COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Everything Becomes a Poem,” BY AUTHOR, James W. Gaynor, @jamesgaynor48

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

James Gaynor’s poems are expansive, dark, funny, full of the joy of living. His grim acknowledgments of tragic truths are never brooding, while the more seemingly lighthearted verses are deep and honest and real. We are fortunate indeed that, in Gaynor’s hands, “Everything Becomes a Poem.”

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

The one thing I like about poetry books is that once read, you can return to them and find something new that speaks to your soul. Such is the case with “Everything Becomes a Poem.”

A couple of years ago, the author gifted me with a copy of this book. I’d read it, and for whatever reason, simply placed it on my bookshelf. After a recent move, I unpacked a box of books, rediscovering this gem. One glance, and I knew the muse demanded I reread the magic contained within its pages. Done!

What I found was how easily Gaynor explored the human condition in every possible form. Poignant and real, the poetry featured the author’s viewpoints and truths. From humor to endurance in the face of loss, he touched on the underlying pain we all experience.

The author’s quick wit and humor make this collection memorable. Even when the poet remained outside of the scene, he observed certain moments more keenly than most. Those observations are what touches our poetic soul.

I discovered many pearls of profound wisdom that seemed to weave through his words. Start reading and you will discover the “New York Evening: Three Haiku,” then work your way to “The Grief of Small Things Breaking,” as you embrace the humor found in “The Museum of Hideous Bridesmaid Dresses.”

Each verse embraces the normalness of life by revealing the beauty hiding in the mundane. Something tells me Gaynor would say, “Such is life and remember, “Everything Becomes a Poem.”

This book would make an excellent gift for anyone searching for more meaning in their life. I know, it helped me open my eyes to the wonder of the gifts hiding in plain view.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

James W. Gaynor is a poet, artist, editor, and writer. A graduate of Kenyon College, he has lived in Paris, where he taught a course on Emily Dickinson at the University of Paris, studied the development of the psychological novel in 17th-century France, and worked as a translator.

After returning to New York, Gaynor worked as an editor at Grosset & Dunlap, Cuisine magazine, Scriptwriter News and Forbes Publications, where he was on the editorial staff of the Social Register. His articles, book reviews, and essays have appeared in The New York Observer, and he recently retired as the Global Verbal Identity Leader for Ernst & Young LLP. 
In 2016-17, his essays and poetry were published in OTV (Open Thought Vortex) magazine. 

A silver medalist in the 1994 Gay Games (Racewalking), Gaynor’s found-object sculpture has been exhibited internationally. He is a member of the Advisory Board of The Creative Center at University Settlement in New York City, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the creative arts to people with cancer and chronic illnesses.

Gaynor lives in New York City with his dog and cat, Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: jameswgaynor.com

TWITTER: @jamesgaynor48

FACEBOOK: James Gaynor

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#Fairy #Tarot #Friday, January 31, 2020

Welcome to Fairy Tarot Friday. Each Friday I’ll share a card from the Fairy Tarot deck by Doreen Virtue & Radleigh Valentine, featuring an uplifting message from the fey. I’ll also include a bit of syllabic poetry inspired by the card reading.

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that describe major events and turning points in our lives (marriage, pregnancy, relationship and career changes, and overcoming personal challenges). The Major Arcana cards also represent the different phases from childhood to old age.

The Minor Arcana consists of four suits. In traditional Tarot they are; wands, cups, swords, and coins. In Fairy Tarot, the four suits reflect the seasons: Spring for wands, Summer for cups, Winter for swords, and Autumn for coins. In Angel Tarot, the seasons represent the four elements: fire = spring, water = summer, air = winter, and earth = autumn. Consider these elements in relation to the Fairy Tarot also.

The Minor Arcana also consists of four suits representing different aspects of human life. The Minor Arcana cards are numbered 1 (Ace) through 10, plus the four court cards (Princess, Prince, Queen, and King). The Minor Arcana reflects the day to day aspects of our lives and the people in them. Court cards represent either a situation or a person during a reading.

The divinatory meanings are given for upright cards only – this tarot is not intended for reversed readings.

Once you get to know the fairies, you’ll see they are strong-willed environmentalists. They get perturbed at people who mistrust animals or the earth. Never lie to a fairy. Instead, help them take care of the planet and other living beings. Do your part. Your actions will richly reward you, and the fairies will encourage you in amazing ways.

Today’s Card

The Prince of Winter is a court card that usually represents a person or addresses a specific situation. Drawing this card reminds us of how fluid a situation truly is. Everything moves fast when you pick the Prince of Winter.

By drawing this card, it could relate to the current political events unfolding before our eyes. This card also brings out the characteristics of idealism, decisiveness, focus, and determination. But don’t let the Prince of Winter fool you. He can also be impulsive and undiplomatic.

Does this sound like anyone you know? If you have the opportunity, ask this person to pause and take a breath. Before we proceed, we should ask if the plan put forth is sound and worthwhile before we follow through.

This fairy moves quickly through the forest showing his exuberance at the thrill of the ride. Let’s hope he watches where he is going! Pride goeth before a fall, they often say.

Additional meanings of this card suggest that we should believe in our mission. Fight for justice. Watch out for sudden and unexpected changes. We are asked to reflect on intellectual solutions to our problems.

The Prince of Winter, Traditional #Haiku

oppose injustice
seek rational solutions,
act decisively.

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 162, #ThemePrompt

WELCOME TO TANKA TUESDAY!

Challenge Badge

It’s the fourth week of the month which means I’ll pick a theme for you to write about for this month. On the Monday before the next challenge, I’ll select someone to choose next month’s theme.

This month’s theme is:

“The Circle of Life”

PLEASE support the other poets by visiting blogs and leaving comments. Peer reviews help poets perfect their writing craft. Remember… sharing is caring.

For Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, you can write your poem in the forms defined on the Poetry Challenge Cheatsheet:

The Gogyoka in English syllabic poetry form is the only form that does not require a syllable count per the five lines. Please be mindful that each line should be the duration of a single breath or a phrase. Choose your words carefully…

Here are some great sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables

synonyms.com 

This site even has a link so you can install the extension on Google Chrome.

thesaurus.com

For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.

howmanysyllables.com

Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site to compose my poems. Click on the “Workshop” tab, then cut and paste your poetry into the box. Click the Count Syllables button on the button. This site does the hard work for you.

I don't get it

THE RULES

Every Tuesday I’ll post the challenge early enough so everyone can see it. Remember, there will be no recap. You have a full week to write your poetry (Tuesday – Monday). Don’t forget to copy your poem into the comments on this post so that everyone can find your poetry.

The rules are simple. Write your poetry on your blog.

Do a link-back by placing the HTTPS:// address of the challenge post into your post. ALSO, please copy your poem and add it to the comments. If you created a Haiga, let us know in the comments with a link to your post. Now, all of the poetry ends up on the challenge post in one place.

Follow the schedule listed below:

Don't forget

I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your POETRY. 

If you add these hashtags to the post TITLE on your blog (depending on which poetry form you use) your poetry may be viewed more often on Twitter:

#Haiku, #Senryu, #Haiga, #Tanka, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines, #Haibun, #Prose, #CinquainPoetry, #Etheree, #Nonet, #Shadorma #Gogyohka

Now, have fun and write some poetry!


Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Etheree #Haiku #Poetry Challenge No. 161 #PhotoPrompt – Henna | But I Smile Anyway

This month, I’ve chosen Ritu to pick next month’s image for the February #PhotoPrompt! I’ve also shared her poetry!

Here’s the link to her original post: Butismileanyway.com

©2019 Willow Willers

Henna

Stains
Hennaed
Signalling
Celebration
The deeper the stain
The stronger the love of
Mother-in-law to-be
His name tattooed on her hand
A challenge, to find it, himself
A game to prove his patience and love
Once found, their true exploration begins

Ritu 2020

Henna patterns stain
The hands of the bride-to-be
Time for married bliss

Henna stains
The hands of the bride
Married bliss

Henna
A bride's hands
Married

Ritu 2020

Ritu, Please email your photo to tankatuesdaypoetry@gmail.com. I can’t wait to see what you come up with for inspiration!

COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Through the Nethergate,” BY AUTHOR, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, @bakeandwrite

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th-century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

After the death of her parents, Margaret moves to Bungay, England to live with her grandfather. Once there, she realizes she can see the spirits of the dead. Even more terrifying, Margaret sees the spirits of how they looked at the moment of their death. If that’s not creepy enough, hang on… this story takes a dark turn. Soon, Margaret realizes she must figure out how to free these lost souls from the ultimate evil.

Some of the ghosts are evil and some are good, while others seem to be stuck between the worlds in a sort of limbo. Margaret’s gift of sight acts as a catalyst for some and the ghosts begin to incarnate and interact with our world. All of this activity alerts the big guy below and he fantasizes about Margaret’s abilities and what her power could do for him.

Cheadle builds her story off of the legend of Black Shuck, the Devil Dog of Bungay who in 1577 terrorized the parishioners of the local church by killing two people kneeling in prayer after bursting through the church doors amid a flash of lightning. In the book, the dog resurfaces as the evil Hugh Bigod, the vilest of spirits who commands the other spirits who chose not to go into the light when they died.

What makes this story stand out from other YA horror novels is how the author weaves the historical accounts of real-life murderers into her plot. Some of these accounts, while interesting, bogged down some of the pacing in the novel. Yet, it didn’t stop me from reading into the wee hours to find out what happened next.

Additionally, I found the story to be heavily influenced by the Christian concepts of heaven, hell, and the devil. These aspects didn’t affect my personal view, except that I don’t think a belief in spirits belongs to any specific religion.

I found the political elements in the story to be the most compelling. There are some valid points made between the rise of fascism/nationalism and the spread of evil in our current world cultures skillfully woven into the story. The author intertwined many other current events into the storyline including “fake news,” mass shootings, and the war in Syria, all as part of the machinations of Lucifer.

This book had plenty of terrifying moments to hold a reader’s attention. I thought the story concept was solid and the author’s approach to history enriched the storytelling. If you love YA fiction, you’ll enjoy this book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle-grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades

Robbie Cheadle, aka Roberta Eaton Cheadle Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: Robbie Cheadle: Books, Poems, Reviews

TWITTER: Robbie Cheadle @bakeandwrite

FACEBOOK: Robbie Cheadle

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the permanence of henna ~ gogyohka | RIVRVLOGR

Source: the permanence of henna ~ gogyohka

Ken shares an amazing poem using a Gogyohka which is a five-line, untitled, Japanese poetic form. Unlike tanka (5/7/5/7/7 syllables), Gogyohka has no restrictions on length. (Wikipedia.org)

Here are the rules for this poem from Wikipedia.com:

Five rules of Gogyohka by Enta Kusakabe (1983)

  • Gogyohka is a new form of short poem that is based on the ancient Japanese Tanka and Kodai kayo.
  • Gogyohka has five lines but exceptionally may have four or six.
  • Each line of Gogyohka consists of one phrase with a line-break after each phrase or breath.
  • Gogyohka has no restraint on numbers of words or syllables.
  • The theme of Gogyohka is unrestricted.

the permanence of henna

the direction
of our inclinations
holds no pattern
carefree, the actions we take
the permanence of henna

©2020 Ken Gierke

I like this form. It’s unencumbered with few restrictions other than writing phrases in each line. It’s super creative!

Let me know in the comments if you would like to see this form added to our ever-growing list of accepted syllabic poetry forms.

Ritual #Tanka Tuesday | Myths of the Mirror

Source: Ritual #Tanka Tuesday

I’m sharing Diana Peach’s Crown Cinquain as part of this week’s Poetry Challenge Stars. This is amazing work. Notice how the stanzas flow from one to another telling the story of the image. ~Colleen~

Image ©2019 Willow Willers

Ritual

mehndi
love painted hands
palms offering the world
the beauty of hearts awakened
sacred

umber
scented color
my bridal ritual
bless me with joyful abundance
wisdom

sweet love
enchant my skin
butterflies transform me
lotus stirs my soul to flower
freedom

water
ripples of change
sunbirds carry my prayers
on gossamer dragonfly wings
reborn

guide me
auspicious art
drawn in ancient symbols
even the gods and goddesses
adorned

**

My first crown cinquain ever.
Written in response to Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge.

Diana Peach: Myths of the Mirror

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 161 #PhotoPrompt

WELCOME TO TANKA TUESDAY!

Thanks to everyone who wrote poetry for last week’s challenge. Check out the COMMENTS to see everyone’s poetry in one place. You can view that post below:

It’s the third week of the month! Time for a #PhotoPrompt

This month’s photo prompt has been provided by Willow Willers. This is a personal photo that belongs to her, so please add the copyright information when you share to your blog.

©2019 Willow Willers

What does this photo say to you? How does it make you feel… concentrate on emotions, or tell a syllabic poetry story.

On the Monday before the next challenge, I will pick my favorite poem from the #PhotoPrompt and share it on my blog as a reblog. Whoever I pick will choose the photo for next month’s challenge!

PLEASE support the other poets by visiting blogs and leaving comments. Peer reviews help poets perfect their writing craft. Remember… sharing is caring.

For Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, you can write your poem in the forms defined on the Poetry Challenge Cheatsheet:

Here are some great sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables

synonyms.com 

This site even has a link so you can install the extension on Google Chrome.

thesaurus.com

For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.

howmanysyllables.com

Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site to compose my poems. Click on the “Workshop” tab, then cut and paste your poetry into the box. Click the Count Syllables button on the button. This site does the hard work for you.

I don't get it

THE RULES

Every Tuesday I’ll post the challenge early enough so everyone can see it. Remember, there will be no recap. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Monday.

The rules are simple. Write your poetry on your blog.

Do a link-back by placing the HTTPS:// address of the challenge post into your post. ALSO, please copy your poem and add it to the comments. If you created a Haiga, let us know in the comments with a link to your post. Now, all of the poetry ends up on the challenge post in one place.

Follow the schedule listed below:

Don't forget

I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your POETRY. 

If you add these hashtags to the post TITLE on your blog (depending on which poetry form you use) your poetry may be viewed more often on Twitter:

#Haiku, #Senryu, #Haiga, #Tanka, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines, #Haibun, #Prose, #CinquainPoetry, #Etheree, #Nonet, #Shadorma

Now, have fun and write some poetry!


A Pregnant Protest, #FlashFiction

The Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction Challenge for January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 21, 2019.

A Pregnant Protest

Susan squeezed her husband’s hand, turning his knuckles white.

“I’ll never let you into my bed again,” she protested.

Tim nodded his head. “I’m so sorry love,” he whispered.

The contractions began again as Susan shrieked out a primal wail. She panted through the waves of torment.

“You’re almost there,” the doctor murmured, intent on his ministrations. “One more push, Susan, and that should do it.”

Susan closed her eyes in concentration. With one long scream she pushed out the reason for her pain.

The infant resembled his father. A long-tail protruded from the base of his spine.

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “The Sekhmet Bed: A Novel of Ancient Egypt (The She-King Book 1),” BY AUTHOR, Libbie Hawker, @LibHawker

Featuring Your Next Read!

About this Book

Is Ahmose’s divine gift a blessing or a curse?

The second daughter of the Pharaoh, Ahmose has always dreamed of a quiet life as a priestess, serving Egypt’s gods, ministering to the people of the Two Lands. But when the Pharaoh dies without an heir, she is given instead as Great Royal Wife to the new king – a soldier of common birth. For Ahmose is god-chosen, gifted with the ability to read dreams, and it is her connection to the gods which ensures the new Pharaoh his right to rule.

Ahmose’s elder sister Mutnofret has been raised to expect the privileged station of Great Royal Wife; her rage at being displaced cannot be soothed. As Ahmose fights the currents of Egypt’s politics and Mutnofret’s vengeful anger, her youth and inexperience carry her beyond her depth and into the realm of sacrilege. 

To right her wrongs and save Egypt from the gods’ wrath, Ahmose must face her most visceral fear: bearing an heir. But the gods of Egypt are exacting, and even her sacrifice may not be enough to restore the Two Lands to safety.

The Sekhmet Bed is the first volume of Libbie Hawker’s series The She-King, a family saga of the Thutmosides, one of ancient Egypt’s most fascinating royal families. Don’t miss Book 2: The Crook and Flail

Note: This ebook edition contains a preview chapter of Libbie Hawker’s new ancient Egyptian series, The Book of Coming Forth by Day.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

I first stumbled across this author with the book, “Take Off Your Pants,” a book about how to outline your novel. The writing was succinct and I’ve been using the author’s suggestions. You can read my review of that book HERE.

However, Hawker is a historian, and she loves historical details which lead us to “The Sekhmet Bed,” which is set in ancient Egypt. This is the story of Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s mother. Although, on the author’s own admission, the tale is fictional. Nevertheless, the characters are unforgettable.

The book begins with our young protagonist, Ahmose, ‘chose of the gods’ who is the second daughter of the pharaoh. Her sole desire is to become a temple priestess.

However, after her father’s death, she realizes that her dream will never be fulfilled. Instead, her mother informs her she is to be the Great Royal Wife to Tuthmose, bypassing her older sister, Mutnofret.

Now, the younger Ahmose becomes locked in a competition with her older sister, who Tuthmose chooses as the royal concubine. This sets up the tension that flows through the rest of the novel.

Because of her age, Ahmose is unprepared to be queen. Tuthmose recognizes that Ahmose is just a child, and he turns to Mutnofret to produce his heirs.

Eventually, as Ahmose grows into a woman, she realizes the only way she can hold on to her power as the queen is to produce the next pharaoh.

Hawker does a deep character dive into Ahmose’s psyche. We watch her grow from a child into a woman. Yet, for someone so devoted to her religious beliefs, she struggles to keep herself in line. Like a teenager, her irrational thoughts and behavior keep her in constant trouble.

What I found most striking was how easy it became for Ahmose to commit ruthless acts to betray those she loved to fulfill her own ambitions. The family suffers because of her choices.

This novel is full of sibling rivalry and political intrigue sprinkled with the right amount of romance to keep the reader guessing all the way through. I couldn’t put this book down. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

“The Sekhmet Bed” is the first volume of Libbie Hawker’s series the She-King, a family saga of the Thutmosides, one of ancient Egypt’s most fascinating royal families. Book 2: The Crook and Flail, Book 3: Sovereign of Stars, Book 4: The Bull of Min.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, but has previously lived in Seattle; Bellingham, WA; Tacoma, WA; and Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Although the majority of her books are self-published, she also partners with Lake Union Publishing on select titles.

She has held a broad and bizarre range of “day jobs” while pursuing a career as a novelist. Included among these are zoo keeper, show dog handler, bookseller, and yarn dyer. 

Libbie’s writerly influences are varied, and include Hilary Mantel, Vladimir Nabokov, Annie Dillard, Michael Ondaatje, George R. R. Martin, songwriter Neko Case, and mixed-media storyteller Chris Onstad, among others.

Amazon Author Page: Libbie Hawker

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: Olivia Hawker/Libby Hawker: Hawkerbooks.com

Facebook Page: Libbie Hawker & L. M. Ironside

Twitter: @LibHawker

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 If you have your book listed on BookBub, I will add my review there also!  Click HERE to follow me! (Colleen M. Chesebro) Let me know in the comments if you follow me so I can follow you!

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