In preparation for the October Virtual Book Festival, I read three very distinctive works by Chavonne D. Stewart. First up, her chapbook, Getting Started: A Quick Guide To Become A Self-Published Author.
As an Indie Author of nine books of varying genres, and several more in process, an editor of over 80 books, and a writing workshop instructor, I am always interested in another author's journey. I believe we should never stop learning from one another, and help each other to find the "tips and tricks" that work best for us. Being part of the Indie Writing Community is incredibly valuable to my writing process; and I'm open to new ideas and approaches to the craft and business of writing.
However, I was disappointed with Chavonne's offering on this topic. As her biography describes her as a life coach who holds multiple degrees (MS in Management, BA in History, and currently a PhD Philosophy candidate), and she is the CEO of her own business, my expectations for content and professionalism were beyond the scope of this chapbook.
This is an elementary approach to the topic, and reads more like a blog post than a helpful guide. It is scant on details, and offers no real "meat" or actionable steps that aspiring authors can embrace and move forward with their goal. A great overview, to be sure, but not much more than that.
Even more troubling was the large number of editorial errors, as well as formatting problems within the twenty-two pages. This begs the question, what of her other work? So I went on to read an essay included in an anthology, "Dear Depression".
The Search For Purpose
Included in an anthology on the topic of depression, Chavonne's essay was lost on me. The words didn't truly address depression, or purpose. The paragraphs "talked around" the idea of discovering purpose and how to manifest greater awareness of a purposeful life. I understand that she experienced a journey that was ardous and exciting, but after reading this essay, I still don't know what her purpose is, how she discovered it, or how she practices and evolves her purpose for a more fulfilled life. It was a frustrating read. Also, there were editorial and formatting issues; but I would rest those responsibilities with those that compiled the book, not with the individual authors.
The Adventures of Amilya Rose: The Lie
At last, I turned to Chavonne's children's work, to discover if perhaps, this is where her literary calling lies. I was pleased to see that she indeed has a strong voice for young people. The story of eight-year-old Amilya, and how she takes risks, achieves a goal, and learns a valuable lesson, is commendable.
The story, told in Amilya's voice, brings children into the adventure of walking to daycare from school, on an unusual snow day in Georgia. Seeing the thought process of a young girl, as she designs an adventure, makes mistakes, and learns from them, I believe, was a strong choice for the narration of this piece.
Certainly, children will relate to the excitement, dread, relief, and understanding that Amilya shares. This book teaches the importance of honesty and honoring adults in a way that doesn't belittle or berate children.
I enjoyed the artwork. The illustrations are imaginative and vibrant. I wish there were more of them!
I read this as an e-book from Kindle, and noticed some formatting issues... the illustrations did not take up a full page, and that would have been far more appealing... but that could have easily been a comparability issue with my device, rather than the fault of the interior design.
This is a book that includes lessons of morality, gently reminding children that sometimes parents' lessons might be difficult, but they are offered out of kindness and concern, with forgiveness to soften the hard parts.
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