Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Photography/Visual Art, Poetry, Quotes, Works Published, Writing

‘Rewind Interview’ of Blogger, Poet, Writer, & Author Rosema Gonzales #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to almost September and a look back at some of past interviews in my ‘Rewind Interviews.’ On my own blog and on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a writer’s community! I anyone wants to be a regular member of the Cafe as a Barista once a week or even every two weeks, please let us know. Also, you can submit questions about this or your own writing to the Contact Page. 

I’m excited to share with you a ‘Rewind Interview‘ of my good friend, talented writer, wonderful person, and wise woman: Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .


Rosema
Rosema Gonzales

1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?

I am my blog’s nameA Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.

I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a news writer someday; a bonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?

When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write book reviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPress courseWriting 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.

When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom who is my favorite author. I love all the novels I have that Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)

When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eating cheesecake! 😀


2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?

Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to three-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.


“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales


3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?

For me, writing is like breathing with wordsNo one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry arefor me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding the bus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music alsoinspire and motivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂


4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when  I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darkness of night that inspiresmore creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.


“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales


5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?

If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called:  Word-High July has been my focus#WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipino words as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibited laughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.


Note: Rosema has done just that and published her first book on Amazon.com, earlier in the summer. It’s called Between My Bleeding Lines by R.C. Gonzales and is available as a Kindle ebook and in Paperback!


Between These Bleeding Lines 

by

R.C Gonzales

*****

Between My Bleeding Lines Poetry
Credit: Rosema Gonzales

Below is also n example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge last year


Pleasant Compnanion


6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?

All my written works are published on WordPress only for the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book. 

Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.

(See above Rosema self-published her poetry book!)


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come across someone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.


“I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles and/or Genres?

I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂

When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-AdultMystery, ThrillersContemporary LiteratureHistorical FictionPoetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realistic fiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Res has been joking about putting a death toll counterin my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !


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

First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many people follow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other people reading your writing; write for no one but yourself.

Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprintseach author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.

Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lesson I’m still trying to learn.


 

Carlie Jean UnSplash Tea
Credit: Carli Jeen via UnSplash

 


“[Y]ou cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.” – Rosema Gonzales 


10. Do You Have Anything About Yourself You’d Like to Share With Fellow Writers? 

Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straight news, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.

As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and loving writers in the blogging community on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, and interactive writing community.


11. Any Advice for Other Writers or Bloggers Starting Out? 

Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correct grammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.

I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writersHigh praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writers know how their work affects youhow you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.

Writers should be the first to realize completely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change livesI’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.


“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales


11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:

“Writer’s Note”

by

Rosema Gonzales

*****

Guilia Bertelli UnSplash - Notes Rosema
Credit: Giulia Bertelli via Unsplash

*****

No one,
nothing,
can take
my words
away
from me.

Break me,
confine me,
curse me,
abandon me,
my lines will bleed more
surely.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.


12. Here are some more Blog Posts from Rosema: 


Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing them with your heart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about your favourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.


“Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!” – A.E. 


Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blogA Reading WriterMany thanks for reading along. If you would like to be interviewed as a blogger, poet, writer, or blogger or a cause,  please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Books, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Quotes, Works Published, Writing

Rewind Interview with Writer, Poet, and Author Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Good morning! Welcome to my  “Rewind Interview” with Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha of A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales.  

Jacqueline was my first interview ever and a successful one. She is an amazing writer, poet, and blogger. If you haven’t read her poetry book yet, please see below. Also check out her YouTube videos full of wisdom. 

This same interview will also post on The Go Dog Go Cafe, an awesome community for baristas of the site and writers who want to share their work there too. 

Make sure to visit the Cafe and keep up with my weekly Tuesday Interviews. Every second week I do a ‘Rewind Interview,’ someone I’ve interviewed in the past. This week should be an interview of a Barista at the Cafe, but I have been too busy with other projects to put the interview together. Please expect a new interview next week!


Jacqueline 3
Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha

“Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep-thinking, friendly, inquisitive, and vivacious human with multiple layers which baffle me at certain times” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha


1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.

My name is Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha. I’m a Nigerian-born, Dubai (UAE) resident, of Igbo heritage. The Igbo’s are a hardworking, industrious, nomadic and proud tribe of Nigeria whom can be found in almost every nook and cranny of the world, even in places that you would least expect to find them. We strive to thrive wherever we are found.

Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simpledeep thinkingfriendlyinquisitive and vivacious human with multiple layers that baffle me at certain times.

I’m an ambivert, a people person, an outspoken, and focused woman. I can own up to being a loyal and upright person and you can take my word to the bankHard work doesn’t scare me. I truly believe in encouraging others to be the best that they can be. I’m also a wife, a mother, a writer, a perpetual learner, a life-enthusiast and a die-hard optimist. I don’t believe in the word impossible.


2. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging?

I actually have no conscious date as to when I started scribbling. I use the word scribbling because I would write drama series at a very young age and designate my siblings to roles that I deemed fit. I was both the story writer, the film director, and everything in-between. Sometimes my siblings fell out with me because they weren’t particularly enthused about one role or the other.

However, I consciously started taking my writing seriously and away from the realm of a hobby two years ago. My venture into blogging started on May 6, 2015, as I searched for areas to help harness my writing and opportunities to interact with like-minded people.


“As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading” – Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha


4. What does writing/poetry mean to you? Why do you write?

I write for vision and clarity. I process things better when I write. I write to share thoughts that I may ordinarily not give voice to. I write to deal with issues that bother me. As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading. I wouldn’t know how else to be.

My reason for writing is so strong, a lot of times, when I need my husband to understand a point that I’m probably not expressing vocally as well as I should, I write him a letter.

My heart has known peace through my writing. Some of the turbulence I experienced earlier in life have been manageable due to writing. It’s a voice that God gave me. A lot of times my husband, children, and friends marvel at the speed at which my fingers fly across the keyboard even without looking at the letters. Or they marvel at how quickly my pen flies across a journal endlessly.

It’s the way it is for me. While some people say they experience ‘writers block,’ I’m yet to experience the feeling. What I experience is insufficient time in any given day where I’m able to write the words, thoughts that flit through my mind. I have many other responsibilities which have my name written on them.


5. Where do you find your inspiration and motivation to write? Is there a time of day you prefer to write?

I see inspiration in everything. I could see a mustard colored car and a story comes to my mind. It could be the way someone wore their clothes, spoke, smiled,  or didn’t smile. Inspiration just comes. Sometimes I ask God’s Spirit to lead my hands.

I enjoy writing in the wee hours of the morning before my entire household rises, but such opportunity is becoming less. Someday’s I write late into the evening after work and other chores before I knock off to sleep. I normally wake up at 4:00 to 4:30 am and put in an hour either prepping my blog or writing something before I prepare for school runs, work, and the rest of my day.

I’ve learned to write on the goanywhere and anytime, otherwise, I’ll never find enough time during the day to write. My notepad is always ready in my bag and I can tune out if need be and scribble. I scribble all the time. Morning, afternoon, evening, night, sitting, standing, even riding the train or bus.


Jacqueline 2
Jacqueline Obi-Ikocha

6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Published Or Are You Planning to Publish Any Work?

Presently, I’m working on a collection of stories, two novels, an inspirational book, and another poetry book. I’ve decided to take them one at a time because it was getting crazy. I want to focus on one work, have it finished, and then move on to other projects.

Out of The Silent Breath is my first published poetry book. I’ve done freelance writing in the past, writing content for others, as well as ghostwriting. However, I’ve decided to focus more on my own works. I still freelance when the right briefs come, but I’m planning on having my second book published by the second quarter of this year.

I honestly haven’t gotten around to submitting my works for external publication. It’s a plan in the pipeline, but for some reason, having my writing published in a magazine or otherwise,hasn’t been a driving point for me. Possibly after my second book, my mind will be more attuned to that.


“. . .[T]he joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs the challenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.” – Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


7. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Experienced Publishing Your Work?

To publish in itself is not difficult, yet it isn’t easy either. Being self-published is twice as much the hard work. It includes writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and accounting (etc); however, the joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs the challenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.

I’ve been writing for a while and sometimes when family or friends read my articles they ask me why I’m waiting to publish them. Getting to the nitty-gritty of choosing the pieces to publish, trying to edit my material, and do all the formatting myself, was where I experienced difficulty.

My days are filled to the brim. I realized that if I had to do everything myself, it would probably take forever. I outsourced the cover production and formatting to a professional. I focused on the writing and marketing; marketing is a big job.

As well, I couldn’t afford professional editing since it doesn’t come cheap, so I sought out beta readers among friends. With that said, I think that having an editor is important, especially when one embarks on writing as a career. Now I am working on a compilation of stories about 40,000 words and also motivational handbook which should hopefully be published in the latter part of this year.

To break my publishing process down:

  • I wrote.
  • Sourced beta readers.
  • Tried to do publishing myself (which took me ages).
  • I then outsourced the book cover, formatting, and uploading to a publishing firm.
  • Now, I’m focusing on marketing.

My poetry book Out of The Silent Breath is 8,660 words of poetry and roughly 82 pages. You can find it on Amazon in Kindle Books here. 


Jacqueline's Poetry Book


7. What is Your Writing Process Like?

I  don’t have a writing process per se. I try to write early in the morning before I get busy with house chores, school issues, and work. Sometimes, it means setting the alarm to wake up at 4:30 am to 5:00 am and work on a story for an hour before my family wake-up.

Throughout the day, I find minutes to center my thoughts and scribble. After dinner when everyone is settled, I blog or write until around 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm, then I retire with the present book I am reading and hopefully, fall asleep within the hour.

I write as the thoughts flow and then edit after. Many times, I find myself rising in the midst of sleep to write something that’s running around in my head.


“My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality.” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha


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

I’ve found that I’m no longer finicky about genres because having read various genres widely, I have learned information from different scenarios. I would actually refer to myself as a cross-genre writer and readerMy reading and writing is eclectic as my personality. For me, it’s what catches my thoughts of the moment. My writing could be descriptive (mainly for poetry), narrative, or persuasive to sway thoughts.

I always read a myriad of books. My book purchases in a month usually encompass books of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, romance, thriller, adventure, motivational, and self-help (etc). I try to keep it balanced.


9. Do You Have Any Advice to Aid Other Writers?

My advice would be: What is that piece of thought and writing that keeps you up at night? Which makes your inner engine rev in anticipation? Don’t give it up!

Some daysit will be hard and almost impossible to find time to sit down and put pen to paper; sit down anyways and type nonsense. Type as the words flow into your mind without any sequence. Each dayfind time to write. The time doesn’t have to be in one huge block, a lot of us don’t have such leisure. You might find a half an hour of concerted flow far outweighs an hour or two without any flow.

As well, never listen to the naysayers and please go with your heart. Fashion your own writing and leave trying to be the next whoever to someone else. Just be you. When you write from within, the writing flows and is far more compelling than trying to imitate someone else. It can be done because your words count.


10. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing.

I have no particular favorite piece of writing and I don’t understand why. I’ll share with you several which people have read and enjoyed. I do hope you find my writing pieces interesting:

“I Live In This Space – Personal”

by Jacquline Obi-Ikochi

*****

Black Woman Jacqueline
Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

*****

This is the face that I live in
She stares me in the eye
each minute of my life

I have learnt to know the woman
beneath this oval-shaped
golden-toned and warm face

Her laughter lines and crinkles around the eyes
say life is too short, don’t take yourself too seriously
make the best of it while you can.

The hidden depths of her eye’s
speak of mystery and message that lurks within
they have known the joy and the sting in life’s sharp tails.

This is the face that I live in.
I wouldn’t know how to live in another face.
for this is mine. Mine alone and IT IS beautiful!

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


Please Find More Links to Jacqueline’s Writing Below:


Thank you so much to Jacqueline for doing an interview for me on my blog. I would love to interview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and your writing. You can reach me on my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Children/YA/Family, Fiction, Memories/Childhood, Music and Performers, Nature, Relationship, Writing, Writing Challenges

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: New Beginnings #flashfiction #fiction #amwriting 


Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting.

——

Credit: Roger Shipp

——

(Hello! Just noting this piece had a mind of its own and is somewhat longer than the usual 200 words. Cheers!) 

——-

Closing time / One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.” The mellow lines Semisonic floated into Tyrelle’s ears. 

It was 2:00 a.m. and his friends, Jordan and Simone, were trying to shut their house party down, arranging places for closest friends to sleep and for others to catch a cab home. Tyrelle nursed his last drink for the night. As per usual, he was upset these days. 

His beautiful Cleo should’ve been with him here tonight, ensuring he didn’t feel like such a recluse at his friends’ party. He hadn’t been in the mood for a party but since Cleo had ended things three-months ago, he knew he needed to move on. 

More Semisonic lyrics played through from an IPad:”Closing time / Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” 

Tyrelle watched as Simone finally locked the front door. She peered at at him and moved to give him a short friendly back rub. “You still miss Cleo, huh?” 

“Yeah, everyday. Does it get easier?” Tyrelle asked her. 

Simone sighed, “Before Jordan, I was with Blake and I thought he was it. Then he broke my heart and for months after, I didn’t function well.” 

“After a while I stopped thinking about Blake as much. I realized I resented the hold he had had on me. Then I chose to become involved in life. I volunteered and I saw more friends and family. Not long after, I met Jordan,” Simone said smiling.

Tyrelle smirked. As if what Simone said could ever be possible for him. Then he remembered the last line in the Semisonic song. About how other things had to end for better and new things to begin. So that’s what he decided to do — to begin anew. 

He picked up his phone and blocked Cleo’s number. Tyrelle unfriended and blocked her on every social media. Tomorrow he would start going to a different gym location then Cleo to workout and he would go to a different grocery store by his condo to shop as well. Finally, he grinned, he would get a new haircut.

 Yes, it was time to live again. 

—–

“Closing Time” by Semisonic 

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

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

Interview With Michele Vecchitto


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


miichelle-interview-4
Credit: Michele Vicchetto

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging? 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


michele-interview-1
Credit: Michele Vecchitto

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


michelle-interview-3
Credit: Michele Vecchtto

7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


michelle-interview-5
Credit: Michele Vecchitto

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

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

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


13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?

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


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

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


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


More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:

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

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


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


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

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

Interview With Colin Chappell


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


interview-colin-and-ray1
Credit: Colin Chappell

1. Please Tell Us A Bit About Yourself?

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


3. When Did You Being Writing and Blogging?

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

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


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

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

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


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


interview-colin-and-ray2
Credit: Colin Chappell

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

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

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

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


7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?

I have two active projects at the moment:

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

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

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


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


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

interview-colin-book-cover
Credit: Colin Chappell

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


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

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

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

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


10. Do You Have A Particular Writing Process?

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

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


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


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

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


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

Write… write… write.

Be honest to yourself.

Write… write… write.

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

Write… write… write.

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

Write… write… write.

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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

“Skeeta’s Legacy”

By Colin Choppell

*****

Skeeta was a Siamese cat

Of distinction so we thought

She was rather unlike her breed

Friendly and quite large

I had known a few Siamese

But none had traits like these

*****

She would ride in our car

On top of the front seats

Swaying whenever I braked

Forwards and backwards

Sideways on the turns

We would laugh until we ached

*****

Then one day she clearly had changed

Her clean toilet habits had gone

Something was wrong we were sure

She used to be meticulously clean

A test revealed leukemia

With no treatment. No cure

*****

After living with us

For only three months

Dearest Skeeta was put to sleep

But she left her mark

Indelibly on my heart

With memories that I would keep

*****

She went to a better place

To join her kind and be without pain

Where cats are happy and free

To be as I’d want her to be

But Skeeta left a legacy behind

Unbeknownst at the time to me

*****

Many years later when Ray moved in

He tested positive for heart worm

After only three months in our home

What were our options? What to do?

A very serious condition

And he could not fight it alone

*****

We could return him, put him to sleep

Or do nothing which would eventually kill him

What would make the most sense?

For such a short and unhappy life

An expensive course of treatment

Could we justify the expense?

*****

The treatment he may not survive

But shouldn’t we at least try?

For perhaps survive he would

Shouldn’t we give him a chance?

A chance for his life to fulfill?

To live out his life being loved?

*****

Euthanizing would give him peace

Not 3 years old with an unknown past

His early life seemed hard and alone

Surely a dog has a right

To fight for his life

In a warm and caring home?

*****

To return him to the shelter

Raised problems of another sort

Who would adopt a very sick Ray?

Who would want his vet bills?

Who would open their home?

Who would invite him to stay?

*****

During these dilemmas I heard a voice

Reminding me of Skeeta long ago

With no hope of a cure in sight

How she was put down

Her future sealed by a disease

That cheated her out of her life

*****

But this time was different

Ray did have a chance

If treatment started right away

The decision just had to be made

And then hope for the time

When once again he could play

*****

Ray will never know

What influenced his future

Or how it came to be

That a cat, of all creatures,

May have saved his life

That was Skeeta’s legacy.


16. Additional Posts:


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


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


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Fiction, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Relationship, Religion/Morality, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Tale Weavers Fiction/Poetry, Writing

Tale Weaver Fairy Tales: Berjlot the Wolf #fairytales #fiction #taleweaver


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this month’s fairy Tale prompt. The prompt is: “imagine an evil force be it witch or some other dark force has cast a spell on you. What form does the spell take, are you frozen in time as in the above image? Are you cursed in a different way?”


frog-taleweavers
Michael – Tale Weavers Fairy Tale

http://www.photobucket.com
Berjlot was a pretty girl with her father’s white-blond hair and her mother’s curls. She also had her mother’s mysterious green-eyes and delighted the entire viking village with her presence.

Asta, Berljot’s mother, had been in labour for hours the night Berjlot was born. The baby wouldn’t come out so Astab finally told her husband Bjarke that he must allow the midwife to cut her belly open and save their babe.

Bjarke felt great pain in his heart when his wife asked him to do allow the midwife to cut the baby out. But he knew he could not lose both Asta and the baby and survive himself.

Cutting the baby out (a much worse version of a c-section) was newer concept which the village midwife had suggested hesitantly. There wasn’t anything to help Asta from the pain but some whiskey. She drank all she could and screamed in pain as her baby Berjlot was born.

Asta named her child Berjlot or “Light will save,” and soft light was exactly what Asta saw as she entered Valhalla. She bled out before the midwife could attempt to stitch her up. Chances were Asta would have died from infection anyways. 

Bjarke held his little girl Berjlot proudly. She was his and Asta’s last child, her four-older brother’s were nearly men. But the baby girl was a light to her father and helped him survive the loss of his wife Asta (“divine beauty”).


Bjarke whose name meant “bear” was indeed, built like a bear and so were his four sons. They helped their father fell logs. Bjarke was now considered an older man and he would need the help of his son’s to survive. 

He had a been a great ship builder but was now arthritic and in pain. He spent most of his time keeping his eye on little Berjlot who spent her days enchanting those around her, a light to the entire community. 

Some of the other women taught Berjlot the necessities of life as a viking woman. Berljot seemed to easily learn how to sew and cooked delicious meals. She also helped with the shearing of sheep and weaving clothe. 

Berjlot’s mother Asta, had also been an accomplished artisan so Berjlot learned the craft of jewelry making from an old women in the village named Ragna (“giving advice”).

As well as crafting fine jewelry, Ragna was a medicine women and a pagan witch. Most people were afraid to be near her but Berjlot had no choice as she was the only other women who knew her mother Asta’s craft of jewelry making.

She was a talented girl and Ragna, seeing her youth, beauty, and the skill with which Berjlot seemed to accomplish every task, became seethingly jealous of the girl. Even at her young age and artisan skill level, Berljot’s jewelry was sought after. 

She was only ten-summers but Ragna was envious of the girl she knew would grow up to be a beautiful woman and likely out rank her being from a powerful family. 

The witch had always despised the girl’s mother Asta for her goddess-like beauty and her gift of creating beautiful jewelry of better quality than Ragna’s designs. 

One day when Berjlot had a cough, Ragna,  playing the kindly old woman she always played around Berjlot said to her:

“Poor dear, I will make you a potion which will rid of you of your awful cough. We can’t have it get into your lungs. Bjarke would be devastated if he lost his only daughter.”

Berjlot accepted the purplish potion Ragna wanted her to drink. It smelled awful and smoke whirled from the earthen cup but the girl drank the potion trusting Ragna as her Oma. 

Suddenly, Berjlot hiccuped. She felt a strange sensation as her body changed from that of girl into a stunning light-haired wolf. She knew her father and brothers would never recognize her in this form and so did Ragna.

Berjlot cried the tears of a wolf and old Ragna laughed at her. She made it appear as if a  wolf had eaten Berjlot.

“Bjarke,” Ragna cried. “A light-haired wolf ate your daughter. See? I have her bloodied and torn dress here. There was nothing I could do.” Ragna wept and made it appear as if she was broken-hearted at losing Berjlot.

Bjarke was devastated. Berjlot was the light of his life and his health failed rapidly after losing his daughter. He was soon set out down the nearby river in his funeral pier set aflame to join his wife Asta. 

Bjarke’s oldest son Dag took over the boat building business with his three brothers and his best friend Asmund (“Divine Protection”). After they had spent time in mourning for their father they and the other men from their settlement,  went into the woods and destroyed all the wolves they could find –even the pups. They never forgot about their little sister Berjlot who had brought such joy wherever she went.


Eight-years passed.  Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were prosperous men in their viking community building ships and amassing a great amount of land and wealth. Asmund, in particular, was considered a fine catch for marriage but had not found a wife to his liking; Dag and his brothers had already married well.

Asmund was out walking in the forest one night when he saw the most striking female wolf beneath a tree in the moonlight. She had mossy green-eyes which were extremely unusual for a wild animal such as a wolf.

He was surprised when the wolf jumped on him when he wasn’t paying attention. He was set to bring his small ax down on the wolf when she lay down on top of him gently and peered at him with sad eyes. She talked as wolves did, pawing at him, trying to get Asmund to understand something through her barks. He laughed and petted the beautiful wolf as she slept on him. 

The next morning Asmund awoke and the wolf was gone. He thought he’d only dreamed of her. When he went for a walk in the forest several nights later, he again saw the same beautiful wolf.

She playfully tackled him to the ground and barked at him, trying to make him understand her wolf song. When that failed, she lay her head beneath his chin, and slept on top of him as before.

The light-haired and green-eyed wolf barked and slept with Asmund every night he came out into the woods, always burying her nose under his chin.

One night, Ragna the old witch noticed Asmund asleep with the wolf she knew was Berjlot, snuggled half on top of him. The witch plotted to kill Berjlot once and for all and told Berjlot’s oldest brother Dag about the strange looking wolf she’d seen around the forest. 

Dag and his younger brothers went to find and kill Berjlot the following night with Asmund. But when they found the wolf with the light-fur and moss green- eyes,  Asmund begged them not to kill her.

He told Dag the light-haired wolf had become his pet and was docile. Berjlot approached her brother Dag and bowed, she did any trick her brother or his bestfriend Asmund told her to do.

When wicked Ragna saw the brothers had not killed Berjlot in wolf form (and instead, were going to adopt her as a kind of pet) she ran out to kill Berjlot with her sharpest knife. Ragna poisoned the tip of the knife so even if it nicked Berjlot the wolf, it would kill her.

Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were shocked to see the old witch after the wolf they had befriended. They caught and disarmed Ragna before she harmed the wolf. When Ragna was disarmed she turned to run back to her cottage but Berjlot jumped on her, tearing out the witches throat.

 Immediately,  the light-haired green-eyed wolf turned into a young woman of about eighteen. She was beautiful with her long wavy-blond hair, exotic green eyes, and white skin. Dag’s three younger brothers immediately recognized their sister from her moss green-eyes.

 “Berjlot is that you?” They asked, overjoyed to see their sister alive.

“Yes it’s me,”Berjlot said crying. She hugged her brothers, including Dag. They were a bit sensitive about her being naked with Asmund around. He generously gave Berjlot his cloak to cover herself with. 

“The witch Ragna pretended to be my Oma,” she told the men gathered. “Ragna was jealous that I was prettier than her, and that our mother Asta was prettier than her too. She hated that I did all my tasks well, especially jewelry making. When I had a cough, she gave me a steaming purple potion. I trusted her and drank the potion and she turned me into a wolf.” 

“That’s terrible,” Dag shouted, angry for his sister. “Your death is the reason our father became ill and died. I’m sure the gods are pleased you ripped out the witch’s throat.”

Berjlot sobbed upon hearing about her father’s death. When Asmund comforted her with a hand on her shoulder, she looked up at him with adoration in her eyes.

“I was almost killed when the men from the village wiped out all the wolves but somehow I thrived, even as a wolf. I thought I would always be a wolf until I saw Asmund one night.” Berjlot blushed when she said Asmund’s name.

“Each night Asmund came out to the forest, I pounced on him and tried to tell him what happened to me, but my words only came out as barks or noises as a dog would make. But he kept coming back almost every night and I slept with my nose snuggled beneath his chin.”

“Is this true?” Dag asked his best friend whose face reddened when he gazed at Berjlot in his cloak.

“Yes, it’s true,” Asmund admitted. “I fell for Berjlot. Somehow the gods made me see how noble and beautiful she was even as a wolf. She’s an even more beautiful woman then she was a wolf.” 

“I would be honored if you would allow your best friend and partner in business, to be a husband to your beloved sister,” Asmund asked. To him Berjlot was a light he could not live without in his life. He loved her as a wolf and more so as a woman. 

Dag and his brother’s huddled together talking while Berjlot stared anxiously at Asmund. She came up to him and snuggled her head beneath his chin, showing her affection and gaining Asmund’s comfort. 

“At last, I get to see you in my human form,” Berjlot told Asmund. Both lovers were overcome and wanted to do much more than stand not touching but for Berjlot’s hair cushioning Asmund’s chin.

Dag and his three other brother’s broke from their meeting with happiness. They agreed Asmund would be the perfect husband for their sister because he loved her and watched out for her, even when she was only a beautiful wolf. Thus, they set the betrothal date to that moment and day.

Asmund offered up sheep for wool and jewels as a dowry for Berjlot and they married in a magnificent ceremony in the village. The gods had allowed Berjlot to return from the dead and for two powerful families to be joined in marriage with days of feasting and celebration for the whole community.

Both Asmund and Berjlot lived happily ever after (as best as you could in that time and place). 


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Books, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Word High July, Writing

Interview With Rosema Gonzales


Welcome to September and the third month of my bi-weekly interview series. I’m excited to share with you an interview of my good friend, talented writer, wonderful person, and wise woman: Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .


Rosema
Rosema Gonzales

1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?

I am my blog’s name: A Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.

I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a news writer someday; a bonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?

When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write book reviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPress course: Writing 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.

When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom is my  favorite author. I love all the novels I have, which Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)

When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eating cheesecake! 😀


2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?

Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to two-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.


“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales


3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?

For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are for me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding the bus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music also inspire and motivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂


4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when  I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darkness of night that inspires more creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.


“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales


5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?

If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called:  Word-High July has been my focus. #WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipino words as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibited laughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.


Below is an example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge:


Pleasant Compnanion


6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?

All my written works are published on WordPress only for the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book. 

Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come across someone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.


” I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles and/or Genres?

I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂

When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-Adult, Mystery, Thrillers, Contemporary Literature, Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realistic fiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Res has been joking about putting a death toll counter in my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !


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

First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many people follow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other people reading your writing; write for no one but yourself.

Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.

Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lesson I’m still trying to learn.


10. Is There Anything Else You Want To Share With Us, Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?

Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think, this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straight news, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.

As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing, if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and loving writers in the blogging community on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, and interactive writing community.

Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correct grammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.

I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writers know how their work affects you, how you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.

Writers should be the first to realize completely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change lives; I’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.


“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales


11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:

“Writer’s Note”

No one,
nothing,
can take
my words
away
from me.

Break me,
confine me,
curse me,
abandon me,
my lines will bleed more
surely.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.


I would also like to share my first-ever fictional piece from Writing 101:


Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing them with your heart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about your favourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.

Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!

Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blog: A Reading Writer.


Many thanks for reading along in this bi-weekly interview series. If you would like to be interviewed and share about yourself and your writing aspirations, please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.


 

 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Interviews, Nonfiction, Writing

Interview with Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


Welcome to my first of a (hopefully) monthly, interview series, with inspirational and talented writers in the blogging community.

I’m pleased to share with you this week an interview with Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha of A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales. Please visit this link to read her fantastic blog:


 

Jacqueline 3
Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha

“Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep-thinking, friendly, inquisitive, and vivacious human with multiple layers which baffle me at certain times” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha


1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.

My name is Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha. I’m a Nigerian born, Dubai (UAE) resident, of Igbo heritage. The Igbo’s are a hardworking, industrious, nomadic and proud tribe of Nigeria whom can be found in almost every nook and cranny of the world, even in places that you would least expect to find them. We strive to thrive wherever we are found.

Personality wise, I would describe myself as a simple, deep-thinking, friendly, inquisitive and vivacious human with multiple layers which baffle me at certain times.

I’m an ambivert, a people person, an outspoken, and focused woman. I can own up to being a loyal and upright person and you can take my word to the bank. Hard work doesn’t scare me. I truly believe in encouraging others to be the best that they can be. I’m also a wife, a mother, a writer, a perpetual learner, a life-enthusiast and a die-hard optimist. I don’t believe in the word impossible.


2. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging?

I actually have no conscious date as to when I started scribbling. I use the word scribbling because I would write drama series at a very young age and designate my siblings to roles that I deemed fit. I was both the story writer, the film director, and everything in-between. Sometimes my siblings fell out with me because they weren’t particularly enthused about one role or the other.

However, I consciously started taking my writing seriously and away from the realm of a hobby two years ago. My venture into blogging started on May 62015 as I searched for areas to help harness my writing and opportunities to interact with like-minded people.


“As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading” – Jacqueline Oby – Ikocha


4. What does writing/poetry mean to you? Why do you write?

I write for vision and clarity. I process things better when I write. I write to share thoughts that I may ordinarily not give voice to. I write to deal with issues that bother me. As some people resort to drink or other vices of choice, writing is my vice, which is only possibly matched by reading. I wouldn’t know how else to be.

My reason for writing is so strong, a lot of times, when I need my husband to understand a point that I’m probably not expressing vocally as well as I should, I write him a letter.

My heart has known peace through my writing. Some of the turbulence I experienced earlier in life have been manageable due to writing. It’s a voice that God gave me. A lot of times my husband, children and friends marvel at the speed at which my fingers fly across the keyboard even without looking at the letters. Or they marvel at how quickly my pen flies across a journal endlessly.

It’s the way it is for me. While some people say they experience ‘writers block,’ I’m yet to experience the feeling. What I experience is insufficient time in any given day where I’m able to write the words, thoughts that flit through my mind. I have many other responsibilities which have my name written on them.


5. Where do you find your inspiration and motivation to write? Is there a time of day you prefer to write?

I see inspiration in everything. I could see a mustard coloured car and a story comes to my mind. It could be the way someone wore their clothes, spoke, smiled,  or didn’t smile. Inspiration just comes. Sometimes I ask God’s Spirit to lead my hands.

I enjoy writing in the wee hours of the morning before my entire household rises, but such opportunity is becoming less. Someday’s I write late into the evening after work and other chores before I knock off to sleep. I normally wake up at 4:00 to 4:30 am and put in an hour either prepping my blog or writing something before I prepare for school runs, work, and the rest of my day.

I’ve learned to write on the go, anywhere and anytime, otherwise I’ll never find enough time during the day to write. My notepad is always ready in my bag and I can tune out if need be and scribble. I scribble all the time. Morning, afternoon, evening, night, sitting, standing, even riding the train or bus.


Jacqueline 2
Jacqueline Obi-Ikocha

6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Have You Published Or Are You Planning to Publish Any Work?

Presently, I’m working on a collection of stories, two novels, an inspirational book, and another poetry book. I’ve decided to take them one at a time because it was getting crazy. I want to focus on one work, have it finished, and then move on to other projects.

Out of The Silent Breath is my first published poetry book. I’ve done freelance writing in the past, writing content for others, as well as ghost writing. However, I’ve decided to focus more on my own works. I still freelance when the right briefs come, but I’m planning on having my second book published by the second quarter of this year.

I honestly haven’t gotten around to submitting my works for external publication. It’s a plan in the pipeline, but for some reason, having my writing published in a magazine or otherwise, hasn’t been a driving point for me. Possibly after my second book, my mind will be more attuned to that.


” . . .[t]he joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs the challenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.” – Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


7.Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Experienced Publishing Your Work?

To publish in itself is not difficult, yet it isn’t easy either. Being self-published is twice as much the hard work. It includes writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and accounting (etc); however, the joy of having one’s work published, far outweighs the challenges. The hard work involved in self-publishing, shouldn’t deter anyone.

I’ve been writing for a while and sometimes when family or friends read my articles they ask me why I’m waiting to publish them. Getting to the nitty-gritty of choosing the pieces to publish, trying to edit my material, and do all the formatting myself, was where I experienced difficulty.

My days are filled to the brim. I realized that if I had to do everything myself, it would probably take forever. I outsourced the cover production and formatting to a professional. I focused on the writing and marketing; marketing is a a big job.

As well, I couldn’t afford professional editing since it doesn’t come cheap, so I sought out beta readers among friends. With that said, I think that having an editor is important, especially when one embarks on writing as a career. Now I am working on a compilation of stories about 40,000 words and also motivational handbook which should hopefully be published at the latter part of this year.

To break my publishing process down:

  • I wrote.
  • Sourced beta readers.
  • Tried to do publishing myself (which took me ages).
  • I then outsourced the book cover, formatting, and uploading to a publishing firm.
  • Now, I’m focusing on marketing.

My poetry book Out of The Silent Breath, is 8,660 words of poetry and roughly 82 pages. You can find it on Amazon in Kindle Books here.

Jacqueline's Poetry Book


7. What is Your Writing Process Like?

I  don’t have a writing process per se. I try to write early in the morning before I get busy with house chores, school issues, and work. Sometimes, it means setting the alarm to wake up at 4:30 am to 5:00 am and work on a story for an hour before my family wake up.

Through out the day, I find minutes to center my thoughts and scribble. After dinner when everyone is settled, I blog or write until around 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm, then I retire with the present book I am reading and hopefully, fall asleep within the hour.

I write as the thoughts flow and then edit after. Many times, I find myself rising in the midst of sleep to write something that’s running around in my head.


“My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality.” – Jacqueline Oby- Ikocha


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

I’ve found that I’m no longer finicky about genres because having read various genres widely, I have learned information from different scenarios. I would actually refer to myself as a cross-genre writer and reader. My reading and writing is eclectic as my personality. For me, it’s what catches my thoughts of the moment. My writing could be descriptive (mainly for poetry), narrative, or persuasive to sway thoughts.

I always read a myriad of books. My book purchases in a month usually encompass books of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, romance, thriller, adventure, motivational, and self-help (etc). I try to keep it balanced.


9. Do You Have Any Advice to Aid Other Writers?

My advice would be: What is that piece of thought and writing that keeps you up at night? Which makes your inner engine rev in anticipation? Don’t give it up!

Some days, it will be hard and almost impossible to find time to sit down and put pen to paper; sit down anyways and type nonsense. Type as the words flow into your mind without any sequence. Each day, find time to write. The time doesn’t have to be in one huge block, a lot of us don’t have such leisure. You might find a half an hour of concerted flow far outweighs an hour or two without any flow.

As well, never listen to the naysayers and please go with your heart. Fashion your own writing and leave trying to be the next whoever to someone else. Just be you. When you write from within, writing flows and is far more compelling than trying to imitate  someone else. It can be done because your words count.


10. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing.

I have no particular favourite piece of writing and I don’t understand why. I’ll share with you several which people have read and enjoyed. I do hope you find my writing pieces interesting:

“I Live In This Space – Personal”

This is the face that I live in
She stares me in the eye
each minute of my life

I have learnt to know the woman
beneath this oval-shaped
golden-toned and warm face

Her laughter lines and crinkles around the eyes
say life is too short, don’t take yourself too seriously
make the best of it while you can.

The hidden depths of her eye’s
speak of mystery and message that lurks within
they have known the joy and the sting in life’s sharp tails.

This is the face that I live in.
I wouldn’t know how to live in another face.
for this is mine. Mine alone and IT IS beautiful!

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha


Please Find More Links to Jacqueline’s Writing Below:


Thank you so much to Jacqueline for doing an interview for me on my blog. I would love to interview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and your writing. You can reach me on my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction, My Thoughts, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Story Continuation Prompt: Fiction – Adventures with Dogs


Thanks to Wandering Soul for hosting the story continuation prompt. This week’s first sentence is: “The new morning brought with it new hope.”


Dog American Eskimo
http://www.pexels.com

The new morning brought with it new hope. Yesterday had been a horrible day and I didn’t want today to be a repeat. I had taken the day off as work had been particularly stressful.

Also, I had been dog sitting for my brothers and my parents who had all decided to go to various vacation destinations at the same time. I was ready to relax and unwind with the dogs, when my friend popped over with her three giant lab dogs.

Janice hadn’t had time to take her labs to doggy daycare in the morning as she usually did on Thursdays, before work. She felt Luna, Izzy, and Geo needed to be around other dogs at least a couple of days in the week, in addition to their walks. Luna, Izzy, and Geo joined Crumpet, Lola, and Cleo for some socialization on my day off.

I was happy all six dogs were girls.There was a pecking order, Cleo and Lola, leading the pack, but all the dogs got along famously and enjoyed playing and following each other around in the house.

Cleo and Lola were miniature American-Eskimo cross breeds and pack dogs by nature. Crumpet was a chihuahua and yappy as chihuahua’s tended to be. Luna, Izzy, and Geo were all various mixes of labs, friendly and boisterous.

I dreaded taking all six dogs to the park for a walk as I wasn’t sure how to manage six dogs of various sizes and temperaments, all on leashes. I was hoping to let them run around on the off leash trails as much as possible. But even maintaining control of the girls on the off leash trails would be a challenge as I would have to ensure they did not scare or surround other dogs and their owners.

Lunch time came, and I set off on a walk with all six dogs. Leashes tangled and the girls sniffed around and jumped at each other on the way to the off leash trails. We narrowly avoided several people on bicycles. The American Eskimo crosses, in particular, didn’t like the cyclists and the noise they made. They were even more upset by the rollerbladers who whipped by us.

While Cleo and Lola tugged madly on their leashes I attempted to pull them in. The labs on the other hand, loved running along with Janice on her husband as they biked, so they in turn, pulled their leashes towards the cyclists happy to greet them.

Finally we reached the off leash trails and the dogs were set free to play. The chased each other through trees, wood chipped trail, and bushes. We passed other people walking their dogs and I was surprised how good all the dogs were, even Cleo and Lola who could be nippy and have attitudes at times. All the dogs greeted the new human and dog friends they met on the trails, and more dogs were added to the mixture of breeds running wild.

Crumpet, my parent’s chihuahua mix, decided she had had enough walking and jumped up into my arms. I had no idea how I was going to carry her with the five others dogs pulling on their leashes when we were ready to go home. The dogs and I walked down the trail a good hour and then turned around.

I was tired near the end of our walk. It was a great deal of effort to keep tabs on six dogs and the dogs’ energy levels were still going strong. I was hoping a long walk would tire them out. The girls were constantly running back and forth to me, checking to see that I was coming along and jumping at me at random moments wanting me to play or to give me a kiss. Cleo and Lola who knew me better, kept checking back incase I decided to throw a milkbone treat their way.

As we walked, we came to the shores of the river near my house. A small delta of land went out here, and couple of other dogs were swimming in the shallow waters. I shouted, “No. Stay here,” to all the dogs but they ignored me. I expected Luna, Izzy, and Geo to not hear me as they had never had to listen to me before. But Cleo and Lola knew better. So did Crumpet.

They tiny Chihuahua mix leaped into the muddy water and began to paddle around. I groaned. All these dogs were going to need baths later and this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Thursday off, bathing filthy dogs. I knew for a fact Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet would never accept being bathed by a hose and they would fight me every inch as I washed them.

After a time, I called all the dogs out of the river water. They came crashing towards me. Luckily, I had been wearing workout clothes, for I was as wet and dirty as the dogs once they were done greeting me.

Something was wrong though, Crumpet hadn’t come in from the river. I saw her standing on a tiny piece of land surrounded by water and yipping at me. She was afraid to come out. I sighed and made a face knowing I would have to go in the river and bring Crumpet out.

Wading into the shallow water, I carefully walked out from the delta and grabbed Crumpet off of her lonely island. She was overjoyed to see me and dripped water over my face and neck. Even my hair was dirty now.

Crumpted nuzzled into my neck and sighed. When I was back on land, I managed to leash up the five other dogs who had been patiently waiting for me oddly enough.

I don’t know how, but dripping wet and dirty, we all made it back to my house and I unleashed all the dogs in my fenced backyard. I won’t mention how difficult it was to clean up after each dog after they had done their business during the walk.

In the garage, I had a kiddy pool purchased for my small niece when she had visited in the summer. I filled up the pool with water from the garden house. Going inside the house, I shed my clothes at the door along with my mucky shoes, and went downstairs to the bathroom to grab a big bottle of shampoo. I changed into an old t-shirt and pair of shorts and grabbed old towels from from the closet upstairs.

A couple of the labs, Izzy and Luna, were already in the swimming pool when I came outside, so I began washing them first. Apparently, they were used to being bathed liked this and after the first two labs were done, I grabbed Crumpet from where she slept, under a tree and forced her to have a bath as well. Taking ice cream buckets full of garden hose water, I rinsed off the dogs and dried them in turn. I dumped out the kiddy pool and filled it again with clean water.

Geo the third lab, was happy to have a bath as her lab siblings had enjoyed. She was easy to shampoo, rinse off, and dry. Cleo and Lola watched me suspiciously as I came to get them.  I yelled, “Come here!” Their ears went back as they knew they were in trouble and they tried to stealthily avoid me. But Cleo was nearest and only thirty-pounds, it was easy enough to carry her into the pool a short distance away.

Keeping Cleo in the pool, was a problem. She struggled in earnest to escape, even when she was slathered in shampoo. She was tough to clean as she had long fur and when she was done, we both were covered in water. I let Cleo go after drying her off. It was Lola’s turn next and she yelped when I picked her up from the corner of the yard she’d been hiding in. The process of cleaning Lola was similar to how it went with her cousin Cleo.

I was worn out from walking and bathing six filthy dogs. But I gazed out into the grassy backyard and saw how tired the dogs were too. They lay stretched out in the grass sleeping or circling, trying to find a good position to settle down in in a sunbeam. I collapsed into a lawn chair and slept.

The next thing I knew Janice was standing before me. “Trish? Are you awake?” I was startled. I smiled at Janice sleepily.

“Yeah. I was tired. Sorry I must have dozed off.” I told Janice what the girls and I did today. She laughed.

“You didn’t have to take all the dogs for a long walk. I was going to take the labs myself when I got home. How did you manage with six dogs?”I told Janice the story and she laughed at my struggles with the dogs.

Janice thanked me profoundly and took Izzy, Luna, and Geo home. Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet .wandered up to me and we all went in the house. Dinner was served for the dogs and at the end, treats were given for enduring their baths.

In the end, I was able to have the long hot shower, I’d been dreaming about since the dogs jumped on me after being in the river. I took my time and was finally, able to relax.


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