Friday, November 16, 2018

Wavering seas

You were always like that
Like fire and water.

They say the two do not mix.
But with you, they did.

Alternately passionate, burning everything before you
Then dousing it all, dousing us all
with waves of grief.

Your red hair too
curling around your face
like flaming waves
that the wind could not hold
like a fiery halo
surrounding a passionate angel's face

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Poem: Candlesticks

My mother-in-law gave these to me on the day I got married.
Along with a conch shell, and something else i don't remember.
They were made of bronze, she said.
Had been in the family for years.

I imagined those candlesticks in their ancient setting
An embroidered or lacy white tablecloth flowing over a large rectangular table 
and the table itself laden with food to feast on.
Turkey, ham, lamb on the like.

For, in my imagination, the mood had to be festal.
Bronze candlesticks were not for everyday usage.
Only holidays, marriages, births, would call them forth.

Of all her gifts on that day
I preferred the conch shell most.
Unlike the candlesticks, it did not speak of my husband's heritage
It did not call me to be what my mother-in-law wanted me to be.

It called me to nature
to the sea
Looking at the candlesticks, 
I held my ears  to the roaring within the shell
and listened.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Poetry: On inheriting my aunt's house in Jamaica

This was my aunt's
This house
These gardens
These mango trees
In this yard
she walked, cooked, raised hell.
It was in that room there
that she argued with a ghost deep into the night
when he came and stood by our bed.
In our family
only ancestral ghost were allowed.

This was my aunt's
these apartments
this tenement

And there, there,
was where she cooked the corn meal porridge
she tried to feed me.

She was fierce about this place.
Hers! Hers! Hers!
Even on her deathbed, 
she railed against giving it up
Against giving life up.
Although her life was nothing much then
Only ravings, and jealousies, and ownership, and greed.
No, i do not think i want this house.
Not its lime trees
its luscious mangoes
its gardens filled with hummingbirds and hibiscus.

Wouldn't she begrudge even the smallest mango i place on my lips?
Wouldn't her ghost continually roam it?
And i have neither the spirit nor the stamina
To argue long into the night with an angry ghost.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Poem: Looking at my novel "The Constant Tower" which few have read

With conviction, hope, and endurance, i crafted this
I spun it from my heart
yes, and from illness too
And all my hope was intricately woven within it.

That is the way it is with most art
whether book or painting, music or dance.
For time, times, time and a half, we pour out our souls.
And, finished, we set it adrift
(without money or power, we can do little else)
We imagine a favorable wind 
or some kind wave
or a groundswell will toss our making into the world's heart
Now, finished -- finished seven years now and writing newer stories--
I am tired and sick at heart at the praises my famous friends receive.
My teeth and jaws ache when I see 
their lists and posts of acclamation.
I am not as kindly or as saintly as I should be
The happiness of the famous and acknowledged
is too great a burden for my unwhole and petty heart to bear.

My dear sweet perfect little book
you who contain so much of my heart,
although my fame and wholeness rested on you.

I did love you for yourself
 --for you are a thing of Beauty, and all who have seen you have praised you--
I grieve for you continually.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Interview for Annie Douglass Lima's new book The Student and the Slave!

Take a look at this exciting new young adult action and adventure novel, The Student and the Slave, now available for purchase! This is the third book in the Krillonian Chronicles, after The Collar and the Cavvarach and The Gladiator and the Guard

The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

The Collar and
the Cavvarach by Annie Douglass Lima
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: 

Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.

The Gladiator and the Guard
by Annie Douglass LimaBook 2: The Gladiator and the Guard

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.

And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?

Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!

About the Author:
Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and
later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published fifteen books (three YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her
students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides
writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction),
scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with the Author Online:

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of the first two books in the series!


When did you realize this story was a trilogy?

As I wrote book 1, The Collar and the Cavvarach, I assumed that would be it (and that story can stand on its own). But a year later I thought of a new situation to put my characters in, and their adventures continued in The Gladiator and the Guard. I gave them a nice happy ending in my first draft, but I just wasn’t satisfied with it. Everything else in the story had been polished and felt right to me, and my publication date was only a few weeks away, but I knew the ending was all wrong. It took me a long time to figure out how to make it right, but finally at practically the last minute I changed the final chapter, making the story a lot stronger. That meant there would have to be a third book to show how the characters got out of the mess I left them in. Still, it wasn’t until I planned out book 3 in detail a couple years later that I knew the story would truly end there.

What are the basic conflicts in your story?

There are several. Steene spends much of the book in conflict with his annoying young owner, Raymond. He also clashes with Raymond’s dad, a wealthy businessman who sees slaves as objects that exist for their owners’ convenience. Bensin gets involved with gang members and ends up entangled in their problems, which include several street fights.

What are the main themes of your story?

Freedom, family, responsibility, morality, tough choices.

Tell us about your main character?

Bensin is a slave who is also a very talented martial artist. In the first book, his goal is to keep his little sister safe and somehow arrange for her freedom, which is an almost impossible task in his world, but he is determined not to give up. In the second book, Bensin’s own safety is at stake as he struggles not only for freedom but for the right to choose his own identity. Now in the third book, he struggles to forge a new life for himself and his sister and arrange a rescue for his coach in a setting where he can’t find a job and doesn’t feel as though he fits in.

Is there a villain in your story?

There are a few different people who could be considered villains. I’ll focus on Axel, a gang leader who hires Bensin to train him and his street gang in combat techniques.

What does he want? Why do you like your villain?

Axel values honesty, courage, skill, and teamwork among the young men he leads. But when it comes down to it, mostly he wants money and power, and he’s willing to do almost anything to get what he wants. I guess I like him because he is just who he needs to be for his role. He appreciates Bensin for what he can give, but when he decides Bensin’s usefulness is over, he has no qualms about making use of him in a different way.

Who has influenced your writing?

My high school English teacher, Mrs. Wood, was a big encouragement to me, both personally and in my writing.  She taught an after-school creative writing club, and for various reasons all the other students dropped out one by one.  When I was the only one left, I was afraid she would cancel the club, which was the highlight of my week.  But she was willing to continue, so I met with her every Tuesday afternoon.  I would bring in whatever poems and stories I had written that week, and she would critique them and help me see ways to make them better.  My writing improved a lot during the two years she was there, and I will be forever grateful that she was willing to invest so much time in me.  I really don’t think I would be where I am today if not for Mrs. Wood.       
Tell us about some of your other books.

Besides the Krillonian Chronicles, I have a fantasy series called the Annals of Alasia.

 There are three main books in it so far, but each of them can stand on its own. Each book deals with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn. Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life. In the Enemy’s Service features a girl as the protagonist and tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded. Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion.  In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the timeframes and settings overlap. I also have a short ebook of “interviews” that I conducted with the characters in the other three books. Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews is not available on Amazon, but I send a free copy to anyone who signs up for my mailing list (to receive updates once or twice a year when I release new books).

I’ve also written a short Christian puppet script (Squawky Learns About Love) and put together a coloring/activity book (Hide it In Your Heart) that uses verses from the Bible in colorable fonts. And I’ve compiled five separate anthologies of my students’ poetry.

Books by Annie Douglass Lima:
Student poetry anthologies edited by Annie Douglass Lima:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Heaven of Heavens

I always think that every religion has its own afterlife.And their own hells and heavens differ from the Christian versions. Buddhist hell for instance differs from Viking hell from Christian hell, etc. So, if we assume that everyone gets to their own religion's version of hell, we will have Hindus finally freeing themselves from the dreaded karmic wheel and entering into blessed nothingness or if they believe in transmigration and have lived horrible lives becoming cockroaches in their nest lives. The Islamic heaven, much like for instance the mormon heaven is pretty patriarchal and made for men and marriage but there is that bonus of being a god and creating your own world. And most of the moslems i know would challenge you on the idea that God loves. For them to call God Father is an insult and to say He loves is to depict him as weak. So we have to not be imperialistic in our spiritual inclusiveness because we are going to insult folks we think we are including.

So....the typical christian heaven is for beings who want a God who loves, a God who so believes in free will that he allows you to leave him and to go to hell if you wish, and the heaven is sexless, a city, and consists of being like God because we can see Him as He is.Let us not be imperialistic and put people into our kind of heaven who don't want to be there. Perhaps the Christian heaven isn't the best of heavens, but it's the one i like. Others may want their own heavens.

I believe what Peter said that God shows no favorites and anyone who truly trusts him in any nation will be saved. I also believe that Jesus is -- as Mohammed calls him-- "the great mercy." It is possible that Mercy (Jesus unknown to some folks in another religion) is saving people whom we may not consider Christian. But the Christian in me believes that any kind of "work" or human self-righteousness cannot be allowed to taint heaven. Thus self-righteous people of any religions, Christianity included, will not enter heaven. There is no "self" there.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Review: The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing

Review: The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing
by Damion Searls

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (February 21, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804136548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804136549
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches

  • This is a book that people will either love or hate. But seriously, how does one write a bio about a vanguard in psychology. Do you write more about the person or about his effect on modern psychology? Do you write about the person's life? Do you write about the effects of the new psychological method at the time of its beginning or its effect on modern culture? This is the balance the writer has to walk. If you like being taken on a lovely walk where you stop and look at various points of the journey, this book is for you. But if you have a rigid idea of what a biography should be like or what psychology was like before or after Rorschach, then you might find the book problematical. This biography tries to get a lot in and it really does. I didn't mind it. I grew to like Rorscach, and to perhaps understand how to see or how to think about seeing or how to imaginatively discern and see.

    This book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.  

    Review: Jesus Always -- 365 Devotions for kids

    Review: Jesus Always -- 365 Devotions for kids

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718096886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718096885
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 

  • On the one hand, I applaud this book for tackling some pretty heavy topics for a kid's devotional. It's a good stepping stone between the toddler-kiddie kind of devotional and adult devotionals. I'll even say that in many ways this is on a par with a lot of adult devotionals.

    But I have a few issues with this book. First I'm not a fan of the "first person" format. The book is written in devotionals where God speaks directly to the reader. So instead of "Jesus is" we have "I am." Or "Go to Jesus" we have "Come to me." This is a problem because I really think it would be best if this was read to kids by their parents. Children reading this book will have to understand that these messages were written by one particular person pretending to be speaking as God. That is a lot to deal with. They will have to understand that this person may or may not be totally correct in everything, and that this person is not really God. Cognitively, the minds of young children aren't really formed to have that ability to do the mental gymnastics this book requires.

    The second problem is connected to the first: Because the book is written in first person, some of the exhortations -- which would be couched in gentler terms-- just comes off as God nagging the reader.  Or worse: the exhortations sound like a bullying God. The tone is all wrong. Sure, there are sections where the "message from God" is all about love.

    Thirdly, the theology feels a bit like church speak. So if the child you give this book to goes to church, they will be already down with the jargon. It's not a problem with the vocabulary. Yes, sometimes the vocabulary is at times a bit tough for younger kids but kids can learn concepts such as radiant and infinite and their parents can explain some concepts. But wow, a lot of the doctrines and theologies come so fast and furious that more explanations are needed. 

    I received this book free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

    Blog Archive

    Popular Posts