Swoon Reads

Thank you to Swoon Reads for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

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Rujuta Sheth Kaftan 

Artesano Cristi Straw Bag 

TKEES Jo Suede Georgia 

Extraordinary books are better when they're shared. Swoon Reads distributes the most recent and most noteworthy young adult and new adult novels suggested by readers like myself. From brave legends to outsider undertakings, to romance—if we're digging it, they'll distribute it. Swoon Reads is dedicated to the undiscovered and are constantly seeking out the very best in bright, new bookish talent. Being a writer myself, there's nothing better than a publisher who takes the time in finding new talent, so you can imagine my support on this as well. To learn more about Swoon Reads and what I'm currently reading, proceed with this post! 

You have the ability to get books distributed! Through a shared, participatory way to deal with distributing, Swoon Reads gives readers access to an industry that is frequently kept "in secret." From submitting unique original copies to voting on which cover makes it onto the completed books, Swoon Reads includes the network in each progression of the distributing procedure. Through Swoon Reads' online stage and application, book sweethearts have the chance to manufacture and draw in with an online network of kindred book readers and writers. Writers present their unique, unpublished compositions to the Swoon Reads people group. At that point, readers who join on the web or download the application can rate, remark, and offer their top choices. Swoon Reads utilizes that input to help choose what to distribute. The best part is it's all totally free. I discovered this is an awesome method to give new scholars a possibility for presentation and furthermore to get input as well as finding new talent. What do you guys think of this concept? You can ever vote on covers for books that are coming out here!

Most of you know I'm a complete bookworm and I've read thousands of books. I enjoy reading complex work such as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and others but during those hot summer months, I like nothing more than something simple and 'flowy' to read. Like a young adult novel (YES I still read them from time to time!) or a romance novel that just whisks you away, these are the kinds of books I like to read at the beach and on vacation. For example, like the book, I'm currently reading is an utterly relatable contemporary novel about loving yourself and forging your own path. Here's the synopsis: Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her big sister—and best friend—goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she'll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn't count on is that her mother's obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy's mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats. Between her mom's diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears. To Be Honest is another sharp, witty novel from Maggie Ann Martin, about a spunky heroine who is dealing with very real issues—body image, parental pressure, loneliness, first love, and finding your way—with heart and humor. 

So get excited for all the benefits that Swoon Reads offers as a community-focused, participatory publishing company — including starting conversations among like-minded book lovers, unlimited access to free original manuscripts, and the opportunity to make your opinion count toward something tangible! If you'd like to learn more about Swoon Reads, please go to www.swoonreads.com or click here! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. 

LOVE & XX'S, 

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Houndstooth & Charles Bukowski

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I WAS SENTIMENTAL ABOUT MANY THINGS: A WOMAN'S SHOES UNDER THE BED; ONE HAIRPIN LEFT BEHIND ON THE DRESSER; THE WAY THEY SAID, "I'M GOING TO PEE. . ."; HAIR RIBBONS, WALKING DOWN THE BOULEVARD WITH THEM AT 1:30 IN THE AFTERNOON, JUST TWO PEOPLE WALKING TOGETHER; THE LONG NIGHTS OF DRINKING AND SMOKING, TALKING; THE ARGUMENTS; THINKING OF SUICIDE; EATING TOGETHER AND FEELING GOOD; THE JOKES; THE LAUGHTER OUT OF NOWHERE; FEELING MIRACLES IN THE AIR; BEING IN A PARKED CAR TOGETHER; COMPARING PAST LOVERS AT 3AM; BEING TOLD YOU SNORE, HEARING HER SNORE; MOTHERS, DAUGHTERS, SONS, CATS, DOGS; SOMETIMES DEATH AND SOMETIMES DIVORCE, BUT ALWAYS CARRYING ON, ALWAYS SEEING IT THROUGH; READING A NEWSPAPER ALONE IN A SANDWICH JOINT AND FEELING NAUSEA BECAUSE SHE'S NOW MARRIED TO A DENTIST WITH AN I.Q. OF 95; RACETRACKS, PARKS, PARK PICNICS; EVEN JAILS; HER DULL FRIENDS, YOUR DULL FRIENDS; YOUR DRINKING, HER DANCING; YOUR FLIRTING, HER FLIRTING; HER PILLS, YOUR FUCKING ON THE SIDE, AND HER DOING THE SAME; SLEEPING TOGETHER. . . . 

One of the many passages from writer Charles Bukowski's novel, Women, I always found comfort in his writing. His style flairs in the rawest form of honesty, something that most writers today do not have. The older I become the more I realize how important it is to pull away from the idea of what perfection is supposed to be - straight to its core in every aspect. Bukowski wasn't exactly the nicest of people; a total misogynist, narcissist and straight up alcoholic. Many disliked him, but many like myself saw him as an influence not just in the realm of writing. So in today's post I'm sharing with you five things I've learned from one of my favorite American writers.

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HONESTY 

Writers have so many things they can’t write about: family, spouses, exes, children, jobs, bosses, colleagues, friends. That’s why they make stuff up. Fiction is their best friend. But Bukowski didn’t let himself get hampered by that so we see real brutal honesty, a real anthropological survey of being down and out for 60+ years without anything being held back. No other writer before or since has done that. For a particular example, see his novel, Women which detailed every sexual nuance of every woman who dared to sleep with him after he achieved some success. Most of these women were horrified after the book came out. It's actually one of my favorite books written by Bukowski and the beginning excerpt of this post is from Women. Sure he talks badly about most of the experiences he has had with women, but what I really love about it is the cold hard dose of reality that comes with any relationship: disappointment, pain, heartache... love... and the way he is so candor about some of the more intimate parts of life. Think about it, would you find it easy or rather difficult talking about your personal relationships through the written word? 

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DISCIPLINE

Imagine coming home from an awful day at work and arguing with a woman/man that was living with you, finishing off a six-pack of beer and then... writing. He did it every day. Most people want to write that novel, or finish that painting, or start that business, but have zero discipline to actually sit down and do it. I'm actually amazed he had any sort of discipline at all. With that kind of work ethic, it just goes to show that if you truly love what you're doing, it will supersede the rest. (Even through the potent powers of alcohol!) In order to be a writer, you must really love to write and you must write every single day. Easy to say, but so tough to do. I, myself, also write every day, but I'm not going to lie, there are some pretty bad days where I just want to throw my typewriter out the window. But you keep at it, because it's all you know, it's all you have and without the written word, you feel like you could die. That's how Bukowski felt too.

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SHAMELESSNESS

Bukowski didn't give a rat's ass what people thought about him. And I praise him for that. I'm constantly looking over my shoulder and am always second-guessing myself. I sometimes wish I could throw caution to the wind and really have that mentality of 'no f*cks given' at all times. But when feeling extra down, my insecurities tend to get the best of me. Learning the art of not caring what people think takes time and experience, I think. But I've always admired those who really didn't worry about the opinions of others - because it's not as easy as it looks. It can be cleverly hidden in so many different ways.

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POETRY

Bukowski was quite the poet. And it's all non-fiction, which to me, is the best part. It's not the puzzle-kind of poetry where you have to intellectually decode it to understand it. His work was straight to the point. Poetry was something that let writers to master making each word in a sentence effective and powerful. It was this training that allowed them to destroy the competition when they sat down to write their longer pieces. That's how I also got started in writing. In fact, the first two pieces I ever had published were actually poems I wrote as a young teenager. It was only after these publications that I really started to consider becoming a writer. 

PERSISTENCE

The man wrote his first novel at age 49. And it took him over 25 years to become a successful writer. Everyone (mostly everyone) nowadays wants instant gratification. Less and less are understanding what it takes to become one of the greats. I find that when most figure out how long or how much dedication/work will be required to reach whatever goal you may have, most tend to give up before even reaching that halfway mark. And Bukowski was far from perfect and yet still managed to become what he wanted to become. So if he could stay persistent despite all the misfortunes and misgivings life can bring, he still kept plugging away and never gave up. And to me, that's what makes the heart of any champion... 

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LOVE & XX'S,

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Back to School – 10 Memorable Moments

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It's that time of year where summer is winding down and the kids are beginning to get ready to go back to school. I love this time period where the days seem more relaxed and the weather is still hot though there are a few days here and there that are starting to get cooler. August is like the Sunday of summer. I wanted to take a trip down memory lane along with a cute outfit to re-boot! ;) But y'all know I'm far from posh and even further from the typical Catholic school girl, ha ha ha! So I put a little twist on my modern-day version of a really cute first day of school outfit... with a touch of menswear, a little geekiness and a whole lot of rock n roll attitude! But before I get more into detail about my outfit, I wanted to share with you ten of my most memorable moments back in my school days. I may not be old, but I'm definitely reaching old school!

1. Some of you may not know, but I received a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. What a lot of you don't know is because I have such a deep passion for art (the first class I ever took at 4 years old was an art class), I managed to accidentally obtain a minor in art history on top of my primary major. The look I had in the office from my guidance counselor was priceless because I really never had any intention of doing it! I even considered changing my major to creative writing or literature before anything else. It's funny how some things just fall in your lap.

2. The first time I ever got in trouble at school was in kindergarten. And you'll never guess what for... kissing! I had the craziest crush on a blonde boy from my class and I was completely infatuated... I just kept running around smooching him every chance I could get before the teacher put me in timeout. Ha ha ha!

3. During second grade, the elementary school I attended was holding their annual cultural potluck meal, where the parents' kids came up with dishes pertaining to their ethnic background and brought it to school for all of us to enjoy and learn more about different culinary foods. I initially (and quite desperately) wanted to bring dried up squid as our Korean dish, but my mother was against it due to the tentacle oddities & seafood smell and was concerned the kids wouldn't go for it. I was crushed! I really wanted to share my favorite snack! But umma came through and made her famous kalbi ribs, that dish went completely empty the minute it sat down on the table!

4. The first person to have ever told me I should be a writer was my creative writing teacher in high school, Mr. Ikens. He was quite peculiar looking, with ghostly skin and matching white hair even though he was only in his mid-thirties at the time, and had a deep-seeded fear for the Pillsbury Doughboy. He was the first to see my work and was the first to suggest that I set my career in writing. I'll always remember the music he played while we sat in his classroom working, from Bob Dylan to this very strange song called, "Rollie-Pollie Fish Heads", he inspired me to write more and eventually led to where I am today. 

5. One of the most tedious classes I ever had was an advanced course in European history while in high school. I'm not proud to admit it but I must have fallen asleep in that class at least three times a week! It was also where I had to speak in front of a whole room with a presentation, which made me hella nervous, but to this day did teach me a lot about public speaking and yes, European history.

6. I learned how to read Shakespeare well from the likes of Mr. Webb. He was a disgruntled man who taught English in my junior high school, and we had read Romeo & Juliet during our time with him. Though I had already read several books by Shakespeare and Mr. Webb normally scared the bejesus out of me, he did teach me a thing or two about writing and I still remember him to this day.

7. When I was in elementary school I was one of the best in the state for chin-ups/pull-ups. I used to easily be able to do at least 20 in one sitting! I even made it to the state tracks to compete where I met one of my closest friends to date. We've known each other for over twenty years and she is like family to me. What's funny is we didn't become glued to the hip after meeting at the track competition, it was not until the following season where we bumped into each other at a skating rink when we became close very quickly. 

8. My first dance I attended was in high school. Yeah, you can say I had a late start to everything. I remember I had picked this really pretty green with black embroidered floral print spaghetti strapped dress to impress my boyfriend, who happened to also be the first boyfriend I ever had. My mother was so adamant about me wearing a bra, and to this day I still HATE wearing them, that I did leave the house with one on, but took it off in the bathroom at the school dance and threw it out! Free the nipple, ha ha ha! 

9. At around 8 or 9, as an April Fool's joke, I pretended to have an asthma attack during class after watching The Hand that Rocks the Cradle at a sleepover at a friend's house. Let's just say I was kind of a naughty child, and definitely a troublemaker!  

10. When I was in college I studied abroad in Ukraine. For nearly six weeks, we visited six different cities and it was one of the most adventurous and life-changing experiences of my life. I miss the place and its people often and hope to visit again one day very soon. I think my favorite memory from this trip was perhaps firing my first gun and seeing a live autopsy for the very first time. Such a wild and fun experience. Now I want to share photos and experiences in a post, what do you guys think about that?

And now onto this school girl-inspired outfit. Initially, I was going to go for a more monochromatic look with a long black dress with this oversized cutout shirt from Forever 21. I received this beautiful andesite Gabriella Melbourne bag from Brahmin in celebration of their 35th Year Anniversary. At Brahmin, they're are all about the details. Since 1982, they've been creating handbags and accessories that combine inspired functionality, quality materials, and standout style. Selecting luxe leathers and on-trend accents, their team designs 100% of their products in-house in Massachusetts. The result is a modern collection celebrating the textures you love. And I can definitely say this is my new go-to staple bag for the season! I took it for a little 'stroll' the other day and got so many compliments on it! You guys should check them out, really top-notch quality! I'm completely obsessed. My skirt is from Hollister paired with my trusty Gucci belt. I accessorized with fishnet crew socks from Forever 21 and loafer slides from Peridot Boutique. To give a more librarian, nerdy feel to this look, I wore a loosely tied men's skinny tie in forest green and my favorite Persol glasses. What do you guys think of this look? And what's one of your favorite memories from your school days? Leave your answers in the comments below where you can also directly shop the look. Have a great week, everyone! Catch ya back here on Wednesday. 

LOVE & XX'S, 

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The Fisherman's Lily 1 Year Anniversary

"DO NOT BITE AT THE BAIT OF PLEASURE, TILL YOU KNOW THERE IS NO HOOK BENEATH IT." - THOMAS JEFFERSON

The beginning of last year was the start to a very humbling experience. One year ago to this date, after spending over four years writing my first novel, my debut crime-thriller novel, The Fisherman's Lily was published by TouchPoint Press. Some of you may have heard about it, or may have also read it (which I very much so kindly thank you from the bottom of my heart!), but what some of you may not know is the origination of the story. Where it comes from. What made me finally want to put my metaphorical pen down to paper. And with today being my one year anniversary, I wanted to fill my readers with more details about the story behind the written story.

William Buter Yeats.

William Buter Yeats.

So where on Earth did I get this idea from? Well, it all starts back when I was just a teenager. While in high school I took a creative writing class. The teacher read a short story of mine and afterward insisted that I “should be a writer.” I’ve been writing ever since. I initially wrote several more short stories before taking an immediate interest in poetry. Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Butler Yeats were like long-lost friends to me during my teenage angst. When a few of my poems were published while in high school and in college, that sparked a deeper passion to perhaps take my writing a bit more seriously.

 Author Portrait By ©  Gilles Decamps

 Author Portrait By © Gilles Decamps

I began working on a memoir for several years before putting it on the back burner because I felt like I had a lot more to accomplish before completing an enormous project of that kind of magnitude. That and it's deeply personal to write about. That's when a lightbulb went off in my head. Why not take a stab (ha, ha I'm #punny) at fiction? And more in particular: crime fiction. How come? Not long ago, and initially wanting a career within law enforcement, I took it upon myself to receive a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. After obtaining my degree, I moved to New York City to continue pursuing my career as a police officer. But two weeks before entering the police academy, I felt I wasn't being true to my heart. For whatever reason, even with good intentions, it didn't feel right. I also wanted to fall in love, get married and have children, but I wasn't going to share my life with someone if I was in that kind of profession. I would've chosen to only be married to the job. Something was still pulling at my heart's strings. That's when I started ferociously writing every night, just to get the ick out of me and what was going on in my life. It didn't take long before I realized I wanted to change careers to pursue my ambitions as a writer, and very quickly was inspired to write about what almost could have been. And the best part? Writing fiction of course!

Full Book Cover, front & back.

Full Book Cover, front & back.

So, what is my book about? Lily Dietz, is an attractive New York homicide detective who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Her career is hindered by her psychological and physical frailties. Apart from being a borderline alcoholic she is close to being a full-blown manic depressive. With her partner John Fremont, Lily becomes engrossed in the hunt to catch a killer who favors Asian-American women – a category she herself falls into. As the race to unmask the murderer gathers pace, Lily must prevent herself from turning from hunter into prey.

The Fisherman's Lily is like an onion. It has many layers. I would describe the novel to be a mixture of police procedural, detective fiction, thriller/suspense and a family saga. It is dark crime and I would not say it is for everyone (it can get quite gruesome) but other parts of the novel discuss the complexity of our emotions and the human condition, such as feelings of anger, guilt, redemption, sadness … love. And how it all correlates within the relationships we have with others and ourselves.

Book Trailer for The Fisherman's Lily by Suzanne Spiegoski

Here's a fun random fact about my book: I'm a proud German Shepherd owner and in general, a dog lover. I love the breed so much I felt compelled to create a dog character in the book, Cuffs, Lily's beloved K-9 working-line GSD. He is her shadow, her confidant and best friend. It wasn't until after completing The Fisherman's Lily when my real-life dog, MaQ, came into our lives. Now he is my personal cheerleader, muse and hero. ♥

With my muse, MaQ, my German shepherd dog.  ©  Gilles Decamps

With my muse, MaQ, my German shepherd dog. © Gilles Decamps

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Are you into crime fiction? Like the thrill of the chase? Perhaps you're a natural-born bookworm who's looking for something a little different from your usual reading? In honor of this special day I'm doing a book giveaway to one lucky reader! To enter your chance of winning a free, signed paperback copy of The Fisherman's Lily go on my Instagram page (@suzannespiegoski) and just follow the rules. :)

Enter your chance to win a free signed copy of  The Fisherman's Lily  on   Instagram   NOW!

Enter your chance to win a free signed copy of The Fisherman's Lily on Instagram NOW!

Rooftop Vibes © Gilles Decamps

Rooftop Vibes © Gilles Decamps

Got questions about my book or my writing? Leave comments below! I love interacting with new readers and other like-minded blogs, and of course, I can't leave out the familiar faces! Thank you so much for your continued love and support. I am forever grateful for you!

Thanks for stopping by and reading more about my life and my work. Don't forget to go on Instagram and enter your chance to win a free copy of The Fisherman's Lily!

Have a great rest of your Tuesday! The Fisherman's Lily is available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble, in kindle and paperback.

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Love & xx's,

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