My Grandpa used to tell me that there were never any guarantees of success, but there was one sure-fire way to fail, and that was to not try.
It’s good advice, and I’m thankful for that lesson – and many others – that he instilled in me.
What a surprise this morning to realise it has been a year since ‘New Horizons’ was published.
When it launched, I was nervous about how it would be received. People knew me as a poet. Would they be interested in these stories? Would they find them as meaningful and profound as my poems?
It was certainly fitting that these stories are about how people encounter and respond to changes and new situations in their lives. Heaven knows, I was experiencing that for myself at the time.
Since then, it has sold around the world in paperback as well as ebook, and has won the 2017 SIBA Award for Best Short Story collection. It now has a shiny badge on its cover to announce that recognition to the world.
This gave me good reason for positive reflection this morning. There are times when life feels as though it’s at a standstill, or when it feels like I’m not achieving what I want to as a writer.
Yet in the past year, I’ve achieved more than I ever would have thought or dared to imagine twelve months ago:
- Three new poetry collections, all of which have been nominated for awards.
Of those three books, Nova has won awards for 2017 Top Female Author – Poetry, Reality Bites 2017 Best Non-Romance, and the bronze medal for a poetry collection in the 2017 SIBA Awards.
- Two poems in two different themed anthologies, nestled in amongst the work of some incredible writers.
- Two macabre/horror titles.
- Two ‘reinvented’ fairy tales about to be published in a magnificent anthology titled ‘Once Upon A Fabulous Time’, with other stories written by five of the most creative minds I know.
If you’re a writer – published, aspiring, or just for your own enjoyment – be encouraged. You may feel like you’re not achieving much, but you are. You may feel like you’re a small fish in a very large sea, but every small fish has its place and a purpose, too.
If there’s something you feel you’d like to do, or try, but you’re lacking confidence – be encouraged. You will never know what you can do until you try. The only way to find out where any road will take you is to follow it.
My Grandpa used to tell me that there were never any guarantees of success, but there was one sure-fire way to fail, and that was to not try. It’s good advice, and I’m thankful for that lesson – and many others – that he instilled in me.
So here’s to another year and whatever challenges, journeys and victories it brings.
Most of my poems reflect some element of my own life in an honest and hopefully creative way.
I want people to understand that life is full of challenges and trials as well as moments of victory and celebration. I want people experiencing those trials and challenges to know they are not alone, and that someone else knows what it’s like to go through that.
Poetry isn’t always whimsy and romance. In fact, my poetry is only ever infrequently either of those things.
Most of my poems reflect some element of my own life in an honest and hopefully creative way. I want people to understand that life is full of challenges and trials as well as moments of victory and celebration. I want people experiencing those trials and challenges to know they are not alone, and that someone else knows what it’s like to go through those things.
The Passing Of The Night is a new collection of my poems that reflects those truths honestly and, I hope, in beautiful language through varied and interesting imagery. It’s true that there is a piece of my soul on every page.
People experience all kinds of night: loneliness, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, pain, and countless other darknesses.
This newly released collection of profound lyrical poems explores the poet’s own experiences and observations of both dark and light, revealing her determination to not only survive, but to conquer whatever tries to overcome her.
At the end of it all, the poet demonstrates that the smallest sign of light is enough to help a wandering soul find hope in the passing of the night.
The Passing Of The Night is available on Amazon and all other major digital stores.
Who won the 2017 Top Female Author Award for Poetry?
The fine folks over at The Authors Show have honoured my book Nova, and therefore me, with an award.
It’s a little hard to believe that I won. After all, it’s just me.
So, I’ve spent the day trying to reconcile the desire to tell everyone and celebrate with my lingering self-doubts and my possibly less-than-fully-rational fear of something horrid lurking around the corner to snatch away my joy.
But for now, I’m going to enjoy it. And then I’ll probably splash it all over social media.
Thank you for indulging me in my desire to tell someone!
I’ve just released an eBook titled ‘Stained Glass’.
‘Stained Glass’ is a collection of 22 poems for and
about women, by a woman who is striving to live,
love, work and make sense of the world she lives in.
‘Stained Glass’ is poetry that reflects the light and shade of life, and all the colours in between.
The poems celebrate the strength and extraordinary resilience of women through the exploration of diverse issues, including love, loss, social expectations, self-awareness and personal integrity.
In rare moments the glass is rose-coloured; elsewhere, the window is astonishingly clear.
There are 7 brand new poems in this collection.
Some of these poems – roughly one-third – are in ‘Leaf’, and others – another third – are in ‘Nova’.
Find all my book details, new writing and more at my website: www.jvlpoet.com
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The reviewers agree: Nova is pretty good.
The reviewers agree: Nova is pretty good.
The first five reviews have all been five stars!
One of the biggest challenges writers face is getting their readers to give some feedback and tell other readers about the book. It’s always exciting when a review appears, and even more so when it’s positive.
I’ve chosen a couple of the newest reviews to share with you here.
The images may come up a bit small to read, so you can click through to the original reviews by clicking on each one.
This one is a brand new review this week, written by novelist Kyra Leary.
She seems to like my work.