Reflecting at dusk

At day’s end when golden rays slide silently into shadow
running through the shorter colours of the rainbow
while sun’s bright disk is swallowed by dark waves
I wonder, what did I achieve today?

Unlike dawn with her sacred dazzling promise
of a brand new day and a fresh clean start
another tiny chapter of life has closed
one more page has turned, waves
washing over sand, erasing.

I sit on the sun-worn steps
gazing out at the ocean
her timeless waves
her heart beating
and wonder
what might
tomorrow
bring?


Image credit: Kenrick Mills @Unsplash

Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #99 photo prompt.

The image shows a view of the setting sun over a body of water. In the foreground, you can see wooden steps leading into the water. Grey clouds are drifting in the sky.

Love Story

It was love
at first sight
blood rushed
to my head
I sidled up
she looked away
modest, not brazen
I ’specially
liked that
about her.

I teased her
just a little
strutting
so street-wise
then cooing
sweet nothings
offering
tiny titbits
’til one day
she accepted.

Now and
forever
she is
the love
of my life.*


Image credit: Jonah Pettrich @Unsplash

Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #98 photo prompt.

The image shows a pair of lovebirds sitting together and cuddling with each other.

*Love Birds are native to Africa and they do mate for life!

Michelle Navajas is on the Launch Pad!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome international best-selling poet, Michelle Navajas, to this month’s Launch Pad spot. Some of you will already be familiar with Mich through her blog, where she posts her unique and highly accessible style of poetry and prose with awesome frequency!

So, let’s find out a little bit more about her. We’ll start with her official author bio:

Philippine-born Michelle Navajas, currently residing in Malaysia. Michelle authored the book After – Rain Skies: A Million Stars, for Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) during their Million Stars campaign. It’s a collection of true and inspiring stories of victims and survivors of abuse and violence in prose and poetry.

Graduating with a Master of Education majoring in English in the Philippines (University Of San Agustin – Iloilo), Michelle was a former college professor, teaching literature, speech and oral communication, creative writing, drama, and theatre arts. She is also a graduate of Mass Communications major in Journalism (Centro Escolar University – Manila).

Michelle is active in her writing profession and works as a freelance creative writer.

She blogs passionately at www.michnavs.wordpress.com, where you can find her prose and poetry on love, life, motherhood, and her advocacy on abuse and violence.

I’d originally approached Mich to introduce her fourth book, I Would Fly To Where You Are, which she wrote during the deepest time of Covid and which was released in May 2021. However, between then and now she’s released her fifth volume of poetry, I Will Love You Forever, Too. Published just a few weeks ago, this latest collection of Mich’s poetry went straight to the number one spot on both Amazon and Kobo on its first day of release: an impressive achievement that most authors can only dream of. Also impressive is the fact that Mich has produced her five books in just two years!

I’ve just finished reading I Will Love You Forever, Too – you can read my review on Goodreads here (or over on the side bar, depending which device you’re using).

Now, let me hand over to Mich now to tell us about her writing journey and how her wonderful poetry books came to be. Over to you, Mich!

~~~

Thanks for having me on your blog, Chris. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Dreams do come true. And it can happen unexpectedly, anytime, anywhere, when you really deserve it. This has been my life’s mantra. I love to take things slowly and carefully and let things unfold on their own by the grace and power of the universe.

I remember, as a little girl, I’ve always dreamt of seeing my name in the newspapers, magazines, or in a book. And I told myself, one day I will make it happen, though at that time I didn’t know how to make it happen, not even how to begin.

My first book, After-Rain Skies, a collection of true and inspiring stories of abuse and violence in prose and poetry, was born in 2019, unexpectedly. Four decades after the conception of my dream.

It was written and published in 2019, with the sole intention of creating awareness on abuse and violence, with the hope of putting an end to the culture of abuse. It was received so well by many that I followed it up with an eBook copy made available via kobo.com.

The pandemic happened in 2020. We were all forced to stay at home and work from home. That’s how I started writing poetry almost every day. Surprisingly too, my long-time readers and followers, love my love poems. It inspired me to write even more. 

What If Snowflakes Don’t Fall In Winter? is my second book, a collection of poems about the nature of love. The success of my first book made me realize that I can be a love poet as well. After-Rain Skies taught me that love, more than anything else was what kept these victims going and hoping; their love for themselves, love for their children, their families, friends, and relatives, and most of all, their desire to want to love again and build a life around its seasons. Celebrate how love always changes, just enough to get better and better and better.

The world stopped during the pandemic. It prompted me to write poetry celebrating humanity’s perseverance and resilience. Oh! Dear One, was born to soothe everyone’s soul amidst the outbreak of a global pandemic. 

The outbreak of a global pandemic has led to lockdowns and isolation, which eventually led to the separation of families, loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

I Would Fly To Where You Are is my fourth poetry book, a collection of poetry written during the height of the COVID-19. Reflective of each and everyone’s love and desire to be with their loved ones – the special occasions we all missed to celebrate together like birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, and many other milestones, and also, reflective of the moment we failed to say our final goodbyes to our loved ones who went ahead of us during the pandemic. This is a collection of poetry on love; love, surviving against all odds.

We celebrate love, no matter how much it hurts and no matter how painful it is.

We celebrate life and love because there is always tomorrow, a better and kinder tomorrow.

My fourth book is definitely an epitome of true love. The kind of love that only gets better and better over the years and that no matter what it takes, it’s the kind of love worth taking the risk, worth taking the big leap, and worth keeping forever.

Finally, my most recent book: I Will Love You Forever, Too, is a compilation of poetry on the greatest love one can ever have. The kind of love that makes you want to write sappy love poems all the time (even if you are not a poet), the kind of love that makes you want to believe in “happily – ever – after” or “dreams – do – come – true”, it is the kind of love that makes you reflect on all of your “what ifs” and “maybes”, it is the kind of love where you will completely miss your beloved, strangely, even though your loved one is gone just briefly, and it is the kind of love that gives you the courage to commit to love forever.

This book also includes selected poems I wrote, which were requested by some of my very loyal readers and followers.

Book links

After-Rain Skies

What if Snowflakes Don’t Fall in Winter

Oh, Dear One

I Would Fly to Where You Are

I Will Love You Forever, Too

Mich is all over social media – pop along and see what she’s up to!

Amazon Author PageMichelle-Ayon-Navajas

Blog:  michnavs – poetry by Mich                                

Instagram: @michnavspoetry

Facebook: Poetry by Mich

Goodreads: Goodreads author Michelle_Ayon_Navajas

You Tube: Poetry by Mich

On a Roll of the Dice

The wheel spins
which one will win?
how much has each invested?
This week’s wage
a watch, a car?
Too much, for sure
don’t doubt it.
The stakes are high
their dreams are huge
the risk of loss is greater.
Don’t bet your life
on the draw of a card
for only the house
always wins.


Image credit: B P Miller @Unsplash

Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #97 photo prompt.

The image shows three men, one covering his eyes, the other covering his ears and the last one covering his mouth with their hands.

Sisters unite!

Come with me, my sister
put your hand in mine
share your joys
share your sorrows
’til tears and laughter
coat our cheeks.

Come with me, my sisters
together we are strong
unite in hope
unite in courage
join hands together
across the world.


Image credit: Gemma Chua–Tran @Unsplash

Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #96 photo prompt.

The image shows four women standing together and laughing. They all are from different ethnicities.

Treasure Island

He’s sailed around the seven seas
with plumed hat, sword and swagger
he’s crossed the oceans, plumbed the depths
in search of golden treasure.

Hail me hearties, brave and true
he stands with dagger raised
as maidens swoon and young men cheer
he doffs his hat to all.

Now stranded on a distant shore
on an island far away
the last man of his crew alive
he scans the seas each day.

But finally, a ship appears
the Captain’s surely saved
with heaps of gold and strings of pearls
there’s much he has to offer.

Once more he sails across the seas
with plumed hat, sword and dagger
and rues the day he set a course
for Blackbeard’s Isle of Treasure.


Image credit: Tumisu @ Pixabay

Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #95 photo prompt.

The image shows a pirate with treasure chest on one open page of a book and a ship on the other. Random alphabets are scattered in the space in between..

Last Gasp

Insides flaming
throat burning
lungs pounding
clinging on.

Guts heaving
mouth screaming
chest thumping
hanging on.

Dawn’s breaking
heads shaking
surprised she survived
the endless night.

Fingers clawing
rasping, gasping
body stiffens…

her dragon roars
no more.


Image credit: Sean Thomas @ Unsplash

Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #94 photo prompt.

The image shows shows a huge stone dragon on top of a building.

Jacqui Murray is on the Launch Pad!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Jacqui Murray to this month’s Launch Pad spot. You may well already be familiar with Jacqui through her blog, WordDreams, others of you will know her through her books. It is Jacqui who introduced me to the wonderful world of prehistoric fiction, a genre I hadn’t heard of before, but now I can tell you, I’m totally hooked!

So, let’s find out a little bit more about her. We’ll start with her official author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction sagaMan vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, is due for release in winter 2022.

~~~

Before we come to Jacqui’s latest book release, let me share what Jacqui as to tell us about her journey into self-publishing and finding her authorial voice.

Finding my Voice – by Jacqui Murray

I have been writing fiction for about 25 years (non-fiction longer, but that’s a different story). When I started, I wanted to write the biography of a prehistoric female – how she survived when experts said she shouldn’t. I took some classes, attended conferences, read a bunch of books, and got excited about writing as a craft. An agent suggested I not write prehistoric fiction because the market was too small so I switched to thrillers. I wrote one, another, both well received but they didn’t sell much. I figured if I was going to write and NOT sell, I might as well write what I wanted so I switched back to prehistoric fiction. My first novel, Born in a Treacherous Time, was rejected over one hundred times but still, I wrote another, Survival of the Fittest. That too was rejected one hundred times (I stopped sending out queries when I received my 100th rejection).  Repeat for two more and then I stopped submitting to traditional publishers. I got whatever message they were sending and decided to self-publish. Yes, I was confused and intimidated, like a web browser with nineteen tabs open, seventeen of them frozen and one with music blasting but I couldn’t tell where it came from.

But none of that mattered. I was in charge of my destiny and that felt good. I peacocked for a while and then went back to work.

Somewhere along the line, I figured out my voice. That was scary at first, putting a book out to the public written the way I wanted but I felt good about what I was writing. I knew the rules, which to follow and which to bend, and understood the importance readers place on how a story is told. In fact, that is as important as rules. By the third book written my way, I began to gain traction and sell enough that I could even call myself a writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some success. A first place in a writing competition. Quarter finals in a national competition. I even had an agent for a while… That’s another story. I’ve tried quitting, but I’m back at it within weeks, like an addict. I know people who quit smoking and their rough period starts when they quit and continues till they die. Is that what being a reformed writer would be: “Hello, my name is Jacqui and it’s been ten days since I edited my last novel.” I get the shakes thinking of that.

If you’re trying to find your voice, here are my suggestions:

  • Know the rules of writing in your genre
  • Talk to professionals in that genre about your writing
  • Then, write the way you want to, with passion and energy. That’s your voice. You’ll find a group of people who like it and that will be good enough.

Someone once said about the death of one particular amazing writer whose stories seemed to be effortless:

Talent on loan from God. Talent returned to God.

When you find your voice, that’s what it feels like, as though someone greater than you is whispering in your ear and you darn well better listen.

~~~

Jacqui’s latest release is Laws of Nature, the second book in her Dawn of Humanity trilogy. I finished reading this only last week, and I recommend it whole-heartedly!

The Blurb

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.

In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa, the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

Book information

Title and author: Laws of Nature
Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase
Available (print or digital) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU  Kindle India

.

Follow Jacqui here!

Amazon Author Page:          www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                      https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram/jacquimurraywriter

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

Our verdant bower

Come, join hands
let’s walk together
our hushed feet will fall softly
on verdant ground
pause by the sapphire stream
listen to lush sounds
murmuring water
rustling leaves
bird song, insects whirring
breathe in, breathe deeply
scents of the earth
fragrance of flowers
close your eyes
breathe in, breathe out
taste the emerald air
feel the dappled golden sun
warming your face
here, safe, embraced
enfolded by nature
let us share our stories
in our woodland bower.


Image credit: Shane Rounce Unsplash

Written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #93 photo prompt.

The image shows shows a tree trunk. We can see hands placed next to each other along the length of the tree trunk. The hands belong to people of different race, age, and gender.

Recharge

far from the cares
of everyday life
away from the sorrows
away from the strife
sitting together
on a distant shore
watching the tide
washing in
washing out
as the sun descends
and the stars appear
breathing in
breathing out
being mindful
just being


Image credit: Yulia Matvienko

A quadrille, written in response to Sadje‘s What do You See #92 photo prompt.

The image shows two lego mini-figures sitting on pavement. Batman has an ice cone and Superman has an ice lolly!