A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the lovely Gayla Varna about being included in the Mar-Apr 2018 edition of We Art Friends, "Doorway to Art" edition.
So grateful to be included among such incredibly talented and prolific poets. To download your free copy, click here, otherwise, just click on the picture.
A few months ago I was interviewed by Jade Moore over on her site, Jade's Bookshelf. Thanks, Jade for the opportunity!
"And this month, we have another individual, Leila Tualla, whose faith, and mental health have been present on her writing journey. Her books feature romance, poetry and personal memoir, and have proved inspiring to her readers who have been through similar experiences. I’m very proud to welcome Leila to my blog, and hope anyone reading this can take inspiration from her story."
DESCRIBE THE MOMENT YOU TRULY FELT LIKE AN AUTHOR.I’m still working on this one. Ha! Imposter syndrome is the worst.
WHAT BOOK BY ANOTHER AUTHOR DO YOU WISH YOU’D WRITTEN?I don’t think I have any. Mostly because I tend to write from some experiences in my life and I don’t know if I could create an entire world that someone else had imagined. I believe each person has a story to tell and it’s not my place to write their story.
Read the rest here.
As an indie author, social media is huge. We're constantly making sure we're engaging, we're tweeting our books, our poems, and following back people....it's EXHAUSTING! I did a small thing and deleted all social media apps (except for Instagram) off of my phone. I am addicted to social media, and even if I'm not a constant poster, I'll scroll through my feed to make sure I didn't miss anything. Pre-kiddos, I'd say this wasn't such a big deal, but with children who constantly watch you, I needed to be more mindful of how I spent my time with them. I didn't want to be glued to my phone all day, and by that same token, didn't want them to grow up thinking that it's normal. We turn off our television and don't answer calls/text messages when we sit down to eat as a family. Sure, we can have some screen time, but family time takes priority.
My mental health is also a priority and seeing a feed full of political divisions made me more anxious, more grumpy and less "fun."
soooo what does this mean for April?
APRIL is PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) Awareness Month AND it's also National Poetry Month.
1.) I'm taking part in PMDD Awareness Month by (drum roll)...... writing a poem/day! There is a fun photo challenge that will be on Instagram. *FUN FACT: yours truly is a volunteer social media assistant for the Gia Allemand Foundation, which provides education, resource and support for those affected by PMDD. I'll be pulling double duty, and posting some fun photo challenges for you to do AND pairing my own twist by using the challenge as my poetry prompts. "Should" be fun. Care to join me? Follow on instagram.com/leilatualla
2.) I mentioned in my random rambling update that I am participating in a workshop called "Excavating Motherhood in/through Art," well I'd like to begin a series over on my very very neglected blog. As soon as I have enough material to cover, I'll start linking it to this site.
3.) I was saddened to hear that the Christian publicity compay I take part in as a reviewer is dissolving. I've got one more blog tour and review with them in April and once that's done, I'll start reviewing only poetry books (and books by Penny Reid just because). It's time consuming to read and review, as it takes time away from my own kiddos but
4.) I started an outline for my "Letters to Heaven Trilogy" and I'm going to start working on storyboarding the first book, "Finding your way Home." This will be a follow up/flash forward on Dylan and Lenora Evers story from "Letters to Lenora."
Whew! April is going to be such a busy month!
How are you doing with your writing, friend?
Sometime in January, I submitted a piece to be included in a motherhood poetry series. I got word a few weeks ago that my poem was selected! It went live this weekend and can't wait to get this baby in my hands.
So humbled and still can't believe I get to be a part of something great. Proceeds for this will benefit "Share The Dignity", an Australian based charity that provide the basic personal necessities to women and girls in need!
WOMb is a fresh and inspiring collection of poems celebrating Mothers from poets all around the globe. Over 120 poets from countries such as America, Canada, UK, Australia and India combine to lend their voices to explore the theme of Motherhood in all its glory, pain, joy, sorrow and wonder. This is the second poetry collection published by the indie press By Me Poetry. Founded in Melbourne and launched on Instagram in October 2016, By Me Poetry continues to celebrate poetry and promote the unique and heart felt points of view of poets from across the world. The book features notable poets such as Caroline White, Muby Williams, N.R. Hart, Kathia Huitron, Perry Poetry, Soshinie A. Singh and many more emerging talents. The cover design artwork is by Australian Graphic Artist Never Forever and the interior illustrations are by KK Foster. This book is one to not only cherish but also to pass on to mothers, grandmothers, sons and daughters and makes the perfect gift this Mothers Day. All profits of this collection will be donated to "Share The Dignity", an Australian based charity that provide the basic personal necessities to women and girls in need. Enjoy!
This Sunday, I will be doing my second (and first for the year) poetry reading. I've already stress ate through 2 boxes of girl scout cookies and I'm done to one box of Caramel Delights. This.isn't.going.to.be.pretty.
On the one hand, I'm so excited to be speaking in front of talented writers and poets and just being in the same breathing space.
On the other hand, I'll be speaking in front of talented writers and poets and I'll be in the same breathing space as them. I can't wrap my head around it. Honored to be invited but I ate through 2 boxes of girl scout cookies by myself in less than 2 days.
I'll be reading Sketch me as a Woman during my time. FUN FACT: this was the very first poem I've written after years of not touching poetry. I submitted it to Echoes of the Blog, where it was published on April 2017. Link here.
For more on this event, check out the FB link here.
If you're in the Houston Area:
Located at 1030 Heights Blvd, EQ Heights
Some other updates:
I submitted a chapbook to a contest (eek) and it'll be interesting how that goes. I already have plans to publish it in the future. It began as a series of "I ams" on Instagram and has just taken a life on its own. I sent it to an editor at the beginning of February and received amazing feedback. And then without thinking about it, sent the 25 poems to a contest. I'm as surprised as you that I didn't document this stress eating event, but last month, my household was hit with another round of the flu, so I haven't had time to dwell on what I just did.
What about you, friend? I hope you are writing things! I signed up for a workshop called Excavating Motherhood in/through Art and I've been wildly inspired these past four weeks. This workshop has really made me reflect on my identity as a mom and a writer. I hope to do a post on my experience doing this workshop and share all that I've learned with you all soon! Find your writing tribe. If you can't find one, create one! This workshop has been online with some hands-on exercises and I've been able to block off an hour every Saturday to do a live call with these inspiring ladies, nay artists.
Keep dreaming. Keep pushing. Start your hustle and write.
I was invited to share my thoughts on identity and motherhood over at Fly on the Wall blog by Isabelle Kenyon. Here's what I shared,
"Motherhood, as isolating as it can be, is an ongoing process of forgiveness and grace. Forgive the messes, and give yourself the grace that what you are doing is what is best for you and your family. No matter what it looks like. No matter what box it fits in or doesn’t.
I’m learning to stop every so often and remind myself that this is not just my season, but theirs. In their childhood, in their innocence and what they’ll remember when they look back and reflect on. Our identities are fluid, and seasons of joy and grief cause shifts in who we are and what we believe we are. Our circumstances shape our identities in how we see our world, and how we respond to it. And isn’t that the most amazing thing to realize? We are not stagnant but a constant evolving thing. We are not the same today as yesterday." -
To read more on my "Identity is Fluid" post, visit the blog here.
We are go for launch! Over 200 poems were submitted and I am so humbled that my poem was one of the accepted pieces. It's live today, so click on the picture which will head you on over to Amazon.
A mother comes face to face with the woman who would have murdered her baby.
A child who’s been betrayed by everyone hurts the only man who’s ever shown her kindness.
A teen stands at the crossroads of his impulses and his convictions.
A reformed addict needs help from a total stranger to protect her child.
Love lies at the heart of the Christian’s journey, but in moments of crisis, love often seems the most difficult of the virtues. In this anthology, nine of the brightest voices in independent Christian fiction offer novelettes about individuals at the crossroads, and the opportunities they have to respond with Christian love in all its forms.
“By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
Whether it’s a grieving husband or a girl dead before her time, each soul finds itself face to face with a choice: follow Christ’s toughest commandment, or remain focused on oneself.
Join these nine authors on a journey into the most difficult facet of the Christian life, but the one by which Christ Himself promised we would be recognized.
Patricia Bell · Faith Blum · Bokerah Brumley · A-M Frisby · Dyanne Gordon Green · Jane Lebak · Leila Tualla · Robin Merrill · C.L. Wells
Download The Light Leads to Love
NOW FREE for ALL eReaders
For a limited time, you can also get
Where the Light May Lead (Reflections of Faith Book 1) and
The Light Leads to Hope and Peace (Reflections of Faith Book 2) for only 0.99 each.
So the other day, I was in a "must get rid of stuff" mood and cleaned out drawers and my kids' closets. I threw away 3 trashbags FULL of broken toys, shredded papers and random, random half eaten pieces of candies.
In this midst of this, I thought about what a memory hoarder I am. I found movie stubbs from 2015 and concert tickets and a few notes on nutritional goals, resolutions and micro poetry.
It was quite literally a load of memories that I had hoarded over the years that I decided was time to let go. I still (God willing) had plenty of time to have more experiences, more memories and whether we like it or not, memories are intangible. No matter how much I hold onto this movie ticket, I will never relive that same moment. Sure, a lot of happiness was associated with this particular movie (my daughter's first time at the movie theatre) but as the years go on and the words to this ticket fades, what will I have? Let's be real here. Nothing but just trash in my hand. But I'll still be able to remember what movie we went to - Big Hero 6 - and the events that happened.
Of course, I have things that I don't know if I'll ever part with, such as their hospital bracelets or what they both wore when they left the NICU. Our memories keep us warm when we need them the most and bring us to our knees when we remember feelings of inadequacy, of helplessness, of gratitude....
In keeping up with this theme, I have decided to completely stop blogging from my site over at tuallaleila.blogspot.com.
That blog site has taken me from post college, marriage, career, motherhood....I couldn't bear to hit delete. I think of it as more of an online diary and God knows I still treasure all my journals.
So the content is still there but I'm determined to do more blogging here.
Start from scratch.
Make more memories.
And this where "Life after the Storm" comes in. At my core, I am passionate about moms, preeclampsia and maternal mental health. I'd like to pursue something in those in the future but for now, I'll be switching and deleting things around here. And I hope its a more seamless transition. I'll be posting my poems here and blog about any of those three subjects. You can still find my faith based posts over on Daughters of the Deep, or if you're so inclined to follow my observations as a "Token Asian," I still contribute over at Echoes of the Struggle blog.
There are places for all my passions. I'm just sorry it took me cleaning up after my memories to realize that I need more organization in all areas of my life.
‘Please Hear What I’m Not Saying’ is a poetry anthology, the profits of which will go to UK charity, MIND. The book consists of 116 poets from around the world and details a whole range of mental health experiences.
The expected date of release is Thursday 8th, on Amazon.
I'm so grateful and humbled to be part of this anthology alongside some of the most promising and established poets. I talk to editor Isabelle Kenyon about the project.
‘Please Hear What I’m Not Saying’ Q and A
Question: How did this project begin?
Isabelle: I knew I wanted to work collaboratively with other poets and it was actually the theme of mental health for a collection, which came to me before the idea of donating the profits to charity MIND. This was because I knew how strongly people felt about the subject and that it is often through writing that the most difficult of feelings can be expressed. I think that is why the project received the sheer number of submissions that it did.
Question: How did you select the poems – was there a process?
Isabelle: In some cases of course personal taste came into my selection, but I tried to be as objective as I could and consider the collection as whole. I wanted the book to have as many different personal experiences and perspectives as I could find. Because of this, I have not been afraid to shy away from the ugly or the abstract, but I hope that the end of the book reflects the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for mental health and that the outcome of these last sections express positivity and hope.
Question: Why should people buy this book?
Isabelle: Easy – to support the fantastic work which MIND does and to support the fantastic poets involved. Rave about their work because I believe the poets involved are both talented and dedicated.
I drink too much coffee, read too many book, and in between raising miracle babies, I find time to write.
Leila Tualla's books on Goodreads
ratings: 14 (avg rating 4.00)
Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.36)
The Light Leads to Love
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.50)
We Are Not Alone: An Anthology for Mental Health Awareness
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)