New Release: “Asunder, Baby” by Steven Baird

Over 7 years ago, during the summer of 2015, I read a novel titled Ordinary Handsome by Steven Baird, and from the first paragraph, I knew I’d stumbled upon something special. I haven’t forgotten the sense of awe evoked by this talented author, the magic of finding a piece of writing beautifully crafted and deeply human. I proceeded to read every one of his books, and through the years, the work Steven has shared on his blog has continued to mesmerize me.

Today, I’m delighted to share his new book:

A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of reading this book in order to write a foreword, which I’m honored to share today. And as an extra tease, below are two samples of what you’ll find within the collection: a poem and a piece of prose. Asunder, Baby is available on KU. If you pick up the book, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy.

Forword

Brewers Mills 1971

There we were

burying a goddamn horse

all the clouds smashing

against a depthless sky

we waited in strained attentiveness

for the sound of a moon

to howl back at us

we knew this was

the distance we were

from kings

A gopherwood box

I.

Boyd Henry over there, he watches me. I have never seen a child so committed to watching. He is four years old. I love him, Lord, but his intensity wears on me. He plays with his toys under the porch, and the dried-up mud and boot-grit falls on the back of his neck. He lifts up the dust, and it powders most of him, but his neck gets it worse. He shows me his dusty palms when he sees me seeing him.

Lorianne is on the porch with him now, and her hands are curled around his small shoulders. I’m grateful that she loves him, because Boyd Henry is different from most. He is my gift, he is my surprise.

Today is wash day, the day I float away. Watching Boyd Henry makes me lonely to think there was a time before him. It makes me lonely whenever the wash water from the bed sheets drips onto my arms, because it bears the same coldness and travels down the same hollows of my skin as it did last week, and last month.

The sheets and towels are to be washed first. They need to hang before the rain catches them. The wind has swelled up, and it tugs at my kerchief like a kite. Boyd Henry stops wiggling in Lorianne’s arms, and he watches me as I adjust it. My son is already dirty, and he will turn into mud when it starts to rain. Daughter will wipe him down with a washcloth when she can. I smile for my children.

“The crows,” says Lorianne, and she points to the sloping yard.

There are a half-dozen crows on the other side of the field gate, and they glide low to the ground. Abruptly, they ascend, like barn swallows, and there is a strenuous fold and unfolding of wings. Their constructs are not made for elegant flight, and they rise in an awkward lurch, and nearly collide with one another.

Lorianne’s face is serious, but she giggles at the strangeness of it. “Why were they flying like that, Mama?”

“I don’t know,” I say, and it frightens me that I cannot answer her. Would her father know? This was his land before it was mine.

I left my mother’s house when I was young, and then I left my grandmother’s when I was done being foolish. I came here when I married Javier, and I have stayed here since he passed, six years ago. This land belonged to his family, and then to him, and now to me. But it is my children’s home now, his daughter and my son. I keep my pictures and trinkets and combs in a box carved from gopherwood, under my bed. It is all that I have left from my life before him.

II.

The rain is hard, as promised. We sit inside our little living room and listen to the tin noise. It is a loud and anxious sound. Lorianne has her collection of crayons on the rug, and she hunts for the right shade of rain. Boyd Henry watches her, and he peels off the crayon papers, one color at a time, like he is unwinding string.

I stare at the wood stove and the slow tangle of flame. How long will it keep us warm, how long will it give us light?

And the rain, it still falls, seven days in.

Boyd Henry, over there, he watches me watching him. And Lorianne, she loves me in my distraction, loves me in my worry.

My children are silver abstractions in the light. Every drop of rain casts its own shadow on the window, and each shadow weaves into the next, until they form a coarse cortina. The world we know is smaller because we are separated from the land by the sky.

“Mama, when will the rain stop?” asks Lorianne.

Bless the child, the faith of that girl, that she believes the rain will ever stop.

“I don’t know, Lorianne,” I say. “What do you see when you look outside?”

Boyd Henry studies my face, and Lorianne studies what lay bare beyond the window.

“Rain?”

“Of course, honey. What else? Look harder.”

“Rain and puddles. And Mama, Boyd Henry is out there!”

I can smell the rain, I can smell the hay, freshly mown. “He’s right behind you, Lorianne.”

“But he’s–” She turns, and Boyd Henry shows her his dusty palms. “But I….”

“You saw his reflection, that’s all.” I breathe in the sweet clean smell of hay.

“No, he was standing in the rain. And I didn’t see my reflection, or yours. Just him. Mama?”

“A trick of the light,” I say, and sound foolish to myself. “The rain can do strange things if you stare at it too long.” I can smell Javier’s aftershave as I tend to the small cuts on his hands. I still cannot see his face.

“I think the rain has stopped,” she says, and she presses her hands against the glass.

I can smell the hay, freshly mown. The rain smells like his aftershave.

“I think we can go outside now,” I say, and my two children reach for their boots.

Many Congrats to Steven on his latest release.

You can visit Steven’s blog Ordinary Handsome Here.

182 thoughts on “New Release: “Asunder, Baby” by Steven Baird

  1. VICTORY says:

    This is wonderful and exceptional
    A great book it surely is

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Diana, you are right about Steven’s writing; it’s fantastic! And what a fabulous forward you wrote also! I was so engrossed reading on the screen that I know I won’t be able to put his book down! Thanks for the intro, and Congratulations to Steven!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Diana….as always an awesome review and thank you for sharing. Steven….I was visualizing everything from the first sentence. That’s one of the highest compliments I can give a writer!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Diana, this is a lovely post about Steven’s new book. The extract is beautifully written and most compelling.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, wow, a striking and heartfelt foreword to Steven’s latest book! It sounds amazing!

    I have read Steven Baird’s work on his blog and have always been in awe of his writing – lyrical, direct, reaching into the heart of a story and some utterly soul-wrenching. His diversity is superb – as is highlighted by these two wonderful examples above. Congratulations, Steven and wishing you all the best with your latest book!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dgkaye says:

    Sounds intriguing for sure. And thank for reminding me that I haven’t yet read Ordinary Handsome, stuffed in my BFK. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Diana thanks for sharing this wonderful book by Steven. Your review was awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. noelleg44 says:

    High praise, indeed, Diana, and another indeed – the writing is wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Coming from you, that’s high praise indeed. I’m off to follow Steven on Amazon now and check out his books. Wishing him every success. Thanks for sharing, Diana, and beautiful foreword. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. WOW! I’m blown away by Steven’s writing. 🤯 He earned that foreword. I’m hooked and must seek out more of his work immediately. It’s like two super powers came together and are threatening to overthrow the world – you both are so ridiculously talented! Holy moly. Thank you, thank you for sharing! 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lady Tessa says:

    What an amazing find and what an honor to be asked to do the forward. Thank you for sharing, Diana and wishing your wonderful book much success, Steven!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful forward and the excerpt drew me with its poignancy. Congrats to Steven on his new release!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Great introduction, Diana! Steven’s writing is fantastic!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. memadtwo says:

    You are right, the writing is exquisite. Thanks for sharing. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Love this Diana! Thanks for sharing Steven’s new book. He is a gifted writer that brings life to every page. love those poems and so happy for him! ❣️

    Liked by 2 people

  16. After reading your beautifully written forward, I’m so happy you included samples of Steven’s work. It’s such a pleasure to read fabulous writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Rebecca Budd says:

    Diana – a beautifully written introduction that captures the essence of Steven’s compassionate and evocative writing style. Thank you for the introduction. Steven – I am looking forward to following your blog and your writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Resa says:

    A fascinating poem and piece of writing.
    I can understand why you are honoured to write the forward, and why he asked you.
    Congratulations, Steven!
    Diana, I would love it if more authors sold on other venues, like Kobo.
    Big hugs all around!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Steven Baird says:

      Thank you, Resa! Diana is so encouraging, and I didn’t hesitate asking her for a few words.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Resa. Steven is a wonderful writer, and I appreciate it that you took the time to read my selections. I know that you prefer Kobo. It’s such a hard decision, because truly Amazon is an author’s best option. I sell on a number of platforms, but in doing so, I miss out of a lot of promotional opportunities. Sigh. I’m thinking of doing a bit of a mix, so I can take have something available for everyone while having a few books exclusive on the big A. 🙂 Hugs, my friend. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. A terrific forward and you are so right, Diana. The writing is superb. Best wishes to Steven.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Your beautiful forward and the excerpts convinced me I needed to read this!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Such an eloquent forward for S.Baird’s new book. Very enticing. Well done Diana ( and Steve).

    Liked by 1 person

  22. markbierman says:

    Well crafted indeed! It wasn’t hard to evoke visions of dirt farms and crushed spirits. Well done, Steve. I’ll be taking a closer look at this talented author. Thanks for sharing, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Steven’s writing is easy to get lost in. Asunder, Baby is in my Kindle, but I’m happy you shared the Foreword here as well as samples of his work. Best of luck to Steven with his new release. Enjoy your day, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Jan Sikes says:

    What a great introduction to this author and his work, Diana! I’m more than intrigued!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Wow, Diana! Fantastic writing and an impressive introduction. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  26. I need to get caught up on reviews before I read Asunder, baby. (I’ll admit to champing at the bit.) All the best to Steven for the success of his latest book!

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Steven Baird says:

    Diana, thanks so much from the bottom of my heart. Your support and enthusiasm for my work is remarkable, even after all these years of our mutual admiration and respect. This collection developed after years of stowing away ideas, and and it’s nice to see it out finally there. I think I wrote it as a means of healing, and I still think that is one of the best uses for any particular talent… to heal and to share whatever it is we have to offer. I’m at work right now, so can’t offer individual thanks, but I will once I settle in at home tonight. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read what I write, encouraged me with a few words, or even clicked the ‘like’ button. That means more to me than you can know.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the wonderful note, Steven. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and my raving about your book. I’m thrilled that you pulled it together to share with the world. Enjoy your day at work and mosey on over later when you get home. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Great writing. Thanks for the review, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Mae Clair says:

    Wow, what wonderful excerpts! The poetry thoroughly blew me away—some of the very best I have ever read. This sounds like an amazing book. Great share, Diana!

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Both of these books sound marvelous, Diana. I grabbed Ordinary Handsome to start with. I always love your recommendations. 🧡

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Layla Todd says:

    Loving your eloquent forward alongside the gorgeous excerpts you share from this poignant collection! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  32. frenchc1955 says:

    Thank you for a wonderful review!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. What a glowing review Diana. And I can see why from this powerful excerpt. I might have to break my vow and get this one!

    Liked by 3 people

  34. What an excerpt, Diana and Steve. It is mesmerizing, leaving me with so many questions. Thanks for the introduction.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. I think Baird is a master at dialogue. His collection sounds good. I certainly enjoyed his novella Maggie.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Marcia says:

    Wow! Powerful indeed! Thanks for sharing this, Diana. I’m heading directly to Amazon to download my copy. (Like I’m not already so far behind on my reading, I’ll have to live to be 110 to catch up!) But this one will not languish on the bottom of the TRB pile, by any means. Beautiful writing! 🤗❤️🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  37. A fantastic post Diana, thank you for the intro actually.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Darlene says:

    Powerful writing! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Ocean Bream says:

    I came across Sreven’s work through one of your blog shares many years ago Diana. From day one his words have swept me away. There is a unique depth to them that is truly magnificent. I have my copy of Asunder, Baby and I greatly look forward to reading it.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Kymber Hawke says:

    How nice! What an awesome forward, Diana! I think what you wrote is lovely.

    Congratulations, Steven! Your book looks and sounds amazing! I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Always wonderful to find a writer whose work just draws you in.

    Liked by 3 people

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