Book Review – Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness – 2nd Edition

Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness - 2nd Ed

I had a feeling I was going to like this book the moment I read the title. I happen to be a 25 year veteran of sleep-deprived motherhood. I’ve done my time and then some in those proverbial trenches. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader copy of this fabulous compilation filled with real-life, uncensored, moments and memories written by experts in the field, and by experts, I mean moms, mommas, mums, mommies, and mothers. Those women who live and breathe motherhood in all its glory, dirty diapers, spit-up, and yes – sleep deprivation.

As I read my way through each story I found myself laughing, relating, and remembering. It was the remembering part that touched me the most. I hadn’t expected to find myself on a nostalgic roller-coaster of emotion when I opened this book. With each story I was whisked away, back in time to when my own children and I battled the bedtime wars, the late night feedings, the moments of seeming despair, those precious times I may not have even realized were precious as they unfolded. I admit to shedding a few tears along with quite a bit of heartfelt laughter as I read through the many been-there-done-that-and-survived-it-all moments that touched my heart on every page.

Mothers with children of any age will find pieces of joy sprinkled throughout the words that fill this book. There are funny moments, sad and sincere and honest moments, realization moments, and so much more filling the pages of Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness. This book is a lovely reminder that while sometimes we may feel alone, like how on earth am I going to live through this and am I even doing anything right? we are far from alone, we are right where we are meant to be, doing the best we can, along with every other mother (and father) crouching knee-deep in those muck-lined trenches, and we will eventually crawl out victorious and unscathed mostly.

A wonderful read I recommend to moms sitting up wide-eyed with a nursing babe at their breast, moms who finally got their little angel down for a much needed nap, moms who feel overwhelmed, moms who made it through those early, sleepless years . . . all moms. And dads. Dads definitely need to read this book.

Crystal R. Cook


Weekend Coffee Share, scatterbrains, books, & a light rain

If we were having coffee . . . I would be late, because I always seem to be late these days. My wandering mind has been getting lost quite frequently, and once I notice it’s off on an unplanned adventure, I almost always lose my way even further while trying to find it. My husband and children have become excellent trackers, their search and rescue efforts have so far kept me from straying too far.

It’s actually been productive, not so much in the way of actually accomplishing some of the things I need to accomplish, but I’ve had time to think and create and ponder things I’ve been wanting to ponder. I’ve managed to keep the bills paid and the family hasn’t starved. They may tell you they are on the brink of malnourishment, but they would be exaggerating. Making them fend for themselves every now and then is tantamount to parental neglect in their eyes. They are technically adults, by the way.

As a matter of fact, next month, my baby – the youngest of my trolls, will be eighteen. I’m not sure how that happened, yesterday he was a chubby little monster who snuggled up to me with his Pooh Bear to listen to stories. Now, he is bigger than me, but you know what? He still comes and snuggles up with me, and he still loves to listen to me read stories.

Next month another birthday of sorts will roll around, one year since my blog, The Qwiet Muse was born. Honestly, I didn’t expect it would survive past a month or two. Self confidence is something I have the slightest of struggles with. I must say though, as my blog has grown, so has my valiancy.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, I had the good fortune to be an ARC reader for a fantastic book, Order of Seven by Beth Teliho, <— check out her blog * I loved it. I shared a short review here in case you’re interested, I seriously recommend it as a fantastic read. I’ve been sent two new ARC copies for review in the last couple of weeks as well, Lose The Cape – Realities from Busy Modern Moms and Strategies to Survive and Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness 2nd Ed, I’m looking forward to reading them and sharing my thoughts.

11124480_10205087766207350_4988765248529775265_nI spent the better part of today roaming the aisles of Barnes & Noble, looking for treasures. I left with the latest installment of the Dorothy Must Die series, The Wicked Will Rise, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, Paradise Lost by John Milton, People I want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann, and two volumes containing all ten of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. Fabulous afternoon. Of course, any afternoon filled with books and coffee are bound to be fabulous.

Now I’m sitting here listening to the sound of rain falling outside my window and counting my blessings. I’m sipping a nice hot cup of coffee too . . .



Happy World Book Day!


Books! Sweet Books!
Such magical things,
filled with ideas,
and thoughts and dreams.

Page after page
of marvelous words
big ones and little ones,
they want to be heard!

Long ones and short ones
and ones in between,
new ones and old ones,
there’s so much to read!

Open a book
and a journey begins,
then open another
when that one ends.

You’re never alone
with a book in hand
they are portable friends
that make life so grand.

Okay, so the poem is a little cheesy – I wrote it when my kids were little and just beginning to discover the joys of reading on their own. They grew up surrounded by books, I read to them from the moment I brought each of those little bundles of joy home from the hospital. Books are important to me, I wanted them to be important to them as well.

These days, it seems even more important for parents to teach their children the value of reading, to help them find the magic books contain. I wasn’t competing with the volume of video games, cell phones, and internet when my kids were still kids; we read and we made up stories and we sat on the floor and played together, sometimes we still do.

My children have friends who have never picked up a book for the sheer pleasure of losing themselves in it, the only books they’ve read were assigned to them at school . . . I must admit, it makes me feel a little sad for them. I know not everyone enjoys literature as much as I do, but I just can’t imagine a life without it.

I have a lot of books, a lot. I kind of hoard them to be honest. I have more books than I will ever have time enough to read, but that doesn’t stop me from getting more each chance I get. This morning I was practically giddy when my imageBarnes & Noble coupons arrived in the mail, perfect timing, don’t ya think? It is World Book Day after all.

I don’t have the shelf space I need, not that it matters, I just stack them here and there and everywhere. I think it might drive my husband a little nuts, he isn’t much of a reader, I don’t know how I missed that when I decided to marry him. He likes to hear me read though, when we find something he has even the slightest interest in, I’ll offer to read it to him and he almost always takes me up on the offer. He likes to listen to the things I like to read too, at least he lets me think he does.

He keeps promising to build me more shelves, he’ll have to if he wants the book towers to disappear. One day he says he’ll build a room just for me and my beloved books and I really think he will. The next kid that leaves home is having their room turned into a sanctuary for my books until he does . . .

~ Happy World Book Day ~



You really should read this – Order of Seven by Beth Teliho – You can pre-order now!

Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

Click HERE to pre-order your Kindle-Edition of my friend Beth Teliho’s new novel, The Order of Seven.

“Eighteen-year-old Devi Bennett is surrounded by mysteries: her unknown heritage, a recurring dream about an African tribal ceremony, an inexplicable attachment to a certain tree and a psychic ability she’ll never understand—unless she finds her biological parents.

Things take a shocking turn when she meets Baron, an intense and alluring energy healer who receives prophetic dreams which all seem connected to her. Devi must rely on an empath, a seer, and Baron to help research her roots to discover who she is and what she is capable of. But when Baron’s visions lead to an ancient legend which may link to her birthright, Devi learns her gift is more imperative than she thought imaginable.

Equal parts suspenseful and sexy, philosophical and adventurous, Order of Seven delivers a story that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about the hands that carry fate.”

I don’t typically read a lot of young adult fiction, because let’s face it, I haven’t been a young adult in quite some time, but when I was given the opportunity to read this one, before the rest of the world gets a peek, (yeah, I’m kind of special like that), I jumped at the chance.

One of the reasons I don’t typically care much for YA novels is because the characters are often formulaic, the story-lines predictable, and the writing – let’s face it, is not always all that great. This has been true for the few I’ve taken the time to read that is. 

In Beth’s new book, Order of Seven, however . . . the characters have character – certainly not formulaic. Her plot is anything but predictable, and the writing? Well, that’s the best part. It’s good, fantastic even. She kept me reading, and thinking, and left me wanting more. 

This book is smart and sexy. You’re led on a mysterious journey of discovery with Devi, Nodin, Baron, and Ben, you learn things as they learn them, you feel things as they feel them, and you become part of their journey. The wonderfully written dialogue and intellectual intrigue kept me glued to this story until the very last word. 

Beth Teliho not only wrote a novel I thoroughly enjoyed, but she left me wanting to read more. That’s saying something . . . 

Visit Beth’s Facebook author page HERE

and check out her blog HERE

Coffee, books, and a tale to tell. A day at the bookstore.

Barnes_&_Noble,_Inc.-logoI love Barnes & Noble. Like, seriously love it. I would live there if I could. They won’t let me download (2)of course, (I asked), but I would take up residence within the confines of their walls if I was permitted. Aside from the books, all the glorious books, they have Starbucks. Hello, nirvana anyone?

Since they refuse to let me set up camp, I go as often as I am able and spend as much time there as my husband will let me. If they ever stop stocking magazines, I’m in trouble. Hoarding Collecting books is something I have to do, I’ll take them from wherever I can get them, I’m kind of a thrift store book section regular, but they don’t have Starbucks so they fall to the number two spot on my favorite places to buy books list.

I abhor social situations, but I love to be around people for the sake of watching them. A bookstore is the perfect place for me in this regard. The typical bookstore patron is there for books, not company, and I am left to myself. The thrift stores are fantastic places to observe folks as well, but sometimes they want to talk.

A lot of times they seem to want to talk actually. For the most part, the people who approach me seem to just need someone to acknowledge their existence, to know there is someone kind scanning the collectibles looking for treasure alongside them. Some days it makes me feel good, some days it annoys me, and some days it kind of creeps the hell out me. Another reason they land in the number two spot.

enhanced-buzz-1417-1413386501-17Not too long ago my husband wanted me to attend a social function with him. I don’t like to do that. While my first instinct was to list all the reasons I didn’t want to go and wasn’t going to go, I decided to take the opportunity to get a little something out of it. I told him it was gonna cost him. A day, maybe an entire day, at Barnes & Noble and a Venti iced coffee . . . maybe two. He agreed, as if he had a choice, right?

It was a fabulous day, as most all of my bookstore days end up being. I drank too much coffee, lost myself in my beloved books, and left with The Essential Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda, a hardbound collection of Penny Dreadfuls, which includes some of my favorites by Poe, Shelley, and Rymer, The Elements Of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth (The Inky Fool)and a story of my own to tell.

If you haven’t already guessed, I love to read. I cherish my books and my time spent with them. Reading is a pleasure I would wish everyone could be as smitten with as I am. I don’t know why, but it always shocks and surprises me when I run across people who do not value-love-adore reading. People who don’t find the joys I have found between the covers of a book, it’s even more shocking when I happen to cross paths with those people in a bookstore, as I did on this recent visit.

When we arrived I hugged my husband, (I didn’t know how long it would be till I saw him again), and headed tumblr_luoa16F6nZ1qgy22istraight for the coffee, as I always do, and then made a bee-line for the bargain books, as I always do second, stopping only long enough to make mental notes of where I would look after I’d perused the many books those kind booksellers had marked down for me.

I couldn’t help but notice a girl, maybe around fifteen or sixteen years old, eagerly grabbing books and showing them to her mother and then quickly placing them back on the shelf. With every book she put back, her eagerness as well as her smile was fading. When I got closer to them, I realized why.

With every book she pointed out, her mother said no. Not just no though, there were reasons for each denial. The girl picked up a copy of John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and her mom said, “That sounds like some sci-fi book for boys.” and pointed to a copy of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott as an alternative. The girl shrugged her shoulders.

11021171_10204670564457567_9191227122279620781_nThe next book she showed her mother was Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Her eyes were kind of twinkly when she said, “I’ve always wanted to read this one!” Her mother rolled her eyes. She actually rolled them. “Isn’t that the same as Alice in Wonderland? That’s a kid’s book.” Obviously, she’s never read Through the Looking Glass and it seemed like her poor daughter wouldn’t be reading it either.

She motioned toward Dracula by Bram Stoker, this time there was an audible sigh to go along with the eye rolling. I felt so badly for that child. She just wanted to read. She noticed me noticing and tried to give a little, what-are-ya-gonna-do, kind of smile, I pointed to The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. I could see a look of relief in her eyes as she reached for the book. Again, her enthusiasm was quashed. Her mom actually said it sounded like something that should be R rated. What the what?

The Count of Monte Cristo ? No. She will not be reading Alexandre Dumas anytime soon. She won’t be reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and she won’t be reading the Selected Poems of Robert FrostThe poor girl was done. She stopped asking, she stopped looking. She took out her phone instead. My heart kind of broke for her. Her mother then suggested she buy a journal instead, that poor, defeated little thing just said, “I don’t have any thoughts to write down.” She never even looked up from her phone.

Now there is another part to this story, another child and parent exchange which took place shortly after I rounded 10612852_10204670564417566_4423695947332967333_nthe corner and began checking out the books stacked neatly on round tables near the front of the store. This time, it was between a father and daughter. Dad had a stack of books in his arms, obviously a reader. It was nice to see his daughter, who looked to be around the same age as the other young girl, get excited and lunge toward a book.

I was a little perplexed when I realized it was a hefty copy of Gray’s Anatomy. The conversation went like this –

Girl – “Oh my gosh, Dad! Check this out! It’s huge! Do you think it’s got all the seasons since the beginning?

Dad – “What are you talking about?’

Girl – “This book, it’s got to have the entire show in here!”

Dad – . . .

Dad – . . .

Dad – “It’s not about the television show. It’s about science and the medical world. It’s actually a beautiful book.”

Girl – “Oh. Whatever.”

Dad –  . . .

11022631_10204670564617571_5102666671713991551_nNow here it gets a little more interesting. The mom and the sad girl with no books head toward the register to pay for mom’s stack of magazines. The dad, and the girl I’m pretty sure might have been too young to actually be watching the Gray’s Anatomy television series, head toward the register as well. The two parties merge and become one; a family.

If I had to guess, and I’m going to, I would say they were a blended family still in the process of blending. The girl without any books was tall and slender with dark hair, like her father. The Gray’s Anatomy girl was shorter and a little plumper with golden hair, just like her mother. I kind of chuckled to myself thinking about the different qualities they each brought to the table and how wonderful it might be when they all really begin to meld together.

Homer & Aristotle

Homer & Aristotle

The story is almost finished. The dark-haired daughter wandered away from the checkout line to look at a display of bookends, among the books being showcased between a bust of Plato and a bust of Aristotle was a beautiful copy of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The girl ran her finger almost lovingly down the spine of the book, then mother appeared beside her. “You know, just because they call it a classic doesn’t mean it’s any good.”

I might agree with that statement to some small extent if it was coming from someone who had actually read many classic novels, but instead I was a bit wounded by it and imagined myself knocking some sense into her with the bust of Plato, or maybe Aristotle, both were within easy reach. Instead though, I simply said a little prayer in my heart for the new family and hoped they would find some common, literary ground to stand on one day.

Later, when I thought of them, I wished I’d grabbed up that copy of  The Secret Garden and bought it as a gift for that girl . . . it sure would have made my heart smile to do such a thing.

Crystal R. Cook

Magical Doorways

Magical Doorways

Magical Doorways

The classics . . . pieces of art and history, penned by the hands of literary masters, caretakers, and keepers of words; their works have stood the test of time, remaining while all else changes . . . forever.

My childhood was filled with magic and mystery, drama and suspense. I was a time traveler and a princess, a mighty hero and a damsel in distress. I’ve flown round the world and journeyed to the center of the earth. I had grand adventures when I was young. I could go anywhere and do anything because my mother led me to a me a magical doorway, an entrance into another world.

She gave me a wonderful gift when she taught me to read, it was my key to unlock the doors of imagination and knowledge. When I was six years old I found a weathered copy of The Old Man and The Sea, I read it front to back without pause; I’ve read it many times since. The same softly covered book, printed and bound in nineteen fifty-two, holds a place of honor in not only my memory, but in my home as well. Once I stepped beyond the boundaries of everyday reality into the wondrous world of literature there was nothing I did not desire to read.

Herman Melville and Ernest Hemingway were my best friends. Shakespeare and Mark Twain accompanied me to school quite often. Hawthorne and Homer waited patiently for me at the end of each day. I’ve been to secret gardens and lived in enchanted castles. I’ve known the greatest of love and have felt the deepest of sorrow. I played with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; I’ve even been to the moon and back again. I’ve sat along the shores of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River with the elephant’s child and pondered what the crocodile ate for diner. I bravely ventured into the mind of Poe.

I remember going to the fair with Charlotte and Templeton and investigating every mystery with the Hardy Boys. I was in the skiff with the old man Santiago and I felt the wind in my hair as I rode atop Black Beauty. My tears stained the pages where the red fern grew.

Aesop, Anderson and Kipling often joined me for lunch with James and his companions beneath the giant peach tree in the backyard. I traveled with Bilbo Baggins of Bag End and met the great wizard Gandalf. I befriended elves and fought ogres in search of the ring.

I held hands with Jesus in stories from the Bible and I was with Daniel in the lion’s den. I stood atop Mt. Ararat and gazed upon the most beautiful rainbow with Noah. I’ve been both young and old, taken many forms and seen many places. I’ve ridden high atop unicorns and slain dragons. I’ve even soared on the wings of angels.

I will forever be thankful to those who penned their dreams and fantasies, for in doing so; they bestowed upon me a treasure of great worth. I adore my books, though the pages have aged and the bindings have seen better days, I still go back to them, I visit my old friends often, adding new ones along the way. I never know where the magic door will take me or who will be my guide. It may be a quest for infinite wisdom or a marvelous retreat into days long since passed. Perhaps the future awaits my arrival on some distant star.

Who knows, maybe it lies within me, just waiting to be printed and bound . . .

Crystal R. Cook

Synaptic Connection Lost – Send Help

Testing, testing, 1–2–3. Once upon a time, in a land far away . . . the swift brown fox jumped over the lazy dog . . .

Pardon me, just trying to be certain I’ve not forgotten how to type. It seems the keys are in working order, my fingers easily find each one, so typing is not the issue, it appears I still remember how to form words in a manner resembling sentences.

I guess I can check those excuses off my * why on earth am I not writing? * list.

There must be an internal malfunction disrupting the usual flow of words I rarely have to fight with such vigor to release.

My typically energetic neurons have been slacking off in the synaptic connection department, maybe the receptors are busted. The problem must lie somewhere within those billions of nerve cells running my information processing center. My synaptic connections are simply not synapsing and connecting.

Perhaps my neurons need input. I have hundreds of books from which to choose, all with the potential to jump-start my ridiculously stubborn mind. If I could just syphon all the excess and unneeded and unwanted thought from it, I’m certain I would regain coherent and functional use of the blasted thing.

The closest I’ve come to actual writing these past weeks was changing the words to Green Eggs and Ham to reflect my disdain for people. Sam-I-Am meets his demise at the end. A dear friend suggested I seek pharmaceutical intervention after reading it. I assured her I was properly medicated, but she seemed doubtful.

So, woe is me.

I suppose I will peruse my overflowing shelves for a good read, suggestions are welcome.


I’ve narrowed my choices down to four, but I cannot come to a final decision.

The Bell Jar —Sylvia Plath











The Professor and the Madman — Simon Winchester











Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children — Ransom Riggs











The Fourth Hand — John Irving











Please feel free to provide your thoughts as mine are wholly unreliable at this time.

W.A. – It affects you, I guarantee it.


If you have any of these warning signs, you are one of the many people afflicted with WA –

  • an unusually and unnecessarily large collection of writing instruments.

  • an over abundant supply of paper, notebooks, journals, etc..

  • overflowing bookshelves, the compulsion to buy books even when you have unread stacks of them next to your bed, couch, and kitchen table.

  • an overwhelming compulsion to blog, read blogs, and comment on blogs.

WA is a newly recognized and widespread epidemic of addiction affecting people around the globe. This affliction has silently consumed lives for centuries, some may argue it is a harmless addiction, though many have been known to suffer from co-morbid conditions such as alcohol and caffeine abuse.

Negative side effects include insomnia, malnourishment, and social deficits. Family members of those living with WA have reported episodes of withdrawal, lack of spontaneity, decreased desire to engage in family activities, lack of personal care, and sustained periods of restlessness in those diagnosed.

Currently, the typical diagnostic criteria used to determine addiction is not apparent in all cases, many go unrecognized by the medical and psychiatric communities leading to a majority of cases being diagnosed by family members. Many of those with WA are self diagnosed.

In many instances you may hear it referred to as a syndrome in lieu of an addiction. A majority of those with WA do not see it as an addiction, they believe they were born with WA. Popular theory and current research suggests there may be a genetic component involved.

Since the diagnostic criterium for addiction is not always met, WA, also known as Writing Addiction, or Writing Syndrome, is often a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning you know your addicted if you’ve excluded everything else in life aside from the written word.

imageIn fact, if you are reading this you may have one of two very real addictions, perhaps even both. If you are reading simply because you must read you more than likely have RA, Reading Addiction. If you are reading this and already thinking of what to write about it, it’s safe to say you are a Writing addict. If you are reading this out of sheer compulsion AND thinking of what to write, you are not alone, a majority of those diagnosed carry a dual diagnosis referred to as RAWA, Reading and Writing Addiction. There is no shame.

Writing addiction is not something you plan. It is an all-encompassing desire, the more you write the more you need to write. Like most addictions, it begins to consume you. At first it’s just jotting things down now and then, a bit of poetry here, a little prose there and soon you’re writing stories and sonnets and epic works of words late into the night.

It’s a secret addiction in the beginning, harmless to most. Writing addicts typically start in their spare time. It doesn’t take long until spare time is no longer enough; it begins to creep into their day. When you’re supposed to be doing bills an idea will hit and next thing you know you’ve written half a chapter on the back of your electric bill.

It doesn’t end there. Dinners get burned, kids are late for school, laundry piles up and you forget to feed the dogs, you write about it though. Hungry Dogs, a Tale of Sad Tails. When it first begins it’s easy to hide, but soon you get careless and scraps of paper litter the countertops and the dressers, notebooks and journals are in every room of the house.

Your desktop is filled with papers and coffee cups. Oh yes, coffee cups. Once the addiction has you in its clutches you forego nourishment for a good old Cup-o-Joe to keep you going. Snack foods sustain life. By the time family and friends see the signs it’s too late. No one says anything until you arrive at school in the afternoon to pick up your children wearing yesterday’s pajamas.

By the time anyone suspects there is a problem it’s already too late. Sure, they can hold interventions; they can beg and plead, but the need to write simply cannot be overcome. Once you have it, you have it for life. Eventually those who love you will accept the reality of your life. You are a writer.

There isn’t much you can do for someone with writing addiction except accept them and love them imagejust as you did before they picked up a pen. As previously mentioned, in some cases it appears to be genetic; many children of writing addicts are themselves addicts by the time they reach puberty. The same can be said for the offspring of reading addicts. There has yet to be a cure, its doubtful there ever will be.

I myself am a reading and writing addict. It began when I took my first breath, my family has tried to put an end to it, but they’ve never succeeded. They’ve never even come close. They know I will write about them if they push it too far. Do they think I don’t know casserole will burn if I don’t stop writing long enough to take it out of the oven? I mean seriously, why else would I keep a fire extinguisher at my desk. I’m one step ahead them.

In conclusion, writing can in fact, be an addiction. There is no way to know who will become a slave to the written word. There is no way to stop it once it has begun. I suppose those of us with writing addiction are enabling the reading addicts among us, they can’t get enough of what we do . . . but then, are they not in a sense encouraging our own addiction to writing? And what of those of us with the dual addiction, we are our own worst enemy and best friend; it is a vicious circle, one with no end.


If a cure is ever found I’m heading for the hills. I wonder if I can get high-speed Internet service up there . . . no matter, paper, pens and solitude is all I need to feed the hunger. No twelve step programs for me, I’ll write one for anyone who wishes to work through their beautiful addiction though, not that anyone would.

Crystal R. Cook

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