Posts Tagged With: poetry

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:




Buy the books:

Carousel book cover


Barnes and Noble:


Delightfully Dark Cover

Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales:

Barnes and Noble:

Eo book cover

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

Barnes and Noble:

Uncharted book cover


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

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