Self-published spotlight is my attempt to help bring attention to great self-published/indie books. Today, Claire Conroy is in the Spotlight! Read below about her poetry book, Listen.
ABOUT THE BOOK
“Claire Conroy is a spellbinding sorceress of words who can magically transport you mentally, emotionally and spiritually to the brief glimpses of time she captures and puts down on paper.” -Joia DaVida, Entertainment Journalist
A Sample of Claire’s Work
HOW TO PURCHASE
In order to purchase the book, message Claire on her Facebook page, Poetry by Claire Conroy. Claire also invites everyone to like and follow her Facebook page.
You can also order Listen by emailing Claire at Claire_Conroy73@yahoo.com.
This is a new feature I’m starting which was inspired by a post on another blog, Feed The Crime (One Book At A Time. The post here lists books the blogger has loved that have less than 200 reviews on Goodreads. With a tip of the hat to them, I take a look at Amazing Books by Indie/Self-Published Authors With Less Than 100 Reviews on Amazon. This is aimed at telling the world about great books they may not have seen. Indie authors do not have the marketing machine enjoyed by the traditionally published, so it is up to us to share, read, and review these great books. A couple of these books are from small, independent presses, but most are self-published. Please share this post with all of your social media followers, because some of them may find a book they love, and would have otherwise missed.
If you click on the covers, you can go straight to the Amazon link.
I plan to do this feature at least once a month, so please share these great books with others. Let’s get these books the attention they deserve.
Agustina De Aragón by Gail Meath. This is the amazing story of the “Spanish Joan of Arc.” My review is here.
No Ordinary Thing: GZ Schmidt: This is amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult historical fiction–with a time-traveling snow globe! My review is here.
The Robin Hood Trilogy: Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer: This is the best Robin Hood retelling I have ever read. My review is here.
TELLING SONNY: Elizabeth Gauffreau: This gorgeously written book will take you back to Vaudeville in the 1920s. My review is here.
Your Words Your World: Amazing poetry book about God and His Creation. My review is here
This amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult fantasy series, The Hamelin Stoop series, is reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia. My review is here.
These are all great books that received 5 stars from me. They just need readers to know about them. If you decide to read any of them, please leave a review on Amazon. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.
Here is the mountain view from my future retirement house in Bryson City, NC. My grandfather bought this land in the 1930s and passed it to his children. I bought my Mom’s house in 2009 and will get to retire here in a couple years. I got to thinking about families who have been on their land for a long time and how you can just feel their presence. So that inspired the story poem below. At the bottom of the page are more shots of our property. All photos by Doug DeMoss.
Welcome Home, Rosalie
I was born here In a rough cabin knocked together Cold wind screeching through
But my mother kept me warm and safe In these mountains all her days
My children ran through these hills We sweated the fields and hunted the ridges. We struggled but we thrived
When my end came they gathered round to say goodbye And my soul rushed away, content.
I came back to visit often Watching over them as they laughed and cried Until they joined me, one by one Now there are no tears.
The cabins are fancy now The mules gave way to “cars” The way of life changed as I watched And before long my great-grandchildren met me.
Now another Rosalie has arrived Named after me, my daughter, and many other kin She walks through these hills, not exactly knowing But feeling all of us as we walk beside her
She can sense but not see Our hands on her shoulders as we welcome her home
Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie and Self-Published authors with one of the many tasks they are responsible for–marketing. If I can help in even a small way with the daunting task of marketing, I’m happy to do it. I missed putting the post up yesterday because of a very busy schedule, but as always, SP Saturday will still go up, even if it’s not Saturday anymore. Today we have a really cute kid’s book of rhymes/story poems accompanied by illustrations. Check out the review below.
This is a really cute collection of fun and whimsical poems that children and adults will love. They each tell a story that will have you laughing. The accompanying illustrations add to the joy of reading this book.
Each poem tells a story in delightful rhyme. The book reminds me a tiny bit of Dr. Seuss, with the author’s own unique touches, of course. My favorite poems are “Jeremy Myer is Such a Liar,” “Monster Under The Bed,” and “I Want The Very Best Birthday Party.” Parents and kids will have a great time reading these poems together.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley. I also downloaded it on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. My review is voluntary.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When he is not doodling on donkeys or writing silly poems on bathroom walls, Tony Philips is trying to answer the pressing questions that confound experts the world over, like who left the toilet seat up? He grew up in a suburb in Pennsylvania near a turkey farm. Every so often, frantic turkeys, escaped from the farm, would show up in his back yard, and he and his siblings would try to hide them. Have you ever tried to usher a crazed turkey behind a bush? It’s not easy. He attended art classes at the Baum School of Art and got a degree in Creative Writing from Haverford College. He tried writing for television, but found nobody wanted to hear his stories about freaked out turkeys. Or about how an unhinged turkey once bit his younger brother on the toe. It’s true, really. Tony lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. He can be found online at TonyPhilips.com.
*If you read the book, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.
*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!
Self-Published Saturday is my attempt to showcase works by self-published authors. Saturdays are dedicated solely to self-published/indie authors and their works. These authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. Self-published Saturday (or SPS) is my effort to try and help with the marketing side of things as much as I can. I also need your help in the form of sharing this post with your social media followers to give these authors more exposure. Today I want to bring your attention to a wonderful book of poems by Elizabeth Gaffreau. Written in Tanka style, they are a tribute to her departed family members. Liz also agreed to answer some questions for us, so don’t miss the Q&A below!
Grief Songs is a beautiful collection of Tanka poems, accompanied by family photographs. Each poem pays tribute to a family member and often goes behind the scenes, telling us what is happening “beyond the frame.” It is a wonderful and unique look at a family, both good times and bad.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with tanka poems, here is a quick definition: Tanka poems are Japanese in origin. They are very specifically 31 syllables, 5 lines. The first line has five syllables, the second 7, the third 5, and the last two lines have 7. The first three lines are supposed to evoke an image, and the last two describe an action or emotion based on that image.
In Grief Songs, Gauffreau gives heartfelt tributes to her mother, father, and brother George. Some will make you laugh, and some will draw a tear. My absolute favorite is Angelic, which is aptly named. It is accompanied by the most adorable, and yes, angelic, portrait of two children I have ever seen. Liz and her brother George look like the most beautiful, well-behaved kids ever to sit for a portrait in the history of time. However, the the last two lines of the accompanying tanka read: “George had cried piteous tears/while I railed against my bangs.” This made me laugh out loud–maybe not so angelic! The bangs in question remind me of a lot of pictures in my own family album of home haircuts where the bangs ended up a little too short, usually right before a school picture. This is just one example of the way Gauffreau brings the photos to life with her poetry.
Gauffreau’s ability to weave poems, even poems with strict guidelines, into very descriptive stories is quite evident in this book. A Goodwill Love Story is a great example of that. She describes her parents’ meeting, courtship, and marriage in 5 lines, 31 syllables, and we see pictures in our minds that go far beyond the accompanying photo.
Grief Songs will inspire you to pull out your own family album, remember your lost loved ones, and think about the stories behind the photos. It is a beautifully constructed book of memories full of joy, admiration, and pain.
I received a pdf from the author and also purchased the ebook. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
Grief Songs will be released tomorrow, September 26, 2021.
Thanks so much Liz, for answering my questions today. I am so pleased to review your book, and I’ve become a big fan of your writing.
Thank you very much, Bonnie. I’m delighted to be here. I enjoy following your book review blog. You are a voracious reader!
Let’s go beyond the bio. Could you tell us a little more about yourself?. What are your hobbies and interests outside of writing?
I lived in Virginia for a number of years when my husband was in the Navy. While living there, he and I developed a keen interest in exploring historic sites and historic homes. The Colonial Parkway and Jamestown Island outside of Williamsburg were our favorite spots to visit.
We also enjoy being out in Nature and exploring the back roads of northern New Hampshire and Vermont. After being away for so long, I was very surprised to discover how many dirt roads still remain.
Grief Songs is a collection of Tanka poetry that delves into the grieving process. What was your inspiration for this book, and why did you decide on Tanka poetry?
I had no intention of writing a book of tanka until two things in my life converged. The first was reading Colleen Chesebro’s syllabic poetry blog and trying my hand at writing a tanka just out of curiosity to see if I could do it. Up until that point, I had resisted syllabic poetry as being too restrictive. I tried one poem and was pleased with the result.
Then, two months later, my mother died, leaving me the only person in my immediate family still alive. As I was going through our family photograph albums, poems started coming to me, and I soon had enough for a book. Writing the poems was a way to stay with my family just a little longer.
Tanka poems have a very specific set of rules. Did that inhibit in any way the message you wanted to convey in your book?
The confines of the tanka form were actually a saving grace because I had to focus at the line, word, and syllable level. I found those confines comforting, like an infant being swaddled.
Tell us a little about one or two of the poems that are your favorites.
One of my favorite poems in the collection is “In the Wilderness,” inspired by a photograph of my mother snowshoeing in a state park outside Presque Isle, Maine. When she initially mailed me the photo, my immediate thought was, “Kay in an Alien Universe,” because she looked so small. The other reason the poem is one of my favorites is that readers have told me it prompted fond memories of their own mothers.
I’ve been a fan of your work since I read your book “Telling Sonny.” You’ve also had many short stories published. Could you give the readers a description of “Telling Sonny” and your other work, including any current project you might be working on. Is another novel on the horizon?
Thank you, Bonnie! I’m so glad you enjoy my work. Telling Sonny began with an odd little note from my mother after she had asked me to write a biography of my dad for our extended family. The note, on a sheet of lined notebook paper, read, “Elliott I. committed suicide and had a sister Dorothy.” It seemed such an odd juxtaposition of facts, I had to write a poem about it: “My Father’s Side of the Family.”
However, the poem wasn’t enough to get that line out of my head. It rolled around in there for months, until the inciting incident for a novel came to me: Sonny’s mother put in the position of informing him of his father’s death because he had become an afterthought to his father’s family. The novel tells the story of how Sonny’s parents met and parted, all in the setting of small-time vaudeville.
Much of my short fiction is set in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, where I grew up. Right after I graduated from high school, I got it into my head that I could be the Sherwood Anderson of Enosburg because no other writer had given the village a voice. Then, many years later, I discovered writer Hildreth Wriston, who was born there. Well! She wrote children’s books, however, so I’m telling myself I can still be the Sherwood Anderson of Enosburg. Youthful illusions aside, I’m planning a short story collection titled Enosburg Stories.
In the meantime, I’ve begun work on a novel about the last poor house in Vermont, which wasn’t closed down until 1968. I expect it will take me awhile, as I need to do a fair chunk of research.
Your first book, “Telling Sonny,” was traditionally published. “Grief Songs” is a self-published work. Tell us a little bit about the differences you have experienced between the two. Do you prefer one over the other?
I would have to say that the experience of being traditionally published and the experience of self-publishing have both been an education at the School of Hard Knocks. I went through my undergraduate creative writing program, as well as my graduate program, at a time when the focus was on the craft of writing. The business of writing and self-promotion was not addressed in the curriculum and barely mentioned in passing by my professors.
As many other authors have noted, even when traditionally published, the lion’s share of marketing and promotion for the book falls on the author. That being the case, I prefer self-publishing because I am in control of each phase.
What advice would you give to new authors who are just starting their journey?
I will pass on the writing advice that my first writing professor gave us: Master your craft before seeking publication. I found that advice incredibly liberating because I was able to focus on what I enjoyed most without being distracted by rejection slips.
Thanks again, Liz! I so much appreciate you following my blog, and I am so happy I was introduced to your writing.
If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!
Harold, our adorable wire-hair dachshund puppy, has recently turned one, which I guess makes him no longer a puppy. However, he’ll always be our puppy. I attempted a Tanka about him below. A Tanka is 31 syllables. The first line is 5, second line 7, third line 5, and the last two are 7.
He is one year old Cute black and white ball of fur Giant dark brown eyes Melts your heart in an instant With unconditional love.
I’ve told this story before, but the story of our puppy Harold is amazing to us. My husband had always wanted a wire-haired dachshund since we saw them on the Westminster Dog Show. They are hard to find and can be expensive. My Dad, Harold, died in 2019. He loved dogs and owned a couple of dachshunds in his day. So when we saw a wire-hair dachshund puppy advertised online, and saw that the breeder had named him Harold, it felt meant to be. However, a big expense came up unexpectedly and we weren’t able to afford him. Dachshunds are popular dogs and he is a piebald wire-hair as well, so we thought he’d be snapped up immediately before we could get him. Two months later, I happened to notice online that Harold was still available. We had the funds, so we texted the breeder, and after a trip to South Carolina, we had our Harold. It is amazing to me because ever since then I’ve watched this breeder’s page and the dogs are all gone immediately, sometimes even before birth. I really feel like Dad saved him for us, and he has been a joy.
This is Harold operating at his normal speed, while his brother Hermann watches him go.
This is a delightful Christmas Story Poem by Cathy Cade. It is a new take on “A Night Before Christmas,” complete with Santa, Reindeer, and ….Engineering? You will enjoy this lively poem and its colorful, captivating illustrations. It is clever, saucy, and fun.
Learning about Tanka poems today. Tanka poems are Japanese poems. They are 31 syllables, 5 lines. The first line has five syllables, the second 7, the third 5, and the last two lines have 7. The first three lines are supposed to evoke an image, and the last two describe an action based on that image.
Since I found out I have to get a biopsy today for a possible cancer scare, I wrote my first Tanka poem about it. Hopefully it will turn out to be nothing, but here are the thoughts in my head:
There’s a mass they said Tests and doctors await me Hospital is cold
I start to wonder what if? Drawing up plans for battle.
The image I’m trying to evoke is of of course waiting to have tests done in a hospital or doctor’s office. The action would be my “plans for the worst” running around in my head.
The photo above is not of me. I hoped it could look like any woman, waiting.
The photo below is of my very favorite place, Deep Creek, part of the Smoky Mountain National Park and located in Bryson City, NC. That’s where I go in my mind to stay calm and where I go in person when I can.
Hopefully I’ll find out in a few days that this was all nothing, but I wanted to get my thoughts down. My next poem will be about how waiting for medical news sucks.
I’ve just starting writing poetry after many years, so any feedback would be great.
This poetry book is accompanied by beautiful photographs and primarily speaks to the author’s thoughts about the current pandemic, struggles in life, and her relationship with God. There are also some lovely story poems about nature. Although I enjoyed all of the poems, I was less interested in the ones about the pandemic, just because we hear so much about it in the news daily. However, I know others will feel differently about that. I was more interested in the poems about nature and relationship with God. The author shares her feelings honestly and with emotion.
The poem Power in Life spoke to me. It asks the question: “How can life go on when I’ve just experienced this crushing loss?” Having lost my Mom this year, I definitely can relate to that. I also enjoyed “A Life With You, Now and in Eternity.” This is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins.
The photographs are well done and are a great companion to the poems.
The author’s style is warm and embracing, and she shares her faith in a loving way. I would read her poetry again.
I picked this book up on Kindle Unlimited, where members can get a digital copy for free. I also received a free copy of the print book from the author. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.
This Kindle version of this book is also available for free to everyone on Amazon from November 19th to November 21st.