Twenty something reader, writer, and music lover who believes all people should have the freedom to espresso themselves however they choose. This community is born out of an equal love of reading, writing, and the power of faith and coffee.
Today, my guest of this new series is Molly S. Hillery Best-Selling Author of Bare Roots and Recently Released Follow-up collection The Medicine That Burns.
The Smart Cookie: Molly, Thank you for joining me today. Any writer would definitely agree that the act and art of writing is in itself very cathartic. What was the moment you realized you should write poetry to share your story?
Molly: That’s a great question! I have always wanted to become an author and I always loved journaling and writing as a child. After what I went through in my teen years, I really felt like sharing my perspective. I didn’t write for fame or fortune, it was just special to me to be able to share my story and fulfill my dream of publishing.
The Smart Cookie: You write about real human struggles related to trauma and mental illness. What inspires your ideas for poems?
Molly: All of my poems come from my own experience and perspective. A lot of the poems I wrote in bare roots were inspired by blogs I had published in early 2015, that I fit together into a cohesive narrative. Many of the poems in The Medicine That Burns were written in first-person perspective from journals and many were written following therapy sessions.
The Smart Cookie: Outside of poetry, would you ever consider writing a memoir to share your full story?
Molly: I think in their own way, both of my collections are a memoir. They are just more stylized and easier to digest, in my opinion. Readers who have read both books will have a pretty solid idea on what I have been through throughout my life!
The Smart Cookie: I think in their own way, both of my collections are a memoir. They are just more stylized and easier to digest, in my opinion. Readers who have read both books will have a pretty solid idea on what I have been through throughout my life!
Molly: On the good days, I feel creative and enjoy writing and being artistic, like painting and collaging. I love to just relax and unwind after a full workday, so the normal Netflix, snuggling with my dog, and talking to friends on the internet works for me! I also spend a lot of time with my family these days, which has been a nice change of pace. My nephew will be three this summer!
The Smart Cookie: Bare Roots and your upcoming release Medicine That Burns share similar truths about the after effects of trauma and traumatic experiences but Bare Roots uses a resilient view while Medicine that Burns is darker, raw, and emotive. What was the writing process like for each book, and which one to you felt like more of a release than anything?
Molly: The writing processes for both books were very, very different. I wrote, edited, and published bare roots in four months. I worked on it almost addictively; my husband and I were going through a rough time and I almost used writing the book as a safe haven/escape. My perspective on life really changed after my divorce; Four years passed between the two books and I lived a lot of life in between then. I started writing The Medicine That Burns in quarantine last year when I was on furlough from work. This process was a lot slower, and I took my time with it.
The Smart Cookie: What are your final words to those who are broken and bruised, and resonate with your poetry?
Molly: It sounds cliche but, that you are not alone, and that there is hope. I also really encourage people with trauma to continue to seek out appropriate treatment, because seeking the wrong kind of care can make things worse. At the end of The Medicine That Burns, I share some modalities of therapy that have helped me– I even had a medical procedure done to aid in symptoms. I want to share these with people in hopes that they can find relief in some of their symptoms, too. Trauma informed care is essential to recovery.
To find out more about Molly and her poetry, visit mollyhillery.com
Hillery is no product of trauma. She is a beautiful rose, rising high above what tried to bury her, end her, and silence her, one poem at a time. She is the voice of those who know the struggle of suffering at the cold, dirty hands of trauma, mental illness, or society’s unmeetable expectations following the divorce and/or infidelity.
“Medicine That Burns” serves you a shot of the dark liquor of life, and helps you come to terms with “not being fine” in a world that glorifies perfection, illusive love stories, but doesn’t want to fall in love with the breaking process of all of us who are broken.
Whether you’ve had you had to mask your pain or survive by masking, Hillery’s poetry will have you drunk on the truth of what it means to live even if the pain still cripples your veins.
You can get a copy of The Medicine That Burns by Molly S. Hillery here and make sure to follow her on IG and wish her a happy book birthday!
Did you enjoy this review? Need one for your own book? Book one below.
Poetry for me is an eye-opening experience. You step into the soles of the shoes of another but ironically enough because the human experience is mirrored through triumphs and pain, you will find some of ‘you’ in the pages of Bare Roots.
No matter whether you’ve gone through similar traumatic experiences as Hillery:
sexual assault and rape
anorexia, addictions, and self-harm
depression and suicidal thoughts
or overall just feeling like a burden to the people you love.
My favorite piece in this collection was a piece called What They Don’t Tell You In College which poignantly pens the struggle between feeding on the lies they sell you about growing up and adulthood and the reality as painful as it may be, as it is.
Bare Roots will act as new soil and help you water the roots of the trauma so you can start anew, flourish and thrive.
Did you enjoy this review? Have a book coming out and need it to SHINE?
The Smart Cookie Philes offers paid review for only $40.
Hillery’s newest poetry collection will be out this Monday April 19 and it is entitled The Medicine That Burns. Look for my review coming this Monday right here. Pre-order it now and get your copy of Bare Roots here.
Today I launched the first episode of Snap, Crackle Pop: Book Versus Movie Discussion
where I read books based on movies and then watch the movie and give my feedback.
I feel like it will be beneficial to the book community as I always aim to read the book before watching the movie or tv show that they make based on books but it also allows for me to save people the time if I felt the movie didn’t honor the book in the way it deserved.
Here is the first episode. Enjoy (with or without popcorn) and please consider liking the video on Youtube to help it reach more bookish movie lovers.
When someone says, “It’s a vampire book,” what’s the first image that comes to mind? For me, it’s the angst and sparkle of the skin on Edward Cullen’s torso in the movie Twilight. I was always Team Jacob myself but vampires picked up a cultural trend and popularity in the 2010 decade.
This vampire book is unlike Twilight in many ways but the key ingredient is that it is set in the Victorian era when vampires were seen as angsty romantic suitors but instead as monsters, and people ran in fear of them. In this particular book, the vampires are an army of fierce soldiers commanded to protect the local church from the “untoten.”
For me, this book is a cross between Dracula, 1917, and the Vampire Diaries minus the teenage angst but just as dark. Dare I say it this book will stab you in the heart.
Check out more from Sayda Hope at the links below.
Being a female to me has always been such a blessing. I have always honored my femininity and relished in surpassing obstacles left and right in order to show myself and the world that a woman of both strength and power is one who doesn’t back down from a challenge, one who looks to break records and defy stereotypes, and always is there to lend a helping hand to any and all, but especially to fellow women.
Releasing my poetry book was a very trying experience for me. Not traumatic as that would have been ironic as my collection is about my traumatic experience working in a toxic workplace, falling in love, and getting my heartbroken, also while discussing my asexuality, my perserverance despite mental illness and struggling with suicidal ideation multiple times in my life, and being unaware that I actually was suffering with symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome since birth.
It took me a bit to wrap my head around this diagnosis following my book release but honestly I didn’t get the fanfare I thought I would have with my release but I think it just takes time and resilience.
Yet, as March is Women’s History Month, I decided I wanted to ride and die alongside 11 other writers that I’ve befriended over years, months, and even weeks before and since releasing my own poetry collection.
Without further ado, let’s celebrate these 12 powerful women and their incredible feats in literature and poetry.
My review for this book is forthcoming but this book is a great mix between Dracula, 1917, and the Vampire Diaries. It’s only 170 pages so it took me a few hours to read, and the battle scenes will have you on the edge of your seat. Sayda Hope’s series Das Herz is a part of a forthcoming series. Read this first installment today so you are ready for the next book’s release.
This book opened doors for me I always believed I would never walk through. It opened up my personal discovery of my mental health which then led me to find out I had Asperger’s so I basically feel very attached to this book but if you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or any other mental health issue, this book has practical entries like a devotional that allow you to read it and apply the tips each and every day. It’s something I plan to re-read often throughout the rest of my life.
This book has yet to be released but the summary looks enticing if you are looking for a Danielle Steel novel with a whodunnit spin. The author, currently resides in Germany, has written several other books that are historical fiction or Christian fiction. Definitely set your alarm for April 3, 2021 and get a copy when it releases exclusively on Amazon.
My review of this book will be available in April but as soon as I found this poet was releasing a poetry collection, I rushed to support her because it’s what you do, and her words were filled with absolute brevity and truth. Plus, I am aiming to support more black voices as well because once again, it’s what you do.
Did you really think I would share about fellow female writers without including myself. This book is broken up into two sections: Sticks and Stones. It is a themed around the overall metaphor that you can and should turn your pain into poetry, whether that pain was from undiagnosed Asperger’s, being bullied and ostracized, bullies in the workplace, falling in love with the wrong person, or falling in love with a twin flame who ran away, and broke your heart.
It is written with the intention to help all those who hurt find healing and strength that resonates no matter what obstacles or giants we face.
So far: It’s been an Amazon India best-seller, nominated for Book of the Year, and turning readers who don’t read poetry into fans.
For me personally, it is the beauty in the ashes of a terribly dark time and I have no shame in sharing it as well as what may come from it being out in the world in book form. I just pray it reaches those who feel stuck or as if they have no way out in time, and reminds them their story, your story, our story is far from over.
I didn’t know of this poet when I published my collection but as someone who is also a fan of poetry, I found this poet recently and found her words to be relatable, timely, and cookie-cut for Instagram-sharability. She’s also from Florida and I’m honored to be among her company as a fellow female poet.
Talk about fierce. This poet announced she was releasing her first poetry collection and I was eager to support it. The other day, March 16, 2021, she did a surprise launch and became #1 best-seller on Amazon. Since her book was released only three days ago, she has remained within the top 5 of all three categories her book fits in on Amazon. That’s definitely what I should have did with my poetry collection but next time, I will be consulting with Shayla to ensure my launch reaches the same heights.
Following moving Instagram accounts due to toxicity on my old one, I was searching for poets to follow to connect with. This poet is very sweet and has actively engaged with anything I’ve commented on her work or story. And she made me feel like I finally belonged in the community which is why I made a new Instagram in the first place. Originally published by Blurb, this collection about heartbreak and healing will help you find the light in the darkest of nights.
Talk about somebody who’s just the kindest despite that she’s got a huge audience and has so many cool book reader photos.
This poet wrote and published this collection in 2017 but it is still charting as a best-seller on Amazon this year even. I happened to spot it on there and reached out to congratulate her because that feels entirely huge for anyone who struggles or suffers with any and all forms of mental illness or also dealt with several traumatic events.
The little wins are the moments when you feel like your strength through your trauma or struggles truly has dug roots and bloomed nicely.
She popped on my IG feed and I was like ok, she’s gorgeous. Then to find out she was a poet too was also inspiring. Then, I learned about her heritage and how she struggles with anxiety and depression. My review of this collection is forthcoming but there isn’t much about Kleio Musa that doesn’t act as a muse for me, as both a female and a writer.
She doesn’t need this feature nor does it makes sense to me that someone so cool follows me on Instagram but ever since I announced that I found out I have Asperger’s, Liane has been so engaging and supportive. Reading this book for me was very cathartic as some of the same struggles also existed with myself but Liane’s story inspires the reader and proves that disability isn’t an inability just a societal label that seeks to limit the beauty and educating that people with autism and asperger’s bring to this world.
There you have it. Please be sure to add some if not all of these women to your TBR, your next book haul, and to your Instagram feed.
Each and every one of these women inspire me to keep at it, push past the disappointments and hurts, and share my empathy and caring poetic soul with the world.
Venture Into the World of The Undead With Das Herz by Sayda Hope
In Das Herz, soldiers who survive a devastating battle to become less than human, must get the help of a woman who makes the heartless army commander recall when his dead heart could feel. Das Herz is a forthcoming series. The first installment is called Buch Eins. Sayda Hope offers a story all humans will resonate with and love to escape to.
About the book: Untoten… Undead. Eber Soldat, a soldier named Soldier.A heartless man who was thought a monster of war, until the day he truly became one. Returning from the dead, he and his men, Captain Mikhail Koza, Lieutenant Johan Thayer, and Lieutenant Adolpho Ermanno, embark on the next assignment, guarding Ambrozij Kasimir, the head of the church, a man whose power rivals even that of King Berin’s. Wanting to keep their new existence a secret to protect themselves, Eber seeks the aid of an old ally, Lorelei Zima, a beautiful woman who makes Koza wonder if she had been more to the heartless Commander at one time in their past. Her nature is playful and her abilities deadly, Lorelei proves to be of great help and at times… a little harm.
With each soldier undergoing his own session of rigor mortis, the men learn the lies and truths of the unique untoten of their homelands as they discover their differing strengths and hungers. Reaching their destination, the soldiers expect peace finally as Kasimir arrives in the tattered village of Hieb, yet it steadily becomes clear there is no rest even for the dead as the village is swarmed by untoten. The starving undead burn at the touch of Hallowed ground, giving salvation for Kasimir, but his sanctuary will be his tomb as the days pass and the untoten do not leave, forcing Kasimir to face his own starvation.
With Eber’s new mission of getting the Holy Man out of the village alive, his heartlessness may prove to be a weakness or what saves him.
About the author: My name is Sayda Hope, and I’m just someone with an imperfect life who loves escapism! I rarely write about things which echo my real life as it’s a pretty boring place. Instead, I’d rather take you to worlds no mortal eyes will ever see except within the pages of my books. Places of mystery and danger, on adventures guided by characters you’ll come to love.
Everything from other planets on outer regions of space, filled with people you connect with as though they’re beside you, to reflections of the world we know in the guise of a Victorian era New York City, morphed into something different by court trials and murder mysteries of folkloric creatures in “monster” versions of crime dramas. In the end, I strive to make unique experiences with each one of my stories because I am the one who wants to go on these adventures, to these places, with these people. I only hope that some of you wish to come along with me.
Melissa M. Combs is no stranger to heartbreak, as her previous works, breath light to that unfortunate truth but with this full poetry collection, the reader finds the other half to the painful truth behind the heartbreak: the heartbreak of being in separation with one’s twin flame.
Twin flames are two halves of the same soul placed in two bodies, created to mirror one another to become one powerful force that when in union, seek to awaken and save the world. Combs poetry paints a spiritual picture in the works involving divine timing and interdimensional realms.
Love then becomes not something merely fashioned into glass slippers or some fancy idea that can be tossed around.
Love is ethereal, supernatural, and metaphysical, and when we truly experience it at its deepest, we begin to awaken to become expanded and growing into our highest selves.
Combs’ collection is seductively spiritual yet gentle and breathy like witnessing the height, length, and width of an angel’s wings.
If you’ve ever felt the heartbreak of meeting and loving your twin flame, and then having to separate, Combs collection will carry you through the love, the longing, and even the destructive and confusing pain inside you.
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