Interview with Writer, Published Author, and Blogger: Lynn Love #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to another writer/blogger interview. I’m so pleased to share with you an interview with Lynn Love the talented and published writer, author, and blogger. Her Blog is called: World Shamble: Exploring Fictional Worlds in a Blast.


Lynn Love
Credit: Lynn Love

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself Lynn: 


Lynn Love, I live in Bristol in the South West of the U.K. If you want to conjure the accent, imagine a pirate speaking and you won’t be far off.  I’ve lived in all four corners of England, though, so my accent is truly mongrel. I blog at Word Shamble: Exploring Fictional Worlds in a Blast.

I’ve also worked as a florist for most of my adult life, so if you need a bridal bouquet — I’m your woman. I’ve been married for twenty-five years this year – which gives you an idea of how old I am! And, also I have one cheeky, funny teenage son. Last summer we moved into a 1930’s terraced house. There is a primary school in the street behind us and a family of six live next door, so I can always hear children laughing – or crying!


2.  Can You Tell Us More About Your Writing Experiences and How You Began Blogging? 


I’ve won writing competitions and had my short stories published in magazines, but my ultimate goal is to leave floristry and write.  I’d love to be a full-time novelist but realistically, there is only a tiny percentage of authors who accomplish that hallowed goal. I’m also taking a copywriting course at the moment, as a way to achieve a more reliable income stream.

For years I kept reading how writers needed an online presence but it was something I never got around to doing. I didn’t know what to write about, and how to pitch the tone of the site. I began one site that was soon abandoned for precisely those reasons.

Then in 2015, after I’d had some short stories published in a writing group anthology, I thought it was time to try blogging again. This time, my approach was to be less self-consciously ‘writerly,’ and more light-hearted. Perhaps, I’d developed my writing style by then.

I love blogging and have met wonderful people from all over the world online – people who love reading and writing as much as I do. But also I think blogging has helped me as a writer.

I’ve produced over 750 blog posts – that’s at least 225,000 words and a lot of writing practice. I’ve written in a range of styles, from book reviews and opinion pieces to flash fiction and a serialized novella. Word Shamble is my online home, my space.


“I love blogging and have met wonderful people from all over the world online – people who love reading and writing as much as I do. But also I think blogging has helped me as a writer.” – Lynn Love


Nick Morrison Unsplash
Credit: Nick Morrison via Unsplash.

3. What Motivates You to Write? 


Motivation is easy – I love the process of writing. I love sitting at a keyboard, plucking an idea from the air and spinning a plot and characters from it. When I was a child, I disappeared into books and into my fantasy world for hours. Now, I create the worlds for myself.

Inspiration comes from everywhere – from dreams, from misheard song lyrics, from picture prompts online, from watching people on the bus, wondering what their story is, and how they’ve become who they are. Sometimes I begin with a setting, sometimes with a character, quirk or a plotline.


4. Where Do You Prefer to Write on Your Blog and as an Author? 


I can write almost anywhere – cafes, public transport, at work on my lunch break – but my most productive times come at home in front of my laptop on my days off. I can write from very early morning until mid-evening if I get the chance. Sometimes in the evening as my brain shuts down as the sun sets!

Moreover, I love disappearing into a world, creating places and people so that they live in my head. A YA novel I wrote was largely set at my local museum and for a while each time I passed it, I wondered about my character — what she was doing (etc.). I just love how characters in books can become so real. 

Also, I take part in a couple of writing prompts a week particularly Friday Fictioneers and What Pegman Saw. Both writing communities are talented and have taught me so much. We are all terrifically supportive of each other. Away from the blog, I’m rewriting my Urban Fantasy novel after feedback from my Alpha Readers. Right now my brain is filled with ghosts and demons and Hell mouths.


“Moreover, I love disappearing into a world, creating places and people so that they live in my head. A YA novel I wrote was largely set at my local museum and for a while each time I passed it, I wondered about my character — what she was doing (etc.). I just love how characters in books can become so real.” – Lynn Love


Tyler Nix via Unsplash
Credit: Tyler Nix via Unsplash. 

5. What kinds of Connections Have Helped You As a Writer and Blogger? What Inspires You to Write?


I was lucky enough to be involved in a very proactive writing group early on and we had an anthology of short stories and poetry published a few years ago. I’ve been published online many times, won and been shortlisted in magazine competitions and this year had my first serial publication in a British magazine called The People’s Friend, which was terrific. I hope to have more published through them and to have my novels published eventually. Writing is my passion and earning money through it just means I get the chance to do more.

Sometimes I’m inspired by a photograph, sometimes people-watching, and other times by filling in someone’s fictional backstory. Sometimes inspiration comes from a ‘what if’ – ‘What if that alleyway isn’t only filled with rubbish and bad smells, but opens to something wondrous?’ ‘What if I could use this Tudor sixpence to take me back in time?’ Then my imagination sparks off and I’m away, trying to hammer a plot, characters, and arcs (etc.).


6. Please Share with Us Your Experiences Publishing Your Serial in a Magazine?


For my recent serial publication, I entered a competition the magazine was running to discover new writers. I developed a plot, wrote the first part, and sent it off. I didn’t win and chalked the whole lost-effort up to experience.

Almost two years later, I was about to delete the story from my hard drive when I got an email from one of the fiction staff at the magazine asking if I would still be interested in writing the story for them. Usually, rejection means just that, but sometimes magazines and publishers can throw you an unexpected lifeline.


“Usually, rejection means just that, but sometimes magazines and publishers can throw you an unexpected lifeline.” – Lynn Love


Mattias Diesel Reading Magazine via Unsplash
Credit: Mattias Diesel via Unsplash

7. Do You Have Preferred Reading/Writing Genre? What is the Best Advice You Can Give New Writers and Bloggers? 


I read the same genres as the ones I read as a child including historical fiction and fantasy, though I’m more drawn to Urban than High Fantasy. These genres are also what I write. In fact, if I can read or write an amalgamation of the two, then I’m most happy, which probably explains my YA time-travel novel and the Urban Fantasy peopled with ghosts from all eras of history.

As for good advice, an old piece of advice but a good one I follow is to write, write, and keep writing. Only practice will get you where you want to be as a writer. Well, that and robust feedback from fellow writers who love your work and want you to succeed.

Oh, also don’t let rejection letters/emails send you scurrying back to your study, swearing never to venture out. Every single number one author has been rejected more times than you can count. It’s people who bounce back from multiple rejections who become writers.

Also, you just have to love writing or it will become a chore. Let it become part of who you are in a quiet way. You don’t need to tell people what you’re writing and how great it is. Just be quietly satisfied with what you do when you’re alone with a keyboard or your notebook and pen.


8. Who or on What Sites Are Your Favorite Bloggers and/or Prompt Sites Found? 


There are far too many wonderful blogs to mention – can I do five? I’ve taken part in the Friday Fictioneers prompt most weeks for two-years and it feels like a home away from home. Also, the flash fiction prompt What Pegman Saw comes a close second for providing me with inspiration.

As well, I love Joy Pixley’s Tales from Eneana, a fantasy blog with a rich mythology and depth-of-story. Also, I recommend Jane Basil’s Making it Write for her wonderful poetry and blistering honesty. Lastly, Bill Pearse at Pinklightsabre  is a sight I love because of Bill’s skillful life-like writing. As a whole, bloggers are the most inspirational and supportive group of people I know. 


“Also, you just have to love writing or it will become a chore. Let it become part of who you are in a quiet way. You don’t need to tell people what you’re writing and how great it is. Just be quietly satisfied with what you do when you’re alone with a keyboard or your notebook and pen.” – Lynn Love


Ana Tavares via Unsplash Writing


9. Lynn, Can You Share with Us A Most Loved Blog Post? 


 

Friday Fictioneers: One Amber Night.

By Lynn Love

February 27, 2018.

*****

J Hardy Carroll
Credit: J. Hardy Carroll for Friday Fictioneers

*****

There’d been a fresh dusting of snow in the night, coating the grimy icebergs of the last fall, the one before that.

Sid edged along the sidewalk,  past the boarded-up liquor store and Cal’s Gym, ‘Waterloo’s Oldest Boxing Establishment’ until the receivers came in last October. He and Cal had sunk a bottle of Macallan that night, glass after amber glass till they were snoring on the folding bed, overcoats as blankets. Cal left for Kansas the next day to live in his sister’s garage apartment.

All his old friends were gone now. Just him and the cold left.

*****

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers.  As the great Russell Gayer said: ‘The key to building an audience is reading and commenting on others’ work’.


I write a lot of flash fiction. Some short pieces open themselves to a longer write, such as Gideon keeps a secret, The fate of the flower seller, The scarlet net, and A single man who can sew. One recent flash fiction I wrote is from the Three Lines Tales prompt, called The Midas Touch.

Although it felt onerous at times, last year I completed a Gothic Horror SerialThe Devil of Moravia. It includes devils, demons, and blood-soaked London streets, and drew quite a following. I hope to develop this serial into a novella in the near future.


Thank you to Lynn for filling out the writer/blogger interview questions and my apologies the interview took so long to post. Here’s the link to Lynn Love’s blog one more time: Word Shamble.

It’s been a busy year, but there are more interviews to come shortly. If you wish to be interviewed as a writer/blogger or because you blog for a cause, you can reach me on my Contact Page. 


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

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Interview With Christopher Leo Couch


Hey everyone. I’m thrilled to share with you an interview on a wonderful writer, teacher, and blogger this first week of July. His name is Christopher Leo Couch of Clcouch123. Please check-out his blog, he’s a fascinating, kind, and learned writer.


Christopher Leo Couch
Christoper Leo Couch
  1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.

My name is Christopher Leo Couch. Christopher because my mother liked the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and Leo because it’s my father’s first name and his father’s and so on back. My last name is Couch because centuries ago, members of my clan made cushions for medieval furniture, furniture otherwise made of only hard stone and brick.

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky; much of my family is from and in the Southern USA.  My immediate family moved to Pittsburgh when I was young, then to Cincinnati. I moved back to Pennsylvania to work. I live in Mechanicsburg, a small town (borough) near Harrisburg (the state capital).

I grew up with four siblings, three brothers and my sister. I am the middle child. As such, I had to be an older child or a younger child, depending on the nature of the situation. The nature of the situation was rarely made clear to me. I never knew which child I was supposed to be and when. As a child, I had a busy imagination. I enjoyed stories and writing them. I made little worlds out of my train set and other toys such as models of spaceships or Lincoln Logs.


2. What Type of Profession Did You End Up Going Into?

I went into teaching, which became the substance of my work. I taught college while in college. Later, I taught my way through Graduate School and teaching paid the bills. I discovered I had great concerns for the accomplishments and growth of my students. In my initial studies and since, I developed a learner-centered approach to teaching that has evolved by experience and further training.

As an educator, I’ve worked in schools and churches. I’ve worked with all ages of students. I find it appealing to teach a range of all ages. I enjoy working  with babies, children, youth, and adults. I have degrees in Communications, and English, and I’ve studied religion. I’ve also, taught both public speaking and writing.

I am Christian though probably a lousy evangelist. I enjoy meeting those from other religious traditions and learning about their faith. I spend time with agnostics and atheists as well. I can articulate my faith well and I’m a devotee of the apologist C. S. Lewis; however, I believe if we’re all going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.


” . . .I believe if we’re going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.” – Christopher Leo Couch


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

About a year ago, I had heart surgery. My recovery was slow and I couldn’t do much of anything. One activity I could do was write, so journaling became a daily practice. My spiritual director (once) had recommended I keep a blog. Why he suggested this, I’m not sure. I had already found WordPress, but I began to write on my blog more often after his suggestion. I enrolled in Blogging University (the WordPress offered courses). I also participated in a WordPress poetry writing class. I built a basic blog, giving myself enough options so that I could write blog posts, read the blog posts of others, and respond to other WordPress blogger’s comments.

I haven’t done much in a sophisticated fashion with my blog concerning graphics and other technical aspects, but I’ve been posting and corresponding daily for several months now and am learning as I go.


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

Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write, I think. Poetry is the way I meet the world. Maybe someone else somewhere, said this more profoundly, but for me this is how I can explain it. I write poetry to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise—a way to play with words—which is fine. I play that way. Usually, there’s more at work behind the poetry, even in the playful parts. I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.


“Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write . . .I write poetry to to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise -a way to play with words . . . I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.” – Christopher Leo Couch.


5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration to Write? Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like to Write?

Many things inspire me to write such as current events, a moment of beauty, and the concerns of myself and other people. I’m inspired to write when words come to mind or heart which I cannot let go of.

Currently, I most like to write in the early evening and revise in the afternoon the next day. I often enjoy writing first thing in the morning, when my mind is new and I encounter the world in an open way (or as open as the day and I are going to get).


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Poetry Projects? Any Hopeful Projects You Are Working On?

I’m working on composing a series of psalms. I’m not the first person to express psalms in a new way. I’m not sure how I began working on this project. A psalm, simply put, is a song to God. Perhaps, I was writing out a prayer and thought there might be something lyrical about it. At any rate, I continue working on writing a series if psalms.

It’s also been a dream of mine to study and train for an MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve applied to various programs, though have not worked out a method to afford taking courses in a Creative Writing Program, which is why it’s a dream. But I do have an active, waking dream to lead a creative writing class.

While recovering from my surgery (I must have had more time than I recall), I drafted  a verse novel for a young-adult audience. I have great fondness for the genre and have been delighted to teach it, study it, and simply read it. I’ve written works, often in dramatic voice, for groups and special events; I’d be glad to continue writing works such as this.

I’d love to publish my work, of course. I have mentioned in my blog a dream of mine, to have a collection of my poems published in hardback form. I want my poetry to be a book as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal—or divine—aspects of earth.


“I want my poetry to be a book just as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal — or divine — aspects of earth.” – Christopher Leo Couch


7. Have You Published Written Works or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing in the Future?

I published numerous works while in graduate school and in my scholarly life. Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.

For the last church in which I worked, I wrote a devotional series and for a Lenten observance. I wrote The Way of the Cross—a kind of liturgical writing which has been composed over centuries. If you go to the The Trinity Camp Hill Website, you’ll find my Way of the Cross and the entire experience rendered on line.


8. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Went Through to Publish or Are Going Through to Have Your Writing Published?

I imagine if I seriously wanted to publish widely, I would need to have a literary agent, if not an advanced (terminal) degree. What I often do, is send my writing to a group which might be interested in printing it. Sometimes I’ve been commissioned to write certain pieces. Sometimes sending your writing to interested parties works and sometimes it doesn’t.

On a side note, I’ve heard there maybe a new planet discovered in our solar system. If so, it’s going to need a name. I posted a poem about my choice of Minerva (Roman god of wisdom), which many of you (thank you) like as well. I also sent my suggestion to NASA. Maybe, they will like my name choice as well?


“Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.” – Christopher Leo Couch


9. What is Your Writing Process Like?

I’ve described something of my writing process above; I write. It’s not usually so hard, because I know I’ll write stuff that I won’t keep. But I’m still writing. The computer is especially (truly, really) helpful with my writing. I can draft, move things around, and create new saved versions and files. It’s so easy now with the a computer. Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).

I usually write in response to something—even if it’s only in wondering why or how. Sometimes, I write something and then put it away. (Again, wonderful computer)  I have many pieces of writing saved and stored on my computer (without proper back-up, I’m sure). At times, writing is difficult, because I am writing about something difficult. The recent death of my close friend is hard to write about. Sometimes writing is more straightforward and other times, writing is like playing. The act of writing is a chore (physically speaking) but I’m fine with it’s physical demands.


10. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?

I read poetry, young-adult literature, and regular mysteries. Sometimes I read varied genres for fun and sometimes for work. For work, I read about pedagogy and religion. My favorite mystery works are by Aaron Elkins who sometimes writes with his wife Charlotte Elkins. Charlotte also writes on her own. My sister and I share mystery titles and our reviews of the books we both read. But, young-adult literature crosses pleasure and work, as does poetry.


“Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).” – Christopher Leo Couch


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

Write! Don’t wait. Write. Share. Get reader response and write more!

When sharing your writing before revising (and after, since writing is an organic process and not artificially linear), choose those whose opinions about your writing, you generally respect. These opinions do not have to be from folks who are writers.

If you would like to know how to increase your vocabulary when writing — read. You can read anything. I suggest reading writing you like. Rosema from the blog: A Reading Writer writes about wonderful books to read along with meaningful poetry. Please check-out her blog in the link above.


12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?

I’d like to thank you, Amanda, for arranging this interview. I’d also like to thank everyone who reads my work. I’d like to thank those with whom I interact with online, because your work invites response.Thank you! Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies.  Writing is a mystery—but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.


“Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies. Writing is a mystery –but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.” – Christopher Leo Couch


  1. Can You Share With Us a Few Links From Your Blog With Some of Your Favorite or Most Loved Pieces? 

The first poem is playfulGrandmama used two words in “Collecting Words,” which I especially like. I use these two-words here:

“Pie Outside Can’t Hide”

By Christopher Leo Couch

Crimp pie crust,

Not too hard, ‘cause,’

Dust to dust.

Enjoy the crimp,

With elf and imp.

Like will-o-the-wisp,

When fall is crisp.

We bake our wares,

To cool on stairs.

Steam sprite-rises,

No surprises.

Wafting dessert:

Magic food alert!


My second poem is more soberly reflective:

“Failing Night”

By Christopher Leo Couch

 Just after five,

I have not been asleep.

Pain shoots through,

My leg, a single line,

Of nerve.

As if a wire was pushed,

Through inside.

Then something threw,

A supernatural switch,

And a low current of too-

Warm electric sting,

Without cessation.

Courses through tired,

Muscle.

Having surrendered the,

Day’s labors into,

Aspiration’s night of,

Negligent awareness.

Barely keeping guard,

Letting go of awake,

To turn into dream.

In hope to re-knit and,

Repair stretched.

Measures in the body,

And the mind.

It’s a cycle that’s supposed,

To work.

Why then is pain,

Ruining what I’ve made?

Not fair.

I want to rest then rise,

With normal consciousness,

Beneath the skin.


More of Christopher’s poetry can be found on his blog here.

Thank you so much Christopher for doing this interview for me. I enjoyed learning about you, your past, and your future aspirations. I wish the best for you in life, completing your MFA in Creative Writing, your psalms, and a hardcover book of poetry.


Thanks for reading this bi-weekly interview series. I have another fantastic interview lined up in the next couple of weeks. If you wished to be interviewed on writing and/or blogging, please reach me on my contact page on the top of my blog.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Maydays: Flash Fiction – Pick Up Your Toys Charlie.



Thank you to CL Kaley from new2writing for hosting May Day Prompts. Today’s prompt is teaching a lesson.
——

http://www.astimeflys.ca

——-

“Did you pick up your toys as I asked you to?” Lyndsey said to her son Charlie. Charlie looked down at his feet and began to fidget.

“Charlie?” Lyndsey asked again lowering her voice.

Charlie examined his Mom’s serious face for signs she might let him off the hook.

“I wasn’t done playing yet.”

“Bedtime is 8:30 pm which is the reason I asked you to put your toys away.” Lyndsey said sternly.

“I don’t want to go to bed yet. And if I leave my toys out, I can play with them tomorrow and not have to get them out again.” Charlie whined.

“The problem is Charlie, your Dad and I trip over your toys and hurt ourselves when we are in the living room at night. You have to pick them up and get ready for bed or there will be consequences. They’re your toys, you’re the only one who plays with them, so it’s your job to put them away each day.”

Charlie stamped his foot. “I won’t do it .” 

Lyndsey looked at Charlie again frustrated. “You can pick up your toys now or I will put them in a big black garbage bag. You’ll have to do one chore for each toy you want to get back from the garbage bag.”

Charlie gasped, “Ok, I’ll pick them up.” Charlie began picking up his toys slowly.

After fifteen minutes Lyndsey yelled, “Enough Charlie!” She took the remaining toys from the living room where Charlie played and put them in a big black garbage bag. The garbage bag was half-full. 

Charlie was shocked.”But I was picking them up . . . ”

“Not fast enough. Go to bed Charlie. I’ll be there to read to you from Harry Potter. Make sure you brush your teeth and put on your PJs.”

Charlie trudged up the stairs to the bathroom, giving his Mom a dirty look, “What about my toys?” 

“We’ll talk about it tomorrow. I’ll make a list of chores you can do to earn back your toys.” Lyndsey said.

Charlie decided to tantrum. 

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.