Here are some great books from two indie authors that are on sale today!
First up are two books from award-winning historical novelist Gail Meath: Songbird, which is the first book in the Jax Diamond mystery series, Framed, which is the second book in the series, and Fire Blossom, a historical western. Click on the photos to buy these books on Amazon.
I have been a football fan since I was a kid, and right now I’m watching the College National Championship, thinking about risk, and writing a sonnet. I’ve always been a fan of the sonnet, although it doesn’t really seem to be in fashion these days. For those who don’t know, a sonnet generally has 14 lines, 10 syllables each line. There are three stanzas of four lines, and one of two lines. The stanzas of four lines have alternate rhyming and the last two lines also rhyme. The last two lines solve a problem or come to a conclusion. Below is my football sonnet, called Fourth and One.
FOURTH AND ONE–A FOOTBALL SONNET
The Bears and Rockets struggle on the field Five minutes left, the star receiver’s out The Rockets try to pass; the Bears won’t yield It’s fourth and one; defenders range about
Should they punt or should they try to go? The safest bet is punt and try again To go for one’s a risk, as they all know But safe won’t always win it in the end.
The Rockets walk determined to the line Their jaws are set, their hands upon the ground They lunge ahead; the measurement is fine But in the end they garner four more downs.
The Rockets put six points up on the board The greatest joy of risk is the reward.
Merry Christmas from Harold, Holly, and Hermann! Here’s a little poem. I don’t know how to describe it, but maybe rhyming free verse? For my next few posts after this one, I’ll sharing books our readers have nominated as their favorites of the year.
The presents have been given The food is put away Time to sit back and celebrate the day
The week to come Will end the year for all A season over, a new year calls
Our hearts are open And God will hear Our precious prayers for the coming year
Thanks so much everyone, for reading my blog, and for your friendship and support. This year has been a blast.
Winter Solstice is a beautiful and heartbreaking poetic account of the end of life journey of the author’s mother, who was losing her memory. This made my heart ache because I went through this with my Dad as well, and watched him eventually forget us due to Dementia. It is a tough thing to experience, but Diana Howard writes about this sad journey with honesty, truth, and compassion.
Some of the poems in this collection compare this condition to nature and the winter season, and some are very matter-of-fact accounts of the effects of this disease. All of them will speak to somebody who has been affected by this in one way or another.
Anyone who has lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s or Dementia will identify with this heartfelt and very candid poetic account of a long and agonizing loss of a parent.
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.
Q&A WITH DIANA HOWARD (With a bonus poem from the author!)
Winter Solstice was of course inspired by your Mother’s battle with dementia. I also lost a parent and grandparent to dementia and I want to express my deepest condolences. Was it difficult to write about or did writing help you process it all?
I think what was difficult was watching and experiencing my mother’s decline yet having very little understanding (especially early on) of what was happening to her and what she could and could not comprehend. Of course, every day was different, but I felt desperately sad for her and powerless to help her. Writing about it was comforting for me and it helped me personalize it in a way that gave her as much dignity and peace as was possible.
In some of your poems in this book, such as Winter Solstice, Taking Refuge, and Losing Memory, you related your mother’s dementia to nature, specifically the winter season. It is actually a perfect analogy. How were you first inspired to relate your mother’s passing to nature in this way?
Growing up, nature was a large part of my experiences with my parents. Hunting for morel mushrooms every spring with my dad, and looking for bittersweet in the woods with my mom in the fall. We went camping every summer and played outdoors always. I grew to love the sound of birds and also the wisdom they presented through a pair of binoculars. By the time I started writing seriously, in my late 30’s, nature seemed the perfect metaphor for so many things.
Were you writing these poems as everything was happening in real time or from memory later?
The answer to this question is both. “Departure” for example was written on a plane flying home from seeing my mom a year before she died. (I lived 10 hours away) “Taking Refuge” was written when I traveled to see my mom when she still lived in her own home but was hospitalized with abdominal issues. I could see while she was in the hospital and out of her normal familiar setting, that she was struggling more than I realized. It was still another year before we actually moved her into assisted care.
Let’s talk about the grief process. For myself, I found I was already grieving my Dad when he began to forget me. I realized after his death I was already very far along in the grief process. How has the process evolved for you?
Pretty much as you describe. I was the oldest daughter, the one designated to care for her. Even though I couldn’t do that physically because i was so far away, i definitely did it emotionally, until she could no longer comprehend, and then I still did it anyway. My two brothers and sister were also wonderful with her. I was lucky in that regard that they did what they could as well.
Many of the poems came out of the grief i was feeling and from the lonely powerless feeling that engulfed me so often. (Did I mention guilt??? I always left her. struggling to remind myself that I am doing the best I can and also what was right for me.
I love that you spoke of the realities of having dementia in such a forthright way. Those of us who have experienced this with loved ones will identify immediately with your words. I also think that those who are about to go through this with their loved ones will be helped by your candid description of the realities of this harsh disease. When you wrote Winter Solstice, did you realize the extent to which it could be of great help to others?
I didn’t realize it while I was going through it, but after she died I looked over volumes of pages of writing that I did and thought to myself, maybe I could help someone not feel so alone as they spend years saying goodbye to a loved one. Maybe I could help them with their sadness, their anger and frustration, their coping with the real challenges that occur.
What is the most important thing you want others to take away from your book?
I would hope that they would feel less alone knowing that others are going through the same thing. Even though everyone’s journey is a bit different, the key symptoms of the disease are the same. Here is a poem that is not in the book. I actually wrote it this past summer thinking that I might use it when giving a talk about my book – I’m sure it will resonate with you as it does with me.
I want to tell you what not to do how not to respond where not to go.
I learned the hard way.
I want to say it doesn’t get easier. It will take vicious turns be unforgiving break your heart.
I learned the hard way.
I want to explain how it steals personality taunts intellect preys on a sinking lucidity,
that any thought of rescue or reasoning will fail miserably punishing you in your dreams.
In closing, I just wanted to say that your poem Losing Memory really spoke to me because it’s such a great analogy comparing the loss of memory to a blizzard, and I can sadly imagine my loved one wandering, trying to find those memories again, only to have them wiped away by bitter winds. It actually made me realize I still feel the sting of those bitter winds sometimes, almost three years after my Dad passed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this terrible disease with the world.
Thanks so much, Bonnie!
COMMENT FROM BONNIE
*When I did the original QA questions, I didn’t know about the extra poem the author would be so gracious to send. I wanted to comment on it. It’s absolutely true. There is no way to reason with someone with dementia/Alzheimer’s, and no way to permanently rescue them. This condition and its effects will break your heart more than once .
Again, thank you Diana, for your wonderful answers and the new poem!
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diana Howard is a poet and children’s author living in southeastern South Dakota. She began writing for children ten years ago. Her love of nature and animals influences her storytelling as she gives both voice and character to her subject matter.
Here is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight great self-published authors and introduce you to their books. As you know, self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope for this feature is that it helps authors in their marketing efforts. This week I am pleased to announce that Louise Bélanger has published her second book of poems. Her first book, Your Words, has been featured here before. Now I am pleased to present Louise’s second book, Your Words, Your World. See my review below. As always, if you decide to buy the book, make sure and leave a review. Reviews are very important for self-published authors, and really all authors, as it helps spread that so important word-of-mouth that can make your book a success. Please also share this post on social media by using the Twitter and Facebook buttons below. Feel free to reblog this as well. We need our self-published authors to get as much attention as possible.
Your Words, Your World is a beautiful collection of poetry, photographs, and story poems about God and the world He created, and the second book of poems by Louise Bélanger. It helps the reader look at the world in a new way.
Among my favorite poems is Ordinary, about how God can take something ordinary, like a star or a body of water, and make it do extraordinary things. I also loved Dust, which reminds us that God created us all from something we don’t really like–dust. A War Erupted paints a beautiful and tumultuous picture of a thunderstorm. The Contest is a thought-provoking story poem about a conversation between flowers. Zoom to Heaven is probably my favorite of all, as it talks about what it would be like to have a Zoom conversation with a loved one in Heaven.
Your Words, Your World takes a unique look at God and the world He created, and it makes me appreciate Him and this world all the more.
The photographs of nature throughout the book are gorgeous and mesmerizing, and they make perfect companions to the poems.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(In Her Own Words)
I am a Canadian poet and the author of Your Words and Your Words Your World. I started writing poetry in the spring of 2020. Pouring my emotions on paper, describing beautiful scenery and stories that came to life in my head was quite new to me. With the encouragement and help from many friends, my dream became a reality.
Photography and music are also dear to my heart. I am an avid reader and a big screen movie goer.
My relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the most important relationship in my life. It’s the foundation for everything.
Quality time with loved ones is precious and essential.
Since I am going to be traveling and attending a funeral today and Saturday, I am putting up Self-Published Saturday a day early. Your Words is a delightful book of poetry and photographs by Louise Belanger. I’ve also added a link to Louise’s new website below. She is currently giving away prizes in random drawings for anyone who subscribes to her website. This first drawing is this Sunday, May 16th. Make sure you subscribe for a chance to win.
This poetry book is accompanied by beautiful photographs and primarily speaks to the author’s thoughts about the pandemic, struggles in life, and her relationship with God. There are also some lovely story poems about nature. I was most interested in the poems about nature and relationship with God. The author shares her feelings honestly and with emotion.
The poem Power in Life spoke to me. It asks the question: “How can life go on when I’ve just experienced this crushing loss?” Having lost my Mom in 2020 and my Dad in 2019 , I definitely can relate to that. I also enjoyed “A Life With You, Now and in Eternity.” This is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins.
The photographs are well done and are a great companion to the poems.
The author’s style is warm and embracing, and she shares her faith in a loving way. I would read her poetry again.
I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited, where members can get a digital copy for free. I also received a free copy of the print book from the author. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.
Scribbles of the Mind by Elie N. Azar is a poetry book with the main theme of love in its many forms. We see love that overcomes pain and endures in the midst of staggering heartbreak, love of family, love of self, love of friends, forever love, and more. Nature is often used to describe the many facets of love.
I enjoyed every one of these poems. Some of my favorites were The Oath of an Aching Soul, The Love That Hid in the Cracks of Their Home, The Dawn of a Sunset, and Changing Seasons of an Unchanged Love.
I must mention The Sunset Climb, Cracked Smile, and A Melting Fire. These three poems have only one line each, however, each line is very powerful. Authors search for these types of magical words when writing novels. Perhaps that’s next for Elie N. Azar.
I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow it for free. I highly recommend you check it out.