NY Times Best Selling Author Sylvain Reynard on Poetry.

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NY Times Best Selling Author and my favorite enigma Sylvain Reynard was gracious enough to write a guest blog on poetry. If you aren’t familiar with Reynard’s books,you are missing out on riveting tales full of suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. You can find out more about SR and his work by going to http://sylvainreynard.com/ You can also find him in all his tweeting glory @sylvainreynard

This poet is a huge fan. You will be too.

Now I give you SR in his own words

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Many people avoid poetry.

Poetry usually brings to mind limericks, or schoolyard sing-songs, or angst-driven blank verse. But The Iliad and The Odyssey are poems. Dante’s The Divine Comedy is a poem.

Poetry is extremely flexible as a genre and like other arts it contributes something important to the human experience. Poetry can be a thing of beauty and a medium for reflecting on profound and sometimes unsettling truths.

When I wrote The Gabriel Series, I was inspired by the poetry of Dante, hoping to introduce the beauty of his art to a wider audience. Dante is not very well known anymore and few people read him outside of school or university.

In my new Florentine Series, I was inspired by the poet Apuleius’s account of the love affair between Cupid and Psyche. Again, this is a poem that is not very well known and infrequently read.

You can read the tale by starting here: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/TheGoldenAssIV.htm#anchor_Toc347999726

Psyche was the youngest of three sisters and very beautiful. Her beauty was so great, it intimidated prospective suitors. Her older sisters quickly found husbands, while Psyche remained alone.

Her father feared that Psyche had been cursed by the gods and so he sought out an Oracle, who instructed him to deliver his daughter up to marry a great winged evil. In sorrow and despair, the father obeyed. Psyche went along with the Oracle’s instructions, proclaiming that her condemnation was the result of unbridled envy.

And then something surprising happened…

“…prompted by the sight of the evening star, Psyche retired to bed. Now, when night was well advanced, gentle whispers sounded in her ears, and all alone she feared for her virgin self, trembling and quivering, frightened most of what she knew nothing of. Her unknown husband had arrived and mounted the bed, and made Psyche his wife, departing swiftly before light fell. The servant-voices waiting in her chamber cared for the new bride no longer virgin. Things transpired thus for many a night, and through constant habit, as nature dictates, her new state accustomed her to its pleasures, and that sound of mysterious whispering consoled her solitude.”

Psyche was delivered up to someone, but far from treating her evilly, he treats her well. He gives her pleasure. He loves her body. But he only comes to her at night, so she has no idea who he is.

The oracle prophesied of a great winged evil, but her husband reveals himself as a tender, attentive lover, who truly cares for her. One evening, he speaks to her,

“Sweetest Psyche,” he said, “my dear wife, cruel Fortune threatens you with deadly danger, which I want you to guard against with utmost care. Your sisters think you dead and, troubled by this, they’ll soon come to the cliff-top. When they do, if you should chance to hear their lament, don’t answer or even look in their direction, or you’ll cause me the bitterest pain and bring utter ruin on yourself.”

Psyche subsequently is faced with a dilemma – should she trust her husband’s actions and how he treats her, or should she trust the judgments of her family and the Oracle.

Psyche knows what it is like to be judged on appearance alone, without regard to her character. Suitors shunned her, because she was thought to be too beautiful and too perfect – like a statue. In the poem, it looks as if she places all her trust in appearances as she strives to discover her husband’s identity, not trusting that his actions have revealed his true character.

But what would looking on his face reveal? Would it make his actions a lie? Psyche doesn’t stop to reflect on her husband’s nature. If he were truly monstrous, he’d treat her badly and not kindly. He loves her and brings her pleasure and she seems to enjoy his company, although she is plagued with doubt. Her doubt, however, reveals a fatal flaw in her character – she cannot trust her judgment of her husband based on his actions; she must judge him based on his appearances. This fatal flaw will be her undoing …

You can read the rest of the story through the link I posted above.

I deal with similar themes in “The Prince” and “The Raven,” and also the next book in the series “The Shadow.” The male and female leads find themselves in a situation where they end up having to trust one another’s characters rather than outward appearances. Indeed, the importance of having a good character is one of the themes of the novels, along with love, sex, hope, and redemption.

I welcome your comments on the myth of Cupid and Psyche and I hope that you will take time for beauty and poetry in your daily life. – SR

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Be careful lest the wind calls your name

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Dedicated to Sin, Confess, Repeat, The Sometime Poet, Lana Del Rey, the letter J., Timothy Olyphant, guys named Tad, and the girls named Biffy that love them. Oh and my greatest muse, mischief.

Be careful lest the wind calls your name
whistling to you with his seductive tune
He’ll beckon you to come dance in the leaves
Blowing in your ear, caressing your hair and face
Tempting you with the thoughts of his sensuous touch

Be careful lest the wind calls your name
He’ll entice you with his vigor
Sweep you away with his power
His presence so commanding
even the trees sway to his desire.

Be careful lest the wind calls your name
He’s fickle and cunning.
Quick to come and go
impossible to hold on to.
Yet he ask to be notice
Begs to be heard.

Be careful lest the wind calls your name
He’ll be calm and playful one minute
tumultuous and volatile the next.
He’ll scorch you with his heat
chill you with his frigidity.

Be careful lest the wind calls your name
Keep your wits about you
Board up your wanderlust heart
Let him move you if you must
but don’t get carried away

Be careful lest the wind calls your name
Remember-you’ll never know his truth intent
or which way he’ll blow next.

-Tosha Michelle

Take Two

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Infatuation such a futile thing
when the world is distorted
through a rose colored mist.
Blurred edges The landscape
formed through nostalgia’s lenses
Everything in soft focus.
.

Infatuation such a soulless thing
devoid of sovereign reason,
when the God you seek,
is an illusion..not to be believed,
in a heaven made of cardboard dreams
painted with muted time.

Seductive Tea

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“A penny for your thoughts” he says,
piercing me with his knowing eyes.
sinful smirk,
and picture perfect perfection

I bite my lip and blush,
fearing my face will give
away my lascivious cerebration
I look down at my cup and lie

“I was just thinking-this tea is divine”

I can never tell him
the true thoughts stuck in my head,
clinging to me like static to a balloon
Playing tag with my mind

His lips brushing mine,
nibbling, teasing
sucking, tasting,
licking, biting

His fingers reading my body
like a passage from his favorite book,
tracing fiery trails,
leaving sparks in their wake,
Bookmarking his favorite part

I can never tell him
I picture him in my bed

My heart longs
to be a tourist of his flesh,
to learn his language,
in sighs, trembles and hips

Mapping a route with my hands,
Tasting his forbidden fruit
Drowning in his exotic essence,
as we melt into silky sheets and sweet release

He asked, but I can never tell.
instead, I get lost in
soundless seduction
Sipping my tea. I sigh.

Love, Romance, Snarky Pants, Doughnuts, and Sylvain Reynard – NY Times Best-Selling Author

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My thanks to S.R. for his evasive but funny answers; I’m already plotting my next twenty questions. I’m coming for you, Foxy One.

1. Was Erich Fromm right…is love an art?

Hello Tosha. I agree with CS Lewis that there are different kinds of love. But yes, I think love is an art rather than a science.

2. First thought that comes to mind when I mention Le Baiser (The Kiss)

Desire.

3. Favorite love song?

Besame mucho.

4. What would constitute a perfect Valentine’s Day for you?

Perfection is to be found in the person of the beloved and in time spent together…

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

In the shower this morning.

6. Have you ever used a cheesy pick up line? If so, what was it?

I plead the Fifth.

7. Backpacking or a luxury hotel?

It would depend on the location.

8. Is it easier to love or be loved?

I think the correct answer to these questions is “it depends.”

9. True romance is…….

I think a lot of ingredients go into this – the right person, time, attention, creativity, devotion, etc. Did I mention playfulness?

10. Favorite love poem?

i like my body by ee cummings.

11. What the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done to impress a girl?

These questions are designed to embarrass me, aren’t they?

Tosha interjects: Yes! I need to work on my baiting skills.

12. What’s the Snarky Narrator up to this Valentine’s Day?

I try to remain ignorant of his romantic activities, but I think it’s safe to say he’s up to no good …

13. If you were a candy heart…..what message would be printed on you?

(Speechless)
Tosha so much for what the fox says. 😉

14. What do you get when you cross the soul with love and desire?

The culmination of what love is supposed to be.

15. What color patterns on argyle socks are best for seducing women?

Truthfully, Argyle is sufficient in itself, no matter the colour. Argyle is, as someone intelligent expressed, the very fabric of seduction.

16. Do you think Lipton Tea workers get coffee breaks? (random, I know)

I don’t, actually.

17. If you could be a woman for a day, how would you spend your time?

There’s no way to answer this question without sounding creepy.
Even that answer sounds creepy.
(sigh)

18 Tell us about your latest work The Raven.

Thank you.
“The Raven” is a paranormal romance set in Florence, Italy, which begins two years after the end of “The Prince.” It follows the character of Raven Wood, who is working as an art restorer at the Uffizi Gallery.
She is attacked one evening on her way home and wakes up days later with no memory of the incident. When she returns to work, she is stunned to discover that the Gallery has been robbed of a priceless set of illustrations by Botticelli, and the police want to question her …
Raven’s attempt to solve the mystery of the robbery and clear her name leads her to the underworld of Florence – a place that is inhabited by powerful and mysterious creatures, ruled by the dark and ruthless Prince…

20. Who would win in a doughnut eating contest, Gabriel or The Prince?

I think the correct answer is me.

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If you would like to keep up with the not so nefarious goings on of the always delightful S.R….
find him here:
http://sylvainreynard.com/

He’s also on Twitter working his magic
@sylvainreynard

Hia latest works:

THE PRINCE – Novella

BN:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-prince-sylvain-reynard/1120399274?ean=9780698192065

​Amazon:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Canada:

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-prince/id922369900?mt=11

​The Raven – Book One of The Florentine Series

BN
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-raven-sylvain-reynard/1119619658?ean=9780425266496

Amazon

Amazon Canada

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-raven/id888019240?mt=11

Twenty Random Questions with Morgan and Jenn Locklear.

!. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to share your story?
Jenn- I love to travel and I rarely deal with homesickness when I do, so I know there would be a huge temptation to remain in Wonderland. However, there is something to be said for re-connecting with family and friends in order to share such fantastic adventures.
Morgan- I have a feeling that I will be too wasted to find my way back.
2. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be?
Jenn-You Should Really Sit Down Before You Read This…
Morgan- Cockeyed Optimist shares unique vision
3. If you were a drink, what would you be? Why?
Jenn-I’m probably well on my way into transforming into a Sailor Jerry Rum & Coke as it is. Why mess with all the hard work I’ve put in over the years?
Morgan- I would be one of those gaudy big airport drinks; something colorful and even a little girly but with enough of a kick to get plenty of guys to order one. It would be called: The Loudmouth.
4. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?
Jenn-I developed a fear of heights as a child. I try not to let it rule my actions, but there are definitely hard limits to what I can handle at a higher elevation. It’s probably why I’ve chosen to live at sea level.
Morgan- Roving murders.

5. If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?
Jenn-Life is so miserable when people harm one another. I just wish we could all find a way to happily share the planet.
Morgan- Tyranny.
6. What’s your favorite poem?
Jenn–When Morgan and I were on our third date, he surprised me by reciting a poem he had written. This was the first time he shared his creative side with me and I was absolutely amazed by his talent. Immediately afterwards, he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes. That poem is my favorite.
Morgan-“The Ballad of the Guy Who Came In From the Cold” by Garrison
7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?
Jenn-There was a time when I would have said that the darkness frightened me, but now that I’m older I realize it isn’t darkness itself I find unsettling. It’s the silence that accompanies darkness that unnerves me.
(So answers the shy girl.)
Morgan- It neither sooths or frightens me, I’m fine in the dark but mostly because I see quite well in low light.
8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?
Jenn-I would like to see what Morgan could do with a National Anthem. People might expect it would come out light or humorous, but knowing Morgan like I do I know he would take the responsibility quite seriously. He would put his all into the effort.
Morgan- Either Sam Beam (Iron and Wine), or Jeff Lynn (ELO),

9. What makes you nostalgic?
Jenn-Music probably does that more immediately than anything else. A song can instantly help me recall a moment or a feeling of some kind.
Morgan-80’s music.
10. Clowns., creepy or cool?
Jenn-I have no fear of clowns and I do enjoy a good laugh so I guess they lean more toward cool with me.
Morgan- I love clowns, especially magician clowns.
11. Do you remember your dreams?
Jenn-As far as I know I do. I don’t think I dream as much as I used to but I’ve had some doozies over the years.
Morgan- Fortunately, I do and it’s a good thing because I come up with a lot of crazy shit when I’m asleep.
12. What’s your favorite song?
Jenn-My favorite band is a-ha. I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager and my favorite song of theirs is “The Swing of Things” from their second album “Scoundrel Days”. Simple brilliance.
Morgan-“Owner of a Lonely Heart”
13. What’s your favorite season?
Jenn-Summer. I love the long days and the warmth. It’s also when I celebrate my birthday.
Morgan- Fall, especially late October.
14. Does pressure motivate you?
Jenn-I don’t enjoy the stress that comes along with pressure, but I do find I can work well under tight deadlines. Pressure doesn’t distract me from the things that need to be accomplished.

Morgan- Yes, it does, I work well under pressure and often set deadlines for myself because I know I will work harder to meet them.
15. To what extent do you shape your own destiny, and how much is down to fate?
Jenn-I do believe in fate, but I also know I have to put in the hard work to achieve my biggest goals in life. And I try to remember than when things don’t appear to be going the way I want them to, it’s usually because something better is going to come my way as a result.
Morgan- Fate plays a hand in how we come into this world, but its’ influence loses ground to free will with every passing year after that.
16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
Jenn-Last year, when I was reading Outlander for the first time I remember thinking this very thing about that story. I don’t know that my writing can ever reach that level of perfection, but wow would I love to write a story like that one.
Morgan- Swan Song by Robert McCammon.
17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
Jenn-I’m an internal worrier in calm times; however I don’t tend to express my worries to others. When an emergency situations pops up, I’m typically cool and collected during a crisis. Once an urgent situation has resolved itself, I tend to fall apart for a day or two after my guard has come down. Then I go back to my usual pattern of quiet worrying.
Morgan- I’m pretty easy going for a guy who’s not allowed to drink coffee
18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
Jenn-Right now? An afternoon spent in Europe would be fabulous.
Morgan- Disneyland! Disneyland! Disneyland!
19. Are you more like fire or the earth?
Jenn-I think those around me would say the earth, but I’m definitely fascinated with volcanoes.
Morgan- I am an Earth power
20. Do you hear voices?
Jenn-My characters speak to me all the time. But I’m quite aware of their fictional status, so it’s all good.
Morgan- Yes, but they are always singing.
Bonus question:
What are you currently working on?
Jenn-I’m writing a story I’ve entitled Constellation. It’s a May to December contemporary romance set in Central Oregon. The story begins with the two main characters, Jack and Kathleen, having just given in to the temptation of mutual attraction. The rest of the novel explores how this one spontaneous event will alter how Kathleen perceives her universe. When I initially began the story I thought Jack would be a man of mystery, but the deeper I get into the story the more I realize that Kathleen is the one with all the secrets. I’m halfway done writing the book and realizing I actually have a series in the making. I can easily envision two more books and that has me very excited right now. I’m hoping to publish the first book later this year.
Morgan- My short game. (Golf joke).

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My thanks to Morgan and Jenn.They are always a delight. Check out their debut novel EXPOSURE on amazon.com Note the five star reviews.

You can also keep up with them at:
https://morganandjenniferlocklear.wordpress.com/

Follow them on Twitter at: @MJLocklear