Interview with Poet Vontress Ortega- Installment 12

I’d like to welcome Vontress Ortega as our next guest! Vontress is a four time published author with her newest “Tainted Soil” released just last month! Her collections touch on character development, self empowerment, love, and betrayal. Vontress is incredibly talented and relatable, I had a hard time putting down her Unveiled collection and I’m sure you’ll all feel the same way once you read this interview!

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What’s the creative idea behind having the titles at the end of the poems?

I felt that the title being at the bottom of the poem was more like a “ signature”
and the poems were letters to the readers.

‘Masquerade’ speaks so well to conforming to social norms, can you talk more about the inspiration behind that poem?

The inspiration behind the poem came from scrolling down my timeline. I have
seen so many people that I know personally change themselves to fit in with that
they THINK is going on in someone else’s life based on social media posts. We
like what we see and then begin to question ourselves so much that we start to
change so that we are out of the ordinary.

 

I think the Unveiled collection touched social media in relationships, how do you think they affect each other?

I do feel that social media is sometimes damaging to relationships that don’t
have solid foundations. They affect how we feel about ourselves and our peers. Because
in our minds we have been programmed to see only surface and not substance.

 

How would you describe ‘Unveiled’ in one sentence?

Shedding light on our broken pieces !

I would like to share the Non Profit organization that I am apart of. It is called Your Hearts Deziare. It is a Women’s Empowerment and Support group. We help women who have suffered from life’s traumas and help them build self confidence and work on their mental and emotional health through beauty, retreats and art expression.

 

To get in touch with Vontress visit her:

 blog

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 Amazon page

Bookshine and Readbows’ Where I Ache Review!

I’m lucky to have another Where I Ache review coming in! Head over to Bookshine and Readbows for some awesome reviews!

 

Where I Ache is a sizeable volume of poetry, split into six parts labelled with parts of the body that allude to their thematic emotional link.  For example, the ‘Greedy Green Eyes’ section covers jealousy and longing in many of its poems.

In an easy-to-read, accessible writing style, Megan O’Keeffe presents poetry that anyone who has ever loved, longed for or lost can identify with.  The majority of the poems are short – between one and three verses for the most part – but the emotions covered are huge and all-encompassing.”

 

you can read the whole review here, thanks again Steph!

Where to Focus to Gain Site Traffic

There is a ton of advice out there for how to gain traffic to your site. There are many ways to do it and the same way won’t work for everyone. The only advice I think I’m going to give you is this:

Don’t try to be a jack of all trades, but a queen of one. You’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and not maximizing any of the venues.

 

From here I’m just going to talk about what I’ve been up to, where I’ve been going wrong, and what I plan to do from here. The top 4 social media apps are Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. I really don’t have any data with Instagram so I’m not going to mention it. It’s lumped together in my ‘other’ percentage because it’s so low, a mere 1%.  

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Percentages from the “Referrer” stat section of my blog

 

Twitter – 2%

I was involved in the blogging community on Twitter first I think. It was great for connecting with bloggers and relating to their struggles. I put a lot of time and effort into growing my presence and following on Twitter. Twitter is where I announce my new books and blog posts. I liked the platform and I understood it. 

 

2 years later and I think this is the first time I’m actually checking the stats for where my traffic is coming from. I’m very surprised to realize I’ve been wasting all this time meanwhile Twitter is the 6th referrer by a large margin. I’m going to redirect most of my time to Pinterest and see if it makes a difference.

 

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Facebook – 4%

I have not taken the leap to making a blog or author page on Facebook and I don’t think I will. I get decent traffic from Facebook groups but I don’t really feel it’s organic so I don’t think that’s where I want to grow. Well organized groups will have specific posting on specific days to promote your blog or social media with either likes, comments, or follows. To ensure no one is taken advantage you’ll usually have 2 days to check out everyone else’s site so traffic is pretty immediate. 

 

Pinterest – 8%

I’ve heard Pinterest is a gradual build with traffic but it is long lasting once you get there. A pin has a month long lifespan while posts from Twitter or Facebook are mere hours. This might explain why Pinterest, which I haven’t used since March, is still my second highest referrer. That’s right, I didn’t use Pinterest for over 5 months but it close to doubles Facebook’s traffic which is next in line. I don’t use Facebook every month either but I think Facebook works more as ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

 

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screenshot of Tailwind dashboard

 

Pinterest is pretty hard for me to grasp though. It took me a while to get the hang of creating my own pins. It’s a lot of work in the beginning between finding group boards to join, creating all your pins and boards, and setting up your advance scheduling with tools such as Tailwind. Tailwind has a free month trial and then you’d pay $120 for a year membership. You can schedule hundreds of pins weeks in advance and you can also join Tailwind tribes. 

 

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screenshot of canva workshop

 

I had a membership last year but I was still figuring out how to use Canva to create pin graphics and the whole scheduling process took so long for me. It was exhausting, frustrating, and there were many weeks when I just did not have time for it. I knew it was time to cancel my membership and regroup.

 

Months later now, I’ve found this data and decided I need to give Pinterest another chance. Luckily, I’m still in the same groups but I will be looking into joining more which will be time consuming. I already made 21 new pins over the past few weeks so now I feel ready to get back into it and not feel like I’m lagging behind. I will most likely consult people with more experience to point me in the right direction this time. 

 

The bullet points:

Twitter is great for feeling less alone in the blogger struggle

Facebook can bring traffic within a day or two and best for advice

Pinterest will continue to bring traffic even if you neglect it for a long time.

 

I’m going to make this pie graph again in 6 months and see if I’ve made any impact so make sure to check back in for that update!

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5,000 Followers!

Last month was my 3 year blogiversary and I was hoping to reach 5k by then but 2 weeks off isn’t anything to be bummed about in my opinion. I’m thrilled to be here and have the support from all of you!

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I remember my first 6 months being happy to reach 300 followers so the growth since then is incredible! I have a post scheduled at the end of the week for driving traffic to your site so check back in to see that!

The one thing I would like to say though, is other bloggers don’t have to be your competition. I run different series every year, my first one was reblogging other sites and my series this year is giving a spotlight to emerging poets! I want to help other bloggers and artists just like I’ve been helped in the blogging community. Showing love to other sites hasn’t harmed my stats, but it has given me new friends!

So I encourage you all to work together and not against each other.

 

Interview with Poet Jupiter Grant- Installment 10

Today we travel across the pond to UK poet and blogger Jupiter Grant! Jupiter recently released her saucy debut collection “Poe-rotica” which I reviewed and we’ll talk about today! We learn much more about the depth and insight of the collection from this interview so let’s hop right into it.

 

A good chunk of your collection is written in rhyme schemes, what do you enjoy about rhyming?

The “sing-song” quality of rhyming poetry appeals to me. I like it’s rhythms and beats. When I have a rhyming couplet in my head, there’s a tempo that inevitably accompanies it, and I find myself tapping out the beats as I write. 

As I say in my introduction, I grew up with the work of an English poet called Pam Ayres. I don’t know whether she was ever well known outside of the UK, but she’s very famous here. Her poems were always in rhyme schemes, and they were always very funny. I recommend everyone look for clips of her reading her work. There are lots on YouTube and, for me, they still stand up decades later.

If you won the lottery, (or your book sold a million copies overnight!) what is the first thing you would do?

After jumping up and down excitedly, and possibly fainting from the shock, I would immediately hand in my notice at work, and buy a house or a flat overlooking the sea where I could spend all my time writing, reading and walking along the beach. My absolute dream location is the west coast of the UK, Cornwall or Devon, but I guess the Caribbean would be fine, too. 😉

 

There are some predominant english words such as ‘shag’ and ‘wanking’ as well as French words which i think adds another layer in the collection, how do you think language plays a role in poetry?

I think the beauty of colloquialisms is that they speak to the shared linguistic heritage of a group of people. For me as a reader, if I encounter a word, phrase, or reference that is perhaps peculiar to my own cultural and linguistic heritage, I feel like I’m sharing an in-joke with the author: in that moment, we “get” each other, we’re on the same page. To give an example, in a recent fiction I wrote there was a reference to “Ann Widdecombe”. She is a well known, indeed infamous, right-wing politician here in the UK. Had I changed it to “Margaret Thatcher” (which I had considered doing) more people would have understood the reference, but it would have seemed anachronistic and out-of-touch. As it was, the context of the sentence meant that a reader didn’t need to be familiar with Widdecombe’s name to understand the inference. 

Also, colloquialisms or foreign words and phrases can often capture an idea very effectively in a short word or phrase, where one might otherwise need a more “wordy” stanza to achieve the same effect, or can express a concept more poetically or sensually (e.g. soixante neuf). That’s a useful tool for any writer, I think. 

Though words like shag and wank are not commonplace in the US, I suspect that anyone who’s watched an Austin Powers film would still get the reference, so I didn’t feel concerned that using these terms would confuse or alienate a non-UK readership. And I like throwing a bit of that kind of Brit-speak in because it’s a reflection of how I talk, and I find that no matter what I’m writing, there’s usually a chunk of me in there somewhere.

 

There are some religious references such as Eden’s Garden and Christ-like which is an interesting juxtaposition to the collection’s theme, could you share a bit more about the thought process?

I have always been fascinated by the interplay of sex and religion. There are countless academic studies that explore the interconnectedness of the two. Sex and the mystico-religious experience are both associated with ecstasy, love, communion with a/ The beloved. If you read the works of many of the most well-known Christian mystics and saints, there is a very strong vein of sensuality and almost orgasmic intensity in their religious experiences. St Teresa of Avila is a perfect example, but there are countless others.

I think also that in the same way regional colloquialisms can enhance meaning in one’s writing, the language of religion also forms part of our shared nomenclature. As readers, regardless of whether we are believers within a religious tradition, most of us will still have at least a basic familiarity with the concepts of, for example, the garden of Eden, karma, Nirvana, a Bat- or Bar-Mitzvah, the hajj, etc. 

 

Where do you hope the future takes you, writing-wise?

I share the same dream as arguably every other author on the planet, which is to be able to write full-time. I don’t have any grand delusions of being the next JK Rowling or Danielle Steel. As long as I could earn just enough from writing to keep a roof over my head, keep enough basics in the cupboard, and keep the WiFi running, I’d be in seventh heaven. 

I’d like to have finished writing and editing my first novel by the end of 2019. I really enjoy blogging short fiction and poetry, and I fully intend to keep doing that. I’ve met such amazing, supportive and simply wonderful people through my blog, and I don’t know how I ever got along without them in my life!

 

What was the first song/album/artist you fell in love with?

I was an ABBA fan from the time I was a toddler. But the first artist and song that I remember being absolute obsessed with was Kate Bush and “Wuthering Heights”. My second cousin had the ’45, and my family couldn’t get me out the door while it was playing. In the end, she was somehow persuaded to give me the record, as well as her copy of “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer. (I’m sorry for nicking your records, J!). Thus began a life-long love affair with Kate Bush. I think she’s magical. 

 

Connect with Jupiter on her

Blog

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

Debatably Dateable is 3 years old!

I’m so excited to celebrate another anniversary with Debatably Dateable! She’s quickly closing in on 5k followers and is consistently setting new records for monthly views this summer, so I couldn’t be prouder! Over the past 3 years, I’ve been able to produce about 500 posts and 2 poetry collections.

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Ddateable has been a great launching pad for my sophomore poetry collection Where I Ache and I thank you guys so much for all that support!!

book cover ebook

Where I Ache on Amazon and Goodreads

 

DD has expanded with dating advice, poet interviews, and writing and publication tips. My favorite article from the past 12 months is You Shouldn’t have to Love Yourself First because of all the discussion it fostered in the comments! My favorite poem would be Moving On and Moving Out, it’s an older piece but I enjoy how it’s held through time.

I’m exciting to explore more topics in the relationship and dating world as well as write and publish more poetry! I hope to continue to reach new audiences with my blog and my books! I’ll be updating you all on the progress of my third collection over this next year so make sure to always check in!

 

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Poetry Book Reviews

Some more book review coming your way!!
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Real like Laundry – Breanne Weber

 

It was so cool to see how this poet used the landscape of the page to draw in drama from spacing out words to isolating sentences. In a similar sense, she also used font size and boldness to highlight words. This gave extra depth to those poems and captured the reader’s full attention. It was very refreshing to read a poetry book that was not centered on love nor a relationship. I wish I understood the chapter title and division more, i feel silly that I wasn’t able to fully get it. This poet also spoke to our 5 senses very well, especially smell which I feel like was a theme throughout the collection. 

 

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Poe-rotica – Jupiter Grant

 

Poe rotica is hot and STEAMY! This is absolutely Adults Only as it contains explicit details of some very adult activities! I found Poe rotica very unique as it wasn’t just your regular love or sex collection, it’s a collection that can be deeply admired by it’s community. For those not familiar with that community, it’s great sex education and cultural knowledge. 

Rhyme schemes aren’t really my personal favorite, but an absolute favorite poem of mine was Tango (p42)! It’s a poetry form you don’t see often, it requires creative skill and, is really fresh in the current poetry world. Jupiter definitely has a passion for her work and she’ll have a great writing career.   

 

Interview with Poet Alice Fawn – Installment 8

Alice Fawn is bursting with creative talent from her poetry, singing songwriting, writing, and even teaching yoga. Alice carries out her day in an art form with grace. She heals your body, mind, and soul through all of her creative work. Let’s dive into some of her many projects now.

 

How would you describe ‘Soft Fairytales’ in one sentence? 


The fairytales I’ve written are dreamy, soft and empowering. They are pleasant magical journeys wherein the message is always the same: You have a purpose. Powerful beauty is already within you Kindness and compassion matter. 

This is unconventional for a fairytale. Classically, they are generally a bit dark and dramatic. 

 

 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

 

I am open to whatever expression wants to flow through next. I had no idea that I’d be writing poetry, fairytales, or even children’s books! I thought I was just a singer who made up lyrics. If we take away labels and expectations, we can be surprised at what comes out!

 

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from Alice’s Instagram, linked below

 

What do you hope readers will take away from your children’s book, Ginny’s Cloud?

I hope readers delight in the whimsy of the story. I aim to inspire children to have heart based connections with others.

 

 

What is your background in spirituality & yoga? how does it influence poetry/ creative process?

 

I am a yoga teacher and healer, and I tune in every morning with a brief meditation. This helps me to stay elevated and more calm throughout my day. The quieter my mind, the richer the ideas! I am open to receive. Sometimes a phrase will drift into my consciousness seemingly out of nowhere. I believe this can only happen when I am still. 

 

 

Why is writing important to you?

 

Its nice to have a solitary creative outlet. It often feels like a form of meditation. I hope to uplift and empower people through my work. 

 

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photo from Alice’s instagram, linked below

 

When did you start singing? How did you make the jump to starting this new project?

 

I remember singing and humming as a child. In a rock band, it’s hard to sing pretty the whole time, and lyrics get lost. My current project, Aurora Aura , came about because I realized that my lyrics were important, and the ethereal quality of my voice needed to be heard. Aurora Aura has guitar looping by Dustin Sebes and melody/lyrics by me.  

 

If you’d like to see more of Alice, connect with her here!

Musical Instagram

Poetry Instagram

Blog

Amazon

Youtube