend to release a poem and post it soon after it is written. This allows me to keep creating, keep moving forward and continue stretching my writing so that I am able to create new and more interesting pieces. I am very happy to be part of this poetry anthology. It is such a wonderful opportunity to share my work and meet fellow writers!