What We Lost


No longer divided by the government

We segregate ourselves

Fearing and hating each other

Not only for the shade of our skin

But for the colors of our bandanas

Don’t we all bleed eternal ribbons of red?

Don’t we all grieve vast oceans of blue?

Don’t we all cry salt?

Don’t we all feel pain?

Pain brought on by





Maiming and spirit crushing

And for what?

Momentary fleeting instances of false power

At what cost?

The wailing of rage spilled in the streets

What are we gaining?


What have we lost?

Values too vital for these few words

Time that is fluid

Not dissected into Before and After

Only one word can come close to

The Answer


Correction, maybe two


Aren’t they one and the same?

Has your life been impacted by gang violence? Are you a non-violence advocate? Chime in below!

Thomas Hawk / Foter.com / CC BY-NC


If You Don’t Buy It, No One Else Will


Last week I had two job interviews in one day. Why I scheduled it that way, I could not tell you. Anyhow, I survived and on the drive home I got to thinking: I just had to sell myself and my capabilities to several people in under an hour each. I say several because one of the interviews consisted of a panel. All of them had copies of my technical resume listing my skills and accomplishments.  However, what I put on paper alone could never guarantee me a job. Interviews are still a vital part of the hiring process because good interaction is what seals the deal. The same is true for professional writing.

Since my whole life revolves around thinking about all things written I started to analyze why it is so important to be able to sell yourself as a writer. Every query letter, every synopsis of your latest novel, every ‘elevator spiel’ is you selling yourself for potential literary gain.  A query letter is a single page informal resume in which you need to hook the reader immediately. What sets your novel apart from the rest? What qualifies you to write about this subject? What is your target demographic? A synopsis is a detailed play by play of each segment or chapter in your book. It needs to be organized and succinct; a clear outline of what happens in your book. And then there is the elevator spiel: giving a brief overview of your book in under two minutes, about the time of an elevator ride.

Because I love you all and because I am learning and sharing as I go, I plan to devote time to detailing each of these aspects of selling yourself in the near future. My first piece of advice in this series is to believe in yourself. Be very well acquainted with what you have to offer and why the ‘buyer’ has got to have it. It’s easy to sell a product you stand behind wholeheartedly.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I got the job.

Photo credit: laverrue / Foter.com / CC BY

It Takes A Village


I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet and/or talk with a handful of highly successful authors and most of them have this one thing in common: they are an active member of a writer’s group.  I think that as newbies aspiring writers often think that authors are reclusive anti-social creative literary mavericks. While that may be true at times of inspiration, most authors have a broad network of support. Just read the acknowledgements portions of some of your favorite books and you’ll notice that the authors have pages upon pages of people to express gratitude towards for making that book possible. Why should any of us be any different? Learn from the best and make an effort to connect.

Here are 3 reasons why I think you should connect with a local writer’s group in your community if you haven’t already.

1. Unbiased Critique: While sharing your writing efforts with Pookie and them may give you a nice ego boost, it won’t give you the honest critique you need. Your family and friends care about you and this can color their assessment of your efforts. Chances are they know exactly how much your writing means to you, and are hesitant to criticize your efforts because they don’t want to discourage you. A writing group of your literary peers will have no problem telling you that your book about toenail jam may have limited marketing opportunities.

2.Networking Opportunities: When you join a writer’s group you’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. You’ll meet people who take the craft of writing seriously. You’ll also likely meet published authors and have to opportunity to pick their brains regarding the business aspects of professional writing. Not only that, most organizers of writer’s groups keep their fingers on the pulse of the industry and share information regarding upcoming literary events and conferences.

3.Inspiration and Encouragement: Being a writer is far from glamorous most of the time. And for every one writer that ‘makes it’ there are hundreds more whose work may never see the light of day. Sorry to be a downer, but it’s true. Being a part of a writer’s group can give you the encouragement you need to never stop writing. No matter what. Because for true writer’s, this whole thing is a calling. Just like believers go to church to keep on keeping on in their walk of faith, writers get together to encourage each other not to give up. Listening to other people talk about their agents and contract negotiations will help you remember that it is possible, and it does happen for some people, so it can happen for you.

But Faith, how do I find a writer’s group to join? I’m glad you asked. There are several ways to skin a cat. I was a part of a remarkable group in Dallas called The Writer’s Block Inc., which I discovered through word of mouth. Tell people you are looking for a writing group and you’d be surprised what may happen. Also, there is Google of course. Type in ‘writing groups’ or ‘writing critique sessions’ plus your zip code and explore the many options that come up. Lastly, there is my favorite method of connecting whenever I move to a new area: MeetUp.com. This site is great for networking for any reason, but it can also help you locate a writing group specific to your needs. Want to be a part of a fantasy fiction group? Memoirs your thing? Children’s books anyone? They’ve probably got it, and if they don’t you can easily start a group yourself. Just go to MeetUp.com, type in your area of interest and zip code, then you are good to go.

It takes a village people, so go find yours!

P.S. I did not mention on-line writing groups because I prefer face to face interaction, but if that’s what floats your boat, by all means go for it.

Photo credit: Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Second Sight

Have you ever been so in love with someone that you lose sight of yourself? Or been so in love that you can’t see the object of your affection for what they really are? Well, I can say yes to both of those questions and this poem is about my personal experience with love, the loss of love…then love again. Hope it speaks to you.

Second Sight

When it all began

I looked at him skeptically

Thinking could he be someone with purpose?

Created and divinely designed

Especially for me?

I looked in his eyes

And thought I saw a reflection of me

I saw ambition and goals coupled with integrity

I saw hope and desire

Along with the drive to reach

What I thought was our combined destiny

I believed I had finally found love’s sweet melody

I floated on the wind

And heard his name whispered in the breeze

I saw what I wanted to see

It was only a matter of time

Before it all began to unwind

And the view from my eyes

Started to lose its shine

But me being me

I stubbornly towed the line

Ignored the warnings

And decided that I would fight

For what I felt was mine

Love is patient

Love is kind

No where does it say that love

Requires you to lose your mind

However I lost mine for a minute

Which I guess is easy to do when you are trying so hard

To find… To find…

To find

Any sort of truth coming through his eyessearching-1_l

Like I said I saw what I wanted to see

I did not see the lies

Did not recognize the game

Until it was too late

I was already wrapped up

Drowned and covered in my own shame

It was in that moment

That he saw himself reflected in my eyes

And he had to look away

Because he couldn’t stand the sight

Love is patient

Love is kind

And there is someone who walked the earth

To find…to find…

To find…me

Someone that whispers

Late into the night

Oh so quietly

I’ve been waiting for you

Sweet child love of my life

He showed me what I did not deserve

What I felt couldn’t be right

I saw myself reflected in His eyes

And I looked away because I couldn’t stand the sight

But everywhere I turned he was there with His grace

Telling me that His banner over me is love

And then He wiped the tears from my face

He covered my shame and my pain with His blood

Picked me up and set me in my rightful place

So now I see this love thing

Without any compromise

Reflected through His eyes

And I can’t look away

Because it is such a beautiful sight.

Did the poem above speak to you? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below! 

Photo credit: kevin dooley / Foter.com / CC BY

Ashley Love Is In Our Author Spotlight!

Ashley Love

What’s your name/pen name?

Ashley Love

What are your genres?

Poetry, Inspirational Memoir

What have you written?

On Sept 1, 2013, I released a preview eBook of Tainted Elegance: In The Key of Love. That will lead up to the actual book that will be released on Valentine’s Day 2014. My inspirational memoir, Blooming Quest will be out in December 2013 in print and eBook formats. I am also working on a book with the Co-Founder of our organization, Poets Against Bullying, titled Fearless Poets Against Bullying. It will be released in Summer 2014.

When did you begin your writing career?

I have written my whole life. I had poems published in anthologies as a child, but started really focusing on my writing career two years ago.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?

I write anytime I have something on my mind. I would like to say full-time, but I also have to work on Poets Against Bullying and get prepared for our upcoming events.

How do you make time to write?

I bring a tablet with me everywhere I go and jot down ideas when they come to mind. After my babies are asleep at night, I then bring those ideas to life.

What’s your writing process?

I write whenever I feel the need to put something down on paper. I try to at least write three times a week for about an hour. Evenings are the best time for me to write because my kids are settled down. If I need to really focus on writing, I will get my laptop and head to a café where there are fewer distractions and I can give my writing the attention it needs.

Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long?

Yes, I keep a journal in my purse where I write down ideas, feelings, things I see, etc. I have kept journals since I was like 5. I used to ask for journals and pens for Christmas instead of toys.

Do you find ‘journaling’ helpful for your professional writing?

Yes, it helps me keep up with my ideas.

What’s your inspiration?

My kids are my inspiration. They make me push forward every day to be the best person, mother, and writer that I can be. They keep me going when times get rough and they know how to make me smile (even though it is sometimes only because they have done something super bad and want to butter me up before they break the news to me).

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

I want to inspire people. That is my main goal. I want to leave a legacy of inspirational words that continue to touch people’s lives after I’m gone.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Never give up! This industry is tough and people will chew you up and spit you out, without thinking twice. Have confidence in yourself and your work and keep trying, no matter what! Don’t ever get too cocky that you are the best, and always be open for improvement. You can do it, but it takes patience and perseverance.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?

Lots of poetry books and stories from friends of mine. I love reading so I try to get all of my friend’s books, if possible. With my schedule right now, I have very little time to read like I used to–Hopefully that will change in the future, so I can get more reading time in.

Tainted Elegance Cover

What are you currently working on?

I am working on the final touches on my inspirational memoir, Blooming Quest and my poetry book, Tainted Elegance: In The Key of Love. I am co-writing a book on bullying and abuse called Fearless Poets Against Bullying and am already working on the second book in the Tainted Elegance series.

Latest release and book blurb?

Tainted Elegance: In The Key of Love is the first book of the series,  Tainted Elegance. It is filled with poetry that is true  to the heart and was written to inspire others going through the same life turmoil as Ashley has gone through. It’s focus is not only on love  between two people, but loving yourself. It is a wonderful collection for anybody that loves poetry from the heart and based on real life  experiences.

Here is a poem from Tainted Elegance: In The Key of Love

Footprints of Life

As I stepped my feet into the sand,
I thought about my life and how it’s been.

The struggles and pain tried to break me down,
But thanks to my faith my feet are planted firmly on the ground.

The people I trusted to stick by my side,
Withered away as the seasons flew by.

Those to whom I tried to lend a helping hand,
Turned their backs on me and disappeared like tiny grains of sand.

The tide picked up and the wind grew fierce.
I couldn’t help but face my biggest fears.

I was out on the pier, no shield from the wind.
The ferocious waves kept crashing in.

The careless breeze filled my eyes with tears,
As I stood there in that moment looking back on the years.

My struggles slowed, as I learned to let go-
To enjoy the breeze and in my life put God in control.

Even as my feet hit rock bottom many days,
I refused to let the pain get in my way.

As I walked by faith and not by sight,
I peered back at my past, which was slowly fading out of my sight.

As the eager sun shone upon my face,
I finally got to feel loves warm embrace.

As the years passed by-my life almost complete,
I’m thankful for the memories I will always keep.

From sunrise to sunset and all that was in between,
I learned many lessons and accomplished many dreams.

I stand in the ocean looking back at where I’ve been,
My footprints are still etched crisply in the sand.

Here is a description for the memoir Blooming Quest via Amazon:Blooming Quest

“Ashley Love’s first book to come out in print, Blooming Quest, takes the reader on a journey as she searches to find love for herself, create a plan (for getting out of the financial, emotional, and physical rut she was living in), and eventually see progress and growth. Ashley does not go on this journey alone. She takes the reader on the journey with her.  She guides you in setting goals, eliminating negativity, creating stability, and welcoming growth.

As a single mother of three, Ashley has been through tough times and turmoil. She allowed her negative surroundings to influence her to the point to where she was almost homeless. Although her morals and heart was in the right places, she allowed people to pass boundaries and abuse her kindness. She became frustrated and decided to make THAT change for the last time to follow God’s lead for her life and start destroying some of the weeds that had overgrown in her garden of life.”

Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?*Alt. for poets: what type of music would you set your poetry to if you were performing it?*

For my poetry, I like soothing music that fits the rhythm of the poem. As for someone to play my character, well in Blooming Quest, since it is a memoir they would be playing me. I am silly, but very focused. I would have to say Reese Witherspoon. I think she could get my character down to the tee.

How can we purchase your work?

You can get Tainted Elegance: In The Key of Love on Smashwords and Amazon

Blooming Quest will be available in print and as an eBook in December 2013.  For updates on Blooming Quest and to buy an advanced copy starting December 1st, go to my website!

How can we stay in touch with you?

Website: http://www.writerashleyl.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerashleyl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerashleyl
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writerashleyl

Didn’t you just love that poem? Get another sneak peek of Tainted Elegance: In The Key of Love here!