Feature Guest On Ink & Quill: Author Alexis Rose

Today’s feature guest on Ink and Quill, is Alexis Rose from Untangled. An inspirational author/writer and poet, sharing herself openly with her readers. Please follow her links to read more about her moving journey of healing.

NAME: Alexis Rose

COUNTRY: United States

Please tell us a little about yourself:

I began my healing journey in 2009. Sparked by a family tragedy, I began to piece together, for the first time, a personal history of abuse and trauma. Supported by my spirituality and writing, as well as family and friends, I have profoundly grown and changed over the past seven years.

While learning to live with the effects of my trauma, and working with the deficits caused from post-traumatic stress disorder, I co-authored three inspirational books.

My newest book, Untangled, is my memoir and speaks to the courage, resilience and triumph over my unimaginable hardship. I continue my process of healing and becoming whole to this day, trusting the long and winding path of recovery. I am also an active blogger.

When did you first start writing?
I began writing in 2010. At first I used it just as part of my therapy, a journaling exercise. Then one day one of my friends asked me what it was like to have PTSD. What did it feel like? I looked the same, but she expressed she didn’t understand what it felt like on the inside. I took that question very seriously, went home and wrote my first poem about what it feels like to have PTSD.

I had such an amazing reaction, that I began to share it with others. I was asked to collaborate on two books with artists. One was a photographer, the other a painter. I wrote poetry to accompany their art work. We went to a printer, made them into little books and they began selling. Not only selling, but people were purchasing 8 at a time to give as gifts.

Also, at that time I collaborated with a friend on how to journal using specific writing prompts. I had no idea I had a gift to write or the ability to touch people with my words. I was shocked and still to this day, I feel extremely humbled.

A friend took me aside one day and said,

“Out of the darkness, came this gift of light.”

 

What does writing mean to you? Why do you write?

I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. At first, I strictly used it as just one of my healing tools. I would write and send what I wrote off to my therapist. I started to notice that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud. At first, I thought it provided distance from having to use my voice, but then I found it actually gave me a voice. When I thought I couldn’t speak a truth, I found if I read it out loud to my therapist, that I WAS speaking the truth. My truth!

“Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling.”

 

Do you write poetry, short stories and/or novels?
I write poetry and non-fiction. My latest work is my memoir. I have another book bubbling up inside of me. I’m just not quite sure of the subject matter. I love the collaboration process, so maybe I’ll find someone to do another book of poems coupled with art work.

As She Dances The Steps Of Innocence

 

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?
I am compelled to write. Even if I think I have nothing to say, I will sit at my laptop and free write. I’m motivated and inspired by the art of writing and using my ability to put down on paper what is in my mind. I realize that as some feel the need to paint, draw, sculpt, I have a need to write.

What are your current projects?
My memoir was published six months ago, so I am busy marketing that. I love to speak to groups, no matter the size about what it’s like to live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’m determined to make this an open conversation. It’s an invisible illness that effects so many people and their families and its very misunderstood. I also speak to groups about using writing as a healing tool. I’m just so energized by all of this. I could talk about it and write about it all day. Definitely gives me a purpose.

Writers/poets who inspire and influence your own writing?
I am very inspired by Rumi. I love poets, they have a beautiful way of expression.
I read a lot of books on mindfulness. I love historical fiction. I don’t think I have one author who really influences me.
I’m a person who will sit down with a book and escape into their world. I simply love good books.
I think the people who have influenced my writing have been some very talented writing teachers I’ve had over the past few years. I have gone to workshops and taken some on-line classes to learn the craft of putting a book together. Those lessons have been invaluable to me.
Also, I have found I have been very inspired by the bloggers I’ve found through my WordPress experience. I’m fairly new to the blogging world. In fact, I never even read a blog post anywhere, until I wrote my first one in October. What a gem of a writing community I found.

Have you any published works, or do you plan on publishing in the future?
My book Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage and Triumph by Alexis Rose is available on Amazon in both book and Kindle forms.

What process did you go through to get your book published?
When I decided to publish Untangled I was terrified. The other books I collaborated on were available through Amazon, we had them published and sold them ourselves. I knew that I absolutely wanted Untangled to be out in the world. I had done a lot of research on going with a publishing company vs self-publishing. For my goals and purposes I knew that self-publishing was the right decision.
I used create-space as my self-publishing platform. I was nervous about asking people to be my beta readers and then going through the painful editing process. But I tried to keep my mind open, as long as the people working with me understood that it was imperative that my book was told using “my voice.” There were some arguments with my editor a few times and a lot of compromising, but I understood the bigger goal, and had to learn to check my ego at the door.

“I felt compelled to publish my book. I knew that this was my truth, and that by letting my story go out in the world for others to read, no one could ever take that truth away from me again.”

I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to share what it looks like to live through unimaginable circumstances for 20 plus years, with continued threats to stay silent and still be determined to be live not just survive.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?
I find I write with feeling. I try to go to the place of, this is how it feels when something happens. Good, bad or neutral. I can weave a story and use visuals but I like to bring people to a place of, relating to the tightness in your chest, or the wave of emotion we feel in our stomach when we see something beautiful. I think the biggest feedback I have gotten from all readers, is even though they haven’t been through trauma they have felt those things too. In short, I try to write in the style of the human experience.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you want to write, then write. Just do it. Don’t worry about if anyone will ever read what you write. Just write. That is the first step that all writers must take. Stay true to your own voice.

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it?

This is my latest piece. I was feeling the pain of the truth of my life, and the hope that I know it will get better.

The Hero Of Your Own Story

you-are-the-hero

Image borrowed from Google Images

My body is streaked with sweat and dirt from my desperate search to find safe shelter.

I’m barefoot, in a grimy torn t-shirt and shorts; my hands and feet caked with dirt.

My hair is filthy and matted. My mouth is dry; I can smell and taste the gritty dust that hangs in the air.

I sit down on a curb at the side of the road, and I know it’s over.

I’m unbelievably weary, all my energy spent in the act of sitting down.

I’m devastated…emotionally, mentally, and physically, and the worst of my wounds are invisible.

My eyes fill up, but no tears fall. I can only sit amid the rubble, trying to trust the safety of the gray, silent sky.

But I made it up the many, unforgiving mountain climbs.

I’m on the other side looking at the carnage, no way to fully wrap my mind over my truth yet, but I know

that I’m resilient, I’m courageous, I fought through.

And the words of Joseph Campbell resonate within me. I’m the hero of my story.

 

 

 

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Guest Poet On Ink & Quill: Laura. A. Lord

laura a

It is with great pleasure, I introduce you to Ink and Quill’s feature guest, Laura. A. Lord. Laura is a very talented poet and I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about her. Her poetry is incredible, edgy and original. Please, follow the link to check out more of her wonderful writing.

NAME: Laura A. Lord
COUNTRY: United States
AGE: 30

Please tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 30 years old and live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with my husband and three children. I have been writing since I was a teenager, but didn’t start publishing my work until my mid-twenties. I have published six collections of poetry and vignettes and one children’s book.

‘Poetry is by far my favorite form to write and what I spend most of my time on.’

 

In fact, my newest collection set to be released this summer, I Am, in entirely poetry. I’m also an editor for Birth Without Fear and The Reverie Journal (the latter of which is a poetry magazine). You can find out more about my work on my blog,  Laura A Lord

When did you first start writing?
I started writing poetry as a teenager…Really bad, emo poetry. In fact, I have a huge binder full of the poems I wrote back then. I keep it effectively hidden in the hopes that no one will ever be subjected to the horrors inside there.

What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry is memories’ music. I am rarely ever able to write about something that is currently happening in my life, but after some time has gone by I am able to reflect on those memories.

‘I think that is what is most important to me about poetry – the ability to be able to freeze those feelings, emotions, and images in something like a poem.’

 

What might inspire you to write a poem? How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?
I tend to choose a theme. I think of a specific time in my life or emotion and try to work from that. I also enjoy wordle prompts. I have had great success with those and it is always fun to be challenged to use words you might not have ever chosen yourself.

Which writers/poets inspire and influence your own writing?
Sylvia Plath and Raymond Carver are two of my absolute favorites. I could, and have, read and reread their works again and again for inspiration.

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?
Certainly. I used to think that poetry had to rhyme and that it needed a dark undertone. I am thankful to keep those hidden in the binder and to have learned to evolve my writing. I rarely rhyme these days, but I think the dark undertone lingers.

Tell us about your writing process: Pen and paper, computer, notes?
I have terrible carpal tunnel, so pen and paper is almost always out for me. I do keep a notebook in my bag and in my car, just in case, but I tend to use the notebook on my phone to jot down ideas. I write everything exclusively on my desktop, though.

Please share your favourite piece/s with us and a brief description of the inspiration behind it:
These three poems are from my upcoming book, I Am. The collection focuses on a woman’s view of herself at different points in her life. “Not for Keeps,” for instance, revolves around how I saw myself after learning of my (now ex) boyfriend’s infidelity, while “Brood Mare” stems from the drastic changes I saw in my body after the birth of my last son. “Skeleton Dance” formed a sort-of promise for me, in my effort to be as honest as possible throughout the book, and how it felt to open up so much about my own self-image.

laura

Not for Keeps

I’ve been nursing this blow up
like you’ve nursed that watery beer.
I wanted it big
and loud
and bright –
an explosion of color
in the harsh tones of a Las Vegas wedding.

I wanted my pain to hurt your eyes,
make you blink back a few tears.
I look better a bit hazy.
My angry face is heavily lined –
a child’s drawing,
all thick crayon swipes
and blurred edges.

I wanted my rage to be palpable –
a pulpy glob of orange juice in your mouth
after brushing your teeth.
I wanted you to roll me around on your tongue for a moment.
I wanted you to spit me out.

I’m no good for the long haul.
I’m not for keeps.

I break up like a wave crash,
a grenade with extra shrapnel on the side.
I can make a soap opera look like reality TV.

So come here, baby.
Let me lurk there at the back of your throat,
a taste you can’t get rid of.
I’m the kind of memory that gets closed up in some shoe box
under the bed.
I want to dine on the dust mites there and
listen to all the moments you whisper into her hair.
I want my claws so deep in your back
you still feel them when you’re fucking her.
I want my name engraved in your throat,
your voice box to massage every syllable as it slides
between your gritted teeth,
riding the wake your hips have made.
I want her to hate the plague marks I’ve left behind in you.

I’m such a needy little thing.

Brood Mare

I am a brood mare
with empty feed sack tits.
I’ve lost all sensitivity and
I’m emotionally bloated.

I’m an angry red slash –
The Joker’s mouth,
right above lips that have
stretched open so wide to speak
that they have split themselves sideways.
I’ve been stitched up,
stitched tight, and
I’m still loose.

I’m a pair of crow’s eyes at the corner
of a red-faced, wailing baby’s eyes.

I am lanolin-caked nipples –
I’m just trying to make the pain bearable.

I’m, “My God, I want you,” and
“Don’t touch me. I’m fat.”

I’m a hormonal, demolition derby car,
with no roll cage.
There’s no height requirement for this ride.
I’ve got an ass for days and nights,
sunsets and rises, and
rises,
like high rise to tuck in,
hold back,
control top.
I’m a peep-toe shoe
with thigh high stockings,
in a terry-cloth bathrobe.

I’m fuck-me-in-the-dark beautiful and
a saunter while I walk through the produce aisle.

I have nursed this image
until the well ran dry and
the keloids rose like mountain ranges
through a bush so neglected
it’s become a fanatic feminist icon,
but you’re still banging my crown against the headboard.
So I’m either that kind of desirable
or I’ve got a concussion.

Either way, I was never meant to be a princess.
I was meant to be a brood mare
with empty feed sack tits.

Skeleton Dance

I am ready to spill my skeletons,
open the door to the proverbial closet
and watch them perform an irreverent
skitter-dance across our bedroom carpet.
They will two-step in the moonlight
shining in jagged strips through the
wire screen against our window pane.
They will sing a false swan song
with lipless mouths and bones that
rattle as change in your pockets.
They will twist up on one another,
like a bow around a present,
and I’m giving you this gift,
because it is no longer possible
to keep them in my head.
I am dragging them out from under
the piles of old neglected things
that hinder our ability to speak freely
and humiliate what is left of our love.
I am giving you faceless truths
and praying that the melody of our past
is enough to string us back together.

 

Would you like a free copy of Laura’s book, Rumble Strip?

Sign up to her mailing list here

 

 

Guest Writer On Ink & Quill: Amanda Eifert

Amanda

 

 

Today’s feature guest is the talented Amanda Eifert from Mandi Belle. Amanda is a writer of fiction and poetry. Currently working towards publishing her first novel. Please head over to Amanda’s site to read more about her writers journey!

 

Poem: Nonet – Be Brave

By Amanda Eifert

Amaze me, be Brave, fight for you and I,

It’s unacceptable for you,

To say, ” I’m not ready yet.”

What length of time required,

Will cause you to move and,

Man up, be Brave,

Shake the past —

away,

Live.

——

Sizzling skin, fascination that thrills me,

Providing us both with hours which,

Entertain, demonstrate,

Affection and comfort,

Between us lies more,

If only you tried,

To be Brave,

Try, be–

Brave.

 

 

Name: Amanda Eifert
Country: Canada
Age: 30-years-old

Please tell us a little about yourself:

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and have lived here all my life. I have a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Concordia University of Edmonton. At the age of 23-years-old I was working as an Administrative Assistant for a Commercial Development company when I became ill. Literally, it has taken me a journey of eight-years to come to a point where I can be a bit more independent and take part in more activities in life. I have a mood disorder (depression) and because of that severe fatigue. I am unable to work a traditional job.

I enjoy spending a lot of time writing, reading books, taking classes, blogging, dogs, walking, researching beauty and fashion, watching the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL, and watching the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL. I also like to spend time with my wonderful friends and family. I can be contacted @mandibelle16 on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.

When did you first start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was young. As a girl of ten-years-old I would make up stories and write them in a duo-tang. I wrote prose poetry for a long time as a type of a journal. And I journaled in the traditional sense, in university because I had an English professor tell me in class it would beneficial for our writing if we (her students) wrote everyday. It actually worked.

When I first became ill, I couldn’t read well and writing was even harder so I had to practice those skills and relearn them. Reading came back pretty fast but writing at the level I did in university was a challenge. It is the reason I started my blog http://www.mandibelle16.wordpress.com. I wanted to improve my writing skills and have a place I could write about some of my health issues and other things going on in my life.

What does writing mean to you? Why Do You write?

‘Writing has always been like breathing for me.’

 

Often, I have so many ideas and topics I want to write about but there is only a set amount of hours in the day, and only so much time I have that I can concentrate on writing. I love writing. It is how I express myself most honestly and creatively. Sometimes it is easier for me to “talk” or say what I need to say through writing as opposed to talking out loud.

I write because I have this gigantic need in me to write. Also, I know I still need to improve my writing and keep practicing writing to grow in writing as a career. Now that I have been blogging a few years my writing has improved. My grammar is better (although never perfect) and I have taken creative writing and editing courses through different universities online.

I have also taken many WordPress courses on writing, poetry, blogging, and photography. These courses have helped to grow my writing immensely and to realize that networking in writing is an extremely important aspect of being a writer, as well as having a Social Media presence. I have met so many wonderful bloggers through WordPress courses and various prompts provided by other writers such as Flash Fiction challenges.

Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?

I read a lot and try to stay up on current events, which often inspires me. I would say I’m inwardly motivated and inspired to write.

‘Self-reflection on myself, my experiences in the past and present, happenings in the lives of those close to me, and looking at humanity as a bigger picture of a whole influences my writing.’

 

I also am motivated by poets and writers of the past whom I learned about in University — Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Milton, John Donne, William Wordsworth to name only a few. The prompts for different challenges such as pictures or a word for Flash fiction are inspiring too. As well, I adore fairytales and the meaning behind the true fairytales and folklore. Religion also to some degree is reflected in my writing.

What are your current projects?

I have three goals right now in writing. My first, is to finish a novel I have been writing called ‘How Was Last Night For You?’ It is a romance and supernatural genre book.

To give you a short summary: Nina Gudroe goes to the Martinie Bar under her condo one night and meets the mysterious John Eric. Three unusual and horrible things happen that night. Nina meets John a couple of days later and finds out he was cursed by an ex-girlfriend who was a sea witch to have terrible things happen around him all the time. The relationship between John and Nina escalates quickly and John is able to protect Nina because she is the first woman he has cared about since his ex who cursed him (Tia/Talise.)

Later, Talise decides she wants John back, that he has suffered enough and she will forgive him. This becomes a problem because John is falling hard for Nina. The only way for John to break his curse is for him to love a woman and sacrifice himself for her. Talise will attempt to ensure John does not break his curse and Nina does not remain alive.

The second project I am working on and the third are tied together. I am attempting to get into a Master’s Program at the University of British Columbia in Creative Writing. I need to work on a portfolio for that in two or three areas of creative writing. At the same time, I am trying to get my name out there as a writer and have some of my work published in literary magazines and pretty much anywhere I can find to publish it.

Have you published works, or do you plan on publishing works in the future?

(Mentioned above) I did not say, however, I have been guest publishing on a few other blogs as of late. I also wrote for a young women’s magazine for a year on a variety of topics about three-years-ago. The magazine has since changed sites so my work is no longer available online but I do have copies. I did a couple hundred articles so there were quite a few on topics related to things woman in their late teens or early twenties would enjoy.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I’m still working on completing the first draft and then I will go through some of the constructive criticism other writers have given me on the various chapters and do a second draft. Then, I would like to look into hiring an editor to help me with editing and how things are arranged in the book.

I have never written a book before. This is my first go at it, so I’m hoping to find a great editor who will look at the book overall and then a copy editor. I’m learning as I go, so I’m not quite sure where I will go from there. I know you can self-publish on Amazon, but maybe there are other ways to look at publishing too. I would love to see my book out in actual hardcover or paperback. But right now I need to finish the last quarter of the book’s first draft before I can even think of what is too far ahead.

Tell us about your writing process:

My writing process is something of a developing thing itself for creative writing. If it is a short piece or Flash Fiction I start writing and write until I finish. I begin cutting and editing then. I have learnt to leave only the sentences that matter remain for short fiction. Every sentence has to mean something.

For longer fiction, my book specifically, I learned how to plan the book out from another blogger; The Writing Chimp.  I was stuck for almost a year and a half because I didn’t know how to plan a novel. I was inspired when I read her posts and started writing out all of the characters in my book one at a time. I wrote what they looked like, what the did, what events occurred to them, their past and aspirations.

My main characters were more detailed then my minor characters of course but this simple step gave me material to work with. Then I started writing what happened at the end of the of the book ( in the fourth quarter) with material from my character analysis, and I had already written up my first quarter of the book and my inciting incident. Then, from there I organized the remaining events that I wrote about having happened to my main characters for the second quarter of the book and the third quarter, keeping in mind half-way through the book the main character stops “reacting” and starts “acting” – Nina/John start dealing with their problems the curse and Talise.

Then, I started dividing what happened in each of these quarters into chapters. This has given me an excellent framework to write with. I never realized how much planning is needed for a book. Often, I find myself adding new aspects in and scrapping old aspects. Sometimes what I wanted in each chapter, actually takes me two or three chapters to explain. Sometimes, it only takes a paragraph. I’m learning. Every blog post I can find about writing goes into a folder for reference.

Do you have a specific writing style/genre?

I like to write about people and their relationships. I like to read books that have a love interest so at times I like to write about that. A fellow blogger named Andy told me I needed to make something happen when I write.

He used the example of Lord of The Rings. Frodo has an evil powerful ring and  this isn’t exciting. But Frodo taking the evil ring on a quest to destroy it is exciting. So, it is great to have a happy story but I have learnt that stories need to have action.

Hence, I have learned to like and write thriller stories too with some romance included at times. Scary stories can be fun to write too.

Poetry for me is more personal, even though I currently am exploring different forms of poetry, the topics of poetry tend to be more about what is going on in my life. I also write short non-fiction stories about my personal life as well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

‘You have to start somewhere; if you want to go write, write! Whether that is blogging or journaling , start writing and write everyday.’

 

I think blogging is a fantastic way to go because it exposes you to other writers and their critiques. It is a good idea to get to know other bloggers and writers through writing prompts and courses and to make a point of commenting on people’s work. This opens up doors for you as well by developing a bigger reader base for your blog. The people who follow your blog now might not like a certain piece, but other bloggers out their might enjoy it immensely. It is also essential to get your name out there on Social Media. Twitter is extremely great for this and a Facebook page is worth it once you start to gain followers. Sharing your work on Social Media sites is critical.

 

From the first draft of the book I’m writing:

Chapter 17: Family Dinner and Defeating Talise

Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart