Monday, September 22, 2014

Three Rules by Marie Drake-Book Review

As a writer, an avid reader, and survivor of domestic abuse I was very eager to read this book. Certainly, Three Rules captured my attention from the very beginning. I found the story to be very touching and at the same time thought provoking and filled with intrigue.

It is so easy to become emotionally involved with the main character who had to cope with a myriad of abusive situations which impacted her over the course of her life. That’s how three rules were born for Hope Wellman…
1.) The most dangerous people in the world are not always strangers. 2.) The scariest things imaginable are not those that can kill you, but those you can live through. And probably the most prominent: 3.) The most horrible possibility is not what could happen to you, but what you could become – I became a killer.”

When a child is sexually molested, there may be no outward signs, so in many instances, there is no healing. Children often keep secrets about such experiences and suffer alone. After all, pain stays alive while trust is forever gone. In the end, Hope, as the author named the main character in this book, is one of the greatest things humans can have. It drives us to still exist, to survive.

Three Rules is a well written book; one that stays in the reader’s mind long after last page has been turned.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Interview with the author of Poets Are Not Useful, Gwyndyn Alexander

Poets Are Not Useful spans twenty years, detailing the author's abusive childhood, her recovery, her love for New Orleans, and the triumph of a broken soul healing and finding her voice.

Gwyndyn Alexander (1969-) is a feminist poet from New Orleans. She was born in San Francisco, but moved to New Orleans and never looked back. In 2005, she lost her house and job and her library to the Great Levee Failure. In April of 2006, she moved into exile in Austin, Texas where she currently resides. Her greatest hope is to someday move back to the city that will always be her home, because she knows what it means to miss New Orleans with all her heart. She survived an abusive childhood, and transmuted her experiences into art. She is a fervent supporter of, donating 10% of all book sales to the organization. This is her fifth book.

What inspired you to write Poets Are Not Useful?

I had a very abusive childhood, 18 years worth of awfulness. It's never easy recovering from that sort of thing. These poems were very therapeutic for me. It really helped to tell my story, my get that anger and grief out and on the page. My hope is that other survivors of abuse will read it and realize that they're not alone, that they can survive and thrive and transmute their pain into something positive.
That's also why I'm donating 10% of all proceeds from the book to They are a wonderful group fighting for the rights of children, and fighting for justice against the abusers.

How you came up with such engaging title?

It's explained in the intro. I was having a drunken conversation with a hard core scientist type. He kept asking what the function of poetry is, what IS a poet, whether poets are even useful. The book as a whole is my answer to him.

At the very end is a kind of epilogue to the book, where I answer that poets are NOT useful. Microwaves are useful. Duct tape is useful. Poets are essential. :)

How long did it take you to write this book?

This book has been 20 years in the making. A year ago, I shared my poetry on Andrew Vachss' Facebook. He told me that it was criminal that such powerful, important work was out of print. He said that my voice needed to be heard.
So, I buckled down and got to work, revising old unpublished poems and writing new ones. I think it's a good collection.

What books and authors have most influenced you?

Andrew Vachss, definitely. His Burke novels introduced me to, and were instrumental in helping me internalize the truth that what had happened to me was not in any way my fault.

Judith Tarr has also been a huge influence. I sent her an advance copy of Poets Are Not Useful, as a thank you for all of the hours of pleasure her books have given me over the years. Luckily, she liked it. :)

In fact, she gave me a blurb for the back cover: “These poems pierce the heart and twist the knife. Visceral, dark, and beautiful.”

If you were to write in a different genre, what it would be?

I would love to be able to write novels, science fiction would be great. Unfortunately, my mind seems geared towards poetry. Maybe someday, I'll discover I can write actual plots and characters...anything's possible in an ever-expanding universe.

Do you have current work in progress? 

I've just started work on a collection of poems about New Orleans. I lived there for over a decade, until the Great Levee Failure of 05. I lost my house and my business, and was forced into exile here in Austin.

Don't get me wrong, Austin is a great town, but there's no place like home. I just need to find some ruby slippers....

Where readers can find your latest achievements? 

The book has its own Facebook page:
I'm Gwyndyn Alexander on Facebook, if anyone wants to say 'hi':

My husband Jonathan runs the Twitter thing for me at I may be a twit, but I don't know anything about tweeting.

Here is a sneak peek of Poets Are Not Useful:

Poet as Reflection

Do you know that late at night
alone in the dark feeling?

Too much wrong, too little love.

Helpless. Hopeless.

You can't cope,
can't go on,
can't face another day

I live there
in that cold empty pain.

If you look
in the too-bright 4 a.m. mirror,
I'll be there looking back at you.

Maybe we'll sense each other,
touch fingertips to glass,
and know

we are not alone.
Poet as Portrait

I had my portrait painted once
when I was five.

Static image:
the child I never really was,
never grows or learns,
two-dimensional innocence
in my painted eyes.

I see that portrait in my mind
and wonder,
was I ever that girl?

Five years old, so solemn.
Cheeks plump with baby fat,
mute accusation,                     

Sometimes I feel
that flat image
is truer to
than the me I push through
my self as marionette.

I want to step into my painted
self and rest,
but my strings bind me,
tether me.
Is this what I have become?
That painted girl transformed,
out of the canvas
but still
the work of someone else's

Available in both print and Kindle editions on Amazon

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Recommendation: 10 Children’s Short Stories Series by Oldiees Publishing

PRESENTS ITS NEW TITLE: 10 Children’s Short Stories Series
                                                                        AUDIO EDITION of Fairy Tales & Fables Collection

Listed in What’s Hot on the Apple iBooks Store US & UK.

Timeless collections of children's greatest stories including the works of Lewis Carroll, Madame Le prince de Beaumont, The Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, J. M. Barrie, Hans Christian Andersen, Edward R. Shaw, and more! These collection features 20 integrated text and audio narrated by Matthew Rutledge & Erica Lee.

+ 65 more!

Available at:

Apple iBooks Store: 

Google Play Store: 

Oldiees Publishing is a digital publisher founded in 2010 with the stated mission of offering timeless collection of cultural works in many genres that entertain, amuse, and inform. Some of the books Oldiees published include Children's Book of American Biographies, The Mystery & Thriller Short Stories, 50 Science Fiction Short Stories, Bible Made Easy 2: New Testament, and Great Speeches Collection 1.

Readers can find more about Oldiees Publishing by visiting

This post was brought to you in partnership with OPENKAST.