Blog Tour Feature: Alexis Marie Chute’s EXPECTING SUNSHINE!

Hi, readers! We have a real treat in store for you today, a spotlight on a book by Alexis Marie Chute, a talented author! 
 

Alexis, an author I met on my journey, has a blog tour running right now.

 

Let's check out the details, shall we?


 


About the Book:
 

Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss:

 

https://books2read.com/u/mlr0lY


After her son, Zachary, dies in her arms at birth, visual artist and author Alexis Marie Chute disappears into her 'Year of Distraction'. She cannot paint or write, or tap into the heart of who she used to be, mourning not only for Zachary, but also for the future they might have had together. It is only when Chute learns she is pregnant again that she sets out to find healing and rediscover her identity — just in time, she hopes, to welcome her next child.

In the forty weeks of her pregnancy, Chute grapples with her strained marriage, shaken faith, and medical diagnosis, with profound results.

Glowing with riveting and gorgeous prose, Expecting Sunshine chronicles the anticipation and anxiety of expecting a baby while still grieving for the child that came before — enveloping readers with insightful observations on grief and healing, life and death, and the incredible power of a mother’s love.

Anyone who has experienced — or knows someone who has experienced — miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or other forms of pregnancy and baby loss should read Expecting Sunshine, including those considering or already pregnant again.
 

Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir - Grief, Parenting, Marriage, Healing


 


Fabulous cover! Congratulations on your second edition!

 

So, what are readers saying about this book?







"Alexis Marie Chute, tasked with living as she mourns the death of her child, writes vividly and honestly about loss and grief. Expecting Sunshine records a journey that proves to be revelatory for reader and writer alike. This is a brave, memorable book.

Jane Brox, author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light


 





“Honest, raw and vulnerable — Alexis Marie Chute opens her heart to share her journey of love, loss, transformation, and rebirth. Her message that love binds us together even beyond death, resonates deeply with me as a bereaved mother; it is also a consistent message I heard in my research with bereaved families who experience perinatal death. This is an important, engaging book for bereaved parents, especially those who are considering a subsequent pregnancy.”
 Christine Jonas-Simpson, RN, PhD Professor of Nursing, York University, Toronto, ON Canada


 





“In Expecting Sunshine, Alexis Marie allows you to accompany her on the tumultuous journey of pregnancy after loss. While navigating the complex emotions during this time, she is vulnerable and allows the reader to witness her most private moments. This is a beautiful story filled with love— both for the baby who has passed on, as well as the one she is expecting.” 
Kiley Krekorian Hanish, occupational therapist, founder of the Return to Zero Center for Healing, and bereaved mother to Norbert



 

Here is an excerpt from Expecting Sunshine.



 

 


Week 20: Horse with Blue Eyes


Pulling out of the garage one morning and turning onto the snowy road toward Mom’s house, it was as if I were piloted directly into a cloud. With less than a kilometer behind me, it was without a doubt no ordinary winter morning. The new world was buttered with hoarfrost so thick its icicles dripped off branches like tiny rapiers, and everything, from the stark white horizon to the cloaked roadway, glowed in the diffused February light.



“Moon!” Hannah yelled from her car seat in the back, pointing at the misty orb low in the sky.



“That’s the sun, Han.”



“Moon!” Hannah called again, and I let myself see through her two-year-old eyes. It was in that moment that I relented to my own childlike curiosity. I dropped off Hannah with her grandmother and, instead of heading back to the house to work, traced the back roads of south Edmonton that divided farmers’ fields and dense patches of trees, my camera bag sitting on the passenger seat beside me. “Frost chaser,” I called myself. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt such unguarded anticipation — not since early in my pregnancy with Zachary, at least. The thought made me shudder.



Hopping out of the car, I struggled to zip up my coat, but it would not stretch past my belly button. Finding a scarf in the backseat, I wrapped it around my neck and waded through a sloping

drift to an area of brush that peeked above the snowy surface. I attached my macro lens and photographed frozen seedlings that balanced upon the skeletons of wildflowers and were caught in the slight breeze, rocking their loads back and forth.

As I was about to return to the car, something caught my eye in the field opposite. Squinting, I could barely make out a dozen ghostly figures, like faint ink splatters, dotting the white page of the foggy pasture. Intrigued, I approached the toppling wire-and-wooden-stake fence just past a gully of knee-deep snow. Shivering at the fence, it was all I could do to stand still and wait, my breath wafting around me in delicate plumes.
The ink splatters took on form and moved gracefully toward me. As if dreaming, I imagined hearing their every step, crunching the snow as their hooves trod heavily in their watchful gait. Tall horses emerged into the clarity of the frigid air, the distance between us condensed as they approached, unafraid.

I expected the horses to be tentative, leery of my hooded silhouette and untrusting of the camera around my neck, but they did not slow. As if foregoing the dream, they walked right up to me, pressed their noses to my arms, and blew their breath into my palms. They nuzzled in affectionately, and I stroked the coarse hair on their warm hides.

A patchy white and brown horse approached after its two smaller black companions nibbled at my sleeve before moving on to wrestle in the snow. The patchy horse was taller than the rest, and it looked at me with confidence and understanding in its sky-blue eyes; understanding and sympathy. Zachary had also had blue eyes, or so Aaron had told me. I had been too afraid to look for myself.
My hands stroked up and down the bridge of the horse’s nose and broad cheek. We stayed like this for many quiet moments, enjoying each other’s warmth. The blue-eyed horse eventually turned toward its frolicking friends and, after looking at me again for one long breath, joined the others as they retraced their steps back through the mist.

As I stood there, I hadn’t noticed the breeze that skated upon the frozen earth behind me, not until it tipped the balance of snow resting on the tree branches overhead. I was caught in a flurry of fat snowflakes that whirled lazily around me. I breathed in the sharp, clean air and felt strangely alive. Raising my camera, I held down the shutter in rapid fire, capturing the whirl of white that gave visible form to the hand of the wind.
All of a sudden, a familiar voice broke the silence of my winter trek, though I was alone. Listening to her words, tears froze on my cheeks. “You have lost your child, but you are not lost,” my own voice whispered—but the words did not make sense. Zach was dead, and I too felt death’s cold spreading outward from my core. Like the fog of the morning that seemed to pass right through me, I once more sensed the powerlessness to alter Zachary’s fate. Covering my mouth with my frostbitten fingers, my mind filled with images of my baby boys, both the one to come and the one then gone.

“Your child’s identity is not your identity. You are alive.” My words hung in the air.

For so long I had felt like an apparition, just the shell of a mother in mourning. My mind wandered to Hannah, to Aaron. I had been strong for so long but, as I shivered in the last touches of the windblown flurry, I allowed the frozen places of me, the wounds and walls of self-protection, to fissure and crack like ice in springtime.

As my eyes remained fixed on the distant place where the horses had slipped from view, my hands, trembling, dropped from my mouth to the arch of my rounding abdomen. The baby within me kicked lightly, a sensation as faint as the snow melting on my skin. I had wondered for the last twenty weeks, How am I going to do this? How can I bring a new life into the world while feeling so very distant from it? Yet, in that moment I knew.

I had not completely forgotten who I was. It was true that a part of me had passed into white like the horses, but I now saw that I would survive, that I must survive — not only for Hannah or

Aaron, or for my next child, but for myself as well. The thaw was coming; I could sense its stirring, its deep earthy groaning. A new season would soon replace my winter of the soul.

After that day, whenever I passed through those back roads, I watched for the horses. Sometimes I caught a glimpse of the mares grazing in the sloping fields. Their shaggy coats danced in the wind as they galloped, unbridled and unbroken. Yet, in all the years since that one quiet day, I never again have seen the horse with blue eyes.

 

Wow! Inspiring! 

 

Let's chat with the author for a bit...

 


Alexis, nice to have you here on Writing in the Modern Age! Glad you could stop by!


 


Can you tell us a little bit about your life or background? 

 

I grew up and live in the same city, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. For two years I lived abroad in New Zealand, which was a fabulous adventure, and I don’t doubt there will be other distant lands in my future.

As a child, I always wanted to be an artist and author — exactly what I am doing right now. I also wanted to be an actress and big business woman. I’ve always had many dreams and still think it would be a great challenge to be a lawyer or a firefighter. I don’t subscribe to the idea that we have to pick one career and stick with it. Life is more fun with adventure, change and challenge. 

My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design. I have my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. 



I have three living children, ranging from nine-years-old to three. We have no pets, unfortunately, as I grew up with dogs and love furry companions, but my husband is allergic so I chose him over the four-legged friends.

Aside from my writing, I am a visual artist, curator, filmmaker, and public speaker. So those things, plus family time, keep me super busy. I do, however, always make time for the important people in my life.

A lot of readers love origin stories. What inspired you to start writing?

I have been writing since as far back as I can remember—and even before I could hold a pen. As a child, I was very creative and cerebral. I was always coming up with stories and adventures. Fortunately, I didn’t lose that trait as I grew up.

 

Let me ask a different question...

Where do your writing ideas usually come from?

 

I get new ideas all the time. From everywhere. From everyone. A new light bulb is constantly illuminated above my head. My struggle is not in finding ideas, but choosing which ideas are worth my attention and which ideas should be the focus for right now. 

I find writing inspiration everywhere, at all times. My brain is a sponge for my environment and stimuli. Sometimes this is overwhelming, but most often I use this hyper-awareness to my advantage. 


Awesome! Well, the decision you made certainly appears to agree with you! I say do whatever makes you happy.

 

Let's try something else.

 


What do you feel sets Expecting Sunshine apart from other books in the genre?

 

My memoir arose out of the anxiety and introspection of my own life. I wanted to survive my pregnancy after loss and not go crazy in the process. Coming out of it on the other side, sane and with a living baby gave me hope that perhaps I had done something right. I wanted to share that hope with others who struggle with loss and growing their family in the midst of grief. 


The resiliency of the human spirit is what percolates up in most of my work. It’s the dogged determination that I see in so many people, no matter the hardships they face. They inspire me, and because of them, I want my work to inspire others.
 

Hey, we could all use a little more of that!


 


Thanks for visiting us, Alexis! Your book looks so compelling!

 

Some awards for Expecting Sunshine...

 

Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2017, Best Indie Books of 2017 Winner

Foreword Indies Book Awards, Grief and Grieving category 1st Place

Royal Dragonfly Book Awards,Women's Interest category Winner

IndieReader Discovery Awards, Women's Issues category Winner

Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Best Book Cover, Non-Fiction Canada Book Award winner

First Place, Reader Views Literary Awards, Parenting/Family/Relationships category
 

 

Hashtags: 



#expectingsunshine #rainbowbaby #stillbirth #miscarriage #pregnancyafterloss
 


 

Readers, you'll have to check out this emotion-filled memoir! Also, you can add it to your Goodreads shelf!

 

https://books2read.com/u/mlr0lY

 

Let's give kudos to Alexis's sponsor:

 

https://prbythebook.com/

  

Discover the rest of the book tour! 


https://www.alexismariechute.com/


And grab a copy of this book! Looks so inspiring...


 


Thank you, Alexis, for letting us know all about your memoir on loss, parenting and healing! :)


https://books2read.com/u/mlr0lY

 

 

About the Author:

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning artist, writer, and filmmaker. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and photography from the University of Alberta, and her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chute is a highly regarded public speaker and has traveled around the world presenting on art, writing and the healing capacities of creativity. She is widely published in anthologies and magazines, and her artwork has been exhibited internationally. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband and their three living children.
  

 

Author Links:




Website:  http://www.alexismariechute.com/





Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AlexisMarieProductionsInc/


Twitter:  https://twitter.com/_Alexis_Marie

https://twitter.com/expectsunbook


Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Alexis-Marie-Chute/e/B00J58VH00/


Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15746544.Alexis_Marie_Chute

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/AlexisMarieChute


Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/alexismariechute/









Alexis's Books:

 

Coming in the Fall:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N4L865S/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i4

 

Available Now:

 
https://books2read.com/u/mlr0lY

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074W6SW4X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XGXGGR8/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i2

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IZ9SBFY/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i3