Loverboy is Free on Kindle Unlimited!


Loverboy is now free on Kindle Unlimited for a limited time! It is available in all regions that have KU on Amazon, but to buy it for your Kindle is only $1.99. A free sample is available.

This is a dark romantic compilation that blurs what lines there are between horror, solace and sorrow. Please give it a try if you’ve enjoyed my work on this blog. Review copies are also available via request on my Goodreads page.

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Loverboy is $1.99 on Kindle!


My debut dark poetry collection is now available on Kindle! It’s available in most regions for $1.99 USD or equivalent, including the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada and India. Please consider buying a copy if you’ve enjoyed my work on this blog. I promise it’s lovely. A free sample can be downloaded or browsed on Loverboy‘s Amazon page, and a different sample can be read here. The paperback will be out later this month.

“The hearts you take are the legion you make. Will I love you still… I say that I will.”

“A fever dream of romantic grotesque, Loverboy is a dance of love, heartache and hatred that intertwines horror with beauty as if they were never separate.
Classy and sensual like a forbidden fairytale, this collection of dark poetry paints its phrases from bittersweet fantasy, gender identity, mental illness, broken heritage, obsession and society.
Each poem in S.M. Shuford’s debut holds a unique heart to itself, whether it is shattered, whole or darkened and awaiting death. Loverboy is a collection for those who have ever felt lost or broken, like wandering ghosts who cannot find their way back home.
Fully illustrated, this edition includes an exclusive introduction piece and a preview of the experimental compilation, Absolute Heaven.”

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Book Review – Love in Between by Mercy Jane Porquez Ballesteros

Love in Between

★★★★ 3.5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Poetry / Romance
Publication Date: October 27th, 2017
Publisher: Independent

Love in Between emits some very “Romeo and Juliet” vibes in its style. These speak on love in bloom, love unrequited, love ill-fated, and love captured in the past.
I like classical romantic poetry quite a lot. I think it lends itself naturally to beautiful ideas.

While maybe not as fully realized as they could be, a couple of the poems are quite pretty, especially “Sweet Summer of Jun” and “Beautiful Fascination”. There aren’t really any terrible ones, though some become repetitive. I love the flash-fiction stories at the end, though. Poignant and delicate, like rose petals drifting into the evening’s last sunbeam.

Thanks to the author for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


  • “At eventide I confess emotions, I forgot to spill the want of these hidden affections, the past I used to haunt.”
  • “Hours of sunlight as I view, the beautiful waves, the glittering skies / pondering the truth, he knew, casted a spell in his heart with lies.”
  • “Piece of fiction is this affection, fated had decided our destiny / hearts wrapped in lover’s potion, thy love’s the remedy.”

Book Review – Hallaj by Husayn ibn Mansur Hallaj

★★★★★ 4.5 Stars

Full Title: Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr
Genre: Classical Poetry / Religion
Publication Date: July 15th, 2018
Publisher: Northwestern University Press

The meat of these poems is rich and laden with subtle veins that give it a deep sense of intimacy. They pulse at the edges with emotion. Hallaj’s poems began addressed to the ideas of lovers, as many poets do, and they graduated as they evolved to more ambitious and intense heights of pain, joy and faith.

To paint a bit of backdrop behind this collection, Husayn ibn Mansur Hallaj (also known as Mansur al-Hallaj) was a Persian poet and teacher of Sufism, a religion related to Islam, well known for his writings and preachings in the 9th century until his execution in the midst of political discord around the year 922. All of his poems, save for the early quarter in the beginning, revolve and intertwine heavily with spirituality and his relationship with God.

The sheer amount of work that went into both the original poems, their translation and compilation is visibly astounding – Hallaj is heavy in detail, reference, and artfulness with its change from Arabic to English. The translator leaves extensive notes regarding what had to be changed and what could not be changed in the linguistics, considering how distinct the two languages are from each other. It’s also an exhaustive and endlessly fascinating study of the intricacies of Sufism.

The only thing I considered to detract from it – more in design than in quality – are the interpretations and histories given to introduce each poem, when I feel it would leave more to the imagination if they came afterwards, letting the reader make what they will of it before knowing more about the piece.

It is otherwise a flawless book, whether you are more interested in it for religion, history or poetry. It has a depth you don’t see nearly often enough in inspirational writing.


  • “You lit two fires within me, one in my ribs and the other in my guts. And I have never turned to quench my thirst without seeing your reflection in the water. That fire cools my heart like ice, and a sword blow is softer than separation from my love.”
  • “When a youth reaches perfection from desire, and loses the remembered one in memory’s pride, he witnesses truth when desire attests to him that lovers’ perfection is infidelity.”
  • “While love remains secret, it’s dangerous, and ultimate safety meant to lower one’s guard. The most beautiful love is the one that gossip betrays, just as fire is useless when it remains in the stone.”
  • “Your spirit was mixed in my spirit, just like wine and clear water. If something touches you, it touches me, for you are I in every state.”


[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

A rabbit’s lost tail
There waits a blood-toothed bear here
Hungers patiently

Serpentine gourds hold for me
Dawning amnesia

Somewhere a lung floats
Disembodied but laughing
Violet stains I hear

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI”

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku V

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

Month of solitude
Warm blood, brittle meat of leaves
Drains down scrawny legs

Hum of glass roaches
Uneternal drone of death
My organs slumber

Teeth clatter like pearls
Radiant tendrils of oil
Dissolve my promise

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku V”

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku IV

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

Braids of snow white hair
Serpent chains ride tundra wind
That lifts her higher

Funnel of ivy
I fall into cursed garden
Eternal evening

Phantom skull I hold
Listens to occult wavelength
Ponders black magic

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku IV”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku III

Wintergreen landscapes
Agoraphobe sees them pass
From between shutters

Sapphire tentacles
Vine, thorn and leaf throttle me
In my prison swamp

Ingrown deity
Sopping pustules reflect none
Of the love you preach

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku III”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku II

Rust-cracked dahlias
Circle sacrificial pit
God opens her eyes

The lurid solstice
Dreams’ orgy alights the woods
Unfiltered heaven

These industry towns
Harbor of black, steel sorrow
Mollified in glass

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku II”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku I

Smothered by sunbeams
A century spent scalded
Infinite summer

Noteless songs released
Deflowered branches I break
To weave my death pyre

Marsh bilge coats my heart
Ferns spiral, sea grass mildews
Mold moons orbit me

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku I”