The Child Finder

Book Review by Deanna M Ramirez

The Child Finder (Naomi Cottle, #1)

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Child Finder moves effortlessly. I couldn’t wait until I had free moments to read this book.

I wanted to find out where Naomi went next. To discover what happened to Madison and Snow Girl. The story unfolds, allowing you to get to know the characters just the right amount.

Naomi is brilliant. A strong female protagonist who kicks butt and creates her own path. The mystery of her past is provocative and intriguing. I want to read the second book to learn more about Naomi, and I think anyone who reads The Child Finder will feel the same.

In a nutshell: It’s a page turner. Has a great momentum to the climax. Solid ending. I have closure as a reader, but want to read more. Empowering read for women. I highly recommend it! My goal for my first novel (just completed) is to turn pages for the readers the way I turned pages reading this book.



View all my reviews

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.  This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

If Love is A Tale

If Love is A Tale

By Aaradhya Aggarwal

Blood in my veins,
In a frozen state,
Sliding like wine
On his curved, red lips.

Smoke in the air;
My thoughts burning.
Gaze stuck on the window,
Is the rain coming?

Lock my hands,
Throw the keys,
Push me in the fire,
Watch it melt with me.

If love is a tale,
Then what is your role?
Dying for your lover,
Or let him kill you on his own?
Or let him kill you on his own?
<strong>Aaradhya Aggarwal </strong>
Aaradhya Aggarwal

I am from Uttar Pradesh, India.
My hobbies include writing songs, singing, and sketching.

I am a high school student. Writing is amusing for me, but I also plan to publish my work. I have my poem “Rain On Fire” published in the book “Bloom: Poems of Loss, Heartbreak, and New Beginnings” presented by Poem Wars and edited by R.J. Hendrickson.

I have a poetic account on Instagram: @_ocean_mind_

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Shop HalloweenCostumes.com

Instagram Algorithm

Instagram Algorithm

Instagram Algorithm for Writers

By Deanna M Ramirez

Follower hide-and-seek.  Only ten percent of followers see your posts.  10%! Thanks to the Instagram (which includes Facebook) algorithm.

I get 2% of likes to my number of followers.   This makes me believe less than 10% of my followers see my posts in their feed.  The alternative explanation is that my posts did not capture my followers’ attention.  Therefore, not giving any likes

What can I do to improve this?  How can I get more followers to see my posts?  If you research the Internet, these same general bullet points turn up to these questions: 

  • Better photo quality
  • Publish consistent stories
  • Publish video content
  • Go live, and often
  • Answer DM’s
  • Craft better captions – add a call to action or question.
  • Have a contest or giveaway
  • Refine hashtag usage
  • Post when your followers are online
  • Avoid shadowban hashtags

I’ll share what I’ve learned on my Instagram journey from the perspective of an author and poet. 

Instagram’s algorithm is unfavorable to words.

Did you know Instagram is unfavorable to words? When I created my Instagram account to feature my written work, I did not understand this! 

In the beginning, it didn’t matter to me. I used my poetry account as a small creative outlet.  I wasn’t thinking in terms of “likes” and “follows”. But once I took myself seriously as a writer, I looked at my use of social media differently. 

I’ll address this unfavorable word topic below. But first…

Do you take writing seriously?

Do you call yourself a writer? A poet? An author?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, GOOD!  If it is not, why? Now, if writing is your hobby, then worrying about followers and likes is irrelevant and this article might not be for you.

However, if you care about this topic.  If you want people to read what you write, you must resolve these issues. Admit to yourself that you’re a writer. Admit you’re a poet. Say it out loud. Tell someone. It’s okay. 

Instagram Algorithm for writers.  Say it out loud. You are a writer!

Here’s a little secret – the people you think will judge you, don’t! The support surprised me when I told friends and family about my poetry and writing. You aren’t alone in hiding from shame. 

You’re in good company.

This topic came up at a writers’ conference I attended. So many people admitted to hiding it. A keynote speaker encouraged everyone to say it out loud. I am a writer.

It was the best advice! I had already outed myself as a writer. But it affirmed in my heart something I had wanted to shout over Instagram, Admit what and who you are! Be proud! Embrace it!   

Okay, now that you’ve admitted you’re a writer. Now, what?  One of my college professors said, “You must market yourself as a writer.”  

Writers must market themselves.

My professor was a published author who wrote an award-winning children’s book. She taught my Professional Writing class that writing success was our responsibility. 

Unfortunately, I took this course prior to Facebook and Instagram.  Authors then lacked concern for social media. Social media was irrelevant for writers then.  

Swipe worthy marketing.

Today our world is different.  The business of writing looks different.  More competitive than ever. With the reader’s attention distracted by other, new stimuli offered immediately at their fingertips.  People favor fast fulfillment.  They want posts impressing them in ten seconds or less.  

This century’s writers must capture readers in a finger swipe.  As I write more on each point, keep this in mind. Ten seconds.  A finger swipe

Instagram algorithm.  Thirty seconds. A finger swipe.

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

Quality matters. 

Poor quality, spelling and grammar errors, and anything visually displeasing turns off fast eyes scanning an Instagram feed.

Use a spellcheck! Capitalize. I see a wave of people using lowercase EVERYTHING. Please, for the love of words, cut it out!

This is a fad that will fade, then die. As it should. It’s lazy. If your art is words, become a master of words.  You can’t move from apprentice to master when you’re too lazy to capitalize and use proper grammar.  

Now, I didn’t say perfect grammar.  No one is perfect. Books make it to store shelves with mistakes in them.  But this is the exception, not the rule. Accidents happen. People forgive happy little accidents. (Side thought: Could I become the Bob Ross of writing? “Let’s make this lowercase i into an I. There, now that’s better.”)

Help abounds.

Feeling rusty? That’s okay. There are tools to help you. We’re all using them!

Google Docs corrects your spelling and grammar for free.  I use ProWritingAid.  It made revising my novel possible. ProWritingAid catches spelling errors. It flags repeat words, or if the writers used too many glue words. It catches passive voice versus active voice. It’s freaking amazing.

Using ProWritingAid is like taking a refresher English course. In fact, I’m using it to write this article.

Highly recommend ProWritingAid, or Grammarly.  Both offer free services. Use their free grammar checks. Try both free. I heard multiple authors say they use both during the revision process at my last writers’ conference.

This post was proofread by Grammarly

I promise these resources will help you become a better writer. Remain a student of your craft and it will shine through your words.

The #1 Writing Tool

Have out-of-focus posts turned you off?  I’ve read well-crafted poems I didn’t feature on @evepoetrygroup because the words were fuzzy.  Well written but “blah” to the eye. You can’t do that on Instagram and expect follower growth. For good reason, too.  

It’s all about aesthetic these days.

Don’t know how to make eye-catching, beautiful posts? Good news! You don’t have to be a graphic designer and a great writer. Use apps. They’re awesome. They make life easier.

My recommendation is Canva.  You can use Canva for free. Upgrading to Pro opens access to premium gorgeous fonts and stock photos.  But again, you’d do just fine with the free version too.

Pick a look for your feed. Brand yourself. If you create a look and feel and decide you hate it, change it. That’s okay too. I’ve gone through a few phases of testing different looks.

Your brand.

Creating a brand is a process. You, the writer, have a brand. Make it look and feel you. Your brand is the message you wish to send. It should look the way you want your audience to feel.

Test things out. Change your mind. Eventually you’ll find your aesthetic. Your brand.

Do this, and people will follow you. They’ll like your posts more often. Because they will instantly recognize your post in their feed from your branding. It will happen. You’ll get there.

Instagram algorithm for writers.

How often do you post? 

Consistent posts are important for account growth. Anywhere from one to four posts per day are okay. Too many posts will flag you as spam.

Find a happy number that works with your schedule. There is no magic number of posts. Bummer, right? Consistency is key. Not posting all day long.

People desire reliable Instagram accounts that post consistent, quality material. Bottom line, yo! (Sorry, on a Breaking Bad kick ever since El Camino came out.)

Instagram algorithm for writers.  Sorry, on a breaking bad kick!

The what. Words, Words, Too Many Words.

More words on an Instagram post (or caption) means fewer likes. That’s it. The short and sweet. And it sours your tongue, right?

How do writers deal with it? Keep reading. This may cause debate. But if you want to be a professional writer, you need to throw away any purist notions you have about sharing your work on social media.

First thing to understand: They created Instagram for people to share photographs. It has a simple scroll feature for this purpose. This feature, by design, is unfavorable to posts filled with words.

The why. Why do they hate my words?

Casual scrolling is lazy. Reading is work. Casual scrolling and reading a post, then reading the long caption that goes along with it, doesn’t mesh super well.

Avid readers (who read books, not Instagram posts) or your supportive writer friends read your longish posts. However, you’re not capturing followers in droves because you’re not thinking of your audience’s mindset.

Instagram algorithm for writers. Know your audience.

The who. Know your audience.

Mothers, fathers, teenagers, baristas, foodies, the Kardashian’s, white collar business men looking for love, every race, religion, and creed. Just about every type of human is on social media. Except people with something to hide. But I digress. That’ll be a different, festive article.

Your audience is a beautiful mix of people who log on social media for moments of escapism.

They check Instagram in the bathroom at work. Yeah, that’s right. They read your flowery sonnet squatting on the toilet. Sitting in traffic (not safe, but you people do it!). Social media checks occur in line at the grocery store or in a doctor’s waiting room.

Short wisps of time. That is your audience’s mindset.

Make your follower smile in the short 30-seconds you have their attention. Make them giggle. Embarrass them while they wait in line at Starbucks. Cause them to snort with laughter from the brilliant photo you picked to illustrate your short narrative.

Keep it brief. Little word appetizers. Teasers. The happy hour menu. Make them want to stay for dinner. Now I’m getting ahead of myself.

The How.

Create posts incorporating everything mentioned above. If your poem is long, include a portion of your poem in the post. Ensure the stanza or portion you include displays in high resolution.

The post should be crisp and clear. Dazzle the eyes. Use resources like Canva to do it.

Instagram algorithm. Dazzle them.

Include the full poem in the post’s caption or guide people to your website for the full read. Use the post as a teaser. But be sure the post itself is complete. It should stand on its own.

Break it down.

It’s okay if they read, like and scroll on. A few dazzling nibbles later, the reader will read further. They’ll investigate your profile.

Using the caption for the full poem can be tricky. Someone may love a post but scares off by a lengthy caption. Short attention spans. Remember, the mindsets of brilliant people changes for social media.

Using Instagram’s carousel option works too. Breakdown your writing into two or three images for one post.

Use high-resolution graphics and smaller fonts. Poems appear more consumable to the eyes. It’s strange, yes. But it worked for me on my post shown below.

Instagram Algorithm

If concise wording is key in both post and caption, then a website is even more important for writers. Use social media to draw fans of your writing to your website.

Use your own judgement regarding the format you use. I’m leaning toward shorter posts and non-wordy captions and directing my followers to read my website content. (Except for contests, etc. That’s different.)

If you build it, they will come.

Don’t have a website? Why not? These days it’s super easy to slap a blog together.

Use your website to display your long form poetry. Then you can play around as much as you like. It’s your dang website! Instagram can’t tell you what to do there!

Plus, you can link all your social media channels to your website to solidify your brand.

Believe me, if I can start a website, so can you. Weebly is a great option.

Find your domain and create your site at Weebly.com!

You can’t buy popularity on Insta.

Many sources recommend paid promotions through Instagram when I researched increasing post reach. So I tried this theory. A theory that claims paying for promotions increases reach on the algorithm because it reassures Instagram that you’re not a bot. That you don’t sketchy things to gain likes or followers.

Instagram cracked down on scandalous tactics people use. Buying likes and followers: Don’t do it. Accounts disappeared in the past six months because of Instagram’s crackdown on fake likes and followers. Did you notice it too?

Instagram algorithm. Don't buy popularity!

Many legit accounts (like mine and yours) suffer because people shirked the system. They bought social media popularity. It didn’t work out for them. Because of it, the rest of us must work CRAZY HARD for visibility. Changes Instagram implemented reduced our post exposure.

Paid Promotions

The process. First, I selected a post of mine to promote to test the theory mentioned above. Next, I set up the post and selected my target audience. I recommend picking your target audience versus letting Instagram do it for you.

In selecting my audience, I honed in on where I needed growth most. I picked locations where I wanted exposure. After making my selections, my potential reach was at 83,000,000. That’s huge!

Finally, they have you pick your budget and duration. I picked two days and ten dollars for the budget. Doing so reduced my reach. By a lot. Instagram will show you the number of reach in a range based on budget and duration.

It makes sense. Instagram provides instructions in their Help section, if you need them.

Instagram Algorithm.  They are in control.

This process added to my awareness of the amount of control Instagram has on who sees our posts. If I pay more, they let more people see my posts. The more you spend, the more exposure they let you have. Otherwise, screw you, Eve Poetry! (Again, I digress.)

Once the promotion began, I received an email from Facebook. In fact, I received three emails from three different posts that I paid Instagram to promote.

The Instagram Rub

And by rub, I mean a real gnarly carpet burn. They informed me, “your image contains too much text”. In the subject line of one email, ” Your Ad Is Not Delivering.”

I’ve included screenshots of these emails below for your viewing pleasure.

Instagram Algorithm
Email received after trying Instagram promotion.

After the above promotion, I experimented with different text styles, font size, and the number of words. Adjusting the standards in ways I thought would please Instagram. Then I received another email.

Second email received from Facebook.

Want to know the worst part? Instagram won’t allow you to edit a post once promoted. Facebook emails telling you to fix the problem. Then Instagram won’t let you. Even after the promotion is over, you can’t edit the dang post!

On both posts, I opted to delete the promotion. Because I couldn’t edit my post. If I can’t “fix the problem” as instructed, I won’t waste my money.

Instagram (Facebook) blamed me, a writer promoting my art form, for using too much of my art in my post. Ultimately, they blame the user to create an excuse for the debacle that is the algorithm. The algorithm controls viewership. It’s censorship. They censor who sees what.

Censorship in disguise.

In saying this, I realize there are reasons for their censorship. Many iterations of the algorithm were to protect people from harm or bullying. This is important. I respect safety. Online bullying is unacceptable. No one should be unsafe on social media.

Using an algorithm to censor artists is not the answer either. Limiting how many people see our posts is censorship. They mask their censorship with their algorithm. That sucks. Nothing we can do about it but quit Instagram or learn how to use this tool, obstacles and all.

Instagram Algorithm censorship.

The obstacle is invisible, and writers have it worst!

The transition from what you’ve been doing to implementing any suggestions I’ve made requires patience. Be patient with yourself. Don’t try everything all at once. Practice self care. It’s frustrating. So be kind to you.

Take it in small bites. Just like the saying, how does a mouse eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Try small changes and see if your likes increase or decrease. If they increase, keep doing it! If you don’t see improvement, adjust something. Small increments.

Did you lose likes? Something didn’t work the way you hoped? It’s not a failure. Don’t think you failed by trying something new.

Instagram algorithm.  Try and try again.

Even recently, I’ve tried new things that failed. I expect it. I lick my wounds and try again. Licking wounds is gross, so I get a little better with each new attempt.

Unless you explode overnight and become the next Atticus, it’s a process. I have posts that bomb. I’m in a process. Still finding my groove for Eve Poetry on Instagram.

Comfort zones are danger zones.

Use Instagram Live. It’s another layer of exposure. All video features for Instagram help you increase reach. If you hate Lives, then make appearances through your Instagram story.

Don’t use Insta Stories only to share your posts. Change it up. Show a piece of your life. Connect with your followers. Be a real person. People want a connection.

Connection matters.

Recently, I saw Margaret Atwood on stage. I’m a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale. However, once I saw her live in person, I became enraptured.

My fan status jumped up a huge notch seeing and hearing her discuss her life and her work. She is wonderful. She was wholly herself.

My husband wasn’t a fan, but he turned to me fifteen minutes into her interview and said, “I want her to be my grandma!” This is a testament (pun intended) to the importance of connection.

What it’s all about.

Seeing someone. Hearing a voice. It creates a real connection. Connection creates real followers. Real followers create real engagement. Real engagement creates authentic accounts with real growth. Strive for this.

Comment with Questions

Don’t fear my dear, there will be more of these. This is long enough, yet there is still so much I need to tell you!

If I left something out, comment and I’ll include it in my next article! Thanks for reading. Please let me know if this helped. If you found it helpful, please share it!

The #1 Writing Tool

Instagram Templates Landing Page

Find your domain and create your site at Weebly.com!

It Soon Reaches You

It Soon Reaches You

By Peter Anko

It's so close
Very close
Thus why does it seem so far?
As the feet approach
The view gets distant
Luring the heart to walk infinite miles
Grazing along the broad wide road
There lies the path to love
Entangled in a circle

What seemed nigh stands afar
Feet are swollen to the kneel
Strength fades away at each step
From the eyes
Flows two rivers down the cheek
Why should the pursuit seize?
When you've entertained love's wonder
How it mends broken hearts
Keeps hope alive
And stripes stench of sorrow

Its path remains circular
And it soon reaches you
When patience is not exasperating
Best you take a position within
Always alert
Love soon smiles at you
<strong>Peter Anko</strong>
Peter Anko

Hi, my name is Peter Anko, and I was born in the early nineties. I am a Nigerian and a teacher of English Language and literature.

I enjoy reading, writing, editing print and playing the keyboard. Writing is serious for me. I write poems, short stories and screenplays. Someday, I wish to publish my work.
Catch my thoughts on Instagram – Peteranko1

(This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here.)

Poetry by Noor

Poetry by Noor

My Muse, My Dearest Friend

By Noor Alzaghal

Fear, oh fear

Fear of the paper they say
Fear of a blank page

Yet fear is present
But the pale sheet isn't

Oh mother, I've got a fear so fatal
I cannot rid of it in the rivers
Oh father, I've got a fear so lethal
I cannot rid of it in the skies
Oh, this fear
It's got its claws clasped into my skin
Penetrated deep enough to reach my soul

My soul, my soul, my soul!
Tell me of your hiding place
Let me in on that secret space
Is it close by or up so high?
Tell me it's in space
Right outside the milky way
Tell me it's chill and nice
Tell me it rains and hails
Tell me joy is there
Tell me a lie

Cloistered soul,
I know you long to be set free
I know you wish to breathe
But breathing is condemned a sin
A sin so horrific
I cannot behold its magnitude

No eye must see you
Not even a tiny glimpse
For walls keep you safe
Even during a hurricane

Oh pure soul,
I'll feed you for sure
I'll read you letters
And I'll mold them into sounds
Smooth as a cat's fur

They'll serve as a catalyst
To your deepest desires
They'll beg you to yell
They'll beg you to scream
They'll beg for their freedom
With fisted balms and glaring eyes

Oh mother, let me spell it all
Oh father, let me cry it out
Oh, oh, oh, let me let me let me live

My fear's source is them
They cannot know the truth
They cannot know it all
They must not know me
Else I might become published
Exposed
In between their balms
Right beneath their fingertips
Naked
In front of their eyes
In front of their glaring soul
In front of them

My Muse, My dearest friend,
When I die,
Look through my notebooks
Set my words free
Give them wings
And let them fly
But for now
I'll howl into the night sky
Hoping Ginsberg replies

My Morning Play

By Noor Alzaghal

Subdued lighting melts through the curtains
Marking dawn
As the hushed blue fills up my four walls
Birds chirp their way up to the highest sky
Then,
Tranquil silence fills the empty pockets of the day
And soon my dear
Soon my Eyelids will become the main actors of this beautiful play.
A Romeo and a Juliette aching to reunite.
<strong>Noor Alzaghal</strong>
Noor Alzaghal

Noor Alzaghal is a 19-years-old Palestinian young woman with a burning passion for arts of all sorts. She is mainly a writer of poetry and fiction, but she also likes to dip her fingers into some photography and drama from time to time. Although unpublished, she is in the process of writing a novel as well as publishing a collection of poems hopefully soon. At the moment, she is a full time English Language and Literature student at An-Najah National University, and she is the founder of Englitopia; A Creative Writing and Drama Group , which aims to provide a safe space for students to find and express themselves through art.

You can find her on Facebook and Instagram where she shares most of her work. Instagram: @noor_poetry    
Facebook Page: @Noor.Flicker  ( https://fb.me/Noor.Flicker )

(This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here.)

Use code “2019bestcanvasprints” for 35% off sitewide + free us shipping!

Endless by Walter Banks

Your love is the Ocean of Stars that
surround night's sky.
My heart, oh how
you affect my heart;
the deeps of you
are endless.

Your soft lips, your sweet tender kiss
takes me far away to a land
where love stays.

You're my sunshine ruling over my days.
You're my moonlight; you give me never-ending
peaceful nights.

Your love oh my darling your love is
the Ocean of Stars that surround night's
sky; I want to be forever lost in you.
<strong>Walter Banks</strong>
Walter Banks

Walter Banks is a 26-year-old young man from Dallas, GA with a strong passion for writing. He writes poems and short stories for fun and hopes to one day make a living off of it.

When he’s not writing, Mr. Banks likes to listen to music especially metal and rap music ranging from artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Metallica and Slayer. He’s also an athlete and is into sports such as weightlifting, track and field, and basketball.

You can find him on Facebook and Instagram where he share’s most of his work. 
Facebook: Inside The Soul
Instagram: @soulinsidethe

(This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here.)

The #1 Writing Tool

It Was She

It Was She

By Robin LeOra Anderson

The woman in the reflection was unknown to her, a stranger. The figure sat poised and proper at the cherry wood vanity. Her ample breasts spilling out of her strapless black lace bra. Red lipstick clasped in her newly manicured fingers. Her petite hand, adorned with a 1/2 carat diamond on her ring finger, catching the reflective light of the setting sun.

The rays casting through the French doors that led to the perfectly tended yard. Her long golden locks, portraying the perfect illusion, whilst hiding the $500 extensions. She didn’t seem real. Who had she become? This version of herself masked the reality of what she felt. Was she a trophy wife? Is that what one would call it? If so, it was she that had allowed herself to obtain such a title.

Over the years she has given permission for her old self to die away and for the new model to be on display. Disgusted by what stared back at her, she stood, tossing the makeup into the vanity drawer. She sauntered to her closet where her gown for the evening’s festivities hung. Still covered in plastic from being picked up from the dry cleaners earlier in the day. Gently removing the plastic covering, she carefully wiggled her tiny frame into the crimson velvet dress, squeezing her $8,000 bust into it as best she could. She pulled at its ends, causing the fabric to form even more fittingly, hugging her small curves. She slipped her toes into the black Louis Vuitton’s, and took a step back to take a gander at the presentable finished product. She was indeed quite the most beautiful specimen.

But in that moment, it didn’t matter. Her beauty. The big 5,800 square foot home. The gun metal Maserati in the garage, or the crystal flute etched with a golden rim that housed the sparkling Veuve Clicquot. She raised the glass to her lips and took a sip of the delectable liquid. She took one last look in the mirror, raised her free hand and matching the gesture of the pristine red nail of the middle finger, uttered aloud, “Fuck you!” For, It was all a facade.

In a moment she would make her grand entrance. The guests would “ooh and ah” with hushed tones upon her arrival and she would elegantly walk towards her husband and he’d kiss her on the cheek. He would gawk and gush, exaggerating his delight with a plethora of compliments; all the while his gaze straying towards another beauty that stands nearby with smiles of adoration. It was all a game. Lies and falsifications disguised with laughter and grins. Yet, she knew she would play the part, wear the smile, for how could anyone with “all this” be unhappy. One should be grateful for all that they have, and to turn a blind eye to his adulterous ways…was understood, was acceptable, and she would be crazy to give it all up.

She turned away from the reflective image, and she began her walk down the hall to embrace the insignificant faces of the evening. His colleagues, long-life friends, those he had added to the list last minute to simply rub his success and blissful life in their faces. She was his to show off, right along with the cognac that they had brought back from their trip to France, they were all on display. She could hear the chatter and clinking of glasses, and with one last sip and one deep breath (causing her bosom an attempted escape from the constricting dress) and a smile…entre’!

Suit and ties filled the room, various scents (colognes and perfumes clashing) filling her nostrils causing them to flare. In efforts of disguising the overwhelming fragrance, she delicately brought her glass to her lips, taking another gulp whilst holding her breath.

As she walked about the room, greeting her guests with nods, smiles, and hellos, the men’s eyes followed with each sway of her hips. All filled with lust and longing and some aglow with jealousy. The women were dressed to the nines, with various shades of their black and gray splattered about, yet unable to compare to her.

She caught a server by the elbow, trading her empty flute for another crisp cold bubbly, this one embellished with three pomegranates floating at the top, grazing her plump lips as she brought it to her mouth, quenching her thirst.

In that moment, just as she had assumed, her husband, began his approach to her. With much chagrin leaving the side of his muse, but not before whispering sweet nothings into her ear, causing her eyes to sparkle. Anger stung at the corner of her eyes, which then transformed into shame. She felt embarrassed by her husband and his mistress’ cavalier attitude. Their behavior wasn’t blatant, flaunting was even to crass of a word, however; they certainly didn’t disguise their relationship. It was such a ridiculous ruse, and it was expected that she would swallow her pride, her dignity, her value, her worth. She deviated her eyes away from the spectacle. In response and perfect self deprecating fashion, she finished her champagne, and found the server grabbing another.

Much to her dismay, he had chosen to wear his gray Armani suit. Upon purchasing it, weeks prior, she had mentioned that the suit was simply too small. The areas that it hugged and accentuated were not flattering by any means. Yet, he disagreed claiming that it was his exact size, a 42L (in reality a 46 would have sufficed perfectly). But, as he paraded across the room, his red velvety tie caught the flickering of the ambient candlelight that decorated the large room.

It was an intentional choice (the tie) to match her formal wear. His gait was proud, slow and steady, even with his confidence accentuated in each step, he was still unable to hide his middle-age bulge, that was so desperate to be released from the restraint of the single button of his suit. It was laughable really. How ridiculous he looked, yet the compliments and validation he received was all that he required, and of course it was given. The pats on his shoulder, the hand-shakes as he walked by, the nods of approval…the superficial confirmation filling his ego.

She could feel her stomach churn at the idea. The visualization of of the figures filled with greed and envy was more than she could bear. She could see the hunger in their eyes instilled with complete idolization towards this man. Her man. Her husband. She envisioned the gnawing and gnashing of their teeth diving into his flesh in ravenous frenzy in efforts to fulfill their gluttonous adoration. It was sickening. Vile. She had to clear her throat to stifle the bile that was journeying upwards from her belly. 

“You look ravishing, my dear,” he muttered under his breath, along with a tooth-filled smile kissing her hand. She nodded in response, her eyes catching the envious stare of his Jezebel from across the room. She then tapped her glass with the base of her ring finger, creating a high clanking, grabbing the attention of the visitors. 

“Would you all please raise your glasses?”

The room complied with her bidding. She scoped the great room, a large Christmas tree stood tall and stoic in the corner. Decorated to its absolute perfection. Ribbons and wreaths were strewn above the window and fireplace; the atmosphere so breathtaking that one could easily find themselves agape at its elegance. 

“I want to thank you all for being here this evening,” her voice as soothing as the trill of a songbird. “As we celebrate the passing year for all its triumphs and downfalls, I hope we are all able to reflect on our journey with positivity and continue to grow and learn. I do hope that the coming year brings good fortune, enlightenment, and an opportunity of discovery as we move towards a brighter and more satisfying future.” 

She paused for a moment, lowering her raised hand, scanning the faces of all those surrounding her. She could feel their piercing eyes of judgement, their smiles of false truths, burning deep into her core, and she could feel the loneliness rising within her depths. It was a room of strangers who desired to be called friends. A room filled with beings that knew nothing of her soul. 

With an escape of a small chuckle, she raised her glass and continued, “So, fill your ravenous appetites, indulge on the flowing cocktails, taste all the delicacies proffered within these walls, TAKE what is given, and appease your voracious sinful souls! here’s to you!” The room, in automated response echoed, “Cheers!” She then locked eyes with her spouse, as they each took their sip in response to toasting tradition.

His brow furrowed, as he stood quizzical and confused. She gave him a sly smile and a devilish wink, then ventured towards his muse.

The young woman began to shift and stir in her bargain heels, nervously fidgeting with the diamond earrings that hung loosely from her lobe.

A gift for being, “Such an amazing assistant, a godsend really,” or at least that’s what she was told when she found the bill from the jewelers, that had accidentally fallen from her husband’s pants pocket earlier that morning.

As she reached her destination, the young woman attempted a smile, all the while with quivering lips and her eyes darting sporadically in the direction where her husband still stood watching. She leaned in towards the girl, she placed her lips upon the girl’s cheek, giving a delicate peck, slowly she moved her red lips towards the girl’s ear, and whispered HER sweet nothings.

“He’s all yours, dear.” She placed her empty flute down on the glass coffee table, exited the room, fully aware of the whispers, gossip, and giggles.

Upon returning to her bedroom, she closed the door and fastened the lock behind her. Safe within her solitude. She went before her mirror, freeing her feet from the three inches of height and began unzipping her dress. The red velvet fell to the floor, and with the unsnapping of her bra, her breasts were now liberated. Her nipples stood erect from the sudden exposure of the air. She then removed her underwear, tossing them to the side. She stood before her image. Naked. Susceptible to judgement; her own. She was vulnerable and she was frightened. As she looked about the clothing scattered on the floor, she removed all her jewelry, adding them to pile at her feet. Lastly, her ring. The last materialistic item that connected her to him. The identifier that allowed the world to see that she was taken, that she was a Mrs., that she was still his. She held it in the palm of her hand, feeling its weight. She then chucked it across the room, hitting the wall above their bed frame, dropping to the hardwood floor, giving a thud of finality. 

Her skin had been shed. And she could feel a rising fire growing from within her belly. She could feel a new strength flowing throughout her veins. Her heart raced. With one inhale, deeply filling up her lungs, awakening all senses, electrifying her soul and setting her eyes ablaze. 

She had been reborn. 

About the Author

Robin LeOra Anderson

My name is Robin LeOra Andersen, I am 43, married for 20 years, and have 4 beautiful children. I am a stay at home mom, but do help my hubby and older son (when needed) with our family business. I am located in Northern California, I am a classically trained pianist, I home schooled my children (an incredible blessing and adventure), and have always dabbled here and there (as a hobby) with writing. This past year, and as my children are getting older, I find I have more time for myself.  I am taking my writing more seriously and am currently working on completing my first novel. It’s an exciting new journey for me, and I am eager to see where it leads. My poetry can be found on Instagram: @leoras_beautiful_chaos_poetry 

(This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here.)

Equalizer

Equalizer

Equalizer, a poem by Deanna M Ramirez

The war in me for equality
For equal pay
Performing quality work 
in the same way
And never needing to be told
Cause I have integrity to uphold
I do what is right
Regardless of whose around
or nowhere in sight
In my skin, I have nothing to hide
Living above reproach
with family on my side
Not the one's that you may think
Most of them prefer 
that I fail and sink
Please don't waste pretense to worry about me
I know who to trust and hold close
Those who are fake
in due time, truth wins
and their lies are exposed

Deanna M Ramirez ©

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising / referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

Her Name Means Life

Her Name Means Life

A poem by Deanna M Ramirez

A storm
inside a rainbow
along the curious trail of a white rabbit
Her name means life
which manifests with ferocity
and subconscious conviction
Her highs soar above the mountains
Lows steep thoughtfully, deeply
Always contemplating life
and where she is headed
Anxiously plotting and planning
Her future is bright and shining
Her opportunities endless
She works hard
Needs no prescription 
for her laser focused vision
Propelling purposeful practice
of her talents that she perfects
She conquers her fears
and will claim her birthright
Her destiny is written in the stars

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

Perfect Storm

Perfect Storm

A poem by Deanna M Ramirez

The perfect storm of your love⠀
drowns out the deafening ⠀
silence of my heart⠀
Creating vibrant color in bleak places⠀
Warmth creeping spaces⠀
long forgotten ⠀

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising / referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

Weebly - Websites, eCommerce &amp; Marketing in one place.