Sixteen Days is an emotional memoir and enlightening handbook on grief. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important to write the book as so many people said to me, and to my family “I don’t know what to say” when my niece, Mary-Lou died. And I’d been in a similar position too, when attempting to support friends and colleagues who’d experienced bereavements. Whilst grief is unique, there are some things which, in my view, are probably helpful to many people. I wanted to share these to help other people feel more confident to know what to say, when someone dies.
What is one thing many people struggle with while grieving and what advice would you give them?
One thing is the weight of other people’s expectations. This is something I think many find hard. There can be expectations that the grieving person might behave in a certain way, and their journey of recovery, in the sense of feeling better, will be linear and will get better over time. I’d advise grieving people to be aware that despite what other people might think, say or do, it’s OK to feel the way you do. Go at your own pace, listen to yourself, work out what helps you to feel a bit better than you do right now – and do more of that.
What is one thing someone can do to support someone else that is grieving. And what is one thing they should not do?
If you’re trying to support grieving people, the best advice I can offer is to be there. You don’t have to fix the grieving person – despite how much you’d like to – be there to listen, to empathise, to agree that it’s utterly awful that their loved one has died and listen and watch for their cues on how you can help them. There’s no universal truth on the right or wrong things to do – but one I’d say is quite surely something to avoid is making assumptions about how the person is thinking or feeling. Whilst tempting, it’s thought to be unhelpful to suggest you “know how they feel” – even if you’ve experienced the same bereavement, all relationships are unique so the grief will be, too.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I hope readers take away some really practical things that anyone can do in the very early days following a death and, as such, they will feel more comfortable speaking to grievers. Many readers have said they’ll refer back to the book and that’s great to think I’ve created a resource that people might want to return to.
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Tags: author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, grief, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, self help, Sixteen Days, story, Victoria Wilson-Crane, writer, writing
Getting a new pet is an exciting time for a family, especially children. When four-year-old Scoopie wants a puppy for her birthday, her parents agree it is time to get a pet for the family. When the day comes to pick up their new family member Scoopie is filled with anticipation and excitement to meet her new puppy sister. It is love at first sight, and Sandy and Scoopie instantly become best friends.
One day it comes time for Scoopie’s family to move. Sandy has to ride in the cargo area of a plane. After this trip, Sandy is not the same. It turns out Sandy has Epilepsy, and the family must learn how to care for her when she has seizures. Scoopie still loves her best friend and enjoys all the good times they have together because she never would know when the next seizure would be too much for Sandy.
Author Portia Yvette Clare has written an emotional children’s book about love, loss, and friendship. Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale shares a realistic story about how sometimes life is not fair and does not go the way we want. Lossing a beloved pet is hard, and trying to explain things to young children can be a challenge. But, they need to know they are not alone, and this heartfelt book gives kids the reassurance that their feelings are valid and normal.
Illustrator Lisa Alderson brings this story to life with her vibrant and beautiful images. Scoopie’s emotions are realistic and capture the story’s pivotal moments helping younger readers follow even if they don’t understand all the words.
Scoopie’s character is strong, accepting that her best friend is sick and defending her against her cousin’s insensitive behavior. She shows maturity when Sandy dies and acceptance, and rather than running right out and getting a new pet, she takes time to grieve. Teaching children how to accept death
Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale is a beautifully written children’s book dealing with the emotions surrounding friendship, love, and loss. Through the story of a girl and her puppy, children will see that feelings of grief are a normal part of life.
Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09M6KD3XY
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Guiding Spirits: (Veritas) is a collection of poetry from your mid-twenties. What made you decide to publish these poems now?
Frankly, I decided to publish now because the conditions were finally right. In regards to poetry, there are only two ways to get published – a publishing company or self-publishing. Most publishing houses don’t really want to deal with poetry unless it comes from a well-known person because then they have a chance for their endeavor to be cost-effective. Self-publishing, until at least fifteen years ago, was always done at great cost to the poet/author. You had to publish so many books, and if they didn’t sell, then you ate that cost and were stuck with a lot of books.
Self-publishing today is completely different. The only cost to the poet is their time and effort to complete their work, and then get it published on platforms like Amazon Kindle Publishing. Only a book that gets ordered gets published and the poet gets a percentage of the royalties that would have gone to the publisher or their agent otherwise. An author can take their destiny into their own hands. They don’t have to face dozens of rejections from publishers who often let writers like J.K. Rowling slide through their fingers because their opinions are subjective. Independent, self-publishing allows that book to get out into the universe to be bought by readers based on their preferences – not what the publisher thinks readers may or may not like.
I’ll take my chances on the readers. My books will either sell or not sell depending on their own merits . . . and authors and poets like me can now get their work out into the universe when they would never have been given that opportunity before with the technology that hadn’t existed until about fifteen years ago.
What was it like going back and reading these poems at this point in your life? Do they still resonate with where you are currently in life?
One of my greatest concerns was that I had been self-delusional in my youth and maybe my poetry wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be. My poetry style today is much more complicated and definitely less repetitious. I was really surprised at how well the poetry had held up over time. I think it was because of the raw emotion and honesty I was able to infuse into my work. It definitely was like a diary entry for me. My stepfather had died around this time period, so it made me question everything, including my place in the universe. I could still relate to the poetry because of that emotion.
What poem from this collection has held the most meaning for you and why?
My favorite poem in the book is “Sweet Music.” I just love the rhythmic movement of it and the imagery. It’s about the ultimate expression of a woman and a man’s love. Lovemaking is more than about the physicality of the act – when done right, it is the blending of two souls into the closest thing human beings can attain towards bringing Heaven to Earth.
Do you plan to publish additional collections of poetry written from this stage of your life?
Yes, there will be many more poetry books to come. By the end of the year, I’ll have two more poetry books published. They still have a simplicity and emotional honesty to them, but they cover stages in my life throughout the years. Guiding Spirits was about opening myself to the universe. The next book is about the anger of realizing I gave away my power to others and taking it back. The third poetry book is how my journey of self-discovery transforms my life.
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Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, death, ebook, goodreads, grief, Guiding Spirits, kindle, kobo, literature, loss, Michele L Sayre, nook, poems, poetry, prose, read, reader, reading, religious and inspirational poetry, story, writer, writing.
Learning to Dance in the Rain II shares your personal story of loss and grief and provides insightful advice on recovery and dating. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I felt like it was my mission to share my story so others could learn from my advice and experiences and avoid my mistakes.
What is one piece of advice you received that has helped you the most throughout your life?
To not waste time thinking about what you should have done differently that might have prolonged your partner’s life.
What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?
I had several objectives for writing this book. 1) to share vital information so others can recognize when they are being “tricked” by criminals who paint a beautiful romantic future, only to steal their victims’ money. 2) to help widows and widowers have a “healthy” grieving journey, that it is okay to cry and to feel bad about their loss, and that it is also okay at some point to move forward and to build a happy, new life with a new partner if that is what they want to do. 3) to give some relationship tips to help others communicate better.
What do you hope is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
That they can now make better decisions in their relationships so they can have a fulfilling next chapter.
Author Links: Twitter
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Tags: author, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, grief, inspirational, kindle, kobo, Learning to Dance in the Rain II, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, self help, Shelby Wagner, story, writer, writing
Veritas is a Latin phrase that stands for “Truth is mighty and will prevail.” Guiding Spirits by author Michele L Sayer is a compilation of poems exploring the constant truths in life like love, family, God, emotion, and change. The poems were written at a much younger age in the author’s life. A time when her life was filled with dynamic changes, her mid-twenties. This is a point in life where you are figuring out who you are and where life may take you. While we all are still grappling with the idea of being adults, there are a lot of critical life-altering decisions that we make. There is no one to tell us what to do, and whatever we do at this stage decides the trajectory of our lives. Sayer talks about these very timeless issues in these poems.
The poems are written in a very personal tone, as they were once in Sayre’s diary. A significant tone of the book is relatability and connection. From a literary point of view, the poems are very basic. The poem style varies across the book, with repetition being the dominant literary device. The poet uses repetition to highlight the all-encompassing nature of these emotions, like loneliness in the poem “I am Lonely.” The themes covered and the messages conveyed are straightforward without a lot of symbolism. I found it interesting that the book’s format looks raw and basic, almost like reading a personal diary filled with poems. It made it seem like the author was sharing a piece of her writing that is close to her, making the poems very relatable.
Throughout the book, there is artwork done by three different artists: Brycen Pancrazio, Isabel Sayre, and Gabriel Sayre. What is unique about these artists is they are all children. Each of them is special in Sayer’s life and adds a special touch to the poems included in this collection.
Guiding Spirits: (Veritas) is a thought-provoking collection of poetry. Written when the author was in her mid-twenties, the topics are highly relatable to that age group. however, anyone that is at a stage of life undergoing significant changes will find this collection meaningful.
Page: 214 | ASIN : B09SZ9LZWH
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, death, ebook, goodreads, grief, Guiding Spirits, kindle, kobo, literature, loss, Michele L Sayre, nook, poems, poetry, prose, read, reader, reading, religious and inspirational poetry, story, writer, writing
Travels and Tribulations tells your story of grief and travels, and how they have made you the person you are now. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Travels and Tribulations provided an outlet for my heartbreak after my mom passed away in May 2020. Losing my second parent wrecked me, and I felt an incredible sense of urgency to not only honor my mother but also my father, who is in several of the chapters. This book was a means for me to preserve their memory.
Working on this collection gave me a purpose too, keeping me from sinking even deeper into depression when I was laid off shortly after Mom died. It rolled me out of bed when I just wished to dawdle in my despair and let life happen to me.
Finally, I included lots of travel vignettes for a couple of reasons. I primarily wanted to show how such excursions shaped my course. But I further sought to give the audience a way to escape during a time when globetrotting wasn’t possible.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The section revolving around my mom’s death was the toughest for me. The emotions are especially raw in the stories because I composed them not long after she died. In fact, I still get a lump in my throat when I read those chapters because they transport me right back to such poignant moments. Yet I’m glad I wrote the narratives as soon as I did. Otherwise, I would’ve lost the perspective of my intense grief.
What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?
My dad said the only way to change the world was through people. He’d stress that we can stand as many walls as we want, but we make a real impact by building relationships. I’ve taken volunteer trips to various parts of the Americas over the years, and his message has been a driving force behind my journeys. A lot of the projects have been interesting, but the individuals whom I’ve gotten to know in these places truly made them memorable.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
A few months ago, a reader told me that Travels and Tribulations inspired her to reconnect with her parents. That’s the reaction I hoped to evoke when I engrossed myself in this undertaking. I want my book to motivate others to not take time for granted, to do and say meaningful things before it’s too late.
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Tags: author, author interview, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, grief, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, travel, Travels and Tribulations, Tyrel Nelson, writer, writing
Child of Sorrow by Gloria Taylor Weinberg is a fictional short story, based on a true events, that follows a woman who is forced to give up her baby for adoption in the late 1950’s. Seventeen-year-old Vicki Bayle plans to be the first person in her family to attend college. However, her plans are derailed when she becomes pregnant and is sent to the Safe Haven Home for Unwed Mothers in Jacksonville, Florida. She is sent three hundred miles away from her home in Clewiston to have her baby in secret. Her parents are ashamed of her situation and want to hide the truth from their friends and neighbors, telling people that she has enrolled in cosmetology school. After Vicki is forced to give up her baby boy, will she ever see her son again?
This heart wrenching story, about being forced to give a child up for adoption, clearly describes a situation that many young girls and women can relate to. The story is told from a first person perspective, which I thought was a perfect choice for this book since it helps readers connect with the main character. Readers will understand Vicki’s emotions and be able to imagine themselves in her place, dealing with this challenging situation, even if they have not ever had to face it themselves. Residents of Safe Haven ranged from a girl of twelve to women in their forties. This book brings to light a lot of unexpected aspects of a home for unwed mothers, including the emotional struggles, as many are there against their will and do not always want to give up their child.
Sadly, many things about Vicki’s situation will not surprise readers, such as her ex-boyfriend refusing to take responsibility and help Vicki when she told him she was pregnant. Him choosing not to believe that the baby was his. As well as her unsupportive parents that cared more about appearances than their daughter’s wellbeing. The story is bittersweet because it is based on real-life and not merely fiction.
Child of Sorrow is a heartbreaking story, based on real-life events, of unwed mothers and the experiences they had to endure in the 1950’s. This is an impassioned novel that will appeal to readers looking for an emotional and authentic fictional memoir or anyone looking for a story that provides a clear-eyed view at dark truths.
Pages: 67 | ASIN : B00DRHK6MK
Tags: 2 hour read, adoption, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Child of Sorrow, ebook, fiction, Gloria Weinberg, goodreads, grief, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, Parenting and Relationships, read, reader, reading, self help, story, writer, writing
Authentic Power: Give Yourself Permission to Feel offers science-based facts and solutions that help readers start their personal journey towards healing. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This is the book I wish I had when I was going through my health crisis of Lyme disease and postpartum depression. I also felt called to write this in the early days of the pandemic when I found myself faced with familiar feelings: Anxiety, grief, confusion, despair, and more. Yet this time around, I gave myself permission to feel all of those messy critters, and felt called to write about my healing journey in hopes to inspire others to move through and process their feelings in healthy ways. The pandemic was a collective trauma for our world, and we as humans need to give ourselves permission to feel all of the feelings from these past two years because that is where healing and transformation will happen.
I appreciated all the references and research that went into this book. Was there anything that surprised you during your own research?
I interviewed several experts about the science behind stress and how chronic stress takes a toll on the body. Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum, an ayurvedic practitioner, discussed that stress particularly takes a toll on the immune system. Stress was a constant element in my life as a journalist, and when I look back now, it’s no surprise that the stress on my body from my career and previous life circumstances such as witnessing my father’s death later continued to my impacting my immune system, leaving my body unable to fight Lyme disease.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
There are so many important themes that the book explored, including grief, connection, feelings, spirituality, empathy, and more.
The theme of grief was a very important subject for me to explore because I had spent most of my life burying the loss from my father at the young age of eleven years old. In chapter 6, I interviewed renowned grief therapist Edy Nathan, discussed how we can lean into the power of grief. When Lyme disease hit me on the head and death felt near, I began to revisit losing my father in a way I never had before. Instead of ignoring my feelings of grief as I had done so for more than twenty years, this was the first time I allowed myself to feel, process, and move through my grief. What I discovered was profound healing, peace, and discovery of a way to have a relationship with my father, even in death.
Another theme I felt very important to address was the importance of the power of connection to heal our lives. When I was in the throes of my health crisis, I was isolated and alone, and preferred to stay that way. But something called me to reach out to my loved ones and friends and get vulnerable about what I was experiencing. What happened next will forever be with me: I was met with open arms of compassion, love, and understanding. My connections with people deepened. I found that when you get honest and vulnerable with what you are experiencing and how you are feeling in your life, you open yourself up to deeper and more powerful connections with others.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
As a society and culture, we are taught to look outside of ourselves for answers, especially when it comes to healing. Yet my hope is that by reading Authentic Power, readers will feel empowered and inspired to discover that we already hold those answers inside of us. We are the experts of our own lives, and when we get quiet and still, and turn off the outside noise, therein lies our Authentic Power, which is the wisdom we have within each of us. We need to learn to trust that wisdom and once we do, profound healing and transformation happens. My story and journey is a testament to that.
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