My Poetry Collection & Self-Publishing Update…


Love, don't Fear - Book CoverSince publishing “Love, Don’t Fear”, I have learned a few valuable lessons not only about book publishing but also about myself. Previously, of course, I had discovered that I could do with a little more patience – you’ll find the post on this topic right here “If it’s Broke – Fix It”. 🙂 

Back to right now, though… So far, I have received great feedback from “Love, Don’t Fear” readers – thank you! Yet, I have also received some useful suggestions, on how to improve the book, from the pros. I believe that every writer needs an editor, not only because two heads are better than one, but also because of the strong emotional connections we all have with our works. Such being the case, I try to stay open to constructive criticisms.

On that note, yet digressing slightly, I am currently a one-woman band as far as publishing is concerned, but I am writing my first novel which I hope to publish traditionally… If you are a literary agent, open to submissions, and interested in my work, please get in touch. Let’s talk…

Back to “Love, Don’t Fear” – yesterday, the collection turned one. Happy Birthday!!! (note the emotional connection I was talking about) 😄

giphy

I thought this would be a good time for an update/upgrade if you like. Before I share what changes were made exactly, let me reassure those of you who have already purchased and read the book. The changes aren’t very significant. However, if you’d like to receive a FREE updated version, in the form of an e-book, please contact me at monika@monikaribeiro.net .

I decided not to change the book’s edition, because as mentioned – these changes aren’t that significant. Plus, I’ve updated the price too – partially to reflect alterations, but equally to reflect the time passed since the book’s publication.

To cut this long story short, after considering the advice given to me by two trustworthy (traditional and non-traditional) publishers, I have:

  • updated a few titles;
  • changed the order of poems to improve thematic connections; 
  • added two poem descriptions.

I hesitated about the last one because out of the two people who were my advisers – one said: “add descriptions” and the other one said “don’t”. Well, there are 25 poems in the book and only 2 of them have descriptions now. Based on the readers’ feedback, I believe that most of the poems are self-explanatory and relatable. Plus, I don’t want to completely take away the joy of the reader’s own interpretation. What do you think about this one? 

One more change, that I made on my own initiative, was adding a few additional images to enhance book marketing on Instagram, etc. By the way, please do join me on the platform if you haven’t done so yet – @monikaribeiro.writer 😊

So, yes, the book has been around for one year now, but I believe it is ever-green… It deals with relationships, people, emotions that are difficult to express and stories that happen or could happen in real life. This book is about love, life and doing the above without fear… I think that the need to read this type of stories will always be in us. I believe the book is a little bit like wine which gets better with time.

In closing, to complete this “Love, don’t Fear” update, I would like to share some of the words written by those who read and enjoyed it:

“…‘Love, Don’t Fear’ by Monika Ribeiro is such an amazing book – filled with heart-warming and heart-breaking poems… These poems made me feel less alone.”

Angelina, Nanny from Florence – Arizona

“It is a book for someone who feels challenged by their relationship and can’t find the words to express how they feel. You will discover your own truth in the emotions of these poems.”

Joy, Singer-Songwriter from New York

“I found myself in many of them (poems), especially the story of a broken friendship… Smooth language, very beautiful clarity of words, fantastic wisdom…”

Lina, Artist from Ireland

Please grab your copy of “Love, Don’t Fear” HERE if you’re in the US, or HERE if you’re in the UK. Its digital format is available on Amazon worldwide.

Alternatively, if you’ve read the book, please consider sharing your thoughts by e-mail or in the comments below.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you! 🙂 

Made of Many Worlds – Poem


Girl Hair

I was born, brown-skinned and a black-eyed girl,

Into a blue-eyed spot in this world –

Blessed with black, thick and rather frizzy hair

Where hair tends to be silky, smooth, mostly blond.

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When I was a girl, maybe twelve years old,

I would lay my head down, on the ironing board

Because a real iron could tame my real hair…

Benefits seemed great… Risks? I didn’t care.

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Sometimes, I would hurt my neck

While trying to look more like my peers…

My silky, smooth hair would cover the scars,

But couldn’t heal burns inflicted upon my ears.

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Finally, my strands lost all strength and shine.

Hurt, bridle and broken, they told me the truth:

Silky and smooth was not to be mine

What was, however, was a gift… divine.

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Some say, I cannot relate to the black woman’s plight.

I’m not brown enough – they say, again and again…

And yet, in the white crowd, my skin’s far from light.

Well, that’s not a loss – it’s actually a gain…

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Some say I’m neither, but I share both bloodlines

So, I take the liberty to claim Angelou’s lines

“Out of the hats of history’s shame, I rise”

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise…”

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There are descent and wicked people, in every place.

As Shakespeare well said, many years ago,

“There’s no art to tell the mind’s construction in the face”.

This line could apply to the subject of race…

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There’s more that connects than divides us, you see?

I won’t get offended if you disagree…

But, do look beyond the cover, listen to my words –

We live in a world made of many worlds…

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I live in a world made of many worlds…

Even more come alive in the depths of my mind

I pray that this world, made of many worlds,

Becomes one in the One who is color-blind.

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Besides, I’m the world that lives within me…

Letter by letter and word by word –

HOW I look at things determines what will be!

My own world gets recreated, every day, by me…

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I’m no longer looking for my place in this world…

His sweet spot within me is what I’m striving for.

In the midst of it all, still, I have to believe…

That right now and after will surpass before.

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Conversations with a Clock – Poem


old-man-clock

He lived among waiters. They surrounded him
Waiters on the outside – a waiter within
Waiters for their birthday
Waiters for more money
For the kids to leave home
And rain to stop raining.

Once upon a time, he met a wise Clock
It could speak and so it spoke:
“Tick-tock, tick-tock …
If you teach your heart to be grateful and kind
When your time arrives you will not be blind
Tick-tock, tick-tock …”

This waiter was in a rush –
He kept chasing better times
Hence, his ears were widely shut
He’d much rather skip this chat.

Yet,
Tick-tock, tick-tock …
This clock was determined to talk:
“Your life will not last forever…
You cannot afford to be happy never
Tick-tock, tick-tock …”

That verse had the waiter seriously ticked-off
‘Well, I can! And, yes I will!
Clocks can’t tell me how to live!’

“Tick-tock, tick-tock…”

Quietly replied the clock.

giphy clock

Time waits for no one –
Be it Clock, or be it Man
Tick-tock, tick-tock …

Seconds, minutes, hours, smiles
Running fast before his eyes…
Many wasted, every day…

Always chasing what’s away.

.Without words, yet with each TICK
The clock found him more convinced –
Each day truly was his birthday
And life was a birthday gift.

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Slow Walking Man – Poem


Man Walking - Poem
‘Man Walking’ – image by Adam Podlecki

This bench of mine is a little far,
Thick fog & the rain keep blinding my eye
Yet, I’ve embarked upon a task –
Observation of that guy…
Walking, in a misty weather
I noticed him take…
Two steps forward, one step back.

He keeps walking though…
Slow, slow, slow…, but steady…
He keeps on… walking…

Oya! Oya! Honestly,
Someone, shoot a film about him –
Series called “Unhappy Feet.”
Same old picture, every day,
Rain drops falling on his head
Every day, the same old way…
This must be the pace of a snail!

He is rude. Never does he say “hello”
He stepped on my toe a few weeks ago!
Yes, I step on his toes – time after time,
But… my feet are smaller than his –
I’m a lady. He’s a man…

Err…

He’s a walking man, actually
While I am a seating lady…
Wasting my time watching him.

Eh?!
Yes, he might have covered but a little ground,
But I’ve just been seating here. I have covered none!

Oya!!!
Within his slow walk I have parked my nose
Focused on his journey rather than my own…

Oya! Oya! Oya, me!
Watch no more…
Girl, move! Move! Quick!

Meaning of “OYA!” – “Hurry up!” (Nigerian)

 

To GET a FREE Poetry E-Book please Click Here

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Taking Happy Mental Pictures of the New Year!


 

Happy Pictures.jpg

We spend so much time reminiscing good old and bad old days… That’s fine… It’s okay to look for motivation or lessons in days gone by. Having said that, why not spend at least the same amount of time visualizing our future…

Once we’ve captured the beautiful picture of what we want to become we should lock it in our memory bank until it comes to pass! Start taking beautiful pics of your future right now, and remember them throughout 2019.

Happy New Year!

Remember your future

When the past is bleak

Remember Tomorrow

When you’ve had a tough week

or a year, even many tough years…

which have left you discouraged and weak

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I pray for your strength

When you’re weary and drained

That you focus your mind

On remembering good days

Again, and again, and again…

  .

Just remember your future,

Picture it in your mind

Decide what you want

What it will be like…

  .

Stop remembering your past

Don’t repeat old mistakes

Start remembering your future

Let it find you prepared…

What’s happening in my world of fiction…


… And non-fiction.

We’re coming to the end of the year, so it seems as good a time as any tPK Boadi Collaborationo touch base with you briefly… What have I been up to lately?

Book-wise:

My last poetry collection “Love don’t Fear” is still very much alive and well. I am looking forward to another wonderful “Love don’t Fear” collaboration with an award-winning gospel singer PK Boadi. This should be fun!

Someone has asked me recently if I’m going to write more books… As a matter of fact, I am writing a novel! Drum roll please… Yes, it is happening – slowly, but surely. If you’re a writer, you probably know this feeling when a story is just bugging and begging you to let it out!

This is how I’m feeling right now, hence I’m doing my best to not “abuse the muse” by ignoring the story and denying it the right to be free… Title? The book’s title is “Everywhere and all the time” and I am planning to share some of the excerpts here while I’m still in the process of writing. This should help me motivate myself to get that book finished. So, that’s that when it comes to my books…

Oh, actually, that’s not it. I’ve just received this sweet “Love don’t Fear” review on Facebook. Check it out please & if you haven’t read the collection yet consider doing so… Angelina (Reader)“Love don’t Fear” is a great read and a sweet Christmas gift. It is all about relationships, expressions of love, and better ways of handling conflict – embellished in beautifully written stories. Christmas is about love, but conflict happens when loved ones come together in numbers… even if it’s all neatly edited by the time holiday pictures reach our social media accounts. 🙂 Anyways, primarily, this season is about God coming into the world, and “Love don’t Fear” is a spicy reminder that He is the source of love and the beginning of peace within relationships. Please check it out.

Back to Facebook, genuine connections with people who read my writings are really the main reason why I “love” social media. Angelina (in the pic) lives in Arizona. Whaaat?! I have never been to the USA, and I don’t know if she has ever been to  the UK. I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, never swam in the Colorado river… 😦 LOL, I don’t even know if you’re allowed to swim in it, but my point is she’s a beautiful Native American woman, and I am Polish… (no, really, I am) and Nigerian. We live on two different continents and yet, we’re connected because of poetry and because of this social media machine…

Well, on the flip-side, I am concerned about the sheer volume of information we give Facebook access to, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for another time… maybe…

Finally, still on the social media note, I’m happy to announce… that I have just hopped on the Instagram train! I know I know… it’s kinda late, and it may not be such a big deal, but I’m having fun, and thought you might want to JOIN ME… Please do if you’re so inclined. 😉

Well, this is what’s happening here.

I hope you are well. Thank you so much for stopping by! Since my next post is likely to come after Christmas I would like to wish you a very merry Christmas right now!

I shall finish this post with a rather appropriate lyric which has been on my mind quite a lot lately – “Joy to the world… Joy to the world…” 🙂  ♥

Number Seven – Poem


Number 7 Man

Even when I do all 6 tasks just right

You still focus on the seventh

Which is done, just not quite…

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Your kudos last but a minute

Criticisms never stop

It’s annoying just like dripping water

Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop (it)

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7 is a symbol… of perfection

Is that what is needed to avoid rejection?

How about 6.99?

Will 6.99 secure your affection?

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As You turn Love into Math

You’re turning joy into pain

Can we scratch number 7?

So, His Passion can reign!

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Can we cover one another

For as long as we’re alive?

I have never met a 7

Not even a 6.5

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The Plea of a Gnarled Tree – Poem


woman tree

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. I’ve been thinking about you a lot

You capture attention – mine surely got caught

So, here’s my reaction to your heartfelt plea

The plea of a gnarled and exhausted tree

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This detail won’t stroke your ego

It won’t make too many mentions,

but the road to hell is paved with details,

or is it ‘with good intentions’?

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Never mind…

I know you mean well,

Still, one cannot ‘good-deed’

Their way out of hell…

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Even so…

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In doing good we must leave no stone unturned

Yet, Grace is a Gift which cannot be earned…

This gift is not carved into tablets of stone

We cannot reach peace on our own…

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Bread can be hardened, and yet

You can never turn stone into bread…

The truth’s independent of one’s belief

If you bite into stone, you will break your teeth

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Some say truths are many, but how many are there?

And how can those ‘truths’ contradict one another?

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There is only One… for the old and the youth

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“What makes me think that I’ve met the Truth?”

I am Free Finally – I take that as a proof

There is mercy and grace for those who repent

Even to the gnarled trees that are twisted and bent.

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Poetry Reading – Collaboration with Desiri


Desiri and i 2Welcome back to “Love Don’t Fear” stories and collaborations 😊

“I saw her smile” is a story of a girl who keeps searching for love in all the wrong places. I have shared this poem before, but I’m super happy to present you with Desiri Okobia’s rendition of it. Desiri (aka Miss Dee) is the author of “Diaries of a Visionary” and an English Literature teacher. Currently, she is preparing to launch her new book – a wonderful novella I can’t wait to read. In the meantime, however, please enjoy “I saw her smile” as well as Miss Dee’s powerful delivery.

A while ago, I’ve had an encounter with a lady on social media (I don’t know her personally), but she had read the poem and started messaging me about it. She told me: “If you don’t remove this piece from print – I will sue!” She accused me of thoroughly researching her private life to share it through my writings…

Whaaaat?!

Well…

To some extent, this tale may indeed be “hers” – not because I knew about her experiences, but because it is timeless and universal, while the principles it bears are gender-less… Truly, this poem is about (and for) all the girls and women, in all the corners of the world, who ever felt like they needed to be in romantic relationships (bad or good) before they could be whole.

Having said that, I asked Desiri why she picked “I saw her smile” – she told me she simply liked the story. So, even if you’re not “a girl who never smiles”, I believe that you’ll enjoy the narrative within the poem. As always, you’ll find drama and pain and all that stuff here, but ultimately it is a one woman’s journey from darkness to light.

FYI, “I saw her smile” can be found in my recent Poetry Collection “Love Don’t Fear”, so please go ahead and pick it up on Amazon if you like what you hear.

Please enjoy the YouTube video below and let me know your thoughts.

Just don’t sue – I haven’t been spying on you 😊

‘Love Don’t Fear’ Collaborations


POETRY AND BOOKS

DesiriiOne of the greatest American novelists Ernest Hemingway is quoted to have said “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” And yes, writing is solitary – it requires concentration and dedication, but that’s not what this post is about… This post is about collaboration.

“Love Don’t Fear” is filled with relationship stories, hence my need to share the book’s creation process with others came as no surprise. Ayo (foreword) and my husband Miguel influenced its title… During an impromptu ‘brain-storming’ session, Miguel put “Love Don’t Fear” out there and I knew that was it! One day, I might share the circumstance in which he got inspired, but that’s a whole ‘nother story… for later… maybe 😊

Moving on, I invited other fellow artists to contribute in the post-creation process. I can’t wait to share the fruits of these wonderful relationships with you. I hope you enjoy what’s to come and that we can connect through it…

On this note, let me introduce Desiri…  

Desiri Okobia (aka Miss Dee) is an author and English literature teacher from London, UK. In her book “Diaries of a Visionary”, she shares her experiences, positive energy and strong passion for God. She writes: “I made plans to move to America and pursue my career as an actress in Hollywood. By this time, I had built up my acting portfolio by attending a theatre school in London, taking part in theatre productions and appearing in some TV shows… …New York is similar to London, and I was used to the city life. I had it all planned out: first New York, and then eventually I would move to LA and work as an actress, live in a nice house on the beach and drive a red convertible. Yep! That’s all I wanted to do…”

Desiri’s honesty makes me smile and her story brings to mind a well known saying: “Man plans, God laughs”. Pick up “Diaries of a Visionary” (on Amazon) if you’re so inclined – find out how the Maker interrupted her American dream, see her growth and enjoy the rest of this inspiring tale…

Back to “Love Don’t Fear” collaborations, Desiri will be reading “I saw her smile” – the full recording will be here soon. Meanwhile, please enjoy this short snippet with her powerful delivery of the story about a girl who never smiled… until she did. 😊

There’s more to come. In the meantime, go ahead and pick up “Love Don’t Fear” on Amazon. ♥