Wednesday 12 August 2009

A Book of Memorable Poetry.

My Book Review of stains: early poems by Lori A. May:

I was quite delighted with stains: early poems; the author Lori A. May has managed to convey in her poetry a striking impression. Her poems range from the harmonious to thought provoking and are always wonderfully intimate.

The book is formatted into seven categories, cleverly titled as different types of smudges: grass, coffee, ink, salt, smoke, blood, sweat. The poetry contained within these categories matches the feel of each word, suggesting a distinct mood. The poems themselves are beautifully written in stark, precise imagery; you often feel as if you are peering through a window, glimpsing at the years of someone’s life.

“summer sands sweeping
across the winter of my skin
sweet tangy lemon
quenching my hot mouth”

The poetry is an admirable reflection on various aspects of existence, most often dealing with softer subjects such as memories, love or minute bits of life, but when the author occasionally veers into more demanding themes the verse truly shines.

“smart girls don’t think
she says

just keep your thoughts to yourself

smart girls don’t talk

she says

that mouth of yours can be big trouble

they don’t want little girls

telling them what to do she says

they want to feel as though

they are kings”

I definitely recommend this book. It is a charming volume of poetry and a superb read for anyone who loves verse.

stains: early poems is available at and Barnes and

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Author's Spotlight with Lori A. May - Part 1

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of presenting the first of a two-part spotlight on author and poet Lori A. May. Ms. May is the author of the suspense novels, The Profiler and Moving Target. She recently penned her first book of poetry, stains: early poems.

Part one of this fabulous spotlight is the following interview with Ms. May, and be sure to pop back tomorrow for my review of her volume of poetry, stains: early poems.

An Interview with Lori. A. May:

Q: Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

A: Sure! I’m a novelist, poet, and freelance writer so I always have something new on the go. I recently moved from Ontario to Michigan, where I am editor of The Ambassador Poetry Project. In addition to fiction and poetry, I’m also a part-time college writing instructor, which is a very rewarding component of my portfolio. It’s so much fun working with emerging writers, so I also present sessions at conferences and festivals where I can hopefully share some encouragement with others based on my own experiences as an author, instructor, and editor.

Q: How long have you been writing? Did you always desire to make it your line of work?

A: My earliest memories include dreams of what it would be like to write for a living, so it’s always been a part of me. As far as writing as a profession, I would say I have been at it for more than a dozen years now, maybe closer to fifteen. Like most writers, it was something that I loved in my youth and I just stuck with it and kept at it all this time. Not everyone starts off writing at a young age and everyone has their own path, but the one consistency amongst those who write for a living is that it takes a great deal of dedication and persistence, no matter when you start.

Q: Can you tell us about your latest book?

A: My latest is perhaps a surprise to fans of my crime fiction. As a multi-genre writer, though, I am very pleased with the release of stains: early poems. It’s a collection of some of my earliest poems, some dating back more than a decade. Since I have a few new poetry manuscripts ready to go out the door it was the right time for this introductory release to be available to readers. My voice has grown a bit and my style has developed with more experience as a poet, but I am really proud of the work in stains and I hope readers will enjoy its quirky nature, innocence, and themed chapters. For fun, the collection also includes ‘stained images,’ a collection of experimental black and white photography I hope readers will view as an enhancement to the poetry within stains.

Q: Do you prefer to write suspense fiction or poetry? Do you find it difficult to switch genres?

You know, I write almost every day and it all depends on what sort of mood I am in, but overall I love both equally. There’s something to be said about watching characters react when faced with challenging circumstances within a novel, but then there is such beauty to be discovered within the constraints of poetry. I can’t imagine giving either up so I just enjoy the love of both and will continue to write both. Since I go with my mood (or deadline!), I don’t find it difficult to manage both. It’s a great way to keep from getting bored and I love the variety each offers.

Q: Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

A: I wouldn’t say I have a routine so much as I make a commitment. When I know what I plan on writing – such as a new novel or a collection of poems – I set goals for myself of how that will be accomplished and when I will work on the project. I find that keeps me in line without making hard and fast rules. I do try to write each day, or at least work on plotting, planning, or outlining. Once I get deep into research and outlining, it’s not long until I am at my chair, dedicated to the project for the long run. Ideas can originate anywhere and inspiration comes when least expected – during long drives or right before falling asleep – so I just try to keep my mind open for clues as to something that may take root. Some days, ideas come slower than others and when that happens I take a break, ask myself a lot of ‘what if’ questions, and see where that leads me.

Q: What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

A: Never having enough time to do everything I want in a day. While I think I manage my time wisely, the day just goes too quick when you consider the writing duties in addition to marketing, promotions, media, and networking with others. Each day I reference my to-do list and inevitably some things are transferred over to the next day, but I suppose that’s what it’s like in any job. At least I am never bored and always have something on the go. But what I wouldn’t give to have an extra few hours – without compromising sleep and a social life!

Q: How do you research your books?

A: For my novels, the research is in proportion to the subject matter. The Profiler required some intense research into serial murder, sociopath behavior, and religion and for that I read a lot, interviewed a number of individuals, and created a good number of files to organize my findings. Moving Target was part of a continuity series my publisher put together, so there was a lot of reading prior to even thinking about creating a storyline. However, sometimes research plays a much smaller role, as is now the case with my new work-in-progress, a suspense novel for teens. The YA market is more about keeping up the pace in storytelling than it is about focusing in on intricate details that may slow the pace.

Q: What advice would you give beginning writers?

A: Have fun. Writing can either be a hobby or it can be a dream that turns into a professional career and both should be an enjoyable experience. Most writers write because they love it and can’t stop thinking of stories or poems so I think it’s important to remember why you started writing and to hang onto that joy. Once the business side takes on more of a role, it’s easy to lose sight of that personal enjoyment. Yes, writing is work, but it should be one of the things you look forward to most when you wake up in the morning. Since it is a business, remember that there are two sides to it: what can be controlled by the writer and what cannot be controlled or predicted. Read everything (in and outside of your genre), write regularly and as often as you can, and be open to opportunities. You never know what will work until you stumble upon it, so keep the determination, persistence, and motivation alive and you’ll love what you do, no matter what you do, so long as you do it for yourself.

Q: Who has inspired you as an author?

A: For poetry, I am a big fan of Molly Peacock. She is such a wonderful writer who has an amazing career story, from her modest beginnings to now being one of North America’s most recognized poets. Molly has an incredible voice, is wildly encouraging when it comes to inspiring emerging authors and is a wonderful poet to listen to at readings. In fiction, I have always been a fan of the classics like Sylvia Plath, Hemingway, and Dickens, but in current times I get so much inspiration from new authors who find it impossible to share their excitement. That’s why I read so many magazines and journals – for the discovery of new voices. What I do find incredibly inspiring, and highly recommend to emerging authors, are the non-fiction and memoir books about writing like Stephen King’s On Writing, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Carolyn See’s Making A Literary Life. I recommend each of these to writers of all stages in their career.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Currently, I am working on a couple of young adult projects with suspense and drama at the forefront. These should appeal to my adult fans, too, so it’s not a complete diversion from my usual work. I’m also editing the final draft of a mainstream crime drama my agent is eagerly awaiting, tentatively titled The Name of the Game. Of course, much of my time this fall will be devoted to promoting stains: early poems because I hope it won’t be long until a new poetry book is announced. I also welcome readers to visit my website and blog,, to see where I’ll be doing readings and booksignings, presenting at festivals and conferences, and sharing all sort of other news.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my latest news, A.F. It’s been a pleasure!

About the author:
Lori A. May is a poet, novelist, and freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications such as The Writer, Two Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and anthologies such as Van Gogh’s Ear. She is the Founding Editor of The Ambassador Poetry Project and The Western Literary Review, a college writing
instructor, and an advocate for emerging authors and artists.

stains: early poems is available at and Barnes and

You can also check out The Profiler and Moving Target at Amazon.

Thursday 6 August 2009

A Bit of Romance with Christine Clemetson

Today, I welcome Christine Clemetson, author of the romantic novel, A Daughter’s Promise. She is stopping by on her whirlwind blog tour to share her insights in a wonderful interview, and give everyone a sneak peek with an excerpt from her book:

An Interview with Christine Clemetson

Q: Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

A: Hello! Thanks so much for having me! I’m a romance writer who loves writing historicals and suspense! I grew up in a small beach town in New Jersey and earned a BA in Literature and Language. Through all this, I learned the craft of writing and started submitting my stories for publication. My first book, A Daughter’s Promise, came out from the Wild Rose Press recently.

Q: How long have you been writing, and why did you decide to become a writer?

A: I think I’ve been writing my whole life. My earliest memories of making up stories came while sitting on the beach. I always brought a notebook and jotted down stories and ideas for stories. I can’t imagine life without writing.

Q: Can you to tell us about your book. What was your inspiration for the story?

A: It’s set in war torn Italy, 1944, where Serene Moneto made a promise to her dying mother—a promise so haunting that it directs the course of her life. When she chooses to save an American soldier from death, she risks everything—her name, her life, and capture by the Germans. Finding forbidden love with this soldier tears her world apart.

I wanted to give a voice to people that lived during this time period in WWII. I wanted their stories of survival and hope to be heard by others. So I decided to place an American soldier right in the middle of Italy on Anzio beach head and the only chance of his survival would be through a local woman. When they find love, they ultimately look to each other for hope. I wanted to capture that inspiration on paper.

Q: Do you consider yourself a genre writer?

A: Yes! Romance through and through. Although I’ve realized that I enjoy writing different flavors of romance, including historical and suspense.

Q: I know many writers, myself included, have difficulties writing romantic scenes. Do you struggle with them, or is writing them a breeze?

A: I have to admit that I do struggle with them. I do put inspirational music on when I write them to help it make it a little easier, and I do try to concentrate more on the “feelings” that accompany the physical part.

Q: What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

A: The most challenging aspect of writing for me is toning down the plot points. As a pantser (writing with minimal outline), sometimes I get carried away and try to include too many plot lines. I usually don’t see it until I step back from the manuscript and look at the plot as a whole.

Q: How did you research your book?

A: When I was researching my book, “A Daughter’s Promise”, I needed to research everything, from the ground up. I’ve never been to Italy or knew the details of WWII that I needed. To get the richness of the time period, and the people who lived in it, I had to dig in deep and be creative in my research methods. I used the internet and library to form the foundation of my research, including the timeline of events in Rome, what churches were still standing, and also what an Italian funeral would have been like. Also, I had an eyewitness account. From networking, I found a woman who had lived close to Rome during WWII. She told me many things hard to find in books, including how people felt about the war conditions going on around them, how bad the food rations were, how people moved around Rome, and how it felt for the Germans to be patrolling their neighborhoods. Also, I read many biographies.

Q: What advice would you give beginning writers?

A: Write everyday and learn the craft. Keep reading all genres to experience all types of writing and techniques. Writing takes you to so many places, so don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

Q: What writers have inspired you as an author?

A: Laura Ingalls Wilder was the first author that I remember reading and thinking, WOW! I want to create stories like that. Then as I got older, authors like Kathleen Woodiwiss, LaVryle Spencer, and Stephen King. All of these authors are so talented and know how to draw the reader into the story from the very first page.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Currently, I’m marketing a contemporary suspense set in the Florida Everglades, along with a contemporary romance set in New Jersey. Stay tuned!

Thank you so much for having me here today! It's been great talk to you!

Christine Clemetson –
A Daughter’s Promise

A Daughter’s Promise, by debut novelist Christine Clemetson, is a sweeping love story of sacrifice and unexpected hope. In war torn Italy, 1944, Serene Moneto made a promise to her dying mother—a promise so haunting that it directs the course of her life. When she chooses to save an American soldier from death, she risks everything—her name, her life, and capture by the Germans. Finding forbidden love with this soldier tears her world apart. Against the backdrop of a war raging right outside her door, can she choose happiness? Despite the promise she made those years ago?

See the trailer at:


They both knew Serene’s turn had come. She took in a deep breath and touched his arms in a stiff embrace. She hugged him the way she had rehearsed in her head over and over, the way a mother would hug her son going off to war.

“I don’t care who sees,” he said gruffly, pulling her closer. He pushed her chin up with his
fingertips, and bent his head to kiss her.

She took his lips, his body, all of him, into her heart for the last time. Feeling the rapid beating in his chest, she fought the urge to mold her most intimate part against his.

When their lips parted, his warm breath on her neck made her body shiver. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she buried her face into his jacket. “I’m not ashamed about
what I said to you last night or what happened between us.” Her voice cracked. “It’s a sin, I know, but it was the most beautiful—”

“Ashamed? I don’t think I’ll ever have that kind of love again.”

Trembling, she stood back a little, clinging to her emotions with the delicacy of a spider web. “But you were right. We made the most logical decision.”

Jesus, Serry. I want to tell you so bad that I—”

“You’re all set, then?” Sam said, coming back into the house.

Serene let go of Miles, letting her one finger intertwine with one of his pinky fingers. She couldn’t let him go.

Slowly, he released her and went to the door, putting one foot on the outside pavement before hesitating and turning back. His eyes were red, and she clutched the stair banister to keep from running to him. How much she loved him would be a secret
she’d take to the grave.

Carrying a bottle of whiskey, Marcus passed him at the door and gave him a friendly slap on the back. “I came to give you a goodbye, Coulson.”

Serene stood up straight and froze.

Miles jerked himself away. “Change of heart about me?”

His answer was Marcus’ deep kiss on Serene’s cheek and an arm around her waist. “I realized, Coulson, that I’m proud of her for taking the responsibility for you. I thought it was about time that I offered my apologies for the undiplomatic way I acted. We’re all in this for a cause, no? Why don’t we share a bottle to celebrate?”

“No, your change of heart doesn’t rub me the right way.” Miles offered an apologetic glance to Serene and then shifted his gaze back to Marcus. “You hurt her, and I’ll hurt you. You understand me?”

“Have a safe trip,” Marcus drawled.

Serene watched the driver help him in and her knees weakened. As the truck’s engine started, she braced herself against the wall.

“Don’t worry. Serene. Just think of this as a wedding present from me. No more worries about your American. He is well now and gone for good. Your only thanks is to marry me.”

She couldn’t hear him. Her throat ached and she made no effort to wipe the tears spilling freely from her eyes. She started for the door, but he grabbed her by the shoulders.

A Daughter’s Promise available at The Wild Rose Press

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