Welcome to another week of my interview series. Today I’m so excited to share with you an interview with my talented and caring friend, Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses) who has been writing many wonderful tales for adults and children on her blog with Colin Chappell of A Dog’s Life (Stories of Me and Him). I interviewed Colin earlier this year HERE.
Many of Carolyn’s tales and her new book with Colin are about a Cat named Dewey, a Jackalope named Jaxon, an owl named Odessa, and a human helper for them on Moonbeam farm they live, known as the ‘manservant.’ You can also find Carolyn’s interview on The Go Dog Go Cafe,where I will be posting a writer interview each Tuesday (the same one here and on there). It is a wonderful writer’s community on WordPress so please come and explore.
As well, all watercolor paintings illustrating the characters from Carolyn’s (and Colin’s) book Odessa’s Chronicles,are done by Jodi of The Creative Life In Between. She’s such a talented artist and I would recommend following her blog for her art, recipes, poetry, and blog posts narrated by her dog, Charlie. She also has an Etsy Shop, on break at the moment, but when it’s not, you can purchase cards, paintings, (etc.) of Jodi’s beautiful work.
My name is Carolyn Shelton and I live in Southern Pennsylvania. I am the Mother of two teenagers which explains why there are days that I feel like my brain is missing! I love having fun with my family and friends, whether we are just chatting or on an adventure together. I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.
Humor is a big part of my life! I have serious posts on my blog, but a lot of humorous ones as well. And there are days, where you may get more humor from the comment section. I have a good friend that likes to express his wit at times. I am always up for a battle of wits, do I win? Well…. onto the next question.
My biggest writing goal is to touch others with what I write. I want to make them smile, laugh and also ponder on deeper things at times. I am thankful for my gift of writing, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if I keep it to myself. This is why I share it on my blog with for everyone and anyone to read.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does It Mean To You?
I began blogging in the Fall of 2014. It wasn’t something that I had planned on doing. I was browsing on the internet one day and I saw something that piqued my interest.WordPress was offering a free writing course. I loved to write and felt that this course would be fun to take and see what happened. I signed up for it and well, here I am. 🙂 I enjoyed the course a great deal and was excited seeing what I could do with a blog.
I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and interacting with them. I was still learning but felt as if I had found my niche in the wonderful world of blogging.My love of writing had been rekindled.
” I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.” – Carolyn Shelton
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is it Important to You to Keep Writing and Blogging? Do You Have Writing Habits? A Time of Day It’s Easier for You to Write?
My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me, through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy because it is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not writing. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogging and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.
Writing is me letting my heart speak and it can be so freeing expressing my emotions through writing. Late at night seems to be my best time to write. The house is all quiet, the phone is not ringing, and it’s just me and my Sheltie who lays at my feet.
4. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects, on your Blog or Otherwise? Have You Published Any Writing?
I am currently co-authoring a The Odessa Chronicles,with fellow blogger, Colin.I’m so excited about it! The process of writing it readying it for publication has been a true adventure! The front cover of the book has not yet be decided on and the book is not quite ready for publication and release to my readers but it will be available on Amazon when it is completed. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Colin and mine’s book release!
” My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy. It is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogginh and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.” – Carolyn Shelton
5. Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Writers or Bloggers Starting Out?
I enjoy writing serious posts and posts written for fun. I enjoy reading both as well. Also, I like reading stories in the genre of fiction and some nonfiction stories as well when I am choosing novels to read.
As for advice for new writers or bloggers: I encourage them to be patient with their self and write what comes naturally. Don’t think that your blog has to be like another blogger’s blog. Your blog is unique just like you. Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog. Don’t push yourself to post every day if you cannot manage to do that. I didn’t post each day in the beginning and there is no rule that says you have to post every day. You need to write when it fits your schedule.
6. For Fun, Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs? Top Three? What Do You Like About Them?
Oh, my this is a hard question. There are a lot of blogs I enjoy! The blogs I have followed the longest though are Jodi’s, Ameena’s and Colin’s.
Jodi’s blog makes my taste buds tingle when I see pictures of the wonderful recipes she is cooking up. She is a wonderful cook and there are sometimes I attempt her recipes, though I am sure she does them better. She also does beautiful paintings and puts lovely poems to lovely photographs she takes together in a post. I enjoy reading her blog because of her cheery outlook on life.
Ameena (Randoms by A Random) is a gifted poet and her poems tug at my heartstrings. She has put me at a loss for words more than once. You can read the interview Mandibelle16 did of Ameena HERE
Colin writes about life with Ray, his wonderful Rescue Dog that he adopted. He also has “Just Thinking” posts that give you things to ponder. It is always interesting to read his perspective. He includes some poetry on his blog; in fact, he has a book of wonderful poetry coming out soon. His dry wit comes through in his posts as well. A blog that can make me laugh will be one I keep going back to.
Most importantly all these blogs do have something in common. Although they post about various topics, they all have become special friends of mine.That is what I feel is at the heart of blogging, the friendships that are formed from a mutual interest.
” Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog.” – Carolyn Shelton
7. Can You Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts?
Here are some of Carolyn’s posts that she and I like a great deal. I hope you enjoy them too!
Written April 2013, by Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)
Good Morning! Today my husband and I will bid a final farewell to a dear friend of ours. His body was ravaged with cancer and now he is free from pain. Though we are happy that he is now at peace, there also is pain, as he will be dearly missed!
Pat always had a smile for you and could make you laugh with his wit. Even when his wit was at your expense, you couldn’t help but laugh. Shaking your head, trying not to smile, as your mind was racing for a comeback. No joke was ever old. We had met over 20 years ago, and there was something that had happened to me in that first year that Pat and Sherry were dating. Something that he still loved to throw out there whenever he would get the chance, and yes it still had a way of heating up my cheeks. His humor is something that stayed with him, even as his body grew sicker. He kept his spirits up and fought hard. He was an inspiration.
In yesterday’s post, Dewey and Jaxon Follow Their Hearts, I told about when we heard the news about cancer and how Dewey took over my pen. Took over my pen for my broken heart. Today I am sharing a poem that I shared before. A poem that seems fitting for today. It has been revised a little to help it flow more smoothly, thanks to a friend.
My heart poured it out on a night when it was breaking. Breaking because the prognosis was not looking good for my friend and the tears fell as I didn’t know what to say. What could I speak to my precious friend and his wife? How could I encourage her? I felt that I had no words.
Come Away With Me My Friend (Let Us Run To The Ocean)
Come away with me my friend
Let us run to the ocean,
Where you can let the pain in your heart
Be overpowered by the roar of the waves.
Let us go where you can shout ”Why?” to the sky,
And scream as loud as you need.
Where you can fall to your knees on the soft sand.
Thank you so much to Carolyn for allowing me to interview her for this week’s blogger/writer interview. She is a wonderful and kind hearted person and I’m so excited for the book she and Colin will be releasing on AMAZON soon. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Nuggets of Gold.
If you are a writer, blogger, author, or someone who blogs for a cause or special organization and would like to be featured in my interview series here and on the Go Dog Go Cafe please reach out to me through my CONTACT PAGE on my personal blog. Thank you and see you next week!
Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing Lee Ann from the blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too. As LeeAnn’s blog focus is more on helping animals through her blog, the focus of this interview will be slightly different than past interviews.
1. LeeAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself and Your Blog?
I have always been a quiet, deep-thinking, and observational person.Through deep-thinking and my tendency to observe, I noticed a lot of aspects about animals. Watching them, and paying attention to them, I fell in love with them.
As I am a quiet person, I feel I tend to get lost in the crowd much of the time. I noticed a similar thing often occurred with animals;they were getting lost in the crowd too when people didn’t pay attention and take care of them. Intrinsically, I felt their worth, their needs, and I noticed the way some of them were not treated nicely. My passion for helping animals was born.
2. When Did You Begin Blogging ? What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You?
I had taken classes for Web Design in 2013 and one of the assignments was to create a blog. My blog was my current blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too and I wrote on it occasionally over the next few years. However, in August 2016 I started blogging regularly. I have had different experiences with writing throughout my life.
Back in elementary school I first fell in love with poetry and writing (and my poetry teacher J). Since then, I have written several poems over the years, but only for my family and friends for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and other special events. Currently, some of my responsibilities at work include writing newsletters and social media posts.
Blogging means everything to me because of what I write about. I adore animals and feel passionate about helping them. I have been trying to figure out my entire life how to utilize my love for animals. When the assignment came up in my course to create a blog, my teacher told me she thought I should continue with my ‘helping animal’ themed blog.
I guess you could say a light bulb went off in my head. It took me a few years to apply myself, consistently blogging. But I think I had troubles because I was burnt out from being on a computer all day between work and school. I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.
” I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.” – LeeAnn
3. Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer To Write?
Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there harming animals and not enough laws to protect the animals. This is where my inspiration and motivation comes from. I want to make a difference and ensure fewer animals are harmed. I also feel a lot of people are unaware of how much animal abuse exists and how few laws there are to protect animals (pets).I am hoping to bring light to these issues on my blog.
I am more alert and ‘fresh’ in the late morning after I have some coffee; however, because I have a full-time job, a lot of my writing and blog posts are done in the evening after work.
4. Do You Have Any Current Pet-Related Writing Projects or Hopeful Ones? Are You Planning on Publishing Anything Related to Animals?
My blog is my current and ongoing project. I am only six months into regular blogging, so I am still new at blogging. I am working hard at ‘getting my writing out there’ on animal issues. My hope is to grow my traffic, not for my sake, but for the sake of animals and to make a difference.
So far, I’ve not published anything other than blog posts. I have considered writing a children’s book on empathy towards animals someday. I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc.) I may also turn some of my blog posts into a book someday.
” I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc).” – LeeAnn
5. What Is Your Writing Process Like When Focusing on Animals?
As I mentioned, there is so much animal abuse going on, so there is not a lack of topics to write about. If I see a story on the web about an animal that was abused, I start thinking and the writing process for a post begins.
For example, after going to the Renaissance Festival I noticed an elephant chained to a contraption which only allowed him to move around in a circle giving people rides. I started thinking and when I was home, I wrote about this event and how awful it was for the poor elephant to be so confined and probably abused.
6. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Bloggers or on Advice on How People Can Help Animals in Need?
I am not a ‘professional’ writer, but as another blogger said: “If you’re writing on a blog, you are a writer.” Writing and blogging are skills I and other writers improve on with time. I am still learning and growing as I learn more about blogging, particularly for my significant cause. As well on my blog’s About Page I wrote this about how people can aid animals:
“Supporting animal organizations is . . . one way I help animals . . . I write about a wide variety of topics and types of animals, and I usually share links so you can check out the organization/topic being discussed.
There are many ways we can all help animals. Donating items to shelters, writing letters, signing petitions, volunteering time at an animal organization, sharing my posts to spread the word, and much more.” – LeeAnn
7. Do You Have Anything Else You’d Like To Share With Readers on Helping Animals, Yourself, or Blogging?
I am attempting to give my blog real purpose (a means to an end) that my writing and blogging actually result in animals at risk or already being harmed, not being hurt anymore. I also want people to know I do have a large variety of posts on my blog.
Some of the posts I write include Pet Tales, Vegetarian Recipes, Pet Care Tips, and Serious Topics such as Animal Abuse Issues. I also use pictures from other bloggers and Facebook Page followers. I post them in my posts called ‘Tuesday Tales.’
8. Do You Have Any Favorite Bloggers You Follow?
I enjoy different kinds of blogs, but I think my favorite blogs are when someone writes about their pet(s). I think it’s fun to see all those adorable pet photos and learn about various animals and their personalities. Oddly enough, I do not necessarily like to follow blogs that are about ‘animal activism.’ I applaud them but I find these blogs usually too graphic for me to handle.
9. Please Share With Us Some of Your Animal Related Blog Posts:
The post below was written when a young follower of mine contacted me to let me know she was inspired by my blog. She wrote a poem called “Animals Are Feeling beings Too” which she published on her blog.
I have been blogging (well…serious blogging) for a few months now. I have played around with my blog, changing & adding things like the “Tuesday Tales” where I share animal stories and “Sunday Pause (Paws)” where I encourage everyone to kick back & relax. On my “Vegetarian Challenge” page I try to add recipes every now & then. There hasn’t been an actual challenge yet, but maybe in the future. Also, I have been adding my favorite cruelty-free products to the “Links” page, adding some pictures of my cat, Cino and “Pet Care Tips.”
I will continue to add to these pages and keep a variety on my blog. But one thing that will not change is where my heart is, and that is helping the fight against animal cruelty.
This means some of my posts will not be so uplifting or fun. If I were to only do “happy” posts I wouldn’t be spreading the word about animal cruelty and therefore I wouldn’t be helping animals.
Something I saw on Facebook (or somewhere) not so long ago was this sentence, “The reason I dedicate myself to helping animals so much is because there are already so many people who dedicate their lives to hurting them.” Sadly, a true statement!
There are a lot of people who tell me they can’t stand to read or see anything about animal abuse because it bothers them too much. It bothers me A LOT too, but I can not turn my back on them. I want to encourage others not to either.
I recently have received a few great compliments from fellow bloggers about my blog. This makes me feel so warm & fuzzy. I also received a message from a young follower, named Leona, that said me and my blog inspire her, and that she wrote a poem and named it “Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.” I was overjoyed by this! It makes me think maybe I AM making an impact out there for the good of animals!
Thanks to LeeAnn for the lovely interview and sharing her passion for taking care of and helping animals at home and ones who are in need. Best of luck to her in her blog and spreading the word about animal empathy and the proper way to treat your pets and animals in general. Here is a Link To LeeAnn’s blog one last time: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.
If you would like to share your blogging or writing in my biweekly interview series, please reach out to me through mycontact page on my blog. I will see you in two weeks!
This writing 101 prompt is to experiment with word count. I usually, don’t limit my posts unless I have to. Some of the hardest pieces I write can only be 100 words long. But since I have a choice, I’m going to write and see what comes out.
There is a beginning and and an end to a story. Then there is the inbetween. Often, the inbetween is the part of the story we skip over, we miss the everyday mundane details of our characters lives which would bore many readers. But it is fascinating that in real life, the simple and mundane acts in life can be the most meaningful:
Everyday for the past three or four-years, my Dad cuts up a bowl of fruit for me in the morning. He started to do it when a Chinese student was staying in our house to finish her last two years of highschool and later attend University where we live.
Sometimes, the student didn’t eat her fruit, so I would eat it when I woke up later in the morning. One day I ate a bowl of fruit left on the table and my Dad came back from his run:
“Did you eat the bowl of fruit on the table?” he asked me.
“Yes, I thought it was Cristina’s and she didn’t have time to eat it,” I said feeling like a little child being scolded.
“I don’t mind cutting you a bowl of fruit Amanda but that was my bowl of fruit. I cut it so it would be ready when I came home from my run.”
“I’m sorry,” I said alarmed. “I wouldn’t have eaten it if I knew it was yours.”
“It’s no trouble; I’ll cut an extra bowl of fruit it the morning. It’s not any extra work for me.” My Dad said smiling.
Cristina (the student) has moved out but almost every morning when I wake up around 10:30am, there is a bowl of fruit waiting for me.
As my Dad allows his grown-up daughter to live in his house (on cheap rent) because of her health, he cuts this same daughter fruit for breakfast. They’re both simple things, but they let me know to him even though I’m an adult, I’m still his little squirell and he loves me a great deal. They are mundane acts which demonstrates my Dad loves me more than any grander gesture could.
How many times do we go by those we love in our lives, not demonstrating our love? Yes in their hearts our loved ones know we love them. But it’s small gestures each day which truly show what we feel for our loved ones. Hugs and pats on the back; saying you love them or appreciate something they did out loud; little treats such as baking or buying them their favourite cookies or ice cream; doing something to make a loved ones life easier; or doing things they appreciate. Simple mundane tasks and moments of thought. The inbetween is where life counts.
Some of the most passive – aggressive behaviour to deal with is when someone who is angry at you has decided not to talk to you. Something was said by one or both parties, possibly in the context of a fight, now one person decided not to communicate but to cut off communication altogether.
I used to be guilty of this type of behaviour where you ignore another person in a fight or simply when you cannot deal with their baffling behaviour. One of the things that I’ve learned being in a relationship for three and a half years and having many long lasting friendships, is that it is important to talk disagreements out and never go to bed when you’re angry at someone. These perhaps cliche ways of acting are extremely vital to building and supporting relationships.
You and the person you are fighting with need to know that it’s okay to fight with one another because everyone has varied points of view. Sometimes issues just evolve to the point that there is no other way we can make our particular views known except through a fight. Not to mention, to last, relationships need to be able to withstand fighting. Not everyone is going to agree with everyone else especially in close relationships. If two people are able to compromise or accept each other’s habits, that says a lot about the strength of their relationship — that they can withstand bad and uncomfortable times. Other times in relationships compromise is not possible so partners and friends must learn to change their own habits and attempt to adapt to the other person’s seemingly odd habit.
But not talking to someone at all and not getting to the root of the problem is counter – intuitive because nothing becomes dealt with between two persons using this method. If I refuse to talk or both of us refuse refuse to talk about our issues we are no better then two little kids sitting there sticking our tongues out at each other. Sometimes problems can be forgotten and just left if they are not that important to the health of the relationship to begin with but in many cases this just isn’t true.
In many situations it feels better and relieves pressure on both individuals to just sit down or even write each other about the problem between them and put everything, all issues and feelings, out in the open so they can be examined and resolved. It’s not always the funnest or most happy option but it is the best option because it is the fastest method to a solution.
Everyone gets angry and upset once and awhile at least. Some people seem like they are upset all the time. So it is important to be calm and vital to acknowledge another person’s anger on certain issues and pay attention to them, make them feel validated, and explain your view in a helpful manner. And nine times out of ten if you make someone feel validated they are going to be a great deal more helpful to you in solving the problem and finding a resolution. Most importantly, forgive each other and don’t hold a grudge for the things that made you angry. This is why passive-aggressive behaviour such as ignoring others is not useful at all but counter-intuitive and anti-solution making.
When I was writing poetry in high school our English teacher gave us an assignment to write a poem about ourselves. I’m not sure where that piece of blind hope and optimism went but I seem to remember a line I wrote ” I’ll change this world one way or another.”
I think most people want to change the world in their own small way, to be recognized and have a piece of themselves remembered after they’re gone. How we go about changing the world is a difficult concept to consider because sometimes we don’t even know if our actions are altering our world or if our actions are just going to be forgotten such as many days, hours, and minutes in life. It is hard to tell if the actions of our outcomes to change the world will be positive or whether the actions of our outcomes to change the world will be negative.
I think a lot of people hope their actions are for the greater good but I have never believed that people naturally are good inside. I grew up believing that people are tainted by sin and that intrinsically what we do, even if it is a beneficial thing for others, we do it for ourselves. I think people become good through God and this affects people through their actions, their morals, how they talk, and how they treat other people when things are not so good in other people’s life and their own lives. We are inclined to be bad, to be selfish, but can fight against that inclination and learn to be someone who wants to change the world in a good way. But even our most benevolent actions can take us down dark painful trails in life. After all, as the old adage goes ‘ The Road to Hell Is Paved with good Intentions.’ So then if we do not know the affect our actions can take how then do we alter the world in a good way? Can we change the world for the better?
I feel that life is journey all about finding yourself, your family, and friends. It’s about struggling through the bad times and settling for content; it’s about those wonderful few moments that sparkle and are crystal clear when you realize everything is almost perfect; and it’s about helping as many other people as you can along the way. The world is not a constant thing, it is forever changing without us doing anything about it. For instance, The News is mostly terrible every day; somewhere it is a guarantee that people are dying and babies are being born; buildings are built, than taller more luxurious buildings are built, then someday they are all turned into crumbled up cement,steel, and dust; entrepreneurs and big business runs the world but some businesses that once were booming can easily become obsolete -think companies such as Meryl Lynch during the past few years in the recession. But it seems to me that we are all a part of this big world and have our talents to contribute, to give to whatever purpose we can, even though we don’t know the outcomes of our actions always.
At a desk in a library I was sitting at one day, these words were carved into the side of the desk: ‘ maybe your existence in this world is to serve as warning to others.’ I thought it was kind of funny but about a week later in the same desk someone had re-carved the bit of wit and wrote: ‘maybe your existence in this world is to serve others.’ 2 different points of view that show dramatically different ways we look at the world, one I think a bit humorously but meanly, and the other a very serious phrase which I think sums up changing the world: to serve others. From the greatest CEO’s to the immigrant workers at Tim Horton’s, from those who are truly blessed and are living an easy life, to those who are feeling like they don’t belong in this world and don’t want to be in, it’s all about helping every one of them so they can pay it forward too.
And if helping people is changing the world I think that means that the best strategy is to go ahead and do nice things, share yourself and your talents, with others in any small way you can, whoever you are. For me this might be helping other people to edit and write and to write articles to bring empowerment and knowledge to young woman. To another person, this could look like helping out at Santa’s Anonymous during Christmas, driving your way-to-drunk-to-drive friend home from the bar because you are sober, taking care of a pet and making sure it lives a content puppy or hedgehog life, it could be giving someone a break when they accidentally spilled their coffee on your dress shirt, letting your staff go an hour early from work, accepting your friends and family and loving them despite their flaws, realizing that you are not too flawed to be loved, talking to a lonely stranger, letting the seniors have the front seats on the bus, being a mom who lets other people pass in front of you even though you have a large stroller, or giving a mom a night off by babysitting her kid(s). There are so many things I can add to this list, it could go on and on. But this is how you change a world one small step at time through your individual journey in life, aiding others on their journey and finding out that living a life for yourself alone, is a lost one.
As the lyrics in my new favourite song by Aviccii, “Wake Me Up” goes: ” Feeling my way through the darkness\ guided by a beaten’ heart, I can’t tell where the journey will end/ But I know where to start / . . . So wake me up when it’s all over / When I’ m wiser and I’m older / All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.”