Friday, April 21, 2017

Echoic's Book & Quill Choice Award

Echoic Magazine Issue 5

Book Review: Todd Erick Pedersen Sophia: The Heart of Holy Wisdom

As with the subtle starlight of the soul, Sophia: The Heart of Holy Wisdom is above all an uncovering of the sacred wisdom of the divine, as it is pervasively present everywhere within our world. Thus, here in this collection of original poetry in prose are themes such as the sublimity of nature, along with the weaving together of this world and the otherworld, and so the convergence of a genuine spirituality with our daily living, as an evocation of what it means to discover at last a home beneath the stars.

My Review: 4 ****
Todd's words are full of wisdom, evocative and a true connection to the spiritual side. I found his writing to be very poetic with use of metaphors and similes that help bring imagery and focus back to the emotions behind the poems and prose. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a lighthearted read with a strong poetic touch.

Author Bio:
Todd Erick Pedersen is a poet-essayist whose writings strive to evoke the cross-section between our dreams and the spirit, with a natural sense of wonder and the turning seasons of the Earth. As such his poems and his essays are an invitation to any reader, to explore this timeless terrain for oneself. After several years spent living in various areas of the mountain west, particularly in Montana and Idaho, his current home is in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley, in Stevensville, Montana.

Book Review: Sanjeev Kumar The Power of Present Moment

A true presence is beyond thoughts, words, and actions. Accept this moment fully and look inside. There is stillness that speaks within at the center of being, where you are beyond all experiences. There is no good or bad, positive or negative, but you are just as you really are. Everything is dissolved, and you become one with everything. In Practicing the Power of Present Moment, Sanjeev Kumar explores and understands how we can witness and observe our thoughts in order to look within and find a deep connection with the Universe. Through Mindfulness Practice, we embrace the Power of Now which can free us from anger, fear, and stress. It brings divine peace, inner joy, and happiness which can help us to build a positive relationship, prosperity, and well-being.

My Review: 5 *****
As a strong believer of meditation and being present in the moment, this book was a must read for anyone wanting to learn more about the practice. Sanjeev depicts his words carefully and uses them at the right moment to teach just how important it is to be in the moment, to react less, and to have peace, gratitude and happiness in your life.

Author Bio:
SANJEEV KUMAR is a Mystic and Mindfulness Practitioner. He believes that if you are honest, truthful, and create a huge trust within yourself, then existence takes care of you no matter what happens. Existence is ready to bring abundance and possibilities into our life but we are trapped by our ego, which holds us back. His journey from near-death experience and nervous breakdown to immense joy and celebration of each moment transformed his life.

Book Review: Analie Shepherd Mending the Shattered Mirror

A hauntingly beautiful memoir! A shocking true account of horrific abuse within therapy! Although these two statements don't seem congruent, this book, although telling a tragic story, does so in a poetic, life-affirming way. Analie Shepherd, the author, found herself in need of the support of a therapist after a tragedy in her life. Within the confines of this relationship, Analie suffered extreme abuse: verbal, physical and emotional. As Ananlie says of herself during the abuse, "I had no voice and no reality." Finally able to leave the abusive therapist, Analie reached out to TELL, an online support group, whose goal is to help victims in the struggle to regain their lives after abuse by a health care practitioner. Through TELL, Analie connected with responder Laurie, a retired Psychiatrist who was herself sexually abused in therapy for ten years. Contained within the book, is a four-year email exchange between Analie and Laurie, in which both of their stories are told--the tragedy and the triumph. Laurie, wise and compassionate, speaks truth to Analie and stands by her side on her journey to reclaim her heart, her reality and her voice. The relationship between the two women is a beautiful picture of growing friendship, and the story of this relationship is a lovely part of the book. Analie's story is complicated by the fact that she is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personalities. Much of the abuse within her therapy, was perpetrated on her eight alter personalities, and their voices and stories are included in the book, as well as some of their original artwork and poetry. Analie presents the existence and reality of The Others in a gentle, innocent way which helps the reader understand her experience of living an internally split life. Analie also includes narratives of her early life, to give context and understanding of what caused her to be vulnerable to the abuse she suffered in therapy. From the very first page, this story will enthrall you ... the conclusion of the book is amazingly beautiful and deeply satisfying.

My Review: 5 *****
I was reluctant to start reading this book, it sat beside my bed for a long time. But I am glad I finally took the time to read this story about the journey through therapeutic abuse. When we think of trusting someone, like a counselor, with our upmost private thoughts and demons, we expect them to be there to help us through and see us achieve. However, this journey was nothing like this until she received the help and guidance through email then a friendship of trust was created. This story will rip your heart out and mend it all back together before you even finish the story. Kudos to Analie for sharing her amazing journey. I just hope this story will bring hope to others.

Author Bio:
Loving wife, mother and Nana ... Author, Artist, Actress, Choir and Play Director. I love to dance, sing and laugh ... with friends, or alone! I look for the "wine moments" of life and live them to the fullest.

Book Review: Gene Scott Jellybeaners


Jellybeaners is a contemporary novel set in the heart of Appalachia, revealing the money ties, political corruption, wasted lives, and overall cash-churning nature of the prescription pill culture from perspectives spanning both sides of the law.  

 My Review: 4 ****

What drew me in on this story was my own past of seeing my family struggle through their own addiction to drugs and alcohol. Gene's book depicts today's society in the Appalachia's and their story of addiction to opioids. His descriptive words draws the image clear that we are in an epidemic of addiction to prescription drugs. The way he formats this book helps the reader to better understand the content he has written and one that anyone can enjoy. The pace of the story is good with highlights that will stay with you long after you read.

Author Bio: Gene Scott, a retired English and reading teacher, was born and raised on the prairie of Western Illinois, and has lived in Johnson City, Tennessee for thirty years with his much better half, Lana.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review: Veronica Winters How to Color Like an Artist

These simple, step-by-step instructions for techniques using colored pencils offer suggestions and exercises for adult colorists wishing to develop their coloring skills. Full-color photographs illustrate a wide variety of methods including creating texture, layering, and blending. The guide also features eight practice plates from Dover's bestselling Creative Haven® series. 

My Review: 5 *****
This book so cool and neat! It was packed  full with good techniques and it was fun working with Veronica I learning how to improve my artistic side. This book is one for all ages and one I would recommend for all. Her techniques that she teaches are easily read and understood with precise instructions and images.

About the Author:
Russian-born Veronica Winters received her MFA in painting from Penn State University. Her award-winning work has appeared in art and colored pencil magazines, and she has published several books and fulfilled many commissions.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Maybe Tomorrow ~ Poet Kris Anderdian

Yesterday I awoke
I can't remember yesterday
(the whiskey really helps)
I think I saw you last night
Underneath your porch light
The wine bottle your pillow
The ashtray full
In the shadows I remained
The stars will tell you I was there
With sonnets written in your name
And broken promises
I hope to see you again, some day
Maybe - I've decided that
Tonight I'll call you
Maybe tomorrow



The story of Easter actually began before God made the world,
For He loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy;
His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His family,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

His plan is centered on Christ according to His good pleasure,
At the end of time, He will bring everything under Christ's authority,
Because of Christ, we have received an inheritance, for He chose us,
I'm so thankful for God's amazing love for you and for me.

The Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, speak of God's loving heart,
And His desire for an intimate relationship with all of humanity;
Every story in the entire Bible has the same recurring theme,
Each one speaks of God's amazing love for you and for me.

In Genesis, we read that God created the world for us to live in,
As a Master Artist, He painted our world with such exquisite beauty;
Why did He work so hard to create a world with such intricate detail?
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

When He created Adam and Eve, He called His work very good,
But they betrayed God by disobeying Him, then from Him, they did flee;
God pursued them and said He would provide the atoning sacrifice,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Like Adam and Eve, each of us has tasted forbidden fruit,
For all have sinned, no one is righteous, we are all guilty;
But God pursues us, desiring that we repent and return to Him,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God's Son,
When He came down to us as a baby from His Throne and Majesty;
He humbled Himself, becoming one of us, limited by time and space,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

From the time He was born until He died, He had one goal,
To live without sin, die in our place, then rise victoriously;
He took our sins upon Himself when He died on Calvary's tree,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Jesus' ministry on earth lasted for only three years,
Healing the broken-hearted and setting the captives free;
Causing the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, and the blind to see,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

His disciples and followers wanted Jesus to act and become their earthly King,
And were disappointed when He said His Kingdom was not earthly but Heavenly;
But He would soon wear a crown, one made of branches with sharp thorns,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

At the Last Supper, Jesus humbly washed His disciples' feet,
He was their example of living to serve others graciously;
And told them He would soon be betrayed and arrested,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked three disciples to stay and pray,
But they fell asleep as Jesus cried to His Father in anguish, passionately;
Asking Him to take away this cup of suffering but submitting to His will,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Then Judas appears with Pilate's soldiers and betrays Jesus with a kiss,
The soldiers arrest Jesus while His disciples are afraid and flee;
He is taken to Pilate and accused of being the King of the Jews,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Peter is asked about Jesus but is afraid so denies knowing Him three times,
And not one of Jesus' disciples or followers speak up for Him or try to plea;
Instead, the people there yell "Crucify Him" while Jesus quietly stood,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Pilate reluctantly agrees and hands Jesus over to his blood-thirsty soldiers,
They take turns whipping Him 39 times, tearing open His flesh so viciously;
No doubt, Jesus was near death when untied and falls down to the ground,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Then the soldiers take Jesus into the governor's palace,
Putting on His head, a crown made of branches, sharp and thorny;
They mock Him and spit on Him as He suffers excruciating pain,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Jesus did not hide his face from the mocking or spitting,
Mingled with His blood and sweat, to the Cross, He did carry;
This depravity and cruelty represent the sins that Jesus bore,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Jesus' hands that had created and fashioned the world so beautifully,
Jesus' hands that had fed the hungry and stilled the wind and stormy sea;
Jesus' hands were now pierced through with nails pounded in so painfully,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Jesus' blood that rushed forth covered all our sins also nailed to the Cross,
Canceling the record of charges against us - we are no longer guilty;
Blotting out and forgiving us of all our sins that had hung over us,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

Jesus' flesh was torn open by the whips, by the thorns, and by the nails,
When He died, the curtain in the temple was torn open by His body;
We are now free to come before God's Throne and His Presence,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

God is holy and our sin had separated us from God,
Until Jesus died and became the mediator for humanity;
Redeeming and restoring us to God for all of eternity,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

This is love, not that we loved God, but He loved us,
And sent His Son to atone for our sins, sacrificially;
He rescued us from eternal death and gives us new life,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
That whoever believes in Him shall not perish but live eternally;
Receiving God's sacrificial gift, our sin and guilt and death are gone,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

On that first Easter morning, when death could no longer hold Him,
Jesus rose from the dead and won our glorious victory;
What appeared to be a terrible tragedy became the greatest triumph,
Because of God's amazing love for you and for me.

We can now live our lives on earth with a Heavenly hope,
For we know one day we shall be with our God for all eternity;
Not because of our own works but because of God's grace and mercy,
Praise God for His amazing love for you and for me!