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.

 

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The Complexities of Red #thoughts #amwriting #nonfiction


Credit: Giovanni Licea – YouTube

I considered the colour red. How I’m equally attracted and repelled by it. How I pass by a red v-neck sweater in the right shade, but mix my acrylic colours, blend them until my instincts say stop; stop sign red. No wait . . . a bright cool startling red appears on my canvas. I think this is passion and passion is the boldest red. I think of how I not only crave to paint in vivid red, but in many vivid colours and textures. How I trace the feeling of layered paints with my fingers, and hunger for other colours with my eyes – blue, green, and purple. Though I adore all these colours, my favourite paintings are all in red.
 As with my love for sexy heels, which I adore in red too. If red is passion, what more can I say about women and sensuality then red shoes. They’re expression and fierceness. Like Kelly Picklers song “Red High Heels” — “I’m about to show you just how missing me feels, in my red high heels . . .” Red for revenge, red for moving on, red for love. But I hate red for love, it’s memory is sickening. He looked good in that colour – almost the best. 

Credit: Sam Roloff – “The Big Red One”
Yet red is so many things more. It’s anger, hate, rage, hurt, demons dreaming — the beast inside who does not die. Red is sinful, delicious, and deadly. It’s sex and power; a primilness. It’s royalty and blood, red blood spilled for in the body it’s blue (hence bluebloods). I love how classic red is — nothing more classic then a cat eye and red Bridget Bardot lips. Nothing as classic as red Mustang. 

I don’t wear red, the colour outshines me and doesn’t fit with such pale skin and blond hair. Please no red dress – I’d rather blend in and be a classic black or navy dress cut perfectly. But I seek out bits of red and cling to them, not wanting red to blind me. Only some sparkle and razzle dazzle to hold in my hand. Red nail polish is beautiful, with a bit of bling  Red as some of the lights in Las Vegas and red fireworks; red stoplights. 

Red is perplexing because it’s complex, not simple at all. Red is nationalism and red is internationalism. It’s a proud Canadian colour and I don’t mind wearing it on our Nation’s Birthday. Or cheering on our Canadian hockey teams in the Olympics and junior hockey. 

As well, roses are so divine, so deadly pricking your finger. Red, passion and pain. Together swirled these colours of red, of love, and hate collide. There are many shades of grey, but even more shades of red. It’s more than a primary colour it calls as a siren, “Look see me.” No one hides in red. Red cars are often caught barely speeding and Red is a theme of many songs albums as in “Red” as T. swifts song and album and the Beatles album “Redone.” Red as “My love is like a red red rose.” Some choral song I cannot recall. 

Credit: Jeannette Mattson – “Red Rose” – Fine Art America

But I’m sitting here, music blaring trying to decide what to paint. I’ve that special shade of red and it’s mixing and melding with other colours. Shades and tones. I see, red on my canvas and it bleeds. Red blood, blood . . .life, the most prolific association. Red is blood. Blood is life. Red such as poppies, that we must always remember. Red for anger, red for hate, for war. Red to hurt, poor the droplets down a crystal glass. Red red wine. To drink away the blood and crippling thoughts. Red to forget. I like a Malbec with bite. A Zinfandel to make me chatty. A Merlot or Cav-Sav with some friends. Red sangria is delicious. Red strawberry margaritas because there’s real fire in tequila. Red is too many things, too symbolic, too self-contradictory. Red is life. 

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

#OctPoWriMo – Day 25 –  Alouette – “Insatiable Red”


Day 25 Prompt: Red
“When I was growing up I extremely disliked the color red, not sure if the fact I had red hair had anything to do with it or not. It wasn’t until a few years back that I started to enjoy red and now I love it. I completely embrace red! How about you? Love it? Hate it? Don’t feel anything about it? I have always enjoyed big red barns though, I think it is because my great grandparents lived/owned/worked on their ranch with a big red barn and farmhouse. I loved having family gatherings out there.” 
——–

watery-rose-l
http://www.hiddenworldphotos.com

“Red” – Taylor Swift


Too bright hurts my eyes, 👀

Step-back, blinded by —

Red; the colour kindly few like.

Forceful, seductive, 💋

Not for reluctant.

It’s sunsets with the fall of leaves bright. 🌅


Maple trees red sigh,  🍁

And red eyes crying.  😭

Mighty power, red does lend.💰

Most sold lipstick —red; 👄

Classic colour said;

Cadillacs, Mercedes Benz.  🚗


Royal, wealth of land,  👑

Expensive dye’s hand —

Made scarlet; a king’s fine robes. 🔱

Privilege, money. 💰

Repulsive, funny,

Never liked, but on my toes. 👣


Women opt for red

Cooler; warmer red

Men’s own own chosen taste;  💪

Brilliant red, sexy; 💋

Elegant, regal, next. 👑

Amount changes, moods, tastes.


Trashy women in —

Sultry plastic.

Grace of love felt; most fav shoes. 👠 👗

Naughty and nice, 👍

Santa and Christmas; 🎄

Lights saying stop, you’ll lose.


Curious colour,

Loved or hated fleur.

Rose, hibiscus, poinsettias. 🌹

Different meanings,

Red fleurs, never seen; 🌹

Dancers doing flamenco. 💃🏼


For myself I think,

Preference for pink. 💗

A tint of red, more like me.

A bit of lipstick. 💄

If I must wear it.

Sport’s teams, and broken heart’s pleas. 💔


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.


Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: A Sparse Pantry and Fridge #amwriting #flashfiction


Thank you to the lovely Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.

———

Maria – Doodles and Scribbles.

———

“Kat, are you sure you went grocery shopping? The fridge is nearly bare and there’s no meat; even the pantry is half-empty?”
Kat looked away from Jan, flipping through movies to watch on Netflix but Jan wouldn’t be ignored. 

“Well, I did go grocery shopping. I know it was my turn, but do we need all that food?” Kat said. 

“What do you mean do we need it?” Jan asked. “Our bodies need fruits, vegetables, and healthy protein. We need whole grains and items to bring for lunch and snacks. You didn’t even buy dark chocolate,” Jan remarked. “Did something happen? Did you run out of money?” 

Kat sighed, her face ashamed, “Yeah, I overspent shopping for clothes for work clothes for my internship. I didn’t mean to but it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to shop for any new clothes.” 

Jan considered her friend’s admission.They were both students in the last year of their business degrees and money was tight, but she decided to forgive Kat. 

“Okay Kat. I wish you’d had more self-control, but I know you require professional clothes for work. I also realize we both need both to replace some of our worn-out clothes soon. I’ll forgive you this month and pay for the rest of the groceries.” 

“Oh thank you Jan.”

“But I have conditions: You need to buy most of the groceries for the next two months so I can do some shopping for my self for next semester. You’ll have to help me, I’ve no sense of style when it comes to professional attire.” 

Kat laughed, “Agreed I’ll pay for our groceries for two-months, after this month; the fashion advice is free.” 

Jan hugged Kat and they watched a new movie together, content with their solution. 

———-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Tale Weavers: Fiction –  “When Mom Was Taken” #amwriting #fiction #travel #taleweaver 


Thank to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this #Taleweavers photo challenge.The theme is lost in a foreign land. 

——-

Credit: Mara Eastern – Used with Permission.

——-

“Madam, you and your children need to come with me,” a police officer stated. He was from the police nationale. 

Mom gazed up at him and asked: “Why, what have we done? We’ve only been sightseeing here on vacation. We have our passports and travel Visas.” 

“If you come with me, right now, this will be much easier,” the officer said. I shivered at his cold impersonal accented tone.

My Mom attempted to speak but the officer squeezed her arm tightly and picking her up, deposited her in the back if his police car. 

My sisters and I peered up at the officer scared spitless. “We didn’t do anything,” I said. “I’m twelve and my two sisters are ten-years old twins. We aren’t bad kids.” 

The officer nodded at me. I could hear my Mom crying and banging her hands against the window in the police car. My sisters Paige and Monique were crying silently. 

 “What’s your name Cher?” The officer asked me. His French accent was thick when he spoke English. 

“I’m Brianne, what did my Mom do?” The officer didn’t say anything, but he nodded to one of his fellow officers.

“We need to talk to your Mom about some things for a while. This is officer Carson, he’s going to take you back to your hotel. You girls can watch movies and swim in the pool. Don’t leave and always ask Carson when you want to do something. He’ll take you for repas du soir later on,” the officer said. He smiled at me and I could tell his smile was forced. 

“But our Mom . . .” Paige and Monique whined. It was no use. Officer Carson herded us into his vehicle and drove us back to the hotel we were staying with our Mom.

We played in the pool, pretending we enjoyed it. We watched three movies on pay-per-view and then some cartoons on TV. We played on our Mom’s tablet, emailing our Uncle Reese and asking what we should do. The message always came back to Mom’s email, saying the email address was wrong, but we knew better.

At 4:00 pm Officer Carson came back from the gift shop with chips, popcorn, pop, and chocolate bars. Paige and Monique were happy to eat what they could; mom didn’t let us have much junk food, even on vacation. I had a square of delicious Belgian chocolate and almost threw-up. 

Later around 8:00 pm, Carson told us to put on nice clothes for dinner. We dined at a trendy restaurant and the food was magnifique. By this time the smell of the delicious food in the restaurant and my hunger had surpassed the twisted and nauseous feeling in my stomach. 

“My Mom, what if she can’t afford all this?” I asked Carson referring to all we’d done so far. Our family had scrounged and saved to travel to a few countries in Europe this year. Mom thought it was vital for us to have the experience traveling to see history, and other cultures. 

Officer Carson appeared thoughtful. “It’s okay Brianne. Ne tu inquites pas. We’ll take care of things until your Mom returns. I nodded. I didn’t know what else to say. 

That night we went to bed sleeping fitfully. The next morning Carson awoke us and told us we would be sightseeing today. He told us about various places we could visit and let us choose a couple of them to see. We went to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t have to wait in line at all; we immediately were able to see what we wanted first. 

The four of us continued site seeing for the next week, never seeing our Mom. We always went out to dinner at a different restaurant each night to dine. Carson enjoyed eating well. 

One day, Carson even took us to H&M and some clothing stores for girls our age and let us each have one-hundred-and-fifty Euros to shop. We didn’t question Carson on this, even though it was a lot of money to us. We decided to spend eighty Euros and save the rest of the money for emergency. 

Caron seemed to know, “Vous etes des files intelligences pour economiser de l’argent. Bon les files.” He smiled at us, a rare occurence. We understood a bit of French from school and found ourselves picking it more with Carson. He brought us back to the hotel to spend the rest of the day watching movies and swimming. 

Three-weeks later our Mom returned. We cried when we saw her. I thought I’d never see her again and I gathered Paige and Monique thought the same. 

Mom appeared awful, unkept, and waif thin. She immediately went to bed, waking up in the middle of the night to shower. A wardrobe of various designer clothes and shoes was later delivered to her that week and Carson handed her a cheque for a large amount of money. My Mom’s eyes nearly popped out of her head. 

“For all your troubles Madam,” Carson told her and disappeared; we never saw him again. 

After Mom recovered for a couple of weeks, she decided we should continue to travel. A Doctor which had come to see her every two-days declared her fit and well. 

“Now that we have the money, we can travel throughout Europe and see many countries, not only three,” Mom told us. She smiled almost like her old-self and arranged for us to go everywhere we  wanted and stay in nice hotels. 

Later I thought back to this and realized Mom was running from the demons chasing her inside, from her nightmares, and her flashbacks. 

On a beach in Grenada, Spain, Mom finally said: “Girls I suppose it’s time we go home, you’ve missed a month of school already.” 

We didn’t want to leave. We were worried about or Mom. She hadn’t been the same person since the police first took her away. 

I’d given her space and only asked once or twice what happened to her. She ignored me. She wouldn’t talk to Paige or Monique either.

” I can’t tell you. That’s why we’ve so much money now Brianne,” she finally said to me.

——

Years later, I’m thirty-six and visiting my Mom. She is paging through a scrapbook of our European vacation. 

“You never said,” I began,”You never told me or anyone what happened to you in France. I know the memories give you nightmares still. What did the French police do to you Mom?” 

To my surprise she answered me. “Your Dad, you never knew him. I divorced him when you were only three-years-old and the twins one-years-old. He was a bad person, involved in things even in Europe which were awful and illegal.” A tear slipped out my Mom’s eye.

“When we came through France, they thought I was there to see your Dad. They promised they wouldn’t hurt my daughters but treat them well, if I told them everything I knew about your Dad. I told them I hadn’t seen him in almost ten-years that he was a terrible low-life, wanted across the North America.” 

“They wanted more. The police thought I had to be in contact with him. They were sure I was here to see him. For a week they tortured me, wouldn’t let me sleep, and other worse things. Eventually, they believed me and promised to let me go if I helped catch your Dad and draw him out from hiding so they could arrest him. Their plan worked, your Dad’s locked up forever,” my Mom said. 

“Mom, how could you not say anything all these years? How did you manage to travel around Europe after being . . .” 

She cut me off. “Money Brianne. Millions and millions in US funds. Enough to send my three daughters to the best universities and give you everything I couldn’t before. Enough money to wipe out the misery of that time in my life.” 

“Did it work? I asked my Mom.

She sighed tears forming, “It’s money Brianne. It makes things better and hides the truth. But in the end, the truth of what I went through is always there behind my eyes when I close them. I’m thankful Carson took care of you Brianne and Paige and Monique. He treated you well as the police promised he would. Above all, I was grateful and am grateful for that.” 

Mom closed her eyes and the tears continued to streak down her cheeks. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Fall Beauty Haul 2016 Part Two


Welcome to Part Two of my Fall Beauty Haul 2016. These are all products I have tried since the spring. I apologize as I meant to have Part Two out closer to Part One but life has been busy and I’ve been quite exhausted lately due to health issues. Anyway’s here’s my  Beauty Haul Part Two:


1.Make Up Forever Aqua Smoky Extravagant Waterproof Mascara: Dramatic Impact and Graphic Precision – (www.sephora.ca) – $30.00 CAN

make-up-for-ever-extravagent-waterproof-mascara
Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Extravagant Waterproof Mascara (www.sephora.ca) – $30.00 CAN
I’m most definitely a huge Make Up For Ever Fan. Their products are always awesome quality at a reasonable price. For this mascara, I was able to try a sample-size in the non-waterproof version first. I loved the cone shaped brush and was so excited to try the mascara in the waterproof full-sized version. However, the problem with the waterproof version is becoming used to using the cone shaped brush which is larger than in the sample-sized mascara I first tried. The mascara wand brush is an excellent size in the sample version but too big at the end of the cone brush in the full-sized version.

I don’t find I gain much volume in my lashes from this mascara either, which is odd because I did gain volume with sample-sized version? I’ve become used to utilizing this waterproof mascara and it is alright. I’m not sure it’s worth $30.00 CAN. My biggest issue is that the mascara wand too easily leaves mascara all around your eyes, especially underneath them. I always have to take a Q-tip and clean up around my eye a lot. So if you are going to use this mascara, put it on before your eye shadow, as you don’t want to ruin your eye shadow with the Make Up For Ever waterproof mascara.

I’m becoming better at using the cone brush but I find I need to use another mascara on top of this mascara to get a  volumized appearance, and I have thick lashes. I went and bought a L’Oreal Butterfly Effect Mascara in waterproof. I layer this drugstore product over the Make Up For Ever mascara; the drugstore mascara cost me $8.99 CAN. It helps the Make Up For Ever waterproof mascara look a lot fuller. This a three-star mascara, you can buy better ones. I do like the concept of the brush, but I think the mascara wand cone brush is too big in the full-sized waterproof version.


2. Smash Box Oil Free Photo Finish Foundation Primer  – Pore Minimizing –

smash-box-photo-finish-foundation-primer-pore-minimizing
Smash Box Photo Finish Foundation Primer Oil Free – Pore Minimizing (1 0z.) – (www.sephora.ca) – $50.00 CAN
(www.sephora.ca) – $50.00 CAN (1 0z).

I have tried some Smash Box products and been happy. I like there eye shadow as it is highly pigmented and there lip products are wonderful as well. My favourite nude lip gloss is from Smash Box. 

Smash Box was pretty much the first brand to come out with primers for skin. I remember buying their original primer eight or nine-years-ago. Their primers last a long time, even in the sample-size I have been using.

Nonetheless, I have found even if their primers say oil free or pore minimizing, they still make me break-out every single time. It doesn’t matter what primer of Smash Box’s I use. I think if you have drier skin, this might be an okay product for you to use. But personally, the only place I use it after a couple-weeks trying it, is underneath my eyes, so I don’t end up with mascara or eye shadow giving me raccoon eyes later in the day.

If you want an excellent primer that is better for your skin, pore-minimizing and great for all skin types, I recommend the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer for $50.00 for (1.5 0z), a much more reliable buy. It’s also nicer on your skin if you break-out at all. I can wear the Benefit Primer every day and I hardly ever have issues such as I have with Smash Box Primers.


3. BENEFIT cosmetics GIMME Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel (Color 01 Light) – (0.1 oz.) – (www.sephora.ca) – $30.00 CAN

benefit-gimme-brow-new
Benefit Cosmetics GIMME Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel (0.1 oz) – (www.sephora.ca) – $30.00 CAN
It’s always frightening when a makeup brand updates or changes one of your favourite products. Often, I find I don’t like the new product as much. However, I don’t believe this Benefit Cosmetic’s Gimme Brow Gel has changed much with the exception of the outside packaging.

Gimme Brow Gel is my go-to brow gel and lasts me about three-months a container. There are three shades you can choose from besides the one I bought, also medium 02 and Deep 03. It’s amazing product and worth the $30.00 CAN to get a finished looking brow which isn’t too perfect. The product doesn’t cause your eyebrows to appear extremely ‘made-up’ with this Volumizing gel. It gives your eyebrows polish and fills them in.

You can apply Gimme Brow Gel either before or after you fill in your brow with an eyebrow pencil. Unfortunately, I am not happy with the change in the Benefit eyebrow pencils as you know from Part One. But Gimme Brow Gel is a superior product with a brow pencil or without, depending on how much filling in your eyebrows need. Five stars!


4. Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Eye Cream – (www.sephora.ca) – (o.5 oz.) – (www.sephora.ca) – $58.00 CAN

I’ve tried a few Origins samples (for one or two days) of their face creams and have generally,

origins-plantscription-anti-aging-power-eye-cream
Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Eye Cream (0.5 fl oz.) – (www.sephora.ca) –  $58.00 CAN
liked them. This is the first time I had a product of theirs large enough to try over several weeks. I received a larger-size sample of this eye cream and I love it.

I’ve only started to notice my eyes are not as smooth as they used to be. The Origins Anti-Aging Power Eye Cream is gentle on the skin around and over my eyes. It doesn’t burn as some eye creams I’ve tried in the past have. Plus, I wake up feeling my eyes are less puffy and my skin is smoother in my eye area. The eye cream has chamomile and algae in it and is a natural product.

I like it a great deal as well as the fact that it lasts such a long time for a small tube. I think a full-sized product would last months and months. I would consider buying this in the future. I’m impressed by how gentle the eye cream is on sensitive eye skin. And I would agree with the Sephora claim,. after two-weeks or less, you notice a difference in the appearance of skin around your eyes. A well-made product to pick-up if you’re searching for a great eye cream.


5. Dove Dry  Spray Soothing Chamomile 48 Hour Odor Protection – Antiperspirant – (www. well.ca or in store at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada) – (1.7 g) – $8.99

dove-dry-spray-soothing-chamomile-48-hr-odour-protection
Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant in Soothing Chamomile 48 HR Odor Protection – (www.well.ca or Your Local Drugstore) – $8.99 CAN
I received a full-sized sample of this to try in one of my last Luxebox’s. As you can tell, since I’m writing about it, I liked the product a lot. I don’t like Dove Hair Care but their body washes and deodorant type products are always wonderful. They leave your skin feeling baby soft and they work well throughout the day.

I guess typically, I apply antiperspirant about two or three times a day, depending on what I’m doing that day. But this antiperspirant by Dove lasts long so I think if you wanted you could apply it less.

The Chamomile scent is refreshing and light. Dove has other scents you can choose from. I love that it’s a spray on antiperspirant which makes it easy to apply. Also, unlike stick deodorant, the dry spray truly doesn’t end up on your clothes.

Dove includes their 1/4 moisturizing cream in this product along with Vitamins E and F to sooth underarm skin. Its a wonderful product and I’m sure at your local drugstore, it will even go on sale as it a common drugstore brand.


6. ST. TROPEZ Gradual Self- Tanning Lotion and Body Moisturizer In Light-Medium (6.7 fl.oz)  (www.beautyboutique.ca or Shoppers Drug Mart) – $38.00 CAN

I had heard great things about St. Tropez self-tanning products and I was excited to

st-tropez-gradual-tan-classic
St. Tropez Every Day Body Lotion Gradual Tan Classic (Light -Medium) (6.7 fl. oz.) – $38.00 CAN
try their products having collected about $80.00 worth of Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Reward points in the summer. I purchased two bottles  hoping the lotion would be better than Vaseline or Jergans (for instance) self-tanning lotions because its a more high-end brand.

I am truly pale skinned and fair and with this product (as with other self-tanning products) had to be careful I only applied it every three-days or I looked orange or had orange streaks all over my legs (etc). Honestly, with self-tanning lotions, you cannot avoid the streaks. I even put on regular lotion after the tanning lotion, so my skin is less orange. Especially over areas where tanning lotions seem to stick like your ankles and knees.

The moisturizing quality of the St. Tropez Gradual Self-Tan is superior to drugstore brand moisturizers. It’s an awesome lotion which helped with dry skin in the summer. I would say this product is about a four out of five stars. It works well, but it is a bit pricey for what it actually does. But, I’m happy I bought both tubes.

I looked at other St. Tropez products and they are a bit pricier. I wanted to try the foam for instance (with a glove) and it was around $60.00 for a set or for a large-size of the St. Tropez instant tanning foam alone.

So, this one is up to you, and if you want to put all that work into a tan for summer or vacation. Even if St. Tropez self-tan products are pricier, they are by far more worth it than burning your skin to get a tan and inviting skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer (so I’ve read).


Thanks for reading! Hopefully, see you with more beauty product reviews before Christmas!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Three Days of Three Quotes (Nine Quotes) In One #quotes #amwriting #Emma #JaneAusten


Thanks to Paul of Palfitness for nominating for me for three-days of three quotes. I’m going to do all nine quotes at once. My theme is Jane Austen’s Emma. All quotes are from Good Reads as well as book cover images. 

Emma is one of my favourite classic novels. Emma is intent on arranging marriages  for all her friends, but doesn’t want to ever marry anyone herself. However, her plans for fixing others up often go awry in hilarious ways. 

Emma also finds out she loves Mr. knightly, her dear friend, when she thinks she’s going to lose him to a woman named Jane. The movie Emma with Gwynth Paltrow as Emma is one of my favourite movies as well.

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http://www.goodreads.com

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1. ” A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her, and can write a tolerable letter.” – Haha great advice. In other words, don’t lead a guy on! 

2. “Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.” – Very thoughtful comment I think. We can never tell, exactly what the truth is unless we were present when an event occurred. Often we paraphrase and leave details out when we talk about events second-hand. 

3. ” Better be without sense than misapply it as you do.” – Makes me laugh. Be logical, have sense, but don’t abuse your skills. There’s more to this life than ‘black’ and ‘white.’ 

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http://www.goodreads.com

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4. “Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.” – Don’t fake who your are, pretend you’re what you aren’t. I think the right man, will love you for who you truly are. 

5. “Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing; but I have never been in love ; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.” – This quote holds such irony; Emma does not think she will ever get married while she arranges other marriages. The situation change when she learns Mr. knightly might be marrying another woman.

6. “I cannot make speeches, Emma…If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.” –Mr. Knightly and his way of telling Emma he loves her. They’ve been good friends, often offering each other advice, but never more. If Emma can put up with his lectures, Mr. Knightly knows he’s found his right woman for marriage.

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http://www.goodreads.com

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7. “Why not seize the pleasure at once? — How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation.” – A great point Carpe diem; cease the day! 

8. “If a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to `Yes,’ she ought to say `No’ directly. It is not a state to be safely entered into with doubtful feelings, with half a heart.”  – One should be sure about who they’re going to marry. Maybes and second thoughts aren’t a good thing to be experiencing if you are wanting a lasting and content marriage.

9. ” A single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as any body else.” – A woman with her own money, taking care of herself, is equal to her married peers. 

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©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Moral Monday’s Flash Fiction: The Red Dress #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Nortina for hosting Moral Monday’s prompts. This week’s prompt is: ” Money is the root of all evil.” 

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http://www.pinterest.com

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“Wow, it gorgeous. Why am I always drawn to the most expensive clothes.” Charla muttered. “Why are the nice dresses cut well, a better colour, and made better?” 

Charla began walking away from the slimming silky red dress, before stopping and deciding to try the dress on. 

When she shimmied into it, her appearance in the dressing room mirror was stunning. Charla gasped, her boyfriend would love her in red.

Out of the corner of her eye, the $750.00 price tag caught Charla’s eye. She sighed slipping out of the dress; her boyfriend would love her in a less expensive dress too.

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: Too Many Eyes Watching The Cathedral Dome Restoration.


Thank you to Priceless Joy who hosts FFftAW each week.

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TJ. Paris

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“Gino you’re a talented Renaissance style art-restorer. We’re hopeful you can restore the painting of the dome frescos for the Cathedral.” Roberto an art historian said.

“Gentlemen,” Gino said, ” This dome was touched up recently, and not finished.”

“Can you complete it?” Marlin, the second art historian asked. 

Gino nodded, “For a price.”

“Of course,” Roberto readily agreed.

“Okay, I’ll start now.” Gino remarked, climbing the scaffolding with his tools.

 He worked tiressly until one morning Gino refused to go up the scaffolding.

“What is it Gino?” Marlin asked running from his office hearing the commotion between Roberto and Gino.

“Spiders, huge spiders everywhere. It’s why the first restorer never finished.” Gino said with disgust.

“But –” Roberto began, but Gino cut him off.

“Burn the place. Nothing but fire will destroy these specific spiders.” Gino insisted.

The frescos on the dome remain half restored. 

Gino spread the news through out Italy, gigantic spiders terrorize the famous Cathedral dome. 

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©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

NaPoWriMo: Poem – Prose – “Poker Face”


Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in. At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue. Happy writing!

Please see NaPoWriMo for more information.

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There are memories and memories inbetween memories, things you shouldn’t know. But I write and I say, what naturally comes to flow. Spending a day building raw story into characters who have flaws and appeal. Characters who are relatable and show affection, lust, a special connection with each other.

 I am building story from the ground level, thanks to a friend, who tore my story down line by line so I am able to build. I’m grateful for everything he sees that I do not. How the story doesn’t flow and how the characters actually appear.

What’s believable in real life? I think an interesting situation because the story involves magic and in real life we don’t believe in curses and the power of magic. We write of it extensively wishing for such power, such talents, such super-human abilities. Probably because we’re human, and sometimes being human makes a person feel mighty small. 

Today’s memories are about editing and refinement. Answering questions I wouldn’t know how to ask. I’m learning. Digging deeper, past the simple, into the complex. I don’t want a one-dimensional story. Though it has magic I want the characters to be real people and I want their flaws and likes/dislikes to show. I want what they’re good at, their occupations, their speech and actions, the people they have around them, to demonstrate their characters.

The minds of people are endlessly fascinating, especially the minds of those who say everything or say nothing. My Grandpa said little, his mind was complicated. He was a Pastor whose smoking habit ended his life at seventy-three -years-old. He would ask questions which made one think and consider alternate routes as he taught me the games of cribbage, chess, and when we attempted cryptograms and crossword puzzles. Grandpa’s questions always hinted at digging deeper, searching for another method, and missed details.

But my Godfather, he says everything. And what he says is thought-provoking. He is always thinking of other people, how to help. He is the bestfriend to his friends and he has many. He can listen but mostly he talks and he’s wise with his words.

I miss him and the second place I call home, his and my Godmothers charming house. His wisdom and continual thinking, his belief in God solving all problems, and finding answers from an omniscient God are well expressed; he gives me such peace after we’ve had a conversation or I’ve listened to him talk.

 And I’m thinking about a paint night I’m doing with friends at the bar Sunday night. Painting, did you know I love it? I will need a couple drinks to merely do as the instructor says, but I know what my hands and mind will do.

 I will mix the paint, either ruin or add to the design. I desire creativity. I’ve said it before, creativity cannot be boxed in its true form. But with a drink or two and two good friends, the evening will pass and I’ll come home, painting in hand.

 Also, finding a good guy — one whom you enjoy being with and talking with is difficult. You need to be attracted to their looks and their intelligence. You hope they such as you, have plans to do ‘something’ with their life. Finding a guy with all these parameters, is it asking too much? I’m not sure. I’m not extensively experienced here.

But time after time I’m disappointed when a date becomes, “come over to my place,” usually at night but sometimes in the day. There is no dating involved. There is no understanding of, ” I’m not interested.” And certain men keep messaging or calling. 

I’m not adverse to sleeping with the right guy. I haven’t found a right guy lately. I don’t know if I’m such as Alice’s friend at tea I’m, ‘mad as a hatter’ to believe there are good guys out there who want to have fun out of bed and when a woman trusts them, in bed too. Laying that foundation of trust is vital.

 I don’t think this thought of mine is right accordingto God but I’m trying to find a happy middle. Maybe my happy middle won’t make me happy? 

I’m tired of guys who only want a night here and there. That was university, I’m going to be thirty-one in July. I’m not twenty-one and even twenty-one year old me would have smacked a guy who kept after her after she repeatedly told him to back off.

Guys don’t get it, they scar women. This is stuff I cannot believe I’m writing but eighteen-year-old me was extremely naive at the bar. Her friend ditched her for some guy. She was all alone and trying to get away from this guy who followed her around the bar. She didn’t have the confidence a girl three or so years older had at the bar, batting away and shooting down idiots before they became stalkers for the night. 

She was so stupid. It’s effected her sense of trust ever since. He didn’t stop for a long time; it only felt like eternity. The repeated “No” in his ears, he was deaf to it until she cried wet tears. There were different guys after that, few who she didn’t mind getting close to.

But always, I have this disgust for men who treat women as if a woman’s existence is for their pleasure, because she wants or needs sex too. Should she have to sleep with a man after she has deliberated and said, “no?” No she shouldn’t, it’s always a woman’s choice, it’s her body after all.

Guy’s scar with their repeated advances boardering on harassment. They scar bruising you badly where they should be gentle. You look to see how purple your bruises are. Not understanding how he didnt comprehend, “don’t be rough.” 

Enough. To much info. But this poem is prose; it is memories past and to come — some awful and some exciting. Building memories writing and living in a world that can be cruel at times. 

But I think if you’re building if you’re working towards a goal you can be proud you’re using your talents despite the cards life and your stupid self may have dealt you playing poker.

Cheesy analogy but ever since I learned to play poker — Texas Holdem — in the basement of my Pastor’s house with friends I’d grown up or met in church at that time, I always think back to poker seeing such a carry over for life. 

Each day, place your bets and see what the ‘river’ holds, and how the cards in your hand can be played. Ask for another card if you dare, trading one in . . . 

We’d drink beer and play poker. We’d watch NFL football and play video games. I never entirely got why some days my poker playing was terrific, while other days I could fold most hands and end up broke. We paid twenty dollars in a pot at the beginning of each game. At times my one brother and I would play with the other players until 3:00 am or 4:00 am in the morning.

I didn’t play much poker after those years ended. But I feel sometimes as if I’m placing my bet, and trying desperately to hold onto my poker face. Tomorrow, more building. It keeps me going.

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“Poker Face” – Lady Gaga

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.