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Ekstasis, the Return of the Sovereign Heart, by M. I. Dugast, is a novel that focuses on two different stories. One story is a product of metaliterature as there is a book in the book. On one side, David Wilkins is reading “Maps to the Sovereign Heart,” written by Mona Devek, and finds his life completely changed by reading the book. On the other side is the protagonist of the book Ericka, who goes through a lot in her life, dealing with her inner spiritual journey, nightmares from the past, and encounters with “The Elders,” her Spirit Guides.

Dugast writes in a quite descriptive and engaging way, helping the reader not get lost between multiple flashes forwards and backward by giving a place and date at the beginning of new chapters. The only down point is that the passage from Ericka’s adventures to David reading the book breaks the narrative tensions that had naturally formed while reading the book.

I appreciated the ties and interconnection between the two stories, making them feel like the same story and adding more depth to both. Furthermore, the connection between the ending, where Kadmon meets the Elders again, and the beginning, where he leaves them to go on a journey, feels particularly important after getting emotionally attached to the characters all book long.

Destiny, fate, reincarnation, and free will, are all themes readers will encounter in this novel. However, Dugast has woven them into a magical story that will leave readers stunned and catch their breath as they realize the intertwined lives of the fictional character are to the protagonist reading the story. The blurred lines of where one character’s life ends and the other begins will keep readers hooked, seeing how things all meet up and if the lines are entirely erased to create a new path they will take together.

Ekstasis, the Return of the Sovereign Heart, by M. I. Dugast, has an engaging metaphysical romance story and multiple plot twists that will have readers craving for more from the moment they first open the book. I recommend this novel to all readers looking for an interesting read and keen on knowing more about spiritual journeys and people overcoming their past traumas.

Pages: 810 | ASIN : B09NQRMRQX

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Life of Poetry

Author Interview
Ron Penoyer Author Interview

Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor is a fascinating collection of poetry comprised of poems written from the mid-60s to current day and covers a wide range of life experiences. What inspires you to write poetry?

From an early age of perhaps 12 or 13, I began to be genuinely fascinated by the ways in which words “worked together” (or failed to work together) to make sense — or, in fact, did not make sense. These actions were most evident to me in the reading and writing of poetry, so that phenomenon is likely what drew me to poetry as a means of experimenting and taking pleasurable chances with language that were somehow “legal” or acceptable. Usually the world also made a different kind of sense inside the wondrous confines of poetry, so that had an appeal to me.

What are some emotions or themes you find your poetry often exploring?

I find that I am frequently drawn toward making meaningful distinctions between the seemingly esoteric and the seemingly everyday — both in actual substance in real life (IRL) and also in words and discussions and thoughts and considerations (in abstractions). More frequently, however, I find that I am considering and challenging my relationship with God. I’m often startled by the frequency with which I am considering this relationship. For instance, a minor poem invoking the Spanish Inquisition can suddenly become a larger questioning of a larger universe than the one I had in mind. A poem such as “Rules of Engagement,” in which I was trying to play with the placement of words to achieve different meanings, becomes a poem rich in the dust of pervasive and insistent mortality… These are wonderful “morphs,” by the way! These wonderful surprises and twists and turns are the great things we live for, and we don’t even know it!

My favorite poem from this collection is ‘Mr. Oppenheimer’s Revenge’. Do you have a favorite poem from this book?

I am extremely glad and grateful that your favorite poem is “Mr. Oppenheimer’s Revenge.” I am struck — struck! — by my own lines, “How does our own resemblance/stagger into the divine?”

One of my favorite poems in the collection is “Countdown” simply because it launched (pun?) me into a quiet, “undercover” life of poetry. It was my first published poem, it encouraged some notice in the publishing world, and it confirmed for me that I could do whatever I wanted in the world of poetry.

Do you have plans to write and publish more works of poetry?

Yes, I have plans to write and publish more works of poetry. But I am in a hospice program that may have other plans for me. It’s that simple… lol… However, should I have more time left on the clock than I think possible, I would be tempted to conduct more work on the truly difficult item on the agenda, which are the “petites essais” I’ve brought forth in the final section of this book. I say very little about them, but to be taken seriously — or taken at all! — I need to say far more about what they mean to me.

Author Links: Goodreads

Ron Penoyer is a deceptively polite and self-effacing poet.

His ambitious collection, Near Scattered Praise Lies Our Substantial Endeavor, is subtle in its exploration of contrasts, balancing between the light and dark of our natures and confronting the mystery of our destiny. His collection includes a unique, deeply felt love poem about the simple act of driving across a covered bridge, while it also embraces a poem that observes contemporary society as a “Diet of Worms.”

For thoughtful readers of poetry, Penoyer builds landscapes and vistas in which meaningful destinations may be discovered. Within the collection itself, he precedes his poem about a 1960’s launch of a Saturn V rocket with a poem describing the ancient lure of Stonehenge, while he completes the vista with an exploration of the shocking but weighty evanescence of fireflies.

Adventurous poetry readers will likely recognize Penoyer’s picaresque. He has been suspected of coaxing the Winged Victory of Samothrace into somehow taking flight in the Louvre, and he has been known to linger as an amateur sleuth on Hampstead Heath on a certain afternoon in 1819, suspicious of a bird.

The Dynamic, Tragic And Beautiful City

Phil Rosen Author Interview

Life Between Moments is a collection of short stories that turns the lives of everyday people into a compelling drama through the use of sharp writing. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this book?

I wanted to write a collection of different stories that, when read all together, conveyed a sense of the dynamic, tragic and beautiful city. But the book is extremely focused on individual characters, because great cities I find are driven by everyday people trying to get by. In my view, the most interesting stories are usually those that happen in snapshots of everyday life. Those are the most relatable.

My favorite story from this collection is ‘To End a Tragedy’. Do you have a story from this book that stands out to you?

“To End a Tragedy” is my favorite, because I feel like the two main characters resonate with my own life. The challenge of finding happiness and meaning in work, the discovery of enjoyment in day to day, and the realization that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing a path in life.

The story “Society Debut” also stands out to me because I do think it is unique because it’s written in second-person. I aimed to really put the reader in the story as the main character, to immerse them in a role within the story.

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

I do my best to use my fiction to explore how ordinary people can find happiness in their lives and meaning in work. Those are two of the biggest challenges we all face, and I see these stories as an attempt to pin down those themes, based on how the characters navigate the same obstacles you and I and everyone face.

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

Not sure yet on this one! It will be a novel, but at least a couple years away.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Bestselling author and Business Insider senior reporter Phil Rosen delivers a stylish debut work of fiction.
A Manhattan writer discovers a miracle in a slaughterhouse. A never-ending night unfolds in a jazz club. The best doctor in the world wants to forgo everything to pursue obscurity. A broken marriage realizes its vulnerabilities.

This collection of striking, atmospheric stories is populated by people that grapple with the fears and uncertainties that define everyday life. In sketches ranging from the grandest heights of society to the anonymous city streets, characters discover their demons, confront heartbreak, and stumble through life in dreamy, oppressive New York.

As you turn through pages of spare prose and smart dialogue, these stories will give you a fresh glimpse into an old city, and remind you why tales of the Big Apple have resonated for centuries.

Solitude Of Light

In Solitude of Light’s not-too-distant future, Tomás Estéban Chen-Diaz engages in a heartfelt attempt to save his brother’s soul by joining him on a remote island. Believing himself to be following God’s will, Tomás spends years training at a facility for Christians hoping to travel to Mars before being ordained. He faces challenges to his faith along the way but none more difficult than his brother Francisco’s strict and aggressive adherence to atheism and his disdain for religious practices of any kind. Francisco’s attitude makes attempted reconciliations for past wrongs difficult, and if Tomás is to succeed, he must prove faithful to what he believes is right and just.

S. Kirk Pierzchala’s Solitude of Light takes place in a creative near-future setting with much to recognize from our own time and with the added fictional elements complimenting our own technology rather than appearing too far advanced to be realistic. Because of this, the fictional future seems plausible, perhaps distressingly so given some of its darker elements, as scientific advancements continue along the same trends they follow today.

With the narrative split into two parts, the first often seems slightly removed to the extent that it appears to be a lengthy prologue to the second part, which is where the real heart of the narrative resides. Despite this, part one is essential for the context, which gives part two much of its emotional weight.

With only two characters alone on an isolated island, there is potential for the story to become repetitive or drawn out. Still, Pierzchala manages it admirably with an excellent and often emotional portrayal of two diametrically opposed brothers engaging in a battle of wills. Interspersed between these moments are excellent scenic descriptions which lend their backdrop to this narrative of fraternal compassion, arrogance, and self-superiority.

Solitude of Light is a thought-provoking dystopian novel that takes readers deep into the emotional battle between two brothers. The suspense builds as the brothers battle for moral ground and examines their complicated relationship.

Pages: 474 | ASIN : B09WG4VY3N

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Unite My Readers and Offer Hope For the Future

MD,Lori Schneider Author Interview

A Brighter TOMORROW is a collection of poetry and artwork that inspires hope for the future. What motivates you to write poetry?

Thank you so much for the kind review of my book! I discovered my love of writing poetry during the pandemic. I have been a neurologist in private practice since 1994, and in the past, I did not have time for creative writing. It was not until the lockdown that I discovered the catharsis of writing. I initially found myself drawn into contentious debates on Facebook and started writing daily blogs regarding the pandemic and politics. After many heated discussions, I felt great sorrow that the world was so divided and despondent. This dark time in history spurred me to write inspirational poetry to unite my readers and offer hope for the future.

I created a Facebook Poetry page and posted new poems weekly. Suddenly, the same people who disagreed with my political views were thanking me for brightening their day and motivating me to keep writing. As my poetry collection grew, many of my readers encouraged me to publish my work, and the idea for A Brighter TOMORROW was born. My former medical school colleague, Dr. Mark Salevitz, is an accomplished artist. I felt his beautiful, brightly colored impressionist artwork perfectly complemented my uplifting poetry and helped create a unique coffee table book.

My favorite poem from this collection is ‘No Regrets’. Do you have a favorite poem in this book?

“We Are the Same, You and Me” is my favorite poem in the book. Michael Beschloss’s thought-provoking book Presidents of War sparked the idea for this poem. So many wars have been waged without just cause by impulsive, arrogant, misguided, and, at times, evil leaders. This poem eerily foreshadowed the war in Ukraine and was published in the anthology “War Against Peace” to promote peace and solidarity for Ukraine across the globe.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in your poetry?

The goal of my book was to explore critical issues that became more magnified during the pandemic, including racism, loneliness, mental illness, loss, etc., and then have the book evolve to celebrate human resourcefulness with the themes of courage, love, and hope. I was particularly impressed by all the brave frontline workers who sacrificed so much for the well-being of others. My poems also go back in time to illustrate prior hardships such as World War II, the Spanish flu, and natural disasters, highlighting the human will to persevere.

Do you have plans to write and publish more works of poetry?

I am currently working on an inspirational poetry book for children, The Inspiring World of Ella Rose La Fleur, to be published next year. My YouTube Channel, The Adventures of Ella Rose La Fleur, contains animated videos inspired by these poems. These videos are helping to raise awareness and money for The Pinky Swear Foundation, a wonderful charity supporting children battling cancer.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook-Book | Facebook-Author | YouTube | YouTube – EllaRose

No one could have truly predicted the mass devastation of the pandemic of 2020. Everyone in the world has been affected and forever changed in some way by the pandemic. Hopefully, most people will emerge as better human beings, with a greater level of understanding and support for their fellow man.

During this tumultuous time, I was overwhelmed with emotions regarding COVID-19, politics, racial injustice, love, and courage. I turned to pen and paper to express my feelings and discovered poetry as an extremely cathartic form of writing.

Through poetry, I found great insight and solace during a very dark time in history. I believe poetry is the window to the soul that can help illuminate the darkness.

I hope the reader finds great comfort and hope for the future through the poetry and beautiful artwork contained in this book. Together we can have a brighter tomorrow!

A Brighter Tomorrow

A Brighter Tomorrow by Dr. Lori Schneider is an inspirational and thought-provoking book of poems that cover an array of topics. The book serves as a diary in which Lori Schneider discusses the Covid- 19 pandemic, racial injustice, love, and many more issues. Each poem is accompanied by beautiful eye-catching images. These images make the reader stop and reflect on the verse that they have just read and ponder how the images relate to the words.

The topic of the pandemic is incredibly precious, as Dr. Schneider is a practicing neurologist and more than likely had an up-close look at the chaos and horror of the Covid-19 pandemic. Writing poetry was her way of coping with this dark time that engulfed the world.

Schneider does not shy away from showing her emotional and vulnerable side. By doing so, her poems seem more relatable and honest, making this a valuable read for those struggling to manage the complex feelings of this time. Her poems are inspiring and uplifting, and I appreciate that through a dark time, she found light through writing.

The book is divided into several different topics, with each topic clearly important to the author and significant moments that have impacted us as a society. Schneider’s poems are not overladed with metaphors or overly complicated word choices, making this a smooth read that is accessible to readers on many levels. With the diversity of topics, there is something for all readers to find and connect with.

Dr. Lori Schneider’s poems are candid and evoke emotions in the readers, making this one book hard to put down. Yet, this is one book that can be read over again and shared with friends. A Brighter TOMORROW is the collection of poetry we all need to heal from these past few years.

Pages: 100 | ASIN : B09QVDG7RT

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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

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God’s Greatest Miracle

God’s Greatest Miracle is the book you need to feel closer to God and connect with him. In the book, Jean-Michel Polyakov, through different tales, shares the actions of God and how he reveals himself through his people. God’s Greatest Miracle is a straightforward book and fun to read. The language in the book is simple, and the text is streamlined for young readers. Every sentence or phrase is precise and can be understood after the first read. I love how unambiguous the author made the text. Jean-Michel Polyakov’s simplicity with words inspires even kindergarten kids to embrace a reading culture.

In God’s Greatest Miracle: A Tale of Two Little Angels, we follow the story of a traveler who gets transported to a new country. This traveler meets an old man, and later a prince and princess. I loved the transition between the traveler’s transportation and his encounter with the prince ad princess. Jean-Michel Polyakov is a smooth writer, and every time a new character is introduced in the story, the reader feels like they have already bonded. The traveler is given tasks, one of them being sharing the tale of God’s Greatest Miracle. This is where it gets intriguing as the narration becomes more easy-flowing. The reader feels like they are part of the story thanks to the engaging nature of the writing.

The story of God’s Greatest Miracle was fascinating to follow and had dozens of lessons. The story of the two angels was touching. As a reader, you feel a shift in your thinking and get to be reintroduced to the love of God, knowing self, being kind, and living righteously. As you keep reading, you reflect on your life and resonate with the teachings. My favorite teaching in the story was about choosing good versus evil. Through this book, the reader can find pride in living morally and virtuously and ask for God’s guidance. I like that the author helped me connect with my inner child. In a way, the story of God’s Greatest Miracle makes the reader view everything with innocence and purity.

The concept of having a story within a story was genius. This helped with the comprehension and made the reading experience such a delight. I would recommend God’s Greatest Miracle: A Tale of Two Little Angels to readers that enjoy spiritual stories and anyone that wants to become closer with God.

Pages: 60 | ASIN: B09WJWKW2H

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