This is a collection I wrote during cycles of happiness, gratitude, rage, anxiety, and depression. This is meant to spread awareness as each high and low points yielded an observation and a note. There is sunshine and darkness.
There is PMDD and then there is me.
Release date: April 26
Manifesting that I will have a book published by one of "the big 5." It will honor my voice as a mom, an advocate and it will serve to educate, to spread awareness and all about pinoy pride and power. One day.
Until that day comes...I am here I am crafting, writing, and creating my space out here.
For any one curious about the self publishing process.
First, there's the "the end" and then a celebration that you freakin' finished a book!! Go YOU!!
Second, you can do a few things: query and send it out to agents or submit to any and all chapbook contests/submission calls, etc. Be forewarned. I had a list of small presses that are my "dream" journals. They publish maybe 2 - 3 chapbooks a year and their submission fees can vary between $15 - $25. This can all add up. The "cheapest" contest I entered, my fee was waived because I am a POC (person of color). If you are in the marginalized community and cannot afford the reading fees (a fee to have your manuscript read), make sure you look for contests that are able to wave fees. I used this one time and donated that fee to another press. Other presses don't ask for reading fees either, they simply ask you to donate or buy from their catalog.
Moving one, I gave myself a year before turning to self publishing.
There are pros and cons of self publishing. I'm not going to create a list for you here (not right now). ONE of the benefits, for me at least, is that I can control every aspect of where this book baby will go. At the end of every "the end," I want you (the audience) to be aware. I am all about advocacy - for mamas and babies. Maternal mental health, PMDD/PME, preeclampsia; these are passions of mine and I want to make sure that the person who is reading my story can go, "wow, it's not just me." I don't ever want someone to feel like they're alone in their darkest thoughts and isolating hour.
Once you've settled on this path, you need people to help you. I chose a different editor for this one. I have had 2 other poetry editors in the past. Both have been amazing and I have learned so much from either one of them. I would choose either one of them again, in a heartbeat.
I picked this particular one mostly because she is familiar with and have written about chronic illness and anxiety.
PMDD is not a pretty topic. It is heavy. It is messy. It is a different kind of hard.
And while I'm waiting for the final edits and run through. I am staring at these two I've created below. I use Canva - free and easy to use.
Option 1: to me, sums up what this collection is about. Pieces of me are still in the shadows. Bold font. Simplicity. This isn't a happy topic.
Option 2: is the hope I want you (the reader) to feel after all the heavy. In the darkness, are lights that can scream or whisper safe passage. You are not alone in this journey.
So I'd love to ask the Universe - or whoever you are - a vote on your favorite.
This is a collection I wrote during cycles of happiness, gratitude, rage, anxiety, and depression.This is meant to spread awareness as each high and low points yielded an observation and a note. There is sunshine and darkness. There is PMDD and then there is me.
Just added to Goodreads:
1.) Submitted a poem called, "the voice," to Please See Me (rejected)
2.) Submitted pmdd & me chapbook to Porkbelly Press (rejected)
3.) Submitted pmdd & me chapbook to Perhappened Press (rejected)
4.) Submitted a poem called, "the cry of the struggle," to Dropout Publishing (rejected)
5.) Submitted a poem called, "the cry of the struggle," to Second Chance Lit (rejected)
6.) Submitted a poem, "my anxious self,"(accepted) & prose, "dear anxious believer,"(Accepted) to Pearshaped Press(ANTHOLOGY)
7.) Submitted pmdd & me chapbook to Selcouth Station (rejected).
8.) Submitted pmdd & me chapbook to the Poetry Question chapbook contest (rejected)
9.) Submitted 2 poems, "cry of the struggle," and "this is how I'm surviving," to Revue Post (rejected)
10.) Submitted a poem called, "me too," to Brave Voices Magazine (rejected)
11.) Submitted a poem called, "the jungle that birthed me," to Rigorous (accepted)
12.) Submitted 3 poems, "thou shalt remain nameless," "growing up girl," and "the state of things" to Antiherioine chic (rejected)
13.) Submitted 3 poems, shower, cry, repeat," "lessons in motherhood," and "the things we carry" to Fahmidan Journal (rejected)
14.) Submitted a poem called, "this is how I'm surviving," to Marías at Sampaguitas APRIL Contest (WON 3rd place)!
15.) Submitted a poem called, "lessons in motherhood," to Literary Mama on 5/6/21 (rejected).
16.) Submitted a personal essay called, "raising babies in the hyphen," to The Nasiona for their True Stories en Vivo call on 5/12 (awaiting).
17.) Submitted a poem called, "early start," to querencia magazine on 5/12 (Accepted for July 2nd issue).
18.) Submitted a poem called, "here's what I know," to The Lannang Archives on 5/27 (Accepted for current issue).
19.) Submitted 2 poems, fog and mother, may I to Celestal Review on 6/13 (awaiting).
20.) Submitted pmdd & me chapbook to SHANTI ARTS PUBLISHING on 6/13 (awaiting).
21. Submitted 'its pronounced lie-lah' chapbook to Sledgehammer Lit on 7/2 (rejected).
22. Submitted poem, 'this too shall pass,' to Poetry Marathon Anthology on 7/7 (Accepted for Anthology)
23. Submitted 'explaining anxiety to a 9 year old' to FEEEL Magazine on 7/30 (Accepted)
24. Submitted "one day," to Agape Review on 8/31 (Accepted).
25. Submitted "I remember" to Cardigan Press Anthology on 10/12 (neither an acceptance or rejection. The press decided not to move ahead with their Anthology).
26. Submitted "me too" to Eclipse Lit on 10/30 (awaiting).
27. Submitted "I remember" to Feral Poetry on 10/30 (rejected).
28. Submitted excerpt of "love, lumpia and words," to First Matter Press on 10/30 (rejected).
29. Submitted manuscript, love, lumpia & words," to Perugia Press Prize on 11/13 (rejected).
30. Submitted manuscript, "love, lumpia & words," to Finishing Line Press on 11/28 (rejected).
Summer Book Lover's Day is August 9 and we are Celebrating ALL WEEK with a HUGE giveaway!
I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 35 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to hold you over until Christmas!
Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit's 2nd Annual Summer Book Lover's Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through August 15.
Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/10ec7/2021-summer-book-lover-s-day
Moving into the great unknown of Featherlight, Idaho, was a huge change for Elizabeth Matthews. But while Asheville, North Carolina was comfortingly familiar, it had left her with a broken heart and a determination to never trust a man again.
Hard working Samuel Bryson is honor bound to provide for his widowed mother and siblings. Determined to live up to his own expectations of being just like his father, he will let nothing get in his way. And that includes marriage.
Serene and cozy Featherlight has taken a turn into something much darker. Newly hired school teacher Elizabeth and Samuel find themselves desperately searching for answers to the suspicious criminal activity around them. They find themselves thrown into facing their worst fears... and each other. In the midst of many unknowns, will they find the courage to do what God is calling them to?
About the Author
Hannah Wright is the author of Hope In The Dark and Keeping Faith. She desires to write pure fiction that glorifies God. She is a graduate of Houston Baptist University, and in her free time, she loves reading, spending time with her family and friends, and listening to music and podcasts. To stay in touch with her, you can visit her blog at https://peaceinthechaos.org or follow her on instagram @_hannahsbooknook_
Review: The The More The Merrier: A Clean and Wholesome Winter Romance (Seasons of Love Book 1) by Liwen Y. Ho
Fed up with a string of bad blind dates, health blogger Alyssa Wu wants to drown her sorrows in ice cream. But there’s one more evening she must endure—a fake date with her best friend Barry Chang. They must convince her family they're in love, an act which may (or may not) be easy to pull off, thanks to the magic of some mistletoe.
Amazon link here
~ My Review ~
Short and sweet. I don't know about you, but I've been in a reading funk lately. I'll pick up a book, get halfway through it and put it down. Last year, most of my books in my TBR were "DNR" (did not finish). This year, knowing what to expect and making sure we take care of our mental and emotional health by leaving our house and our bubble safely, I went back to my first love: romance novels.
Now, I had promised to read a parenting book and review it, so I did that first....while looking through my kindle for the books that I didn't have the heart and mental capacity to read over last year.
Liwen Y. Ho has written so many sweet and clean romance books and I knew I wouldn't be disappointed when I chose this book, "The More the Merrier," as my springboard, if you will, into a deeper dive of reading again. I wanted to be able to fall in love with books and I knew romance - with its' likeable and flawed characters, their 'meet cute' and 'happily ever after's would give me the comfort I so desired.
This was such a short and quick read. We meet Alyssa and her "dilemma." Classic fake boyfriend/next door neighbors/friends turned lovers. I'm pretty sure I smiled through the entire exchange between Barry, the next door neighbor who cleans up nice, and Alyssa, our by-the-book, serious heroine who needed a little fun and merry in her life. Bonus: this reminded me of a Hallmark movie and one where Asians were the lead and knowing that certain professions (doctors, engineers, lawyers) are accepted in an Asian community and some are not. For a blogger and writer like Alyssa, I completely related to her, right down to the ice cream choices and stress eating sweets.
SIDENOTE: Thank you to Liwen for getting me excited about writing my Filipino romcom and knowing how much (or how little) to share my roots and culture. And then as I struggle to describe my characters, I had to reread Alyssa and Barry. Liwen didn't do specific descriptions for them. She wrote Korean American and I pictured my Korean American friend. I knew the "looks" that Alyssa worried about getting from family and friends, having gone to so many Filipino or Asian parties where you have to introduce your person and hope to God that they pass the "they're good enough" test. I remember the struggle and having to justify my own career choices.
This was both refreshing to read but also made me realize that there aren't very many Asian romance books that I've come across or read. Or maybe I'm not trying hard enough to look. At any rate, I've got another book from Liwen that I can't wait to dive into!
About the Author
Liwen Y. Ho is an award-winning writer with a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary. She loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, David, and their two children. Sign up for Liwen's newsletter for news about her upcoming releases, book giveaways and more at: eepurl.com/bt2nEL
And feel free to contact her at email@example.com. She would love to hear from you!
Unveiled: A Poetry Memoir, is a collection of poetry organized into three sections: My Story, My Pain, and My Future. It was written for those that need to release their past, experience their pain, and look forward to their future. It was not written to instill pity or sorrow within you, but to spark the fire in your soul to take action and find the smallest shimmer of hope in your darkest days.
Amazon book link here:
~ My Review ~
A few poems into this story, I had to pause and take an inventory of my parenting. Ivy Cirillo's poetry memoir was haunting read. In so few words, and in poetry - known for lyrical, beauty and escapism - she depicted a tragic upbringing full of tears, trauma, abuse, alcoholism......and this is where my pause came in...neglectful parents.
I don't claim to be a perfect parent - far from it - and my heart cannot tolerate reading and seeing neglect from the child's point of view. I'm heartbroken for her. I want to wrap up this child and let her know she is loved, just as she is. And yes, grown-ups, especially moms, are flawed. But there was no excusing the pain that was inflicted, and the burden of the weight this child must have carried throughout her life.
Although she states that Unveiled "was not written to instill pity or sorrow," I felt sorrow for the length of a heartbeat but felt anger above all. Her mother should have protected her. But this isn't her mother's story. It's hers.
She wrote that she must have been born a writer because "in her darkest hours, she clung to her notebook." Reading through her the first part, "My Story" I'm glad she did just that. She wrote despite of the environment she grew up in....
So yes, don't feel pity or sorrow, but as she wrote hopefully through the third and last part "My Future," be inspired.
One of my faves, the poem
It's hard to find strength
in the pain
that you've endured,
but you have to,
for this I am sure.
I won't tell you
that it will be easy,
but I know for a fact
that it will be worth it.
~Thank you for putting your bravery into words. ~
Reviewer's note: I've never done a half rating but 5/5 is reserved for all my 'rereads.' While I could see a reread in the future.....with this particular book and theme, I would only want to reread the uplifting and encouraging parts. That's not to say I won't revisit the whole thing. Even her poems in the first part "My Story," I felt comforted.
About the Author
Ivy Cirillo is an author, mentor, and speaker. She’s a loving daughter and encouraging sister, and she’s built her brand as a blogger, social media marketer, photographer, and podcaster. She loves collecting antique typewriters, concert tickets, and passport stamps and she’ll never turn down a good barcade. She’ll challenge you to a game of darts and encourage you to pursue your dreams in between rounds. She’s forever wandering, but calls Florida home and she self-published her debut book, Unveiled: A Poetry Memoir, under The Orion Publishing House.
Find and connect with her here:
Peaceful parenting is hard enough for the average parent. Imagine trying to do it when you have the instincts of a tiger mother.
In Untigering, Iris Chen shares her journey of leaving behind authoritarian tiger parenting to embrace a respectful, relational way of raising children. As a Chinese American mom, she draws from her experiences of living in both North America and Asia and offers insights and practices to:
Heal from your childhood wounds
Change your beliefs about yourself and your children
Parent through connection instead of control
Redefine your understanding of success
Navigate and challenge cultural norms
Iris calls for a radical shift from parenting that is rooted in power to one that is grounded in partnership, but she does so with humor, humility, and empathy. This book is her invitation to you to begin your own journey of transformation as a parent.
Amazon book link here:
~ Review ~
I seldom read parenting books. When faced with a task such as looking in the mirror at my own parenting shortcomings, I tend to look the other way. Like most, Asians.
I was raised in an "authoritarian-parenting-style-meets-immigrant-parents-trying-to-navigate-western-culture" and thus, give their three girls room to grow up "just right." They were strict but not overbearing. My little sister and I were never spanked, but I saw first hand what happened when we strayed from this line my parents drew. But this isn't my older sister's story. Nor is it my parents.
This is mine and understanding the conflicts of my parenting style, my heritage and cultural worldview and how my childhood traumas shaped this illusion.
Before I picked up Iris Chen's book, I had taken steps to "change my stripes." I let my children choose activities they want to do, and if their heart isn't in it, I allow them to walk away. I've accepted and understood the fact that I will be mirrored and my images, hypocrisy, and white lies will be reflected back. Thus, I tried my hardest to speak truth and love to my kiddos and apologize when there are days I know I've fallen short - based on their scared faces. Iris' book gives me hope that I am steering this ship in the right direction. And speaking of ships, I appreciated and loved her analogy of "steel versus bamboo."
She writes, "As untigering parents, we're often afraid that if we give our kids an inch, they'll take a mile....We mean what we say and say what we mean. Rarely will we make an exception or change direction mid-course. We are solid and dependable: like steel. Unfortunately, the Titanic is also made of steel, and we all know what happened there."
I learned this growing up. There were days (and possibly years) my parents' hopes and wishes for us were ready for launch. Their daughters would be nurses, engineers or scientists. They didn't take into account that all three of us had hopes and wishes of our own. Over time, they learned to be flexible. But I can still see them shaping and trying to mold their granddaughters and grandsons. Perhaps, it is why I learned to do the exact opposite of their methods.
There are more than enough words of wisdoms and affirmations in Chen's book, sprinkled with stories of how and why she 'changed her stripes' and founded an untigering movement of peaceful parenting. Though there are parts that I fully understood and lived as child of immigrants and an immigrant herself raising first generation babies, the overall theme and commitment is universal: how to overcome the childhood chains that made us restrictive and defensive, and become flexible to our kids' needs and have a positive influence in their lives and those around us.
I recommend this book for those of us tipping on the line between what we know and saw growing up, and what we'd like to be as parents.
About the Author
Iris Chen is an author, unschooling mom, deconstructing tiger parent, and founder of the Untigering movement. As an advocate for peaceful parenting and educational freedom for children, her mission is to inspire generational and cultural transformation, especially among Asian communities. She spent 16 years living overseas in China (land of the tiger parent!), but now resides in her native California with her husband and two sons. You can read more about her adventures in parenting and unschooling at untigering.com.
Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama's assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora's head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish.
With Mama's help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles (perhaps Mama won't notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor). Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the potcarefully-- while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking.
Dorina Lazo Gilmore's text delightfully captures the warmth between mother and daughter as they share a piece of their Filipino heritage. With bright and charming illustrations by Kristi Valiant, Cora's family comes alive as Cora herself becomes the family's newest little chef.
Amazon book link here:
~ Reviews ~
I enjoyed this book as it brought so many memories - specifically, the smells of Filipino foods. And it was a pleasure to read with the kiddos (first gen 8 yr old and 4 yr old) and revisit those memories made in the kitchen.
What my kiddos think
I'm going to add this section because I'm not the only one reading these, right?! I'm reading this to them and its' for them. My kiddos are E who is 8 and a 3rd grader, and R who is 4.
E said this about the book:
She tried her best and tried hard. And she really did it. It was really nice and makes me feel like I want to cook pancit.
R said this about the book:
I was dreaming about pancit.
About the Author and Illustrator
Dorina chases God's glory as a mama, foodie, runner, and a weaver of words. Her essays have been published at (in)courage, Kindred Mom, For Every Mom, The MOPS blog and in more than 20 newspapers. She specializes in helping people discover God's glory through adversity and flourish in community. Her new book is Walk Run Soar, a devotional for runners and enthusiastic walkers that she wrote with her husband Shawn.
Dorina is passionate about raising up women from diverse backgrounds to thrive in their God-given callings. For more than 12 years, she has been leading Bible studies and developing leaders. Her gift is delivering authentic, Biblically-sound messages that engage audiences through story. She has published two Bible studies, Glory Chasers: Discovering God's Glory in Unexpected Places and Flourishing Together: Cultivating a Fruitful Life in Christ.
With an MFA in Children's Literature, Dorina has published three multicultural children's books and a collection of poetry. Her book, Cora Cooks Pancit, received the Asian American Librarian's Association Picture Book of the Year. Dorina also has experience teaching college students, speaking in elementary schools, and coaching youth.
Dorina is the granddaughter of Filipino-Hawaiian and Italian immigrants. Raised in Chicago, she was transplanted to Fresno, California in 1999. She considers herself a California girl now as she raises three daughters to love the cultural diversity, wonder-filled landscapes and unique food of the state. After her husband died from cancer in 2014, Dorina married a long-time friend, Shawn Young. When Dorina is not writing or spending time with family, she's out on the trails running marathons and chasing God's glory.
Connect with Dorina at www.DorinaGilmore.com, where you can sign up for her Glorygram letter. You can also find her as @DorinaGilmore on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Finding some jems
I've been homeschooling my 3rd grader for the past three and a half months now, and I've got to say that the books that I've picked up have been intentional. I want to find our own voices and faces reflected back to us as we read. The amount of books I've picked up from different backgrounds - the different abled bodies to Asian voices to African and Native American stories have been amazing to see. So much more representation than all the picture books I had growing up!!!
Going forward, I'm reviving this book blog portion of my site. I do miss book blogging and sharing the treasures we find with you.
Please note that these will most likely be stories for elementary aged or younger, but I do like a great YA or adult historical fiction, every so often. As I'm building up my library at home, I hope you start your collection too!
I use Goodread's rating scale
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was so amazing, it's on my reread pile!
Hi there! Here's a quick bio