Books, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Photography/Visual Art, Poetry

Interview with Writer, Blogger, and Author JoAnne Macco #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


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.

JoAnne’s blog site is JoAnne of the Forest: Anything is Possible with Faith, Hope, and Perseverance. 


JoAnne Silvia Picture
Credit: JoAnne Macco

1. JoAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

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?

I’ve just published my first book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again which is told from the alternating perspectives of two high school sweethearts. It became available on Amazon.com in July 2017.

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


Trust the Timing: A Memoir of Finding Love Again

by

JoAnne Macco

(Available for Purchase one Amazon.com)

*****

Book Cover JoAnne Macco Amazon.com
Credit: JoAnne Macco (Amazon.com)

*****


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


Writing Notebook Thought Catalogue UnSplash
Credit: Thought Catalogue via UnSplash

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 CoatBehind 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 


Jo Anne Silvia Book Cover 2
Credit: Provided by JoAnne Macco

12. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Blog Writing. 

“If We Lose Electricity” 

By

JoAnne Macco

*****

JoAnne Macco
Credit: JoAnne Macco – http://www.joanneoftheforest.wordpress.com

*****

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 laugh,

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 reminisce,

To hold hands in the dark.

The power to clear a path,

To rise from ash,

 and rebuild.

_____________________________

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 :).


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Word Wednesdays, Fiction, Memories/Childhood, My Thoughts, Photography/Visual Art, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Writing, Writing Challenges

100 Word Wednesday: “Heart Break” #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting #100WordWednesday! 

——-

Credit: Jennifer Pallian

——–

Everything had to be perfect. Kayla didn’t want this to be a one time affair. It was 1:00 p.m., and Tye had awoken hearing noises in Kayla’s kitchen. 

He lumbered in, taking a seat at the island where Kayla had prepared a tray with ‘hair of the dog.’

“Morning Tye, you probably have a killer hang over at your age,” Kayla teased.

Tye drank both drinks from the tray. “Feeling much better now. Where’s your brother? Did he crash here too?”

“We, no Tye, it was just us. Christian stayed at Mimi’s last night.”

“He’s a lucky guy. Mimi’s a fine woman.”

Kayla frowned, “What about last night? Aren’t you a ‘lucky guy’ too, Tye?”

“What about it?”

“Does it mean anything to you? You told me you loved me.”

Tye was silent, “From the moment I saw you in that short black dress . . . I don’t remember much. I drank a lot. It can’t mean anything, Kayla, even if I’ve always had a thing for you. You’re Christian’s sister, he’d kill me.”

“Not if you actually loved me. If you felt the way I feel about you.”

“Doesn’t matter –”

“It does matter because I’m twenty eight-years old, a grown woman. If last night meant nothing, just say it. Because I’m damn sure you’re lying when you say you don’t remember.”

Tye rubbed his face his eyes dazed. He lumbered back to the bedroom and began dressing.

He wouldn’t look at her and Kayla confronted him, catching him off guard. She pushed him hard and kept pushing, attempting to get a reaction from Tye when he grabbed both her hands holding her still. 

“I’ve loved you since I was fourteen. You may have not loved me then, but I’ve seen the way you’ve looked at me since I turned twenty-five. You like me a lot and you know it,” Kayla cried. 

She struggled, but Kye wouldn’t let go of her hands. He pressed his lips to hers, brushing them back and forth before pulling back. “This can’t happen again, Kayla. You know that, I’m engaged.” 

” Lisa doesn’t love you. You don’t owe that harpy anything.”

“I do owe it to her, we’ve been together five years.”

Tyler brushed his thumb against her lips and let go of Kayla. He left her bedroom to put on his dress shoes at the front door. “I wish I could be with you. But Lisa’s pregnant. If I don’t marry her she’ll never let me see my daughter, ever.” 

Kayla blanched. She tried not to burst into a crying jag as she held her throat feeling her breath constrict. She gazed at Tye, “Please tell me I wasn’t just some girl you slept with.” 

“I wasn’t that drunk, Kayla. I lied. Last night meant the world, but that’s why we have to both forget it.”

The door shutting echoed long after Tye left. Tears dripped down her cheeks as Kayla sat on the floor, a ferocious pain eating her alive inside as she wept. 

——–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Event, Free Verse, History, Memories/Childhood, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Religion/Morality, Writing, Writing Challenges

Poem: Free Verse – In Memory of Evelyn #amwriting #poetry #elegy


Credit: Amanda Eifert
——–

A few months ago a dear friend passed away at 98 years old. She was a grandma, my great godmother, and in these last few years, a genuine friend. I miss her very much and writing her letters to mail with a poem or small story. It was our thing and I visited her as much as I was able. The last time I saw Evelyn we visited a few hours in her room. Then,  I was leaving and I couldn’t get out the door to reach the elevators. Finally, I got to the elevators went out the front time and stopped. 

I looked back at the wonderful care facility she’d been staying in these past three years. She was in her own home until she was 95. I had this strange feeling that I woldn’t see her again. I gazed back deciding all I could do was hope that in a month or two, she would still be alive and well. I do wish one more visit might have been possible. 

She was a wonderful, outgoing, and opinionated person. She demonstrated great care with people and her hospitality is/was famous. She even drove big trucks and was a mechanic in her day besides working at the Woodwards Department store for many years. For much her life, she was a single mother. Evelyn had many talents, her cooking, her unpredictability, and a spirit that kept on shining and pushing through life’s miseries. 

R.I.P Evelyn. I’ve been trying to finish this last poem for you for a few months.  It’s taken me awhile to get right! I’m so happy you are with our Heavenly Father and no longer suffering in any way. 

——–

A monument falls, crumbles, 

Although, she was strong. 

An impenetrable force, 

A spit-fire, a trail blazer. 

You can press your hands against thick steel, rock, or concrete, 

Wonder how such monuments are designed, 

Buildings of beauty, fortified through time;

How could they fall? 

Then you realize that soft skin isn’t stone, 

And a woman isn’t a superhero. 

When you gaze into the past, into beloved photographs, 

You see how smooth marble crinkles, 

As fine lines, directions on a map. 

The most elegant calligraphy, 

Words muted in the unforgiving sun. 

And photographs appear in memories, 

The warming light of conversation, 

Over hearth: satisfying food and laughter. 

Yet, still I attempted to see how her puckered lips,

Were once plump, young, and beguiling.

Long gone are her cherubic child’s lips, 

Nearly a century ago. 

And flawless cream skin is marked, 

Lines settled in, can be followed, 

A pattern of an Autumn leaf. 

No monument left to be seen, no eyes sparkling, 

With a smile uniquely hers, 

Never to be repeated;

Only in whispers of genealogy. 

A monument stood and —

She was significant. 

Someone who was seen and not afraid to be, 

A grandma who paraded around, 

 In forty two pairs of shoes — probably more. 

Her body could be strengthened with steel, 

Knees and hips better off with fabrication; 

The real ones worn out. 

Do stone monuments feel the pain of lost children? 

Of polio’s grasp, sucking the life out of a small boy.

Of a little girl who passed away a whisper. 

And of one child who survived, 

A reader, a teacher, a traveller, a builder. 

One who is imperfectly perfect as her.

My godfather with his wife, 

My godmother, both I adore.

Yet, the stubborn cheerfulness, 

Of this monument lives on in her family, 

In her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, 

And beloved relatives and friends;

Partners who marked her life, always leaving early. 

Sisters and brothers, marrying others becoming new brothers and sisters, 

How she adored and missed all them all, 

Passing away before she could blink.

For the most part, she was unsurpassed in years, 

She mourned her family and friends gone first, 

But reunites with them now.

And when she fell, the monument’s pieces scattered, 

Although all feels lost,

She needed her relief in heaven. 

And no one ever thinks that day will come, 

Until it crashes upon those left behind. 

Monuments fall, it happens every minute of every day, 

For every type of personality, 

To each person someday;

Special and authentically themselves. 

It’s okay to morn the monument’s empty place, 

To hunger for her caring advice, 

Her kind words. 

The silence is hard, her not being, 

In her home or in her room.

Now she’s aged, is dust of the earth, 

She is the ideal of herself, the creator’s perfection. 

Her life was imperfect, as we all are, 

It was shadowed by pain and misery; 

Yet her optimism always pulled her through it. 

Remembering her and taking comfort within, 

Her greetings to all those she meets again. 

The suffering and sorrow has ended, so do not cry your tears. 

For every monument is eclipsed, 

Heaven’s radiant light filters into the cracks, 

Rebuilds the rubble. 

Her figure of faith and grace. 

The love she had, that does not die, 

But multiplies in eternity, 

Waiting for her family someday. 

And for her her dear friends. 

 When we arrive, 

She’ll wonder what took us so long. 

Offering a piece of pie, uncooked fresh blueberries in a crust, 

With soft dollops of whipped cream. 

Her timeless love in cooking, baking, hospitality, 

Everyone was always welcome, 

If you weren’t, she’d tell you so. 

True monuments may appear hard and resilient, 

Underneath they are as the rest of us, 

They are frail and human. 

Time will catch up with everyone, 

And we pray we can meet our deaths, 

Mansions prepared in the sky. 

God the only monument, 

 Not our crumbled lives. 

————

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Animals/Pets, Children/YA/Family, Current Events, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nature, Nonfiction, Religion/Morality

Interview with Kathy Dunn for ‘Shepherding All God’s Creatures’ a Christian Animal Organization #interview #nonfiction #animalrights #Christianity


Welcome to another biweekly interview for my interviews series. I apologize I am behind with interviews as other projects have been keeping me extremely busy. Today I have a wonderful interview for you with Kathy Dunn, her team, and their blog for the cause of bringing awareness for animals in a Christian context. Kathy’s blog is called:  Shepherding All God’s Creatures


Credit: Kathy Dunn (From Left ) – Roselyne Smith and Kathy Dunn

1. What is Your Name and the Name of Your Cause? Where are you located? 

My Name is Kathy Dunn, and I love animals! Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in SAGC’s ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!  

My team includes myself, Kathy Dunn, from Minnesota, US; Roslyne Smith from Leeds, England; Marcello Newall from Italy; Jessica Lopez from Florida, US; and Philip Guyott from London, England. 


2. Please Tell Us About Your Cause and What You Are Trying to Accomplish?

We are Christians who love animals. I (Kathy) started a spiritual venture a few years ago that led me to blog. One day I was awakened to the industrialization and incorporating of animals into factory settings. I realized animals are exploited on every level by man for factory farms for food, the skin and fur trades, vivisection, puppy mills, hunting, and animals in entertainment. In the wild, animals face unprecedented pressure just to survive; many species are endangered and face extinction. In homes, some people mistreat and abuse family pets.

Our organization seeks to accomplish certain goals including: 

  • Using a Biblical approach, to share Christ’s love for us and all of creation, following the Holy Spirit’s lead, and using the truth of scripture. 
  • To focus on animals and exploring their role in creation as well as to explore what mankind’s role is as a caretaker of creation and the earth in general according to The Bible.
  • To provide resources on our blog page so that readers have a place to find educational material on the topic of animal exploitation and abuse. They can also find information on how to become involved and take action against animal abuse. There is also information on diet and how to live a Vegan life-style.
  • To encourage others to speak out to church leaders about the need for Creation Care Ministries within the church.
  • To serve as a tool for people to take information to their church bodies, as churches awaken to their role of caring for creation. On our site, we hope to provide some material that leaders can use to help them create ‘Creation Care Ministries’ for their church.
  • To work alongside the animal welfare movement in their most important work, bringing the love of Christ and knowledge of scripture with us to minister to people who do not know God. For those who don’t know Him, we invite you to take a look and make an informed decision as to what this life all about!
  • Our ministry encourages people to have a heart for Jesus and for His truth, that God will show up for them (Jeremiah 29:13) and is real. He is there to comfort people and loves people and animals. His intent was not that mankind would exploit animals but care for them. We believe Jesus Christ is the answer to overcoming every kind of evil plaguing this troubled world.

 “Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in the SAGC ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn- Mercello
Credit: Kathy Dunn (Right) Marcello Newal

3. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging for Your Cause and Why?

I started our blog in December 2013, when I asked Roslyne to join me in my endeavor. In 2014, we asked Marcello to join us. As well, in 2017, we asked Jessica to join as an author and prayer event leader. We are in process of bringing aboard Philip as an author as well as our Information Technology blog and web designer.


4. Why is Your Cause Meaningful for You and Your Team? How Does it Help Other People and Animals?

Our cause is meaningful as it fulfills our desire to help animals according to God and His word in the Bible. It is a calling I have felt since the onset. I have heard from others who follow us, how our ministry is helpful for people in finding support and understanding through our faith-based cause, focusing on animal welfare. 

Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world to bring hope, love, mercy, kindness, and peace for all of God’s creation.


“Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another, in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn - Jessica Lopez
Credit: Kathy Dunn – Picture of Jessica Lopez

5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue in Your Cause? Why Is Your Cause Important to You and Your Team?

I am motivated by my faith in Jesus Christ and other people whom I share my personal walk with Christ with. Reading The Bible and studying scripture – the written Word – as well as the spoken and Living Word of Jesus also inspires me. As well, sermons from going to church and other blogs add to my inspiration. Knowing about animal suffering and how it break the hearts of my team at SAGC and God’s heart, leads me to urgently want to share our message.



SAGC’s cause is significant because a lot depends upon it!  The spiritual world manifests itself in the physical world. War, hatred, bloodshed, and death, were never intended to be experienced by people or animals. One day, Jesus is going to return to the physical world as he says he will in the Bible. “Our reward,” Jesus says, “is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:12) for following and believing in Him.

Our organization believes that all who entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.


6. How Does Your Blog and Writing Habits Fit with Your Cause? 

We hope and pray that our blog raises awareness of caring for animals and creation from a Biblical perspective. We want it to encourage people of faith to reach out to their communities and leaders, insisting that they take up animal and earth welfare issues. People are responsible for these issues such as any other social justice issue that affects people such as poverty and sickness.

We desire to bridge the gap between secular animal welfare and faith-based outreach, showing the world that Jesus cares about animals and the earth and  drawing people to Him so the can achieve salvation through Christ.


“We believe that all who believe and entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.” – Kathy Dunn


7. Have You Published Anything On Your Cause Outside of Blog Posts? Have You Held Any Special Events for Your Cause or Do You Have Future Plans to Do So? 

In 2016, the article, “God, Love, Peace and the Animal Kingdom” was published in the annual edition of Twin Cities, Veg Living, a publication by Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA). They are a local animal welfare organization dedicated to building community and raising awareness to the suffering of animals in factory farms, and advocating for a Vegan lifestyle.

CAA also interviewed me for a Podcast, “Christianity and Advocating for Animals” This link is also found on the SAGC blog page under “Feature Podcast.”

SAGC hosts ‘Animal Christian Concern’ through Roslyne’s group in the UK. You can also check out this book compiled by Roselyne Louis Smith:A Collection of Animal Christian Concern Articles” which is available on Amazon. 

For Special Events:  We host Prayer Events Online and recently, SAGC absorbed “Christian Vegan Prayer Calls Group” and their membership which was led by Jessica Lopez. We will host the prayer conference call which was the main feature of Jessica’s prior group on a monthly basis (to begin with). Members can join in this call for prayer as the prayer leader (Jessica) leads them.

For the future, there are many considerations. After attending the’ Creature Conference’ hosted by Sarx in the UK (March 18, 2017), I have been feeling inspired to put together a similar event here in America. This event would be dedicated to bringing faith groups together to strategize on common goals of animal and earth care issues, while unifying, finding support, renewal, and encouragement for the cause of our blog as well as our calling as Christians in the world.


6. Can You Briefly Describe How Your Blog and Your Cause Began?

In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur.  I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

It led me on a journey seeking all the realities of our industries where animals are concerned; I wanted to know what was going on in our world. I discovered many of the various uses mankind utilizes animals for, treating them as “things” at their disposal. I kept asking myself “where is the church?” This took me on a spiritual journey to find that answer and the SAGC blog was born three short years later.


“In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur.  I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” – Kathy Dunn


Kathy Dunn - Philip Guyott (right)
Credit: Kathy Dunn – (Right) Philip Guyott

7. What Is Involved In Supporting Your Cause and Blogging for It? 

Staying on top of the issues and current news around the world in regards to animal welfare issues is vital. I do a lot of this work by gleaning through other animal welfare organizations and what is happening with them. I also study the Bible and read the related material and educational books both from a faith/theological perspective as well as from a secular animal welfare venue. Networking with other people and other organizations with God’s guidance is also important!


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for other Bloggers/Writers who are Blogging/Writing for A Cause?

Follow your passion where God leads you! Read, study, don’t be quick to judge but find out as much about your cause and its background including: people involved, the culture, the history of the cause, and other particulars about your cause as to gain as much truthful knowledge and understanding as possible.You will find confidence approaching your cause this way, knowing you know the material thoroughly. 

A favorite piece of scripture of mine is:  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  (2 Peter 1:5-7) 

God has given us everything we need to work with for supporting causes such as animal welfare in a Christian context.


9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share with Readers of This Interview, Pertinent to Your Cause or Your Organization? 

Always be ready to go the extra mile!  Causes are human made – all social justice issues are the result of a fallen world and man rejecting God. It is easy to fall under the influence of the powers and principalities of evil at work in this world.

Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly. 


“Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly.” – Kathy Dunn


10. For Fun, Please Tell Us Your Three Favorite Blogs?

  •  Greg Boyd — A theologian, Bible scholar, and teaching pastor at Woodland Hills Church; he is the author of this blog. His wonderful teaching keeps me seeking and ever hungry for truth and knowledge of God
  • Swords To Plowshares — Craig Wescoe is a wonderful writer in his knowledge of scripture and our Biblical responsibilities for the earth and animal kingdom
  • Animals Are Feeling Beings Too — LeeAnn’s blog is uplifting with a serious side. I love all the photos and videos she finds and shares.  She is very creative and her posts are short and to the point.

11. Please Share with Us Some Favourite Link From Your Cause’s Blog:

Praying The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN:
Father, we come to you now in the midst of great division among the people in the United States and around the world.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME:
First, we honor you as Creator of all and PRAISE YOU for all that you have made! Without you, we can do nothing (Joh 15:5). We want to put on display the glory of the Father by bringing about the rule and will of God on earth – guide us in doing so and protect us as we work at it with the Spirit’s guidance.

THY KINGDOM COME:
In us and through us, with us and without us, because of us, for the animals the earth, the downtrodden, abused, voiceless, marginalized among us so that we are an example of Christ for those who live by the power of the sword, who are living by the patterns of this world, that they also might humble themselves and repent and find you, Jesus; shower your Spirit upon us, enable us to be that example of Christ the world needs to see, guide us in studying what that means and to apply it in ALL we do – You are the answer to ALL that ails mankind.

THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN:
When I think of your will being done on earth as it is in heaven, I think of the Garden of Eden and what a pristine, peaceful world would look like for ALL that you created. I think of how we would treat each other, the animals and the earth, under your complete Lordship and that love is the goal – may we all pray for our world according to this model and the visions he gives each of us. Help us use our imaginations when we pray and in how we live out what we see in as much as we can in this broken world by the power of the Holy Spirit; help us love as Christ loved. We are asking that your reign is accomplished now in us, through us, in spite of us, and without us!

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD:
We ask that all that we need daily to remain steadfast in a dark world ruled by Satanic powers will be supplied and that we will utterly rely on the Father to trust him for all that we will be needing as we work to bring about your kingdom on earth.

AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS:
Lord that we would extend the same forgiveness to others that you extend to us, unworthy though we all are. We are admonished by you to extend grace to all, including those we consider our enemies (maybe there is no love lost for animal abusers, or perhaps in light of the American election, a candidate who won the election that we may feel is our vehement enemy) – Lord not that we sway to and fro with the powers that be in every kind of wickedness or agree necessarily, but that we stand our ground on the basis of what Jesus taught, act like he did when he came against enemies, and that we leave the final judgment of a person’s character and any revenge for wrongs done up to the Father. As Micah reminds us, we are to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE:
Lord, please protect us from the hardships that accompany our kingdom work; yet when they come as they will in this war zone in which we live, strengthen us to place all our hope and faith in Jesus and to carry on, knowing that like Paul said, no matter the situation, whether well fed or hungry, with plenty or little…. we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:12, 13); enable us to put on all the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20) and having done all to stand; and Lord that we will not give up, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not! (Gal 6:9)

In the Holy name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN


For an excellent article on the Lord’s Prayer, go here.

Thank you for reading and following our blog, we hope you are blessed by it and will share it with others!  ~Kathy


Here Are Some More Links to Kathy’s Blog Here:


Thanks to Kathy Dunn and all the members of her blog and organization. The preservation of the earth and the ethical treatment of animals is an extremely important issue in today’s world so thank you for sharing your cause with us and from your unique Christian perspective as well. Here is the link to Kathy’s Home Page again: Shepherding All God’s Creatures.


If you would like to have your blog or writing featured on my biweekly interviews please reach out to me on my blog Contact Page. I am happy to interview writers/bloggers in most any kind of writing, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and any kind of blog theme including blog pages for causes such as animal welfare.  See You Again Soon!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Fiction, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Quotes, Writing

Interview With Deborah Glover #interview #nonfiction #writer #amwriting #blogger


Welcome to another edition of my bi-weekly interviews. I’m sorry this is a week late but better late than never eh? Anyways, I’m excited to share with you the beautiful, kind, and talented writer and blogger, Deborah Glover from the blog: BookyGLover.


Interview DebGlover
Credit: Deb Glover

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

 

My name is Deborah (Booky Glover). I am from Ondo state, Nigeria, but I live in Lagos. I am a Choleric/Melancholic, my parents first child,  and with that position comes responsibilities. I am a teacher by profession and a writer by passion. I’m also a Christian. and a foodie who reads, writes, listens to music and loves to make new friends. I began my blog writing for my eyes only in 2005 but began blogging for anyone to visit starting in July of 2015.


2. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? 

Writing is a means of expressing myself. Whatever I am feeling, thinking of, or going through, I can write about it. Writing became more important to me when I began to experience unpleasantness in life. It became my means of surviving. I wrote down my pain and anger and all this writing made me feel better. It helped me see that the things I was going through were not quite as bad as I thought. Writing my thoughts down also gave me understanding about my situation and a different perspective.


“Writing became more important to me when I began to experience unpleasantness in life. It became my means of surviving. I wrote down my pain and anger and all this writing made me feel better.” – Deb Glover


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

Life is my motivation. I see people, I listen to their tales and in the stillness, the words come to me. After I start writing, I don’t stop writing until I feel my flow of thought is cut off. Music is inspirational as well. 

I don’t have a particular time I prefer writing. There are times when I wake early in the morning with the intention of writing and nothing comes out. At these times, writing becomes a chore and I write a lot of nonsense.

But, there are times when I’m walking down the road and a line comes to me, or many words rush into my mind. In those times, I pick up my pen and book and scribble beside the road. Other times I write in the receptionist office while I wait for a job interview. I write at odd times and I’ve learned to keep a paper and pen with me at all times, even at my bed side.


4. What is Your Most Current Writing Project? Have You Published Any Writing or Are Your Planning to Publish Any?

I’m working on a book. It’s a novel. I have been really lazy in working on it but in good time I’ll finish it. I have a complete Novella. It needs editing work, a book cover, and then publishing. However, I feel skeptical about it. I completed the novella back in 2014. 


“Life is my motivation. I see people, I listen to their tales and in the stillness, the words come to me. After I start writing, I don’t stop writing until I feel my flow of thought is cut off.” – Deb Glover


 

InterviewDebGlover2
Credit: Deborah Glover

5. What Kind of Publishing Are You Considering? What Is Your Process of Writing Like? 

I have books I have read on publishing a book and I’ve chosen to self-publish online before publishing paperback novels. The first book I publish might be free.

 My writing process begins when a thought drops into my mind and I write until the flow of ideas stops. Then I leave my work for a while — a few hours, a day or more — then I return to it to edit or see what can be made better in the story. For the stories or poems I write on my blog site, they are mostly unplanned. I write as the inspiration comes. I write for myself and hope that someone out there can relate to what I am feeling or what my feelings manifest as.


6. Do Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Do You Have Favorite Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers? 

I like reading historical romances, detective books, poetry, African writers (mainstream), and sometimes I read Christian books. Apart from these genres, I read pretty much anything as long as it is a book. I only fling a book to the corner of the room when I’m halfway through the book and it is not making sense yet. I like to give every book I choose to read a chance.

Advice for other writers would be: Write. Write to please yourself. No one has written the exact way you write, no one has seen the world the way you see it. No one will put it down the way you would.


  “My writing process begins when a thought drops into my mind and I write until the flow of ideas stops. Then I leave my work for a while — a few hours, a day or more — then I return to it to edit or see what can be made better in the story.” – Deb Glover


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

Every writer shares bits and pieces of herself/himself. We are after all everyday people. I find out that when those bits slip into my work, I produce something beautiful. A work that makes me ask myself, ‘Did I really write something that good?”


8. Please Share With Us Your Top Three Favorite Blogs:  

  • Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha — Jacqueline’s posts vary from poetry, fiction, personal issues, to photography. She hosts blogging parties and I’ve always enjoyed meeting new bloggers through them.
  •  Sweet Aroma — Oneta Hayes is a great-grandma who is passionate about life, living, Christianity, humanity, and most importantly, she shows me how to be a better person through her comments on my blog posts. She’s one awesome woman!
  • Adebisi Olatunji FeminineMaterz — Adebisi does not write so much poetry but she shares the reality of our world in regards to the viewpoints of a woman. She dabbles in story writing and so far, it has been fun following her blog.

 P.S – Most of the blogs I follow are awesome and I could talk about each of them and tell you how beautiful they make my day.


9. Please Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Links from Your Blog:

Keep Moving Forward

By Deborah Glover

*****

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

One-Liner Wednesday.

*****

Thank God, I’ve been a lot better. I am taking each day with all the bravery and courage my little heart can muster. I recently have had issues with my phone and this makes blogging, writing, or reading a chore. I have abandoned my e-books for paperbacks and long hours of chatting has changed into hours of reading my Bible and reading books I have not touched or opened in two years.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr. keep ringing in my heart. I have to keep moving forward. This quote has been my father’s favorite. We have had tough times in the family and he always said the quote below to me. He would quote Martin Luther King Jr words.

I won’t give up. You shouldn’t give up too.

Until next time,

Blessings!


“Booky, I won’t say there are problems so I won’t make an effort to be better. I have to keep investing time in my career, my vision and you have to do the same. If you can’t run, you walk….” — Mr. Glover (Deborah’s Dad)


Here Are Three More Links from Deborah’s Blog to Read:

 


Thank you so much to Deborah for sharing her writing and bits of her life with us. I appreciate her wanting to be interviewed and hope she is happy with the results. I am looking forward her novella and current novel, being published through self-publishing or otherwise. Here is the link to Deborah’s blog one more time: BookyGLover.

If you are a writer or blogger who would like to be interviewed for my biweekly interview series please contact me through my contact page HERE.  See you in a week, I’m going to try to get the interviews back on their every second Monday schedule. 


©Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved.

Books, Free Verse, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Writing

Interview With David Pebbles


Welcome back to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m not sure where you are in the world, but here it’s November and winter has set in –well not quite but it’s coming. Last year we were lucky to have such a warm winter but it doesn’t seem nature is going to be so kind to Alberta this year.

I’m pleased to introduce you this week, to the wonderful, talented, and forthright David Pebbles or Olaleye Abyomi Immanuel. He is a thoughtful guy with a passion for his faith in God and Christianity. You can visit his blog here: David Pebbles Blog: Faith, Musings, Inspiration Towards a God Centred Lifestyle.


david-pebbles-logo
David Pebbles

david-pebbles
David Pebbles

1 . Please Tell Us About Yourself?

My name is Olaleye Abayomi Immanuel (David Pebbles). I’m a Nigerian from the south western part of Nigeria and I’m a proud son of the state that had an anthem before Nigeria – Ogun State. I am not someone given to taking pictures, as I find it awkward and too strenuous. But for the sake of the interview I will let you have a picture (above). 

I am a Christian that is extremely passionate about God, life, and the intriguing delight which comes from pursuing one’s vision and calling in life. I am a graduate of Building Construction Technology and also a tech and gadget enthusiast.

I am also a multi-pod with a positive mental posture and outlook on life, a voracious reader, and lover of people. I can be quiet or talkative depending on the situation and the people around me but mostly, I consider myself an introvert. I am also a hard worker especially with beliefs, activities, and hobbies I am passionate about.


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

I never knew I would become a blogger someday. I have always been a scribbler and voracious reader since I can remember. I would save my lunch money to buy novels. While I was growing up, if you were looking for any missing books, magazines, or anything readable, they could all be found in my room.

I always write things down anywhere I’m able. Most of my scribbling is actually anecdotes, words of wisdom, and thoughts that I had earlier thinking about reading something. Sometimes novels but most often verses found in The Bible. Being a quiet person gives me ample time to read The Bible alongside a dictionary while I jot down thoughts or insights I gain while reading God’s Word.

I think began blogging intensely, commenting on blogs I read for a start. The first time I commented on a blog, I was skeptical if what I wrote was intelligible. Then, I wished I could erase my comment but unfortunately, I had clicked the send button. I prayed quietly in my mind that the writer of the blog wouldn’t approve my comment.

I declined to view the post again, until late at night three-days later. It took all the mountainous courage to look at the comment I had made. My comment had five likes! I was on cloud nine. 

That was in 2014. Proceeding the comment, I opened up a blogger account on WordPress which didn’t get used at first as I was too scared of figuring out the whole blogging thing; however, I returned to my blog and began blogging often in November 2015. It has been an awesome experience. WordPress bloggers are so nice, supportive, and great bloggers all around.


“I never knew I would become a blogger someday. I have always been a scribbler and voracious reader since I can remember. I would save my lunch money to buy novels. While I was growing up, if you were looking for any missing books, magazines, or anything readable, they could all be found in my room.” – David Pebbles


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

Originally I wrote because I was bored and as a medium of escape from my solitary lifestyle. However, as time goes on, writing to me has become an extension of the intricacies that lie in the depth of my soul.

Writing to me means being receptive and bringing to materialization the billions of universal clues, images, sounds, and thoughts floating around the universe; these things can elude an unperceptive person.Writing is about demonstrating values, being encouraging, motivating people, and inspiring others to make positive changes to themselves and their environment.

Poems come naturally to me, even more than long form. I didn’t realize I could write poems at first. The first poem I wrote titled: “Unwanted,” was borne out of beliefs on abortion. I cried while writing the poem because it came from deep within me. It was as if I was an aborted baby.


“Writing to me means being receptive and bringing to materialization the billions of universal clues, images, sounds, and thoughts floating around the universe; these things can elude a unperceptive person.Writing is about demonstrating values, being encouraging, motivating people, and inspiring others to make positive changes to themselves and their environment.” – David Pebbles


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

Mostly my inspiration to write comes during my private worship time. Also inspiration for me comes from the Holy Spirit after reading a good book. Sometimes I don’t have any inspiration but immediately I place my hand on my computer keyboard or made up my mind to post something (of which I have no premeditation about) and inspiration flows through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes I find inspiration while walking down the street, while eating, or on a public bus; honestly, inspiration could be anywhere. When such inspiration comes, I immediately stop what I am doing to safeguard those line of inspired thoughts


6. Is There A Time Of Day You Most Enjoy Writing? Do You Have Any Future Projects You’re Considering?

My writing time is flexible; I for one don’t fancy regimented writing. Sometimes I write early in the morning, in the middle of the day, and sometimes late at night.

I have few writing projects I’m currently working on. Among them is the launching of an online magazine that focuses on Christian youths in general. I am passionate about self-development in youth. There are other projects of which I am thinking about how to express.


“Sometimes I don’t have any inspiration but immediately I place my hand on my computer keyboard or made up my mind to post something (of which I have no premeditation about) and inspiration flows through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” – David Pebbles


8. Do You Have Any Published Works or Are You Working On Publishing Anything?

I have about four unpublished books and two finished drafts.One manuscript is currently being reviewed by an editor. Hopefully by December, my one book should be published. The other books will follow suit in time.


9. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Are Experiencing While Publishing?

The first task after you have a final manuscript you’re happy with is to to send it to an editor and also to send some copies of your manuscript to trusted writing friends for review. From what I learnt from someone who had his book published, marketing is always the hardest part of publishing, especially for those that self-publish.

I am still considering the many platforms where I can make my books available. I do fancy an e-format before a hard copy book. I believe that when the times comes, it will go well with me and I will find the right platforms and ways to market my book. I want the book available to as many people as possible because probably, it will be free.


” I am still considering the many platforms where I can make my books available. I do fancy an e-format before a hard copy book. I believe that when the times comes, it will go well with me and I will find the right platforms and ways to market my book.” – David Pebbles


10. What is Your Writing Process Like?

The process can be as easy as slicing bread or sleety as making a Chapman. If I already have an idea to post, I will build on my writing making corrections along the way. Personally, writing and posting doesn’t take me more than a few hours even when I don’t have a  lead on what to write.

Often, as ideas or inspirations occur, I will write, edit, and post, a piece within a few hours. I hate the torment of unpublished ideas or inspired thoughts and not being able to express them. Basically, I write as I think and thankfully enough I usually don’t need much editing on my posts.


11. Do You Prefer Certain Genres of Literature?

I am mostly into Christian literature which could be about relationships or motivational writings and poems; a quick view of my blog will reveal this. I believe in maximizing your strong point. This is my base in writing. So much of my writing tends to be nonfiction and more personal.

I struggle with any other types of writing especially fictional. I’ve becoming much better at sharing nonfiction stories. I have no favorites but based on the number of views I have shared some below.


“Often, as ideas or inspirations occur, I will write, edit, and post, a piece within a few hours. I hate the torment of unpublished ideas or inspired thoughts and not being able to express them. Basically, I write as I think and thankfully enough I usually don’t need much editing on my posts.” – David Pebbles


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

Only two people I know, know I blog and they are random people I met in church. Nobody knows I blog from my immediate family. It’s a personal decision which has helped me a lot. I might plan to tell my family in future or they could find out themselves.

When I started blogging, I received no advice from anyone because I knew no one to look to for advice. But being a fast learner and playing around WordPress helped me a great deal initially.

Also when you write I would encourage writers to be their unique self. Don’t write to impress anybody even when you don’t have a single like or comment on your posts. Also, interact with other bloggers and don’t be a loner. Consistently writing is also a useful habit to take up.


13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share About Yourself?

You can read more about me here on my blog: About David Pebbles


14. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing From Your Blog:

I find it difficult to pick a favourite piece from my writing as I could picture all of them with their hands raised up because they might feel hurt if not chosen. But all the same, l will pick some pieces randomly:

Musings #23 – When You Worship

By David Pebbles

When you worship
Deep relief seared your souls
Tears respond in snaky path
Washing down the earnest
Of the yearnings wrap up
A squeeze from the dailies
Twisted and tumultuous origin
Sunken deep
As if all once, warm presence embrace
Wrap up in such blessedness
You only response is tears


15. Here I Some More Links To Work On David’s Blog:


Thank you to David for the interview. I appreciate his willingness to be interviewed and answer so candidly and honestly each question. Once again, here is the link to David’s blog: David Pebbles Blog.


If you would be like to be interviewed about blogging or writing and would like to share with other writers, bloggers, and readers your unique writing process, please reach-out to me through my Contact Page. See You in Two -Weeks 🙂


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Books, Interviews, Nonfiction, Poetry, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

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.

 

Current Events, Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Writing

Sunday Photo Fiction: Three Stars Go Out?


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

——

A Mixed Bag

——-

“What do you remember, anything?” 

“I was dancing with this guy at the club. He was so hot. He went to buy me a drink and then he fell. There was such a look of shock on his face as he held his chest. He’d been shot, and the blood was running down his chest through his hands. . . He was staring at me and well, he never closed his green-green eyes. His body slid down the bar, half-slumped against a barstool. There was no more light in his eyes. . .  ” One star went out.

——-

“What happened to you?” 

“Well, I was walking through my school. It was like any other day. The bell rang for fourth period, and I heard screaming and shouting. Kids were running, hiding in classrooms and hitting the floor. There were two shooters who had appeared, they were randomly shooting at anyone. But I was sure they had some targets. 

“They walked up to me and asked me if I was a Christian. I wanted to lie, but in the moment I couldn’t. I said yes, and the one shooter shot me several times. I felt the bullets, the agonizing pain, the blood flowing out of me. . . Then I was here.” Two stars went out.

——-

“Why are you here?” 

“I was told it hasn’t happened yet, that I could still change the future. This guy told me I could help end many incidents of gun violence. He showed me this tiny infant girl named Tula, my great-granddaughter. My granddaughter Alison’s, future daughter. Alison was beautiful and all grown-up, walking in the mall with precious Tula in her stroller. Then, there were loud gun shots, mayhem, screaming. I watched helpless as Alison cried and wailed. Tula was shot fatally, they couldn’t help her in time; she bled out.”

“It made me think about gun control legislation. It made me think if Tula could live, and this didn’t happen to other people’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I could give up my right to bear arms. If I could stop my great-granddaughter from dying, I would give up those rights.” 

Three stars go out? 

——–

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Actor/ Actress, Lists, My Thoughts, Relationship, Writing

A List of My Favourite Kiss Scenes Currently


1. Grey’s Anatomy Derek and Meredith — Too Many Good Kisses to Count. This video I found on YouTube has a bunch of kissing moments between the couple before Derek died.

http://youtu.be/wi0N-DMfagg

2. Scandal – I’m on Team Jake.  I think Olivia and Jake are much better together, no offence Fitz – here’s a steamy make out  scene when Olivia and Jake take off for an Island, to escape Washington. DC

http://youtu.be/BQUU1R5hinM

3. Gilmore Girls – Rory and Logan – First Kiss. Loved this show. Logan was my favourite. I hope in the upcoming Netflix series Rory ends up with Logan.

http://youtu.be/sdU7u90LzoI

4. 50 Shades of Grey Christian and Ana – First Kiss in the elevator, “F$&! the Paperwork.” 

http://youtu.be/K6hMhJmwsqA

5. James Bond: Casino Royale James Bond and his Romance with his only love Vesper.

http://youtu.be/bU-v3Ygo3VQ

——-

Just a reminder if you can’t see an of these YouTube videos go into my blog to see them. Thanks

——-

Also thanks to La Duchesse D’erat for a prompt to do a list about our favourite kisses.


My Thoughts, Novel - First Draft -"How Was Last Night For You.", Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

3. How was Last Night For You – Difficult Thing to Admit


Read here for Chapter 2.

Chapter 3: Difficult Thing to Admit

John held Nina’s hand as he opened the door to his grand house. A white sparkling stone face on the outside of the house glittered in the sunlight. Nina walked into the entrance and she felt the slick expensive wood floors. She saw a large living area with comfortable grey couches that bounced when she pushed her hand against their solidness. The living room had light blue accents but was mostly masculine with its light grey furniture and dark charcoal walls. Nina spied two comfortable wing-backed chairs facing a slate fireplace. A thin TV glistened black over top of the mantel. It was a fitting piece for a single man’s domain.

A soft blue-grey sky through walls of windows was transparent over most of the living room and kitchen. Below she saw a well manicured backyard with a large patio and stone pathways. The windows inside spread past a granite bar with four stools, into a kitchen with pristine white cupboards and a butcher block counter top. John seemed to have only the best appliances in his kitchen including a wine fridge and a second oven. There was also a Tassimo instant coffee maker. Nina smiled because she had the exact same one. Nina could smell the delicate but heavenly scent of chocolate chip cookies in the air. She wondered who baked them, a housekeeper?

Nina removed her shoes and John beckoned her to one of the soft grey coaches. They were made of the softest dove coloured suede leather. Nina bounced awkwardly on the sofa before becoming settled. John’s main floor was huge and open concept. Nina felt quite small in the great room. Though walls that were windows enhanced the feeling the space had of being open, it was a dreary day outside and little sun shone in the house.

John felt as if he needed to explain his problems to Nina. But she wasn’t quite ready for whatever fantastical story John had to tell her. The whole situation felt unbelievable to Nina. It felt like a Dark Brother’s Grimm fairy tale come to life.

When John had taken off his jacket and removed his watch, he sat beside Nina on the couch and smiled at her a bit nervously. Nina looked over at the Tassimo Coffee Maker, “do you think I could have a tea John? I’m kind of craving something warm right now.”

“Oh yeah, sure what kind would you like?”

“Green tea or Chi, if you have it.”

“Yeah, I have green tea. I’ll get you one and make myself a coffee too.” John braced his hands on his legs and got up. His tall body brushed Nina as he went into the kitchen and she shivered at the contact. She saw John grin as he passed her. He felt it too.

” Can I get some honey in that tea, John please.”

“Yeah I have honey. Do you want milk?”

“No, I’m fine with honey thanks. I need something a bit sweet.” John touched her arm tentatively when he sat down and handed her her tea. Nina took a small sip and placed her tea on a coaster on a coffee table in front of her and John. John set his coffee down as well. He appeared apprehensive and kept looking at his feet. It was a different side of him Nina thought. So far, he had only been confident and sometimes brash.

John put his arms around Nina’s shoulder and stroked her gently. “Nina, would you like to here my story . . . would you like to know why I am cursed?” He wouldn’t look Nina in the eye when he asked her this. Perhaps, it was because is story was fantastical. He took a drink of his coffee and swallowed slowly while Nina waited for John to say whatever it was he had to say.

Nina was a kind person and she felt sorry for John. She moved closer to him on the couch and felt the now familiar pull of herself towards him. For John to trust her with something like this in his history was a huge deal. ” Are you sure you want to tell me, I mean you don’t know me that well John.” Nina looked at John with huge soft-blue eyes.

John starred back and said:” I’ve never trusted anyone more than my own family to know the story of how I became cursed, Nina.” John took a deep breathe in, ” the fact that you might believe I am cursed to begin with, demonstrates to me I can tell you the facts without you freaking out or thinking I’m crazy.”

” Well, I might freak out,” Nina admitted. But  John barely heard her.

“I need to tell you this Nina, I need to tell you because I think, the way I feel about you already, well I think you can help.” John looked at Nina with hope in his bright eyes  His knuckles were white and his forehead wrinkled in consternation. ” I need to tell you my story because other people suffer because of me Nina. Other people get hurt and it drives me insane. I need to share my burden if you can help. Is that too much of me to ask of you? I’m no good, but your still here anyways.”

Nina gulped down her tea and burned her mouth. She held her hand to her lips. Her throat felt raw.  Her voice was small as she admitted to John she’d like to hear his story. ” I feel like I’ve been waiting to hear your story since the night we first meant.” Nina said, “so please tell me and don’t leave me in suspense.” She noticed John had a bit of a tremor in his hands as he took her right hand into his own. She felt fireworks and sense of foreboding when John touched her. But she needed to hear why he was cursed if she continue any kind of relationship with the inauspicious John.

John smiled at Nina and looked down at the floor. Nina looked at his face and noticed how tired and weary John looked. She decided to have pity on him even though his ‘curse’ story was a bit unbelievable. John looked at Nina with piercing eyes and with a ragged voice began to tell her his story. He halted several times to check Nina’s reactions. At times he looked ashamed and other times he looked as if what he was telling Nina hurt him.

Please read Chapter 4 here.

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.