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

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


Good Morning, and welcome to another writer and or blogger interview. I’m excited to share with you an interview with a newly published author, JoAnne Macco. I think you’ll love her blog and her book as much as I do.

As per usual, this interview will also be featured on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a blog for writers and lovers of writing, of all kinds. It’s a blogger and writer’s community so make sure you stop by there after reading this interview on my site. You can also submit writing of your own on the site such as poetry and short fiction through the Contact Page.

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


JoAnne Silvia Picture
Credit: JoAnne Macco

1. JoAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

On WordPress, I’m best known as JoAnna of the Forest and I live in North Carolina on the east coast of the U.S.

In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.

My long-term goals are to continue to develop my storytelling skills, to write a novel based on my parents, and to travel more. As a military kid, my family moved around a great deal.

I longed to settle in one place, so I’ve stayed near the Carolina coast for most of my adult life. It’s comfortable here, most of the year, although summers can become hot and humid. It helps that my little urban cottage is 15 minutes from the ocean and surrounded by trees that provide a lot of shade.


2. When Did you Begin Writing and Blogging? For What Reason and What Does Writing Mean To You? 

I wrote poems and songs in high school and I’ve journaled, off and on, for most of my life. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, which is probably why I wrote more when I approached menopause as a single mom with a 13-year-old daughter.

Writing helped me find perspective and meaning during those rollercoaster years. When I wrote my book in 2012, someone told me I needed to blog as well. Blogging has broadened my world tremendously, and I’m thankful to be part of this supportive community on WordPress. I believe that when we all share our experience, thoughts, and feelings, we discover that we have more in common than we might have realized.


“In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, “Anything is Possible,” and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.” – JoAnne Macco


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write and Blog? Why Is Writing Significant to You? 

I’ve learned a lot in my 60 years of life and I’m still learning a ton. I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings. It helps me explore what I want to understand better about myself and the world.


4. Do You Have Particular Writing and/or Blogging Habits? What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing? 

Since I’m a night owl, my natural tendency is to write more in the afternoon and evening. But when I was working on my book, I found I had to write in the morning to keep from being distracted and staying up too late.

I’d force myself write in the morning for at least two hours before looking at any social media or email. Then, after checking those, I’d return to writing a couple of more hours in the afternoon.

I loved those long stretches of working on my book and becoming absorbed in the process. I look forward to doing that again with my next book. For now, I’m writing most of my blog posts at night.


“I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings.” – JoAnne Macco 


5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with Your Blog and Outside of Your Blog?

On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal stories about overcoming challenges and also about meaningful coincidences.

I want to engage readers about relationship issues and personal growth topics that come up a lot in Trust the Timing, my book on Amazon.com. Outside of blogging, I’m beginning to research and collect material for future books I want to write.


6. Have You Published Your First Book? Do You Plan To Publish More in the Future?

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

As well, I’m planning to write and publish at least two more books, one about Doodle, the problem step-dog (who makes an appearance in my first book). Also, I’m writing a novel based on the lives of my extraordinary parents. At some time, I would also like to publish a book of poetry.


“On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal, stories about overcoming challenges and about meaningful coincidences.’ – JoAnne Macco


Trust the Timing: A Memoir of Finding Love Again

by

JoAnne Macco

(Available for Purchase one Amazon.com)

*****

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

*****


7. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Did You Self-Publish or Go Through and Agent or Publishing Company? 

When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream-ofaconsciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.

I try to draft a chapter or a blog post without editing as if I’m talking to a friend. Then I’ll go back and edit the chapter or post later. Although, I don’t know if I’d want to write an another entire book like that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s better if I write before I peruse social media. I have to keep reminding myself of that!

Moreover, after considerable research and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to self-publish with Create Space for my memoir. I enjoyed the control this provided me. I think my next book maybe done with a small publishing company.


“When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream of consciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.” – JoAnne Macco


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

In college, I took journalism and technical writing and my previous career required a lot of factual reporting and clinical notes. As a result when I began writing my book I had a strong nonfiction framework. Also, I’ve enjoyed learning more about creative nonfiction over the past five years, working on my memoir.

Moreover, I’ve always been talented at making up stories in my head and I look forward to writing more fiction. However, my reading habits lean toward inspirational nonfiction, by authors like Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert, with an occasional sci-fi novel thrown in for fun.


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers Starting Out? 

I think I started writing and blogging, being too serious. Maybe it was my journalism and technical writing background? I thought I knew how to write, but creative writing is a whole different process than what I had been used to writing. To begin, I took online classes and engaged with supportive critique groups. 

Moreover, I learned that it’s vital to be conscientious and caring, when you’re writing, but not to forget to have fun. Also, it’s a good idea not to make your blog posts too long. About ‘five hundred’ words are plenty for a post (unless of course, you’re doing an interview). As well, I’ve learned to use photograps in every blog post I publish. 

My creative writing experience outside of blogging is primarily with my memoir. What I’ve learned from it is to write from your heart and not to be afraid to delve into those feelings if you’re in an emotionally stable place. It can be difficult and you’ll need to take breaks. Also, I’m sure writing fiction can bring up emotional baggage too. If you’re not ready for that, write for fun. Write poetry to yourself or write in a journal.

You can also keep a notebook handy for ideas that pop-up in your head so you can jot them down and allow these ideas to flow and transform into some kind writing later on.


“I’m sure writing fiction can bring up baggage, too. If you’re not ready for that yet, just write for fun. Write poetry to yourself. Keep a journal. Keep a notebook handy for ideas that” – JoAnne Macco


Writing Notebook Thought Catalogue UnSplash
Credit: Thought Catalogue via UnSplash

10. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share About Yourself or Your Writing? 

In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.


11. Just for Fun. What Are Your Top Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Enjoy About Them? 

It’s so difficult to name only three! I could easily name 10 favorites or more! But here it goes:

  • Sacred Touches –  Natalie Scarberry always has something to comfort or inspire me with vibrant colors and natural delights.
  • SmileCalm Home – David’s gentle, loving wisdom comes through in each post and makes me smile deep down in my heart.
  • Behind the White CoatBehind the White Coat is written by a smart doctor with a big heart. Her posts can be informative, entertaining, hilarious or heartbreaking. Her honesty makes me feel like I am not alone.

“In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.” – JoAnne Macco 


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

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

“If We Lose Electricity” 

By

JoAnne Macco

*****

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

*****

If we lose electricity

in the storm,

We will still have power.

We have the power

To check on our neighbors,

To ask for help,

To move to higher ground.

The power to tell stories,

To laugh,

To sing lullabies.

The power to write a poem,

To mend what’s torn,

To read by candlelight.

The power to hope and pray,

To reminisce,

To hold hands in the dark.

The power to clear a path,

To rise from ash,

 and rebuild.

_____________________________

When we say we’ve lost power, it minimizes the power we still have. If we lose electricity, let’s say we lost electricity. We still have power, at least over our thoughts, words, and actions.

I send prayers for safety and comfort to all those in the path of the storm.

13. Here are Some More Blog Links to JoAnne’s Writing:


Thank you so much to JoAnne for her patience with this interview. I loved learning about her writing and her background as a writer. I also think it’s neat how she is, particularly, a nonfiction writer. I also loved her quote about being a Christian writer who doesn’t, necessarily, do Christian writing.

If you’re a blogger or writer, or someone who blogs about a cause, please feel to contact me if you would like to be interviewed. My contact page is HERE. See you when I see you :).


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children/YA/Family, Fiction, Interviews, Memories/Childhood, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Writing

Writer Interview of Shivangi from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ #interview #nonfiction #author #childrensbooks


Hi, welcome to another interview for my biweekly interview series. I have been behind due to other projects so I’m having a special edition of my interview series featuring the lovely and talented Shivangi Singh from Minnesota in the United States, on a Sunday. Her blog’s link is here: Stories by Shivangi – Once Upon A Time . . .


Shivangi - Self
Credit: Shivangi Singh

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

I am Shivangi Singh from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ from Minnesota in the Unites States. I am a stay at home mom and I love to weave stories inspired by my surroundings. If you enjoy stories, films, and kids stuff, visit my blog, you will most definitely enjoy it.

As a child, I aways dreamt of writing books but with the development of technology, I have learned how easy it is to self-publish, now more than ever. I have managed to write, do some illustrating, and be the author of two children’s books that are available on Apple Itunes. They include the books below.


The Princess with Brown Teeth 

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - The Princess With Brown Teeth
Credit: Shivangi Singh – ‘The Princess with Brown Teeth’

Find it at on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-princess-with-brown-teeth/id1146112226?mt=11)


Who Ate The Moon

By Shivangi Singh

Shivangi - Who Ate The Moon
Credit: Shivangi Singh ‘Who Ate The Moon’

Find it on Itunes here: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/who-ate-the-moon/id1206671343?mt=11).

 


 2. Please Tell Us About Your Recent Book? When Did You Begin Blogging and Writing?

My recent book Who Ate The Moon is about two naughty brothers Aala and Uja, who adore the moon. They steal the moon and through stealing it learn about the different phases of the moon. The book is educational as well as entertaining. Through my children’s books, I’m trying to make learning fun for kids.

I began blogging in January 2015 soon after my first little one was born. I have been a copywriter, journalist, and have won several awards in creative writing. The purpose of ‘Stories by Shivangi’ was to maintain my flair for writing. I was also feeling a little disconnected after moving to the USA from India, so I chose to start my blog to establish a connection with fellow bloggers, writers, and friends. Ultimately, my blog showed me the way to my dream of being a published author.


3. How is Writing and Blogging Meaningful for You? Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Why Is Writing Important to You?

My blog and writing my books provide me with a much-needed creative outlet. It is my voice! I use this voice to entertain, advocate, and teach little ones such as my own. 

My inspirations are my surroundings, my kids, and the latest news or current events. As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge. This is one of my primary motivations to continue my blog as well as having that creative outlet for myself to write what I would like.


 “As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge.” – Shivangi Singh


4. Do You Have Any Particular Blog or Writing Habits? 

I write on the go and on my smartphone. A sentence here and a word there. With two demanding little ones around, it is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.


5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects On Your Blog or Otherwise? 

As of now, I have not planned anything. I will just keep writing one blog a week! My projects have been my two kids books which you can access above. As I said, I try to not commit to too much with my little ones and their demands at the moment.

My book did get reviewed by Ritu of But I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafar as well but have no future plans as of right now beyond blogging.


 ” [I]t is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.” -Shivangi Singh


6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process You Went Through Writing Your Books? 

It was quite challenging! I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.

Time was a challenge and so were the illustrations, but I did have an illustrator paint my cartoons in the first book (The Princess with Brown Teeth). But in my second book, I illustrated with the help of Pixton.com. My challenged of obtaining a visa was also a challenge so I couldn’t publish my books on Kindle. I was thrilled when my books were published on Apple, but then, I know many people with Android readers don’t have access to my books.

I did, however, put together a video on YouTube and did a voiceover of my books for readers who could not obtain my books through Apple. It did not come out as I had expected and I struggled on each step. I learned an enormous amount of information about putting together a video of my books in the process. 


7. What Keeps You Going As a Writer? Do You Prefer Any Writing or Reading Genres? 

Persistence and a love for writing are key, a person just has to keep writing no matter what. As well, I am absolutely crazy about fiction! I like to read poetry too!


“I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY  blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.” – Shivangi Singh


8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Bloggers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing? 

All my blog friends are doing great! I would advise them to be persistent and be better than their last post! As for having anything else to say, well,  I think I have said it all😀


9. For Fun, What Are You Three Favorite Blogs You Follow, of Any Kind? 

When I first entered the blog world, these were my favourite people. I continue to enjoy reading them.

  • Priceless Joy  — Her stories are awesome and her Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer Challenge is great for those who love writing and working on telling a story in only 150 to 175 words.
  • Ritu of But I Smile anyway — She blogs about day to day activities but the way she presents these activities, the way she writes, is awesome. Also, Ritu is such a positive and inspiring person!
  • Ali of Draliman On Life — (Because Sometimes Life Just Makes You Stop and Think) —  If you love a good laugh, visit Ali’s blog. I am a big fan of his humorous works.
  • I would also like to mention Millie Thom from Bringing History To Life — she is a writer par excellence.

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

Anecdote – Lesson By My Grandma!

By Shivangi Singh

May 9, 2016

******

*****

My grandma is a grand old lady nearing a century. If you look at her, she may appear formidable in the beginning and then a ringing laughter would ensue, dismantling the image you had conjured up in your mind. The fact is, she is both formidable as well as light hearted. A unique, delightful combination!

Born and brought up in a royal family ( Kharsawan, Jharkhand), she has always had that regal bearing. She believes in maintaining distance from her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids as well as recently added a great-great-grand kid. And we are all supposed to behave in her presence. We rise when she enters the room and remain respectful in her presence.

During my childhood years, we lived with her, so, we had the opportunity to observe her from the closest quarters. I discovered her lighter side later in life. Initially, I was apprehensive of her. She commanded and the household ran according to her. But as I grew up, I discovered the lighter, fun side of her personality. There have been many instances when she would have us in splits.

Here is one such incident. One of our cousins was going to meet a prospective bridegroom. In arranged marriages in India, girls and guys are introduced by their families, they meet up, chat and then a decision is taken unanimously.

So, this cousin was both excited as well as scared before her first meeting. Our granny called her and said, “If you like this man, try to do little something to make him fall for you.”

We were seeing another aspect of our grandma. We all asked, “what?”. She immediately showed us how to woo a husband – “Look sideways at him and then look down… blush… look up again at him… look down and blush again. And then smile juuust a little.” We doubled up with laughter!

I don’t know whether my cousin looked sideways at the prospective groom or not but they ended up getting married!

*****

(Sharing a picture of my grandparents)

*****

I look up to my grand old lady because she always had the audacity to laugh at all challenges that came in her life. In her almost 100 years of life, she has seen many ups and downs. All her peers are long gone now, times have changed but she has remained strong.

I adore her because she is quite broad-minded, childlike and her booming laughter lightens the most serious of situations. A great devotee of Krishna, she follows what the playful God says – to celebrate life as it is!

Long live my grandma!

*****


Here Are Additional Posts Written By Shivangi:


Thanks so much to Shivangi for filling out my interview questions! I even gave Shivangi the wrong interview questions (the one’s for blogs that are causes) and she still did a brilliant job. She is an inspiration as a writer and a mother and I wish her good luck in the future with her family and writing. Here is the link to here homepage one last time: Stories By Shivangi


Thanks for reading this interview and if you are interested in being interviewed as a writer/blogger or you a blogger writing for a specific cause (or both), you can reach out to me on my Contact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Children/YA/Family, Fairy Tale Themed, Fiction, Licentia - aabbccddeeAA, BBffgghhiiAA, CCjjkkllmmAA, Memories/Childhood, MindLoveMisery's Menagerie, My Thoughts, Nature, Poetry, Religion/Morality, Tale Weavers Fiction/Poetry, Writing, Writing Challenges

Tale Weavers: Poem – Licentia – “Some Magical World” #amwriting #poetry #taleweavers


Last week’s Tale Weavers prompt was for us to write about a magical place. Thanks to Michael from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting. 

—–

Credit: Adventures In The Wild

——

Place I drift when life hurts, inspiring —

Ethereal dreamscapes adventures beguiling.

A magical place where the grass stands high,

Lush ’round my legs, where Gerber daisies spy.

Tipping towards the sun, technicolor,

Bright, inspiring, blue of sky discover.

A hole in the ground or Wonderland? 

Pixie dust sparkling in my hair, Neverland? 

Is this my own magic kingdom I’ve found? 

Place my mind travels inspired profound.

Place I drift when life hurts, inspiring —

Ethereal dreamscapes adventures beguiling 

——

A magical place where the grass stands high,

Lush ’round my legs, where Gerber daisies spy. 

A hiding place where I often prefer,

Don’t search for me in my valley secure. 

I’m riding raindrops, kissing the sun,

I’ve never had so much freedom or fun. 

Gentlemen here, always decent and sweet, 

A wink in their eye, naughty whispers keep.

They’ll treat a girl well, hold tight if she weeps, 

And if you would like, they’ll love you to sleep. 

Place I drift when life it hurts, inspiring —

Ethereal dreamscapes adventures beguiling.

——

Tipping towards the sun, technicolor,

Bright, inspiring, blue of sky discover.
Gerber daisies everywhere with roses, 

Brilliant vivacity, colors exposed. 

Pixies trailing their dust eternally, 

Wings of lace light night, give hope certainly. 

Everything’s first bloom, so never spurn, 

This place humbles beautiful; with tears yearn

No contacts, surgery needed to peer, 

With clarity of soul, all vision clears. 

Place I drift when life it hurts, inspiring —

Ethereal dreamscapes adventures beguiling 

——-

A hole in the ground or Wonderland? 

Pixie dust sparkling in my hair, Neverland? 
Here is my land, I’m caregiver among —

Faeries with animals exotic, young. 
In their best-years forever, conversing —

Plainly; furry adore cuddles, nothing terse. 

A tiger cub sits by me so befuddled, 

When wolf pup becomes part of our den.

When I cheer because each word I’ve written —

Makes sense; stories flow unrestricted

 A place I drift when life it hurts, inspiring —

Ethereal dreamscapes adventures beguiling 

——

Is this my own magic kingdom I’ve found?

Place my mind travels inspired profound.
A comfortable place where I sit typing, 

Art studio where brush strokes have foresight.

Friends visit often, chocolate’s water

No weight gained, eight squares a day should be sought. 

Parties like Gatsby’s with flapper clothing, 

Each night unique theme, we don’t bemoan. 

As if we’re happy drunk with extra spunk,

Able to keep life in moderation’s trunk. 

A place I drift when life it hurts, inspiring —

Ethereal dreamscapes adventures beguiling.

——

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing

Interview With Tosha Michelle


Happy Monday! Welcome to my bi-weekly interview series. I am happy to share with you September’s second interview: the fascinating, beautiful, and gifted poet, Tosha Michelle from the blog — Everything I Never Told You: Lucidly In Shadows, Poetry From A Hand That Writes Misty. 

Please take a look at her blog here: Everything I Never Told You


Tosha Michelle

1. Tell Us About Yourself Tosha? 

My name is Tosha Michelle and I hail from the land of grits and sweet tea. I’m a poet and author of two books — Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle and Self Help to Self Harm. The first is a chapbook and contains some of my earlier poems. The latter is my silly take on the self help genre. I’ve written things since I was a child but I didn’t take up blogging until about five-years-ago. I’m also an abolitionist and Academia addict. I’m the Radio Host of -Chit Chat Chicks Live and La Literati. I’m a book worm and perpetual nerd and dreamer.

 


 

2.  What Does Writing and Poetry Mean to You Personally? 

Poetry  — reading it, writing it — is one of my greatest forms of pleasure. There’s so much life and emotion which can be found in poetic verse. I write poetry to release my own demons, to make sense of my feelings, and for the sheer pleasure of self-expression. My poetry, usually, stems from strong emotions either good emotions or emotions which feel bad. I find it easier to write when my senses are heightened and I’m in tune with my internal angst or joy.


“I write poetry to release my own demons, to make sense of my feelings, and for the sheer pleasure of self-expression. My poetry, usually, stems from strong emotions either good emotions or emotions which feel bad. I find it easier to writ when my senses are heightened . . .” – Tosha Michelle


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

I’m a woman-child in a state of grace, struggling to find my voice and place in this world through introspection, self-reflection, and most importantly by social activism and advocacy. I firmly believe in these words: “Be the change you want to see.” It is only through love, tolerance, humility and the understanding of our own fragility that we can begin to find our humanity and, in turn, extend that humanity to others. I hope this comes through in my writing.


4. Are There Personal Causes Behind Your Writing and Values In Life? 

Love combined with action can and will make an impact on the world. It takes heart and guts to take on the seemly insurmountable, and we must. We must take a stand against injustices such as human trafficking, child abuse, and poverty.

Can one person change the world? Absolutely! Picture a world without Martin Luther King, without Gandhi, without Mother Teresa, and the countless other men and women who fought injustices in their culture, challenged the unchallengeable, and helped change society for the better.

Changing the world, making a difference where you can, and taking a stand, these are issues I often write about. Writing is a fantastic way to make a difference in the world.


” ‘Be the change you want to see.'” It is only through love, tolerance, humility and the understanding of our own fragility that we can begin to find our humanity and, in turn, extend that humanity to others. I hope this comes through in my writing.” – Tosha Michelle


Tosha Michelle 2
Tosha Michelle

5. Do You Find There Is a Time Of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?  Have You Published Any Writing? What Is Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

Mornings are the best time to write, there’s something inspiring about the promise of a new day. As I stated earlier, I wrote Confessions of A Warm Southern Belle and the book, Self Help To Harm. As for projects, I’m working on putting together a collection of my  more recent poems. I also have a project with a fellow poet. We are working on a book together.


Confessions of A Warm Southern Belle: A Poet’s Collection of Love, Loss, and Renewal

By Tosha Michelle

Confessions of A Warm Southern Belle Tosha
http://www.amazon.com

You Can Purchase Tosha’s Poetry Book Here on Amazon.


Self Help to Self Harm: The Dubious Guide To Life, Love, and Relationships

By Tosha Michelle

Self Help Tosha
http://www.amazon.com

Purchase Tosha’s Self Help to Self Harm Book here on Amazon.


4. What Is Your Writing Process Like? How Did You Publish Your Books?
I self-published on Amazon, the process was fairly easy. The hard part is marketing yourself and your writing. I’m not sure if I would take the self-publishing route again. I tend to write obsessively and in spurts. I need a quiet place to create, with no music, TV, or other distractions.


5. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres? Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers?

 I love poetry and I am a huge fiction fan. I also read a lot of non-fiction as well. I’m a history buff and adore anything related to history and the past.
Writing is such a personal thing and I can only speak to what helps me. Writing every day is something I practice. I also read a great deal. I do think writing and reading go together like biscuits and gravy or cornbread and milk. My Southern roots are showing 🙂
I think you need to just be yourself. There’s something lovely about being authentic and real in writing and in life.


” . . .[Writing] and reading go together like biscuits and gravy or cornbread and milk . . . I think you need to just be yourself. There’s something lovely about being authentic and real in writing and in life.” – Tosha Michelle. 


6. Can You Please Share A Few Links From Your Blog With Your Favorite Or Most Loved Pieces?

“And Everything”

He makes my heart leap

But i’m so very careful of the rocks

In the distance I see the lush

greenness of the vineyard.

The roots true. The vines ripe

Do I have faith in the landscape?

It still looks abstract from here.

I walk on with my shoes of hope

wearing clear blue skies and a

thawed out soul.

Still I worry about a change in

the weather, falling into a ravine

My spirit like a sacred dare

challenges me to forget my fears,

to journey on deeper into what

could become less or more.

His voice in the distance

permeates my darker self until

all I see is sunlight.

Who can say what dust will bring?

Wine or a cloud spun our of

misguided fate?.

For now the light glimmers

How freeing it is branching

it’s way out into the unknowns.

July 29, 2016 -Tosha Michelle


Here Are Two Additional Poetry Pieces From Tosha’s Blog:


Tosha Word Quote
Tosha Michelle (Unknown)

Thank you Tosha Michelle, for answering my interview questions. I enjoyed reading your answers and the books you have written both seem as if they’ll be great reads. I know the poetry will be awesome, but I think you perspective on dating, love etc. would be an interesting read as well. I hope everyone will check them out on Amazon. Also, love that you are an advocate for change for the terrible things happening in our world.


Would you like to share about yourself, your writing, and your writing process? Please reach-out to my through my Contact Page and I will send you some interview questions. I would love to feature you on my bi-weekly interview series, whatever kind of writing you adore. Thanks for reading 🙂


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Interview with Nelly Cherry


Good Morning and welcome to another bi-weekly edition of my interview series. Today, I’m interviewing the talented, inspiring, seventeen-year-old, poetess, and writer Nelly Mgendi who prefers to be called Nelly Cherry from the blog Nelly Cherry. Please take time to visit her site, she has many gems of poetry to be read.


Nelly Cherry 2
Nelly Cherry

1. Nelly, Please Tell Us About Yourself:
 My birth name is Nelly Mgendi but I have adopted the name Nelly Cherry and that is the name I prefer to go by. I am Tanzanian by birth and currently living in Kenya.
In a nutshell, I am adventurous and I like to discover new things. I’m funny and as some would say, I am quite the drama queen. I was also raised in a humble religious home.
When I was younger, I never liked poetry or writing whatsoever, even though, I was a huge fan of reading books. Back at home, people didn’t think of me as anyone extraordinary, as someone who had hidden talents. All of that changed when I came to Kenya where I am treated with love and have support. People don’t see me as the plain and uninteresting “Nelly Mgendi” but “Nelly Cherry,”a girl who is full of surprises.
Moving to Kenya made me realize there is more to who I am as person than I or other people thought back home. I found a passion for writing in Kenya. At first, I hated it, but I grew to appreciate writing and learn about writing and creativity in-depth. Today, I love writing and cannot live without itwriting has made me a better person.
As the saying goes: “ Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This was extremely applicable for me and how I judged writing before I fell in love with it.

2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging? 
I considered going into writing when I was about to finish my O levels in school. I bought a journal to express my thoughts and started writing. Through social media I saw various different blogs, and decided blogging my writing would be a great idea. Before WordPress I joined Blogspot, a blogging platform I didn’t enjoy. So, I signed up for WordPress where I felt welcomed by a wonderful and warm community and my dear friend Vester Miles.
I decided to permanently, use WordPress for my social media platformfor writing.

“Today, I love writing and cannot live without it; writing has made me a better person. As the say goes: ” Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This was extremely applicable for and how I judged writing before I fell in love with it.” – Nelly Cherry

3.What Does Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
Poetry is my comfort zone because it is where I get to express myself. I’m not an open person so poetry is where I can show who I actually am. I write because there is more to who I am than what people label me as being. Writing gives me comfort and it helps me forget about my own problems. Also, it gives me some sense of hope and purpose in life. Writing aids me in dealing with any situation which comes my way. It helps me express and cope with emotions, issues, and situations, as well as use my imagination.

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

All of my writing begins as I perceive the people around me. I look at and dig deeper into my surroundings and the events that are currently, happening around me and in my life. I also find inspiration in music of different genres. I search for the ‘storyline’ in a piece of music and the bigger picture behind the song I’m writing about. I find motivation to write as I read about and read the works of other writers and poets who are not afraid to write what’s genuinely on their mind.

Nelly Cherry (1)
Nelly Cherry

“Writing give me comfort and it helps me forget about my own problems. Also, it gives me some sense of hope and purpose in life. Writing aids me in dealing with any situation which comes my way.” – Nelly Cherry

5. What Time of Day do You Most Like to Write and What Are Your Current Writing Projects? Do You Plan on Publishing Your Writing?

I love writing in the morning when I have a clear fresh mind, but sometimes I write anytime, whenever I’m inspired to write.
My current writing projects include the poems: “Summer,” “Happy Father’s day,” “In Misery,” “Faded,” and “Abandoned Soul.” Also, I am working towards writing a book. I am planning to publish some of my writing in the future. But right now, I’m going to continue blogging on WordPress as a way of publishing my writing.

6. Can You Describe the Process You Go Through to Publish Your Writing? What Is Your Writing Process Like?
It is a long process for me to publish my work. I am still trying to get an editor which is why my work is currently on hold; however, I do have a writing process.
First, I write my ideas on a piece of paper or on my phone. Then, I look around for more inspiration and write the ideas I have on my Mac so far. If I don’t have a complete idea, I listen to music. Then, I go back to my Mac and write what the music has inspired in me.
After I am done, I ask my friend Ashley to provide me with further suggestions or tell me what she thinks of what I already have written down. Opinion from a ‘first reader’ matters a great deal as their opinion helps me decide on what I will continue to write. The first reader may have her own ideas or thoughts on my writing. I often, combine her ideas and my own when I’m writing.

7. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and/or Reading styles and/or Genres?

I prefer fantasy and science fiction genres. I love science fiction because it can include special effects in film. You are able to visualize ideas and live in your head with creative ideas in science fiction. Also, I love reading the science fiction genre as it has   imaginative concepts such as futuristic science and technology, space travel, and time travel.  One of my favourite books on fantasy is called: Crossed Borders. In science fiction,  my favourite books are the Divergent Series and Hunger Games.
“Opinion from a ‘first reader’ matters a great deal as their opinion helps me decide on what I will continue to write. The first reader may have her own ideas or thoughts on my writing. I often, combine her ideas and my when I’m writing.” – Nelly Cherry

8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?

My advice is to never stop dreaming and never give up. Also, never be afraid to voice your ideas and write what’s in your soul. If writing is what you love, you need to put your time and dedication towards it.
As well, learning to listen to other people’s ideas is extremely helpful to you as a writer. If you’ve a problem, don’t be afraid to ask because learning never stops. Don’t be afraid to show your work because you’re afraid of other people’s opinions. Write and show the world who you are. Write what you feel but while you are writing, consider other people’s feelings.
I love when people express their thoughts and ideas on writing and it brings new thoughts and ideas to your own writing. Also, having people critique my work is valuable. Listening to what people want to say in regards to my writing, and what they think I should improve on helps me write. One of the most significant values I have learned in life is:“Learning never stops.”

“Don’t be afraid to show your work because you’re afraid of other people’s opinions. Write and show the world who you are. Write what you feel but while you are writing, consider other people’s feelings.” – Nelly Cherry

9. Please Share With One of Your Favourite Pieces of Poetry.
 “True Colours”
Hidden in the closet like playing a game of hide and seek,
I lock myself inside afraid of getting out.
Am locked in, afraid of releasing myself in the wild,
Afraid of breaking out as fear takes over my mind.
Embracing, exploring, discovering who I really am,
I finally go out of my way and show the world,
Breaking the walls I have built inside me,
Coming out and showing my true colours.
(By Nelly Cherry)

10. Here Are Some Links To Some Of Nelly’s Other Pieces of Poetry:

Thank You so much Nelly, for sharing with us your journey to becoming a writer. It is exciting and inspiring to see you put so much of yourself into your work. I can see how passionate you are about writing and your poetry, it’s wonderful to see. Thank you as well, for your wise and motivational advice to other writers. Nelly’s blog can be visited here: Nelly Cherry.

Would you like to share your writing and writing process with other writers and bloggers? Would you like to be interviewed such as Nelly? Drop me a note on my contact page and I will send you some interview questions. Thanks for reading 🙂


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Diamanté, Event, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Religion/Morality, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Poem: Diamanté – “For Colleen, Five-Years Gone”


Diamente ———

Line 1: Noun or subject
Line 2: Two Adjectives describing the first noun/subject

Line 3: Three -ing words describing the first noun/subject

Line 4: Four words: two about the first noun/subject, two about the antonym/synonym

Line 5: Three -ing words about the antonym/synonym

Line 6: Two adjectives describing the antonym/synonym

Line 7: Antonym/synonym for the subject

——

Thanks to A Reading Writer, Rosema my talented friend, for information on how to write a Diamanté. And my apologies, these are supposed to have a diamond shape, but I have no patience for that! Also, the picture isn’t Colleen, I just thought this woman was beautiful, and so was Colleen.

——-

http://www.mv1.dromghd.com

——-
 Energetic Woman,

 Beautiful, Vibrant,

 Forming, Endearing, Unfolding,

Helpful, Engaging, Miserable, Depressed

Bursting, Sobbing, Disappearing,

 Sick, Anxious,

 Tired Woman.

——–

Beloved Child.

Fond, Enchanting,

Living, Travelling, Teaching,

Beautiful, Unique, Self- Hating, Forlorn.

Ending it, Choosing, Dying,

Exhausted, Haunted,

Lost Child.

——

Miserable Daughter,

Guilty, Confused,

Not Understanding, Not Knowing, Not Getting the Right Help,

Lost in Her Head, Stressed, Finding Peace, Forgiveness

Loving, Glowing, Comprehending in Heaven.

Serene, Tranquil,

Hope for Daughter.

——

Blessed Mother,

One daughter, best-friends,

Laughing, Talking, Sharing,

Happiness, Remembering, Sadness, Grieving.

Crying, Missing, Wishing,

Thinking, Hoping to See Her One Day, 

Lost Mother.

——

Talkative Father,

Advice Shared, Helpfully Wise,

Cherishing, Loving, Listening,

Memories, His Little Girl, Painfully, Mourned.

Grieving, Hurting, Reasoning,

Hope Filled, Praying,

Wondering Father.

——-
Discerning Grandma,

Wise, Experienced,

Thinking Back, Memorizing Moments, Praying.

Sturdy, Strong, Badily Hurt, Too Much Loss,

Tearing up, Remembering, Smiling,

Tough, Missing Granddaughter,

Heartbroken Grandma

——

Children’s Mentor,

Teacher, Beautiful, 

Concerning, Demonstrating, Advice Giving.

Stylish, Classy, Covering Sadness, An Image.

Struggling, Breaking, Supporting.

Tears, Regret,

Mentor in Death.

—–

Woman passed on,

Missed, Not Forgotten,

Remembering, Laughing, Crying.

Magnetic, generous, Beyond Life, Loved.

Wondering, Praying, Inspiring,

Living-on, Saved By Grace,

Woman of Memory.

——–

©Mandibelle. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Diamanté, Event, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Poetry, Religion/Morality, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

Poem: Diamanté – “For Colleen, Five-Years Gone”


Diamente ———

Line 1: Noun or subject
Line 2: Two Adjectives describing the first noun/subject

Line 3: Three -ing words describing the first noun/subject

Line 4: Four words: two about the first noun/subject, two about the antonym/synonym

Line 5: Three -ing words about the antonym/synonym

Line 6: Two adjectives describing the antonym/synonym

Line 7: Antonym/synonym for the subject

——

Thanks to A Reading Writer, Rosema my talented friend, for information on how to write a Diamanté. And my apologies, these are supposed to have a diamond shape, but I have no patience for that! Also, the picture isn’t Colleen, I just thought this woman was beautiful, and so was Colleen.

——-

http://www.mv1.dromghd.com

——-
 Energetic woman,

 Beautiful, Vibrant,

 Forming, Viewing, Unfolding,

Helpful, Engaging, Miserable, Depressed

Bursting, Sobbing, Disappearing,

 Sick, Anxious,

 Tired woman.

——–

Beloved child,

Fond, loving,

Living, Travelling, Teaching,

Beautiful, unique, self-hating, forlorn.

Ending, choosing, dying,

Exhausted, haunted,

Lost Child.

——

Miserable daughter,

Guilty, Confused,

Not understanding, not knowing, not caring.

Lost in her head, Stressed, finding peace, forgiveness.

Loving, Glowing, Understanding, 

Serene, Tranquil,

Hope for daughter.

——

Blessed mother,

One daughter, best-friend,

Laughing, talking, sharing,

Happiness, Love, sadness, grieving

Crying, missing, wishing, 

Thinking, Hoping,

Lost mother.

——

Talking father,

Advice shared, helpfully,

Cherishing, Loving, Listening,

Memories, his little girl, painful, mourned.

Grieving, Hurting, Reasoning,

Hoping, praying,

Quiet father.

——-

Woman passed on,

Missed by all, not forgotten,

Remembering, laughing, crying,

Magnetic, generous, gone, loved.

Wondering, praying, inspiring,

Living-on, saved by Grace,

Woman of memory.

——–

©Mandibelle. (2016) All Rights Reserved.