Lydia Redwine is a young indie author from Cincinnati, Ohio who aims to write work that is both refreshing and impactful. She has self-published four works including the first two books in her series Instruments of Sacrifice and two poetry collections. Join her mailing list for exclusive stories, deals on her clothing brand sad girl's society and more by contacting her through her website!
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve made a blog post and if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that when I start again, it means another book is on the way. You may be think, “Yeah, I already knew that” because he follow me elsewhere online in which case, this is just another announcement of the same thing you’ve been hearing.
Book four of my ongoing fantasy series Instruments of Sacrifice will be out on September 9th of this year. It is called Protectors of the Prophecies and it was a wild, emotional ride writing it.
If you’re totally new to this and haven’t heard of this fantasy series, let me catch you up to speed.
Instruments of Sacrifice will be a six book epic, high, young adult fantasy series. Books 1-3 are already published. Here are the first three books:
Instruments of Sacrifice is about a world where there are three magical crowns everyone is seeking after. One which is used for good, one used for evil, and the third which is a lot more mysterious and complicated to use and find than the first two. The search for these crowns sparks a war which will only end with great sacrifice. Among other things, this series is a “chosen one” story but long before the “chosen one” shows up and all of the people who had to set the stage for the world to be saved.
I won’t tell you the plot of book 4 because that would be majorly spoiling the rest of the series, but if you have read books 1-3, then feel free to read the synopsis on Goodreads. (You can also add the book to your reading list on Goodreads. 🙂 In the meantime, you can enjoy this cover and stay tuned for previews and more!
Several months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Juliet Inforzato who is now a newly self-published author! Her novel Journey to the Light is on Amazon today. This story is very special to me not only because it is a poignant, important, and down-right good story, but it is also one I had the pleasure of working on with her. No, I didn’t write the book (every ounce of that credit goes to Juliet) but she graciously hired me to beta read and edit for her.
Everything you need to know about the book before reading it is above, and now I want to introduce you to the author and allow her to take you behind the scenes of this book through some questions I’ve asked her! Enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out Juliet’s book and all that she’s doing online.
Lydia:What initially inspired you to write this story and what has the overall journey been like for you?
Juliet: I was actually inspired in my junior year of high school to write a story about a sick girl and the problems she goes through. I also love romance and mystery, especially young adult, so I just kind of started writing. I stopped writing for a few years, but picked this book back up over quarantine and fell in love with the characters all over again. The experience of writing a novel and having it published is beyond exciting.
Lydia: The main character, Sarah Amato suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. In the “about section” of your book, you mention that you yourself have many chronic illnesses. What can you tell readers about your experiences and how they have led you to write this story and connect so deeply with Sarah?
Juliet: I have an array of illnesses, but I do not have Cystic Fibrosis. I chose this illness instead of one of my own to make sure Sarah wasn’t me and that I was still creating a fictional character and story. However, our experiences in the hospital mirror each other’s and I connect with Sarah a lot. All of the mental feelings she has towards living with her illness, I share, and having my own experience made it easier to write accurately.
Lydia: What is the number one thing you want readers to take away from this story?
Juliet: The number one thing I want readers to take away from Journey to the Light is definitely that everything will be okay in the end. Sarah goes through a lot in the book, both emotionally and physically, but she ends up okay. I’m not saying what okay means because I don’t want to spoil it. But I just want my readers to be inspired by this strong girl and everything she went through, and know that even though things may not work as you planned, they worked out how they were supposed to, and everything works out in the end.
Lydia: Besides, Sarah, who would you say is your favorite character to write and why?
Juliet: My favorite character to write was probably Christina. She is just everything you want in a friend and more. Writing Christina was complex because she was different from Sarah, but yet just as strong and resilient.
Lydia: Congratulations on publishing your first book! What are your writing plans for the future?
Juliet: Thank you! I have a lot of novel ideas for the future but I have already begun writing the first book of a trilogy! The trilogy will be called “The Secret Princess Series” and I am so excited to share that with everyone when it is completed! I am thinking about traditionally publishing it, as well, so it may not be out for a while.
Lydia: If you were able to go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Juliet: I know this is corny, but I would love to go to Disney World right now. Like Sarah, I’m obsessed with Disney, and I plan on visiting in early 2022 with my boyfriend, if the pandemic allows!
Thank you, readers, for joining Juliet today! We hope to see you all on Amazon later looking at her book. 🙂
So…what is The Sad Girls Society anyway? You might be wondering because you’ve seen us on Instagram or you might be wondering because you’ve never heard of it before and you might be interested. (?) Whatever your reason is, we’ve explained it in short on our platforms but haven’t done anything in-depth. This post is where we do that.
Who is “we” you might ask? The Sad Girls Society is run by two sisters from Cincinnati, Ohio whose passion for creativity (namely through poetry and music) has driven us to create a community where like-minded people can join us. (Plus some side cash off of our t-shirts would help us out!)
In 2018, I, Lydia (the older sister) wrote and published a poetry collection calledEssence of An Age. In this collection is a poem called The Sad Girls Society. What started out as a poem quickly became something more…though it wasn’t anything concrete in my mind yet. SGS was a concept, it was a community and a brand but it was very abstract. Now, with our line of t-shirts (and more products to come), SGS is becoming a little more defined. We’re still figuring it out, but we thought, “Why wait when all of the creative people we’re already connected with can be along for the journey and help us along?” You can help by purchasing our shirts, simply following, asking questions and sharing your own art and poetry with us!
Some questions you might be asking:
Do I have to be sad girl to become apart of it?
No, you can be anyone. The goal of SGS is to curate more creativity and to make things like poetry and art more accessible to people who may think it is “not for them” or think that one has to be a certain type of person to read/write poetry, enjoy art, etc. SGS isn’t about being sad or even romanticizing sadness, rather, it is about finding beauty in the mundane and in the extraordinary. It is about presenting the ideas of the world that everyone is familiar with in your own unique way. This is better explained in the poem itself which you can read here.
How exactly do I become apart of SGS?
Following us on Instagram, checking out our Etsy shop, reading our poetry or simply looking on from afar if you’d like are simple ways to start. You can join our official newsletter through our contact page. (Just make sure you tell us you want to join SGS.) Joining our newsletter with let you in on our pre-launch secrets, give you exclusive deals and automatically enter you into giveaways!
So…is it just shirts and poetry or…?
Right now, yes, just shirts, but we’re looking to expand clothing wise and begin an ebook/web type magazine where we feature the stories, experiences, poetry and art that YOU make. This is why joining our mailing list and following us on Instagram is important. If there is art or a story you wish to share, we want to be a medium through which you can do that! If you have further questions about this and/or would like to know more, please let us know! We will also be selling some of our own art prints for your journals and gallery walls.
Who exactly runs SGS?
Lydia Redwine (that’s me) is a self-published author of three fantasy novels and two poetry collections. I am a freelance editor and beta reader on the side. As a former classically-educated homeschooler, I found time to develop my poetic style during my high school years. Now, at the age of twenty, I strive to continue to write stories that are both refreshing and impactful.
Priscilla Redwine is sixteen years old and passionate about developing her own poetic style, her taste and talent in music, and her skills as a photographer. She enjoys capturing different moods in different manners of art. She is tastefully aware of the effect of both the visual and audible enjoyment within art.
Today is the birthday of my fifth published book, Time Passers. I have been working on my fantasy series Instruments of Sacrifice since 2010. I published Spirit Followers in 2016 and Keepers of the Crown two years later.
While Spirit Followers and Keepers of the Crown are published as books 1 and 2 of the series, Time Passers, as many of you know, is a prequel. So while reading the first two books is highly recommended, reading Time Passers first should not be an issue as far as understanding the plot.
Today’s post is less informative about the book itself (I have plenty of other posts about that including free chapters), but more of a deep-dive into the journey of writing this book from me, the author.
TIME PASSERS is a middle-eastern, ancient Egyptian inspired fantasy about a woman cursed to live an immortal life and protect the world’s most sought after artifact: The Crown of Caelae.
You can enter a giveaway to win a free copy of Time Passers on my Instagram here! (Giveaway ends October 1st.)
I first started outline and drafting Time Passers while I let Keepers of the Crown rest for a couple months before publication. TP quickly proved to be the most emotionally challenging book I would write thus far. Aside from the challenge of writing an immortal character over the course of 800 years and dealing with significant time jumps, timelines, and pacing issues, Ilea Sukarno’s story has been one that has affected me more emotionally and spiritually than any other character I’ve written. While writing her story, I did not realize just how much it would reflect my own in the coming years. Ilea is a woman cursed with endless loneliness, a purpose she feels burdened by, the constant comings and goings of people in her life, and above all, her own constant flaw to run away. Ilea identifies herself in her deepest, fearful moments as a coward who only knows how to run. I have found this in myself as well, and I think all humans at one point or another, view themseleves in this way.
Ilea’s story reveals to the reader a human’s journey to see themselves as a Created being with a divine purpose and intention in the world. Ilea is also a bystander to slavery and oppression, who, for majority of the story shows concern for her people being oppressed but doesn’t act as much as she could have to stop it. I think this is something, especially now, that many people face. Ilea is faced with the choice to diminish her cowardliness in the name of love and helping others. In addition, I think this story is a fun retelling AND if you’re familiar with SF and KoC, you’ll find that there is quite a lot of valuable information about the world of Instruments of Sacrifice in this book.
In the end, I am very proud of this book and of Ilea and who she has become. I have learned abundantly about myself, the world, and my God through writing this. Time Passers has healed and taught me in more ways than I can express, and I can hope for nothing more than the same for my readers.
Below, you can view a hand-drawn map of the world in Ilea’s time of this book as well as a mood board I put together. I have also shared links where you can see the book and read the free chapters I already have on my blog.
Thank you, readers, and I hope you’ll join Ilea in Time Passers today and any day after.
Hello readers and welcome back to my little corner of the internet! Today I am interviewing author and poet Cynthia Cisneros who has been a friend of mine on Instagram for over the past several months. In August, she published her first poetry collection Chaotic Silence and was so kind to send me a copy. Today I am asking her questions about what being an “Instagram poet” means to her, her journey that allowed her to write this book, some of her favorite poems, and what publishing was like.
I am so excited to have Cynthia has my first guest on my blog for this series on Instagram Poets.
CHAOTIC SILENCE is the debut poetry book by Cynthia Cisneros. Divided into three sections: 2016, 2017, and 2018.”She lives in her mind where she’s brainwashed to worship decades of chaotic silence of cherry-red darkness outlining her ribs.”
LYDIA: The first thing I noticed about your book and loved was the formatting of each poem. What made you decide to format your poems so creatively and differently from one another?
CYNTHIA: At the very beginning when I first wrote my poems, they were formatted way more differently and as time gradually passed, I ended up changing how I was formatting it, and after so many revisions, they ended up being the way they look now. I just thought they look aesthetically pleasing to my eye and thought that is how they were supposed to appear as the end product. It’s like it felt complete the way it was viewed.
LYDIA: Are there any poems that are particularly special or meaningful to you? Or are there any poems you’d like to talk about writing specifically? (I know this is a hard question to ask you haha. Like asking you to pick a favorite child.)
CYNTHIA: I can’t say I have a favorite poem(s). I do believe every poem is special to me in its own way. However, the ones that stood out to me the most and meant a lot to me were the poems about my sexuality, depression, and grief found in the section, 2018. “Let Me Be”, “Ribcaged Lavender”, “Cotton Candy Lovers”, “Orpheus Girl”, and “Disclosure” are my sapphic poems. These poems portray my viewpoint of my emotions. This is a topic that is difficult to speak about since I am not officially out to family. It was difficult to even write these and many others and publish them due to my fear of my family finding out. However, there comes a time where you need to stop caring what others may think and just live. Also, the poem I am referring to when I say depression is called, “Step Out Of My Conscience”. This one underwent so many changes and was heavily edited. In this poem, I portray Death as a man stalking its prey and is the one who drives the speaker to suicide. I wrote Death to be a villain in this poem, when in reality it was my suicidal thoughts that was driving me, metaphorically, to jump over that ledge in the poem. “Witches Vibe” is a poem written in 3rd person to distance myself from this poem. It expresses how despite the signs of suicide the person displays, the people surrounding them will choose to not address it. The poem “August 2012” was based on my older sister’s burial. There is a lot of regret and grieving tones in this one. The detail in this poem is exactly what happened that day. I like this poem, despite the forever sadness it entails, it was a reality that stuck with me since then. So, I thought it visually expresses the feeling I felt on paper.
LYDIA: What do you think of the term “Instagram poet” and do you consider yourself one?
CYNTHIA: I never really gave much thought to the term “Instagram poet”. However, now that you’re asking, the first thing that pops up in my mind is a poet who regularly posts on Instagram and frequently writes poetry and knows how to spread their poetry in this specific online platform. I am a poet. However, I can’t say I would be considered an Instagram poet because I hardly ever post my poetry. Sometimes I would post on my personal account, but even the poetry on there is pretty scarce.
LYDIA: In the introduction to your collection, you talk about how your mind has always been a chaotic place. Did writing these poems, putting them in order and publishing them help you feel less chaotic? How did putting this collection together help you as a person?
CYNTHIA: Yes, when I first wrote these poems, I wanted to gain or in this case, regain agency and order back into my life and mind. The words I wrote in my notebooks helped me control the chaos, mentally and emotionally. It was a creative outlet that helped me get distracted from the suicidal thoughts that were coming into my mind frequently and unexpectedly.
LYDIA: Okay I want to talk about the cover for a second because it is absolutely stunning. Can you tell me and the blog readers about what the cover means for you and who designed it?
CYNTHIA: When I contacted my 2nd cover designer, Kat Savage from Savage Hart Book Services, she was quite professionally and very creative and through this work ethic she was able to create the cover and bring it to life. I always wanted a woman in the cover and had the universe surrounding her. I wanted the watercolors on the cover to appear bruised-like. In a way, it looks fitting because if you think about it, it’s as if the woman on the cover, like me, is healing. She tilts her head upwards and appears calm and hopeful.
LYDIA: Each of your poems has a date on them. Did you date each poem as you wrote them? You mentioned in your introduction that it felt strange editing poems in 2019 that you had written in the three years preceding it. Does it feel even stranger now to read poems you edited last year?
CYNTHIA: Yes. I did date each poem as I finished writing them. I didn’t want to forget when I wrote them, and it was a written reminder of what days were passing by. When you have this sadness that never wants to leave you, it becomes a heavy paperweight on your chest and mind, it gets hard to remember what days you live in. The dates helped me remember the days I was living. It was like my calendar.
Also, yes, it felt strange editing my poetry in 2019 because I wasn’t the same person who I was in the previous years. We are always changing and improving ourselves. Therefore, at that point of time when I was editing, my depression vanished. It felt like one day I woke up and I felt refreshed. I don’t know how to describe it, but I almost felt whole again. Absolutely yes. It really does feel strange reading my old poetry. I felt so detached from these poems that I didn’t know if I should have published them in the first place because I did not feel that way in 2019. But since my depression is slowly coming back, I am starting to understand these poems again and why I wrote them.
LYDIA: What is next for you? In the acknowledgements of your book you mention an upcoming novel. Is there anything you can tell us about that?
CYNTHIA: Yes. To be specific, there is a supernatural YA novel I have been writing since I was in high school; however, due to several reasons in my life I always decide to procrastinate in finishing it. This summer I was supposed to finish editing it but I ended up writing this new novel about these three completely different female protagonists who at the beginning of the story makes the reader wonder what they have to do with each other but then you slowly realize how they have way more in common than they believe. As you read it, you come to realize that they are running away because they do not want to get drafted into a war that they want no part of.
LYDIA: Thank you, Cythina for joining me on my blog and for being a wonderful friend on Instagram. Is there anything you would like to add that you think the readers of this post should know?
CYNTHIA: I would really hope readers will give my poetry book a chance because I am hoping as much as this book helped me get distracted to want to live these past few years, I would hope it would lead someone to gain a distraction and understanding of these poems and somehow feel better mentally and emotionally. And let them know whatever they feel is valid. And they will get through anything they’re going through.
Although I wanted this poetry book to be open to interpretation to the reader, I wanted to point out that it is not a memoir. The themes are as real as it gets but most of these poems, I have not personally happened to me. My poetry is inspired by many things and people and events. As well as writing prompts have helped me write these poems. In addition, I love writing a story within my poems and have the reader visualize what’s happening in the poem itself.