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 :).
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 . . .
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.
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 ofBut I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafaras 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 ofPixton.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.
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!
(Sharing a picture of my grandparents)
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!
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 myContact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂
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 🙂
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.
——— “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.” ― CassandraClare, City of Heavenly Fire
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 —
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!
” 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)
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.
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 theend 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.”