Meet Fantastical for Real!

Dreams are coming true. My first publication, Fantastical for Real, is now available on Amazon, Kobo, and Apple Books! This chapbook was an exercise in creativity, and I thoroughly enjoyed putting it together.

The cover art was created from a photograph of daisies and other flowers. I took a handful of flowers out of a bouquet, laid them on a black foam board out on the pavement just before sunset, and took a bunch of photos. Then, I found a photo that I suspected would work well for my cover and processed it to create the vivid (fantastical) color effects you see in the background.

The “i” in Fantastical also was a daisy (of course), which I had lain down on that same black foam board. I pulled the petals forward and bent the neck so that it “looked” at me while I took pictures. Adobe Photoshop allowed me to remove the black background and place everything on the cover just the way I wanted it.

I love my cover. And I love the words inside it. To fellow creatives: remember to be true to you. River Blossoms Press and Fantastical for Real exist because I exist. My brain did this, and I’m proud of that fact. Strive to create what your brain wishes to create. You never know what beautiful things might exist just because you did.

So, here it is. Fantastical for Real…

Fantastical for Real

Chapbook – prose poetry

Ann Garcia

Fantastical for Real invites you to escape adulthood, think outside life’s box, and join Ann Garcia on a (self) love journey via her unique brand of prose poetry. Inspired by a metaphysical connection that resulted in significant inner growth, Fantastical for Real weaves appreciation for nature into Ann’s concept of the creative’s self, the creative’s soul mate, and the potential found inside where hopes and disappointments play tug-of-war while the soul plans its triumph.

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING…

“What a lovely book!

I thoroughly connected with, and enjoyed Ann’s words of love, nature and self.

The cover is beautifully designed as well. It would look amazing on any coffee table.”

Amazon Review – Verified Purchase

“Ann Garcia’s poetry is special, it tugs at your heart. It awakens the child within us. It reaches places in us we may not wish to acknowledge as grown ups. It speaks of a connection that few of us ever get to experience. We have been given the key to an enchanted forest accessed by poetry. Led by words, down a path of dreams, with nature’s child leading the way. Being lost is part of the attraction, in this secret world we can access whenever we choose.”

Amazon Review – Verified Purchase

AVAILABLE NOW

Fantastical for Real

Cover Reveal – Fantastical for Real

When I woke this morning, I had no intention of revealing my first book cover, but Fantastical for Real doesn’t want to wait any longer!

I am likely to do some minor editing of this cover, but this is pretty much it!

Fantastical for Real is my debut poetry chapbook for which I’ve selected prose poems inspired by a metaphysical connection between a soul mate and I–a fantastical (for real) experience that resulted in significant inner growth. The poems within Fantastical for Real weave appreciation for nature into my concept of the creative’s self and the creative’s soul mate. – Ann Garcia

Fantastical for Real is scheduled for release on June 8, 2021. – River Blossoms Press

Our Tagline, Explained

“artistry and individuality within poetry & prose”

The impetus behind this tagline is a love story I’d written years ago. That love story, loosely categorized as a work of romantic women’s fiction (if it must be categorized), is unusual. It’s so different that several beta readers told me they’d never read a story like it. Additionally, those beta readers told me that my writing style was somewhere outside the commercial-fiction box. And this got me thinking.

Maybe my story is “too different”. Maybe my prose is “too poetic”. Maybe these are reasons why the traditional publishing path resulted in a dead end for me.

But not really. 

To me, dead ends are signs to try another path, so, when I decided to establish River Blossoms Press, I committed to being true to myself as an artist. My publishing house will publish writing that I love—stories and poems that are as unique as their creator. 

I value artistry. Words are like music notes—best linked with care.

I value individuality. River Blossoms Press is a creative endeavor without any desire to prove itself. If book sales are low, it doesn’t mean that the book isn’t treasured by those who bought it. Maybe that book is simply different. And that’s okay because individuality is precious.

With this thought in mind, I want to share a poem I recently posted on Instagram. It is about intuition, individuality, and strength.

Always sitting left of my navel. Gnawing on seeds. Spitting chances. Throwing fear a bone. 

Was it easier to not do the things? To hide behind I don’t matter. I shouldn’t bother. 

I sit left of the box. Always have. That container 
where the masses, bruised from “belonging”, stuff themselves into corners, faces crammed against their individuality 
on the other side of the wall. Begging. Here I am. Get me.

Here am I, left of the box, eating up chances spat from that place left of my navel in this headspace where I’m supposed to be. 

Dear readers, I hope you always embrace your individuality. If you haven’t, remember that it’s never too late to do so!

Why Chapbooks?

I am thrilled that River Blossoms Press soon will release its first publication, Fantastical for Real—a poetry chapbook! Over the past month, several people have told me they’re unfamiliar with chapbooks, so I thought I’d explain what they are and why I’ve chosen to publish them. 

What is a chapbook?

A chapbook is a short book focused on a specific theme. Traditional chapbooks are saddle-stitched, like a pamphlet or magazine, and they typically range from 20 to 40 pages. Often, they are composed of a small collection of poetry, but some chapbooks include short stories or other types of writing. Chapbooks published by River Blossoms Press will be available as ebooks and paperbacks. 

Why publish chapbooks?

Brevity

Life is busy and, when I sit down to enjoy a book, I’m on limited time. If I sit down to read a novel, I’m lucky if I make it through a chapter before I must put the book down due to interruptions (demands of family) or exhaustion (demands of life). If you’re like me, you must read in small doses; a poetry chapbook in a small dose easily consumed in one sitting (or maybe two).

Diversity

In addition to presenting a complete collection of poetry or fiction in a small dose, chapbooks focus on a specific theme. This means that each chapbook published by River Blossoms Press will have its own flavor and feel. For example, my first chapbook, Fantastical for Real, is a small collection of prose poems inspired by a metaphysical connection between a soul mate and I—a fantastical (for real) experience that resulted in significant inner growth. 

Fantastical for Real will appeal to readers who enjoy lyrical prose poetry with fantastical elements, but this chapbook will not appeal to everyone (of course). In hopes of offering a diverse set of books, over time, River Blossoms Press has plans for chapbooks of other styles (e.g., formal verse, short fiction) and other topics (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, nature, ekphrastic poetry). 

When will Fantastical for Real be released?

Soon!

River Blossoms Press is my greatest creative endeavor, and I fit it into my life between my full-time obligations as a parent/wife/professional. The release of my first chapbook is taking a little longer than planned, but that’s okay. Beautiful things come to those who wait. 


If you have any questions or thoughts for me, please comment below!

Trisomy

Today is both World Down Syndrome Day and World Poetry Day, so what better way to celebrate than to share a write related to both!

Trisomy, first published by blood moon POETRY, relates to the inner growth I experienced after giving birth to my youngest child, who has Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).

When I was pregnant for this special child, my maternal-fetal specialist told me that, if more people made our choice to let our baby live (not abort), our communities would enjoy the love of many more people with Down syndrome.

My son is beautiful, has taught me much, and I cherish how I’ve grown because of knowing him. Every life has its challenges, and it’s not always easy, but I cannot imagine my soul journeying down any other path. I’m blessed to be right here…

Trisomy


I swallowed the moon 
on the night you were born
so reflections of you 
would guide my way, Son.

I was afraid,
         so afraid, but,

for love of you,
I embraced my tears 
in my world gone dark
by stereotypical fears,
         the senseless kind that bound me.

   Your eyes untied me.

   Your voice unwound me.

While I lay with you at my breast, Son, the moon shone bright.

Now I ponder my light 
as it shimmers in my wake. Beautiful,
         so beautiful beneath a blanket of stars.

You brought me here, Son,

         to this place where I radiate love. 


Ann Garcia

Do you love someone who has Down syndrome? Or do you love someone who is extra special in a different way? If so, I’d love to hear some happy words about your experience. I’ve turned off like buttons because I prefer positive interaction, so feel free to comment below!

Happy World Down Syndrome Day and World Poetry Day!

Daisies by Ann Garcia

How IG Created Me

I am a poet with a small, loving following on Instagram (IG) for which I’m grateful. On that account, I combine photography, graphic design, and poetry to create what some have told me is a uniquely aesthetic page. But here’s a little-known fact:

My current IG poetry account, @solaceinraindrops, which I started on September 5, 2020, was not my first. 

My first experience with IG was in March 2020, just after our first COVID-19 stay-at-home order went into effect. After spending a few years on Twitter, because that’s what fiction writers are supposed to do, I decided to start an account on IG in order to see how it worked.

I instantly fell in love with the visuals and the sense of community I felt within the writing community on IG. Twitter had always felt like an ever-buzzing hub of passing thoughts that didn’t mean much most of the time, but might go viral for reasons that never made sense to me.

But on IG, writers shared posts with intention, with heart. Poets took time to prepare gems. Writers connected and supported writers—not just to become popular, but because they cared. Within a week, I was hooked, and my time on Twitter, which had dwindled in the months prior because it always felt like I was riding a bicycle on a freeway, all but ended. 

Joining IG in March 2020 marked the beginning of finding myself as an artist and founding River Blossoms Press. 

I’ve always been achievement-driven and stubborn, a combination of characteristics that has helped me accomplish much over the years. After I learned that beautiful photos are what makes IG so appealing, I started studying photography and exploring ways to compose a beautiful page containing only my content (no stock photos). I wanted my IG to be all mine. But it wasn’t. 

I had joined IG as a writer of fiction, just like I’d been on Twitter. I used the same pseudonym and promoted myself as a writer of romantic women’s fiction, but this posed a problem. Writing fiction under a pseudonym no longer fit me. I was changing. 

I discovered that I loved taking photographs—a hobby that I’d always wanted to explore but hadn’t. More importantly, I discovered that I loved writing poetry more than I enjoyed writing fiction—a truth that I’d denied myself due to being brainwashed by the traditional publishing beast.

After all, if I wanted to be considered a “real” writer, I needed to get a literary agent and a reputable publisher. To do that, I needed to have fiction publishing credits, win awards, win contests, have a following, and have more books in my head, ready to be written (or in progress already). 

I realized I was unhappy.

It was too much pressure for my now. I have a demanding life as a psychologist and mother. Putting all my spare moments into the demands of becoming a “real” writer was never what I wanted. I simply wanted to share my words with people who might like to read them. That’s all.

IG taught me my truth and reminded me that I’m happiest when I’m creating. For me, this is not about becoming famous or being a “real” writer. It’s about self-love.

The moment I decided to break free from the life I’d built as a sometimes-writer of fiction who didn’t want to live the writer’s life, I started up @solaceinraindrops. 

Raindrops are my tears fed by sadness, by joy, and by my appreciation for being me. And owning my truth brings me solace. 

So, here I am, Ann Garcia, poet and sometimes-writer of fiction. I link words into poetry and prose, and I plan to share them with anyone who might like to read them—even if it’s only two people plus me. 


Thank you for spending time with me today. If you’re a creative, I’m wondering if experience with social media has prompted you to change paths or otherwise assisted you in elevating something within yourself.

I never expected social media to help me find myself as a creative; as a writer, prior to IG, I often felt social media was a chore. If you have thoughts on this, I’d love you to leave a comment below!

Frosty May Night Salvia
May Night Salvia

Winter Wait

March 2021 is almost here, and I’m extremely excited for spring! I wrote Winter Wait several years ago, and I still love it. It was inspired by a writing challenge: Write a different version of a ‘roses are red…’ poem. I went so far off the beaten path that I never entered this poem in the challenge.

Winter Wait is a formal verse poem. It has a regular rhyme scheme and rhythm. Some rhythmic deviation was included for artistic flow.

Listen to me read Winter Wait

My roses drop yesterday petals;
they tumble o'er pine needle trails
where once our souls bathed in caresses
of summer-kissed breeze in the vale.
 
My heathers bloom black lilac songs;
they wash over rocks in the stream
where skipping stones smiled for the taking
in autumnal shadow moonbeams.
 
My snowdrops loose ivory tears;
they quench roots for oak canopies
where my soul awaits the fair red-breast on wing
in loathsome blue winter-frost breeze.
 
My heart pulses nectar of plum;
it nourishes spaces between
to fuel my soul weary with want for your light
till your sweet spring iris perceive.
 

Thank you for stopping by to read a little of my work today. If you like this poem, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below! I wish you the best today and a fabulous March 2021!

A photo of ice crystals on my redbud.
Photo © Ann Garcia January 2021

Why Self-Publish?

Years of consideration went into my response to this question, and I finally have my answer. 

One important thing to understand about me is that I never intended to call myself a poet or writer.

Although I enjoyed writing poems and short stories as a teen, I stopped writing creatively when I entered college and never gave it another thought until a story fell into my head when I was 40 years old.

It was a snowy afternoon, and I was playing with my children on the floor of my living room when it happened—two characters started conversing in my head. I told my kids that I needed to get to a computer because a story was telling itself in my imagination. We stopped playing and I wrote for 5 hours that night. 

That story unfolded over the course of a year. As a busy professional, wife, and mother, I had little time to write, so I often wrote at night—sometimes unable to sleep because the story kept coming even when I wanted it to give me a break. I didn’t even know what type of story I was writing. All I knew was that it wanted to be written down.

When the story decided it was finished, I looked it over, realized it was a novel, smiled, and decided that I wanted to make it shine. At that point, I threw myself into self-study. I read countless blog articles and books about how to write fiction. I entered writing challenges in order to develop my voice, which reacquainted me with my love for poetry. And I edited my story over a hundred times—literally.

After a few years, I found my voice, decided my novel was ready to test the waters, and started querying literary agents.

But my novel still wasn’t ready. 

My first query letter did result in some requests for my manuscript, but I realized this letter was not strong enough. I revised and tried again. Revised and tried again. At the end of my query journey, my query and sample pages were quite strong, frequently resulting in requests for my manuscript. And you know what? The agents consistently said something to this effect: Love your premise. It’s not a craft issue. It’s just not right for my list. I’m confident another agent will pick this up. 

Heart. Broken.

It felt like the industry didn’t want my story—the one that insisted on telling itself even though I’d never asked for it. Rejection hurt. But, over time, I came to realize that I preferred it this way, and here’s why: I already have a full-time career as a psychologist, and I live a very busy life with intermittent (stolen) moments for writing. I do not have time to crank out novel after novel for a publisher, and the pressure of that prospect had always frightened me.

My truth is that I simply want to have fun creating.

So, why self-publish?

After years of learning about the publishing industry and engaging with the world of literary agents and pitch contests, I realized something important:

I don’t need a publisher to validate what I create.

The big publishing industry is focused on sales. Many beautiful, well-crafted stories will never be picked up because they aren’t expected to sell. If a story or poetry collection has potential to make a publisher a lot of money, they will snatch it up regardless of its true quality.

As I noted in my last blog post, River Blossoms Press is a creative playground where I spend time to reward myself and escape the stresses of life. If anyone besides my closest friends happen to buy my books, I’ll be thrilled. What a bonus that would be!

To fellow poets and writers who are thinking about publishing: remember to be true to you. As for me, I’m a busy working mother who simply wants to create and share words, and this is why self-publishing is the right path for me.

Many “true writers” scoff at self-publishing, but I think it’s important to respect creatives for making decisions that result in happiness. I’m happier now than I ever was on the path toward traditional publication. 

So now I wonder…what are your thoughts about self-publishing? Please comment below!

If you’d like to watch this blossom unfold, please follow the RB Press Blog and me, Ann Garcia (@solaceinraindrops), on Instagram.

Flowers by Ann Garcia

This is River Blossoms Press

After years of honing my craft, developing editorial skills, and unearthing the artist-self I’d buried decades ago, I’m ready to take this leap into the unknown. 

I will be publishing my writing.

I’ve established River Blossoms Press (RB Press), my greatest creative endeavor, to experience the reward of publishing books that I create. I will be diving into cover design, interior layout, publishing platforms, and everything a writer needs to do when publishing a quality book. And what makes RB Press stand out from the crowd?

River Blossoms Press is a publishing house founded for artistic expression.

RB Press is a creative playground where I spend time to reward myself and release the stresses of life. If anyone besides my closest friends happen to buy my books, I’ll be thrilled. What a bonus that would be!

At this time, I’m compiling my first poetry chapbook, Fantastical, For Real. My first steps in creating this chapbook include polishing my selected poems and brainstorming my cover design. I have many ideas for my cover art, and I am determined to make the art myself. Those of you who have been following me on Instagram know that I love taking photos. The cover design for Fantastical, For Real is likely to be bold and bright and may or may not include my photography.

If you’re curious about how my publishing endeavors will unfold, please follow me here and on Instagram. I plan to blog about progress in creating my books, cover design elements as I create them, and my editorial tricks and tips. 

How might this benefit you, fellow artists?

I have a dream of inviting other writers to submit for publication through RB Press. Whether RB Press will move beyond strict self-publishing is an uncertainty right now; it is likely to depend on how much outside interest this creative endeavor obtains. If you choose to follow, you might learn a little more about the process (or how not to do this thing), which might help you out on your own publishing path someday!

What is the reward for you, poetry and introspective fiction lovers?

Well, if you enjoy my writing, you’ll get the inside scoop right here. At this time, I do not have a newsletter, so following riverblossoms.com is the place to start. 

If you’d like to watch this blossom unfold, please follow the RB Press Blog and me, Ann Garcia (@solaceinraindrops), on Instagram.

I have turned off like buttons because I prefer interaction, so please leave a comment if you have something positive to say. I’d love to hear from you!

Little Mischief Rose

My January Dream

Happy 2021!

Today, I present My January Dream, which is one of my favorite poems due to its fresh, flirty nature. It is a love poem that reflects the snowy first day of January that has brightened my window.

I created a regular rhyme scheme and rhythm for this poem, so it is considered a formal verse poem. I hope you enjoy it!

As always, I’m wishing you great health and much happiness for this year and many more. Thank you for stopping by!

Ann

Listen to me read My January Dream

my January eyes

love a January sky

where January birds

wing a January sigh

for my January hopes

of a January scene

bright with January snow

from my January dream

laced with January sun

on my January skin

while your January heart

feeds my January grin

for our January love

is my January treat

in my January mind

we, in January, meet

I took this photo of a rose in December 2020. It’s part of a bouquet that a loved one bought me for the holidays.

© Ann Garcia