Posted in Books & Stories

Free eBooks Incoming!

Hello fellow poets and readers! I’m very happy to tell you that Verses Undone, my free mini poetry book, is now available on several more platforms including iBooks, Kobo and more but no worries if these formats aren’t your fancy because you can still read it entirely online or download the PDF and convert it to another format of your choice.
Unfortunately it’s not on Amazon’s Kindle store because KDP does not let indie authors upload free books. The minimum price needs to be at least $0.99 through KDP and I refuse to accept a single dime for these free uploads, but nonetheless you can download a Kindle-compatible format from Smashwords which is of course free!
SaladDays
In the upcoming weeks and months I’ll also be working on adding the rest of the free books to these platforms, as well as formatting and uploading the two that are currently missing from the Free Downloads page. These past few weeks I’ve been without home internet and without my computer so I’ve had many obstacles in my writing journey but I’ll get to that eventually so please be patient!
Until next time, I hope that you enjoy reading this book in various different formats and if you enjoy my free work I would like to humbly ask you to support my writing career by purchasing a paid book in either paperback, ebook or audiobook format.
Posted in Books & Stories

My Second 5 Star Review of “Innermost” by Realistic Poetry International

I’m proud to present you with my second book review from the team at Realistic Poetry International for my poetry book “Innermost” that is available in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats. Click here to read the original post on Realistic Poetry’s website or read the copied text below! Don’t forget to leave a comment as well!

addc33-4be635533a0a41c5ac94dfc06e08e272-mv2-d-1600-1200-s-2_orig

If there’s only two things I understand at a visceral level, those would be trauma and poetry.  Innermost by Jamila Mikhail encapsulates both with an astounding breadth, depth, and respect, displaying both the cause and effects of PTSD while somehow managing not to instantly set off my own post-traumatic triggers even once.  As a warning, if you do have PTSD, there’s an excellent chance that you will see at least one of your triggers in this book, and I strongly encourage any such reader to treat the foreword as a content warning for the entire volume.  Even so, I give this a 5-star rating, without any doubt or hesitation.

With each poem I read, I found fragments of myself throughout.  Even the first, “A Man Called Joachim”, reminded me of a man I had loved and lost, yet never had to begin with.  “Broken Glass” brought me back to my childhood, even though I’m fairly sure it was about domestic abuse, but that sort of behavior transcends a single scenario.  “Black Soul” perfectly records the self-delusions of depression and self-loathing, the relentless belief of one’s own worthlessness, even that one is an innate threat to others.  It quietly captures the occasional death wish, the urge to suffer, the need to make the pain stop, regardless of how.  Each poem is yet another window into the very nature of human suffering and the manifold ways in which it comes to linger as trauma and post-traumatic stress.

While it definitely shows a world of monsters and demons, Innermost never forgets its humanity or compassion, and I’d consider it a must-read for anyone trying to better understand their own past traumas.  Even if you don’t find answers, you’ll know you aren’t alone, that others have been where you are, and that death is not the only way out.

Posted in Books & Stories

My First 5 Star Review of “Innermost” by Realistic Poetry International

I am very happy to present you all a recent five-star review for my poetry book “Innermost” that I received from Realistic Poetry International’s Honest Book Reviews team. You can read the original post on their website or read the copied text below. I hope that this might motivate you to get your own copy if you’ve been thinking about it!

addc33-8a74da948f6541a293beba51a14b9333-mv2-d-1600-1200-s-2_orig

Author Jamila Mikhail’s book “Innermost” is an emotional and mental poetry documentary that captures some of the author’s darkest hours and coldest moments of her life as she strives to fight against the devastation of depression, rejection, disappointment and a broken heart.

This book reverberates with a passionate, yet lethargic voice of pain that isn’t afraid to confront their imperfect reality, despite the heartache and mental anguish it may cause. The idea of true love is noticeable throughout the book with romantic poems that embody sentiment, compassion, empathy, desire and fantasy- others show us merely the fragments leftover after all has been shattered to pieces… just like broken glass.

Poems such as “Broken Glass” remind us of a classic Lifetime movie drama, using the similia “broken glass” to represent the significant damage that has occurred between two hearts and lives due to the grueling effects of alcoholism.

In this poem, as with several others, Mikhail’s words are evocative and feel real, exposing some of her inner weaknesses and vulnerability to life, as she’s out on a thin limb clinging to the past and dear memories of when she once recalls her house truly being a home.

Emotional-based, the author’s style of writing is like prose poetry and uses the literary elements of symbolism, metaphors, and situational irony to compare and depict real-life circumstances to figurative scenarios; an example of this is the depiction and comparison of her own internal battle to the idea of being lost at sea.

Mikhail uses the figurative depiction “lost at sea,” (also the title of a poem) to embellish and emphasize the stormy rapture of turmoil and turbulence impacting her relationship with her partner, in which she is quickly plummeting saying, “…I’m drowning in the waters I know.” We take this moment to truly imagine the depths of the author’s fear, lost without compass in a world that has the potential and power to swallow anyone and anything in its way, such as the mighty sea! The feeling is nothing less than devastating. And the fact that the author makes a point to use such a dramatic and intense illustration tells us she is more than overwhelmed, isolated and dubious- she is going under. Will she survive?

Living miserably in the gloomy shadows of her own self-loathing and contempt, the narrator struggles greatly with finding inner-peace and finds it nearly impossible to gain any sense of contentment, severely discouraged by the tempestuous winds of adversity. She furthermore accentuates this unforgiving reality when she openly defines the color of her spirit as, “black.”

Behind this thought is a poem entitled “Black Soul” that shares the author’s honest viewpoint on how she connects and relates to the color black while figuratively defining its emotional impact and obscurities. The poem is written as an extended metaphor and possesses an intriguing, cryptic vibe and is no coincidence, emotionally, as black as a day with no sun.

We must add that from a technical perspective, Mikhail really shows off the usefulness of metaphors in this piece by means of multiple detailed comparisons that stem from her own personal pain, sadness and depression. Each depiction is intimate, and just like the color black, “lack hue and brightness,” ultimately drawing a shadowy portrait of her distressed spirit and consciousness. The poem takes an ironic turn towards the end when she says “Black makes me feel alive. Black is the color of my soul,” attaching herself and her very existence to the bleak and mysterious nature of the darkness.

Author Jamlila Mikhail’s poetry can speak to so many broken spirits and suffering hearts and I can definitely recommend this book to others. More than a presentation of conflict, adversity and pain, this book reads as a poetic testimony of perseverance, heart, love, courage and transition in which the author digs deep down into her soul and embraces her hearts innermost.

Posted in Books & Stories

Free Book Reviews For Fellow Indie Authors

bookreviews

Hello fellow writers! This post is for the thousands upon thousands of other independent authors like me on there fighting their way through oceans of new books every day and wanting readers to get their hands on their unique quality material. I know that the biggest struggle is probably getting book reviews and paying for a review is often overpriced and you’re not guaranteed a good one either.

I won’t promise you a good one but I can give you an honest one from the perspective of a fellow writer, just like you. I’m happy to officially roll out my free indie book review service for fellow writers! Click here to get started!

This service is extremely new hence I don’t have a big audience at the moment but every book blogger has to start somewhere. Reviews will be posted on Amazon (USA & Canada only), Twitter, Goodreads, and my book blogs on LiveJournal and Quora respectively. Particularly good books might get more exposure at my discretion and get posted on other of my many social media pages.

Posted in Books & Stories

My Author Interview On AwesomeGang.com

Hello everyone! I’m happy to announce that my author interview on AwesomeGang.com has officially gone up for all of you to read! Just click on the blue link or read the full text below to find out the story behind what inspired Innermost and find out what I’m up to next!

IMG_9993

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name is Jamila Mikhail, I’m 21 years old and I am currently the author of one published book. It was always my lifelong dream to write and publish a book because I’ve been writing in several languages ever since I was old enough to hold a pen. I’m brand new to the indie author scene and so far I’ve been absolutely loving living the dream even if I’m mostly unknown in the business!

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My most recent book is called “Innermost” and it’s a compilation of emotional poetry that I’ve written over a span of nearly half a decade, but mostly around the time of my PTSD diagnosis. It was actually my therapist who suggested that I begin to write seriously, and not just as a hobby, but it’s not until recently that I could build a proper platform to accomplish my dream. Innermost is really about all of the emotions known to the human heart, the good ones and the bad ones and whatever falls in between.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Indeed I do! Ironically I can only write when I’m doing something else at the same time. I know, I know, multitasking is said to be unproductive, but personally I’ve never been able to do otherwise. If I just sit there and force my head to come up with words and sentences and whatnot it feels like writing is a chore and not an escape from life. Inspiration usually just strikes me out of nowhere when I’m doing something else, so it’s while keeping busy that I’m usually the best at being a writer.

What authors, or books have influenced you?
This is a very hard question to answer because I’ve read so many books that have impacted in so many ways over the years. I have quite an obsession with clean romance novels, and anything related to the 20th century. I can easily say that the book that had the greatest impact on me was “Death Dealer” by Rudolf Hoess though, after reading it I finally understood what Mikhail Bakunin meant when he said “Real humanity presents a mixture of all that is most sublime and beautiful with all that is vilest and most monstrous in the world.”

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a youth novel called “Don’t Let Me Go” that is set to hit the marketplace on July 1st. It’s my way to tackle the epidemic of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders among teens and other young people. I’ve been there and reading something I could relate to was more often than not my escape. By writing and publishing this book it is my hope that I can pay it forward.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Because I’m a poet I’ve found myself to be right at home on Realisticpoetry.com but I’ve also made great connections on Instagram. I’ve also done surprisingly well at doing good old fashioned promotion by hand with postcard-sized cards I had printed advertising my book. Even those who didn’t care for the actual book commented on how stunning the card was!

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t get discouraged! There’s no one way to go about writing, publishing or marketing. Just because one method didn’t work for you it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Other authors are so quick to tell you how it should be but the truth is that this industry is a trial and error process for success. It’s important to have a plan but ultimately you’ll have to craft your own that caters to your specific needs because no two books are the same!

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

“Don’t be afraid of what it might cost you.” This wasn’t so much about a financial cost, but more towards an emotional one. Battling PTSD has left me with a distorted self-image and I greatly lacked confidence in myself.

What are you reading now?
Unfortunately I can’t say that I’m reading much for leisure right now because I have about a dozen books about WWII and the Holocaust lined up for a university level correspondence class that I’m currently taking about the history of major global conflicts. I suppose that “The Psychology of Dictatorship” by G.M. Gilbert would still count in this case, no?

What’s next for you as a writer?

Next up I plan on entering my current published book and the upcoming one into several contests and once I have three or four books on the market I’d like to start doing festivals too. Hopefully along with that modest success will come next too!

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?

I’d most likely bring books about spirituality and astronomy because they are really the only two topics that I know I can ponder endlessly and never reach a definite conclusion. Thinking about the past would drive me crazy because it would be out of my reach, and contemplating the future would be very painful knowing that I might never get there, but I can ponder the meaning of life and death, the afterlife and what’s hidden beyond the stars forever and each time it takes on a different form and I come to a different conclusion.

Posted in Everything Else, Personal & Opinion

Quora Top Writer 2018

Remember my Quora Year In Review post a few weeks ago? Well, I was recently one of the people awarded the title of Top Writer for the year 2018 and I could not be happier and more humbled by this! The best part was winning a one year subscription to the New York Times which is one of my favorite newspapers! 😀 I also now have this permanent neat badge on my Quora profile for my valuable contributions to the community.

qupra

I was very surprised to see a message in my inbox from Johnathan Brill saying that I’d been awarded this because I’ve been a member of the community for less than a year, I have less than 200 answers posted and only 36 followers. I’m a total nobody, a complete unknown on there, but obviously I still caught the attention of the admins and they love what I have to write!

At first I actually thought it was spam since I disabled receiving messages from other users because I kept getting spam including flirty/dirty messages and even a marriage proposal but then I looked on my profile and sure enough my little badge was there! 🙂

john1john2

Once I can return to my regular quiet life I hope that I can continue to make valuable contributions to the Quora community and get a second Top Writer badge for 2019. Wish me luck!

Posted in Postcards & Correspondence

List of Expired Postcrossing Postcards in 2017

Everyone has a sad postcard graveyard unfortunately, and this is mine for the year that just ended. 😦 This list is merely for tracking purposes in my postcard hobby.