Animals/Pets, Books, Current Events, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Photography/Visual Art, Poetry, Writing

Interview with Carolyn Shelton Author, Writer, and Blogger #amwriting #nonfiction #interview #author


 

Welcome to another week of my interview series. Today I’m so excited to share with you an interview with my talented and caring friend, Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses)  who has been writing many wonderful tales for adults and children on her blog with Colin Chappell of A Dog’s Life (Stories of Me and Him). I interviewed Colin earlier this year HERE.

Many of Carolyn’s tales and her new book with Colin are about a Cat named Dewey, a Jackalope named Jaxon, an owl named Odessa, and a human helper for them on Moonbeam farm they live, known as the ‘manservant.’ You can also find Carolyn’s interview on The Go Dog Go Cafe, where I will be posting a writer interview each Tuesday (the same one here and on there). It is a wonderful writer’s community on WordPress so please come and explore.

As well, all watercolor paintings illustrating the characters from Carolyn’s (and Colin’s) book Odessa’s Chronicles, are done by Jodi of The Creative Life In Between. She’s such a talented artist and I would recommend following her blog for her art, recipes, poetry, and blog posts narrated by her dog, Charlie.  She also has an Etsy Shop, on break at the moment, but when it’s not, you can purchase cards, paintings, (etc.) of Jodi’s beautiful work. 

Carolyn’s blog can be found here: Nuggets of Gold: Helping You to Find the Gold Amidst the Dirt, Sand, and Pebbles of Life.


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Credit Carolyn Shelton

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Carolyn? 

My name is Carolyn Shelton and I live in Southern Pennsylvania. I am the Mother of two teenagers which explains why there are days that I feel like my brain is missing! I love having fun with my family and friends, whether we are just chatting or on an adventure together. I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.

Humor is a big part of my life! I have serious posts on my blog, but a lot of humorous ones as well. And there are days, where you may get more humor from the comment section. I have a good friend that likes to express his wit at times. I am always up for a battle of wits, do I win? Well…. onto the next question.

My biggest writing goal is to touch others with what I write. I want to make them smile, laugh and also ponder on deeper things at times. I am thankful for my gift of writing, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if I keep it to myself. This is why I share it on my blog with for everyone and anyone to read.


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Dewey the Spoiled Cat!

2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does It Mean To You? 

I began blogging in the Fall of 2014. It wasn’t something that I had planned on doing. I was browsing on the internet one day and I saw something that piqued my interest. WordPress was offering a free writing course. I loved to write and felt that this course would be fun to take and see what happened. I signed up for it and well, here I am. 🙂 I enjoyed the course a great deal and was excited seeing what I could do with a blog.
I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and interacting with them. I was still learning but felt as if I had found my niche in the wonderful world of blogging. My love of writing had been rekindled.


” I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – The Humble Manservant

3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is it Important to You to Keep Writing and Blogging? Do You Have Writing Habits? A Time of Day It’s Easier for You to Write?

My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me, through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy because it is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not writing. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogging and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.

Writing is me letting my heart speak and it can be so freeing expressing my emotions through writing. Late at night seems to be my best time to write. The house is all quiet, the phone is not ringing, and it’s just me and my Sheltie who lays at my feet.


4. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects, on your Blog or Otherwise? Have You Published Any Writing? 

I am currently co-authoring a The Odessa Chronicles, with fellow blogger, Colin. I’m so excited about it! The process of writing it readying it for publication has been a true adventure! The front cover of the book has not yet be decided on and the book is not quite ready for publication and release to my readers but it will be available on Amazon when it is completed. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Colin and mine’s book release


My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy. It is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogginh and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Jaxon the Jackalope with Magical Powers

 5. Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Writers or Bloggers Starting Out? 

I enjoy writing serious posts and posts written for fun.  I enjoy reading both as well. Also, I like reading stories in the genre of fiction and some nonfiction stories as well when I am choosing novels to read.

As for advice for new writers or bloggers: I encourage them to be patient with their self and write what comes naturally. Don’t think that your blog has to be like another blogger’s blog. Your blog is unique just like you. Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog. Don’t push yourself to post every day if you cannot manage to do that. I didn’t post each day in the beginning and there is no rule that says you have to post every day. You need to write when it fits your schedule.


6. For Fun, Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs? Top Three? What Do You Like About Them? 

Oh, my this is a hard question. There are a lot of blogs I enjoy! The blogs I have followed the longest though are Jodi’s, Ameena’s and Colin’s.

  • Jodi’s blog makes my taste buds tingle when I see pictures of the wonderful recipes she is cooking up. She is a wonderful cook and there are sometimes I attempt her recipes, though I am sure she does them better. She also does beautiful paintings and puts lovely poems to lovely photographs she takes together in a post. I enjoy reading her blog because of her cheery outlook on life.
  • Ameena (Randoms by A Random) is a gifted poet and her poems tug at my heartstrings. She has put me at a loss for words more than once. You can read the interview Mandibelle16 did of Ameena HERE
  • Colin writes about life with Ray, his wonderful Rescue Dog that he adopted. He also has “Just Thinking” posts that give you things to ponder. It is always interesting to read his perspective. He includes some poetry on his blog; in fact, he has a book of wonderful poetry coming out soon. His dry wit comes through in his posts as well. A blog that can make me laugh will be one I keep going back to.

Most importantly all these blogs do have something in common. Although they post about various topics, they all have become special friends of mine. That is what I feel is at the heart of blogging, the friendships that are formed from a mutual interest. 


” Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Odessa the Wise Owl Whom Carolyn and Colin’s book is named after.

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

Here are some of Carolyn’s posts that she and I like a great deal. I hope you enjoy them too!

*****

Come Away With Me My Friend

Written April 2013, by Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

*****

JoyRoses Ocean 2
Credit; Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

Good Morning! Today my husband and I will bid a final farewell to a dear friend of ours. His body was ravaged with cancer and now he is free from pain. Though we are happy that he is now at peace, there also is pain, as he will be dearly missed!

Pat always had a smile for you and could make you laugh with his wit. Even when his wit was at your expense, you couldn’t help but laugh. Shaking your head, trying not to smile, as your mind was racing for a comeback.  No joke was ever old. We had met over 20 years ago, and there was something that had happened to me in that first year that Pat and Sherry were dating. Something that he still loved to throw out there whenever he would get the chance, and yes it still had a way of heating up my cheeks. His humor is something that stayed with him, even as his body grew sicker. He kept his spirits up and fought hard. He was an inspiration.

In yesterday’s post, Dewey and Jaxon Follow Their Hearts, I told about when we heard the news about cancer and how Dewey took over my pen. Took over my pen for my broken heart.  Today I am sharing a poem that I shared before. A poem that seems fitting for today. It has been revised a little to help it flow more smoothly, thanks to a friend.

My heart poured it out on a night when it was breaking. Breaking because the prognosis was not looking good for my friend and the tears fell as I didn’t know what to say. What could I speak to my precious friend and his wife? How could I encourage her? I felt that I had no words.

JoyRoses 2
Credit: Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

*****

Come Away With Me My Friend (Let Us Run To The Ocean)

Come away with me my friend

***

Let us run to the ocean,

Where you can let the pain in your heart

Be overpowered by the roar of the waves.

Let us go where you can shout ”Why?” to the sky,

And scream as loud as you need.

Where you can fall to your knees on the soft sand.

***

Let us run to the ocean,

Where I can hold you tight, and let you cry.

Where you can let your shoulders sag.

Where you can let your tears fall,

To be carried away by the waves.

Lean on me. Let me be your strength.

***

Let us run to the ocean.

Oh, my dear friend… let us just go!

You need not think about the future.

Let us walk along the water’s edge.

Remember when we were young?

Our lives were so carefree

***

Let us stand in the water.

Let the waves splash your face,

And gently wash away your tears.

Let us run to the ocean.

Let us go where the waves go on forever.

Life can be hard my very special friend.

***

But let us run to the ocean.

Life we cannot always understand.

Things happen that cannot be explained.

But the waves will go on forever

Through night and day; Through rain or shine,

As will my love for you.

***

Let us go to the ocean, my dear friend.

We will face the rolling waves together,

And if you slip… I will be there to catch you.

If you feel you are losing your way…

I will be there to guide you.

***

Let us talk in silence,

For our love does not need words.

We have a special friendship.

Let us run to the ocean.

Let the waves mesmerize you.

Let the ocean’s rhythm soothe your soul.

***

Let us go to the ocean, my friend.

Go where no words are needed.

Where we will let the waves speak.

Let us go the ocean, my friend.

Let us go… and be as one,

For I will never let you fight this on your own.

***

Come away with me my friend.

*****


Here are more of Carolyn’s Blog Posts:


Thank you so much to Carolyn for allowing me to interview her for this week’s blogger/writer interview. She is a wonderful and kind hearted person and I’m so excited for the book she and Colin will be releasing on AMAZON soon. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Nuggets of Gold.


If you are a writer, blogger, author, or someone who blogs for a cause or special organization and would like to be featured in my interview series here and on the Go Dog Go Cafe please reach out to me through my CONTACT PAGE on my personal blog. Thank you and see you next week!


© Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Actor/ Actress, Current Events, Flash Fiction, History, Memories/Childhood, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Religion/Morality, Sunday Photo Fiction, Writing, Writing Challenges

Sunday Photo Fiction:  The War to End All Wars #amwriting #nonfiction #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alastair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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Credit: C.E. Ayr

———

What was it like back then? To finally be home? To say the war is done, the enemy is defeated. Hitler killed himself and the Russian’s have taken half of Berlin. The U.S. navy is done island hopping and Japan surrendered after two giant atomic bombs. There’s a Time Magazine cover of a small Japanese girl running, her skin peeling off. Was the message affective? There will always be new enemies and consequences of war. It’s masked beneath the happiness this man feels grabbing some girl he didn’t know, to kiss her in the streets. 

But how many millions were murdered in Germany, France, Russia, Poland, Austria, and the Ukraine? What about the Japanese internment camps and the humiliation suffered there? Think of all the soldiers who were victims. It I said there’s about 6, 000, 000 soldiers alone, who died in WWII; the war to end all wars? 

I wish I could be as happy as this young woman, kissing this soldier and kicking her foot up into the air. There is joy in the end of war but there is never justice and although there are times we ‘must’ go to war, I have learned war is not ‘just’ for anyone. We’re human so we war. It has and will always be. But I fondly wish to be this girl kissing the handsome soldier, innocent, excited, and not realizing no war ends all wars — not until eternity. 

Word Count: 179

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved 

Fiction, MindLoveMisery's Menagerie, My Thoughts, Nature, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Tale Weavers Fiction/Poetry, Writing, Writing Challenges

Tale Weavers: Crossing the Veil #amwriting #taleweavers #fiction


Thanks to Michael from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s prompt: A tale which takes place beyond the veiled mist. 

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Credit: Adventures In The Wild

——

Kyria had been warned since she was a small child, beyond the veil was dangerous. Her older siblings had told her monsters lived there, that there were witches waiting to eat a young child. 

What the adults said wasn’t much better. Her Grandma Iris said she’d lose her soul if she was caught in the veil beyond. She talked about shape shifters and immortal creatures of the dark such as vampires and werewolves.

One day hanging the laundry on the line at her grandmothers, Kyria gazed at the veil nearby. She hadn’t thought of it for a long time and she wasn’t sure why it called to her now. She’d never admit she could hear the whispers of the creatures which lived their. They were tempting her and she knew it.

 Did everyone in the village see the veil as she did? Kyria believed they had no idea where it physically was, that to them it was was only folklore for children and not a real thing; it was extremely real to Kyria and she knew for her grandmother as well. 

Kyria was twenty-four and long past the age of adulthood. Her parents lived together and her siblings with their families. She hadn’t found a suitable man to marry so her father decided she should move in with her ailing Grandmother and care for her. He thought she needed to be of use somewhere since she hadn’t married quickly as her sisters did. 

The more Kyria thought about the veil and the mist shrouding it, the more she thought about how she’d never put herself out there in life. She’d always done what she was told and when others failed she was the one who took their place, who filled in so everything went smoothly. 

It was how she made up for her so-called “selfishness,” still being single and not having children for her family and village. She wondered why she had never pushed her boundaries and was tired of being ruled by her father’s and her grandmother’s whims.

Kyria loved her Grandma Iris the most because she understood Kyria better than anyone. But her grandma still cautioned her to never cross the veil daily. But grandma was inside sleeping and Kyria heard the whispers from veil more and more these days. They were a sirens call to her. 

She ignored all she had been told by her grandma, her family, and her friends as a child. She decided today she would cross the shrouded veil into the other world. Dropping the laundry Kyria walked towards the veil and into the mist surrounding it. The veil shimmered as she came closer and sonorous voice could be heard singing on the other side. 

When she reached the line where the spiritual and natural worlds met Kyria stopped for a moment and stood. She smiled and with both hands raised in front of her she was able to feel the mystical energy she was about to pass through. 

She stepped into the shimmering fog and breathed deeply. Her long blond hair flew out behind her and it was the last thing her grandmother saw as she watched her granddaughter cross into the other world. 

Grandma Iris sighed in frustration but she knew as it had been with her, the veil had been too much of a temptation for Kyria. She knew that adventure and discovery awaited her sheltered granddaughter. As it had been with Iris, the veil and it’s magic was in Kyria’s blood. Grandma Iris was the only one besides Kyria who actually could see the veil, she had made herself guardian of the gateway and hoped Kyria would take over for her one day. 

But as the last of Kyria’s blond hair slipped through veil and disappeared, Iris couldn’t help being thrilled for her granddaughter. What awaited Kyria would shape and change her. It would motivate and hurt her, it would be an experience far beyond the scope anyone in the village would ever experience. 

Iris blew a kiss towards the veil and whispered a blessing for Kyria. The feelings of excitement in Iris were so intense it was as if it were fifty-years-ago and she herself was crossing the veil. 

——

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Children/YA/Family, Fiction, Memories/Childhood, My Thoughts, Sunday Photo Fiction, Writing, Writing Challenges

Sunday Photo Fiction: An Adventure Alone #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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Credit: Sascha Darlington

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Six-year-old James was excited. He was at a giant amusement park with a fascinating complex modular domes. He tried to rush past his parents but his Dad grasped James’ hand firmly. 

They entered the first dome and there was a huge race track inside. James squeeled while driving with his Dad in a go-kart. The next dome had a mini-golf course. Half-way through the course James decided he was bored and that it was time for his adventure alone; he crept off when his Dad was putting. 

He spent his day playing in a giant indoor playground and then went outside to where there were rides for kids to go on. He made friends with another boy named Paul whose parents thought James had permission to ride rides with them. 

After a while James felt sick because he hadn’t eaten. He returned to the mini-golf course to wait for his Dad. He sat there for hours but he never saw his parents. He thought they had decided they didn’t want him.

 Then he heard his Mom’s angry voice: “James William, where have you been?” He hugged his Mom and cried into his Dad’s shoulder when he picked James up. It appeared his adventure alone was more than James had bargained for. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

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

Interview With Michele Vecchitto


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


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Credit: Michele Vicchetto

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging? 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


michele-interview-1
Credit: Michele Vecchitto

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


michelle-interview-3
Credit: Michele Vecchtto

7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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Credit: Michele Vecchitto

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

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

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


13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?

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


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

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


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


More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:

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

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


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


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Event, Fiction, Memories/Childhood, My Thoughts, Published Work, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Published: SickLit Magazine – It Began In An Elevator


I’m delighted to have a piece of short fiction published from a while ago. It’s called: It Began In An Elevator, written for the monthly theme of the same name. Please check my short story out in the link provided. I’m excited to have a piece of short fiction published. For me, fiction is much harder to write than poetry. Although, I love them both equally!


elevator-sicklit
Credit: http://www.sicklitmagazine.com

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer, My Thoughts, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: A Leap of Faith


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.


 

Credit: Joy Pixley

 

“What’s wrong ?” Taylor asked Olivia. They had been climbing the steps to the top of the bell tower.

“I’m tired of stairs Taylor. How many more levels?’

“I’m not sure. My friend Luca says this is the most fun you can have in this town.”

“Huh?” Olivia mumbled. “I love a great view Taylor, but stairs aren’t fun.”

Taylor chuckled, “Look, we’re here.” He grabbed Olivia and kissed her with ardor. She turned from him after awhile and admired the city which lay below them, the sun setting.

“This is amazing,” Olivia said, “What now?”

Taylor handed Olivia a special umbrella. He grabbed her hand firmly and held his own umbrella out.

“Now we go down,” Taylor said laughing as he and Olivia stepped off the bell tower ledge.

She thought she would die. Instead, the couple floated gently down onto the church lawn.

“I can’t even describe that,” Olivia said excited. She couldn’t stop grinning at Taylor.

“For a moment,” Taylor admitted, “I thought . . .”

Olivia shushed him. “One thing off our bucket list,” she said smiling and squeezing his hand tight.


(Inspired partially, by an episode of Gilmore Girls.)


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Event, May Day Prompts, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

MayDays: Nonfiction – A Visit From Cooper #Maydays


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Thanks to K.L. Caley from new2writing for hosting #Maydays prompts. Today’s prompt is man’s bestfriend. We’re to write about dogs.


Nikki
Nikki

I found it quite funny, dogs were today’s #Maydays topic. I love dogs and if you have followed me for a while you know I had a dog named Nikki who passed away about two-years-ago. She was a Miniature American-Eskimo – Terrier Cross with a  great deal of personality. Nikki was a pack dog and loved her family but was not so friendly around strangers.

It’s funny with pets, you never realize what an impact and presence they are in your life until they pass away. Nikki became ill and in about three-months she was gone. She is my favourite dog ever and lived about twelve-years. She loved to run, I think running so far was hard on her body as well as some other problems, we never were able to find out.

But today was an excellent day to have this prompt because my brother J visited with his room mate’s dog Cooper. Cooper is one of those fluffy dogs with hair that needs trimming  often. Unlike Nikki, Cooper doesn’t lose his hair. And there’s something to be said for that.

Apparently, Cooper doesn’t give kisses but he gave me a few; he must have been feeling generous. It is hilarious when you hear how people sound when they talk to a dog. Their voice pitch goes high and they talk cutesy. Dogs such as Cooper, love it when your voice does this, they get excited because they hear high-pitched sounds as something good; I read that somewhere.

Down in the basement, Cooper visited my Mom and I came down and we played “go-go” or “zoomies” as Jodi from Life Inbetween calls them with her dog Charlie. We were trying to wear Cooper out and we did. Eventually, he went home with my brother. J sent me a photo of Cooper lying on the couch, not moving a muscle. He texted me: ” [Cooper] hasn’t moved since getting home.”

I don’t know who was more excited by Cooper’s visit, my family and I, or Cooper. But I think my Mom is coming around about not having another dog and would be in favour of getting a small dog such as Cooper. I’m crossing my fingers.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Event, My Thoughts

What Will The Future Bring?


Of the future, man knows least; yet, about this, he worries most.
– Ivan Panin

I’ve reached another turning point in my life, which, makes me wonder what will the future bring. I have only to wait patiently to find out yet still this does not stop me from wondering. I wonder a lot of things and I suppose I feel because of the nature of my health problems that my future is more ‘ up for grabs’ than many people I know, largely because I feel I have less control over the things I get to do in my life. But then another side of me thinks this isn’t true. That we equally all of us have our futures as unpredictable because no one knows if he or she will be here the next day, or the day after that. All our futures are lost to unpredictability.

But I would like to think that even those of us with the shortest time left have something to look forward to. Maybe, it’s just a few laughs or maybe it’s the glory of heaven. We all need something no matter how small to greet us the next moment or day. Call me crazy but I’m looking forward to being single again. To be able to check out that hot guy at the table next to mine and not feel the tiniest sense of guilt. I’m looking forward to meeting new friends (both male and female) and I’m just so happy to be able to get up again everyday healthy not to lie in bed but to to be able to read and write. And even though I can only handle about 5 minutes of intervals and 2 abdominal exercises I’m excited to get my body in whatever better shape I can get it into too.

But something I love about the future is possibility. I have always felt so fresh, alive, and that life is full of such magic when there is the possibility to choose and have an an array of unknown choices in front of me. Or maybe, it’s not always that we get to choose it’s that life takes on various directions along with our choices . I haven’t felt as if I have had many choices in a long while. I think I’ve been living a stagnant life. Changing my relationship status has brought me along way that opportunity of possibility. It’s more freedom with my time, more freedom for old and new friends, more freedom to focus on bettering myself, and more freedom to focus on bettering the world around me.

Yes, as Panin wrote we may no know least about the future but it’s the most exciting.

Event, My Thoughts, Relationship

Comings and Goings


I am so excited right now! My guy is flying into EIA as I write. He has been gone on a long overdue trip home to Morocco and then to Paris, France and Spain. Yesterday A was trying to find a flight into Edmonton from NY so I’m psyched that in 15 minutes, approximately, he will be landing. I know it’s been a long trip for him home and that he’s going to require 3 or 4 days rest but he is in the same city now and I will get to see him soon. A has been gone 2 months! That’s forever in ‘dating’ time. Almost an entire summer went by and I saw him twice. Once before my birthday and once before he left in July.

I am apprehensive about our relationship. Things were not going well before he left, and before that and we barely had time to make things right before he went away. It was good though, to have all that time to think and consider things, to figure out a direction I want to take with him. It was nice not to worry about the relationship when I was having health troubles this summer. But all in all, I’m excited to see A and can’t wait for us to be us again.

I have also extremely enjoyed the Writing 101 course I have been participating in through WordPress. I highly recommend to anyone who blogs. Any kind of education you can get to improve your work or your hobbies is beneficial and it’s exciting. I always found in school I learnt more in classes where the professor and the students participated and gave their opinions. I think that is what I find with the mini writing course. Having the input of so many peers and having the ability to read and learn through all the work of your peers is very helpful to one’s own writing. Not to mention, all the different prompts or topics and challenges we have been given have definitely stretched my comfort zone and improved my ability as a writer. I look forward to each writing challenge and I have found that writing for 20 to 30 minutes a day is not hard, even if you have to go back and make corrections through out the day for certain blog posts.

The Writing course has filled a void left by editing courses I did not sign up for in time from Simon Frazier. I did not realize I needed to sign up 2 to 3 months in advance and that you had to be signed up for all the editing courses you wanted to take all year. So at least I have a beginner’s copywriting course from April to July. I would also especially like to take my final course at the U of A for Residential design even if I miss half the classes due to health issues, in January. At least then I’ll be done that certificate and receive it in June 2015. All I need is a B.

Also excited for Brewfest — a pop up market and Beer thing next Friday and lunch with my 25-year-old baby brother Wednesday. Tomorrow I finally get into the doctors and have a bunch of paperwork I need filled out there and in November, time to Christmas Shop. I get mine done ahead of time and I think this year maybe a gift card year, we’ll have to see.

Talk to you in the future!

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