Blog Tour: I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry

Blog Tour

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR OF

Valerie Nifora’s: I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry

 

Tour Begins February 10th

mockupshots-ValerieNifora23878-mock-00053Book Summary

I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry is a journey into romance, love and loss through poetry. The poems published in this collection span over 15 years of writing. Often starting with short rhythmic patterns, each poem’s lyrical tone is filled with inspired words to express the deep emotion experienced in the intricacies of romance.

Handwritten in a journal and hidden away until this publication, the poems chronicle the journey into and out of love. Written in three parts, the book enables the reader to transverse the intensity of romantic love, from the first moment of falling in love, to the intense pain of heartbreak.

Beautiful and powerful in its lyrical and simple verse, the reader is immediately immersed in a world of sensuality, passion, desire, and innocence; all woven together into a tapestry of human emotion. Each poem transports the reader to a story through the art of poetry. Drawing on natural elements such as the sun, sand, wind and moon, this collection explores the light and darkness of romantic love, leaving the reader questioning if love was ever real at all.

Print Length: 108 Pages
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: The Unapologetic Voice House LLC
ASIN: B07X1VFBP7


I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry
 is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Target.

 

 

Praise for I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry

“…a breathtaking compilation of tender poetry.” – Jessica Tingling, The San Francisco Book Review

“Valerie’s poetry evokes images of tangled butterflies caught in a breeze, leaves falling too soon, and speaks with a deep, deep tenderness.” – Troy Turner, Poet

“A beautiful tribute to reflective thoughts of love and losses suffered…this was well done… ” – Wanda Firman-Cooper, Reviewer

“Valerie’s poems are not only magnificent to read, but they stick with you.” – Robert Robinson, Executive Producer, The Dinner Salon

“In today’s age of fast-food thinking, attention-deficit scanning, and thumb scrolls past click-bait, it’s refreshing to find a relatable, digestible read that harkens back to an era of leather-bound literature’s reign in terms of meter and word choice.”– Amaani F. Lyle, Military Journalist

“Val’s poetry goes deeper…into a mosaic of sensuality that leaves you hearing love as if it were a song.” – Myra Jo Martino, Writers Guild Award Winner for Ugly Betty

 

Guest Post: “What helped me get through heartbreak.”

It felt like my entire chest would cave in. The shock of it all was just a bit overwhelming, that I wondered if it was possible, I was having a waking dream. I sat on the edge of his grey couch, we were watching television and he said, “I don’t think we should see each other any more. I’m getting older and I need to find someone I can marry.” I remember turning and thinking that it was a joke in severe bad taste. But he just stared forward. His head tilted on his arm. Watching television. It might have been the Daily Show.

We were young. I didn’t really think about marriage. I was in my mid-20’s. I just got my first apartment. It was four blocks down the street from his. We had already been together about four years.

But, there it was. Over. I remember collecting my few things in utter disbelief and managing to climb the stairs without having tears obscure my vision. I hit the pavement with the industrial door slamming behind me. It echoed. It was over. That was it. What was I feeling? Numb? Yes. It was numb. Was it rejection? Anger? Disappointment? Confusion? Everything seemed useless and awful and pointless and how could I have been so stupid? And he didn’t meant it? Wait, he broke up with me? What?

And in this awful maze of emotions and thoughts, I heard a small child laugh. And that was it. That was the sound that broke the spiral downward. In the universe beyond me, was laughter, joy, happiness and peace. It was mine to find. And this tiny voice in the back of my head just said, “It was probably for the best.”

I will confess that it was hard being in romantic relationship that ended, and not of my own choosing. We had a life we built with people in common and memories and adventures… and… done. But, what helped me get through heartbreak was gratitude. I know, it sounds like the most bizarre things in the world. But instead of loading up with anger and resentment and disappointment and feeling unbelievably sorry for myself — I instead felt grateful.

What in the world could I possibly be grateful for? I was grateful for the good memories I had. They were authentic. They were mine, and I got to keep them. I was thankful that he had the courage to say, the relationship wasn’t going to work anymore for him. At least he said it. (I just wished he said it sooner.)  I was being handed an opportunity to grow. Moving forward it wasn’t “us”, it was going to be “me”. It was time to learn what I wanted for myself, vs what anyone else wanted for me. I was grateful for everything feeling bittersweet. It let me find new outlets to express my feelings. I found writing. I wrote my first piece. I saw things in a new light. I found the magic in human emotions. (We are so complicated.) And, I was grateful for experiencing the parallel side of love — loss.

Nothing lasts forever. No one person lives forever. But, we have an incredible opportunity while we are here to experience love for however long it lasts. I always held to the belief that, “the heart that gives freely is never lonely.” I learned I was not alone. This was just the cycle of things. It was just a pause — the end of something so that there could be the beginning of something else.

What got me through heartbreak was understanding I was being released to live a new life.

 

 

authorphotoAbout the Author, Valerie Nifora

Valerie Nifora was born and raised in New York to Greek immigrant parents. For over twenty years, Valerie was Marketing Communications Leader for a Fortune 50. She served as a ghost writer for several executives and has executed award-winning campaigns using her special gift as a storyteller to inspire. Her first book is a collection of romantic poetry that explores innocence, sensuality, passion, desire, heartbreak and loss through the lens of her personal experience spanning over 15 years. Her beautiful and powerful voice immediately calls forth a time of leather-bound books and invites the reader to find a comfortable chair and begin their journey through the powerful human emotion of love. Valerie holds a B.A. in Communications from Emerson College and an M.B.A. from Fordham University. She is married and a mother of two amazing sons.

Website: www.valerienifora.com.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vnifora/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ValerieNifora/
Twitter @vnifora
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/valerienifora/

Blog Tour Dates

February 10th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you stop by WOW! Women on Writing’s blog today and read an interview with author Valerie Nifora as we discuss her book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry. You can also win a signed copy of her book!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com
February 11th @ Karen Brown Tyson
Stop by Karen’s blog today and read a guest post by author Valerie Nifora who will be talking about what prevents people from following her dreams.
https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/
February 13th @ Michelle Cornish
Stop by Michelle’s blog and you can watch an interview with author Valerie Nifora. Don’t miss it!
https://www.michellecornish.com/blog
February 14th @ A New Look on Books
Visit Rae’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Valerie Nifora about what helped her get through heartbreak.
https://www.anewlookonbooks.com/blog
February 14th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
Visit Veronica’s blog today and read a feature that spotlights one of the poems from the book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry.
https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/
February 15th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Valerie Nifora’s book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry.
http://www.coffeewithlacey.com
February 16th @ Phy Roselle 
Stop by Phy’s blog today and read Valerie Nifora’s guest post about what most people miss about live.
https://phyroselle.wordpress.com/
February 20th @ Precious Phyllis
Visit Phyllis’ blog today and read her review of Valerie Nifora’s book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry.
http://phytallic.wordpress.com/
February 22nd @ Beverley A. Baird
Visit Beverley’s blog today and you can read her review of Valerie Nifora’s book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/
February 24th @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog today and you can read author Valerie Nifora’s guest post about why if you’re lonely, you are not alone.
http://www.astorybookworld.com/
February 25th @ Lori’s Reading Corner
Visit Lori’s blog today and read Valerie Nifora’s guest post about whether we really have to love ourselves before we love another person.
http://www.lorisreadingcorner.com/
February 28th @ Beverley A. Baird
Stop by Beverley’s blog again and you can read author Valerie Nifora’s guest post about how life is short, do it now before you die. Get inspired today!
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/
February 29th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Valerie Nifora’s book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry. You can also read her interview with the author as well.
http://bookworm66.wordpress.com
March 1st @ Choices 
Visit Madeline’s blog today and you can read Valerie Nifora’s guest post about what her children taught her about love.
http://madelinesharples.com/
March 2nd @ Armed with a Book
Visit Kriti’s blog and you can read her review of Valerie Nifora’s book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry.
https://www.armedwithabook.com/
March 4th @ Armed with a Book
Stop by Kriti’s blog again and you can read her interview with author Valerie Nifora.
https://www.armedwithabook.com/
March 6th @ The Faerie Review
Come by Lily’s blog today and you can read author Valerie Nifora’s guest post about why risk is sometimes worth it.
https://www.thefaeriereview.com
March 9th @ It’s Alanna Jean
Visit Alanna Jean’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Valerie Nifora, who will discuss why people fear failure. Don’t miss this one!
http://itsalannajean.com/
March 10th @ Jill Sheets Blog
Visit Jill’s blog and you can read Valerie Nifora’s guest post about why we settle on mediocre.
https://jillsheets.blogspot.com./
March 15th @ Teatime and Books
Stop by Janet’s blog today and you can read her review of Valerie Nifora’s book I Asked the Wind: A Collection of Romantic Poetry.
http://teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com/

Guest Post: “New Year’s Resolution: To Read More Books!” By Tiffany Skylark

Guest Post

Meet Tiffany Skylark.

Tiffany
Born in Traverse City, Michigan, Tiffany grew up with a love for language. She has enjoyed writing stories and poetry from a young age. Her love for language compelled her to study Spanish in high school and to travel to Madrid, Spain for her first year of college at Saint Louis University Madrid Campus. She then moved to Oregon, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Culture with a minor in Cultural Anthropology from Southern Oregon University in 2008. She now lives, works and writes back in her hometown of Traverse City.

Check out the Epic Fantasy Series ‘The Roquiel Saga’ on Amazon!

Social Media Links:

Twitter – @tiffanyskylarkauthor

Guest Post

New Year’s Resolution: To Read More Books!

2020 is right around the corner and that has many of us think about New Year’s resolutions. Recently on Instagram, I saw a post by a lady that has read more than 150 novels in in 2019. First of all, I was in awe, like seriously impressed by this number. I’m not even going to mention how many books I read in 2019 because it’s pathetic but I know that I can do better. Then I realized that if I looked up some tips on how to get this done, I would do even better. So if like me you want to read more books next year, here are some suggestions.
The first good suggestion I found was to get a library card if you don’t have one already. This one might seem pretty obvious, but there are plenty of people out there that don’t have a library card. The quiet environment in libraries offers the perfect spot away from the busy world to escape into a book. You might see a book that is being displayed on top of the shelves that catches your eye. One thing you might not know is that lot of libraries these days now give you access to a digital library of audio books that you can download for free. So if your wallet is still devoid of a library card, you know what to do.
Let’s talk social media. Most of spend more time than we’d care to admit with mindless scrolling. That’s time that we could be reading! I recently found a feature on Instagram that other social media sites probably have as well. While in Instagram, if you go to your profile, then tap the three lines in the top right corner, then tap ‘Your Activity’, at the bottom you will see ‘Set Daily Reminder’. This allows you to set a time limit for yourself, say 30 minutes a day. When you’ve reached your 30 minutes on the app, a reminder will pop up to remind you to get the heck off social media (and get reading).
This next suggestion goes along with the last. And that is just to prioritize reading. If you’re a list maker like me, you could jot down reading on your daily list of things to do so you don’t forget. You could also set a goal of a certain amount of time a read per day, or you could say I’ll read one chapter per day.
The next way to read more in the New Year is to keep an enormous ‘TBR’ pile. TBR meaning ‘to-be-read’. C.G. at paperfury.com gives a lot of reasons why it’s good and helpful to have a TBR pile. She says that it keeps us motivated (and helps us live longer) to have something to strive for. Looking at the pile of books reminds us that there are tons of amazing worlds and characters out there to discover. She also mentions that collecting books is a healthy habit to have, they make you look like a learned scholar, they are a good conversation starter and buying books supports the authors to keep being creative and practicing their craft.
The last suggestion I have is to find ways to stay accountable. One of the ways you could stop yourself from slacking is to join a book club, the other is to follow the hashtag #readingchallenge on Instagram. You can check out the individual posts and see all the different reading challenges that are out there and choose a few to join.
I hope these tips will help you hit the books in 2020!

Interview: Anaphora Literary Press Says Hello From Director Anna Faktorovich

Author Interview

anna f.pngMeet Anna Faktorovich.

Anna Faktorovich is the Director and Founder of the Anaphora Literary Press. She previously taught for over four years at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the Middle Georgia State College. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism, an MA in Comparative Literature, and a BA in Economics. She published two academic books with McFarland: Rebellion as Genre in the Novels of Scott, Dickens and Stevenson (2013) and The Formulas of Popular Fiction: Elements of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Religious and Mystery Novels (2014). She published a poetry collection, Improvisational Arguments (Fomite Press, 2011). She published two fantasy novellas with Grim’s Labyrinth Publishing: The Great Love of Queen Margaret, the Vampire (2014) and The Campaigns against the Olden: Kingdoms of Laruta (2014). She has been editing and writing for the independent, tri-annual Pennsylvania Literary Journal since 2009, and started the second Anaphora periodical, Cinematic Codes Review in 2016. She has presented her research at the MLA, SAMLA, EAPSU, SWWC, BWWC and many other conferences. And she won the MLA Bibliography, Kentucky Historical Society and Brown University Military Collection fellowships.

Social Media Links:
https://www.facebook.com/anna.faktorovich
https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-faktorovich-6063812b
https://twitter.com/AnnaFaktorovich

 

The Interview.

What is the origin story for Anaphora Literary Press? A brief bio works too!
Anaphora began when I applied for an Editorial Assistantship with a scholarly journal at my PhD program in 2009, but did not receive this post, instead winning a general Research Assistantship. I realized that I had to create a job for myself if I believed I could do superior work rather than waiting for somebody else to judge me as worthy. So, I posted a call for papers for the first issue of the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and submissions immediately started pouring in. In the first year, I started receiving some book-length submissions without asking for them and decided to start helping writers publish their books.
Share with us a little bit about the services you offer and why you specifically picked those specialties to promote and assist writers with.
Anaphora is a general press and the services offered are a full range of services that writers need to successfully publish their books. The model came about when writers started purchasing copies of their books for resale. I realized that with help from this purchase, I could invest more time and money into each new release. Writers buy 50 copies at 25% off the cover price ($15-25). If they sell these at readings or the like at the full price, they make a 25% profit. Books sold through a distributor make a 50% royalty for the author. The need to sell books usually energizes a new release as a writer schedules many of these at libraries, bookstores, in the home and the like. My goal is to provide an all-inclusive package that leaves the writer with a profit. Some of the services included in this package are: formatting (soft and hard cover and EBSCO, ProQuest and Kindle ebooks); editing; proofreading; design (cover, interior); image (graphics, photographs) editing and creation; ISBN and LCCN assignment; title setup with the printer/ distributor (and payment of Ingram’s distribution fees); distribution/ sales processing; marketing; advertisement and merchandise design; electronic distribution of review copies to individual review forms on websites and an email distribution to over 10,000 reviewers, librarians, academics and other parties; processing print review copy mailings; LookInside submission, creation of an author page on the Anaphora website; print catalog mailing; exhibit display design and manning; and YouTube book trailer audio and visual design and distribution. Based on my research into publishing, these are the most important and relevant services that help writers make and sell top-quality books. If a writer informs me of a service he or she would like me to provide that is not currently available, I usually help them out, and if it’s a service that is relevant (and helpful) for all of the authors I publish, I add it to the standard list of services.
Has your experience starting as an academic press helped you grow into what you are today? Did it hinder you in any way?
I started Anaphora with the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, which was in part a scholarly and in part a literary or even general interest periodical. I don’t believe in narrowing the types of books I offer for the sake of having a story I can tell about what kind of press Anaphora is. I believe there are good books in all genres and book categories (non-fiction, fiction, poetry), and I want to share all of them with the world. Many new presses pick a focus like “feminist” or “liberal” or “African American” or “western”. This is particularly common among non-profit publishers who need this focus to explain which underrepresented category of writers needs their assistance. Since Anaphora is fully self-funded through the copies authors purchase, there is no incentive to narrow the focus in this way. I am considering starting a non-profit branch to Anaphora and perhaps there a general focus would be a hindrance, so I might come up with a narrow field of exploration.
Share a fun fact about your journal!
My periodicals, Pennsylvania Literary Journal and Cinematic Codes Review, accept around 80% of the projects that are submitted to them. There are no submission or publication fees. So, if you want to be published and you’ve written something you are proud of, email it to director@anaphoraliterary.com with a paragraph biography, and it will probably find a home.
What was the first book you published?
I believe the first single-author book Anaphora released is Lynn Clarke’s Evidence and Judgment in 2010. Clarke is a successful lawyer in Charleston, West Virginia, and she has since published a second book in this legal thriller series with Anaphora.
Is there any future projects that you can share with us today?
I don’t keep any secrets. I advertise all forthcoming books on the Anaphora website and on my social media. I usually wait to post about a new release until the editing is completed and I have at least a preliminary cover I can post on the author’s page. As far as my own books, I am currently editing a procedural mystery, and just started writing my first science fiction novel. I recently “resigned” from academia via cash purchasing a tiny house, so now I have little overhead, and can focus on my writing and publishing more fully. So, I hope to release even more of my books in the coming years than I have in the past.
Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today?
You are all warmly invited to submit your books for publication with Anaphora. Each new purchase of books is a contribution to my variety of a funding campaign: I can spend another month doing nothing but art and writing on a single new release. More importantly, I hope Anaphora helps writers who might otherwise be screened out as unmarketable see their books released into the world. The top canonized authors (Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Sir Walter Scott) all self-published, and even though the term self-publishing is a misnomer (as few of us truly publish ourselves), the concept of independent, entrepreneurial self-promotion via self-publication can only be a good thing in this troubled world that we live in.

Get to Know Nikki Katz

Author Interview

Meet Nikki Katz.

Nikki.jpg

Nikki Katz is an author and editor living in sunny San Diego with her three children. With a BS in aerospace engineering, Nikki first put her writing skills to use publishing four nonfiction books. She quickly sought out the creativity of young adult novels—writing about first loves and journeys of discovery. The Midnight Dance is her debut novel.

Twitter: @katzni | Instagram: @nikkikatz | Facebook as Nikki Katz |

Website: nikkikatz.com

 

Onto the interview!

From rocket science to novel writing… tell us your publishing story in five words or less. Then expand as much as you’d like.

“The roundabout route”.

Like you mentioned, I went from rocket science to writing young adult novels. Not the most straight route from point A to point B. My degree is in aerospace engineering and from there I went into management consultant and then the dotcom boom in NYC. After that I began working as a freelance writer and consultant, then moved to editorial work and writing. I’ve always been a left brain/right brain sort of girl. YA is my soft spot for fiction. I love stories of finding yourself and those first instances of young love.

Nonfiction or fiction. Do you have a preference? What was easier for you to write?
Absolutely fiction as a preference but nonfiction is easier to write! Nonfiction topics are based on facts and there’s typically a format or structure to follow in writing the book. Fiction allows you the freedom to develop worlds and characters and experiment with writing styles and plot structure. In my opinion it’s more fun, creative and artistic.

Do you have experience with dancing and dancing etiquette? If not, how did you research and then write The Midnight Dance?
I took a couple of dance classes as a young adult (literally an adult, not a teen!) My daughter also took ballet, jazz, and tap for years. From there I researched ballet terms, but honestly there’s not much ballet in the book. The gala is really more of a staged performance and I did theater all through high school. That made it easier to write about rehearsals, sets, and performance elements.

Flashes of a past life. A controlling figure literally known as the Master. *goosebumps* So when “the music ends, the dance begins,” what was your favorite scene, or line, from The Midnight Dance?
My favorite scene is probably the one where Penny discovers the identify of the new girl at the estate. Without giving spoilers: this is Penny’s moment of deepest despair, when she’s lost all hope but finally takes control of her life.

I see you have another YA coming out in 2018. Hello The King’s Questioner! First off, congrats! Next, what can you tell me about this new book? Any juicy news to share as of yet? If not, what inspired this novel?
The King’s Questioner follows Kalen, a mental lockpick who has the ability to enter into people’s minds and reveal their deepest secrets. When he uncovers something the king has been hiding in the mind of the prince, Kalen must put aside their differences and work together—to save his life and the fate of the kingdom.

The idea for the novel came to me when I started toying around with the idea of keys and a lockpick. From there I had my cast of characters (including a girl with silver tattoos), rich settings (including a city built on the water), and magical elements.

Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?
Thanks for having me! I hope anyone who reads The Midnight Dance finds a way to identify with Penny’s journey of finding herself.

 

Thank you Nikki for stopping by to visit A New Look On Books!

 

The Midnight Dance catch your eye? Go grab your copy today!

 

Behind the Song Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway

Blog Tour, Guest Post, Misc.

behind the song.pngTitle: Behind the Song
Author: Various; K.M. Walton, editor
Pub Date: September 1, 2017
ISBN: 9781492638810

Music takes a moment and makes it a memory. It’s a universal language that can capture love, heartbreak, loss, soul-searching, and wings spreading—all in the span of a few notes. In Behind the Song, fourteen acclaimed young adult authors and musicians share short stories and personal essays inspired by the songs, the albums, and the musicians who move them.

So turn up the volume and cue up the playlist. This is an anthology you’ll want to experience on repeat.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads

 

Donn Thompson Morelli aka Donn T.JPGAbout the Author
Observer. Igniter. Enigmatic. Singer-songwriter. Label owner. Producer. Clarifier. Peruser. Witster. Sister. Muse to the mister. Ma+daughter. Tall drink o’ water. That is innovator Donn T.
She originally hails from Philadelphia and comes from a storied musical lineage. The quintessential independent artist and do-it-yourselfer added label owner to her list of accomplishments, when she launched Dtone Victorious in 2014. Her debut album, 2010’s Kaleidoscopic, received international acclaim and led to stints performing with a diverse array of artists, including Amy Winehouse, Marsha Ambrosius, Sharon Jones, John Legend, Esperanza Spalding, Ceelo Green, Santigold, Antibalas, The Roots, David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump to name a few.
On her follow up, 2015’s Flight of The Donn T album, she shares co-production credit with her husband Jake Morelli, a guitarist/producer. The buzz around that album got the attention of CBS and The Grammys who in 2016 highlighted Donn T as an Artist of Tomorrow.
“Waiting”, a standout track on Flight Of The Donn T, can be heard in the BET film I Will Follow, which was helmed by award-winning director Ava Duvernay (Selma). Donn T’s single “Midnight” appears in With This Ring, a Lifetime network movie directed by Nzingha Stewart. The film co-stars Regina Hall, Jill Scott and Eve. Donn T has also racked up songwriting credits, including “I Am Music” by Common featuring Jill Scott, while several of Donn T’s other songs have appeared in various forms of visual media, including the Showtime crime series Street Time, and in ads for the wireless audio product Sonos.

Her forthcoming single “Clear” ft Philly’s Chill Moody and produced by Daru Jones (Jack White, Talib Kweli) and Ray Angry (Christina Aguilera,D’Angelo) arrives Sept 2017.

Find Donn T online: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

BEHIND THE SONG’s website: https://www.behindthesongbook.com/

 

Guest Post: Never Too Many To Read

I grew up in a musical family, my mom and dad were singers. The dining room of our West Philly row home doubled as my parent’s rehearsal space. As a kid, I remember hearing acapella, intricate melodies and well-laid harmonies for up to 12 hours a day. My parents believed if vocal arrangements were pristine sans music, musical accompaniment could later act as the cherry on top. It was there that my love for lyrics and storytelling were born.

As a singer songwriter, I am always aware of how the balance of words and music affect a piece. If the music feels more ethereal are the words too direct and to the point? Should they be more stream of consciousness? If the music is soulful are the lyrics earthy and accessible enough? Basic truth, some words don’t work well when sung. Finally, when I write songs I collaborate a lot.

I am often asked about the differences between writing songs and writing literature. When I write stories, it is a solo effort. There is nothing to hide behind. Beautiful melodies are not there to enhance. The words must stand alone. Even so, I am discovering, writing literature heightens my senses. Something magical occurs when I write stories. I often hear sound of a different kind. I am hyper aware of the flow. I say words out loud to experience them. I tune into the cadence although, my readers may not ever speak the words I write aloud. I am listening for the rhythm, syllables, the beat. I want my reader to unconsciously tune into that and hear dynamics in the way they would a song. I guess in the end, the music is never really far away.

 

Twitter Book Giveaway:

RT/FW @anewlookonbooks & @Donn_T for a chance to win one copy of Behind the Song! US only. Starts 9/8 and ends 9/12! Will post link soon!

Guest Post by Chaithanya Sohan

Guest Post, Misc.

cover1-2.jpgAbout the Book

Naseer was nine years old when he escaped Taliban and fled Afghanistan. His story, “There are some people who are coming to take me away”, chronicles the resilience of a nine year old boy as he traveled from Afghanistan to America in his quest for the American dream. “I saw a ripe mango I’d like to pluck” showcases the love story of Chidibere and Ifeyinwa and their struggles with language, culture and being African in America. In the story “Kosovo, really…cool”, Lisian takes us through his journey to America and often being asked his identity in spite of being white.  In the story “I am exotic, mocha, P-diddy”, Parag describes his journey from a young sixth grader who hid his attraction to boys in conservative India to embracing his sexuality in America. America Deconstructed follows the journeys of sixteen immigrants as they maneuver cultural differences, accents and uncomfortable situations while feeling a sense of belonging in America.

Meet Chaithanya Sohan.

Chaithanya Sohan immigrated to America from India in 2001. She currently works as an Electrical Engineer in the Silicon Valley. Chaithanya graduated from San Jose State University with Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University.

Chaithanya Sohan has worked as a writer since 2002 when she started writing content for various websites. She free-lanced as a writer until 2013 when she decided to write her book America Deconstructed.  Some of her works are published in websites such as http://www.rethinkreality.com. Chaithanya enjoys traveling and runs her own blogs http://www.nomadicsue.wordpress.com & http://www.wordspeare.wordpress.com.

Meet Shaima Adin.

Shaima Adin came to the United States as a refugee in May 2000 at the age of 16 with her mother and sisters. She is originally from Afghanistan but has lived several years of her life in Pakistan as a refugee as well.  Currently, she works in an engineering management position at a Safety and Quality testing laboratory in Union City, CA.

In light of recent times and all the debate about immigrants and refugees around the world, Shaima joined forces with Chaithanya to put forth the stories of immigrants from different backgrounds that have called America home. Her purpose in doing so is to paint a different picture of immigrants and refugees by displaying their side of the stories and the struggles of starting from nothing.

Guest Post – Home to an Immigrant

I have been an immigrant for more than half my life. I am good at being an immigrant more than a citizen of a place. I don’t remember what it feels like to blend into the crowd. “Where are you from?” is something I get asked all the time. People rarely pencil me down as Indian because of my British accent and European facial features as they call it. Yet, I am as Indian as the person with the Indian accent. What does it mean to be an immigrant? Had someone asked me this question before stamping my passport when I first entered America, I would have failed miserably. Today, after sixteen years as an immigrant, I know what that means. Moving to America as a teenager has helped me develop a sense of self that being born and raised in India did not. Even as I live among family and peers who call themselves Indian- American, I define myself as Indian. In spite of being eligible for US citizenship, I have retained my Indian passport as a sign of my belonging to the place I was born in. I fear becoming an US citizenship would strip me of the place I continue to call home and the place where the dead body of my dad rests. Which is home is a question I have always asked myself? Is it the country where I was born, the country that holds the ashes of the man whose identity defines me or the country that I work and live in?

The journey to becoming an immigrant began months before I embarked on my flight ride from India to America. In spite of speaking good English, I was forced to learn the American pronunciation of words before my TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. I sat in my room with headphones on trying to pronounce photography in American English. After two exams (TOEFL and SAT), and one real test (immigration interview), I thought the words;  “Welcome to the United States of America” was the finale to the long journey. I thought the hardest part of my American journey was over.  A day into my arrival, I was walking the streets of Pleasanton when a stranger asked me “How are you?” I stopped my walk trying to answer the question as he walked right past me. I was absolutely confused. Why did he ask me how I was and did not wait for my response? I did not know then that How are you was almost like a Hello. As a tomboy, American fashion proved challenging. It took two years for my baggy jeans to get tighter and my t-shirts to morph into fashionable tops. Moments like this inspired the birth of America Deconstructed, a short story collection about immigrants in America.

I have had several moments when I have hoped for an immigrant manual to ease the stress of the situation. The initial years when I was assimilating with the American culture were challenging and lonely. America Deconstructed was born in those moments when my immigrant friends and I shared our experiences in America. Sixteen immigrants have shared their journey in this book as they have recounted their humorous and embarrassing situation, their trials and tribulations. There is everything from love, war, romance, loss, marriage and kids. Please support us by pre-ordering our book by clicking the link below: https://publishizer.com/america-deconstructed/

 

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 The crowdfunding campaign will go live on March 13th, 2017.