Versions of the Self: A Review

Today is the second day of National Poetry Writing Month, and to honor poetry and poets, I am going to review Versions of the Self by Christy Birmingham.

version of the self

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration.

Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

Available on Amazon

My Review: Versions of the Self is a collection of poetry that inspires and enthralls. Each thought-provoking piece is one to be savored. A variety of topics are explored, from nature (Painted Mountains) to simple pleasures (A Sundae Type of Day), from love to heartbreak. Ultimately, this collection is about relationships in all its forms. Christy Birmingham delves deep into the bonds of family (Tender Hands) and friendship, and she also examines the many ways love can go wrong (and right). But the most important relationship she writes about is the relationship we have with ourselves, or more specifically, with the many versions of ourselves that reside within us.

I have so many favorites within the pages of this book. In “Equality and Vision,” Christy honors women from our past, present, and future. Beautifully and delicately woven, “Introspection and Suffocation” resonated with me for many reasons. “Beauty, In Pursuit” examines our society’s relationship with trends and obsession with outer beauty. I could go on and on.

If you love poetry, or if you are interested in branching out and reading more poetry, I would highly recommend this book.

My Rating:  5 star

About the Author: Christy Birmingham is a freelance writer in Victoria, BC, who has a BA in Psychology and has taken professional writing courses at the University of Victoria. She is the author of Pathways to Illumination (Redmund Productions, 2013), her first poetry book. Her work also appears in the Poetry Institute of Canada’s From the Cerulean Sea: An Anthology of Verse (2013) and the literary journals The Claremont Review and Tipton Poetry Journal.

Connect with Christy Birmingham:

Poetic Parfait (Website)  |  Amazon  |  Twitter


Categories: authors to watch, book feature, book review, poetry, poetry books | Tags: , , , , ,

Author of the Week: Jennifer Renson

 Carousel book cover 

Our Author of the Week is Jennifer Renson! Welcome, Jennifer. When did you begin writing?

I have been writing since childhood. I am not sure how I started writing but I remember being able to create stories since Middle School and as I got older I was able to expand my writing skills.

What is your chosen genre?

My poetry books and Carousel fall under the genres of young adult/mystery/thriller/fantasy/fiction.

I do not have a specific genre that I stick to. Mostly because I want to see how well I can write in a specific genre.

Can you please tell us about your most recent release?

Carousel is my first published book that started easily enough with the villain of the story. I do not usually write stories of this nature and I wanted to see if I could. Needless to say I was more than pleased that Pulse LLC wanted to publish it. Carousel takes places in a alternative Lucca, Italy. Lucca is a tiny Kingdom ruled by a King and Queen. When news of a plague approaches they abandoned their Kingdom to live in the countryside. Their son, Princio, unbeknownst of his past is raised by his grandfather when his parents die and tells him to return to Lucca but never show his face. Upon his return he meets the mysterious doll maker Feletti at the abandoned carousel knowing all about the prince’s past and refusing to tell him. Princio believes him to be a friend until he meets Marian. Young, beautiful and curious she is terrified of Feletti and as her relationship with Princio develops so does the unanswered questions. Feletti knows everyone’s secrets… What happens when Princio uncovers his as well as Marian’s?

What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?

The most challenging aspect I had writing Carousel was deciding how the story should end. I had multiple ideas and in the end I am most happy with the result.

Of all your published books, which is your favorite and why?

It is very hard to choose between all of my works. I love them all equally. Each one is a part of me in some way.

Are there certain themes or lessons you tend to explore in your books?

I like to explore a variety of themes. Though my skills mostly reside in the whimsical, story telling, and mystery, I’ve been trying to explore the more historical and scary.

What is your primary goal as an author?

My goal is to have my stories and poems reach as many readers as possible and be able to sustain a career in writing. Writing is my passion, my life and I want to be able to write forever.

Which authors and/or books have inspired you as a writer?

I’ve been inspires by several writers including J.R.R Tolkien, Oscar Wilde, and Thomas Malory. All three have written some of my favorite books.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently putting the finishing touches on the prequel to Carousel titled The Cottontail which will  take readers into the lives of the royals before their abandonment of their kingdom, introduce two new compelling characters and provide further insight into Feletti’s past.

What advice would you like to share with new or aspiring authors?

Do not give up on your dreams and passions. If you want to write, write. Tell the stories you want to tell. Be fearless. Be open to advice and criticism. There is no apology for passion.


About the Author:

Jennifer Renson graduated from Monmouth University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations/Journalism, with a minor in History. While attending Monmouth University, she was the Managing Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of the Monmouth Review Literary Magazine while participating in Open Mic events.

After graduation, she began writing for Lost Treasure Magazine, covering a variety of topics, including that of Captain Kidd, The Library of Alexandria, Richard III, Cesare Borgia, and The Arthur Stone.

Jennifer acquired a Masters Degree in Counselor Education, with a New Jersey State Certificate for School Counselor. Her passionfor writing continued as her poetry was published into three books: Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Uncharted.

Her first published book Carousel through Pulse LLC, follows the life of a young man, returning to the homeland Lucca he never knew, meeting a mysterious doll maker and befriending a beautiful young woman at the site of the old carousel once belonging to royalty. Fascinated by history, she’s been a volunteer archaeologist. Hoping to turn her passion into a career, she continues to write poetry and stories hoping her works will inspire.

Connect with Jennifer Renson:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksandpoetrybyJenniferRenson/info?tab=page_info


Buy the books:

Carousel book cover


Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Carousel-Jennifer-Renson-ebook/dp/B010BTQ41S/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/carousel-jennifer-renson/1122546076?ean=2940150889392

Googleplay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jennifer_Renson_Carousel?id=Efb3CQAAQBAJ

Delightfully Dark Cover

Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Delightfully-Dark-Collection-Poems-Tales/dp/1499285434/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/delightfully-dark-jennifer-renson/1121244971?ean=9781499285437

Eo book cover

Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Eo-Jennifer-Renson-ebook/dp/B00TOM5NPW/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eo-jennifer-renson/1120313107?ean=9781500991074

Uncharted book cover


Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Uncharted-Jennifer-Renson/dp/1514343576/

Categories: author feature, author interview, author of the week, authors to watch, poetry, young adult | Tags: , , , ,

Interview with DM Yates

Today’s guest is DM Yates. Her published works include Always, The Lone Hero, Gingerbread Castle, and Stepping Stones to Love, Honour and Respect. She’s also a contributor to Strange Portals, a fantasy/horror anthology which is currently free on Smashwords, Nook, and Kindle.

strange portals


Welcome, Donna. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m one of those creative people who must always be creating something. I find I’m happiest when I’m involved in projects.

When did you begin writing?

According to my twin brother, I started writing stories and poetry as soon as I learned the alphabet and I could hold a pencil.

Can you tell us about your story (or stories) in the anthology, Strange Portals? What inspired you to write it?

I love fantasy and sci-fi, but I rarely write short stories. ‘The Best Gift I Can Give’ is about a ballet dancer who has become quite arrogant about her ability. She idolizes her mother who died not long after she was born. She has a benefactor who pays for whatever she wants, including her lessons but he’s decided the best gift he can give her is to cut off her money. She has to get a job and can no longer afford expensive clothes. Along her journey, she makes friends for the first time in her life, and she eventually discovers who she really is, what her heritage is.

Please tell us about your other published work.

I write in fantasy/new age/spiritual/romance genres so my works vary. ‘Always’ is the story of two eternal beings and their circle of friends who come to Earth to gain lessons and accomplish missions. Simon (Einarr) is the main character who is 36-years-old. His best friend’s 16-year-old niece April is sure that she and Simon are meant to marry. Simon walks a fine line between avoiding her and insulting the family. This book is a roller coaster of emotions and sets the stage for a series of stories.


‘The Lone Hero’ is pure fantasy with romance sprinkled in. Einarr is born on the dragon home world of Aberforth with a specific mission – to end the dragon war. He’ll spend most of his life accomplishing this task. The 2nd in this series will be out soon. ‘Laurence of Dragon Fame’ is set in the 13th century and Einarr now must save the dragons from extinction on Earth.

The LONE HERO - 2000

‘Stepping Stones to Love Honor and Respect’ is a collection of my poetry ranging in several subject matters.


‘Gingerbread Castle’ is a children’s holiday rhyme book about a secret fun place in dreamland.


What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on several more books about Einarr and his friends, along with rewrites for ‘Laurence of Dragon Fame.’

Do you have a book recommendation to share with us?

I love most books so it’s hard to share just one, but I certainly think readers would love your book. I know I did. Also our ‘Strange Portals’ anthology. Every story in there was amazing, including yours. It would give the reader a variety of short stories, each unique.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Write, write, write. When it comes time to publish, take the jump but be sure that your book has been well edited.

About DM Yates:dm yates author fixed

DM Yates grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio. She started writing stories and poetry as soon as she learned to read and write. She attended BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii, and BYU in Provo, Utah.

Although writing and poetry are her passions, she didn’t take it seriously to publish until her later years.

She is the Author of the fantasy/new age/spiritual romance stories, starting with ‘Always.’ The second in the series, ‘The Lone Hero’ was published in Dec 2013 and continues the tale of Einarr.

Her poetry book, Stepping Stones to Love Honor and Respect is a collection of poems dealing with various topics, such as love, honor, respect, spirituality, new age, pain, and Earth.

Her first children’s book was also published in Dec 2013. ‘Gingerbread Castle’ is a children’s holiday illustrated rhyme book for children ages 6 – 8-yrs old.

DM Yates is an independent self-published author.

Connect with DM Yates:

Buy DM Yates’ books:


Categories: author feature, author interview, children's books, christmas books, fantasy, Fantasy Anthology, holiday book, paranormal, paranormal romance, poetry, romance, science fiction, short stories, short story, strange portals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview with Kay Kauffman

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Kay Kauffman. Kay is a talented author and poet, and a contributor to the fantasy/horror anthology Strange Portals which is free on Smashwords, Nook, and Kindle.

strange portals

Welcome, Kay. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Me?  Well, I love flowers.  I love looking at them, I love smelling them, I love photographing them.  I do not, however, love growing them.  When I’m put in charge of plants, they have a tendency to die.  It’s not even a mystery how – either they drown or they die of thirst.  There’s no happy medium.  The only plant I’ve managed to keep alive for any length of time is a philodendron my husband gave me when I returned to work three years ago after the birth of our youngest son, and the only reason it’s still hanging out in the land of the living is because I’m not in charge of watering it.

Also, apparently philodendrons are impossible to kill.  I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere about writing and life, but I’m too tired to try and dig it out.  Mom brain: It’s a real thing. 😉

When did you begin writing?

You know, I was actually thinking about this just this morning.  I’d been reading about another author’s writing journey and it got me thinking about my own.  I really don’t remember a time when I didn’t write.  I’ve been at it at least since the second grade, when my mom bought me that super-cool holographic diary from the school book order.  But what prompted me to actually start writing – whether in that totally awesome diary or not – is anybody’s guess.

Can you tell us about your story in the anthology, Strange Portals? What inspired you to write it?

I first wrote “Christmas Spirit” as part of a flash fiction challenge on Authonomy back in 2011.  I wrote a lot of flash fiction that year, and a lot of it was different from what I typically write, which made it a fun little experiment.  I decided to keep it going with this story by combining Christmas with supernatural elements.  I knew I wanted to keep it light, though, so the whole thing was a real challenge – I’d never done anything like it.

When the idea for Strange Portals came along, I thought of “Christmas Spirit” immediately.  I hadn’t looked at it in years, and the anthology it was originally meant for never made it off of Autho, despite plans to release it into the wild.  I thought, “Why not?”  It needed a couple rounds of editing and a bit of polish, but once that was done, I sent it off hoping it would fare well among the vampires, zombies, and witches.

Please tell us about your other published work.

Another of my flash fiction pieces from that year appears in 416, which you can find on Smashwords.  Each story in the book is only 416 words long – writing a complete story in so few words was really hard, but also a heck of a lot of fun.  I also have some stories in A World of Their Own, which will be out later this year.

And I write poetry.  Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse debuted in 2012 in print and e-formats and is currently on sale for $1.50 at Amazon and Smashwords (just use coupon code FE67Z at checkout) in honor of my birthday, which was yesterday.  Sale ends Monday!

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently in the middle of prepping another poetry book for release.  A follow-up to Tuesday Daydreams, it’s entitled A Song for All Seasons, and I hope to have it ready to go by March.  I’m also in the midst of rewriting my first fantasy novel, The Price of Mercy, which I hope to send back out into the query trenches this year.  It’s the first book in a planned series, and I think I’m even more excited about it now than I was when I “finished” writing it back in 2010.

Yes, I know – I write slow.  I’ve had these books in the works for a decade, so when they finally come out, they’re gonna be awesome. 🙂

Do you have a book recommendation to share with us?

Just one?  But…but I have a whole stack of books I could recommend!  Oh, very well – I’ll recommend Darkhaven by A.F.E. Smith.  It’s not out yet (sigh), but I’ve been awaiting its release for ages and I can’t wait to get my hot little hands on it this summer!

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

I’d have to say make friends in the writing community.  There’s nothing like the company of other writers to help you hold onto your sanity and weather the myriad ups and downs of the publishing business.  Plus, they’re usually good for coffee, chocolate, and inspiration when you can’t sleep in the middle of the night.

That’s excellent advice, Kay. Where can readers go to find you on social media?

You can find me in the all the usual places:

At my blog, where I share random pictures and silly poems; on Facebook, where I share things about cats and books; on Twitter, where I share whatever pops into my head; on Pinterest, where I share delicious recipes and images from my fantasy world; on Instagram, where I share pictures of pretty sunsets; and on Tumblr, where I share all of the above.

Author Bio:wpavi

As a girl, Kay dreamed of being swept off her feet by her one true love.  At the age of 24, it finally happened…and he’s never let her forget it.  A mild-mannered secretary by day and a determined word-wrangler by night, she battles the twin evils of distraction and procrastination in order to write fantastical tales of wuv…twue wuv…with a few bad haiku thrown in for good measure.

She is currently hard at work on the first book in a fantasy trilogy.  Kay resides in the midst of an Iowa corn field with her devoted husband and his mighty red pen; four crazy, cute kids; and an assortment of adorably small, furry animals.


Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse by Kay Kauffman


Natural poetry at its finest.

Capturing the life and imagination of the author in vivid detail, these poems touch on joy and loss, life’s everyday hassles, and the many faces of Mother Nature.


Amazon (paperback)

Amazon (Kindle)

Amazon UK (paperback)

Amazon UK (Kindle)


Barnes & Noble



Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse debuted is currently on sale for $1.50 at Amazon and Smashwords (just use coupon code FE67Z at checkout).  Sale ends Monday!

Categories: author interview, authors to watch, fantasy, interview, paranormal, poetry, short stories, strange portals | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Stepping Stones to Love, Honour & Respect

Stepping Stones to Love, Honor & Respect
By DM Yates

Stepping Stones to Love Honor and Respect is a book of poetry sure to warm the hearts and souls of the readers. The book is divided into categories: Love, Honor, Respect, New Age, Eclectic, Pain, Tales, Religious,Fun,Collections, and Earth. Each category is comprised of 5 different easy to read poems, most done in rhyme.

My Review: It’s very difficult to review a poetry collection. Since poetry is straight from the heart, all I can do is tell you my heartfelt reaction to the poems in this collection. Reviewing poetry is a bit like reviewing the poet’s soul, and in this case, I’d have to say Yates’ soul is pure, beautiful, and compassionate. The poems are divided into different sections, and I was able to choose favorites from each, though it was impossible to narrow it down to just one or two.

I particularly connected with “A Warriors Call”, which is a lovely tribute to men an women in uniform.

“The False Treasure in Life” was another poem I flagged to read again and again. It talks about our society’s obsession with acquiring things and how people replace true bounty (love, friendship, nature) with useless things. This is something I’ve contemplated numerous times, and Yates expresses her thoughts in a very clear and honest manner.

“She Who Rides the Wind” is a very spiritual poem, and one I believe has great meaning to the author. It evokes the image of untamed land and the purity of nature.

There are too many poems in the collection for me to pay homage to. I can honestly say I enjoyed them all. While reading, I could feel the poet’s emotions in each piece. From fun and whimsical, to spiritual, to heart-wrenching, there is a little something for everyone in this collection. I’m so glad I read these poems and look forward to returning again and again to reread them.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy the collection on Amazon or Smashwords

Categories: book review, poetry | Tags: ,

Interview with Cindy Smith

Tricia: Today, we’re visiting with Cindy J Smith, author of Voices In My Head, a compilation of poetry. Please tell us a little about yourself, Cindy.

Cindy: I am married and work with my husband as OTR truck drivers. We live in Indiana. I love flowers, cats, dogs and dragons. My favorite color is purple.

Tricia: When did you begin writing? 

Cindy: I have written poetry as long as I can remember. It has always been an outlet for my frustrations and confusion.

Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent publication? 

Cindy: My book, Voices in my Head, is a compilation of years of poetry.

Tricia: What led to your decision to publish a collection of poetry? 

Cindy: I published it in honor of my daughter who always wanted me to and because my Facebook friends said I should.

Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your poetry collection?

Cindy: The biggest challenge for me was actually letting anyone read my poems, I did not like to share them.

Tricia: Which authors have inspired your writing? 
Cindy: To be honest, I think Dr. Suess is the most influential. I love his ability to rhyme anything. I have read most of the classics and major poets of the past also.

Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Cindy: I think I am considering a second book. I have about 160 new poems that I have been asked to share.

Tricia: How do you handle unfavorable reviews? 

Cindy: I have not received any yet, so I am not sure. I am not that positive my poems are good. I like them but I am not sure they are good enough for the general public.

Tricia: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have five books with you, which books would you choose? 

Cindy: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo, Silas Marner by George Elliot, Complete works of William Blake, Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice, and One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Suess!

Tricia: Do you have any special skills, education, or hobbies that enhance your writing abilities? 
Cindy: I am employed as truck driver so I see a lot of different areas of the country and meet lots of new people. This provides me with a lot of stimuli for writing poems.

Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors? 
Cindy: Believe in yourself and be true to yourself. You can’t please everyone so be sure you like what you do.

Tricia: Which piece of poetry is your favorite? 
Cindy: Not sure if you mean my works or someone else’s here. So, my favorite that I wrote is My Angel. I wrote this about myself and it is how I truly feel most days since I lost my dear daughter.


My angel in heaven

Reach down from the skies

Help me to dry

These tears in my eyes

I miss you so much

It is so hard to cope

As this dark emptiness

Takes away all my hope

Let me hear your soft voice

In the songs the bird sings

And with the gentle breeze

Feel the embrace of your wings

Let me see your sweet smile

In the moonbeams at night

And find peace in your love

With the dawn’s morning light

If you’re interested in learning more about Cindy’s poetry or to purchase a copy of her book, please click on the following links:

AmazonUK paperback
AmazonUK kindle
Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble

Categories: interviews, poetry

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