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I swoon over fictional men

Why do we fear the dark? – a poem 

We fear the dark 

Because it’s the unknown 

And the unknown is full of possibility 


We fear possibility 

Because it’s about taking a chance 

When our path is illuminated by nothing more than a glimmer of hope 


We fear taking a chance 

Because there is no guarantee 

That we will escape the dark and its what ifs and empty possibilities. 

Inspired by a thought provoking prompt I saw on Instagram. Have you got any poems to share? If so, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to read them! 

Date Night with Gideon; Date Night feature, one off special!

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Be sure to check out my review for The Darkest Lie here

*hesitantly knocks on your front door* Be calm, be cool, be collec- *door swings open* Oh heeeeeeeeeeey…long time no see, right? *laughs nervously* So, erm, I swoon over fictional men HQ told me things didn’t work out with the other matchmaker? Everyone else is on call so they’ve sent me… *feels the intensity of your glare* Look, okay. I’m sorry about the whole Rydstrom thing…yeah, yeah. I’m sure you two would have made a great couple. Yeeeeeah, I can totally just see you going on weekend camping trips and eating the skinned carcasses of the animals he’d catch for dinner *flinches as you shout* Yeah, yeah, I get why you’re angry, I am a vegetarian after all so even I wouldn’t do that but how could I resist!? He’s a demon king for crying out loud! There’s not many people, men and women alike, who wouldn’t want to leap into his lap with one glance and give those horns a lick!

Anyway, if it makes you feel any better, we didn’t even make it onto a second date. He’s shacked up with Sabine, Queen of Illusions now so how about we brush our little quarrel over Rydstrom under the carpet and have a cup of tea? We both got one date out of him so that’s something, right?

*five minutes later* So, Gideon, hm? *sips tea* One of the Lords of the Underworld…they’re an interesting bunch of girls and guys, to say the least. Most of their significant others started off as their prisoners…

Anyway, he’s gonna be here in, like *checks phone* twenty so let’s get you set for what is quite possibly gonna be the most interesting date you’ve ever had. Date nights with Gideon will probably/definitely include:

  1. Gideon arriving and gazing at you with a big grin on his face while he tells you how awful you look and how your outfit doesn’t bring out the colour of your eyes.
  2. Going to a restaurant and Gideon telling the waiter everything he doesn’t want to eat.
  3. Choking on some food when Gideon announces that he wants to kill you.
  4. Gideon, alarmed, passing you his drink and assuring you it’s water and telling you to gulp it quickly.
  5. Spewing the drink everywhere when you realize it’s neat vodka (seriously, who the fuck drinks neat vodka?)
  6. Heading back to the fortress for a movie sesh.
  7. Gideon telling you that he doesn’t want to watch an action or horror and definitely wants to watch a sad drama.
  8. Being horrified when Gideon laughs hysterically when the dog in the movie dies.
  9. Gideon, smiling sweetly, waiting outside with you for your taxi and telling you how he doesn’t want to see you again.
  10. Being confused as you make your way home and wondering if all the Lords are that strange…
tenor (2)
You every time Gideon speaks

Have fun and don’t take anything to heart! He’s a sweet boy really!

 

Some poems 

In the run up to my poetry anthology’s release, I thought I’d share some new material I’ve been working on this past week or two 😁



Night readers VS. Day readers!

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Are you a night reader, or are you a day reader? 

I saw this awesome meme not so long ago that made reference to us folk that are neither ‘early birds’ nor ‘night owls’. We simply exist in limbo, floating around in the ether between these magical states of being. We are just ‘permanently exhausted pigeons’.

Basically, if you hadn’t guessed already, I’m both a night reader and a day reader. I have a naughty habit of going to bed really late and getting up really early (okay, like 8 or 9 if I’m not working, but that’s pretty early when you consider there’s another 15 or 16 hours of the day left to suffer!)

Are you, like me, a permanently exhausted pigeon wanting to make a lifestyle change? Do you want to be able to throw yourself into the arms of sleep at 9pm, to awaken seven hours later feeling refreshed and rejuvenated as you tackle that ever growing TBR pile? Or, does the night call out to you, imploring you stay and read it just one more chapter, breathing life and meaning into the emptiness of its existence? (Jeez, the night needs to cheer the fuck up)

Excellent, you’re in the right place! I’m going into a head-to-head battle with none other than…erm…myself! Who shall be crowned champion, Night Reader Jazz or Day Reader Jazz? Stay tuned, peeps, stay tuned…

Night reading

Pros

  • You can read uninterrupted for hours and hours and hours…and more hours, right until you see the sun peeking shyly above the horizon (I’d be pretty shy about making an appearance too if I had the audacity to wake people up at 4am in the summer. Ha, I’m not bitter at all).
  • There’s no guilt! The laundry has been done and the dishes have been washed, and even if they haven’t, who the hell does those things at 2am!? That’s right! There’s nothing and no one that requires your attention! (except me, love me and hold me and call me nice names *slaps self* Jazz!*
  • It’s a great way to unwind. Studies have shown that being exposed to the blue and white lights emanating from the screens of our smart phones and tablets prevents our bodies from producing a hormone known melatonin, which essentially tells our bodies that it’s time to go night night. Good old-fashioned paperbacks will guarantee you a good night’s sleep…if you ever make it to bed that is.

Cons

  • Dropping the book on your face if you snooze for even a microsecond. I recently dropped Charles Bukowski’s The Pleasures of the Damned on my face. One word: fucking ouch (that’s two, but what the hell)
  • “Just one more chapter,” you whisper to yourself, “I swear this will be the last chapter. I know I said that seven chapters ago…but just one more chapter.” I don’t need to elaborate. We’ve all suffered at work following a night of failing to follow through with our empty assurances of just one more chapter. 
  • When you do eventually make it to bed, it can be near enough impossible to switch your brain off after reading a particularly engaging or thrilling read. I once went to bed following a chapter in which these fantastical creatures were in the midst of an epic, bloody battle and I awoke a couple of hours later and distinctly remember saying in my sleep drunken state that “I must prepare my men for battle”. The book continues long after you’ve closed both its pages and your eyes.

Day reading

Pros

  • Daytime reading is a good lifestyle choice if you favor what I call ‘heavy literature’ (think Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy). I tried (that isn’t fair usage of that word, I gave up twenty pages in) to read the first The Lord of the Rings book as my bedtime book a few years back and I found myself constantly going back and rereading entire pages, simply because I couldn’t absorb the information when I was tired.
  • Sleep doesn’t beckon! Ha! You’ve already slept so you don’t need to fret about that solid eight hours!
  • Other people are actually awake. Have you ever reached an epic, shocking climax (haha, climax! *slaps self* Jazz! Get a grip, woman!*) in a book and have felt sick as the excitement/horror/other intense emotion pushes against your internal organs, wanting out, needing release (if this happens, be extra sure it’s not a case of impending volcanic diarrhea), only to find that there’s no one to gush or vent to? Well, that’s an issue completely eradicated with daytime reading…unless your friends live in different time zones.

Cons

  • Commitments. Ah that dreaded word oft associated with adulthood. Daytime reading can be difficult when you have to work and, oh god, socialize. 
  • It can be tempting to read while carrying out said commitments and this leads to reading on the bus or train and this also leads to having to close your book when you reach your stop. It’s an agony quite unlike any other, trust me.
  • Interruptions. Oh lord, the interruptions. When you read at night, you can almost 100% guarantee that the people you live with will either a) be asleep or b) engaging in some sort of other nocturnal activity (like watching Netflix, of course!) so the chances of being interrupted in the middle of an epic fight scene are greatly reduced.

So, guys, what’s the verdict? Which is better, night reading or day reading? I think I might just stick to being a permanently exhausted pigeon and indulge in both 😉 Sleep’s overrated! 

‘Neon Soul’ Alexandra Elle

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Alexandra Elle writes frankly about her experience as a young, single mother while she celebrates her triumph over adversity and promotes resilience and self-care in her readers. This book of all-new poems from the beloved author of Words From A Wanderer and Love In My Language is a quotable complement to her beautiful blog and Instagram account.

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So, I had some massive issues when it came to choosing my favourite poem from this wonderful collection…ahem, see below.

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And do you why? Well, the answer is simple; this is the best poetry collection I’ve read in a while. I saw it in my local bookstore last month but as it was nearing the end of the month, I figured it wise to treat myself to it after pay day. You know how it is. I left the bookstore and in the weeks that followed, I did many things and through it all, Neon Soul remained lodged in my mind. I had to read it!

Neon Soul outshines its contemporaries for many reasons and one of these reasons is the positivity and hope that runs like an unbreakable thread throughout the entirety of its 160 pages. As a poet myself, I know that a lot of poems are born out of hurt and heartache and while these two emotions are most definitely present within Neon Soul, it’s a unique collection in the sense that it addresses the fact that there is life after the events that cause these more negative emotions to surge to the surface of our psyche; it’s a collection that urges its readers to have faith in the fact that happiness isn’t an impossibility.

Neon Soul speaks directly to its readers; it comforts them, it praises them…it encourages them, as the following poem below demonstrates:

resilience 

look at you 

still standing 

after being 

knocked down

and thrown out

 

look at you

still growing 

after being 

picked and plucked 

and prodded out of 

your home

 

look at you

still dancing 

and singing 

after being 

defeated and 

disassembled 

 

look at you, love.

still here and hopeful

after it all.

Neon Soul, page 97

 

How can you not derive comfort from such words? Pain in all its forms is a part of life and sometimes we just need that gentle reminder that we both survived and thrived.

Neon Soul also includes ten poetry prompts for its readers, so not only is it a collection that showcases the breathtaking creativity of Alexandra Elle, it’s also a collection that encourages readers to tap into their creative side.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Song: Two Steps from Hell’s Victory  (I like Two Steps from Hell, okay!? I know I use their music a lot, but they’re fantastic!)

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This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader and paperback format.

A Cup of Tea and a Chinwag with Jazz; Episode 9, ‘Books that changed the world; part II’

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‘sup yo! In today’s episode, I’m continuing with my discussion of books that changed the world and this week, I’ve turned my attention towards books that tackle prejudice, focusing in particular on Holocaust literature. It’s perhaps an intense theme in comparison to the themes of previous episodes, but I hope people will find it interesting.

Check out the episode here and the bloopers here and here.

Join in on the discussion! 

 

‘The Darkest Lie’ Gena Showalter

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Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie―until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife. He doesn’t remember the beautiful female, much less wedding―or bedding―her. But he wants to…almost as much as he wants her.

But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free. A future with her might mean ultimate ruin. Especially as Gideon’s enemies draw closer―and the truth threatens to destroy all he’s come to love….

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Okay, so anyone familiar with the Lords of the Underworld series will know that sweet, darling Gideon (hm, wonder who my favourite character is!?) is keeper of Lies and, as a result, can’t utter a single truth without suffering intense, debilitating pain…so Gideon communicates in a rather interesting way. Picture this; you meet the man (or woman) of your dreams, perhaps on the daily commute into work, and they flash you a smile that promises sin and seduction. They lean forward and whisper in your ear, their voice nothing more than a husky murmur…

“You’re so ugly.”

Oooo. Awkward…not to mention rude and hurtful! You’d probably give them a slap, right? Now do you understand poor Gideon’s problem? Everything he says is the opposite of what he means and I did seriously consider writing this review in Gideon speech but figured it’d be way too confusing. But enough about Gideon, let’s talk about his book, a book I was eagerly powering through the series to read!

The Darkest Lie has it all; humour, heartache, romance, action, kinkiness…and it’s all rolled up into one tidy package (pfft, package! C’mon, Jazz, be mature about this!) comprised of fantastic world building and equally fantastic writing. The LotU series is set in universe that blends our reality with the conjurings of Gena Showalter’s imagination and the result is a world in which readers can quite easily lose themselves for hours on end. Each of Gena’s characters are as unique as they are believable and I’m not sure if this is fair on the reader’s part because I have genuinely been looking into a weekend break in Budapest and my heart breaks to know I won’t be able to hang out with the Lords!

As for Gideon and Scarlet’s story, I think it’s one the best in the series yet. It’s not just your average run-of-the-mill romance. It runs deeper than that and their relationship is layered with complexity, which makes for an interesting, unexpected twist around half way through. Gideon is the man we all want (okay, maybe generalising there); he’s a little rough around the edges, he’s a bit of a bad boy…and yet he’s kind, sweet and gentle, even if he does struggle with the sweet nothings he whispers in Scarlet’s ear (I’m pretty sure he says at one point “I don’t want you, devil.”, although admittedly it is go-weak-at-the-knees sweet when you’ve translated it). Scarlet is one hell of a bad ass and she’s the woman I think I’ve always tried to be; a tough, take-no-shit exterior but with a squidgy, marshmallow, please-hold-me center (I am purely the latter).

I’ve mentioned this in a previous LotU review, but let’s talk about Cronus for a moment! Am I the only person who thinks he isn’t actually all that bad? Sure, he does have his faults (what he did to Aeron in the first two or three books wasn’t cool, I get that and how he treated Scarlet in Tartarus wasn’t all that nice either) but he’s making amends I like to think. He’s just a regular guy trying to do his best in this cruel, cruel world we live in. I kinda feel he tries to exude this cold-hearted, almighty persona but I think he’s a bit of a softie. He dishes out threats like I dish out baked beans on the breakfast shift at work, but he always, always relents. He’s like “Awww you kids, all loved up. Sure, don’t worry about the threats of eternal damnation and death! You go have fun, ‘k?”

Anyway, the votes are in and…

Rating: 5 out of 5 (in Gideon speak, I hated this book!)

Song: Fleetwood Mac’s Little Lies (I was brushing my teeth this morning and thinking of appropriate songs and when I thought of this, I spat my toothpaste out in excitement (in the sink, whoah, brackets within brackets))

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This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader and paperback format.

 

Saved by the bell – flash fiction

Fuck!” Sacha hissed, dropping to her knees and crouching awkwardly next to the armchair, “Fuckfuckfuck.”

The figure glided away from the window silently, apparently having not seen her and Sacha was sure as hell going to keep it that way. She kept her gaze fixed upon the window for a moment longer and, deeming it safe to do so, surged to her feet and ran to the kitchen. She could hear the garden gate creaking on its rusted hinges and knew she had but moments to hide.

She scanned the room, searching, thinking…there! She darted forward and hunkered down in front of a cupboard. She wrenched the door open and began to force her way in, the pots and pans clanking as she pushed them aside.

Curled up in the damp-smelling darkness of her too-small kitchen cupboard with several handles digging into various places, Sacha finally began to relax. She grinned, having outwitted the man who lurked outside her house.

With a pained yelp, she twisted her arm behind her back and retrieved the phone from her pocket…and that was when she heard it.

…a scrape against the kitchen window.

She punched in a number and her husband answered on the second ring.

You are literally downstairs,” he groaned, his voice laced with sleep, “What?”

Whatever you do, don’t get out of bed. Don’t open the curtains, don’t -”

Are you being serious? It’s my day off, like I was gonna -”

He’s here.

Silence.

Are…are you sure?”

Sacha nodded, a sieve scratching at her cheek as she did so.

Yep and he almost saw me.”

Fucking hell, Sach, where are you now?”

She gave her location and hung up. She awaited the inevitable in complete silence save for the sound of her shallow breathing.

Ding-dong.

Saved by the bell. Literally.

Sacha kicked the door open and spilled from the cupboard ungracefully, sending her favourite wok skidding across the floor.

Ding-dong.

Yeah,” she called, brushing herself down“Be there in a second.”

She walked down the hallway, swiping her purse from the sideboard as she went. She donned her best smile as she swung open the front door.

That’s the windows cleaned,” the window cleaner grinned, “Same time next month?”

Sounds perfect!” Sacha replied, handing over the money, “Thanks, the windows look great.”

She closed the door and slid to the floor with a sigh of relief. Another month, another awkward encounter with the window cleaner avoided. Success.

When I was a child, I found the window cleaner’s monthly visit something of a traumatic experience. There was the awkward eye contact that followed the shriek of walking into a room to find a random person at the window…what’s the socially acceptable thing to do in such a situation? Smile? Wave? It was too much for my brain to handle. 

Haunted – A poem

Haunted 

The skittering of autumnal leaves along empty paths

Is your voice, a quiet whisper that haunts the night

The cool kiss of a midnight breeze against my skin

Is an echo of your once lingering and loving touch

The heavy, earthy scent of rain but a moment passed

Is the ghost of your crushing, warm and safe embrace

The glimmer of moonlight shining through the trees

Is but a spark of the hope you once ignited in my heart

You – the memory of you and your essence – haunt me.

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