“A Queenly Visit in 2 Acts”.

Okay, get ready for this Author Spotlight.

I am delighted to introduce to you a gifted author of poems and prose.

 Fanfare and drum roll for Queen of Spades!!!

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I asked Queen some questions about her life and works,  and she will be sharing her answers with you here.

So, let’s get to know a little bit about Queen of Spades and her writing:

 “A Queenly Visit in 2 Acts”.

When did you start writing poetry, and why did you choose poetry as the medium to express yourself as a writer?

I started writing poetry at the age of eleven.  In a way, poetry chose me.  I was going through some trials in my life, and my coping mechanism became pen and paper.  Yet, even after I improved in that aspect, the ink still flowed.  Although I am branching out in other areas, I know that poetry will always be my primary form of expression.  It feels just as natural to me as breathing.

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Why do you write under a pseudonym?

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There are many reasons actually. 

One: There is a children’s author who’s already using my first name, plus my maiden. 

 Two: Using my full name would be pretty long to place on a cover. (chuckles)

 Three (but the most important reason): I started using Queen of Spades since I started writing, so it would feel weird for me not to use it.  Back then, the persona of Queen of Spades allowed a freedom of expression that I thought couldn’t be obtained.  Queen of Spades is an alternate aspect of my personality that I amplified and gave a voice to, yet she and I are now so in alignment that we have merged somewhat.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspiration from so many things.  Sometimes, I can pick up on the emotions of others and write about them as if they were my own.  Other times, it could be a story in the news that makes me feel some type of way.  I can be inspired by scenes in nature or something as tiny as plays on words or a melody to a song.  Every element, to me, has an inspirational component.

Which do you prefer writing, poetry or prose, and why?

I’m not sure if I have a preference, just the experiences are different. Poetry provides the quicker fix, in the sense that when I write my poetry; it’s like an overflow of ideas dying to get out in one setting.  I have to do the write at that particular moment. 

Where poetry is somewhat microwave in terms of creation, the proses are slow cooked.  I can do one part, then return to it a few hours, even days later, and still know the direction I was going in with the prose.

Adrenalin rush goes to poetry.  Slow and satisfying goes to proses.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest work.

Time to play “About Me” via short phrases and bullet points.  I’m going to throw in 5 standard things about me and 5 random things about me (and pray the random things I haven’t repeated in an other interview)

 ImageStandards
  • Southern bred/Northern placed (originally from Mississippi-southern US; now residing in New Jersey-northeast US)
  • Raised by my grandparents
  • Presenter of one poetry anthology & author of four poetry collections
  • Administrator and Principal Reviewer of The Review Board (Ma Maow the cat assists from time to time.)—[insert Ma Maow the reviewer graphic]
  • Featured Columnist/Editor-in-Chief of All Authors Magazine

 Randoms

  • I have a difficult time sleeping in total darkness.  A small light has to radiate from somewhere.
  • I have no problem spending money on loved ones, but it’s like pulling teeth when it comes to stuff for myself

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I didn’t even like cats until I moved to NJ, and no matter what cat was around, I was chosen as “the human”.

 

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  • My husband serves as my alpha reader, but it was difficult for him to read certain parts of Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes due to some of the described events.
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  • I haven’t mastered the concept of being completely still.  I get bored if I’m not being productive in some way.  The only way I’m completely still is if I’m sick, and even then, my husband has threatened to tie me to the bed or sit on me when I attempt to do things.

Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes

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CreateSpace | Amazon | Amazon UK

Book Trailer

Blurb:  In Life, one is expected to put her best face forward, but what if the process of revealing her best face involves putting the demons on display? Would the journey continue? Or would one stop dead in her tracks. 

Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes is the response in its rawest form. It is an inside look at: in its simplest form, Life’s growing pains; in its most complex form, a person battling internal and external forces to find peace in her own existence. The lines are blurred between what’s real and what is embellishment in this second edition, a sleeker re-mastered collection that doesn’t miss a step in intensity.

I have read some of your work and found your writing to be very honest and heavily influenced by your life history. Is that fair to say? If so, would you say that all your writing is based on personal experiences in some way? 

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Yes, that is fair to say.  Reflections of Soul was entirely based on an experience I had gone through.    As far as my other poetic writes, I can’t take full credit.  The Eclectic collection went beyond my experiences: I wrote about others as well as certain issues that are occurring or have occurred over in the States.  Spaded Truths: Themes and Proclamations is more of an exercise with beliefs than actual experiences while Private Pain: Amidst These Ashes circles back to being more personal, using the universal connectivity of pain and endurance.

What are your future projects?

 Well, I do have some short stories in the works.  “Misfortune”, which was featured in Eclectic: Beyond the Skin, will be reappearing in Continuous Drips, set for the end of 2014.  However, not all of the short stories I’m writing will be included in the collection.  I am planning on having some for people to obtain for free: to give people a chance to know me beyond the poetry.  Poetry publication will be on the backburner for a moment to give this other aspect of my writing a bit of spotlight.

I am also working on an online store, called Eclectisms.  Originally, I was going to use it to simply promote my current works, yet I kept being inspired by other people as well as other things, so it blossomed beyond that.  The spirit of Eclectisms is advocacy of truest self, even if it’s not in alignment with the blueprint of everyone else.  It’s in the beginning stages, and more products are gradually being added.

Visit the website for more information:

http://www.zazzle.com/Eclectisms

From seeing some of your photographs and thinking them rather good I was wondering if you have an artistic streak in you?

Thanks!  I definitely appreciate that, since I’m such a fan of your photography.  My first talent was actually sketching.  That blossomed around age eight, but it has since taken a backseat to writing.  I still have my sketch pad and draw from time to time, but the works in my head take precedence.

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You are also a reviewer and article writer, which one of these disciplines would you say comes easily to you?

Article writing, most definitely!  Back in high school, my creative writing teacher approached me about writing for the newspaper.  I mainly did editorials and special features.  Then, a few years after I had moved to New Jersey, I was a volunteer newsletter editor for the Pride Center of New Jersey.  Now, with this opportunity at All Authors Magazine, it seems like it has come full circle.

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Do you have a special place where you write?

 Poetry: I have to strike while the iron’s hot, so with it, no particular place.

 All other writings:  Those occur in one of four places:

(a) The office—when it’s a very slow work day
(b) My little office at my apartment
(c) In the bedroom
(d) Local park—when it’s a nice, quiet day

Does any specific writer influence you?

Traditional or indie?

Well, traditional, my inspirations are: Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker, Stephen King, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Indie:

Poetically:  Chantay Legacy Leonard—her connectivity and style is wonderful.  I was extremely honoured when she did the foreword for Eclectic. 

Fiction/Short stories:  There are quite a few people who I’m observing their styles and learning from, simply because writing short stories and novels are an entirely different animal than poetry.

Beem Weeks is a phenomenal story teller.  I fell in love with his novel, Jazz Baby, and I’m a fan of his stories.  They are well put together, and I can hardly wait until his short story collection comes out.

I applaud the way MJ Holman weaves a story.  The Guinea Ghost  stands out to me.  I felt like I was in a trance (a welcomed one at that) from beginning to end.  I appreciate that effect in her writes, not just her stories, but in her poetry.

I love Y. Correa and Perri Forrest because they defy any type of classification when it comes to audience and genre. 

With Y. Correa, there is a write for any and everyone.  Even if you aren’t deep into paranormal or romance, she writes things in a way that makes you think and comes across as very original.  I know she was probably under pressure to modernize aspects of MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis, since it is set in medieval times, but I give her ultimate respect for keeping the authenticity of the narrative. 

Perri Forrest’s approach to her writings: from cover concept to narrative reminds me of a scientist—there is something beautifully methodical about every component she places in her writes.  With each write, she becomes even better.  Although some have tried to place her in the boxes of “urban”, “erotica”, or both, the richness of her writes and her characters burns those boxes to bits.  I want my short stories, as well as any future extended works, to have that same level of nonconformity and authenticity.

 

If you could stay the weekend in a particular book as one of the characters, which one would it be and why?

In A Lioness’ Tale (originally called “Revolving Doors”) by Perri Forrest, Gabriella, one of the main characters, gets her heart broken.  She is presented an opportunity to see one of her close friends who resides in Brazil.  The way that place was described was fantastic!  I was ready to pack up and just go.  It was a combination of Gabriella’s exposure to a brand new world and the climate that made me want to be in her shoes.

I believe poetry needs to be spoken, do you agree?

Queen of Spades on Soundcloud

Well, I don’t necessarily agree with “need”.  Yes, it is helpful to hear the work being spoken.  However, there are some people who excel better at visual presentation than spoken presentation and vice versa.

There is this one poet.  He is a phenomenal spoken word performer.  Yet if you look at his writings, you would think he was subpar because of how his works were visually executed.  On the same token, you can have someone who writes beautifully, but a person’s actual voice and/or stage fright may cause a poem’s audible delivery to be poor.

In my mind, the presentation of the poetry is like a scene in a movie.  I actually see the images as I write them out.  For me, I know where the pauses are supposed to go and where I would like to emphasize something.  I know where the scene separations are to take place.

Doing poetic vocals is a different animal.  If you are putting music to it, the music has to match the rhythm of the voice.  You have to make sure the music doesn’t drown out your voice.  This makes vocal composition quite a task at times, yet if this is composed in your house (or at a studio, if you can afford studio time); you aren’t dealing with multiple eyes on you, and there isn’t that level of performance anxiety.

I like writing, and I have what some would say my performance voice.  But I’m also a chameleon, and I also have an office receptionist voice and my voice when I’m hanging out with others.

I say all that to say this: I understand why there are poets who choose not to go full fledged into the spoken word arena.  I actually find it a bit more baffling the other way around—speaking wonderfully but not having it in written form so others may enjoy it in that way as well.

Finally, what is your favourite beverage when you are writing?

Mornings:   I’m trying to wean off of coffee, so I have to go with a very strong brewed English breakfast tea with cream and honey.

All other times:  Dr. Pepper

Thank you Queen of Spades for a really fun and in-depth look into your writings and your life.

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For more information about Queen of Spades, please see the links below:

http://about.me/authorqspades

https://www.facebook.com/authorqueenofspades

@authorspades

http://www.koobug.com/queenofspades

http://www.authorqos.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Queen-of-Spades/e/B00D5X3H9U

Using A Camera As A Canvas

I have been experimenting with light paintings for a few years now and I realised that the more I did, the more I wanted to really ‘paint’ with light. So I made a conscious decision to create images that looked as if they could have been painted rather than photographed. I have always loved the paintings of Marc Chagall and when my husband designed, made and fitted one of his own stained glass windows in our house, I used his beautiful coloured glass as inspiration for my homage to said artist. Here are a couple of my photos in the style of Chagall:

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Then I moved away from the static and used torches, ribbons and flowers. Some of the images turned out a bit like Francis Bacon:

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And some I like because they are a bit weird or colourful. I either position the camera on a tripod and move around with a torch or fairy lights, or I dance around moving the camera in front of a light source. Always with a slow shutter speed and high f-stop:

 

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Inspiration From Art

I have decided to write a collection of short stories based on the paintings of Marc Chagall and Edvard Munch. I’ve started a story based on Chagall’s The Promenade. I’ve called it, He Flew Her Like a Kite. It’s about a dress that doesn’t fit and the strained relationship between a couple who are about to get married. There’s something of the surreal in there too.

I love the way Chagall paints. There is humour, emotion and an oddness that is so appealing. Oh, and the colours he uses!

 

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When do you publish the next book in a series?

I think what I’m about to say will be familiar to a lot of authors.

My debut novel ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’ was published in June of this year.

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Forgetfulness-Volume/dp/1939897041/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Sales are slow. But that is to be expected I guess. I’m not really concerned about that. I’m more worried that I have botched my attempts at getting that all-important author profile going, despite working really hard to put myself on the on-line media world stage, and doing readings and workshops.

Previously to being published, I wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter, or any sites that promote authors. I have come to realise that I should have been much more active on the social media platform and may have left it too late.

My publishers are leaving all of the marketing to me. AHH! I am useless at self-promotion. I’ve tried ‘giveaways’, paid promotion on relevant sites, guest hosting on Facebook events and getting author spotlights. I have noticed that sales went up a tiny bit after I spent a small amount to advertise Echoes on Kindle boards, but sales slumped soon after.  So, the question remains, how do I get folk to notice me and buy the book? I have received some excellent reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but to what end? Now, I’m all a bit ‘harrumph’ and out of ideas.

So, I was wondering if having the next book in the series come out sooner rather than later, would be a good thing? Would readers be more willing to buy a book when they know that they wouldn’t have to wait to read the next instalment?

Does anyone have any advice? I would appreciate it.

On a different note: is it just me, or do grasshoppers look exactly like Alien?

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The moon as inspiration

I was stuck editing the second book in the series ‘The Song of Forgetfulness’. I didn’t know how to start a particular chapter.

I wandered around the house- didn’t take long, small house- and looked out of the bedroom window. Clouds parted in the star free night sky, and there was the moon looking down at me as if to say, “Oh, get on with it.”

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Then I took a photo of it. Thanks moon.

 

You can take a look at an exclusive excerpt from the as yet unreleased second book in the series, ‘The song of Forgetfulness on my Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/thesongofforgetfulness

The moon as inspiration

I was stuck editing the second book in the series ‘The Song of Forgetfulness’. I didn’t know how to start a particular chapter. I wandereImaged around the house- didn’t take long, small house- and looked out of the bedroom window. Clouds parted in the star free night sky and there was the moon looking down at me as if to say, “Oh, get on with it.” 

 

 

  So I did. You can take a look at an exclusive excerpt from the as yet unreleased, second book in the series ‘The song of Forgetfulness on my Facebook page. 

https://www.facebook.com/thesongofforgetfulness