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I Infuse Raw Emotion and Honesty Into My Work

Author Interview Michele L. Sayre

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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GUIDING SPIRITS (VERITAS) . . .

The beauty of poetry is that we try to express with the fewest words possible the entirety of life and our natures and what it is like for us to live upon this planet. Words become a song that we sing out into the universe, trying to reach out to like-minded souls. It is our nature to express ourselves and share who we are with the cosmos. There’s a certain fearlessness attached to a poem when it’s presented to the world. There’s always that one iota of fear where the poet feels that they are alone in their views and someone else will not get them at their most basic level of humanity. Poetry is saying, “Here I am universe. Take me as I am. I hope you love me, but, if that cannot happen, I will be satisfied if you just don’t ignore me.” To be heard is to matter, and that is all any of us want – to fulfill the wish that our lives matter. That what we think and feel and hope matters to someone other than ourselves.
This book is an exploration and experiencing of the world around us through the poet’s eyes when she was much younger than she is now. Through any age, we all experience the same emotions, desires, wants, dreams, and just a heart-felt wish that we matter to someone in this universe – even if it’s ourselves.

Guiding Spirits

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

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Abraham’s Tears

Bruce Stein’s novel, Abraham’s Tears, takes readers on an educational and eye-opening journey surrounding the conflict in the Middle East. We learn the values and beliefs of two families- one of Israeli/Jewish decent and the other with a Palestinian/Muslim background. The question of what can be done to bring peace between the religions and the ethnicities is explored through an emotional and exciting tale, supporting Ghandi’s prophecy of “An eye for an eye makes a whole world blind.”

The two protagonists are Jamil Monsour and Jacob Goodman. Proud of their religion and heritage, they have strong views surrounding the reasons for the divided state of the middle East and solutions for peace. Jamil grew up believing he was a Shiite, then learns he was actually born a Sunni that had been adopted as a baby. Jacob grew up believing he was Jewish and was even serving in the IDF, only to learn that he was also adopted and had been born to an Arab/ Muslim family. The revaluation of their previously unknown identities comes as a shock to both young men, making them question their beliefs. This realization brings into question if someone is who they are born as, or who they are raised as. Through horrible loss and tragedy, hope is instilled in the end, as two women from opposing sides are brought together to fight for peace and an end to the senseless fighting and killings. Author Bruce Stein creates rich, believable and empathetic characters in his thought-provoking novel. I really enjoyed the thoughtful character development and the emotional journey the characters embark on.

Abraham’s Tears will appeal to readers looking for an educational novel. This is a thought provoking story that provides readers with different viewpoints and reasons for the events that are happening in the Middle East. This book brought a humanistic aspect to the topic, making it feel close to home. Bruce Stein has created characters that are easy to identify with. Seeing the way this conflict affects everyone involved, no matter where they are living, was an eye-opening realization.

Pages: 185 | ASIN: B009368OLE

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If Grandma Were Here

If Grandma Were Here, by Amber L. Bradbury is a heartwarming children’s story to remind kids that their grandma is always with them. The book goes through the many activities children would have with their grandmother. From hugs in the morning to a story at night, there are many things to read about.

If Grandma Were Here is an easy to read book, with detailed illustrations to help the reader visualize each scene. The drawings are filled with bright colors and motion, showing the excitement of spending time with grandma. Throughout the book, the tone is playful and enthusiastic to remind kids that memories of deceased loved ones are happy memories.

Bradbury tells a fun story to teach children that losing a loved one is sad but it is important to remember all the good times you had together. Each event makes it easy for the reader to relate, making it feel more personal. If Grandma Were Here is a beautiful children’s book that will help family’s discuss grief and help young ones understand how to cope with loss. The charming illustrations and heartwarming storyline make Amber L. Bradbury’s children’s book an engaging and entertaining story for anyone.

ASIN: B08QMM18YW | Pages: 17

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Grief Looks Different For Everyone

Lucy Layne
Lucy Layne Author Interview

Dead Mom Disease is a heart-felt memoir about the loss of a loved one and the roller-coaster of emotions that come with it. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I always wanted to be a writer, but I never wanted to be an author. I can’t tell you how many times people told me I should write a book, and my answer never changed – I didn’t want to. In college, I had an assignment in a lit class. We had three or four options of the type of project we would turn in. One of them was to write the first three or four chapters of our autobiography. That option is the only one that I had any interest in, and I didn’t even think about the subject – my sister and I had coined the term, “Dead Mom Disease,” a few years prior, and we already floated around the idea of using it for a book title. A few years after I graduated, I was offered a freelance job to edit a book. That’s what made me realize that I could absolutely write a book. I guess the only reason I never really wanted to before was because I didn’t think I could. So, was it important in the sense that I set a goal for myself to write the book, and I wanted to accomplish it? Yes. But, I never really thought of writing the book “Dead Mom Disease” as something that was important for me to do – it was more like I wanted to write a book, and it was only natural that this is the story I would tell.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope, whether it’s through my book or any other means, more people start to realize that grief looks different for everyone and that it lasts forever.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you lost your mother?

Honestly … nothing. I had all of the advice I needed. What I didn’t have was the understanding. For a while, I wished that I had listened to more people – about how time is precious and not to take people for granted. But you just can’t understand some things until you have experienced them. I was a kid. Of course there are things I would have done differently then if I knew what I knew now, but I think pretty much everyone can say that about everything.

My mom’s advice was always, “Follow your heart.” And my dad has always reminded me that “There’s a time for everything.” I have carried these two pieces of advice everywhere with me since I was a small child, and they will go with me to my grave.

What was the writing process like for you to complete this book?

Well, it was a process, that’s for sure. It was interesting, fun, sad, weird, eye-opening, educational, and so much more. While writing the book, it’s as if my mind was subconsciously aware that I was working on something, so it was bringing all of these memories to the surface. I remembered things I had long forgotten, realized I forgot things I never thought I would, it made me curious about things I never questioned before, it forced me to face a lot of darkness, and it made me so proud to hold the finished manuscript in my hand. It was something that I put a lot of effort into, and I was motivated to do it even though I had no idea what I would do once I was done writing it. It also taught me how important it is to define goals, make plans to achieve them, and hold yourself accountable. I used to wonder how people wrote books, and now I know – the same way anyone does anything … you have to start.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Dead Mom Disease is the memoir of a girl whose mom died. It’s about her life with a mom, her life without a mom, and the imperfectly perfect balance between her two lives. It’s about the world. It’s about society and culture and the way people treat people. It’s about not saying “I’m sorry” automatically when someone says, “My mom died.” It’s about how condolences don’t come in the form of words from the people who matter, from the people who mean them. They come encased in gut-wrenching tears and embraces that nuclear weapons couldn’t break. It’s about pain and grieving. It’s about life and moving on. But mostly, it’s about death and what that really means.

Dead Mom Disease

Dead Mom Disease by [Lucy Layne]

Dead Mom Disease, by Lucy Layne, is a memoir of a teenager who talks about a rather uncomfortable topic for most people – Death, especially the death of a mother. In this book, she narrates her experience witnessing her mother die, of living without a mother after her death, of how grief makes people uncomfortable so they offer you advice to be happy when you don’t want to be happy, and the never-ending process of grieving. She tells us about the gut-wrenching moment of losing a loved one and of life, all through her own thought-provoking words. It also talks about the all-encompassing maternal love and how the balance of life can never be restored after the death of a mother.

Lucy Layne writes honestly and unapologetically about a topic that makes people leave the table when it is brought up. The death of a loved one is a dark topic and people are afraid of the dark. It takes courage to introspect on one’s dark feelings and then write about them with openness and humility.

The author was very realistic in narrating a painful death experience. She moves through the book while capturing the lasting process of grief very aptly. She takes you through the various emotions of anger, denial, depression, deep sadness, and finally acceptance and how these emotions are a necessary part of experiencing the death of a loved one. The book provides a glimpse into a terrifying reality but also reassures you that even after such an abysmal moment in life, you will still survive.

Another critical aspect of the book is how important it is to let the bereaved grieve. Grief is unavoidable in such a circumstance and to take that moment of sadness away from the bereaved can be very damaging on both a mental and physical level. While society fixates on being happy, a person with a great loss must go through grief slowly to provide a channel for emotions to flow out. This is important to get back into the routine of life.

Lucy Layne’s narration feels personal, like you are not alone in this grief. This book makes you cry and laugh as well. It’s not a depressing tale, but rather an uplifting and insightful one. It gives you honest details of what the death of a loved one feels like and brings you solace through shared human experiences of tragedy, joy, tenderness, fear, and love.

Pages: 146 | ASIN: B07KVHMYDN

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Nadeem’s Journey

Nadeem’s Journey: A Heart Wrenching Story of a Loving Mother Losing Her Son to Cancer

Nadeem’s Journey, by Sherine Anniruth, is a heart-wrenching account of a mother’s agony. This poignant journal vividly captures the real-life experience of the author’s family, as 25-year-old Nadeem is diagnosed with cancer. The excruciating pain and the fear of losing her bright, young son engulf Sherine, but she keeps fighting till the very last moment. Nadeem, holds on to willpower and puts his best foot forward to combat the deadly ailment. But the desperate attempt to reverse the wheel of fate amounts to nothing as the boy’s pessimistic end leaves us grappling with the questions of fate and man’s role in the broader scheme of things. 

The greater part of the story is set in Perth, Australia, although we get a glimpse of the author’s life with Nadeem in South Africa. Nadeem’s sheer courage, intelligence, and talent allow him to blend into the new environment in Perth. The warmth with which the author describes her dear son and his achievements, testify to the love they shared, and how deep an impact his demise has left on her. Since this is a story taken from life, the characters are as real as one can imagine. The bonding among Nadeem and his brother and sister has been depicted beautifully. The people close to Nadeem, be it Sherine herself, her partner, her sister, or Nadeem’s friends, have supported him with all their might during the trying times. They are bound by human limitations, but their love and care for Nadeem have been reflected through every little anecdote that has been recollected in this work. 

Besides capturing Nadeem’s battle with cancer, the story also illustrates a simultaneous battle his mother had been fighting– the battle of snatching her child from the clutches of death. Their resilience and fighter spirit are sure to inspire those going through a similar crisis in life. The simple, lucid, and direct tone hammer home to the readers the gravity of the situation. The author’s honest account brings us to tears, as the pain of losing a child is inexplicably harrowing. Despite being aware of a not so uplifting end to the extraordinary journey, a lingering sense of hope in Anniruth’s tone of writing keeps us hooked in the desire for a romantic miracle.

Pages: 160 | ASIN: B07RRW3GWN

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My Time with Papa

My Time with Papa by Shauntae Spaulding is a heartwarming children’s picture book that tells the story of a little girl whose father has passed away. Her mother is there to support her as she grieves and helps her understand her heartache. Her mother tells her not to think of it negatively, to remember all the fun times she had with her dad. Thus begins the story as the girl closes her eyes and she and her father are reunited in her imagination.

Shauntae Spaulding navigates the devastating topic of loss while being respectful. Spaulding’s tone throughout the story helps keep the mood happy, which I am supremely grateful for, because as soon as I found out what this book was about my heart ached and I wasn’t sure I was ready for such despair. But this is an ultimately uplifting story that will remind children that our loved ones leave their memories behind. It teaches them to stay optimistic and hold onto those good memories. The use of rhyme and vivid artwork keep the reader engaged and eager to continue. The art is exceptional and seemed to me like it was ready to be made into an animated story.

My Time with Papa is touching and thought-provoking and gives children a unique tool to deal with grief and loss and Shauntae Spaulding has managed to do this in a fun and imaginative way.

Pages: 24 | ISBN: 978-0228830726

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