Animals/Pets, Books, Children/YA/Family, Lists, My Thoughts, Nature, Pinterest, Quotes, Writing

Notable Quotes: May 2017 Part 1 #quotes #pinterest


Happy May. Hope you are all loving spring and the coming of summer. It’s a busy month for me, how about you? What’s new? Whatever is happening, here are some more quotes for your thoughts. 
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Children/YA/Family, Fiction, Interviews, Memories/Childhood, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Writing

Writer Interview of Shivangi from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ #interview #nonfiction #author #childrensbooks


Hi, welcome to another interview for my biweekly interview series. I have been behind due to other projects so I’m having a special edition of my interview series featuring the lovely and talented Shivangi Singh from Minnesota in the United States, on a Sunday. Her blog’s link is here: Stories by Shivangi – Once Upon A Time . . .


Shivangi - Self
Credit: Shivangi Singh

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

I am Shivangi Singh from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ from Minnesota in the Unites States. I am a stay at home mom and I love to weave stories inspired by my surroundings. If you enjoy stories, films, and kids stuff, visit my blog, you will most definitely enjoy it.

As a child, I aways dreamt of writing books but with the development of technology, I have learned how easy it is to self-publish, now more than ever. I have managed to write, do some illustrating, and be the author of two children’s books that are available on Apple Itunes. They include the books below.


The Princess with Brown Teeth 

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - The Princess With Brown Teeth
Credit: Shivangi Singh – ‘The Princess with Brown Teeth’

Find it at on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-princess-with-brown-teeth/id1146112226?mt=11)


Who Ate The Moon

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - Who Ate The Moon
Credit: Shivangi Singh ‘Who Ate The Moon’

Find it on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/who-ate-the-moon/id1206671343?mt=11).

 


 2. Please Tell Us About Your Recent Book? When Did You Begin Blogging and Writing?

My recent book Who Ate The Moon is about two naughty brothers Aala and Uja, who adore the moon. They steal the moon and through stealing it learn about the different phases of the moon. The book is educational as well as entertaining. Through my children’s books, I’m trying to make learning fun for kids.

I began blogging in January 2015 soon after my first little one was born. I have been a copywriter, journalist, and have won several awards in creative writing. The purpose of ‘Stories by Shivangi’ was to maintain my flair for writing. I was also feeling a little disconnected after moving to the USA from India, so I chose to start my blog to establish a connection with fellow bloggers, writers, and friends. Ultimately, my blog showed me the way to my dream of being a published author.


3. How is Writing and Blogging Meaningful for You? Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Why Is Writing Important to You?

My blog and writing my books provide me with a much-needed creative outlet. It is my voice! I use this voice to entertain, advocate, and teach little ones such as my own. 

My inspirations are my surroundings, my kids, and the latest news or current events. As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge. This is one of my primary motivations to continue my blog as well as having that creative outlet for myself to write what I would like.


 “As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge.” – Shivangi Singh


4. Do You Have Any Particular Blog or Writing Habits? 

I write on the go and on my smartphone. A sentence here and a word there. With two demanding little ones around, it is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.


5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects On Your Blog or Otherwise? 

As of now, I have not planned anything. I will just keep writing one blog a week! My projects have been my two kids books which you can access above. As I said, I try to not commit to too much with my little ones and their demands at the moment.

My book did get reviewed by Ritu of But I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafar as well but have no future plans as of right now beyond blogging.


 ” [I]t is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.” -Shivangi Singh


6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process You Went Through Writing Your Books? 

It was quite challenging! I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.

Time was a challenge and so were the illustrations, but I did have an illustrator paint my cartoons in the first book (The Princess with Brown Teeth). But in my second book, I illustrated with the help of Pixton.com. My challenged of obtaining a visa was also a challenge so I couldn’t publish my books on Kindle. I was thrilled when my books were published on Apple, but then, I know many people with Android readers don’t have access to my books.

I did, however, put together a video on YouTube and did a voiceover of my books for readers who could not obtain my books through Apple. It did not come out as I had expected and I struggled on each step. I learned an enormous amount of information about putting together a video of my books in the process. 


7. What Keeps You Going As a Writer? Do You Prefer Any Writing or Reading Genres? 

Persistence and a love for writing are key, a person just has to keep writing no matter what. As well, I am absolutely crazy about fiction! I like to read poetry too!


“I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.” – Shivangi Singh


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Bloggers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing? 

All my blog friends are doing great! I would advise them to be persistent and be better than their last post! As for having anything else to say, well,  I think I have said it all😀


9. For Fun, What Are You Three Favorite Blogs You Follow, of Any Kind? 

When I first entered the blog world, these were my favourite people. I continue to enjoy reading them.

  • Priceless Joy  — Her stories are awesome and her Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer Challenge is great for those who love writing and working on telling a story in only 150 to 175 words.
  • Ritu of But I Smile anyway — She blogs about day to day activities but the way she presents these activities, the way she writes, is awesome. Also, Ritu is such a positive and inspiring person!
  • Ali of Draliman On Life — (Because Sometimes Life Just Makes You Stop and Think) —  If you love a good laugh, visit Ali’s blog. I am a big fan of his humorous works.
  • I would also like to mention Millie Thom from Bringing History To Life — she is a writer par excellence.

10. Can You Please Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts?

Anecdote – Lesson By My Grandma!

By Shivangi Singh

May 9, 2016

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My grandma is a grand old lady nearing a century. If you look at her, she may appear formidable in the beginning and then a ringing laughter would ensue, dismantling the image you had conjured up in your mind. The fact is, she is both formidable as well as light hearted. A unique, delightful combination!

Born and brought up in a royal family ( Kharsawan, Jharkhand), she has always had that regal bearing. She believes in maintaining distance from her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids as well as recently added a great-great-grand kid. And we are all supposed to behave in her presence. We rise when she enters the room and remain respectful in her presence.

During my childhood years, we lived with her, so, we had the opportunity to observe her from the closest quarters. I discovered her lighter side later in life. Initially, I was apprehensive of her. She commanded and the household ran according to her. But as I grew up, I discovered the lighter, fun side of her personality. There have been many instances when she would have us in splits.

Here is one such incident. One of our cousins was going to meet a prospective bridegroom. In arranged marriages in India, girls and guys are introduced by their families, they meet up, chat and then a decision is taken unanimously.

So, this cousin was both excited as well as scared before her first meeting. Our granny called her and said, “If you like this man, try to do little something to make him fall for you.”

We were seeing another aspect of our grandma. We all asked, “what?”. She immediately showed us how to woo a husband – “Look sideways at him and then look down… blush… look up again at him… look down and blush again. And then smile juuust a little.” We doubled up with laughter!

I don’t know whether my cousin looked sideways at the prospective groom or not but they ended up getting married!

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(Sharing a picture of my grandparents)

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I look up to my grand old lady because she always had the audacity to laugh at all challenges that came in her life. In her almost 100 years of life, she has seen many ups and downs. All her peers are long gone now, times have changed but she has remained strong.

I adore her because she is quite broad-minded, childlike and her booming laughter lightens the most serious of situations. A great devotee of Krishna, she follows what the playful God says – to celebrate life as it is!

Long live my grandma!

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Here Are Additional Posts Written By Shivangi:


Thanks so much to Shivangi for filling out my interview questions! I even gave Shivangi the wrong interview questions (the one’s for blogs that are causes) and she still did a brilliant job. She is an inspiration as a writer and a mother and I wish her good luck in the future with her family and writing. Here is the link to here homepage one last time: Stories By Shivangi


Thanks for reading this interview and if you are interested in being interviewed as a writer/blogger or you a blogger writing for a specific cause (or both), you can reach out to me on my Contact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Books, Fiction, Lists, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Pinterest, Quotes, Writing

Notable Quotes April 2017 Part 2 #quotes #pinterest


Hi, I’m wishing everyone a great Easter holiday where in the world Easter is celebrated. Here are some quotes to inspire you as you write your way through the month in NaPoWriMo, A to Z Challenge, or your regular prompts. I think a lot of them are about reading, so I hope you’r an avid reader as well 🙂 
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Children/YA/Family, Fiction, Lists, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Pinterest, Quotes, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Travel, Writing

Notable Quotes April 2017 Part One #pinterest #quotes #books 


Happy April! Here are some more quotes. I think you’ll like them, they’re book quotes again for the most part 🙂

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Couplets - rhyme and have same meter, Current Events, My Thoughts, NaPoWriMo, Poetry, Quotes, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Travel, Writing, Writing Challenges

Day 3 – NaPoWriMo/A to Z Challenge: Poem – Elegy/Couplets – “The Traveler Reaches Home” #poetry #NaPoWriMo #AtoZchallenge


Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is  poem type called an elegy – a poem that mourns or honors someone dead or something gone by. Center the elegy on an unusual fact about the person or thing being mourned. ” An elegy generally combines three stages of loss: first there is grief, then praise of the dead one, and finally consolation.” Please see Literary Devices for more information.

I’ve paired this prompt with The A to Z Challenge quote, having the author/quoter’s name begin with the letter C. 

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Credit: Danika and Peter via UnSplash

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“We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.” Cassandra Clare, City of Heavenly Fire

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Here we gather, today it finally hit —

Me, you won’t be coming back; such grit

You displayed, at the crux, as death grew near.

There was no “going gently” for you dear.

I always admired that you were strong,

At the finish you groaned your last song.

The pain was so great, it hurt us to see,

A candle flame who flared, flickering free.

Death was not easy, nor was your young life.

But you always shouldered through the strife.

A kind, giving person — philanthropist,

With death, you became a minimalist.

Objects hold memories, the Stone’s song we know —

well: “You Can’t Take It With You When You Go.”

As we remember, we wonder why —

Three-years ago you left, disappeared wide —

Across the world, sending postcards to —

Us all, as you adventured across through —

Every country you could see with no —

Face Time, Skype; we were scared you wouldn’t come —

Back; but you knew how sick you had become.

That’s why you left, returned, with all of your —

Stories to share as you withered, poorly —

Weak and fragile, all your living used up.

No matter we were so afraid it’s just

We didn’t understand your reasons ’til —

You said, “I’m dying fast, I have no more will —

to live, my time is drawing near, I see —

God’s blessed glory shining, in front of me.”

We forgive you for leaving twice; we know —

Your Heavenly home, will now shelter you.

It’s hard how it ended, but we’ll see you —

Soon — in the peace, Heaven granted for you.

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.


Children/YA/Family, Fiction, Lists, My Thoughts, Nature, Nonfiction, Pinterest, Quotes, Writing

Notable Quotes March 2017 Part Three #quotes #pinterest #writers #books


I’ve found such a treasureful of quotes this month so you all get a part three. Enjoy, a lot of these are book quotes which I truly loved 🙂

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Animals/Pets, Books, Children/YA/Family, Fiction, Memories/Childhood, MindLoveMisery's Menagerie, My Thoughts, Nature, Photography/Visual Art, Poetry, Quotes, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Rictameter – 2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2 – beg/end same, Travel, Writing, Writing Challenges

Collage Prompt: Poem – Rictameter – “Books and Cherries” #amwriting #poetry #collage


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s Collage Prompt.


Collage MLMM
Credit: Shawn Van Deale the woman on the left: Johnny Palacois the woman/aloe vera plant on the right.

Humming,

As the bird who’s —

Thrumming in the air,

Struggling for each flutter so

Rapid; so utterly fast it’s blurring.

My wings in flight are haze to you,

You don’t see underneath;

Desperation,

Humming.

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Darkness,

Arising in —

My stomach, spiraling,

To the surface out of my —

Broken soul that I mend in those worlds found,

In each and every story, novels —

Ending hiding; I’m no —

Crab in my shell’s —

Darkness.

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In dreams,

I writhe, I twist,

Tales of old and new —

Follow me when enters Sandman,

To calm adventures stripping me of sleep.

But just as I live in my books,

I live in nightmarish —

Tales at midnight,

In dreams.

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Awake,

Oh, sheltered one.

Let the black smoke rise, cleanse

Your body from your shattered self,

Set free your mind, let your spirit live,

Life’s the greatest adventure,

Stories read fill gaps;

Burst forth spirit,

Awake.

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Cherries,

You’re sexy  as,

Women who curl cherry —

Stems into knots with skillful tongues.

Unafraid to bare your body,

When it’s appreciated.

With love, you expose your —

Soul; All for ripe

Cherries.

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As books,

Sweet red cherries,

From the Okanagan,

A valley of delicacies.

Driving through B.C. in summer, you —

Stop at every fruit stand,

Selling juicy fruit — truths;

Cherries savored,

As books.

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Smokescreen,

Floats up swirls as —

Papal smoke; the blackness,

Forgiven reading thousands

Of tales, every genre, every language.

Devouring ‘reads’ as cherries,

Demons gone; living with —

Wisdom taught, no —

Smokescreen.

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Light’s glow,

In each tale read.

Nourishes souls; keeps me —

Aching to learn, wanting to know,

Of worlds, fantastic characters —

With hubris, compelling charm.

While some characters are —

Searching hard for,

Light’s glow.

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Writing,

It filled holes,

Torn in souls, in hearts wrecked,

The reader became author,

Discovering within her fingers lies a —

Haven, a solace of peace, rest;

Because the story grows —

In her, exposing —

Writing.


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved

Current Events, Health, Italian Sonnet - Iambic Pentameter - Octave (abbaabba) - Sestet (cdcdcd), Memories/Childhood, Music and Performers, My Thoughts, Nature, Nonfiction, Pinterest, Poetry, Quotes, Relationship, Religion/Morality, TV Show Review, Writing

A Personal Update and a Poem: What’s Been Going on & Italian Sonnets –“The Race’s End” #poetry #amwriting #life #nonfiction 


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I feel like I’ve been distant on here lately. But sometimes you need a break from the usual. I have always found it easy to pull a lot of inspiration from myself and those around me. From past experiences and from my friends and events around the world. Christianity too can be something encouraging as well as a vivid imagination.

I have been trying my hand at some freelancing but it’s been a lot of effort. It saddens me to see how little a writer’s words are worth be they for blog, article, or essay. But at least where I am now pays a better than where I started at which was doing short pieces of writing for experience only. So I have been trying to do some other writing as well as blogging. Some days it’s works and others not so much. I know I’ve had to cut back on my prompts recently so my blog schedule will be based on how much I have to do each week for freelancing. I’m not earning much of a thing but at least I feel like I’m contributing a bit more and learning new ideas.

I also continue to look for and submit poetry and some short story fiction to some different sites and magazines as well as edit my novel when I’m able to focus on a couple of chapters at a time. If anyone enjoys writing and is interested in being a beta reader for a paranormal romance please let me know. I would appreciate your opinions very much. My book is on Wattpad so you’d have to read it in their, but it has an app and allows a person to comment on each chapter after they’ve read it. Or you can go to the site on your computer HERE. Just check it out and if you’re interested in reading my book, let me know in the comment section below. I appreciate it! 💕❤ My user name is @mandibelle16

One thing I love about writing is that I am always acquiring more knowledge. Recently, I have been doing more academic writing and I have been relearning citation and rules for academia. At the same time I think about my novel and my other creative writing in the back of my mind, finding distance has given me a better perspective on my plots, characters, and stories.

Also sometimes watching your favourite TV or Netflix programs, reading books, and walking outside in the warmer weather we’ve been having, makes one feel well and helps me think things through and visit different angles. “Suits” is an excellent and entertaining legal drama if anyone’s interested in watching the seasons on Netflix. As I’m going through my own case right now, it drew me in but its characters are witty, charming, and funny except for the character of Louis. But you have to hand it to the actor, he does a superb job of being slimy and repulsing lol.

Additionally, I’ve also been drawing, working on portraits, and colouring using various mediums. Art very much  inspires me so it’s been fun to play around with that a while. I’m also working on a few technical glitches with my blog and the WordPress app, trying to figure some of those things out as well. I do want to make some changes to my blog. It’s only a matter of sitting down, figuring them out in the little time I have concentration well enough — along with everything else — and then doing those changes. Eventually, I’ll figure it out 🙂

As well, I’ve been working on my health. This year I have tried to learn a more basic healthy recipes and I’ve researched my health condition a bit more. I’m doing this 5:2 Diet which means five days a week you eat how many calories you would eat for your body and amount you exercise. It’s recommended for CFS/ME patients as medication can cause significant gain.  As I can do little beyond a small walk now and then and some weight loss yoga, I eat just over sixteen hundred calories a day but of course a woman who exercised more or was just out and about more would eat around two thousand calories or more on a normal day.

On a side note: I so recommend an online subscription to Gaia if you can’t make it to yoga classes at the gym always. They have all different levels and lengths of workouts. From beginner to difficult yoga of all types, to Pilates videos, meditation and breathing videos, and short little videos that relieve back or neck pain in around ten minutes which I love. Everyday new videos are added and you there is such an array of options that it is so worth the subscription about $13.00 (in Canadian currency)/month and I think anywhere from about $7.00 to $9.00 US depending on your subscription.

Anyways, two days a week on the 5:2 Diet, you choose which days you eat only 500 calories as a woman and only 600 if you’re a man. Once you get into it, it’s not so bad and you learn what foods are filling and healthy to eat. I haven’t been able to drop to five hundred calories but about to 600 on fast days. I do yoga of twenty to twenty-five minutes for two and sometimes three days a week and I’ve been able to lose what the diet promises, about a pound a week. So for me after three weeks, three pounds and today was the first time I noticed my clothes fitting better. That’s my hope honestly, for my clothing that I own and like a lot, to fit well. Also, to be able to continue purchasing future clothing in regular sizing. (P.S. I have plans for some spring fashion and makeup blogs so we’ll see how things go later!!).
Once a person gets to their ideal weight on the 5:2 Diet, they can keep fasting two days a week or drop to one day a week to maintain. Out of all the programs/diets I’ve tried I love that this is safe weightless and healthy because it’s four or five pounds a month and about making choices to eat better and to exercise instead just for a little bit at a time.

You don’t receive that instant ‘wow factor’ as fast-diets promise but I believe this is healthier for you because it takes place over months and is doable for ‘life.’ If you mess up, choose another day that week to fast and after the first week you honestly are used to the fasts for the two days. Two days are easier than dieting for an entire week all the time.

I didn’t think it would work as I had read about it before with caution. However, the plan worked for a family member first who showed my some YouTube videos on it and they were quite convincing. He has lost the weight and maitained his level of exercise. So something to check out if you’re interested. I borrowed the book from the library and it’s a simple diet to be sure.

Also, I’m afraid my biweekly interview is going to be a day or two late this week as I’ve got to finish a project first. So apologies there. As for my lack of writing and commenting, I will do as much as I’m able.

So without further ado, here’s a poem I wrote a while back. It’s comforting but also sad. It’s based around, knowing a loved one is facing the end. It’s difficult for the person and their loved ones, but at the same time, relief because that person will never feel pain again in Heaven.

Thanks for reading!

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” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)

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One last mile, one more Christmas comes to pass,
Praying for ages, memories and lifetimes.
The quicksand buries, but light still yet shines,

A beacon, slowly immersed — death’s paid wrath,

We don’t know how long the present will last.

Keep wide the door, heaven’s gate you’ll enter,

All time converges, earth isn’t center.

We’re a blip, nothing’s linear, we’re the past;

Before glory, laud, and honour shown,

Is to God, in our eternal rest and home.

Someday you’ll go, tears mark your finish line,

But these days you run, pray you’re unconfined;

To be free of your burdens, what you dread,

Your time with us not taken — not the end.

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You’ve run the race my friend, endured the course,

And all our memories are so dear, of your face —

Brightly lit, your smile, a fighter’s proud grace.

You kept it up, as long as you could, and would —

Have had a runner’s chance, enduring pain, stood —

Humbled but kept striding in all you faced.

Every hill with vision, pose, setting your pace;

Life, your race, needed winning; without fear —

Embrace the end engaged; approaching so near,

Throw yourself into battle you’ve waged,

Never to be a victor, not to be caged;

Instead found eternal rest, your end page,

Last word fin, your Lord called: “Come home dear one.”

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Children/YA/Family, Interviews, Music and Performers, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Writing

Interview With Michele Vecchitto


Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview with Michele Vecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.


miichelle-interview-4
Credit: Michele Vicchetto

1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?

I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.

One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore called The Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.


2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?

I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.

My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.

I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.

Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.

On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.

Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.


“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto


3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging? 

I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.

My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.

When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.

I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.

Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).


“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto


michele-interview-1
Credit: Michele Vecchitto

5.  Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?

Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.

Inspiration for me can come from anywhere: a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.

As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.


6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?

I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.


“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto


michelle-interview-3
Credit: Michele Vecchtto

7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.

My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!


8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?

I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.

Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.

I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.


“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto


9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?

My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.

The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me. If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.

If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.

If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.

I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?

 I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m  a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.

My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.

I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy  inspirational pieces as well. Both of these kinds of writing have their place.


“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto


michelle-interview-5
Credit: Michele Vecchitto

12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?

I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.

I’ve also started a Facebook page and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitter has been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.


13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?

I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running called Belle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.


14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”


More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:

  • Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
  • Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
  •  Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
  •  The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times.  I try to live my life as described in “The Choice” and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.

Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Steps Times Two.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Animals/Pets, Current Events, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Religion/Morality, Writing

Interview With Colin Chappell


Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m pleased to introduce to you today an interview with dog enthusiast, thoughtful, and entertaining writer, Colin Chappell. He is often accompanied by his friendly and energetic dog Ray. In fact, Ray is one of Colin’s favorite topics. You can visit Colin on his blog: A Dogs Life? (Stories of Me and Him).


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Credit: Colin Chappell

1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?

My name is Colin Chappell. When I was born, my parents were expecting a girl so, when I arrived, they showed great initiative by thumbing through the BBC Radio Times looking for male names. If Colin Yearsley (a classical pianist) had a second name, I would have probably had a second name also; my older sister did. I am originally from Peterborough (U.K.), and now live in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (on the outskirts of Toronto).

I was born immediately after WWII and moved around the U.K. a lot when I was young because both my parents were in the theater. My Dad designed and painted scenery, while my Mum worked in the costumes area.

The introduction of television decimated the demand for theater and my parents had to make some major decisions. Growing up, my Mum held down multiple jobs and my Dad came home only on weekends. He was working approximately one-hundred-miles away from where we lived. My Dad eventually decided to build his own house. He learned how to do this successfully from library books, visiting construction sites, and asking a ton of questions.


2. What Kind of Affect Has Your Childhood Had On You?

I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.

I wanted to be a locomotive driver, but was told that I couldn’t do this job by my Dad. I went to college to pursue a career as ‘Master’ of a cargo ship. I achieved a 2nd Class Honors Certificate and was welcomed into the Blue Star Line. I was ready to join ‘Scottish Star’ in Glasgow; however, I failed a medical exam which blocked my first chosen career path. This was my welcome to the world of adulthood and the realities of the world.


“I learned to make the best of any situation, knowing it could always be worse. I learned to not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone; to swallow my pride and ask questions as necessary.” – Collin Chappell


3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?

I have always enjoyed writing short pieces and songs, but they were always private and I rarely shared my work. I cannot recall how I discovered blogging. But I had already been adopted by my dog Ray and wanted to share our experiences. It was also an opportunity to write publicly which was appealing to me. My blog was officially launched in October, 2014.

Later, my desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

Writing is rewarding for many reasons. It allows me to express myself, to be as creative as I can, and to have some tangible evidence of my creativity and expression. No doubt there are psychological benefits to writing also. Poetry is a natural extension of writing because of my earlier days song writing; however, my blog is also my vehicle to present my poetry to the world.

Blogging is the corner stone of my literary endeavors because not only can I now share with the world, but I can receive feedback. I have access to links to bloggers and writers with similar interests and concepts. As well,  I am generally able to create a worldwide network of wonderful people. Over time I have developed friends around the world of all ages, cultures, religious beliefs (etc.) Now I have the pleasure of knowing many details about friends which go well beyond mere blogging.


” . . . [M]y desire to write was extended into a book about my first eighteen-months (pre-blog) with Ray. He made a huge impact on me and was nothing like any dog that I would have chosen to adopt. But Ray had a special appeal and after a few months, I loved him!” – Colin Chappell


interview-colin-and-ray2
Credit: Colin Chappell

5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.

Ray is also hugely inspiring. He is unlike any dog I have ever known. Just by watching him (which I do a lot) I’m invariably provided with the basis for a blog post. I also inspire and motivate myself. I am retired so have the luxury of as much time as I wish to allocate to blogging and writing but I do have many other interests.

There isn’t a particular time of day I enjoy writing more. Although, mornings and late evenings tend to be my most productive times. This is due more to convenience relative to other day to day activities. It’s not that I feel more particularly creative during these times.


7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?

I have two active projects at the moment:

My first priority is promoting my book: Who Said I was up for Adoption? All profits from this book go to the Humane Society whom rescued my beloved Ray. It’s hard to make the whole world aware of a book without investing large sums of money to market it. Self-promoting is more financially feasible, but a difficult and time consuming job.

My second priority is publishing a book of my poems. It is tentatively titled: Tina and Other Stories and could be available Spring 2017. My poetry book is ready to be published but some financial decisions have to be made.

I am uncomfortable making these choices until I have a better grasp of how Ray’s book is selling. Hopefully, I can make a decision within the next six to eight-weeks. I also have various other similar projects ‘on the back burner,’ but they will have to wait.


“Some of my inspiration and motivation comes from the world! From various events occurring which cause me to think because I need to know where I stand. It is important for me, to understand myself. To do this involves constant internal interrogation, until I can come up with a feasible rationale which supports my views.” – Colin Chappell 


8. Here is Colin’s book: Who Said I was up for Adoption?

interview-colin-book-cover
Credit: Colin Chappell

You can purchase Colin’s book from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Indigo, Google Play, Nook, and IBooks. Here’s another link to Colin’s page where you can find links to all book sellers noted: HERE.


9. Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing Process? Will You Continue With the Same Process in the Future?

I researched a number of leads before publishing and just as life in general — you get what you pay for. The inexpensive route (a relative term) dictated I take responsibility for areas of publishing I knew nothing about.

If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.

My compromise was to have a contract with FriesenPress. They provided their expertise in cover design, book layout, proofreading, overall suggestions, legalities, and ensuring Ray’s book was available to all major book retailers. Regrets? I have none, although, what I learned during this publishing process will reduce the cost of publishing my poetry book!


10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?

Blogging – I write from heart to keyboard, and then read, re-read, re-read, fine tuning the piece. Sometimes I will leave a post for a few hours and then read it again to get a fresh perspective. I like to plan to create ahead of time, but more often I end up creating immediately prior to posting. I will not hit the ‘Publish’ button unless I am absolutely happy with my post.

Book Writing – I use exactly the same process, especially with poetry. Reading a poem can often draw attention to a bad line or difficult rhythm. My intended book of poetry is being reviewed, although, it was completed well over six-months ago. Who Said I was up for Adoption? was completed over a nine-month period, but took an additional eighteen-months to polish well enough to publish.


“If my book was planned for purely local distribution, I would have chosen that route, but that was not my goal. I wanted to market my book to the world because dog lovers exist in every country. Most significantly, this book is a fundraiser for Ray’s Humane Society.” – Colin Chappell


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Reading and Writing?

I have little time for reading fiction — JRR Tolkein being the exception. It’s not that I don’t enjoy fiction, but more that I want to understand more about people and the real world. I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with fiction.


12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

Write… write… write.

Be honest to yourself.

Write… write… write.

Use blogging as much as you can because there is so much support out there in the blogging world for novice writers.

Write… write… write.

If you are pleased with what you write, then what other people think of it is secondary.

Write… write… write.

If you are not pleased with what you write, you need to spend time finding why you are unhappy with it. Once you have identified the problem, you can start working on the solution — Very logical!


“I recently read a beautifully emotional ‘lost love’ poem. I was devastated to learn later the poem was pure fiction! I need to relate to the writer and I feel I cannot do that with a fictional piece of writing.” – Colin Chappell


13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Writing?

I have volunteered in numerous diverse places over the years, and every position I held was valuable education for me. It was valuable both because of the work involved and in the learning it provided me.

I support a number of charitable organizations which help people regain their self-respect and of course, I support animal rescue organizations. Life has been and still is, a wonderful education; however, one must always participate in life to see any results.


14. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like to Follow? What Do You Like About Them?

I really do not have favorite blogs, but I do enjoy more philosophical blogs as they are thought provoking. Dog related blogs are interesting simply because I can relate to the topics presented. Any post I read that promotes a positive mental attitude maintains my attention. In a world which seems to celebrate negativity, we need as many positive vibes as possible!


15. Here is a Piece From Colin’s Blog, One of His Favorite Poetic Verse Posts:

“Skeeta’s Legacy”

By Colin Choppell

*****

Skeeta was a Siamese cat

Of distinction so we thought

She was rather unlike her breed

Friendly and quite large

I had known a few Siamese

But none had traits like these

*****

She would ride in our car

On top of the front seats

Swaying whenever I braked

Forwards and backwards

Sideways on the turns

We would laugh until we ached

*****

Then one day she clearly had changed

Her clean toilet habits had gone

Something was wrong we were sure

She used to be meticulously clean

A test revealed leukemia

With no treatment. No cure

*****

After living with us

For only three months

Dearest Skeeta was put to sleep

But she left her mark

Indelibly on my heart

With memories that I would keep

*****

She went to a better place

To join her kind and be without pain

Where cats are happy and free

To be as I’d want her to be

But Skeeta left a legacy behind

Unbeknownst at the time to me

*****

Many years later when Ray moved in

He tested positive for heart worm

After only three months in our home

What were our options? What to do?

A very serious condition

And he could not fight it alone

*****

We could return him, put him to sleep

Or do nothing which would eventually kill him

What would make the most sense?

For such a short and unhappy life

An expensive course of treatment

Could we justify the expense?

*****

The treatment he may not survive

But shouldn’t we at least try?

For perhaps survive he would

Shouldn’t we give him a chance?

A chance for his life to fulfill?

To live out his life being loved?

*****

Euthanizing would give him peace

Not 3 years old with an unknown past

His early life seemed hard and alone

Surely a dog has a right

To fight for his life

In a warm and caring home?

*****

To return him to the shelter

Raised problems of another sort

Who would adopt a very sick Ray?

Who would want his vet bills?

Who would open their home?

Who would invite him to stay?

*****

During these dilemmas I heard a voice

Reminding me of Skeeta long ago

With no hope of a cure in sight

How she was put down

Her future sealed by a disease

That cheated her out of her life

*****

But this time was different

Ray did have a chance

If treatment started right away

The decision just had to be made

And then hope for the time

When once again he could play

*****

Ray will never know

What influenced his future

Or how it came to be

That a cat, of all creatures,

May have saved his life

That was Skeeta’s legacy.


16. Additional Posts:


Thanks so much to Colin for sharing with us his book, poetry, love for Ray, and his experience in life and writing. I loved discovering he both searches inside himself to find the right answers and also engages with the world to learn and discover the things he needs to know. His love of learning and passion for volunteering is something we can all aspire to.


If you would like to be featured as a writer and blogger in my bi-weekly interview series please reach-out to me on my contact page. Thanks for reading and see you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.