Tag Archives: poetry

Armchair BEA Day 3: Expanding Blogging Horizons & Novellas/Short Stories

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Hey guys! Welcome to day three of Armchair BEA! BEA (Book Expo America) is a huge event featuring books, authors, agents, publishers and is basically a Bacchanalia for booklovers. Alas, it is in NYC and I’m on the West Coast so I will not be in attendance. But fear not! Because the lovely people at Armchair BEA have a great week planned for those of us who won’t be at the convention, and I’m participating!

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Expanding Blogging Horizons

I’m at a bit of a loss with this topic, but I’ll give it a try! I’ve only been blogging for about eight months, and for me starting my blog was expanding my horizons. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I hail from the deviantART lit community. I’m a writer, and that community really helped me hone my skills. But everyone kept telling me that a writer needs a blog. It’s a must. I resisted.

Then, totally by accident, I saw a link on deviantART to a giveaway hop. Free books? I thought. Cool. So I clicked the link and my life changed.

Here was an entire world of bloggers reviewing, fangirling, giving away and just plain celebrating books. I’ve always loved reading, and Holly Black’s Tithe series showed me that there is SO MUCH more to YA than what people might think. I’d gotten so into deviantART that my reading of physical books had fallen off a bit. So I started lurking, following blogs, entering giveaways, updating my Goodreads with reviews, and rethinking my aversion to having a blog.

After about a year of studying other blogs, I launched Rose Shadow Ink. Since then, I’ve tried to learn the ropes, and basically gain the industry knowledge that authors can benefit from. But I don’t have a blog because I feel like I have to. I have a blog because I love books, and I love interacting with book lovers. And I love sharing that love.

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Novellas/Short Stories

I used to be a novel snob. I still prefer them. Honestly I even shy aways from standalones sometimes – when an author creates a world I love living in, characters I love spending time with, I want to live there forever. Spin-off series are a huge win with me. And since novellas have become so popular, we as readers have been treated to even more immersion in our favorite fictional worlds. As a proud print snob, I find them slightly annoying because I’m forced to read on a computer or my smartphone (the horror!) in order to further my understanding of the story, but as it seems publishers have finally started releasing them in print too, I’m a happy girl.

But despite all this, I still have an appreciation for short stories. I don’t fall in love with the characters or world the way I do with series, but I do fall in love with the sentences themselves, with the themes explored. An excellent example of this is my favorite short story, There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury. The chilling images it created in my mind have never left me. I strongly suggest you read it if you haven’t. You can listen to it read out loud by Leonard Nimoy below:

or read it here:

There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury

I’d also like to share my second-favorite short story. I dearly hope she publishes it one day, because it deserves it, but for now it’s free to read on deviantART. I know you’re probably hopping to all of the participating blogs right now and don’t have time, but maybe bookmark these two and come back later? You won’t regret it.

My Sara by scarletbird

If anyone survives the world’s ending, I only want them to hear the truth. I know, if there is any history after this is over, she will not be remembered fondly. I cannot blame them. They didn’t know her as I did. 

(read the rest)

Hmm. I really seem to like my short stories with a healthy dose of sci-fi and destruction. I hope you enjoy them as well.

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Thanks so much for reading and please feel free to comment!

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Armchair BEA Day 1: Introductions & Literature

ArmchairBEA LogoExample

Hey guys! Welcome to the first day of Armchair BEA! BEA (Book Expo America) is a huge event featuring books, authors, agents, publishers and is basically a Bacchanalia for booklovers. Alas, it is in NYC and I’m on the West Coast so I will not be in attendance. But fear not! Because the lovely people at Armchair BEA have a great week planned for those of us who won’t be at the convention, and I’m participating!

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Day 1 is introductions, so here goes:

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Rain, (my real name is Julia, but Rain is my middle name and pen name so I go by it online) and I’m a YA fantasy author (seeking publication) and poet (publishing in the fall). I’m 27 but I don’t believe it, in my head I’m still a teenager, I’m happily married and have four adorable feline children. I live in Northern California. I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now. I discovered book blogging quite by accident and have been hooked ever since. I spent about a year lurking before I took the plunge and started my own blog. It just looked like so much fun! And I love to spread the word about great books.

Q: Describe your blog in just one sentence and link your social media accounts:

Reviews, promotion and fangirling of mostly YA books, plus discussions, events and updates on my own journey to publication, from a quirky Norcal book nerd.

Find me elsewhere on the web:

Twitter * Facebook

Q:  What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year? 

Last Year:

Read my review.

This Year:

Read my review.

Q:  Share your favorite book or reading related quote. 

“How can it be?” she wondered. “I suppose I could understand it if men had simply forgotten unicorns. But not to see them at all, to look at them and see something else — what do they look to one another, then? What do trees look like to them, or houses, or real horses, or their own children?”

― Peter S. BeagleThe Last Unicorn

It’s my favorite book of all time and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Q: What book would you love to see turned into a movie?

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Literature

Today’s discussion post is on the subject of literature. When I think of literature, I generally imagine the classics: Wuthering Heights, Dracula, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Last Unicorn (if it isn’t yet considered a classic it should be), and consequently some of my favorite books.

I also think of poetry. Poetry used to be a big deal, but nowadays is generally considered not enough of a commercial success. Despite the fact that poetry is still widely read, as well as written. Check out the literature community on deviantART if you don’t believe me.

Some of my favorite classic poets are Edgar Allan Poe, William Blake, and especially W.B. Yeats.

But there are also some amazing modern poets out there. Before I took up blogging, I spent a lot of time immersed in the Literature Community of deviantART.com, where I discovered a multiple of fabulous poetry. The upside of poetry being considered not commercially successful is that you can find lots of it for free online. So for today’s post I’m going to treat you to some of the best I’ve found.

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Delirium Sings A Song For Me by AzizrianDaoxRak

Yesterday I was a little girl
with blueberry stains on my fingers.

But today—I am
simply mad,
a Baba Yaga in the woods,
standing tall on knobbly chicken legs,
making stews of children’s hearts.
Beware the magic-weavers in the dark….(read more)

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once. by Avallynh

the world was wider, once: strewn bright
and willing to a fingertip’s beckoning, riddled
with roads that spilled in breathless wanders
to otherlands of reverie. i remember…(read more)

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the day we died by greenleo94

It started when space imploded
you pulled me back, landed me on the moon,
so we could sit in the vacuum silence
and watch suns spiral down to hell…(read more)

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Coppersmith by Vigilo

I caught a sun gold.

Trembling old in my cupped palm, quiet copper,
as my rage on our queen, for so crippling me…(read more) 

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A woman is missing by OritPetra

A woman is missing. 
My sweater is knit too loose and the wind blows through.
The leaves are done changing and are waiting to fall. 
I think of them collaged against my morning-damp windshield; 
they will mostly be red. My wipers will push them off; 
I will forget about them. But inbetween these thoughts
my brain hums. A woman is missing and I cannot forget…(read more)

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Of tress by QuiEstInLiteris

Deep ghost-groves of freckled aspen
burn white beneath the winter sun,
whisper hoary adulation,
canticles for the Holy One.
And in the trees, the spirits dance
betwixt the motes of starry snow
illuminated by the lance
of lightning flash and candle glow…(read more)

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6.7461 by WH1T3-No153

17 miles from the 
town I grew up in, 
there was a river, and a 
bridge
a hundred heart-jumps above it:

too-many-thousand 
footsteps long, 
with a walkway to the side that 
didn’t feel wide enough…(read more)

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Orpheus by williamszm

Darkness encompassed me; high-vaulting fire
Leapt and burnt the vision from my gaze
But though I could not see, I strummed my lyre
Until the music swept away the haze…(read more)

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perpetual december by Vlavisfaults

would you give me your december? 
i am holding out my frail plywood wrists 
and begging you for something 
too heavy for either of us to hold…(read more)

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I hope you enjoyed the feature and will delve further into these poets’ galleries!

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Thanks so much for reading and please feel free to comment!

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Review: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Ashes on The Waves

by Mary Lindsey

Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal, Gothic

Series: Standalone

Source: Gift from my amazing husband, who knows there is nothing more romantic than Annabel Lee

Book Summary:

Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.

With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make awager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem, “Annabel Lee,” Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.

book thoughts

I didn’t think it possible, but this book actually exceeded my expectations. The expectations of a hopeless romantic goth girl poetess, mind you. So they were exponentially high. A book based on one of the best (and definitely the most romantic) poems ever written? I had to have it. Add on the ridiculous gorgeousness of the cover? No question.

I think the author took just the right amount of liberties with Poe’s ideas, not just Annabel Lee, but a number of Poe’s works. A Poe quote accompanies each chapter and sets the tone for the events that unfold. Lindsey understands well Poe’s use of setting as almost a character itself, and the choice of Dochas,  a remote island off the coast of Maine, free of modern conveniences like electricity and full of superstition and prejudice, is perfect. Even though these events technically unfold in a contemporary setting, the book has a definite old-world feel, and the contrast is superb.

Annabel (called Anna in the novel) is herself a member of the modern world, and understandably bewildered and horrified by the ways of the villagers of Dochas. A place where “husband throw their wives off of cliffs and no one does anything about it”. She is a breath of fresh air, with no tolerance for injustice or superstition. At first I expected Anna to be more of an archetype than a person, a flesh incarnation of the narrator Liam’s fantasy, but I am so glad that she turned out to be a real, authentic person in her own right. Liam, on the other hand, is a tragic victim of circumstance. He suffers paralysis of the left arm in a place where his disability is seen as a symptom of demonic possession, and he never questions this assertion. His childhood friendship with Anna was the one bright spot in his life, and he clings to it ever after, until the day the ne’er-do-well heiress is exiled to the island and long-ago friendship ignites into love.

I was also expecting insta-love (which I don’t have a problem with, as a general rule. I’ve experienced love at first sight) but I appreciated that the author let the relationship develop in its own time. It was fast and intense, but it was easy to understand the motivation behind the emotion. Anna is the affection and escape Liam has never allowed himself to wish for, and Liam cares for and respects Anna in a way no one else in her life ever has. But their budding romance is overshadowed by the villagers’ hatred of Liam, and by the supernatural creatures who hold dominion over Dochas: the Bean Sidhes, whose warning screams of murder interrupt the young lovers’ embraces, and the Na Fir Ghorm, whose malevolent tricks and beckonings serve to stir the villagers’ hatred ever more. The two competing groups make a wager on the strength of the couple’s love, with devastating consequences.

Sometimes-narrator Muireean, the young selkie whose selfless love for Liam leads her to try to help the couple, provides the comic relief, as she marvels at the strangeness of humans and human form. Her breezy narrative was a striking contrast to Liam’s intense, tortured narration. I never felt that Liam was over-the-top or too emotional – indeed, it was refreshing to see a male character embrace his feelings. Considering what a misery his life was, he could have been even more dramatic than he was. I especially appreciated how the author was realistic about his disability. I’m disabled myself so I can tell she did her research. When Liam descends a ladder while holding a candle, the difficulty with which this is done is touched upon, rather than skirted over. Liam has rudimentary assistive devices in his home and place of employment as well, which made his condition much more realistic.

The author uses every line of the poem, and the story unfolds with a pervasive sense of dread, even through lighter moments. As readers, we know what is coming and that it cannot be stopped. The addition of a mystery or two served to ratchet up the tension even more. The ending is tragic and beautiful, and allows for multiple interpretations. This is just as it should be, in my opinion, and I think Mr. Poe would be pleased.

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