Female Creatives Series: Q&A with Author Jessie Allyn

Female Creatives Series: Q&A with Author Jessie Allyn

Recently I came up with an idea to support female creatives and give others some empowerment. The planet, excuse my french, has gone to shit, so I wanted to make some positive posts and asked some people on Twitter whether they’d like to participate. My first interviewee is Jessie, an author and creative.

My first guest in this female creative series of posts is Jessie Allyn, an author and creative. Let’s see what she has to say!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi! My name is Jessie Allyn. I am a writer who focuses primarily on fantasy and romance. My goals for the future are to get my first book published by next year and then open classes to teach other writers step-by-step how to write/publish their own books.

2. What do you do for a living?

Writing is not what I do for a living, but what I do for a living allows me to write.

3. What made you decide to do what you do for a living?

When I graduated college, I graduated with a Secondary English Education degree (I was an English teacher). But life has a funny way of not aligning the way you thought it would. I jumped from college to working with a pharmaceutical company, to working with a customer service call center, to working as a tutor for students with learning disabilities, to now managing a retail store. For me, these jobs are just a means to an end. I take on these jobs in order to support myself, my family, and my writing career. Because not everyone can afford to be a full-time writer like they dream to be…at least not in the beginning.

4. What would be your advice for someone looking to go into your profession?

Writing is hard. It’s not something most people can make a living off of. So if you want to be a writer, you need to understand that you write for your love of writing, not because you want to be a famous author one day. People glamorize being a writer, but they don’t know how hard it actually is. They don’t know how long it takes to craft a book, how many times you need to query agent after agent, how many rejection letters you might get, how much money you will spend on marketing, how many unpaid hours you will lose to edits. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme, it’s a labor of love. Every book that is published was fought for. Every writer put themselves out there, in all this stress and chaos, not because they wanted to be famous – but because they had a story to tell. So my advice, to anyone who wants to become a writer, is to write for yourself first and the rest of the world second. In the end, you might be the only person to pick up that book and that needs to be enough for you.

 

Female Creatives Series: Interview: Jessie Allyn

5. What are some of your hobbies or skills that you’d like to improve this year?

I am constantly taking seminars, attending virtual classes, listening to podcasts, and working with other editors/writers in hopes to better my writing craft. So for this year, I am hoping to get to a place where I can confidently create my writing course and launch my classes for other writers out there. My goal is to be able to take someone who has no idea what to write, help them work through their entire writing process and then help them through the entire publication process. There are so many things about writing and publication that you aren’t taught and that information is super hard to find these days. So my goal is to improve my writing craft to the point where I can take all of the knowledge I’ve collected over the years and make it accessible to anyone who needs it.

6. Can you list 3 books that empower you and that you recommend every creative reads?

Julie Kagawa’s “Talon” Series – She has an amazing way of writing from multiple perspectives without breaking the flow of her novel (something I envy to this day).
Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” – This was the book that taught me that not every story needs to end in a happily ever after.
David Clement-Davies’ “The Sight” – This book is probably the book I credit the most for how “alive” my characters feel. I learned from this book that if you make your characters multi-dimensional, it doesn’t matter if they are humans or wolves – people will find ways to relate to them.

7. I always ask this one as it’s fun to wrap up with! If you were stranded on an island, what 3 things would you take with you? And which 2 people?

A knife, a flint striker, and some sort of water purifier. I’d bring my significant other and probably The Rock (I mean, he’d be super helpful on an island and more people would probably search for him than me haha).

If you want to find out more about Jessie and her work, you can visit her website here.
Thank you so much to Jessie for participating! Don’t forget to subscribe for more Q&As, tips, reviews and more!

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Hey guys. In this week’s blog I’ll be reviewing Charly Cox’s poetry debut, She Must Be Mad.

She Must Be Mad is a book about revisiting young love and painful times. There are three sections within the book; She Must Be In Love, She Must Be Mad, She Must Be Fat and She Must Be An Adult.

I have to say, I didn’t relate to a lot of the things Cox describes in the book because I’ve never had drunken night out or anything like that.

The mental health part of the book resonated with me and also some of the weight issues. I still struggle with how I look, I always will, but we learn to accept ourselves as we are.

Cox also describes what being an adult is all about and how it’s not what we expect it to be. She has a lovely writing style and makes the reader welcome in her world. She’s not afraid to tell her story in detail and that’s what I love about people.

Cox tries to make you feel less alone in a world that tells you want to be and how to act. She comforts you with her words of wisdom about when she went through her youth. The part at the end about being an adult actually made me want to cry because this year I turn 20 and I’m petrified. I don’t want to face being an adult and I don’t want to let go of my teens. But knowing others feel the same way I do is reassuring.

If you want a heartfelt read about youth, lust, love and mental illness, then this is the book for you. Until next time, love, Vee x

Anxiety: A Poem

Anxiety: A Poem

Hey guys! This week I’m going to be sharing a poem about what anxiety feels like for me. I hope this can help make others feel a little less alone and maybe create a tiny bit more awareness for mental health in general.

Anxiety is more than just being shy around strangers and having panic attacks in shopping malls;
It’s looking up what you want online before you go to a restaurant
It’s having meltdowns in the middle of the night
It’s struggling to stand when you need to keep going
It’s feeling so alone even when you’re surrounded by people.

Late night panic attacks and crying fits are just the tip of the iceburg
You know nothing until you look into my dark, twisted mind.
The lies I tell myself creep in through the window
Consuming every waking moment.
Am I a failure?
Am I going to survive this episode?
You may think I’m a social butterfly
But wait until you see what’s really inside
There are thousands of butterflies screaming to be let out
There are times when the pain is too much to bare.
But you know what they don’t tell you about anxiety?
“You’ll survive.”

Let me know in the comments your thoughts and whether you have experienced similar feelings. This poem is quite raw and unpolished so I’d appreciate the feedback ❤ Until next time, love, Vee.

12 Bookish Facts

12 Bookish Facts

Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be talking about bookish facts. If there are any facts that I haven’t listed but you think are interesting, then please comment them below!

Bookish Facts

1. Abibliophobia is the fear of running out of reading material.

2. Dr. Seuss wrote his first book in 1936 on a luxury liner called the Kungholm. As he crossed the Atlantic the sound the engines made annoyed him so much that his wife proposed he use the repetitive rhythm to help him write the book.

3. Goodreads was established in 2007 and in July 2013 it was reported that they had attracted 55 million members.

4. In Kansas City there is a parking lot for the public library designed to look like a huge bookshelf.

5. There are over 8.2 million copies of all three of The Hunger Games books published in the U.S.

6. The Winnie the Pooh books have been translated into 50 other languages including Yiddish and Esperanto.

7. Beatrix Potter wrote The Fairy Caravan in 1926 which was only published in America because Potter thought it was too autobiographical to be brought out in England in her lifetime. The book was released in the UK nine years after her death in 1943.

8. Jacqueline Wilson’s first book for children was called Nobody’s Perfect.

9. When Roald Dahl was at school he was a taste tester for Cadbury. This is probably what inspired him to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

10. Books used to be chained to bookshelves in public libraries.

11. Alice in Wonderland used to be banned in China because General Ho Chien believed it was an insult to the human race that animals should be given speech in books.

12. About £2.2 billion in the UK is spent on books a year and a fifth of this is spent on children’s books.

I hope you enjoyed these! Until next time, Vee x

Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Hey guys! In this weeks blog I’ll be reviewing a classic! This is The Perks Of Being A Wallflower which is also a major feature film.

Blurb

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Review

I’ve been wanting to read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower for quite some time now and I really want to see the movie. So I decided to read the book before the movie as I always do.

I really enjoyed this new take on life from Charlie and I love how the writer is so committed to this character that you believe he’s real. Charlie reminds me of Sam from Atypical or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He thinks there’s something wrong with him when there’s not; he’s just unique.

Charlie is so determined to make everyone happy that he doesn’t take his own happiness into account; he lets Mary Elizabeth talk for hours because he can’t say no; and he lets Patrick kiss him when he doesn’t want him to. It almost feels like Charlie is a puppet who doesn’t really care about himself as long as others are happy.

This book is so thought provoking and witty and I can’t wait to see the film. I rooted for Charlie and his friends to be happy, to feel infinite. Charlie has his problems that he’s working out with a therapist and he doesn’t understand why he’s being asked all these questions until he figures out why at the end. You start to see why he’s upset all of the time and why he has difficulty socializing.

I thought this book was so well written and Chbosky knows how to read his characters. This book teaches us that there’s nothing wrong with being unique and that we all have stories that make us who we are, or who we choose to be.

This is going to be a must read for readers everywhere; I just know that when I’m much older, this book is going to be used in schools and colleges and be regarded as a classic of our time. We need more books like this that make the reader feel infinite.

I hope you enjoyed this review; don’t forget to subscribe to my blog as it means so much to me! Until next time, love, Vee x

Poetry Review: Sunshine

Poetry Review: Sunshine

Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be reviewing Melissa Lee-Houghton’s poetry collection, Sunshine, which was shortlisted for the Costa book awards.

Blurb

Sunshine is the new collection from Next Generation Poet Melissa Lee-Houghton. A writer of startling confession, her poems inhabit the lonely hotel rooms, psych wards and deserted lanes of austerity Britain.

Sunshine combines acute social observation with a dark, surreal humour born of first-hand experience. Abuse, addiction and mental health are all subject to Lee-Houghton’s poetic eye. But these are also poems of extravagance, hope and desire, that stake new ground for the romantic lyric in an age of social media and internet porn. In this new book of poems, Melissa Lee-Houghton shines a light on human ecstasy and sadness with blinding precision.

Review

Although Melissa’s style isn’t one of my favourites, I think her portrayal of mental health is accurate and she describes some of our deepest, darkest thoughts as humans. She has a unique writing style and talks about sexual desire, sadness and ecstasy. There is lots of talk about sexual sensations; I think this borders on sexual obsession throughout the book.

Some poems I could feel her strength and in a lot of others I could feel her raw emotion, her sadness, her bitterness. She struggles through life, trying to find the meaning of it. It is heartbreaking and comforting all at once, knowing that others feel the same way that you do; that we aren’t weird or crazy. She talks of addiction and abuse and her time spent in psych wards, trying to make sense of the world we live in.

If you enjoy no filter language, mental health topics and intimate encounters, then this is the collection for you. Full of raw emotion, Melissa has left her heart open, like any good poet does, for the world to see.

I hope you enjoyed this review and I’ll see you next time! Love, Vee x

Poetry Review: In Full Velvet

Poetry Review: In Full Velvet

Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’ll be reviewing Jenny Johnson’s poetry collection In Full Velvet. I hope you enjoy!

 

Blurb

Sinuous and sensual, the poems of In Full Velvet interrogate the nuances of desire, love, gender, ecology, LGBTQ lineage and community, and the tension between a body’s material limits and the forms made possible by the imagination. Characterized by formal poise, vulnerability, and compassion, Johnson’s debut collection is one of resounding generosity and grace.

 

Review

I bought In Full Velvet as an impulse buy and I had never heard of it before. I read a lot of Amanda Lovelace and Rupi Kaur’s work which is much different from Johnson’s writing.

I thought that Johnson’s descriptions of nature were refreshing and I enjoyed reading about the metaphors and the LGBT poems, especially the ones regarding gender identity. Johnson has a unique way of words that grips the reader into her writing, even if you can’t relate. Some of the poems I couldn’t understand but the overall meaning of them is recognizable.

Some of my favourite poems from this collection include Little Apophat and Vigil. If you like poems about nature, LGBT, gender identity and desire, then you’ll love In Full Velvet.

Have you read In Full Velvet? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Until next time, love, Vee x

Poetry Review: Those Were The Days

Poetry Review: Those Were The Days

In this week’s blog post I’ll be reviewing Ryan Harbold’s debut poetry collection, Those Were The Days.

About

“Those Were The Days” is a poetry collection that is, the entire life I’ve lived and all the crazy from it.It’s all about your youth and all the nights that turned to days. Being drunk and stupid, falling in love and knowing absolutely nothing but thinking you do. It’s nostalgic and all about what life was like when you’re growing up. The confusion. All the teen angst emotions. The best friends that are now strangers and of course all the good memories you forgot about. It’s about time you lived in your car. It’s the girl who left you speechless with butterflies that you don’t know anymore. It’s all the drugs and stress you drowned your head in. It’s just everything you felt under the stars back then.

Review

I enjoyed reading Ryan’s poetry; it’s all about being a teen and how he got by at the worst points in his life.

His writing is smooth and he says exactly what he thinks and I love modern poetry like that.

I think it’s important to know that everyone goes through bad and good in their life, even at 19. Ryan writes about the friends who got him through and the girl he loved. He writes so honestly that I admire his work and the fact he’s able to spill his heart out. We need more poetry collections like this one.

If you’re looking for poetry about love, loss, teen angst, growing up and friendship, then I definitely recommend reading Those Were The Days.

You can follow Ryan on social media and his username is @wordsryan.

You can find his book here.

Until next time, love, Vee x

Poetry Review: Cavity

Hey guys! A while ago I interviewed Caitlin Conlon, a poet, who kindly sent me her chapbook of Cavity. Today, I’ll be talking to you about it and why I enjoyed reading it.

 

Review

Cavity is about heartbreak and the heart wrenching hurt that comes with it. Conlon describes lost love in the most sad yet beautiful way and her choice of words had me rooting for her to get through this break up. Some poems are about how she misses him, others about how much hurt he caused her.

The poems aren’t necessarily about how to get over a break up, but more about the fact that you aren’t the only one feeling these feelings. Everyone goes through different emotions and stages in a break up but Conlon describes her emotions in such vivid detail that we feel like we are going through the break up with her. Conlon is truly a fantastic poet and I can’t wait to read more of her work. Her use of metaphors was also exceptional and I can’t recommend her collection enough. If you’re a fan of Amanda Lovelace, you need to read Cavity.

I really enjoyed reading this collection and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you are going through a break up and need words of wisdom, or a shoulder to cry on, then this chapbook will be your saviour.

You can buy Cavity here: www.cgcpoems.shop

Until next time, love Vee x

Book Review: Floored

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So this week is a book review about Floored, a novel about when seven lives collide and what happens in the aftermath. Enjoy!

Blurb

Floored is written by seven authors; Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift, they were strangers. Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means; Dawson, who used to be on TV, used to be handsome, and is sincerely hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it; and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

Review

I bought Floored solely because Lisa Williamson had co-written it but I ended up loving all the characters and the craziness of the story. I even ended up liking Hugo, the most pompous prick there was. It was such a thrill reading this book; some nights I couldn’t put it down and it really has helped me with my reading slump.

I spent the first few chapters trying to guess who’s writing was who’s but after a while it all melted together and I ended up thinking it was written by one person, one voice.

I think having Steven Jeffords die in the lift and the fact his death brings them together every year to celebrate life, was an excellent idea. Every single one of them has problems in their lives and although they only see one another once a year, it means more to them than any friend they’ve ever had. These unlikely bunch mean so much to each other, they will run all around the country to see one another. That’s true friendship. No matter how often you see your best friends, they will still always be there for you in your time of need.

My personal favourite was Velvet because in the end, she finally finds her place in the world, her voice to speak up for herself. Like all of them, they find their purpose in life and having friends help you along the way is the best bit of the journey.

This book was so well written and gripping; I truly hope all the writers collab again in the future. I can’t believe seven people managed to pull this off; I hardly ever read collabs because of my bad experience with them in the past, but this book has changed my mind. I cannot wait to read all the authors’ other books.

This is a must read for anyone who needs a friend, a laugh or even a virtual hug from a book. Go and buy this book, now!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and let me know if you’ve read Floored or any of the authors’ work in the comments. Until next time, love, Vee x