Format: epub | PDF editon

Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”

Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I love seeking out Biographical Historical Fiction stories in order to better understand the persons who’ve lived before me and to have an interpersonal glimpse into their lives – which is why I seek out an equal amount of Biopics in motion pictures to watch as well. This is how I came to watch the Netflix original mini-series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker”. (see also Wikipedia) Coincidentally, this aired whilst I was preparing my interview questions for this blog tour and thankfully it gave me an inside glimpse into the back-history of what inspired this poetic drama by the author.

Those of us on the tour received a PDF copy of the story by Ms Augustin – as you know, due to my chronic migraines, I cannot read stories electronically but I do sometimes read chapter samplers of stories online to gather a bit about a writer’s style and to better understand what the story might yield in print when I go to read it in a format better suited for me. In this instance, as I was moving through the PDF to find a section to preview for my interview questions I noticed there are photographs included with this story. I wanted to post an advisory on my tour stop that if you are a sensitive reader one photograph did concern me as it actually shows a lynching which I was not personally expecting to be included myself.

Outside of that photograph, the few sections I previewed helped inspire this conversation and I was thankful to have this copy of the book to use in my research to present a better rounded picture of what inspired the poet to create this dramatic story about the Walkers and how the Walkers are continuing to inspire everyone who finds their story. This is a well-timed conversation as many are still watching “Self Made” and I know others are regularly chatting about Madam CJ Walker and the impact she had on both industry and women-led companies who re-wrote what a woman can accomplish in whichever endeavour of business she chooses to become involved and find success.

I found watching “Self Made” to be an incredible story of both internal strength and belief in one’s self to pursue your own dreams and goals in life whilst embracing the fortitude one needs as a woman to achieve the impossible in a male-dominated world. There is so much truth in this mini-series about what women have faced in different generations to overcome the oppression of yesterday – it is a rising light of how hard we have had to fight for what we have as women of industry as much as how hard it is to build a brand when the concept for the brand isn’t one that everyone wants to embrace.

I loved the fact Octavia Spencer had the lead role in bringing Madam CJ Walker to life as I loved her performance and her instincts for telling Walker’s story. I have long admired her acting and am wicked thankful she is now in high demand as she deserves to continue to get these kinds of roles where she can shine such a wonderful light on the characters I feel she was bourne to portray! She’s just a wicked good actress and its a delight to see her in roles which I feel are strengthened due to how she’s approached them as an actress.

I also feel we are undeserved as both readers and citizens not to embrace more of the diversity of our country and of the persons who have made historical impacts on our society. We have such a beautiful diverse citizenship and yet, a lot of the historical stories which need to be told are never brought to light. I am thankful Walker’s story is finally coming into the mainstream in order to reach a broader audience but I have always maintained we need more stories about living histories of all persons in our country’s past in order to have a better rounded view of our History. All voices and lives need representation and all lives are important to be heard and shared.

It is an absolute joy for me to highlight the life and history of Madam CJ Walker and to share this interview on the blog tour celebrating her life and story. I hope you will walk away with some inspiration for your own life as much as have a better understanding of what Madam CJ Walker had to endure in order to reach for her dreams and bring to reality the world she saw in her dreams.

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Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”Out of No Way
Subtitle: Madam CJ Walker and A'Lelia Walker : A Poetic Drama
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

Author, producer, and emerging poet Rojé Augustin has written a groundbreaking debut collection of dramatic poems about hair care entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and her daughter, A'Lelia. Rojé's singular and accomplished work is presented through the intimate lens of the mother-daughter relationship via different poetic forms — from lyric to haiku, blackout to narrative. (One poem takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.) Written in tribute to Walker, Out of No Way deftly and beautifully explores themes of race, motherhood, sacrifice, beauty, and the meaning of success in Jim Crow America.

Born Sarah Breedlove to former Louisiana slaves in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, became a mother at 17, and was widowed at 20. After the death of her first husband, Sarah moved to St. Louis with her daughter where she earned $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. When her hair started falling out she developed a remedy and sold her formula across the country. In the process, she became the wealthiest Negro woman in America.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetry & Drama, Women's Studies


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Self Published

Format: epub | PDF editon

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

NOTE: I do want to advise readers about a content warning in regards to a photograph inclusive of this release which does show a lynching which took me by surprise as well.

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Biography and #Poetry Drama
& #MadamCJWalker and #ALeliaWalker

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Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov in A'Lelia Walker, African-American History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Madam CJ Walker, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

#ChristmasReads Novella Review | “A Christmas Surprise” by Emily Murdoch feat. a Guest Post by the author after my review.#WYChristmasReadthon

Posted Tuesday, 26 December, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to the author for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

This particular story had a blog tour anchoured by Twitter chats last year wherein we attempted to break the novella down into collections of chapters and discuss the story via Twitter until time and circumstances prevented us from continuing. I have captured as much of the chats as I could which are included at the bottom of this post. I was meant to post this review on the 20th of December, 2016 however, it took me awhile to re-shift back into reading and blogging after my Dad’s stroke. This year, I felt more inclined to focus on Christmassy stories than I had last December where my reading habits were quite difficult to recapture.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Christmas Surprise” direct from the author Emily Murdoch in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

I personally love stories about upstairs/downstairs situations where the propriety of the past and the curious connections of those whom find themselves in love – sometimes do not hold fast to tradition. In this particular case, there is a twist of a surprise about whose heart is being wooed by which suitor and I thought it would be an interesting story to read. If only to see how the author brought the two together and how the story-line handled the twist in the end.

It was my original intention to continue to host the Twitter chats, as I had started them off by prompting directed conversations about the chapters we were reading at hand – however, most of those on the blog tour I found had read the novella ahead of the chats, whereas Priya and I were reading only the chapters pertinent to the chats to have the story ‘on mind’ to talk about as we proceeded forward. We were attempting to have it as a ‘readalong’ convo series in other words. I do regret I had to bow out of the chats, but as foresaid, I am including a capture of the chats below this review.

Likewise, I hadn’t foreseen my circumstances would have changed outright Thanksgiving weekend, and sadly, this was one of the blog tours I was not able to hold onto posting on schedule. I had tried to keep myself positioned to run this before Christmas, but I simply found my focus was limited and not where it had been prior to my Dad’s stroke. Therefore, I am running it after Christmas whilst running a succession of posts about #ChristmasReads ahead of ringing in the New Year.

#ChristmasReads Novella Review | “A Christmas Surprise” by Emily Murdoch feat. a Guest Post by the author after my review.#WYChristmasReadthonA Christmas Surprise
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Emily Murdoch
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

Every year for thirty years Lord Robert, the Viscount of Marchwood, throws a Christmas Ball.

But this year the Marchwood Christmas Ball holds extra importance.

His daughter, Lady Audrey, has just turned eighteen, and it is time for her to be introduced into society.

It is Audrey’s first, best, and potentially only chance of securing a husband.

Especially seeing as there are rumours that the Marchwood money is running dry.

But headstrong Lady Audrey is not sure she wants a husband.

Ever since her mother died she has been left to her own devices.

Though she is very close to her father, it was often the servants she turned to for companionship, particularly Thomas, who, five years older than her, was always the person she depended on for conversation.

She is not ready to leave everything she knows, and the thought of abandoning her father breaks her heart.

She is determined that only someone truly special will take her away from her home.

But with the ball centred around a masquerade theme, everyone is in disguise.

And a handsome stranger threatens to steal Audrey’s heart.

Could he hold the key to her heart?

And when she unmasks him will it be a good, or bad, Christmas Surprise?

‘A Christmas Surprise’ is a festive regency romance novella.

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781517456153

Also by this author: A Valentine Surprise

Published by Self Published

on 30th September, 2015

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 94

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistRom, #HistoricalRomance, #Regency or #IndieAuthor + #ChristmasRomance

About Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. She has authored a medieval series and a regency novella series, and is currently working on several new projects. To stay updated on her writing and upcoming books, follow her blog and on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WYChristmasReadathon
  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 26 December, 2017 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host

Blog Book Tour | The *debut!* #shortstory release of “I Still Remember” by Priya Prithviraj! A dear friend of mine I met through a book blogger panel!

Posted Thursday, 25 May, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to Priya for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

I received a complimentary copy of “I Still Remember” direct from the author Priya Prithviraj in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

When you have a friend like Priya, you are wicked happy for them to enter into the season of their publishing endeavours – as they share something in common with you! You’re both writers who started blogging about your reading lives whilst awaiting a moment where your own stories would start to arrive in print (or in Priya’s case, digitally in e-readers!). I have a profound respect for Priya, as our friendship was carved out a mutual love of literature, of diverse stories and of the joy story-telling gives us both. We’re also poets inasmuch as we’re storytellers of fiction – something I found quite wicked interesting as not every writer is a poet nor every poet is a novelist.

As soon as I learnt her short story was going to be a part of a blog tour for May, I was wicked excited to participate – not only to have a potential chance to ‘read’ a story of hers going into publication for the first time (always a thrilling day for a writer!) but I was so very happy to see this day arrive for a friend of mine! I love cheering and celebrating the writing careers of the authors of whom paths I have regularly crossed these past four years, but when you make a connection with someone you consider a dear friend in the book blogosphere – it’s a bit sweeter, isn’t it?

I hadn’t known she was writing this story ahead of time either – therefore, I did not know anything about the plot, the characters or where the story would be set. I was happily surprised to find it was a coming-of age Romance from the point of view of Korean protagonists. I regularly read #diverselit and advocate for #diversebooks by my own tag (both on Twitter and on my blog): #EqualityInLit as I’ve been a passionate reader of diverse stories as long as I’ve been a reader (see also Post). This is a refreshing change of pace for the stories I find set in Asia or from Asian POVs in both Historical and Contemporary stories. I was excited to see how Priya set the foundation of her short and how she conveyed the arc of her characters’ journey through the duration of the story itself.

Short Fiction is featured quite regularly here on Jorie Loves A Story, as inspired initially through short story anthologies published by Speculative Fiction publishers: Seventh Star Press and World Weaver Press, however, I have extended my readings outside of these Indie publishers in recent years as well. I have more short fiction arriving this Summer as I am finishing my readings of Indy Writes Books, Far Orbit: Apogee, Frozen Fairy Tales, Murder in the Generative Kitchen (see also Post), Shifty (see also Post), Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears and Trans-Continental: Mississippi Queen (see also Interview). You will find more showcases of Short Stories & Anthologies across genres in my Story Vault.

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On my Connection to Priya:

A few years ago (in 2015), I had the lovely pleasure of meeting Priya for the first time when our paths initially crossed during a book blogger panel – wherein we had the opportunity to sign-up for a blind match wherein each pair of bloggers were being interviewed by one match and interviewing a second match in an effort to connect book bloggers who might not have found each other otherwise. It was during this incredible event, Priya and I first met – sharing a conversation on Jorie Loves A Story and launching a friendship which has endured ever since. I started to host for her authors via Writerly Yours PR whilst maintaining contact with her about possible blog features we could host on each others’ blogs. An instance of this is my essay about ‘Reclaiming my Writing Life’ which ran originally in [2015] but re-published in [2016] as an extension of how Wrimos love participating in Nanowrimo! (see also Post) We’re both writers who started a blog to focus on our reading lives whilst awaiting our season to publish our stories. Priya’s publishing season has arrived ahead of my own and I was thrilled to bits to be able to celebrate this milestone of her writerly career.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Priya through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse, kept in touch privately and having had previously been a book blogger / chat hostess for authors she helps publicize through Writerly Yours PR.  I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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 Blog Book Tour | The *debut!* #shortstory release of “I Still Remember” by Priya Prithviraj! A dear friend of mine I met through a book blogger panel!I Still Remember
by Priya Prithviraj
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

How do you forget someone you’ve loved once?

Ji-woo dreams of becoming a writer and is back in college giving it a second shot. But then Weon-gyu, her first love, comes back into her new life. Will she give up on her dreams or will she write them a happy ending?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Short Story or Novella


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B071NSPMTV

Published by Self Published

on 14th May, 2017

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 29

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Ebook

Converse via: #YALit & #NewAdult + book tag: #IStillRemember

or #IndieAuthor + #Contemporary

About Priya Prithviraj

Priya Prithviraj

Priya Prithviraj writes poems which appear in journals such as Eastlit and the New Plains Review. She also writes about books, writing and publishing on her blog. She tweets at @priyaprithviraj.

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Posted Thursday, 25 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Blog Tour Host, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Nanowrimo 2008, Romance Fiction, Self-Published Author, Short Stories or Essays, Singletons & Commitment, Women's Fiction, Writerly Yours PR

Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms Murdoch

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to the author for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

This particular blog tour was anchoured by Twitter chats wherein we attempted to break the novella down into collections of chapters and discuss the story via Twitter whilst finalising our book club discussions with a special Q&A with the author – which is scheduled to run during the blog tour itself.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Valentine Surprise” direct from the author Emily Murdoch in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

I originally had intended to release my review on behalf of the previous release ‘A Christmas Surprise’ anchoured through my #ChristmasReads selections this past holiday season. I setting things up to run the week after Thanksgiving with a few featured over Thanksgiving weekend – however, as most of my dedicated followers already realise, this was the weekend my Dad had his stroke (see also this post and this post). Concurrently, I’ve been struggling to find my way back into my blog – in reading regularly and blogging regularly as I am now my father’s main caregiver. To say I am seeking a bit more balance in my life at the moment is putting it mildly. However, despite the imbalance of my reading life and the gaps in my blogging life – I can attest, I’ve cured one thing recently: I re-fell in love with cooking! lol All it took was a return to the local farmer’s market wherein you can hand-select and cut your own fresh produce.

Whilst signing up for this blog tour, I was excited as I came to appreciate the writer’s style whilst reading ‘A Christmas Surprise’ – which is still going to be featured on my blog – even if it’s a few months shy of Christmas; I have a few leftover Christmas selections to release and hopefully help readers find a few to tuck away for the holidays next year. I was thankful this new novella follows the timeline of the first one – if in effect you look at it from a unique angle, this could actually serve as a back-story on how the characters are inter-connected – specifically, by way of Lady Audrey and Jonathan.

I still find it wicked amazing how the author has been threading her stories through novellas, selecting a shorter arm of narrative to tell her stories whilst still giving the reader something hearty to chew on whilst they read her stories. This is something I tried to highlight through the latest Twitter ‘book club’ chat regarding ‘A Valentine Secret’ – of which I’ll include at the bottom of this review – offering everyone on the blog tour a chance to click-through to Twitter tweet by tweet and add their commentaries to the discussion questions awaiting them. For readers who are not a part of the blog tour – I welcome your responses, as these are everyday themes which are cross-relatable to all.

 Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms MurdochA Valentine Surprise
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Emily Murdoch
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

The course of true love never did run smooth…

Jonathan Brodie, the only son of Sir Roger and Lady Brodie, has lived in the village of Maplebridge his whole life.

Penelope, the daughter of the local florist, was adopted by the Baldwins when she was just a baby.

They could not be more different and yet, one blustery January morning, their paths collide in a chance encounter that is destined to change their lives forever.

Jonathan soon discovers that Penelope is far from the quiet wallflower that she first seems, but rather a beautiful rose just waiting for its chance to bloom. After spending more and more time together, it’s not long before their feelings for each other begin to blossom.

However, when Jonathan starts investigating Penelope’s past, in order to present her with the truth about her biological parents, his grand Valentines gesture threatens to destroy any hope of a future with the woman he has grown to love.

Penelope begins to doubt Jonathan’s motives.

Is he only concerned with placating his domineering father and convincing him that she is worthy of the Brodie name?

Despite his good intentions, will Jonathan’s Valentine Secret ruin everything?

Or are two people from opposite ends of society simply destined to remain poles apart forever?

A Valentine Secret is a charming regency romance novella about never giving up on true love. ​

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1523659098

Also by this author: A Christmas Surprise

Published by Self Published

on 21st January, 2016

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 112

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistRom, #HistoricalRomance + book tag: #AValentineSecret

#Regency or #IndieAuthor + #ValentineRomance

About Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. She has authored a medieval series and a regency novella series, and is currently working on several new projects. To stay updated on her writing and upcoming books, follow her blog and on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov in Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Historical Romance, Singletons & Commitment, the Regency era, Village Life, Women's Fiction, Writerly Yours PR