Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the high desert of Arizona, where she writes, gardens, and travels with her husband.
Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It has received multiple awards and is an Amazon Best Seller. The Choice, the unexpected heroes is the sequel to The Contract. It is also a thriller, involving the attempt of an unfriendly nation to take over the world. The third book in the series, The Culmination, a new beginning is an action-packed military thriller that spans the globe and involves multiple Heads of State and the threat of World War III. Only love can change the fate of humanity.
When Gwen is not writing, she’s often in the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona, where she finds inspiration.
Yay! It’s almost here—RELEASE DAY! Tonight “Deep in the Forest Where the Poetry Blooms” will make its way into your Kindle if you preordered or be available for those who have Kindle umlimited. Plus, the print copy is ready to go. I am planning on adding a hardback soon. The new video is at the end of this post and some information about winning a gift card.
Deep in the Forest Where the Poetry Blooms is poetry that spans over a few years after my other book Just Her Poetry was published in 2019. This current collection encompasses many different types of poetry which I put into seasons, magic, paradise, my emotions, and the back of the Harley. Plus, there’s poetry stories told through haibun style. I have become fond of telling stories in limited words like In the Tree’s Shadows. I continued those shorter stories in this book, but with a poetic twist.
Putting this poetry collection together was overwhelming at first with three hundred pages of poetry to pour through. What to use and how to arrange it was a struggle until I made it more like the first book. After making some deep cuts, I enlisted Colleen Chesebro from Unicorn Cat Publishing to edit. I knew she’d be honest, and she was. She nudged me out of auto-pilot to fly with my words again. That was all I needed to make the cuts and changes. I know I’ve said this before, but never pass by the editing stage, even with poetry.
There are still two hundred pages of poetry that didn’t fit this book but may show up later in other projects.
Next, I worked on the cover. There were several at first, but his one captured my heart. Then came the video which is below. That all went smoothly.
Formatting was the last step. Having never done formatting on a poetry book before, it took some learning. Eventually, I figured it all out. It was one of those hard learning curves that my stubborn side insisted on conquering.
I wanted to get Deep in the Forest Where the Poetry Blooms out before the Harbor Pointe Inn Series released, so that added to my final push.
This poetry represents my current journey, but I left many of those COVID-19 year references. I’d rather focus on nature, magic, healing and exploring stories. Some of these poems were used in different challenges, including Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday or the missed Suzanne Burke’s ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ so you may recongnize them.
I was going to share my favorite poem, but in the end, I couldn’t choose. Instead, here’s the video.
Welcome! I’m so happy to welcome Balroop Singh here today to share her latest poetry collection: Fusion: Poems of Life!” I included my review 🙂
Fusion is the elixir of life. We seek it in every aspect of the cosmos. The magic of fusion manifests itself in the colors of dawn and dusk, in the melodies of nature, in the singing of birds, in the miniscule moments of joy, inspiring us to live in harmony with each other despite the edges that threaten to swallow us.
The poems in this collection are an amalgamation of harmonies and edges that bind us firmly. We have to wade into murky waters to measure the depth. We have to risk the heights to know our worth. Slippery snow makes us learn how to create footholds. Some songs of life dilute in the hourglass of time to erase the shadows – dark or light, all the colors play an equal role to create a fusion.
This poem “talks about the journey of life in metaphors.”
Colors of Life…
They’re blue and lilac
With cuddles and caresses
Rocking like our cradle
Life sounds sublime initially.
Yellow and green mingle
To greet the first steps
Butterflies look charming,
Fairies step in to offer magic.
Pink and red flutter our hearts
Passion reigns supreme
Adventure holds our dreams,
Love gets a new connotation.
Darker shades set in
Black and gray dominate
Shadows hover to scare,
Ego refuses to bend.
“Fusion: Poems of Life” takes the reader on a vivid journey through nature and life’s emotional aspects. I enjoyed the entire collection, but the nature-based poems really captivated me because I am so comfortable there. It was very hard to pick from the beautiful imagery, but here are a few of the many I highlighted. “The dream of my life was/To fly with the clouds/Drape their colors,/Adapt their shapes…”—Dreams, “Snow clad mountaintops/Kiss capricious clouds./Emerald lake watches,/As rosy hues of dawn smile…”—Ambrosial Love, “Stormy sea swallow/Stories of eons/Some shores speak…”—Changes, “Hold the first rays of sun/Softly in your hands or/Soak them gently in your eyes…”—Magic Moments, “The shimmer of violets allures me/A flower fairy sits smiling/Sprinkling her magic dust…”—Flower Fairy, and “The moment she wears her scarlet gown/She gets a call to cast her spell/Edgy enchantress grabs her crystal…”—The Scarlet Gown. A collection I read in one sitting, but one I will also revisit. I can highly recommend this to all poetry lovers.
Balroop Singh, an educator, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in California. You can visit her blog at http://balroop2013.wordpress.com
Embrace your inner child by reading some beautiful poetry! D. L. Finn
I’m pleased to welcome a fellow poet, Selma Martin, here today to share her beautiful debut collection with us. I’ve included my review.
Here’s Selma’s insight into one of her poems:
In writing, I attempt to add value to the finished work that comes straight from the place from where poems arise. Most come when I sit alone with my thoughts; I prefer quiet, like the kind one finds out in nature. Others come after reading something that lingers or makes me give a double take. In the case of this poem, it came about after reading a lovely book titled The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The book is set in Germany and is based on the time of that terrible war.
The Heilto her Pa expression is supposed to mark that awful time in history for the reader—that is all. In this poem, I hoped to showcase this young ‘adopted’ girl’s exuberance for learning to read and reaching the end of her very first book.
Her Pa had everything to do with her first win! In Zusak’s novel, the girl’s adopted Ma had a penchant for using mean and dirty words and called her husband pigheaded. But the girl knew better. Her Pa was nothing of the sort.
I’m so happy this poem came about, and now I have one poem of my own that reminds me of the novel. If you ever get a chance, please read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I was swooned by it. xoxo
Page 82 —In The Shadow of Rainbows
Hopeful one morn
would bring them much closer
She, barely eight
and he forty-three
Dawn after dawn
they braved nightly slumber
Tasting ‘n writing,
chewing words, hungry.
The dim of the lamp
paled with new morning light
Sent them upstairs
to bowls of warm porridge
Then holding hands
to streets wet with sunlight
She to midge class went,
he to seek courage.
Until one dawn
at the turn of the lights
They reached the end
—one book defeated!
She grinned ear to ear,
and soared like a kite
Heil to her Pa,
who Ma called pigheaded.
In this dazzling debut poetry collection of over 60 carefully selected poems, author Selma Martin points the way to the beauty in the everyday, the shadow of the rainbow, and the silver lining at the edge of every cloud.
Favouring lyrical forms, and revelling in rhymes and musical language, the individual poems in this collection harmonise together in symphonic splendour to form an enlightening and delightful whole.
“In The Shadow of Rainbows,” is Ms. Martin’s debut poetry book that I thoroughly enjoyed. There is a nice blend of nature with the emotional side of poems. The words flowed through the pages with vivid images and insights. I enjoyed them all but here are a few lines and poems that
caught my eye: “nurtured under the illimitable/distant sun, fulfilling stories/among the starlight…”—Give Back, “Light illuminates/all who wander/in darkness and delusion…”—Let Go. “When death comes/I want to be led into eternity/curious, full of joy…”—When Death Comes, “The green outside is winking at me/it arose merely moments ago,/like a well-rested
child rising from sleep,…”—Nature’s Tender Doings, and “I almost died of
exuberance/snorkeling around the unspoiled/coral reef/ when, in the dull hum of silence…”—I Almost Died. A wonderful collection to savor more than once that I can easily recommend for poetry lovers.
“Selma Martin’s debut poetry collection transmutes misery into mesmerizing beauty. Not only is each poem masterful in form, it is lined with spiritual truth much like a golden-lined cloud shimmering in the brilliance of a rainbow after a storm.”— Barbara Harris Leonhard, editor, MasticadoresUSA
“I encourage you to enjoy In the Shadow of Rainbows as it weaves its lyrical prose and skillful imagery and invites you to search for your one poem within its pages time and time again.”— Layla Todd, Nin Chronicles
“A wonderful debut collection of Soul-felt poetry.”— Harmony Kent, Goodreads
“If you enjoy surrounding yourself with powerful imagery, glimpses of life and nature, and slices of everyday life, then do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this collection of poetry. It’s wonderful!” — Yvette M Calleiro
Selma Martin is a retired English teacher with 20 years of teaching children ESL. She believes in people’s goodness and in finding balance in simple living. She lives in Japan with her husband. In 2017, after retiring from her ESL position, Selma enrolled in her first short story writing competition with The Write Practice (TWP), an welcoming online community of writers. She practiced earnestly there and had the honor of mingling with seasoned Writers and newcomers like herself.
In 2018, Selma participated in a TWP networking course whose final lesson was to publish a story on Amazon. After many failed attempts, she completed the course and self-published her short story, “Wanted: Husband/Handyman,” in 2019.
Later, collaborating with peers from that course, she published “Wanted:
Husband/Handyman” in Once Upon A Story: A Short Fiction Anthology. Selma has published articles and poems on Medium since 2017; she has the story from that first competition published in Short Fiction Break, 2017, and poetry in The Poetorium At Starlight, 2022, MasticadoresUSA, and Spillwords. After her first NaPoWriMo 2021, Selma writes poetry on her website, selmamartin.com, and struggled with her introversion to garner the courage to publish this—her first collection of poems.
I decided to give writing Limericks a try over on a Vocal Challenge. They have a pattern of a8-9/a8-9/b5-6/b5-6/a8-9. It gives you some play, not having to have the exact count. I’m not all the humorous, and you can tell the storms are still in my thoughts.
There are five of them. I’m sending you to my page instead of giving you links for each one.
“To Hunt a Sub” is not only a thriller about preventing a terrorist from attacking America but a well-researched story with fascinating characters. Kali is trying to get her research project, Otto, funded when she catches the attention of ex-Navy Seal, Zeke, and a cruel terrorist. Her friends, son, and dog aren’t safe in this crucial battle. Otto not only traces the path and journey of prehistoric woman Lucy but can also find top secret submarines or why Kali has so much interest. I love it when Kali and Zeke join forces, each offering their strengths to the fight. The attention to detail made this scenario seem possible and real to me. The terrorist cruelty was chilling, while the love of a mother was a driving force. Many unexpected twists and surprises were mixed in, as who could be trusted came to light. This story had a unique way of blending our past with a current situation that would affect the future. Not a fast read, but one well worth the time spent reading. I can easily recommend this book.
I always enjoy poetry by Ms. Singh and this collection was more beautifully written poems. It’s seeped in emotion that not only touches the heart but gets the reader thinking. It can be read within an hour or two but is meant for the reader to savor. Here are just a few of the many lines that caught my attention and moved me. The Land of the Dead: “Someone entered the land of the dead/Dragged life along ahead/Stirred them out of their slumber/but before muffled voices/could be heard, he was yelled at/Cursed, chastised, forced to quit. Know Shadows: “Dark moonless nights/Are the nights I crave for,/All shadows vanish and merge/Into the corridors of life. Eternal Wait: “Misty mornings/Eerie silence, long walks/Through the woods/What is this place? So familiar!/Nostalgia is painfully pleasant. Magic of Heavenly Drops: “Those soft falling drops/Tiptoe into your heart/To carry you along/Into the dripping trees. A wonderful collection that I can highly recommend to all those who loved to be moved by exquisite words.
“Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships” is a collection of poetry from several authors. I have enjoyed the work of many of the poets, but there were some I met for the first time in this book. It was nice how it was set up to introduce the author before their poetry. I appreciated having many poets together in one collection to experience different views, feelings, and images. The individual take on relationships offered a glimpse into not only their writing but gave me a few new authors to read. There was a lot of great poetry, so I won’t single any out to share. A fantastic read I can easily recommend for poetry lovers.
I only post my 4 & 5-star reviews. If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it. It doesn’t feel right leaving a review, in that case:) Life is too short not to enjoy every book you read!
Embrace your inner beautiful soul by reading a book! D. L. Finn
Last week I walked on the magical trail with Sara, our dog. I sat on the bench and composed poetry while taking in the beauty. This dragonfly landed and kept me company while I wrote. Here’s one of those poems.
My mind is adrift in a fog of apathy
So, I let it wander, like a Sunday drive.
As I peer deeply into the thickened air
My forward-path is frozen…
When the heaviness of the moment obscures it.
I pull over to wait it out
I get out of my vehicle and find lights
They are dim in the gloom…
But, I’m grateful as my feet meet a solid path
There’s a gazebo ahead with a twinkling glow.
The haze dispels, and I flow in
A chair awaits that I thankfully sink into
I close my eyes and breathe. Just breathe
Pulling a blanket over the chill, I nestle into the joy
Sometimes when it isn’t possible to advance
I can find my way on a fringe trail.
Here I settle into the interlude
And immerse my essence into life’s magic.
Watch for a special edition blog this week.
Next Sunday, instead of my regular blog, I’ll be hosting my day of the#RRBC 2019 OCTOBER-WEEN BLOCK PARTY! Stop by and say hello:)
Spring arrives in over a week. So, I’m sharing my last stormy poem of the wintry season (included in “Just Her Poetry). With the coming of spring, may the storms continue in Nevada City and beyond to ease the drought–and fill our well!
I immerse myself into the storm.
Its power engulfs me,
As it cleans my soul
With a brush of existence.
Ruling firmly without warning,
It is a delicate balance between
What it can give–
And what it can take away.
I connect to this authority
As its wind, rain and snow…
Rule the landscape.
It is the same inside me
With my hidden emotions–
I’m immersed in the rage of the storm.
I wait for the calm,
Safe where I am now.
Soon the sun will shine
My soul will be whole again.
But until then—I welcome…
This healing immersion into the storm.
While snow is finally making a comeback, I’ve been reading “The Improbable Journey of Billy Battles” and plan to jump right into “The Hat” next. Here is my book review of “Retaking Pervaiske”:
I loved the first YA book in the “Army of Orphans” series and “The Retaking Pervaiske” takes over where it ended. It follows the plight of the Krisko siblings Alex, Anton, Irina and their army of orphans living in an abandoned underground shelter. It’s eastern Europe and thirty years into the future. The country is at war with itself and they are part of the rebel rebellion. There’s plenty of action with the small band being sent on missions with very real consequences–as the government repression strengthens. More relationships are developed as well as revisiting characters from the first book. My heart can’t help but go out to these brave young adults and children fighting for what they believe in. Although, you could read this as a stand-alone, with the very detailed recap at the beginning, I suggest you read the books in order. I liked how the story starts off with a glimpse into what was coming and then going back to find out how they got there. This kept me reading late into the night, with the only thing slightly slowing me down was the recap of the last book. The ending was sudden, and my first thought was: “no, it can’t end like this!” I eagerly await the third book to find out what happens next to this army of amazing orphans, because I can’t help but love them! I recommend this for young adults and adults, too.
This is an interesting and unique take on a well-known Bible story from the old Testament. “The Fall of Lilith” follows a group of angels who rebel against the life they have in heaven, in a place called Floraison. Lilith is the driving force behind all of this as she encourages Lucifer to lead. As expected, the rebels find themselves on earth. This is my favorite part of the story and where it got interesting. I can’t say I rooted for Lilith, but there were others I was hoping things would work out for—like Gadreel. Ms. Vega crafted a well-written book with lots of depth, images to pull you in, and it definitely kept my interest as I wondered what was going to happen next. I recommend this book if you love fantasy with a Biblical connection– or an action-packed tale of revenge.
“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.