Format: Paperback Edition

An Indie Fantasy #25PagePreview | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan Fitzgerald

Posted Wednesday, 1 December, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: During my 3rd Year of co-hosting @WyrdAndWonder, I was able to participate on my first blog tour with Storytellers on Tour which was featuring the author Brianna Sugalski on her “Disenchanted” blog tour. What I appreciated about Storytellers on Tour is their dedication to Indie Authors of Speculative Literature and their ability to find authors who are telling stories in Fantasy which intrigue me to read. Fantasy has been a challenging genre for me to explore even a bit moreso than Science Fiction – which is why I feel blessed to be on their blogger team. Whilst some of their tours I might seek out a book to consider for review, I also actively enjoy hosting creative content using book photography and/or featuring their authors in conversation (ie. interviews) or giving them the breadth of joy to write a guest post based on a topic of my choosing. Overall, Storytellers on Tour are dedicated to creating community and for championing those of us who are choosing to share our readerly lives each day we bring content to our book blogs. 

I received a complimentary copy of “The Living Waters” direct from the author Dan Fitzgerald in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I admit, today is a bit of a somber day for me to be hosting for Storytellers on Tour – as this lovely touring company I’ve been hosting for the past few years now is closing its doors by the end of 2021. I won’t be able to host for them moving forward into 2022 and that is quite a sad reality for me – as I have truly loved being a Roadie (part of their book blogging team) all the years I’ve hosted for them and have come to appreciate the authors, stories and series they’ve hand-selected to feature within the Speculative realms of Indie Publishing.

For those who follow me throughout the years, you’ll already note I love focusing on Indie Fantasy storytellers myself every #WyrdAndWonder (annually in May; follow us socially on Twitter via @WyrdAndWonder) – which I briefly mention at the end of this post. The reason I love Indie Speculative Fiction is because the writers of those stories are happily giving me wicked good stories to ruminate over and enticingly intriguing worlds to explore.

This year I’ve tried to juggle working full-time (now with two jobs since the end of October) and maintaining my blogging and online life. I recognise that I’ve not quite struck the proper balance between the two but I’ve tried to keep surfacing on my blog and social channels – despite the fact I completely missed #SpooktasticReads and #SciFiMonth this year – hopefully, by the time next October and November come round in 2022, I’ll have more to share with everyone! I’ll be sharing a bit more about this during my next #TheSundayPost but for those followers and readers of Jorie Loves A Story who’ve wondered about the reduction in my presence online, it is due to limited days off and a heavier work load now that I’m balancing two jobs full-time as well as the fact my Mum has been having some health issues recently herself.

I am just thankful I could join one of the last blog tours for Storytellers on Tour and be a part of their final tours before they close their doors. The author surprised me with a lovely piece of the artwork (its a art photograph I believe!), two bookmarks and a lovely bookplate when he sent me the book! I was so thankful to receive them as my copy arrived damaged from the post office – to find those enclosures still with the book was quite the blessing indeed! I cannot wait to frame the artwork, too!

As a result of having limited reading hours recently, I had to scale back my post from a full review to be featured today to a #25PagePreview wherein I share my thoughts about the first twenty-pages instead. It is my goal to share a fuller review before the close of the blog tour this week.

Until then,

Brew yourself a cuppa and let’s find out more about “The Living Waters”!

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An Indie Fantasy #25PagePreview | “The Living Waters” (Book One: Weirdwater Confluence series) by Dan FitzgeraldThe Living Waters
Subtitle: Weirdwater Confluence : Book 1
by Dan Fitzgerald
Source: Author via Storytellers on Tour

When two painted-faced nobles take a guided raft trip on a muddy river, they expect to rough it for a few weeks before returning to their life of sheltered ease. But when mysterious swirls start appearing in the water, even their seasoned guides get rattled.

The mystery of the swirls lures them on to seek the mythical wetlands known as the Living Waters. They discover a world beyond their imagining, but stranger still are the worlds they find inside their own minds as they are drawn deep into the troubles of this hidden place.
 
The Living Waters is a sword-free fantasy novel featuring an ethereal love story, meditation magic, and an ancient book with cryptic marginalia.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Portal Fantasy, Fantasy Romance



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8493260940

Published by Shadow Spark Publishing

on 9th October, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

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The Weirdwater Confluence series:

Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald featuring Gilea and Temi. Provided by Storytellers on Tour and is used with permission of the author Dan Fitzgerald.
Artwork from The Living Waters novel by Dan Fitzgerald
featuring Gilea and Temi.

a duology featuring:

The Living Waters (Book One)

& The Isle of a Thousand Worlds

← *forthcoming January, 2022!

NOTE: It is independent from the Maer Cycle trilogy, but there are a few points of contact, and both are part of a planned larger universe called the Copper Circle, which will include a trilogy called the Time Before, set 2,000 years before the Maer Cycle. Found this sidenote about the duology from the author’s website and felt it was relevant to share in case others are keen on reading serial fiction with the foreknowledge of how different duologies, trilogies and universes in an author’s collective works interconnect.

Published by: Shadow Spark Publishing (@ShadowSparkPub)

Converse via: #Fantasy, #SpeculativeFiction and #FantasyRomance
as well as #storytellersontour & #EnterTheFantastic as #JorieReads

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About Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low-magic fantasy) and the upcoming Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories). The Living Waters comes out October 15, 2021 and The Isle of a Thousand Worlds arrives January 15, 2022, both from Shadow Spark Publishing.

He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.

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Posted Wednesday, 1 December, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Storytellers on Tour

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | The final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy “Mean Spirit” by E. Chris Garrison

Posted Saturday, 29 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have remained in contact with the author through the years as I truly love reading her stories and hearing about her current projects. This particular story has a long journey towards publication and in truth, I haven’t read an installment of this series in five years (since 2016). I have waited on pins and needles to await the fate of Skye and all the characters I came to know in the series – when Ms Chris approached me about the final chapter of the trilogy was being published last year (2020) I was overjoyed as it felt like such a good time to read it. However, I hadn’t foreseen how difficult May & September would be for my chronic migraines – whilst I also found myself pulling out of reading more than I felt attached to it throughout 2020 as a whole.

I decided to push forward my review for this final novel until Wyrd And Wonder, May 2021 as I wanted to share my thoughts with the wider community of #WyrdAndWonder especially for those who might not have seen my previous reviews of her stories or participated in @SatBookChat’s conversation with her as well during #SciFiMonth, 2020.

I received a complimentary copy of “Mean Spirit” direct from the author E. Chris Garrison in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I knew I wanted to finish my readings for #WyrdAndWonder with a few select reads which would occupy my final joys of the event this Year 4. Hence why I held off reading “Mean Spirit”, “Esme’s Gift” & “Trans Witch” as I wanted my final #weekendreads for Wyrd and Wonder to be consumed by stories I knew I wouldn’t be able to put down. I had no idea at the time when I purchased “Trans Witch” it was within the Skye-Blue-universe – somehow that felt fittingly brilliant to me. And, in regards to “Esme’s Gift” – you might want to visit my review for “Esme’s Wish” to see why I am enraptured with that series as much as I am with this one.

I had to ‘let go’ of some of the stories I had planned to read this month – as I simply ran out of the hours whilst I was able to dodge a few migraines which thankfully didn’t fully take root to derail my efforts, I still took ill for a few days this last week of May to where only rest & copious amounts of herbal tea was able to reset me. Those other stories will be coming to Jorie Loves A Story during different events from June-November – however, as this is the final weekend for Wyrd And Wonder – I simply want to say how wicked happy I am to have been blessed to read the stories I could and to spend time with writers who are elevating our joys as we adventure through the wonderment & enchanting niches of genre throughout Fantasy. It is a credit to each of them for giving us a chance to see their own visions for their worlds & to entreat into the footsteps of their characters,… wherein our heart continues to expand with the experiences we can never forget taking with them.

Today, I embarked on saying ‘goodbye’ to a series I’ve felt has been a part of my journey as a book blogger only to remind myself that its never quite a final ‘goodbye’ when it comes to stories,… they are simply awaiting the next moment we re-open the door and walk through their worlds. Here’s to each of us adventuring & discovering & celebrating everything we’ve found this fourth year of Wyrd And Wonder.

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On my connection to Ms Chris (aka E. Chris Garrison):

My path first crossed with Ms Chris through a podcast sponsored by an Indie Speculative Fiction publisher which led me to hosting blog tours which celebrated her stories. Since our first encounter with each other, we’ve developed a friendship I am blessed to have and I appreciate getting to know a bit more about an author whose not only developing a unique style in the world of Fantasy but is receptive to the thoughts readers have as they gain impression by reading the stories themselves.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Chris through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. 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. For more information, I disclosed a bit more on my first 10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts (read No.7!).

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Why I love reading the Tipsy Fairy Tales:

One of the best bits of all though were the classic ways in which the Zombies were a key part of the story and how un-Zombie-like they were as it wasn’t so much of a story of the undead but rather a story of manipulation, altered states of awareness and the transitional pursuits of someone whose bent on power and control but hasn’t the proper sense to realise how ill-fated that would make his destiny. Of all the stories I could have read involving Zombies, I am so wicked thankful it was one by Ms Chris!

The tipsy side of Skye’s life soon became a double-edged sword we all knew could turn on her as soon as she let her guard down to notice the implications of leading a life that was quite out of control by most people’s standards. There were consequences she was not prepared for even if she presumed they were possible, yet through it all, she kept moving forward, kept fighting and willing herself to see the endgame was worth the heartaches along the way. This story is paramount to her evolving story-line where she has to make better choices for her future whilst realising that sometimes the hasty choices made on the fly might not be the best advantage in the long-term especially if you burn more bridges than you can handle all at once. Relationships are built on trust and this is one cardinal flaw on Skye’s behalf – she never realised how much trust she had with those she needed most until the day arrived where her restless urgency to ‘do something’ good with her paratalents took away the one thing that anchoured her most in life. To see where she goes from here is going to be interesting as in many regards, she has to rebuild the way in which she manages her impulses whilst becoming the better half of whom she is meant to be.

There were quiet moments of repose to reflect on Skye’s history and on Phil’s where other characters that cross between Ms Chris and Mr Sullivan’s story arcs come into centre play and knowledge. They have a unique working relationship where they ‘borrow’ characters and each have their own unique spin on how those characters are presented. I spoke about this on my review for Blue Spirit in case you’d like a refresher. Ms Chris is one of those authors who has such a clarity about her writerly voice, she can insert ‘background’ on her characters and previous stories (or Mr Sullivan’s) without it sounding like the ‘insert previous information here’ variety of narrative. I applaud that, as sometimes I notice authors overwork the obvious or take you out of the current story to opt to fill in those who read series out of order.

I consider this series pro-positive for both LGBTQIA+ and Allies alike, as everything pertinent to this side of Skye’s life is told organically and shifts between being humourous and serious, depending on the nature of the exchange or the situation at hand. This is positive I think as it has a very realistic vibe attached to it. Skye is not afraid to speak her mind or to live her authentic truth, even if others are not as prepared to accept her on her terms, she still lives her life owning the truth she has within her and that’s something to applaud. She has her faults (who doesn’t?) but her strengths are her willingness to take-on challenges head-on and remain faithful to those she cares about whilst sorting out mysteries of the unexplained.

This is definitely an author to bookmark if your seeking #diverselit and stories of Equality where all characters are realistically written and openly honest about expressing their thoughts, views and feelings.

-quoted from my review of Restless Spirit

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A #WyrdAndWonder Book Review | The final installment of the Tipsy Fairy Tale trilogy “Mean Spirit” by E. Chris GarrisonMean Spirit
Subtitle: A Tipsy Fairy Tale
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of Silly Hat Books
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Anne Rosario
Source: Direct from Author

All her fault. How did it go so wrong?

What was supposed to be a fun, exciting convention weekend has turned terribly tragic. All Skye MacLeod had to do was look pretty in a fantasy costume and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Instead, she got cocky and took matters into her own hands. Death and destruction followed. Now Skye's burying another friend, she's broken trusts, and she isn't sure how to make things right again.

Skye's trying her best. She's quit drinking (giving up her powers in the process) and she's trying to make up for her reckless behavior and stay out of trouble, but something big is happening among the fairy Lords and Ladies of the Circle City. All the major players warn Skye to stay away. So why does she find herself swept up in the middle of things anyway? How will she regain her honor and the trust of the people around her when every choice before her seems wrong?

The exciting conclusion to the Tipsy Fairy Tales Trilogy.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Stories of the FAE, Urban Fantasy, Genre-bender



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1953763228

Series: Tipsy Fairy Tale


Published by Silly Hat Books

on 4th August, 2020

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 234

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The Tipsy Fairy Tale Trilogy:

Blue Spirit by E. Chris GarrisonRestless Spirit by E. Chris GarrisonMean Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

Blue Spirit (book one) | see also Review

Restless Spirit (book two) | see also Review

Mean Spirit (book three)

(*) previously these were published elsewhere but all titles
by this author in all formats are published by Silly Hat Books

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Converse on Twitter: #TipsyFairyTaleSeries & #SillyHatBooks

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Saturday, 29 May, 2021 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Cover | Original Illustration & Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Faeries & the Fey, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Folklore and Mythology, Gaming, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Horror-Lite, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Science Fiction, Shapeshifters, Silly Hat Books, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Time Shift, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Zombies

Poet Interview | on behalf of “passiflora” (a #poetry collection) by Kathy Davis

Posted Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Acquired Book By:

I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “passiflora” direct from the author Kathy Davis in order to formulate my interview questions and to better showcase her collection through our conversation. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As I was sitting and listening to #Spotify (a bit of a random spin of Contemporary Indie Artists – songwriters, bands, ballards, hodgepodge of genres, etc) whilst working on prepping my posts for the last days of April & the first days of May (as aside from a few blog tours sprinkled throughout May, most of you know MAY is my month to rock & cheer for the Fantasy novelists who draw me into their Speculative Fiction worlds as I co-host our 4th @WyrdAndWonder this year!

Whilst the music was lifting me spirits & mood – I kept a ready eye for new tweets & bookish news – as also I was drafting new posts & sorting out where I am with both my blog’s schedule and my #currentreads! I had the pleasure of receiving the photos which will accompany my conversation, today! I was quite excited for them as I felt they added quite a bit to the interview itself and allowed everyone to see the Ms Davis’s photography. 

I’ve been fortunate to start reading & showcasing poetry again this Spring, 2021. I kicked it off with Arisa White’s new autobiographical poetic drama “Who’s Your Daddy” (see also Review) whilst I concluded April with Cheryl Wilder’s “Anything That Happens” which is also autobiographical and dearly dramatic as she elevates how to heal through trauma by finding cathartic clarity in poetry and dramatic prose. (see also Review)

This May I welcome Ms Davis to my blog and it was an honour to host her and Ms Wilder – as they are newly on my radar for poets who write stirringly realistic poetic dramas & autobiographical narratives in dramatic poetic formats.

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

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I was truly grateful to welcome Ms Davis to Jorie Loves A Story – especially after having learnt she’s been enjoying the way in which I approach sharing my readerly experiences in the works of Poetry & Drama I seek out from blog tours. It is nice to have such wonderfully positive feedback from a fellow poet who is enjoying reading the reviews which challenge me the most as a book blogger to compose.

In part, because unlike Fiction & Non-Fiction – poetry speaks to a different part of our heart & mind – it connects through the soul and takes us on a different kind of emotional journey. To be able to have my words on behalf of the collections I’ve read and reviewed in the past resonate with someone else is the best compliment I could receive. May all who visit find a bit of inspiration in what I’ve left behind. And, hopefully find some encouragement to constantly seek out works of literature which seek to challenge them to read harder and deeper into new literary waters,…

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Your poetry is infused with the natural world and the rhythms of nature. As they read as if your observations of those moments were writ as soon as you saw them – I was left curious, do you take a notebook with you to keep those impressions as they first appear to you or are these reflections on the memories of those moments?

Photo Credit: Kathy DavisPhoto Credit: Kathy DavisPhoto Credit: Kathy Davis

Left to Right : a) wildflower meadow, b) herb garden in Ireland and c) wildflower meadow
Photo Credit: Kathy Davis

Davis responds: I keep a journal on my desk where I’ll note things I’ve seen or heard that have stayed with me, but often I’ll pull those “obsessions” into my life in some way—to play with them firsthand, figure out what they mean. For example, after I met the naturalist described in “How to Grow Wild,” I put her advice to use in turning a portion of my yard into a wildflower meadow. The process taught me much and helped me work through my grief for my mother—leading to the poem. And each time I see a monarch butterfly, I think of her.

Another example is the borage blossoms described in “Undone.” I was introduced to the herb when I worked on a farm in Ireland, harvesting the flowers to sell to local restaurants who used them as a garnish on salads. I loved the color so much that later, when I was back in the U.S., I planted borage in my own garden. So, it was something I saw daily during the summer that ultimately found its way into the poem.

I oft find this true myself – how something we’ve observed has a larger impact on us lateron. The art of journalling is something I’ve struggled to maintain off/on over the years of my life. I have moments where it is fluid and others where it is elusive. I celebrate anyone who has better luck than me at maintaining a way to chronicle their thoughts, memories and experiences. We share a mutual love of photography, though! I would love to say I can garden but I’ve never had the right patch of land for it to make it conducive as the soil where I live is quite aggressively non-starting when it comes to plants. Wildflowers give me so much joy every year seeing where they’ve grown and what stretches of road they have beautified. It would be keen to have a meadow like this one day as there is a draw to connect with both the earth and the flowers whilst your gardening, I must admit.

Connecting your life and your experiences into your poems was wonderful to see — all the poets I’ve been featuring this Spring were doing the same thing – wherein their poetry collections read more like Non-Fiction Memoir than just a collection of poems. It is that fusion of life and memory and heart and soul which spoke to me the most in each of the different collections I was reading and ultimately showcasing on Jorie Loves A Story.

The harmony of nature and the time elapses of our lives tend to connect to each other as you’ve shown throughout ‘passiflora’. How did you develop your style of poetry and find a way to purport time itself through the natural world as it reflects against your own experiences?

Photo Credit: Kathy Davis

Sunrise from Ft. Worden on Olympic Peninsula of Washington state : Photo Credit; Kathy Davis

Davis responds: Someone once said that to garden is to live in the past, present and future at the same time. And I think, as a gardener, the rhythms of nature are something I rely on as a constant against which the chaos of our day-to-day lives plays out, and that shows up subconsciously in my writing. Yet, climate change has shown us how fragile our environment is and that the cycles we depend upon are being disrupted (as in the poem “Freeze”).  Where then do we find hope? That is a question with which I often find myself struggling. Maybe, like in the poem “Fort Worden,” hope is found in the willingness to keep on trying—whether we’re working to protect a marriage or the Salish Sea—and in taking the time to share and celebrate what we have, like the beauty of a sunrise.

I could not agree more with your sentiments — the best bits of life are the moments we can hold onto and celebrate – even if they are smaller joys, they are still something which gives us a great deal of happiness to reflect upon and to catch portions of our lives as their being lived. As you said, it is hard to grasp everything that happens in our lives and that leads into a lot of introspective reflection, too. Climate change has definitely played a role in the cycles of the natural world and the influx of issues with both gardening on a small level and on a larger scale due to the inconsistencies of the weather and the conditions of the land itself. 

Hope is something which renews all of our spirits and allows us to great every new tomorrow; quite true. I liked how you were working things through your mind and sharing your thoughts with us in your poems. 

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Poet Interview | on behalf of “passiflora” (a #poetry collection) by Kathy Davispassiflora
Subtitle: poems
by Kathy Davis
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1930781580

Published by Cider Press Review

on 15th February, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 80

Published by: Cedar Press Review (@CiderPressRev)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Autobiography and #Poetry Drama
& #KathyDavis and #passiflora

About Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis is a poet and nonfiction writer from Richmond, VA. She is also the author of the chapbook Holding for the Farrier (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Blackbird, The Hudson Review, Nashville Review, Oxford American, The Southern Review, storySouth and other journals. Davis holds a BA and MBA from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been a finalist for Best of the Net and the Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction.

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Posted Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

Double-Showcase: Interview & Review | on behalf of “Anything That Happens” (a #poetry collection) by Cheryl Wilder

Posted Thursday, 29 April, 2021 by jorielov , , 6 Comments

Non Fiction Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Anything That Happens” direct from the author Cheryl Wilder in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have a wonderful surprise for you – I’m featuring both a review and an interview with the poet Cheryl Wilder. This is an interesting collection of poetry as the poet is exploring a particular moment in her life where something happened which affected the rest of the hours which came next – how tragedy and circumstances can affect us on a soul level and how we choose to transition through gut-wrenching circumstances can sometimes make or break how we enter the future.

We’ve all gone through hard circumstances at some point in our lives – we’ve all have had things happen which shake up our understandings about life and for some of us, we’ve been in accidents on highways which happened before we could process what happened at all. I still remember when my parents and I were in a car accident out of state and how blessed we were to walk away from it. It is not something I’ve mentioned in the past and I rarely speak of it IRL – it was a footnote on that one particular road trip and a humbling moment of awakening realisation on the other hand. There are moments we plan in life and then, there are unexpected moments which seek to teach of us something even if we never knew we signed up for the lesson.

In this collection of poetry, I knew I was going to be exploring raw emotions attached to the circumstances surrounding the poets experiences with the car accident and the after effects that accident had on her life due to the circumstances which followed. I elected to talk about certain sections of the collection in my interview with Ms Wilder as well as comment about the collective threading of these circumstances in the collection which I felt told the greater story and held within those passages the heart of ‘Anything That Happens’.

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

You’ve taken your experiences and have cleverly tucked them into poetic stories which tell pieces of your own story but let the reader fill in the unspoken bits as well. How did you sort out how to thread the tragedy into the confluence of poems which creates the backbone of Anything That Happens?

Wilder responds: I put the book through many iterations of order. Up until the last draft, I had themes that didn’t make the final cut. Once I refined the story, I figured out how I wanted readers to enter and exit the book. The car crash, which was the trauma that underlay all other events, made a natural frame for the collection.

Photo Credit; Cheryl Wilder

Photo Credit: Cheryl Wilder

I knew the “Slipped” poem series had to be in the beginning, to introduce the crash. But, how to end? I wanted to bring readers into the experience while being careful to not overwhelm their emotions. I decided an arc was the best way to accomplish my goals. The poems about being my mom’s caregiver were also heavy, so I put them in the second half. (My editor, Tom Lombardo, suggested the section break before introducing the “Mom” poems.) After that, I placed poems in the collection by considering how the other themes fit into the arc.

I felt you had a natural rhythm and pace within this collection – as this is how I interpreted the order of the poems myself as a reader and how I saw this hidden patterning of how the poems were organised. Being my father’s caregiver for the past five years since he survived his stroke, I can sympathise with others who are carers for their parents and/or other loved ones, too. I felt the anchours were the “Slipped” series but you had such a wonderful cadence of honesty about how interconnected the trauma of that sequencing had an overlap effect on the rest of your life, too. And, how transparent you left your emotions and your thoughts in the poems themselves was truly quite the impact on us who were reading your stories.

You’ve mentioned poetic imagery and language as cornerstones of what renew as a writer. How do you find writing poetry allows you to connect to a reader and merge your vision into their own understanding of what you’ve written? What draws you into poetry in other words and how does the fusion of what you write into a poem become a vessel of thought others can find tangible in their own lives?

Wilder responds: I was drawn to poetry by its power to “say the most with the least amount of words.” My parents weren’t great communicators. As a child, I had a lot to say and didn’t know how to say it. There are many forms of expression, but I hungered for language. I found my path through lyric poetry.

Art is a reflection of the world. If a poem is doing its work, it is holding a mirror up to the reader. One way I create the mirror, or vessel, is by writing to the unknown reader, preferably someone 100 years in the future. I want the person to get something from the poem that has nothing to do with me. It may sound counter-intuitive, especially since my collection is personal, but I worked to rid the poems of me “the writer.” When I accomplish that, the poem is what’s left. And if I’ve done my job, it serves as a mirror to the world.

Another angle is to look at form. I think the lyric form draws readers into it. The form is sparse in language and there’s a lot of white space. I see white space as an invitation for readers to become part of the poem—to fill in the blanks. Line breaks do some heavy lifting here. For example, when I finish reading a line, I can insert my experiences—words and images—before moving on, even if it’s subconscious. The line, and the break that ends the line, allow me to be inside the. I suppose this is how a poem can also be a vessel. I try to create this same kind of space for my readers. Yes, walk in my shoes for a while, but at the same time, I hope you’re reflecting on the shoes you’re walking in.

I find everything I read has a way of looping back into my own personal experiences and how I’ve interpreted the world up until the moment I’ve reached inside the poem(s) I am reading. We all interpret what we read differently and choose to take a journey into what we read differently, too. Some stay on the outside fringes of what they read but I’ve always taken a more personal approach – to truly feel and experience what is being shared on page and in effect, this carried over to visual storytelling outlets as well. Whenever I see a film, I become whomever the lead character is and walk through their journey as if I had lived it myself. I love how you used the mirror effect to explain your writerly legacy and how the words we leave behind cast a reflection both the world at large and on the hours we’ve spent living ourselves. Language and stories irregardless of their format to express ourselves is a wonderful way of uniting both distance and time but also a mutual respect for further exploring our own humanity and the curious ways in which life itself is a pursuit of enlightenment.

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Double-Showcase: Interview & Review | on behalf of “Anything That Happens” (a #poetry collection) by Cheryl WilderAnything That Happens
Subtitle: Poems
by Cheryl Wilder
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

A debut poetry collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance.

At the age of twenty, Cheryl Wilder got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive. She emerged from the car physically whole. Her passenger, a close friend, woke up from a coma four months later with a life-changing brain injury. Anything That Happens follows Wilder’s journey from a young adult consumed by shame and self-hatred to a woman she can live with... and even respect.

Genres: Non-Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Poetry & Drama



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-950413-33-1

Published by Press 53

on 25th March, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 82

Published by: Press 53 (@Press53)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Autobiography and #Poetry Drama
& #CherylWilder and #AnythingThatHappens

About Cheryl Wilder

Cheryl Wilder

Cheryl Wilder is the author of Anything That Happens, a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection (Press 53, 2021), a collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance. Her chapbook, What Binds Us (Finishing Line Press, 2017), explores the frailty and necessity of human connection.

A founder and editor of Waterwheel Review, Cheryl earned her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Posted Thursday, 29 April, 2021 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life