Blog Archives

Appropriate But Also Funny

Jolly Walker Bittick Author Interview

Bag O’ Goodies is a collection of short stories and poetry, sometimes real and sometimes pure fiction, covering a wide variety of topics. What was the inspiration for writing this collection of works?

I was a big fan of the movie “Creep Show” that showcases short stories by Stephen King.

I find the title of this collection interesting. How did you decide on the title of this book?

I love the format, and when I went about writing my own book of short stories (and poems) I wanted it to have a title that was both appropriate but also funny. “Bag O’ Goodies” fit the bill.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Themes of a man in his mid-30’s, to include childhood-type stories, wild tales about joining clubs, substance abuse, love, social issues, and pure fiction. I wanted to showcase a variety of themes and scenarios in the stories.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book is “Line Rats.” It’s a sequel to my debut novel “Cape Henry House.” I’m aiming to have it done and hopefully published by the end of the year! Stay tuned.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Bag O’ Goodies is a collection of short stories and poems, some based on true events, that showcase an array of topics and themes. These pages contain tales of where late nights go wrong, scary neighbors prove their scariness, motorcycles rule, and deep arguments hit deeper topics while in the line of duty. This proverbial bag has quite a scent. Poems are included for added aroma!

The White Colossus

The White Colossus by Enne Baker is an alluring and visionary collection of poems that touch upon subjects like life, death, cosmic energy and nature, and much more. The author provides twenty poems in this collection where he talks about both the beauty of life and peace within death. This fascinating book will take you on a thought-provoking journey, starting with Baker’s thoughts towards death, his belief in love and God, and his acceptance of life.

Author Enne Baker is a powerful writer, and his poems exude emotion. While I was reading the poems, I felt uncomfortable, intrigued, and left in my thoughts. Baker expresses his thoughts and feelings so well that each poem resonated with me, and I wanted to read more. I enjoyed the diversity of the poems because I didn’t know what to expect, which was a nice treat.

Baker’s comparisons of life to objects are made so seamlessly that when you stop to think about what you’ve just read, you realize that the author just compared the mending of a body to that of a car being built. Some poems I found were hard to understand and required me to really think about what the author was saying in the piece. However, these poems did not stop me from continuing to read the collection but rather slow down and ponder my own feelings and thoughts.

Enne Baker’s words paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind and captivate your thoughts and emotions, making this one book that you will read more than once. The White Colossus is a brilliant collection of poetry that will leave readers better than when they picked up the book.

Pages: 63 | ASIN : B09JBZKWYS

Buy Now From Amazon

The Humbling and Other Poems

The Humbling and Other Poems by Robert J. Tiess is expansive, intricate, and a well-developed poetry collection. While this collection has been arranged in seven parts, its poems can be read in any order and cover many things in life’s journey. There is a kindness and gentleness to Tiess’ work that resonates on a human level, and in turn, gives itself beautifully to the reader. The “Addenda” towards the end of the collection is its own little marvel, and truthfully, if there’s anything I could do differently regarding my initial reading of this collection, it’s that I would read the closing section first.

One poem I especially enjoyed was “Amid the Jersey Turnpike Whales.” As someone who has driven on that cursed road myself, I still remember my first time on the turnpike and Tiess’ poeticizing of it to an ocean is, for me, enormously memorable. Visceral, the scene depicted quickly burrows itself inside your skin. You can taste the exhaust, the gravel, even the cold itself. And then, there’s the rain—Tiess’s chosen equalizer in dreaming the turnpike to an ocean. All of this, contrasted with the peace, warmth, and light of returning home to dryness and comfort, makes this poem a summoning of rest specific to home. And that’s the thing about this collection—while you might not be able to connect with every single poem in it, there’s still something in this book for everyone.

Further, I enjoyed seeing Tiess branching out in his use of form and space (ex: “Deepmost”). I reveled in the opportunity to see him break free from form and let live. Nevertheless, there are times when this sudden liberation causes the opposite to occur. In “Elsewhere in the Coffee House…,” it feels as if Tiess is almost trying to overcompensate for the poem’s unwinding nature by tensing and coiling it back into itself. Tiess is bold with his poems and his language hits a delightful, vital literary octave that only a true poet can touch in their writing.

The Humbling and Other Poems is a well-constructed, and thoughtful creation which not only brings people joy, but also serves to make the world a better place simply by existing.

Pages: 233 | ASIN: B09YMPN6VW

Buy Now From Amazon

Bag O’ Goodies

Bag O’ Goodies by Jolly Walker Bittick is a compilation of unique short stories and poems. With a collection of varying themes, some of which are based on true events, the reader is sure to be entertained.

Author Jolly Walker Bittick captivates and holds the reader’s interest with short stories that are filled with scares, paranoia, drama, and much more taking the reader on a wild ride. The author touches upon themes such as alcoholism, friendship, romance, and relationships; the onset of each tale takes a path to conquer the protagonist’s dilemma. The author successfully incorporates witty dialogues and gradual story pacing along with likable characters. Bag O’ Goodies as the name itself suggests share tales that are exceptional on their own, yet contrast in how they delight the reader. With characters that are relatable, this book indulges the reader in mesmerizing tales and does so ever so swiftly that you may contemplate the underlying meaning behind each one!

Bag O’ Goodies by Jolly Walker Bittick serves as a sweet anecdote for readers who seek short stories – ones that are brimming with sweetness like icing on a cake, a mix of tangy and sweet narratives to captivate your attention. I would recommend this book to readers who like stories that encapsulate their mind’s imaginations and often relate to the protagonist’s dilemma. It is the optimum choice as an insightful yet thought-provoking evening read. Holistically, the book is evocative in translating powerful messages in today’s world.

Pages: 165 | ASIN : B09YN1F4F9

Buy Now From Amazon

Love, Bruises & Bullsh!t

Love Bruises and Bullsh!t is an anthology book consisting of stories detailing abuse towards the different women who are featured. The book was compiled by Sheree Schonian & Yasmin Walter and features twenty different stories from different women who have experienced abuse. These stories deal with abuse from family and significant others and they share how the women involved have either dealt with that trauma or how that trauma affects the victim and their families. Some stories have names associated with them and some are left completely anonymous, demonstrating how hard coming forward and telling your story can be. Some of these stories are also told from the perspective of a child dealing with the abuse. That really added another level to the book, showing the abuse from all angles.

This is a book everyone should read, even if it makes you uncomfortable; especially if it makes you uncomfortable. That is because this book shows the true, sad reality of abuse from those who have experienced it firsthand. The two authors who compiled these stories, Sheree Schonian & Yasmin Walter, do a great job of choosing stories that have weight and really leave an impact on the reader. The definitions of the three pillars in the title, love bruises and bullsh!t, are given at the front of the book. This is a perfect introduction to the reader for what is to come and also gives insight into how it might be hard to see an abusive relationship while you are in it.

I appreciated that the authors added resources and statistics within the book, providing women with information on how to get help if needed. I especially loved the how to support someone section, as people who have not dealt with abuse might not know exactly how to help when they see someone in danger. That is a very important resource provided. This is a book everyone should read, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or experience of abuse because it shines a light on an issue that affects everyone but is rarely talked about.

Pages: 280 | ISBN: 0645255882

Buy Now From Amazon

Bullets and Bustles in the Cowboy Desire Anthology

Emma Tombs is not your average woman. The moment her husband was murdered she had to figure out something new to sustain herself. With an unusual talent and earning the name of “Angel of Death”, she starts hunting wanted outlaws to get some money. But with time, the cruel nature of the job starts to haunt her and give her nightmares. She tries to leave the bounty hunter life behind and searches for a normal life. She opens a diner, but her world is turned upside down when a mysterious man shows up. They meet each other and the connection is instant and intense. However, the lives of both are riddled with secrets, and they’ll have to overcome their own demons to build the relationship that their souls so desperately need.

This story might be short, but it isn’t missing anything. Smith’s ability to include so much in a few pages is incredible. As she introduces Emma, we get the idea of a strong woman that’s able to command herself in a group of powerful men. She’s voracious and skilled. She’s also quite vulnerable though, and realizes that she’s been hurt all throughout her life; a pain that will hardly go away. Then we meet JD, a mysterious man that’s new in town. From the beginning the intrigue is felt, not only because JD’s identity and past are completely unknown, but also because his connection with Emma is fiery and heartfelt, an undeniable bond that they clearly share.

The build up for this romance was skillfully done. With an engaging writing style that excellently portrays what the characters feel and hope for, a vivid picture is provided through which the birth of this unexpected romance can be seen. Readers can feel the tension and the desire, and will yearn to see where Emma and JD’s story lead. This, coupled with a few intense action scenes from the bounty hunter lifestyle, make for an all-around tense and powerful romance plot that will keep readers glued to the page.

When love feels like something unachievable, Smith’s story brings the tension and the magic that one longs for, using her storytelling skills to weave a passionate romance story where the lovers will have to fight to keep it alight.

Pages: 29 (Page 354-383 in the paperback anthology) | ASIN: B08VYQZ17H

Buy Now From Amazon

Battle Cry 

Battle Cry by author Jennifer Sara Widelitz is a peculiar and emotionally riveting short book of modern poetry. This thought-provoking book is divided into five parts: Before, Crash, Interlude: Nature’s Elixir, Relapse, and Resilience. The author’s writing is thoughtfully illustrated by herself, with fine-line artwork. The pieces revolve around several stages of life and aspects of human nature such as childhood, family, trauma, illness, and healing.

The author’s ability to engage the reader and invoke her own inspirations for the poems is a definite highlight of this piece of literature. Widelitz’s opening poem is certainly remarkable due to its capacity to transmit a feeling of belonging that is likely to captivate the reader in the very first verses. The following pieces, short poems which likewise capture the essence of their subjects, are specifically dedicated to some of the author’s family members and add to the collection’s authenticity.

The poem “RORSCHACH TEST: INKBLOT # 3, BEFORE AND AFTER” is worthy of an honorable mention. Named after the well-known psychological inkblot test in which the subject is asked by the examiner to describe what they visualize in the paper. This piece, which is accompanied by a gloomy illustration that can represent different objects when rotated, conjures verses that can be read from top to bottom and vice-versa. Imaginative and creative, Jennifer Sara Widelitz separates herself from the large majority of poetry anthologies with her ingenuity. Her artwork is simple but powerful as not each poem has art to go with it. However, when there is an image, even in black and white, it is striking and conjures up emotions, making the artwork as important as the words in the poem.

Battle Cry is an emotionally charged collection of poetry and drawings. However, the author displays a sensitive and empathetic side to dealing with chronic illness and the battles that those that endure must face. For those that love poetry or those that need inspiration, this collection is a must.

Pages: 156 | ASIN : B09Z7CSJ72

Buy Now From Amazon

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

Author Kaleb Thompson’s Peace in the Midst of the Storm is a poetry collection that aims to inspire others, offering sanctuary to readers going through life’s crises. This collection is based on religious beliefs and seeks to glorify God and exalt the human spirit. The writer captures the universal experiences of despair, stress, and not knowing where to turn while offering religious-based solutions to navigating these dark times in life.

These poems contain powerful and evocative images; the opening poem describes a peaceful place “my life will soon leap into.” I feel, at times, these poems would benefit from being simplified. Some lines are so long that the rhyme scheme is partially lost or muddled. Nonetheless, there is a promise of healing within these poems through moments of original phrasing and Thompson’s positive, supportive messaging. One message that stood out to me is that we are not who we were in the past, our future can be different, and we have the power to change our lives.

The poem “Blame” really struck me. The lines “A mature young man in the midst of grown adults who don’t know how / and when to grow up is not only surprising, it’s disturbing.” I see this attitude almost every day, at work, in stores, and even at children’s sports games. How can children learn to live in a Godly way when the example set before them is the exact behavior they are told to correct?

This collection is for those passionate about their religious beliefs and who have a strong faith background. The poetry is religious; there are explicit calls to prayer, alongside a sense of owing life’s successes to God. Through God, readers will find a path to overcoming anxiety, fear, a broken and troubled spirit, and an uplifting message of hope. The uplifting energy of this collection and Thompson’s attempt to reach out to the downtrodden are admirable.

Peace in the Midst of the Storm is a collection of poetry that will help guide readers into the light from the darkness that has built up inside them. This inspirational anthology will give readers hope and encouragement to find the best inside of themselves with the help of God.

Pages: 88 | ASIN : B09PSTJPH8

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: