My writing goals feel as if they are ever-changing. First, my blog started out to be a book
blog and maybe a bit of a photo journal. Then, I started doing daily prompts and found
myself participating in flash fiction and microfiction groups, writing the very form that I
had been playing with in online workshops for a few years. However, I’d stopped after
getting more rejection than acceptance letters.
Rekindling my passion for writing via my blog was a tremendous accomplishment for me. I now try to write every day. I’ve also attempted to write poetry again. As for my goals, my next one is to write a book and try to get it published. I’ve written books for
NaNoWriMo, but have never tried to get one published.
The group of people following my blog have been truly encouraging and inspiring. I
wouldn’t be talking about any of this without them.
2. Where Are You From Sascha? Tell us about it.
The first thing I’ll share with you about where I live is spiritual, but not of the pleasant
kind. Washington D.C. and its suburbs are politics 24/7. I find that I’m almost jealous of
other places in the U.S. where there’s another focus.
Physically the area is pretty great. Within a couple of hours east or west you have the
ocean or the mountains so there is always nature. I love the green spaces, although they
seem to be dwindling. Closer by there are a number of parks that are dog-friendly, which
Scout appreciates. There is also lots to do in the form of museums, galleries, dining,
shopping, or gambling with the new MGM Hotel at National Harbor.
“Rekindling my passion for writing via my blog was a tremendous accomplishment for me. I now try to write every day. I’ve also attempted to write poetry again. As for my goals, my next one is to write a book and try to get it published.” – Sascha Darlington
3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What Does It Mean to You?
As I mentioned, the writing occurred before the blogging. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. My dad used to read my writing (when I was about nine or so) and tell me that I probably shouldn’t have every piece of dialogue tag – ‘a she did’ or ‘he did’ this or that. (Funny the things that stick in your memory!)
I can’t say enough about my blogging experience. Initially, I treated it with some
trepidation because you’re putting yourself out there and never know how the
reception will be.
But I’ve found the WordPress community to be welcoming and encouraging. There are a lot of writers on this planet who read and encourage and you do the same for them. It’s a giving community. And there is so much talent and you find yourself in equal amounts awed and open to learning as well as feeling inspired.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? Why is it Significant to You?
For me, as a writer, I need to continuously explore through words. I love words. I love
looking at synonyms and feeling words and trying to place them just so in order to create
a rhythm or sound. I think that once that’s inside of you, that’s your inspiration or
You want to see what else you can do. You want to dig deep inside to create
stories or poems. You want to see if your work can mean something to someone else.
Also, if I’m writing one of my serials, I love to involve my readers. I like to know
whether they are laughing or what their reaction is. So my readers and their feedback are a huge part of why I continue blogging.
“For me, as a writer, I need to continuously explore through words. I love words. I love looking at synonyms and feeling words and trying to place them just so in order to create a rhythm or sound. I think that once that’s inside of you, that’s your inspiration or motivation.” – Sascha Darlington
5. Do You Have Particular Writing/Blogging Habits? When Do You Write? Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects on Your Blog or Otherwise?
I mainly write in the evening or when I can eek out time here or there. There are
several Photo Prompts that I try to always participate in, Friday Fictioneers, for instance.
It’s a lot of fun to see how many different writing pieces come out of a single prompt!
Right participated in OctPoWriMo, writing a poem for each day of October. It actually became ‘catching up’,’ writing a poem every day. I am also preparing a subject for next month’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which I’ve participated in for
6. Have You Published Any Writing or Do You Plan to Publish in the Future? What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I’ve had some short fiction published in print journals and online, but not in recent years
because I stopped trying.
As for my writing process, it’s different than it used to be. I used to write and write. Now, I write and stop if I hit a roadblock and get up do something mundane like washing dishes while brainstorming. Then, I go back and finish what I was writing. It sounds like it’s not that creative, but I’ve found that I don’t beat myself up if I brainstorm away from the keyboard. It’s amazing the amount of frustration that builds up watching the blinking cursor.
“I used to write and write. Now, I write and stop if I hit a roadblock and get up do something mundane like washing dishes while brainstorming. Then, I go back and finish what I was writing. It sounds like it’s not that creative, but I’ve found that I don’t beat myself up if I brainstorm away from the keyboard.” – Sascha Darlington
7. Do You Have a Process for Publishing Your Work? Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres?
I sent out masses of simultaneous submissions. And, I will be the first to admit that a lot
of it went out before its time. I wouldn’t make those mistakes again. But I do read a wide variety of genres and have tried to write in quite a few of them.
The first book I have in mind to write will be a romantic comedy, but after that, I’d like to try a paranormal book, a romantic suspense, and a young adult book. Although I’m intimidated by mysteries. I think you have to do some intricate plotting to make them work, but who knows. Never say never.
8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for New Writers or Bloggers? Do You Have Any Top Favorite Blogs You Follow?
Make your blog your own. Do what you want to do as long as you find it interesting. I
think for most blogs you will find an audience of like-minded people who will be
interested too. As long as you’re doing what you want, you’ll continue and make your blog and whatever kind of writing you do thrive.
I have a lot of favorite blogs that I like to follow either for the recipes, the humor, the
photography, the writing, the daily observations, the music—it’s really hard to think of just three!
“Make your blog your own. Do what you want to do as long as you find it interesting. I think for most blogs you will find an audience of like-minded people who will be interested too. As long as you’re doing what you want, you’ll continue and make your blog and whatever kind of writing you do thrive.” – Sascha Darlington
9. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links from Your Blog?
Welcome to another blogger/writer interview. Life has been truly busy for me and I do not always have it in me to do these interviews every week, but I do want to do them so I will try for three times every couple months or one more if I can handle it.
Today I’m so excited to share with an interview with a fabulous writer and poet I have blogged with for many years. Her name is Michelle (Mich) Navajas or Michnvas as I know her on WordPress.
Hello, I haven’t been really open with regard to my identity. But I’d like to be called Mich as this is the first syllable of my blog name. I am a Filipina and I don’t have any additional social media accounts, only my WordPress Blog.
I was born and raised in the Philippines, a tropical country. We only have two
seasons. Our country is currently at war. One major city in Mindanao is under a state of martial law after it has been attacked by some terrorists three months ago.
As well, I live a little farther from the battle zone and it’s quite safe. The daily news of the number of casualties and fatalities among our civilians and government troops is heartbreaking. I wish one day soon the war would end.
Also, I graduated with a degree in Mass Communication with a Major in Journalism. When I became married, a career in media seemed to be not feasible anymore so I decided to become a teacher. I studied units in Education and at the same time, had my local board exams to become a teacher.
Thus, my career in education was born. I enjoyed my education studies so much that I pursued my Masters and eventually went on to finish my Ph.D.
2. How Did You Find Teaching? Tell Us About Why You Decided To Stop Teaching and What Are Is Your Family Like?
I began teaching as a career as a preschool teacher, then moved on to teach elementary and high school students. Later, I was hired as a College professor. I taught in college for five years until I realized that I was becoming so busy that I didn’t have enough time for my children as they grew up. After 15 years of teaching, I decided to resign and
After 15 years of teaching, I decided to resign and be a full-time mom to my four lovely girls. My family loves to travel a lot and create memories together. My kids are now grown. Also, my family loves to travel and create memories together and my children are now grown.
I have a 21-year-old daughter who’s graduating University and soon will be a
Chemical Engineer. My second daughter is in Senior High School and my third (and
youngest child are both in Junior High School. They are all doing well in school and
they have been behaving well too.
Also, my kids are down to earth and trust their parents. They are also each other’s best friends, despite having friends their own. They ensure that the friends they
make outside the home are the kind of friends who share the same values they have learned.
As well, my husband works as an Engineer in another country. He comes every two
months for a least 20 days. Life is good, actually the best. I probably have everything every woman could want in life and I am thankful for all I have.
“I probably have everything every woman could want in life and I am thankful for all I have.” – Mich Navajas
3. Tell Us About Some of Your Favorite Past Times? Where Does Writing Fit Into Your Family Life?
I will be turning 41 years old in June and I have learned life’s lessons the hard way over the years but it has never toppled down my spirit because after all, I am still blessed. As well, I love to do yoga and exercise daily because it keeps me sane.
Why? Well, because sometimes mommy duties are overwhelming especially if you’re hands-on on mom. Raising four intelligent girls is not a joke. My only consolation is that I have managed to keep their feet grounded while they excel and endeavor in life.
Also, I love coffee. It has been my constant companion except for my pen and paper and my smartphone which I blog on. I don’t have any social media accounts because I still believe in keeping my private life private.
But I blog because it makes me exercise my creative mind and at the same time, it’s fun to have a virtual self. I enjoy the company of my WordPress friends too. I love that blogging permits me to have intellectual and sometimes, poetic discourse with others.
3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? What does it mean too you?
I began blogging after resigning from work. I didn’t know what to do with my creative mind. So one day while we were traveling, I happened to see an article about WordPress. That’s when I began writing. At first, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it I didn’t even know what my blog’s focus would be. My initial months on WordPress were shaky.
More than the idea of sharing my thoughts to all of my readers, I enjoy the intellectual and poetic conversations I have with other bloggers. I have many brilliant bloggers friends and the best part of blogging is learning new and fascinating ideas from other bloggers. Ideas are endless in the blogging world and that’s amazing to me!
“More than the idea of sharing my thoughts to all of my readers, I enjoy the intellectual and poetic conversations I have with other bloggers . . . Ideas are endless in the blogging world and that’s amazing to me!” – Mich Navajas
4. Mich, Where do You Find your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is Important For You to Keep Writing?
I write mostly poetry and my poems are by-products my imagination and eaves-dropping (lol) in cafes and restaurants while I wait for my daughters who are shopping or roaming around the mall. I recently
As well, I recently opened a convenience store. I actually thought then that I’d say goodbye to blogging because the store is taking so much of my time. However, I realized that my day to day dealings with people going to and from the shop has given me a plethora to write on. In between inventory and accounting, I still manage to write.
5. What Are Your Writing Habits? When Do You Prefer to Write? Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects on the Blog or on Your Own?
I write whenever an inspiration hits me. I write anytime, no particular time of the day. My poems are not that magical (I must say). They are written mostly in the afternoon- in an “unpoetic time” without stars or a full moon.
I love to create random poems about the people around me, or about conversations I heard from other people seated close to me in the café. I’mcurrently venturing into short story writing. I did my first story in three parts, all written in.
As well, I did my first story in three parts, all written in my native language as part of our National Language month celebration in August. I used to be part of our school paper back in high and in my University days. And some of my poems were published in our school paper then. did not pursue a career in writing. We all
But I did not pursue a career in writing. We all know that writing doesn’t pay the bills. So, I have had to figure out how to make writing a part of life. Add to the fact that I have children career oriented in communication, doing much more than writing on my blog was not part of my current career plan.
However, after four years blogging on WordPress, I have realized that it’s never too late to take up writing again. I have made several submissions to some of our local papers. And someday, I want to write a book too.
It would be a collection of my poems or it could be a collection of short stories. Stories of people I have met, stories of people who sat near me in a café. It could consist of stories of people who I may have not known but am to infer about while they quietly sip a cup of coffee.
6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? What Is Your Preferred Writing Genre? Any Advice for Newbie Bloggers or Writers?
As I mentioned earlier, I write whenever I feel inspired. And oh, did I mention that I am an old school writer? I carry with me a small notepad or notebook along with a pen. I scribble all my thoughts down there and later develop them into a full-blown poem or story. I am most comfortable with free verse poetry.
For new writers, I would say that writing ideas and inspiration are out there. You only need to go out and meet people. You can also listen in on people’s conversations and stories. Most importantly,be keen about what is happening around you because, even the quietest man or woman, seated at the far end of the room, has a story to tell.
“I love to create random poems about the people around me, or about conversations I heard from other people seated close to me in the café.am currently venturing into short story writing. I did my first story in three parts, all written in.” – Mich Navajas
7. Anything Else You Would Like to Say Concerning Writing or Yourself?
Yes! I would like to say that I get frustrated seeing women in their 30’s and 40’s looking miserable because forget to take care of themselves due to motherhood and/or a busy career.
I am a mother of four and modesty aside, at 41 years old, I do my best to keep fit and eat right. Doing these two things keeps me appearing younger. To take care of your family and/or career, you need to have ‘self-care’ too.
As well, I want to advocate that women can be moms or busy at doing whatever they do in life, while gracefully growing old. Older women can still be beautiful and fit. Also, ‘self-care’ helps women to improve their life because it helps them to feel better about themselves.
My advice does not have much to do with writing but I want my writing to be an avenue to reach out to women. I believe that women can have a full and happy life after childbearing or having gained weight with age.
There is hope to be fit again and it’s not easy but also not impossible to be a healthier person through exercise, eating well, and other self-care methods.
8. Just for Fun, What Are Your Top Three Blogs? What Do You Like About Them?
After five years of blogging, I have come across brilliant bloggers/writers and I can’t even manage to name only three. I love your poems on Mandibelle16, David D’s poems, Rosema’s poem’s, Maria’s poems, NMY’s poems, Calmkate’s poems, and NJ’s poems.
Moreover, I love Yassy’s poem’s, Gina (singledust’s) writing, Rose of Poet Rummager’s writing, Kim of Anotetohugette’s writing, Ivor’s poems, the guys from Slasher Monster’s writing, and many other bloggers and writers who I cannot think of at the moment.
I also adore Osyth’s long narrative reflections of her experiences and I love the travels of Mirriam. The spirituality in the blog of Sue and Di is also amazing.
“As well, I want to advocate that women can be moms or busy at doing whatever they do in life, while gracefully growing old. Older women can still be beautiful and fit. Also, ‘self-care’ helps women to improve their life because it helps them to feel better about themselves.” Mich Navajas
9. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Of Your Favorite Blog Pieces?
You held my hand tight
As you bid goodbye
It was hard
It was insane…
You kissed me softly
with a whimpering cry
It froze my mind
It broke my heart…
You strained me in your embrace
clasped me in your arms
It pricked me
It stung me…
Then it rained on a summer afternoon.
I was driving home when it rained so hard..really??? raining on a summer day??? It freaked me out..ahh maybe this is what global warming is all about…or, maybe just maybe, this is how it feels to leave a beloved behind…feels like rain on a summer afternoon…
Here Is Some More Poetry from Mich:
She writes: “My favorite post is my “Summer Rain” post (above) as this poem gave birth to a series of summer rain themed poems which boosted my blog statistics and gained me, new followers. Please go check out these series of summer rain poems.You will be surprised of its ending or how I ended it… I too was surprised!!!”
Thank you so much to Mich. Here is a link to her blog once more: Michnavs – Poetry In Motion in more time. I will try to have another interview out this week or the next as I am playing catch up. You can reach me through my Contact Page.
Welcome to almost September and a look back at some of past interviews in my ‘Rewind Interviews.’ On my own blog and on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a writer’s community! I anyone wants to be a regular member of the Cafe as a Barista once a week or even every two weeks, please let us know. Also, you can submit questions about this or your own writing to the Contact Page.
I’m excited to share with you a ‘Rewind Interview‘ of my good friend, talented writer, wonderfulperson, and wise woman:Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .
1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?
I am my blog’s name: A Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.
I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a newswriter someday; abonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?
When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write bookreviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPresscourse: Writing 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.
When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom who is my favorite author. I love all the novels I have that Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)
When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eatingcheesecake! 😀
2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to three-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’more thanexisting as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of myA Reading Writer blog.
“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales
3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?
For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry arefor me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding thebus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music alsoinspire andmotivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂
4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?
Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darknessof night that inspiresmore creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.
“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales
5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?
If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called: Word-High Julyhas been my focus. #WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipinowords as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibitedlaughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.
Note: Rosema has done just that and published her first book on Amazon.com, earlier in the summer. It’s called Between My Bleeding Lines by R.C. Gonzales and is available as a Kindle ebook and in Paperback!
Below is also n example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge last year
6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?
All my written works are published on WordPress onlyfor the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book.
Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.
(See above Rosema self-published her poetry book!)
7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I have an erratic writing process.I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come acrosssomeone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.
“I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles and/or Genres?
I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂
When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-Adult, Mystery, Thrillers, Contemporary Literature, Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realisticfiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Reshas been joking about putting a death toll counterin my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !
9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many peoplefollow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other peoplereading your writing; write for no one but yourself.
Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself;find your own voice and style, then improve on it.
Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lessonI’m still trying to learn.
“[Y]ou cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.” – Rosema Gonzales
10. Do You Have Anything About Yourself You’d Like to Share With Fellow Writers?
Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straightnews, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.
As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and lovingwriters in the bloggingcommunity on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, andinteractive writing community.
11. Any Advice for Other Writers or Bloggers Starting Out?
Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correctgrammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.
I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage ourfellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructivecriticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writersknow how their work affects you, how you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.
Writers should be the first to realizecompletely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change lives; I’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.
“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales
11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:
Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing themwith yourheart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about yourfavourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.
“Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!” – A.E.
Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blog: A Reading Writer. Many thanks for reading along. If you would like to be interviewed as a blogger, poet, writer, or blogger or a cause, please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.
Good Morning, and welcome to another writer and or blogger interview. I’m excited to share with you an interview with a newly published author, JoAnne Macco. I think you’ll love her blog and her book as much as I do.
As per usual, this interview will also be featured on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a blog for writers and lovers of writing, of all kinds. It’s a blogger and writer’s community so make sure you stop by there after reading this interview on my site. You can also submit writing of your own on the site such as poetry and short fiction through the Contact Page.
On WordPress, I’m best known as JoAnna of the Forest and I live in North Carolina on the east coast of the U.S.
In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.
My long-term goals are to continue to develop my storytelling skills, to write a novel based on my parents, and to travel more. As a military kid, my family moved around a great deal.
I longed to settle in one place, so I’ve stayed near the Carolina coast for most of my adult life. It’s comfortable here, most of the year, although summers can become hot and humid. It helps that my little urban cottage is 15 minutes from the ocean and surrounded by trees that provide a lot of shade.
2. When Did you Begin Writing and Blogging? For What Reason and What Does Writing Mean To You?
I wrote poems and songs in high school and I’ve journaled, off and on, for most of my life. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, which is probably why I wrote more when I approached menopause as a single mom with a 13-year-old daughter.
Writing helped me find perspective and meaning during those rollercoaster years. When I wrote my book in 2012, someone told me I needed to blog as well. Blogging has broadened my world tremendously, and I’m thankful to be part of this supportive community on WordPress. I believe that when we all share our experience, thoughts, and feelings, we discover that we have more in common than we might have realized.
“In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, “Anything is Possible,” and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.” – JoAnne Macco
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write and Blog? Why Is Writing Significant to You?
I’ve learned a lot in my 60 years of life and I’m still learning a ton. I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings. It helps me explore what I want to understand better about myself and the world.
4. Do You Have Particular Writing and/or Blogging Habits? What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing?
Since I’m a night owl, my natural tendency is to write more in the afternoon and evening. But when I was working on my book, I found I had to write in the morning to keep from being distracted and staying up too late.
I’d force myself write in the morning for at least two hours before looking at any social media or email. Then, after checking those, I’d return to writing a couple of more hours in the afternoon.
I loved those long stretches of working on my book and becoming absorbed in the process. I look forward to doing that again with my next book. For now, I’m writing most of my blog posts at night.
“I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings.” – JoAnne Macco
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with Your Blog and Outside of Your Blog?
On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal stories about overcoming challenges and also about meaningful coincidences.
I want to engage readers about relationship issues and personal growth topics that come up a lot in Trust the Timing, my book on Amazon.com. Outside of blogging, I’m beginning to research and collect material for future books I want to write.
6. Have You Published Your First Book? Do You Plan To Publish More in the Future?
As well, I’m planning to write and publish at least two more books, one about Doodle, the problem step-dog (who makes an appearance in my first book). Also, I’m writing a novel based on the lives of my extraordinary parents. At some time, I would also like to publish a book of poetry.
“On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal, stories about overcoming challenges and about meaningful coincidences.’ – JoAnne Macco
7. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Did You Self-Publish or Go Through and Agent or Publishing Company?
When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream-ofaconsciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.
I try to draft a chapter or a blog post without editing as if I’m talking to a friend. Then I’ll go back and edit the chapter or post later. Although, I don’t know if I’d want to write an another entire book like that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s better if I write before I peruse social media. I have to keep reminding myself of that!
Moreover, after considerable research and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to self-publish with Create Space for my memoir. I enjoyed the control this provided me. I think my next book maybe done with a small publishing company.
“When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream of consciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.” – JoAnne Macco
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres?
In college, I took journalism and technical writing and my previous career required a lot of factual reporting and clinical notes. As a result when I began writing my book I had a strong nonfiction framework. Also, I’ve enjoyed learning more about creative nonfiction over the past five years, working on my memoir.
Moreover, I’ve always been talented at making up stories in my head and I look forward to writing more fiction. However, my reading habits lean toward inspirational nonfiction, by authors like Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert, with an occasional sci-fi novel thrown in for fun.
9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers Starting Out?
I think I started writing and blogging, being too serious. Maybe it was my journalism and technical writing background? I thought I knew how to write, but creative writing is a whole different process than what I had been used to writing. To begin, I took online classes and engaged with supportive critique groups.
Moreover, I learned that it’s vital to be conscientious and caring, when you’re writing, but not to forget to have fun. Also, it’s a good idea not to make your blog posts too long. About ‘five hundred’ words are plenty for a post (unless of course, you’re doing an interview). As well, I’ve learned to use photograps in every blog post I publish.
My creative writing experience outside of blogging is primarily with my memoir. What I’ve learned from it is to write from your heart and not to be afraid to delve into those feelings if you’re in an emotionally stable place. It can be difficult and you’ll need to take breaks. Also, I’m sure writing fiction can bring up emotional baggage too. If you’re not ready for that, write for fun. Write poetry to yourself or write in a journal.
You can also keep a notebook handy for ideas that pop-up in your head so you can jot them down and allow these ideas to flow and transform into some kind writing later on.
“I’m sure writing fiction can bring up baggage, too. If you’re not ready for that yet, just write for fun. Write poetry to yourself. Keep a journal. Keep a notebook handy for ideas that” – JoAnne Macco
10. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share About Yourself or Your Writing?
In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.
11. Just for Fun. What Are Your Top Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Enjoy About Them?
It’s so difficult to name only three! I could easily name 10 favorites or more! But here it goes:
Sacred Touches – Natalie Scarberry always has something to comfort or inspire me with vibrant colors and natural delights.
SmileCalm Home – David’s gentle, loving wisdom comes through in each post and makes me smile deep down in my heart.
Behind the White Coat – Behind the White Coat is written by a smart doctor with a big heart. Her posts can be informative, entertaining, hilarious or heartbreaking. Her honesty makes me feel like I am not alone.
“In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.” – JoAnne Macco
12. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Blog Writing.
“If We Lose Electricity”
If we lose electricity
in the storm,
We will still have power.
We have the power
To check on our neighbors,
To ask for help,
To move to higher ground.
The power to tell stories,
To sing lullabies.
The power to write a poem,
To mend what’s torn,
To read by candlelight.
The power to hope and pray,
To hold hands in the dark.
The power to clear a path,
To rise from ash,
When we say we’ve lost power, it minimizes the power we still have. If we lose electricity, let’s say we lost electricity. We still have power, at least over our thoughts, words, and actions.
I send prayers for safety and comfort to all those in the path of the storm.
13. Here are Some More Blog Links to JoAnne’s Writing:
Thank you so much to JoAnne for her patience with this interview. I loved learning about her writing and her background as a writer. I also think it’s neat how she is, particularly, a nonfiction writer. I also loved her quote about being a Christian writer who doesn’t, necessarily, do Christian writing.
If you’re a blogger or writer, or someone who blogs about a cause, please feel to contact me if you would like to be interviewed. My contact page is HERE. See you when I see you :).
Welcome to another ‘Rewind Interview =” in my now weekly interview series. Ryan is a talented Australian poet, extremely amazing, so I’m excited to reshare his interview with you both on my own blog and now on the Go Dog Go Cafe. The Cafe is a writer’s hangout and you can even submit your work there for publication. Here is the link to do that here: Go Dog Go Cage Contact Page.
Originally, I was doing this as a bi-weekly feature, only on my own blog. So in order to do this as a weekly feature on both my blog and on the Cafe, I’m going to be sharing some ‘Rewind interviews” as I think these writers are equally due recognition on both sites. Just to mention, since this is a ‘Rewind Interview’ some of the info might not be current.
Today, I’m excited and pleased to share with you the talented writer, poet, and bloggerRyan Stone of ‘Days of Stone’. Please visit the link provided to read more about Ryan and read his superb poetry.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
The blood of the Irish runs deep in my veins but I’m an Australian born and bred. I was raised in a ‘man’s land’ of karate, fast motorbikes, heavy metal guitars, and football with Aussie rules.
My love of reading and writing was not readily accepted. Instead, I was forced to indulge my interests under my bed covers by torchlight. But the poets Seamus Heaney,Kenneth Slessor, Walt Whitman, and Maya Angelou — all have a way of asserting themselves in my writing.
Although I have no real love of uniforms, I’ve worn a few in my life so far: the combatfatigues of a soldier in the field and driving a battle tank; the torn black denim of a metalguitarist; and the turnout gear of a firefighter. I’ve been a rank-and-file cop, a detective, and a member of a plainclothes special duties team. When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains.
I have no formal credentials, only an observer’s eye and an insatiable appetite for books. I’m rough around the edges, but the right turn of phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time. I love Metallica, Ted Kooser, and with equal passion, my closest friend in the world, my German Shepherd (don’t tell my wife).
“When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains . . . the right turn of a phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time.” – Ryan Stone
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
The first time I considered my writing to be writing, was towards the end of highschool. I was blessed with an incredibly passionate Englishteacher who managed to channel a teenage boy’s angst and anger into something less destructive. When one of my poems earned me a kiss from a pretty girl I had a crush on, I knew writing was something I’d stick with.
I’ve never been much of a social media fan. But I reached a point where I became sick of waiting several months for editors to respond to my poetry submissions; I turned instead to WordPress. Along with all the great writing and posts, I’m able to read from other writers.
However, I’ve developed a wonderful, supportive group of friends, and readers, who offer feedback and advice in a much shorter time frame than editors. While I still submit to poetry journals, my year of blogging has given me a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction.
3. What Does Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
To borrow from my favorite quote by Anton Chekhov: Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.
I love the way a poem can capture more than a photograph, can carry an image or emotion over time and space, and let me experience someone else’s worldview for a moment. I also like the way reading one of my own poems years after it was written can transport me back to a previous ‘headspace,’ for a moment.
” . . .Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.” – Ryan Stone (borrowing from Anton Chekhov)
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?
Nearly all of my poetry begins while I’m running with my dog through the rain forest beside my house. Usually, a thought, a memory, or an observation takes root and nags at me until I jot it down. Sometimes, an unusual word or phrase will catchme the same way.
My dog has developed his very own ‘here we go again’face which he pulls each time I pause during a run so I can tap out a note or two on my phone.
5. Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like To Write?
Predominantly, I write at night, when my boys are asleep, and the house is quiet. I am frequently awake into the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes. During these hours, I can most effectively explore and develop the notes I jot down during the day.
” I am frequently awake in the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes.” – Ryan Stone
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have two fantasy novels I’m working on at present. One is about a princess who becomesa pirate queen after her parents are murdered, the other is about an orphan boy who becomes a magician and later, a king.
Both novels began as short stories which expanded and grew during a couple of National Novel Writing Months (NaNoWriMo). As well, both novels are over hundred-thousand words and in need of serious revision. As with everything, time is a killer.
Poetry wise, I’m writing a chapbook with one of my closest internet mates (Ajay) who lives in India. It is loosely based on flowers and cultural differences. I’m currently editing a collection of my Senryu (5-7-5) poems, with the intention of self-publishing a small e-book of one-hundred Senryu poems, in the next few months, unless a publisher comes along sooner.
7. Have You Published Any Writing or Are You Planning To Publish Works Of Writing In The Future?
I’m fortunate enough to have had many poems published in a number of online journals, print anthologies, and poetry magazines. I never thought anyone other than my mum would enjoy my writing and rarely submitted my writing anywhere until recently.
A few years ago, I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet,” which I thought had a chance of being published, so I submitted it to a couple of places and was rejected each time. On a whim, I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine (a magazine in the UK to which I subscribe).
I was blown away when my poem won first prize and £100 (quite a lot of money with the Australian exchange rate being what it is). That first win gave my confidence a much-needed boost and I’ve been submitting ever since.
“I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet” . . .I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine . . .and was blown away when it won first prize and £100.” – Ryan Stone
8. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Went Through To Publish or Are Going Through To Have Your Writing Published?
All my publishing to date has been by submission, so I’ll talk about publishing by submission. Whether it’s a print journal, online review, magazine, blog, or something else, the rules are always the same:
Read the publication first, to gain an idea of what style of writing they publish. While it doesn’t hurt to offer something fresh, I usually have a fair idea of an editor’s likes and dislikes before I submit.
Read and re-read the submission guidelines before you hit send. An improperlyworded subject line can be enough for an editor to discount the submissionwithout even reading the poem. Some publications request everything in the bodyof an email, others prefer attachments. Decent editors are inundated with submissions which meet their specific requirements and most, won’t waste their time with substandard submissions.
Take rejections gracefully. Analyze any critiques subjectively and apply critiques if you think they are warranted.BUT DON’T GIVE UP – submit, submit, submit. There are a million homes for poems out there and because a poem isn’t right for one editor or magazine certainly doesn’t mean it won’t be a prize winner for another editor or magazine. While I’m realistic about my own writing, I generally look at rejections as a case of a bad fit, not a bad poem.
9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
Almost exclusively, my writing begins as a note or two on my iPhone (often while I’m running) and later develops on my iPad. My writing environment is incredibly vital to me and the Mac/iPad writing program — Ulysses — puts me in an excellent creative ‘headspace.’ I tend to write the first draft quickly once idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over…
I am incredibly fortunate to have found a brilliant first reader. She’s an amazingly talented poet in her own right as well as possessing editing skills second to none. For some reason, I’ve yet to understand, she seems to enjoy my writing and conversation and has nurtured and developed my poetry to no end. My first reader’s input is a huge part of my process in developing a poem from initial idea to finished piece.
“I tend to write a first draft quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over . . .” – Ryan Stone
10. Do You Prefer Certain areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?
When I’m reading a novel, it is usually fantasy and almost always a series. StephenKing’s Dark Towercollection is a favorite, as are Game of Thrones, Magician, TheBelgariad, Lord of the Rings, and Bernard Cornwell’sArthurianbooks.
I also play a great deal of electric guitar which draws me to music biographies as well, anything rock or metal is fair game. Additionally, I love short story collections: Italo Calvino takes first prize there, and I read as much modern poetry as I can get my hands on.
Originally, my love of poetry was nurtured by Maya Angelou, Kenneth Slessor, JimMorrison (The Doors), and Jewel Kilcher. When I first discovered Ted Kooser a few years ago, my own poetry made a huge leap.
Kooser’s book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual, was full of ‘Aha!’ moments for me. Most recently, I’ve lost myself in the brilliant BuddyWakefield and Richard Hugo’s:The Triggering Town.
11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers?
I’m not really big on dishing out advice, as everyone writes uniquely. What works for one person, won’t always help another person; but I can certainly share what works for me.
The important thing is to write, write, write and keep writing. It doesn’t have to be good. I have loads of writingwhich will probably never see the light of day; however, once the first jumble is out of my head, the writing that follows is much better.
I don’t edit my first draft as I write. I write it all down and worry about cleaning itup later. If I’m only editing a word or two, then I’ll delete and replace. If I’m editing a whole line or large section, I cut and paste in a new version – v1, v2, v3, (etc .) and keep each version in the same document. I find it’s much easier to revise without the fear of losing words or ideas I may want to later reinstate.
Once I’m happy with a version of my work, I put it aside for a few days and return to it later with ‘fresh eyes.’ I find it much easier to spot weak points, sticky spots, doubled up words, bad rhythm, (etc.) when I’m reading it fresh.
The poem is more important than the truth. When I’m writing a poem based on an actual event, I find it easy to place value on a thing because its memory is significant to me. Often, I don’t want to let the thing go from the poem. This can become a weak point as the particular thing doesn’t make the poem better and doesn’t hold the same value for the reader. Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to my memory, my poetry comes together far tighter.
“Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to my memory, my poetry comes together far tighter.” – Ryan Stone
12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like The Share With Us Which You Think Is Pertinent To Writing or Yourself?
An honest first reader who will tell me what works and what sucks without worrying about my feelings is worth her weight in gold.
13. Can You Please Share With Us Few Links Of Your Favourite or Most Loved Pieces?
Until I saw those wasted hands,
brittle as chalk, I hadn’t thought
how fast the years make ghosts.
I heard them once called brawler’s paws.
For me, they were always more:
cobras, poised to strike.
But his brawling days are gone now;
I could kill him with a pillow,
if I cared enough to try.
Thin sheets press tightly to a bed
more empty than full, his body broken
like the promises of childhood.
Haunted eyes betray last thoughts
of a dim path, spiraling down.
He hopes to make amends.
“Forgiven?” he croaks,
barely there, as always,
and I’m wishing that I wasn’t.
With the last rays of day as witness,
I turn my back with purpose
and hear the silence roar.
In a late-night bar, I catch my reflection
swimming in a glass of bourbon;
but I’m staring at a ghost.
First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 163, April 2015 – first place
Thank you so much to Ryan Stone for doing an interview for me. I appreciate his time answering the interview questions a great deal. I would love tointerview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and yourwriting on my blog. You can reach me on my Contact Page.
Welcome to a new interview, this week I’m interviewing Sangbad Mitra a writer, blogger, and barista at the Go Do Go Cafe, where his interview will be simultaneously featured. Please check out this blog to read some wonderful writing and to submit your own work should you wish. For now, let’s get on with an interview with Sangbad Mitra and his blog: Thoughts of Words: Let the Words Get Freedom and Thoughts A Stage
1. Sangbad, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
I’m Sangbad Mitra from India. I live in Kolkata, West Bengal which is also known as the Cultural Capital. My blog name is Thoughts of Words. Kolkata is one of the major Indian cities. I live in the south of the city which is popularly known as ‘South Calcutta’ or ‘Kolkata’—however, you take the name of a country. There are malls and colleges in this portion. There is also a bypass in front of my home and there is a National Highway two kilometers away.
2. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging? Was there a Reason you Did? What Do Blogging and Writing Mean to You?
I’ve been writing for more than a decade. Teacher’s Day will be the thirteenth year of my writing spree. Most of these years, I’ve been a closeted author/poet, until this November. After my last and my first true relationship ended abruptly. I needed to vent my feelings in order to remain calm. I started writing to deny the call of addiction such as alcohol and drugs. And I re-embarked on my writing journey. Before that, there was a gap of two or three years where I hadn’t written anything. It was a relief to write the world a few stories and poems again.
” I started writing to deny the call of addiction such as alcohol and drugs. And I re-embarked on my writing journey. Before that, there was a gap of two or three years where I hadn’t written anything. It was a relief to write the world a few stories and poems again.” Sangbad Mitra
3. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? What is it important to you to continue with your writing and blogging?
When I began my blog, I used to write out of nemesism mostly. But, in April, this changed. I participated in the National Poem Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). On the first day, the prompt was to write a poem such as Kay Ryan wrote, and I wrote a poem. It was called “Crow.”
The next morning I saw that my poem had been featured on the NaPoWriMo prompt website. This made me think and change my view on life. I stood in front of mirror asking why I had been writing what I had been, before. That’s when I began I writingwhat I wanted to write and not what other wanted me to write. When I write poetry, now write to express my thoughts and my view, all because my poem about my pet crow was featured for NaPoWriMo.
As well, my writing became a cathartic process. In my new phase of writing, my inspiration mostly came from my broken relationship. I wrote to keep thoughts of her out of my mind, to ‘forget’ about her. Before, when I used to feel depressed or low, I wrote using my experiences, writing what others would like. That was my purpose in writing. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with the changes in my writing after 1st April and NaPoWriMo. Now, I write what is on my mind, directly, and this is freeing.
Another thing that inspires and motivates me is my city, Kolkata. The vibrancy, the vibe, the beat of my city inspires me. I also have a section on my blog for writing about my city, under the Anthology section of my blog.
4. What are your Writing and Blogging Habits? Where do you Most Enjoy about Writing? Is there a Particular Time of Day you Prefer to Write?
I don’t have any particular writing habits. You may find me on the subway and writing on phone or do the same while taking the bus. Standing and writing on my cell phone is pretty typical for me. I use the WordPress app to write on. Although, at night, I maintain a diary.
Additionally, I like writing about the citizens of Kolkata. I write about people such as my Lady neighbor. She’s a recurring character in many of my Kolkata series poems. As well, the neighbor’s Neem tree also is the topic of some of my writing. There’s a poem called “Neem, my Neighbor” about this tree from NaPoWriMo.
“Another thing that inspires and motivates me is my city, Kolkata. The vibrancy, the vibe, the beat of my city inspires me. I also have a section on my blog for writing about my city. . .” -Sangbad Mitra
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with your Blog and Outside of It?
Right now, for my Thoughts of Words blog (I just call it my “Thoughts” blog), I’m writing a novella Captive which is in hiatus state now and will continue in July. Outside of this, I’m also writing stories which I’ll share once a week beginning next month, in place of my serialized novel Fables of Time. I’m also writing more fables for this series and will share them on my blog when I’ve written considerably more of them.
These fables are something I’m also writing, outside of my blog. Other projects I’m working on outside of the blog include preparing my Chapbook for self-publishing. A portion of this chapbook will be the poems I wrote for NaPoWriMo. There’ll be forty poems in the book. A third project I’m working on outside of the blog is an epic novel.
6. Have you Published Any Writing or Poetry Before your Recent Plans to Publish your Writing? Can Your Briefly Describe Your Writing Process?
No, I haven’t published any of my writing at this point. By the end of the year, I aspire to publish the Chapbook.
When am writing a poem, I write my piece and then I read it few more times before putting my signature to it. In the case of writing a story, after I complete writing a chapter or a short story, I set it aside. It reread my chapter or short story and then after a few days, I rewrite the portions I’m unsatisfied with. I also rewrite parts of the story I feel is not what I want them to be. In the case of essays, I write them over a day or two before finishing the final draft. So, it’s writing, rewriting, reading, and re-reading.
“When am writing a poem, I write my piece and then I read it few more times before putting my signature to it. In the case of writing a story, after I complete writing a chapter or a short story, I set it aside. It reread my chapter or short story and then after a few days, I rewrite the portions I’m unsatisfied with.” – Sandbad Mitra
7. Do you Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Readings Genres?
I’m much inclined to reading old Bengali classicsthan writing in the English language. As well, I prefer reading Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay over Mark Twain. For genres, I prefer to read/watch thrillers for the most part. In the past few months, I’ve read the Travelogue of Marco Poloand now am reading story collection of Kafka.
When it comes to writing, I prefer to write whatever it is I want to say.It may be words against terrorism or it may be words describing a summer night. The only genre I feel I’m incompetent is erotica, although, I’ve written few. Recently, I post one on Saturday’s if I’ve been able to write one.
8. Do you have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers?
My advice is to never stop writing. Write, share, and listen to what others are saying. Don’t get down or agitated because readers are useful as teachers to writers. Also, don’t be vain or self-proud. Pride can be the worst enemy and causes the greatest of writers to fail. I like to hear my readers’ views. Comments make me happy along with receiving ‘likes.’
“Write, share, and listen to what others are saying. Don’t get down or agitated because readers are useful as teachers to writers. Also, don’t be vain or self-proud. Pride can be the worst enemy and causes the greatest of writers to fall.” -Sangbad Mitra.
9. For fun, What Are Your Top-Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like About Them?
Top three…there are more than three…but there are these two bloggers to whom I always remain indebted to in my blog journey. Both Meenakshi Sethi (my Elder Sister’s blog) and Gina Gallyot’s blog: SingleDust. I call her LoveDust. Both these women are my oldest followers but are also always pushing me to write whenever I want to quit. I read their reviews of my writing and I change my mind. Sometimes I also ask them how they tolerate my nagging and they inspire and help me despite my flaws.
10. Please Share with Us Some Pieces from Your Blog: My First Post: The Morning That Was Serene and Melancholy
The Featured Poem that Changed My Writing Perspective: Crow by Sangbad Mitra
Thanks to Sangbad for agreeing to interviewed and providing insight into his writing and life. If you would like to be interviewed for your writing, blogging, or cause you write or blog for, you can reach me through my contact page. See You Next Week!
Jacqueline was my first interview ever and a successful one. She is an amazing writer, poet, and blogger. If you haven’t read her poetry book yet, please see below. Also check out her YouTube videos full of wisdom.
This same interview will also post on The Go Dog Go Cafe, an awesome community for baristas of the site and writers who want to share their work there too.
Make sure to visit the Cafe and keep up with my weekly Tuesday Interviews. Every second week I do a ‘Rewind Interview,’ someone I’ve interviewed in the past. This week should be an interview of a Barista at the Cafe, but I have been too busy with other projects to put the interview together. Please expect a new interview next week!
“Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep-thinking, friendly, inquisitive, and vivacious human with multiple layers which baffle me at certain times” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.
My name is Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha. I’m a Nigerian-born, Dubai (UAE) resident, of Igbo heritage. The Igbo’s are a hardworking, industrious, nomadic and proud tribe of Nigeria whom can be found in almost every nook and cranny of the world, even in places that you would least expect to find them. We strive to thrive wherever we are found.
Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep thinking, friendly, inquisitive and vivacious human with multiple layers that baffle me at certain times.
I’m an ambivert, a people person, an outspoken, and focused woman. I can own up to being a loyal and upright person and you can take my word to the bank. Hard work doesn’t scare me. I truly believe in encouraging others to be the best that they can be. I’m also a wife, a mother, a writer, a perpetual learner, a life-enthusiast and a die-hard optimist. I don’t believe in the word impossible.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging?
I actually have no conscious date as to when I started scribbling. I use the word scribbling because I would write drama series at a very young age and designate my siblings to roles that I deemed fit. I was both the story writer, the film director, and everything in-between. Sometimes my siblings fell out with me because they weren’t particularly enthused about one role or the other.
However, I consciously started taking my writing seriously and away from the realm of a hobby two years ago. My venture into blogging started on May 6, 2015, as I searched for areas to help harness my writing and opportunities to interact with like-minded people.
“As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading” – Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha
4. What does writing/poetry mean to you? Why do you write?
I write for vision and clarity. I process things better when I write. I write to share thoughts that I may ordinarily not give voice to. I write to deal with issues that bother me. As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading. I wouldn’t know how else to be.
My reason for writing is so strong, a lot of times, when I need my husband to understand a point that I’m probably not expressing vocally as well as I should, I write him a letter.
My heart has known peace through my writing. Some of the turbulence I experienced earlier in life have been manageable due to writing. It’s a voice that God gave me. A lot of times my husband, children, and friends marvel at the speed at which my fingers fly acrossthe keyboard even without looking at the letters. Or they marvel at how quickly my pen flies across a journal endlessly.
It’s the way it is for me. While some people say they experience ‘writers block,’ I’m yet toexperience the feeling. What I experience is insufficient time in any given day where I’m able to write the words, thoughts that flit through my mind. I have many otherresponsibilities which have my name written on them.
5. Where do you find your inspiration and motivation to write? Is there a time of day you prefer to write?
I see inspiration in everything. I could see a mustard colored car and a story comes to mymind. It could be the way someone wore their clothes, spoke, smiled, or didn’t smile. Inspiration just comes. Sometimes I ask God’s Spirit to lead my hands.
I enjoy writing in the wee hours of the morning before my entire household rises, but such opportunity is becoming less. Someday’s I write late into the evening after work and other chores before I knock off to sleep. I normally wake up at 4:00 to 4:30 am and put in an hour either prepping my blog or writing something before I prepare for school runs, work, and the rest of my day.
I’ve learned to write on the go, anywhere and anytime, otherwise, I’ll never find enough time during the day to write. My notepad is always ready in my bag and I can tune out if need be and scribble. I scribble all the time. Morning, afternoon, evening, night, sitting, standing, even riding the train or bus.
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Published Or Are You Planning to Publish Any Work?
Presently, I’m working on a collection of stories, two novels, an inspirational book, and another poetry book. I’ve decided to take them one at a time because it was getting crazy. I want to focus on one work, have it finished, and then move on to other projects.
Out of The Silent Breath is my first published poetry book. I’ve done freelance writing in the past, writing content for others, as well as ghostwriting. However, I’ve decided to focus more on my own works. I still freelance when the right briefs come, but I’m planning on having my second book published by the second quarter of this year.
I honestly haven’t gotten around to submitting my works for external publication. It’s a plan in the pipeline, but for some reason, having my writing published in a magazine or otherwise,hasn’t been a driving point for me. Possibly after my second book, my mind will be more attuned to that.
“. . .[T]he joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs the challenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.” – Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha
7. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Experienced Publishing Your Work?
To publish in itself is not difficult, yet it isn’t easy either. Being self-published is twice asmuch the hard work. It includes writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and accounting (etc); however, the joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs thechallenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.
I’ve been writing for a while and sometimes when family or friends read my articles they ask me why I’m waiting to publish them. Getting to the nitty-gritty of choosing the pieces to publish, trying to edit my material, and do all the formatting myself, was where I experienced difficulty.
My days are filled to the brim. I realized that if I had to do everything myself, it would probably take forever. I outsourced the cover production and formatting to a professional. I focused on the writing and marketing; marketing is a big job.
As well, I couldn’t afford professional editing since it doesn’t come cheap, so I sought out beta readers among friends. With that said, I think that having an editor is important, especially when one embarks on writing as a career. Now I am working on a compilationof stories about 40,000 words and also motivational handbook which should hopefully be published in the latter part of this year.
To break my publishing process down:
Sourced beta readers.
Tried to do publishing myself (which took me ages).
I then outsourced the book cover, formatting, and uploading to a publishing firm.
I don’t have a writing process per se. I try to write early in the morning before I get busy with house chores, school issues, and work. Sometimes, it means setting the alarm to wake up at 4:30 am to 5:00 am and work on a story for an hour before my family wake-up.
Throughout the day, I find minutes to center my thoughts and scribble. After dinner when everyone is settled, I blog or write until around 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm, then I retire with the present book I am reading and hopefully, fall asleep within the hour.
I write as the thoughts flow and then edit after. Many times, I find myself rising in the midst of sleep to write something that’s running around in my head.
“My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality.” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing Styles or Genres?
I’ve found that I’m no longer finicky about genres because having read various genreswidely, I have learned information from different scenarios. I would actually refer to myself as a cross-genre writer and reader. My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality. For me, it’s what catches my thoughts of the moment. My writing could be descriptive (mainly for poetry), narrative, or persuasive to sway thoughts.
I always read a myriad of books. My book purchases in a month usually encompass books of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, romance, thriller, adventure, motivational, and self-help (etc). I try to keep it balanced.
9. Do You Have Any Advice to Aid Other Writers?
My advice would be: What is that piece of thought and writing that keeps you up at night? Which makes your inner engine rev in anticipation? Don’t give it up!
Some days, it will be hard and almost impossible to find time to sit down and put pen topaper;sit down anyways and type nonsense. Type as the words flow into your mind without any sequence. Each day, find time to write. The time doesn’t have to be in one huge block, a lot of us don’t have such leisure. You might find a half an hour of concertedflow far outweighs an hour or two without any flow.
As well, never listen to the naysayers and please go with your heart. Fashion your own writing and leave trying to be the next whoever to someone else. Just be you. When you write from within, the writing flows and is far more compelling than trying to imitate someone else. It can be done because your words count.
10. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing.
I have no particular favorite piece of writing and I don’t understand why. I’ll share with you several which people have read and enjoyed. I do hope you find my writing pieces interesting:
Thank you so much to Jacqueline for doing an interview for me on my blog. I would love tointerview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and yourwriting. You can reach me on my Contact Page.
Good Morning! Welcome to another edition of my interview series. Since I have joined the Go-Dog-Go Writer’s community, I will be showcasing an interview with a wonderful writer every week (instead of bi-weekly).
However, since I do not have the time to put together a full interview each week, every second week will be a ‘Rewind Interview’ showcasing a wonderful writer or blogger from past interviews. You can expect this both on the Go Dog Go Cafe as well as on my own blog Mandibelle16.
Most of my upcoming interviews for the summer will be baristas from the Go Dog Go Cafe as well as a couple of interviews I had scheduled previously.
We will be focusing on her personal blogging and writing for this Rewind Interview.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
My blog is called “A Life Less Lived” and I use the name “Singledust” as the author of all my blog posts. I live in Malaysia, in a vibrant suburb south of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a town packed with malls and teeming with life! It is also a college town and the young demographic we have means lots of lovely cafes and hangout joints where the vibe is always amazing.
2. What is Your Blog About? What Are You Trying to Accomplish?
I started my blog because my daughter asked me to stop scribbling in notebooks and publish all I wanted to say. She set the blog up and I began. In early days the blog was a lot of self-discovery and deciding what my blog was going to be about. I had to figure out what to write about and much personal information I should I share.
I went down a couple of paths, tried doing travel related stories at first, then showcasing foods I liked and places to go eat the different foods in my country, but I wasn’t feeling fulfillment from that kind of writing. I wrote because I needed words to come out of me after suppressing it for so long.
Then I came across Flash Fiction prompts and was hooked. I found I liked writing stories. I had grown up with lots of storytelling after all and thought why not incorporate some of the tales I remembered into new ones I created. So that’s what I did and wrote some poetry on the days the stories seemed more musical. I had never written poetry before this blog so I amazed myself even!
From Flash Fiction challenges, I expanded into longer pieces called “Tales From The Equator,” stories I remembered from my childhood as well as those I told my kids as they were growing up.
All this has provided me with a huge collection of stories and poetry I have rummaged through to eventually another book. My blog is my training ground and preparation. It is an amazing place to read other writers, get feedback, develop new story lines, and network.
“I started the blog because my daughter asked me to stop scribbling in notebooks and publish all I wanted to say. She set the blog up and I began” -Gina Gallyot
3. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging and Why?
I started a year ago in February 2016 after some parts of my life finally got settled and I closed painful chapters of my life for good. In my new life, the writing side of me reawakened as I needed an outlet. When I started the blog it was a place for me to write so I would not forget my journey of self-discovery but after some time I realized that the journey was part of my healing and there was no end in sight.
I will continue my healing journey as long as I live. The process has never come to a screeching halt with magical solutions. Each day has a lesson of its own. And as I wrote I released anger and frustration inside me for so long — things I cannot talk about in whole honesty — writing allowed me to layer stories and fantasies into my writing and in that sense has permitted me to heal and recover, like a journal of my life. My life is stories!
4. How Does Your Writing Help Other People and Give You Meaning?
Just seeing words on paper (well now on screen) brings me joy and blogging have enabled me to connect with amazing people all around the world I would have never met otherwise. I love being able to read their stories and be able to see that the world is full of people such as me, going through trials and overcoming them through writing and in turn, I hope my stories will help others healing or reaching a new spiritual place.
I affectionately call my stories, “my little lines.” I would humbly like to believe that it also inspires others together with the comments I give on the posts I read.
“I will continue my healing journey as long as I live. The process has never come to a screeching halt with magical solutions. Each day has a lesson of its own.” – Gina Gallyot
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?
My inspiration is the life I have lived, a life less lived; while trying to survive my struggles, never feeling as if I had actually lived. I existed for the next day to start and end, and stories were my refuge. They were places I would go in my mind and create a safe place for myself and my children.
The world around me is also so beautiful in its ordinary splendor. I don’t need the highest mountain or deepest sea, a walk around my neighborhood inspires me with the beautiful life of nature and people. Every single thing on earth has value and has a story of its own.
Additionally, I’m inspired by the people I meet, strong people carrying heavy burdens in life, broken people standing tall for others to lean on, humble gentle caring souls oblivious of their own sorrow as they comfort others. In short, the human spirit is extremely inspirational and resilient.
Every person also has their own story, but there is the question of who stops to listen when we are all so busy trying to tell our own stories. I try to listen to life happening around me in all forms. It’s important to me to give value to everything and everyone I meet in my short life on earth. It is vital that I never forget people are all connected by invisible threads of endless thoughts and feelings and need to treat each other gently.
6. Do You Have Any Particular Writing Habits? How Does your Blog Fit in With You Are?
I hope my writing has helped inspire people and encourage then to be better than what they think of themselves in low times. I would like to think that my writing (my blog) is a soft spot to land after all the bad news and horror people read. I would like to be a soft voice and a place people can unmask and be themselves as they read my stories and poetry. I hope they remember it is possible to live life happy and free and know that living a better life is possible at any stage in life.
“I try to listen to life happening around me in all forms. It’s important to me to give value to everything and everyone I meet in my short life on earth. It is vital that I never forget people are all connected by invisible threads of endless thoughts and feelings and need to treat each other gently.” -Gina Gallyot
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects on Your Blog or Otherwise?
I try to participate in at least five Flash Fiction challenges per week to keep the creativity going. I am beginning to become involved in the poetry community, though I am like the littlest baby there as I never wrote poetry prior to this blog! I am trying to compile all the stories and poetry into categories and maybe publish them in a few of years. Every writer’s dream right?!
I have two recent poetry submissions published onSpillWords. Here are the links and publication dates:
My biggest writing achievement is my poetry book titled: Remember my: Sweet Whispers – I Loved You From A Time Once Before.
It is available on Smashwords as a free download and includes poems I wrote that people enjoyed on my blog.
8. What Are You Future Plans For Your Blog and Writing?
No big ones as of yet. I have blog posts as well as guest posts featured on other sites but that’s about it. I still feel I am new to this and I like to let things move at a slow pace and see progress in steps rather than leaps and bounds. I am enjoying the journey, not the destination. Future plans might be to start focusing on a book I started last year but got distracted and have never completed. Blogging at my own pace and enjoying the company I meet along the way has been rewarding so I will continue on this path.
9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Do You Have Support for Your Writing and Blogging in Your Life?
Well, I decided to write again after a negative influence was removed from my life. I wrote a lot as a young girl and well into my early youth. I was sidetracked by the ‘merry go round of life.’ Coming back to my first love of writing stories has been like meeting an old flame and feeling the spark we had long ago that has developed into a mature romance. It’s a safe and uplifting romance of heart and soul, paper and pen, words and emotions.
My support comes from my tenacity for life. My four children have been my pillars of strength and support me with enthusiasm and love. Recently a more meaningful relationship has been the wind beneath my wings and encouraged me to soar higher. I also always have hope.
“Coming back to my first love of writing stories has been like meeting an old flame and feeling the spark we had long ago that has developed into a mature romance. It’s a safe and uplifting romance of heart and soul, paper and pen, words and emotions.” – Gina Gallyot
10. How Do you Maintain Discipline in Writing? Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres?
I discipline myself to write consistently and have a few stories or poetry on file to go over so I am never without material. Flash Fiction is incredibly helpful in clearing the cobwebs to write better in other areas of writing. It allows me to try different styles I might not usually do and this versatility helps me develop a better vocabulary too.
Reading is important too because people need to be inspired by other authors and writers. I spend a great deal of time reading new books and also re-reading previous favorites from beloved authors. My favorite writers are ‘mystical writers. Simple strong words in long flowing sentences that convey images of times we have all once traveled upon are inspiring to read about.
I fell in love with Yeats as a young girl and am still smitten with him. Poets and writers who write like Yeats and draw emotions from other worlds and bring that feeling into our world, I find interesting. I like human based stories, like those from Khaled Hosseini and recently John Green.
My all time favorite novels include The Alchemist and 100 years of Solitude. Another writer that fascinates me till is John Farris and his Wildwood, Chilling Experiments in the Backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains.I feel a strange attraction to that region although I have never been there before.
11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Us?
Write from the heart what you want to say. You can use your metaphors, pseudo names, or examples (metaphors and literary devices) that distract from you, but write as if it is the last essay or poem you will ever get to write.
That’s what makes you stand out from other writers — sharing your heart. Don’t let the blogging statistics derail or distract you. Numbers have no real weight in comparison to what you write from your own heart and feelings.
Moreover, I have never wanted to live a mediocre life in either thought, word, or deed. While I joke and say I write ‘little lines’ and often am told to give more respect and emphasis to my ‘little lines,’ they are strong on their own and not fragile lines but lines that encourage people who think they are not worth much.
People read these ‘little lines’ and feel uplifted because the world they live in is trying to confine them. I want ‘little lines’ to help set people free and be whoever they want to be, never living a mediocre life in thought, word, and deed.
“Moreover, I have never wanted to live a mediocre life in either thought, word, or deed. While I joke and say I write ‘little lines’ and often am told to give more respect and emphasis to my ‘little lines,’ they are strong on their own and not fragile lines but lines that encourage people who think they are not worth much.” – Gina Gallyot
12. What Are Your Three-Favorite Blogs you Follow or Enjoy, just for Fun? What Do You Like About Them?
I love reading blogs in this order: flash fiction, poetry, and long reads. They inspire me to write better stories, and each writer has their own flavor. It’s too hard to mention a top three or even top ten. I enjoy each writer for their own kind of fiction and emotion.
13. Please Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Pieces:
A special one to me from the tales from the equator series:
She was a pretty tiny bird living in a big white cage. Her master would sit each morning and evening and admire her beauty from just outside her cage. She loved it when he came to sit with her, he read her stories and sang songs and she was his inspiration. He was an artist and he drew lovely paintings of her, sold them and even put some around his lovely house. She longed for him to open the cage, just once and let her out so she could sit in the palm of his hand, but he never did. Always just looking at her, smiling and saying soft soothing words, he would always leave when the woman came.
He lived with a beautiful woman in this house, she never came near the cage, almost never knew the little bird existed and would ask the maids to clean the cage and feed the pretty bird. Little bird looked with envy at the beautiful woman with the long black hair and flowing dresses, her feathers were short and had too many colors, her cage had no walls, she could never hide her ugliness.
One day, a praying mantis sat on the window ledge and asked the tiny pretty bird why was she quiet, why she never sang. Little tiny bird said she had no singing voice, she was made only for man’s eyes, not for his ears or heart. And the mantis thought she saw a tear, but birds don’t cry thought the mantis, not in these parts anyway.
The little bird talked to the mantis every day in between the times the artist sat by the cage and they grew to know each other more. The mantis was as old as the sands of the desert and had traveled far and lived long, she was old and wise but had no heart, yet lately talking to this tiny little bird made the old mantis feel something she had not for a very long time now. It was like an inflation of her hollow chest.
One day she asked the tiny pretty bird if she would like to be free? And the tiny heart fluttered with uncontrolled joy. But the bird asked how? And the praying mantis divulged an ancient secret.
Praying Mantes were the gods’ eyes and ears on earth for there were places the gods could not go to, the crevices and the cracks of the world, so they created the praying mantis who could slip in and out unnoticed and gather information back. The mantis had some magic and in them and was allowed one wish for their entire life and that’s how they would end their lives, by granting a wish as their final breath.
The little bird was upset and refused to listen more, but the old tired mantis coaxed her; allow me to bestow the wish on you, I have lived long and traveled far, I need to rest and move on to the next life the gods have planned for me. I have been a mantis too long, almost since this new world begun, set me free.
And the little bird because she had a lovely heart, though so tiny, it was full of love, for the handsome artist man and she wanted to feel the touch of his hand, agreed. And they decided on the right time to carry out their plan.
It was a beautiful sunny morning, where sunlight reflected off every surface and sunbeams found secret places and brought them warmth and the little bird decided today would be the day. The artist would arrive soon and she wanted to be free from her feathers and cage. The praying mantis nodded in agreement.
When they heard the man approaching, the mantis cast her final spell and the cage door flew open and the tiny pretty bird flew out and landed on the ground, now a tiny little lady with streaks of blue and green in her hair. The tiny bird was so happy to touch her own skin and pretty hair and she looked to thank the mantis, but the mantis wasn’t there.
Too late to look now, the handsome artist had approached, and the little bird now a pretty little lady smiled at him with the prettiest smile she thought she had. But the artist was taken by surprise and she never knew he could be a cruel man for she always looked at him from behind the bars of her cage and only saw what he showed her of his true self.
He shouted for the maids to chase away this intruder, he said. Chaos reigned as maids came to remove the tiny little stranger from the big lovely house. They roughly pushed her out the door and told her to do her begging elsewhere, this was the mistress and master’s house, not any common place.
Little bird tried to speak but no one could understand the language she spoke and she could hardly walk, new to feet and no feathers she felt exposed and abused with the rough hands and words. She understood them; why could they not her.
And they shut the big heavy white door and tiny little bird stood alone on the road.
Devastated that her plan had gone so disastrous, she wished she could talk to the praying mantis, her only friend all the years she sat in that cage, she wondered if she had been tricked. Living in that cage wasn’t so bad after all, at least she got to see her handsome artist twice a day and she had water and food and sunlight. Now she had nothing, she would never see his face again.
She walked down the road uncertain which way to go, her bare feet on the hot asphalt, the warmth went all the way to her chest, but never reached her heart. And she knew she could not live like this in this world; and said a soft wish to the gods who would listen, punish me for my greed and insolence, take me away from this existence. Leave me as dust in this world for I feel empty and distant.
And the spirits of the sun took her message to the skies and some gods had pity on her and said such a beautiful soul must be rescued somehow.
So they guided her thoughts till she walked further down the street and they crushed her body with a magnificent sunbeam and she became tiny flecks of dust that settled among the rocks and the grass, she would always be free now, and be part of the world yet no one would see her, she would be as she wished, just dust and glitter.
Flourish by Gina Gallyot about how much she loves her Dad.
A Walk In The Snow by Gina Gallyot, a poem about hoping to fall hopelessly in love like this one day.
Thank you to Gina for agreeing to be interviewed for her original interview and the “Rewind Interview.’ Here is the link to her blog homepage once more: A Life Less Lived. If you would like to be a part of my interview series, please reach out through my Contact Page. See You on next Tuesday!
Welcome to another week of my interview series. Today I’m so excited to share with you an interview with my talented and caring friend, Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses) who has been writing many wonderful tales for adults and children on her blog with Colin Chappell of A Dog’s Life (Stories of Me and Him). I interviewed Colin earlier this year HERE.
Many of Carolyn’s tales and her new book with Colin are about a Cat named Dewey, a Jackalope named Jaxon, an owl named Odessa, and a human helper for them on Moonbeam farm they live, known as the ‘manservant.’ You can also find Carolyn’s interview on The Go Dog Go Cafe,where I will be posting a writer interview each Tuesday (the same one here and on there). It is a wonderful writer’s community on WordPress so please come and explore.
As well, all watercolor paintings illustrating the characters from Carolyn’s (and Colin’s) book Odessa’s Chronicles,are done by Jodi of The Creative Life In Between. She’s such a talented artist and I would recommend following her blog for her art, recipes, poetry, and blog posts narrated by her dog, Charlie. She also has an Etsy Shop, on break at the moment, but when it’s not, you can purchase cards, paintings, (etc.) of Jodi’s beautiful work.
My name is Carolyn Shelton and I live in Southern Pennsylvania. I am the Mother of two teenagers which explains why there are days that I feel like my brain is missing! I love having fun with my family and friends, whether we are just chatting or on an adventure together. I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.
Humor is a big part of my life! I have serious posts on my blog, but a lot of humorous ones as well. And there are days, where you may get more humor from the comment section. I have a good friend that likes to express his wit at times. I am always up for a battle of wits, do I win? Well…. onto the next question.
My biggest writing goal is to touch others with what I write. I want to make them smile, laugh and also ponder on deeper things at times. I am thankful for my gift of writing, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if I keep it to myself. This is why I share it on my blog with for everyone and anyone to read.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does It Mean To You?
I began blogging in the Fall of 2014. It wasn’t something that I had planned on doing. I was browsing on the internet one day and I saw something that piqued my interest.WordPress was offering a free writing course. I loved to write and felt that this course would be fun to take and see what happened. I signed up for it and well, here I am. 🙂 I enjoyed the course a great deal and was excited seeing what I could do with a blog.
I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and interacting with them. I was still learning but felt as if I had found my niche in the wonderful world of blogging.My love of writing had been rekindled.
” I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.” – Carolyn Shelton
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is it Important to You to Keep Writing and Blogging? Do You Have Writing Habits? A Time of Day It’s Easier for You to Write?
My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me, through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy because it is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not writing. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogging and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.
Writing is me letting my heart speak and it can be so freeing expressing my emotions through writing. Late at night seems to be my best time to write. The house is all quiet, the phone is not ringing, and it’s just me and my Sheltie who lays at my feet.
4. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects, on your Blog or Otherwise? Have You Published Any Writing?
I am currently co-authoring a The Odessa Chronicles,with fellow blogger, Colin.I’m so excited about it! The process of writing it readying it for publication has been a true adventure! The front cover of the book has not yet be decided on and the book is not quite ready for publication and release to my readers but it will be available on Amazon when it is completed. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Colin and mine’s book release!
” My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy. It is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogginh and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.” – Carolyn Shelton
5. Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Writers or Bloggers Starting Out?
I enjoy writing serious posts and posts written for fun. I enjoy reading both as well. Also, I like reading stories in the genre of fiction and some nonfiction stories as well when I am choosing novels to read.
As for advice for new writers or bloggers: I encourage them to be patient with their self and write what comes naturally. Don’t think that your blog has to be like another blogger’s blog. Your blog is unique just like you. Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog. Don’t push yourself to post every day if you cannot manage to do that. I didn’t post each day in the beginning and there is no rule that says you have to post every day. You need to write when it fits your schedule.
6. For Fun, Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs? Top Three? What Do You Like About Them?
Oh, my this is a hard question. There are a lot of blogs I enjoy! The blogs I have followed the longest though are Jodi’s, Ameena’s and Colin’s.
Jodi’s blog makes my taste buds tingle when I see pictures of the wonderful recipes she is cooking up. She is a wonderful cook and there are sometimes I attempt her recipes, though I am sure she does them better. She also does beautiful paintings and puts lovely poems to lovely photographs she takes together in a post. I enjoy reading her blog because of her cheery outlook on life.
Ameena (Randoms by A Random) is a gifted poet and her poems tug at my heartstrings. She has put me at a loss for words more than once. You can read the interview Mandibelle16 did of Ameena HERE
Colin writes about life with Ray, his wonderful Rescue Dog that he adopted. He also has “Just Thinking” posts that give you things to ponder. It is always interesting to read his perspective. He includes some poetry on his blog; in fact, he has a book of wonderful poetry coming out soon. His dry wit comes through in his posts as well. A blog that can make me laugh will be one I keep going back to.
Most importantly all these blogs do have something in common. Although they post about various topics, they all have become special friends of mine.That is what I feel is at the heart of blogging, the friendships that are formed from a mutual interest.
” Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog.” – Carolyn Shelton
7. Can You Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts?
Here are some of Carolyn’s posts that she and I like a great deal. I hope you enjoy them too!
Written April 2013, by Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)
Good Morning! Today my husband and I will bid a final farewell to a dear friend of ours. His body was ravaged with cancer and now he is free from pain. Though we are happy that he is now at peace, there also is pain, as he will be dearly missed!
Pat always had a smile for you and could make you laugh with his wit. Even when his wit was at your expense, you couldn’t help but laugh. Shaking your head, trying not to smile, as your mind was racing for a comeback. No joke was ever old. We had met over 20 years ago, and there was something that had happened to me in that first year that Pat and Sherry were dating. Something that he still loved to throw out there whenever he would get the chance, and yes it still had a way of heating up my cheeks. His humor is something that stayed with him, even as his body grew sicker. He kept his spirits up and fought hard. He was an inspiration.
In yesterday’s post, Dewey and Jaxon Follow Their Hearts, I told about when we heard the news about cancer and how Dewey took over my pen. Took over my pen for my broken heart. Today I am sharing a poem that I shared before. A poem that seems fitting for today. It has been revised a little to help it flow more smoothly, thanks to a friend.
My heart poured it out on a night when it was breaking. Breaking because the prognosis was not looking good for my friend and the tears fell as I didn’t know what to say. What could I speak to my precious friend and his wife? How could I encourage her? I felt that I had no words.
Come Away With Me My Friend (Let Us Run To The Ocean)
Come away with me my friend
Let us run to the ocean,
Where you can let the pain in your heart
Be overpowered by the roar of the waves.
Let us go where you can shout ”Why?” to the sky,
And scream as loud as you need.
Where you can fall to your knees on the soft sand.
Thank you so much to Carolyn for allowing me to interview her for this week’s blogger/writer interview. She is a wonderful and kind hearted person and I’m so excited for the book she and Colin will be releasing on AMAZON soon. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Nuggets of Gold.
If you are a writer, blogger, author, or someone who blogs for a cause or special organization and would like to be featured in my interview series here and on the Go Dog Go Cafe please reach out to me through my CONTACT PAGE on my personal blog. Thank you and see you next week!
Welcome to my regularly scheduled bi-weekly interview series. I am pleased to share with you the blog of a talented writer, photographer, and world traveler. I have blogged with Yinglan for a while and am pleased to call her a good friend in the blogging world. Please visit her blog here: This is Another Story – About Life, Fantasy, and Everything In Between.
1. Hi Yinglan, Please tell us About Yourself?
Hi, my name is Yinglan Z. and the name of my blog is This is Another Story because isn’t every day in life another story?
I recently completed my second academic degree in Accounting and am currently spending a brief four months in my hometown of Zhongshan, China to get reacquainted with my relatives as well as the place I lived during the first decade of my life. When I am not in China having an adventure, I lead a pretty boring life in the suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.
At the moment, I am a self-employed translator, working with my mom to update the Chinese version for a software guide widely used by schools around the world. However, my personal goal is to either become a full-time writer or find a job where I’m applying what I’ve learned from my two degrees because isn’t that why I got two degrees?
2. Please Tell Us About Your Writing and Blogging? What do You Hope to Accomplish in Writing?
I began writing in 2013 and the purpose of my blog (at first) was to post the speeches I’d written for Toastmasters, an international club for public speaking. Then, I fell in love with storytelling; thus, my blog for fictional stories began. I wrote fiction and participated in flash fiction challenges during summer of 2014 and discovered fiction writing was a way for me to relax.
Once I began participating in challenges the readership for my blog grew and in 2015, I made the decision to make my blog both a fiction and lifestyle blog to add more variety and so I could write what about whatever I wanted to write about. In late 2015, I made another decision — to change the name to something more fitting: This is Another Story.
“Then, I fell in love with storytelling and, thus, my blog for fictional stories began. I wrote fiction and participated in flash fiction challenges during summer of 2014 and discovered fiction writing was a way for me to relax.” – Yinglan Z
3. When did you really begin writing and blogging? Why is Writing Meaningful for you? Do You Find You Are Able to Help Others Through Your Blogging?
I began writing after I joined Toastmasters in 2011. That’s when I discovered my love for storytelling. Before that, the task of sitting in front of a computer typing and writing an essay or a story seemed daunting to me, although, I don’t know why.
Although I wasn’t diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) until early 2016, I’ve always known I have anxiety issues. I’ve tried various methods to relax – yoga, meditation, music – but none is more relaxing than writing stories.
When I was attending school full-time, working multiple jobs, I would come home to write because it would mean I was able to let my mind drift to another reality even if it was only for a few minutes.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Why is Writing and Blogging Significant to You?
A lot of the inspiration for my stories comes from around me – television shows, movies, current events, (etc). There’s always a story going on in my head and if I let it stay in my head, it’ll drive me insane. Maybe it goes with my stubborn personality? Also, it’s important to record my thoughts and feelings because bottling them up won’t help me or anyone.
“Although I wasn’t diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) until early 2016, I’ve always known I have anxiety issues. I’ve tried various methods to relax – yoga, meditation, music – but none is more relaxing than writing stories.” – Yinglan Z
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Ever Had Any Writing Published?
I am currently finishing a few short stories for my collection called: A Light in the Dark. I am also in the process of expanding a short story into a novel. Both of those things are progressing slowly due to the number of events I am attending in China but they are coming along.
I published a story in an online newsletter for NLSC – National Language Service Corp – a few years ago about the Mid-Autumn Festival and that was the only piece I have ever published other than blog posts. My future are noted above, to publish a collection of short stories and a novel. Who knows, maybe I’ll submit a piece to a magazine or something when I have time.
6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Do You Prefer Certain Areas if Writing and Reading Genres?
I’m still trying to figure out my writing process. I write whenever a story pops into my head which is usually night time. I’m not sure why, but my imagination feels blank during the day. Maybe it’s the fact I’m tired and my mind is getting ready to dream?
I am also a huge fan of the suspense and thriller genres because those are the stories that keep me at the edge of my seat. I also enjoy investigative and crime-solving stories. I used to like to read Young Adult fiction and the supernatural genre but lately, not so much. Maybe I’m growing up?
“I am currently finishing a few short stories for my collection called: A Light in the Dark. I am also in the process of expanding a short story into a novel.” – Yinglan Z.
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers?
My advice for new writers and bloggers would be to don’t give up. Keep writing! Most people do not become famous with their first story. Keep trying. Also I encourage you to visit other blogs and comment on other bloggers’ posts. Participate in challenges and sooner or later, other bloggers will pay you a visit and almost always this starts a chain reaction. You discover new blogs and bloggers and their followers may also follow you in return. As well, leave your link and some information at blogging parties and learn to network through and with other bloggers. Be willing to look at other blogs and learn from them as well.
8. For fun, do you have any particular blogs you follow? What Do You Like About Them?
Oh wow, that is difficult to choose since I follow thousands of blogs. I will say my favorite kinds of blogs are photography, travel, and flash fiction. I like these kinds of blogs because I can often learn a thing or two from them.
“My advice for new writers would be to don’t give up. Keep writing! Most people do not become famous with their first story. Keep trying.” – Yinglan Z
9. Can You Please Share With us a Few Favorite Links from Your Blog?
I wrote this poem a long time ago (about 14 or 15 years old) and decided to share it about two years ago. It was written during the phase when I wanted to be a singer-songwriter.
By Yinglan Z.
Your yesterday is gone But your today is here sooner than you think You wish you haven’t gotten everything wrong And you wish you can make all the bad go away And you say
Tomorrow Things are going to be okay Tomorrow It will all change
Your today is gone And you have made no commitment To bring changes Oh and you just kept on saying that
Tomorrow Things are going be all right Tomorrow It will all be bright
Day and day went by You just sat behind your table Waiting for changes to come to you You say, “It’ll be okay” And I say “it’ll be okay when you start making changes for yourself” And you say starting tomorrow
Things are going to be all right Tomorrow It will all be right It will all be bright It will be the day when I set thing right
Thank you to Yinglan for agreeing to be interviewed and for sharing about her writing and her life.
Just to note: Yinglan has returned from her relatives in China and has been visiting my home country of Canada in Alberta checking out The Rocky Mountains in Banff and around Lake Louise. She was recently in Yellow Stone National Park in the U.S. and if you follow her blog, Yinglan’s photographs of her travels are also a huge highlight when you read her posts. She is talented at taking beautiful shots of scenery while traveling and finding interesting places abroad and from around her home.
If you would like to be a part of my bi-weekly interview series please let me know via my Contact Page. See you in two weeks with another exciting interview 🙂