Leona tossed her hat. In the end, it was her on the dance floor in nude heels. A flash of light caught her eye on the turquoise ribbon from her hat; she laughed as the audience clapped. Her partner grinned, and she strutted towards the bar. Sweat dripped.
“A shot tonight Leona?” Carlos lifted the tequila bottle; Leona held up her hand.
“Not tonight, just water. Two.” She gulped the first glass, and after the second.
“Take it easy out there, Leona,”Carlos chided. You don’t have to be the star of the show every night. Take it easy sometimes.”
Leona threw back her long hair. “I can’t help it.”
Carlos rolled his eyes. “You’re the owner. Some nights it’s okay to relax.”
Leona pushed away from the bar. “I’m a dancer, that’s what I do. My mother did the same, her mother to. You know how it is.”
Carlos’ face broke into laugh lines as he chuckled. “I knew your mother well.”
Leona fixed her lipstick. “She was what she was; so am I.”
The music for the next dance song played and Leona twirled into place. As long as she could, her grandmother and mother’s legacy would continue at the dance club they began.
Jewel studied herself in the mirror, envious of her sister, Luna, who prepared for the party behind her.
She sighed as she stared at the dress her mother bought her; it was child-like. Jewel peered at Luna and her white freckle-less complexion. Instead of having lustrous golden-hair, Jewel was cursed with her grandfather’s ginger mane and speckled skin. I’ll never be a counterweight to Luna or those mean girls in my class.
Luna had style, while Jewel’s clothes were drab. The outfits her mother insisted she wear wouldn’t qualify as trendy. Emilia, had no eye for colors that corresponded to her daughter’s skin tone and hair. All Jewel wanted was to dress as fashionably as other girls.
She believed she was thewless compared to Luna, who shoved her aside, acting playful. She twirled her red gown in front of the mirror, and Luna’s skirt revolved around her perfect hips.
Jewel frowned. She was jealous of her sister. The pressure of living up to Luna’s elegance, and thinking about her mother’s treatment made Jewel’s head spin and her lungs constrict. She gasped for air and her heart beat sped. Luna noticed Jewel’s breathing and rubbed her back.
She was the only person who knew how much Luna despised her own appearance. “What’s wrong, Sis? Having anxiety? Relax, it will be fine. I left the mean girls from your class off the guest list.” Jewels chest and and hands unclenched.
“I keep telling you, you’re sixteen and you’ll grow into your beauty soon. Don’t let mother’s expectations bother you or those *itches from school. When I was in your grade, mean girls hated me too.”
Jewel nodded as the rest of her body calmed. “You keep telling me that my awkward stage is finite. But, I’ve always been gangly and plain.”
Luna smirked and grabbed Jewel’s hand as they sat on the bed. “No, you were a cute kid. Everyone thought so, and you’ll be a beautiful woman soon. You’re a late bloomer. Soon you’ll have boobs that rival those *itches in your class. Guys have a thing for red-heads, you know.”
“Mine’s ginger, not red.”
Luna squeezed her hand. “You’re beautiful as you’re are now. But I can’t make you see that. You have to believe that inside.” Jewel closed her eyes. She wished Luna’s words were true.
“You can’t keep postponing all of father’s parties or he’ll get mad again. One day you’ll believe you’re as gorgeous as I think you are. None of the women in our family are ugly or plain.”
Jewel shrugged. “I’m not ready, yet. Tell dad I’ll be fifteen minutes.” Luna hurried towards her door then halted.
She turned around and clasped her hands. “Jewel, wear one of my dresses. I have one that would be gorgeous on you. It’s not as trendy as the one you have, but the emerald green will highlight your hair and complexion well; your svelte figure too.”
Luna grinned and nodded. “I’ll talk to mom about letting me shop with you. Then, you and I can choose the clothes you like to wear. Mom can’t dress you like a twelve-year old forever.”
Jewel scrambled to Luna’s closet. She yanked out the emerald dress. “This one?”
“You bet. I always thought the color suited you better. You’ve got deasil, Jewel. Many excellent qualities on the outside and on the inside too; don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.”
Luna left and Jewel tore off her muted gown and slipped on the emerald silk dress. She zipped it up and was shocked to discover the shade made her skin glow. It complemented her hair too.
Her shoulders were bared and ruching at her chest enhanced Jewel’s cleavage. A bow on the gown sat above her bottom. To her delight, the dress was tight and ended mid-thigh.
Jewel grinned and borrowed a pair of her sisters heels. She flounced down the stairs. For once, was excited to attend one of her father’s parties. She couldn’t wait to see the expression on her mother’s face.
Welcome to another week of my interview series. Today I’m so excited to share with you an interview with my talented and caring friend, Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses) who has been writing many wonderful tales for adults and children on her blog with Colin Chappell of A Dog’s Life (Stories of Me and Him). I interviewed Colin earlier this year HERE.
Many of Carolyn’s tales and her new book with Colin are about a Cat named Dewey, a Jackalope named Jaxon, an owl named Odessa, and a human helper for them on Moonbeam farm they live, known as the ‘manservant.’ You can also find Carolyn’s interview on The Go Dog Go Cafe,where I will be posting a writer interview each Tuesday (the same one here and on there). It is a wonderful writer’s community on WordPress so please come and explore.
As well, all watercolor paintings illustrating the characters from Carolyn’s (and Colin’s) book Odessa’s Chronicles,are done by Jodi of The Creative Life In Between. She’s such a talented artist and I would recommend following her blog for her art, recipes, poetry, and blog posts narrated by her dog, Charlie. She also has an Etsy Shop, on break at the moment, but when it’s not, you can purchase cards, paintings, (etc.) of Jodi’s beautiful work.
My name is Carolyn Shelton and I live in Southern Pennsylvania. I am the Mother of two teenagers which explains why there are days that I feel like my brain is missing! I love having fun with my family and friends, whether we are just chatting or on an adventure together. I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.
Humor is a big part of my life! I have serious posts on my blog, but a lot of humorous ones as well. And there are days, where you may get more humor from the comment section. I have a good friend that likes to express his wit at times. I am always up for a battle of wits, do I win? Well…. onto the next question.
My biggest writing goal is to touch others with what I write. I want to make them smile, laugh and also ponder on deeper things at times. I am thankful for my gift of writing, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if I keep it to myself. This is why I share it on my blog with for everyone and anyone to read.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does It Mean To You?
I began blogging in the Fall of 2014. It wasn’t something that I had planned on doing. I was browsing on the internet one day and I saw something that piqued my interest.WordPress was offering a free writing course. I loved to write and felt that this course would be fun to take and see what happened. I signed up for it and well, here I am. 🙂 I enjoyed the course a great deal and was excited seeing what I could do with a blog.
I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and interacting with them. I was still learning but felt as if I had found my niche in the wonderful world of blogging.My love of writing had been rekindled.
” I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.” – Carolyn Shelton
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is it Important to You to Keep Writing and Blogging? Do You Have Writing Habits? A Time of Day It’s Easier for You to Write?
My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me, through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy because it is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not writing. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogging and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.
Writing is me letting my heart speak and it can be so freeing expressing my emotions through writing. Late at night seems to be my best time to write. The house is all quiet, the phone is not ringing, and it’s just me and my Sheltie who lays at my feet.
4. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects, on your Blog or Otherwise? Have You Published Any Writing?
I am currently co-authoring a The Odessa Chronicles,with fellow blogger, Colin.I’m so excited about it! The process of writing it readying it for publication has been a true adventure! The front cover of the book has not yet be decided on and the book is not quite ready for publication and release to my readers but it will be available on Amazon when it is completed. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Colin and mine’s book release!
” My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy. It is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogginh and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.” – Carolyn Shelton
5. Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Writers or Bloggers Starting Out?
I enjoy writing serious posts and posts written for fun. I enjoy reading both as well. Also, I like reading stories in the genre of fiction and some nonfiction stories as well when I am choosing novels to read.
As for advice for new writers or bloggers: I encourage them to be patient with their self and write what comes naturally. Don’t think that your blog has to be like another blogger’s blog. Your blog is unique just like you. Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog. Don’t push yourself to post every day if you cannot manage to do that. I didn’t post each day in the beginning and there is no rule that says you have to post every day. You need to write when it fits your schedule.
6. For Fun, Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs? Top Three? What Do You Like About Them?
Oh, my this is a hard question. There are a lot of blogs I enjoy! The blogs I have followed the longest though are Jodi’s, Ameena’s and Colin’s.
Jodi’s blog makes my taste buds tingle when I see pictures of the wonderful recipes she is cooking up. She is a wonderful cook and there are sometimes I attempt her recipes, though I am sure she does them better. She also does beautiful paintings and puts lovely poems to lovely photographs she takes together in a post. I enjoy reading her blog because of her cheery outlook on life.
Ameena (Randoms by A Random) is a gifted poet and her poems tug at my heartstrings. She has put me at a loss for words more than once. You can read the interview Mandibelle16 did of Ameena HERE
Colin writes about life with Ray, his wonderful Rescue Dog that he adopted. He also has “Just Thinking” posts that give you things to ponder. It is always interesting to read his perspective. He includes some poetry on his blog; in fact, he has a book of wonderful poetry coming out soon. His dry wit comes through in his posts as well. A blog that can make me laugh will be one I keep going back to.
Most importantly all these blogs do have something in common. Although they post about various topics, they all have become special friends of mine.That is what I feel is at the heart of blogging, the friendships that are formed from a mutual interest.
” Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog.” – Carolyn Shelton
7. Can You Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts?
Here are some of Carolyn’s posts that she and I like a great deal. I hope you enjoy them too!
Written April 2013, by Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)
Good Morning! Today my husband and I will bid a final farewell to a dear friend of ours. His body was ravaged with cancer and now he is free from pain. Though we are happy that he is now at peace, there also is pain, as he will be dearly missed!
Pat always had a smile for you and could make you laugh with his wit. Even when his wit was at your expense, you couldn’t help but laugh. Shaking your head, trying not to smile, as your mind was racing for a comeback. No joke was ever old. We had met over 20 years ago, and there was something that had happened to me in that first year that Pat and Sherry were dating. Something that he still loved to throw out there whenever he would get the chance, and yes it still had a way of heating up my cheeks. His humor is something that stayed with him, even as his body grew sicker. He kept his spirits up and fought hard. He was an inspiration.
In yesterday’s post, Dewey and Jaxon Follow Their Hearts, I told about when we heard the news about cancer and how Dewey took over my pen. Took over my pen for my broken heart. Today I am sharing a poem that I shared before. A poem that seems fitting for today. It has been revised a little to help it flow more smoothly, thanks to a friend.
My heart poured it out on a night when it was breaking. Breaking because the prognosis was not looking good for my friend and the tears fell as I didn’t know what to say. What could I speak to my precious friend and his wife? How could I encourage her? I felt that I had no words.
Come Away With Me My Friend (Let Us Run To The Ocean)
Come away with me my friend
Let us run to the ocean,
Where you can let the pain in your heart
Be overpowered by the roar of the waves.
Let us go where you can shout ”Why?” to the sky,
And scream as loud as you need.
Where you can fall to your knees on the soft sand.
Thank you so much to Carolyn for allowing me to interview her for this week’s blogger/writer interview. She is a wonderful and kind hearted person and I’m so excited for the book she and Colin will be releasing on AMAZON soon. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Nuggets of Gold.
If you are a writer, blogger, author, or someone who blogs for a cause or special organization and would like to be featured in my interview series here and on the Go Dog Go Cafe please reach out to me through my CONTACT PAGE on my personal blog. Thank you and see you next week!
He walked through the frozen world elated. The trees were silent and still as ice coated their needles. He was satisfied with what he saw, with winter’s permanent hold on this world. He preferred the isolation and tranquility he found in blizzards that howled and the quietness of a world blanked in thickness of snow afterwards.
Every day he walked through his Winter Wonderland satisfied that it’s inhabitants remained mostly indoors, only venturing outside when they had to. Life was a vicious battle for survival here and he was proud to have been the one who initiated this struggle.
Then one morning he walked outside and heard the triumphant roar of a lion; he shivered in fear. He had not heard that roar for milannias. It was the roar that had silenced his mother, that belonged to the beast who ripped out her throat. He felt overly warm, used to frigid cold, feeling furious when he saw that overnight the pine needles of the trees had been freed from their ice cage. The lion roared again and the white prince ran.
His world had been comprised of hastily constructed philosophies, which upon close examination, had failed him and promptly collapsed.
“Peanut butter,” he gasped moaning at the delicious taste of the product his mother had refused to feed him as a child.
“How can you have not tasted Peanut butter, Charlie? You’re thirty-nine years old and have been living on your own for twenty years. Didn’t it ever occur to you buy it, just once, to see what it tasted like?”
Charlie looked at Dana his mouth a gap,”This is mind blowing. All my life I thought Peanut butter would kill me. My mother convinced me my throat would swell, that I would die on the floor gasping for air if I ate it. But I’m fine. I’ve been eating it all day and it hasn’t made me sick or made me have trouble breathing. My mother was a liar!”
“She was just trying to protect you, Charlie. You did say she saw a kid die from being exposed to peanut butter when she was in school. It’s why they don’t allow it public schools. Your mom should have let you try a bit of Peanut butter first to see if your body reacted,” Dana remarked.
Charlie shook is head and sighed with pleasure. “I’m going to be eating Peanut butter for the rest of my days, for all those years I was robbed of it’s taste and smooth texture.”
Dana laughed,”Careful Charlie, there is a lot of calories in peanut butter. You don’t want to ruin your physique.”
“Who cares. I swear I’ll go to the gym if that happens.”
Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting #100WordWednesdays.
Credit:Felix Russel; Saw via UnSplash
Images, the vines, the flowers, the tribal tattoos, marking his body their presence is defining. A farmer’s son covered his body in tattoos, to lay claim to a canvas, a territory, beneath a sunless sky. But bruises so dark, red and vivid purple used to cover his limbs, his torso, his face, and even his hands. So when he chooses bright ink, a part of him heals and the bruises fade. With each work of art he becomes stronger and he returns home, sheltered by his images. He’s happy because his body is his own and no father can abuse or mother can deny; tattoos are his stories accompanying him gently as the wheat sways in the field.
Wonderland had been a delight for Alice. It always was, but she expected that when she returned to the real world, she would come back as herself — her correct size.
Instead, Alice stepped through the looking glass as her regular 5’7″ height and found herself the size of one her mothers miniature ornamental figurines. Moreover, when she had taken a few steps she found herself falling from a tremedous height before making a great splash in what she discovered was a tepid cup of green tea.
She didn’t recognize the face of the sullen man who was drinking from her mother’s rose china teacups. His hands surrounded the cup Alice was in and he hadn’t even realized when she landed in his tea, sloshing it all over his hands.
Alice was soaked and feeling warm, the tea wasn’t as tepid as she thought. The man sighed and she heard her mother’s booming voice talking to the man about some cause she was recruiting donations for.
She screamed shrilly as the man lifted the cup to his mouth, struggling in the water and flailing her tiny arms. The man didn’t see Alice and as she continued screaming, the cup moved closer to the man’s mouth. As tea surrounded Alice covering her head, she had no choice but to bite the man’s lip. She sunk her teeth into his flesh, biting as viciously as she could with her minature teeth.
The man gasped, suddenly in pain. Blood dripped from his lip where Alice had bit him. The tea and teacup flew out of his hand in surprise and Alice was flung out into the living room landing beside her mother on the couch.
Her mother gazed at Alice with wide blue eyes before gently stroking Alice’s soaking body with her pinky finger.
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 . . .
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.
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 ofBut I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafaras 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 ofPixton.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.
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!
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 myContact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂