Interview With Mark Reynolds


Welcome back to my bi-weekly interview series. This week, I’m excited to share with you the creative, thoughtful, and accomplished writer Mark Reynolds. Please check-out his fantastic blog here: Coloring Outside the Lines.


Mark Reynolds
Mark Reynolds

1. Mark, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

Hello, I’m Mark Reynolds, a.k.a  Coloring Outside the Lines. I live outside of Cleveland, Ohio on almost four acres of land with trees and gardens; the edge of a rural area. My Mom and Dad were from small farming towns in Western Ohio.

I’m a professional street-walker. Calling myself a Mailman sounds too boring.  I’m also a traveler. I have the vacation time to find cheap flights to any place I want to go, South or West. I also play in the dirt or garden. I like to grow food and have flowers and plants everywhere. Having many gardening areas cuts down on running the lawn mower on  grass. I’m a person who enjoys nature. We live with several critters such as  birds, deer, turkeys, raccoons, foxes, and snakes. I play photographer once in awhile and I have plenty of photos of many creatures and all kinds of landscape.


2. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging?

Complicated question. I began writing as a freshman in College. I wrote short stories for awhile. I could do dream sequences well, but writing the dialogue and including substance in my short stories was difficult for me.

Then a couple decades or so later,  I blew out my knee and was trapped on a couch for a month with a leg brace; that was about a year and half ago. During this time, I started my blog cleverly with a web address of Any1mark66.  My blog changed after taking a WordPress Blogger University Course.


“I like to grow food and have flowers and plants everywhere. Having many gardening areas cuts down on running the lawn mower on grass. I’m a person who enjoys nature.” – Mark Reynolds


3. What Does Writing and Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

Writing is all about expression. Poetry for me is spontaneous writing. A stray thought or string of words can be woven into an image. There’s a challenge to producing a particular feeling you can convey to others. The meaning of fiction for me….that’s personal!

Every fictional story should display a character gloriously flawed and have the ability to connect to the reader with something familiar, they can find in themselves or others. Real life connections are unique to each of us but if I can get a reader to buy in to the theme of my writing, than the reader can embrace my characters. Additionally, I write because it’s fun, and you can’t kill people in real life, but you can in a fictional story.


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

I participate in several writing challenges. I especially like to mix music with fantastic writing using the lyrics in songs. Nature is also always available for inspirational ideas. And those characters you can kill in writing are fascinating.There’s a quality to them and they inspire me to use different methods to explain why the die and how. Also, I have stray or random thoughts which keep giving me writing ideas. I use my spontaneous writing when I write serial stories which can be built into bigger works of writing.


“Every fictional story should display a character gloriously flawed and have the ability to connect to the reader with something familiar, they can find in themselves or others. Real life connections are unique to each of us but if I can get a reader to buy in to the theme of my writing, than the reader can embrace my characters.” – Mark Reynolds


5. Do You Find There Is a Time Of Day You Most Like to Write? What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?

I write at several different times in a day. Poetry is usually, a  morning exercise. Flash fiction and stories are easier to write in the afternoon or evening.  

I’m finishing up some of my fictional serial stories. I am doing a rewrite of the fairy tale: Little Red Riding Hood which I call: Beware of The Red Cape. In my version, Red is not the small innocent girl you read about in most fairy tales.

My other serial writing project is about a stalker. The stalking begins at a soccer practice and we’ll just say, hasn’t ended yet. Or, maybe it has? I’m not sure yet. I’m still working the serial story out.

I also have a serial story about a Granny whose ghost has become rather strange, a bit crazy. My Granny character has changed slightly as the serial has developed. My characters like to tell me how they wish to be viewed.


6. Have You Attempted To Publish Any of Your Writing? Or Are You Planning to Publish Writing In the Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Current Publishing Process?

I have been waiting to hear from a group doing a collection of stories from writers with Amazon self-publishing. I have submitted several pieces to this group.I have heard back twice and generally been told, ‘We are not looking for this now but we may contact you in the future.’ So, still waiting unfortunately.

If I understand the process of self-publishing right, I may have professional editing done and have Amazon recommend cover art for my book. It will be in the form of an E-book. I’m not buying a bunch of hard copy books upfront; Amazon does offer demand printing if I wish to go that route in the future.


“And those characters you can kill in writing are fascinating.There’s a quality to them and they inspire me to use different methods to explain why the die and how. Also, I have stray or random thoughts which keep giving me writing ideas. I use my spontaneous writing when I write serial stories which can be built into bigger works of writing.” – Mark Reynolds


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like? Do You Prefer Certain Genres for Reading and Writing?

I suddenly, have an idea; I lose said idea. Then, my idea returns similar, but changed and slightly twisted. Next, I peck out my ideas on my phone or IPad. I prefer to write my entire story all at once. If I come back to the story, my thoughts may change. I want a certain feeling when I write and that’s hard to recapture at a later time if I leave it. I will, however, go back to my writing and play with some new ideas later. But these ideas often become new stories on their own.

My preferred areas of reading include science-fiction books, suspense books, horror books, historical reads, science books, and books on nature. Although I write poetry, I have never read much of it.


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

Forget what you think you know about writing and write outside the boundaries of your daily life.  If you have to research a bit about a subject or place and learn its history, it builds a greater depth of feeling in your writing. Researching and visiting places to come up with new ideas, or more in-depth ideas, will give you a stronger voice in your writing. 

Oh yeah, fail at what you want (to write or do in life) once in awhile. Failure teaches a person things; no one ever learnt much from doing something right all the time.


“If I come back to the story, my thoughts may change. I want a certain feeling when I write and that’s hard to recapture at a later time if I leave it. I will, however, go back to my writing and play with some new ideas later. But these ideas often become new stories on their own.” – Mark Reynolds


9. Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Share With Us About Yourself Or Your Writing?

I have a passion for spreading information on things such as the food we eat. We have terrible options for fresh food and for finding out what is actually in the food we eat from the supermarket.

Food labeling isn’t often correct and there should be laws to make the labels on the food a person buys truthful and clear. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are terrible for a person to ingest. You may disagree with me, but try dumping weed killer on your garden plants and eating them, its about the same. But of course it’s safe.  Ask the people who made the weedkiller. 


“A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques (i.e., a genetically engineered organism). GMOs are used to produce many medications and genetically modified foods and are widely used in scientific research and the production of other goods. . .

The Organic Consumers Association, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Greenpeace stated that risks have not been adequately identified and managed, and they have questioned the objectivity of regulatory authorities. Some health groups say there are unanswered questions regarding the potential long-term impact on human health from food derived from GMOs, and propose mandatory labeling or a moratorium on such products. 

Concerns include contamination of the non-genetically modified food supply,effects of GMOs on the environment and nature,the rigor of the regulatory process,and consolidation of control of the food supply in companies that make and sell GMOs,or concerns over the use of herbicides with glyphosate.” – Wikipedia: Genetically Modified Organisms


10. Can You Please Share Some of Your Favorite Pieces of Writing With Us.

Beware The Red Cape: Part One

By Mark Reynolds

“Jezzibelle! Jezzibelle! Where are you?”  Mama calls out.

She washes her hands with lye soap as she looks out the open window.  Mama is nervous about sending the girl off alone.  She is of age now, but so easily swayed from her chores.  Mama knows the family trait to do the easy gains runs deep in her.  But Mama’s love can cure all ills.  Her Mama told her the way to be.  It’s that figure Jezzibelle is developing she is more concerned with.

Her own Mama has not responded to the traditional cures.  Leaches have proved ineffective to her maladies.  Herbal wraps have made her skin glow in the palest of white, lacking the rudiness of life.  Charcoal chunks have pasted through her without taking the problem with them.

Mama shuffles through bottles of homemade wine.  Dandelion wine, it’s pale yellow color and gentle flavor would be prefect for a picnic.  Today it’s a message to get well.  A smoked chunk of beef rests inside a burlap sack.  Two half pieces of bread complete the basket.  A single sage smudge stick wrapped inside kept out and bugs.

“Where is that girl?  I shouldn’t trust her.  My Mama isn’t getting better since Jezzibelle has taken over the role of care taker.  I hope Jezzibelle isn’t a burden to her.  Mama loves her so.  The red cape of velvet came from her grandmother.  It gave her a certain glow of vibrant womanhood at the young age.  And I remember being that age….The day Derrick came to the farm…I could careless he was so much older.  There are men waiting to get a hold of her.  Her uncles tell me how much she would fetch us.  Maybe the men know best.  It’s a lot of money.  She will need someone to keep her well.”  Mama reflects on the regrets of life and what future her daughter will be strattled with.

“Mama, what is it.  I was playing with Mindy’s dog.  He’s so cute.  I wish we could have that dog.  He keeps the ghastly beasts from the forest at bay.  Please, could we get one! I really think it would be best.  They haven’t lost a single chicken in months. And I would…” Jezzibelle tries to plead her case.

“Enough child!  You know what I need from you.  Take that basket to grandmother!  She hasn’t been by.  She still bed ridden.  You must take care of her for me.  I packed it well.  It’s early.  The field and woods will be cool.  Make haste child.  If it gets too warm the animals will smell the food.  They will stalk you, and steal the food.  Those ugly old wolves might hunt you too.  Take your cape!  Grandmother will only recognize you in it.  Her vision was really poor last week.”  Mama is nervous and shaking.  “Don’t you snoop around her corners!  She will hear you!  She doesn’t like snoops.  You may get her home one day.”

“Mama, I love grandmother.  Will she be ok?  I fear she’ll die.  I’ll never have her long enough. I want her to know my babies.  I don’t want to live there without her.” Jezzibelle kicks at her feet and tries to avoid her mother’s gaze.

“Stay on the path!  Don’t stop to talk to anyone!  There are strangers who might want this food or try to take you away.  A pretty girl like you needs to be careful around strangers.” Mama warns her.

“You worry too much, Mama.  I’ll be fine.  I have seen a few people in my trips.  They know me now.  They will help me.”  Jezzibelle puts her hand on Mama’s arm.

Mama looks at her with a mix of unsure feelings and hope. Her heart lends itself to worrying about one thing at a time.

©MarkReynolds (2016).


Here Are Some More Links to Mark’s Writing On His Blog:


Thank You so much Mark for the interview. It was great to read about your writing process, your inspirations, and your thoughts on writing and other topics. Here is one more link to Mark’s Blog: Coloring Outside The Lines


If you would like to be interviewed on my blog and share with other writers and bloggers about your writing and the process involved with how you write and how you publish your work, you can reach-out to me on my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Fiction: Come Back Be Here



Goodbye Airport
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“So this is it?”

“Yeah, I guess. This is it.” Carter murmured. He was holding Melanie’s hands in his and couldn’t seem to let go of them.

“I can’t believe it,” she said.”We’ve traveled all over the world together since Amsterdam. Now I’m probably never going to see you again.” Tears slipped down Melanie’s soft white cheeks.

She had promised herself she wouldn’t cry.

“I’ll visit.” Carter promised.”I’m sure I’ll end up in Montreal sometime in the future.”

“But that’s just it Carter. You can’t promise that.” Melanie said wiping her cheeks. “You travel the world for your job. You take wild and fantastic pictures for National Geographic.”

“I’m an accountant trying to finish her CA. I want to start my own business and I want to stay in Montreal. I grew-up there and my parents and other family live there. I can’t imagine leaving them for longer than I already have, travelling the last two-years.”

“I could settle in Montreal someday . . .” Carter mused.

“Don’t say that.”

“Say what?”

“Make promises you can’t keep.You grew up in Tuscany, in Italy. Your family maybe American but you  live on this beautiful land where you make wine, as your ancestors did for generations.” Melanie said.

“Your home in Tuscany, it’s your anchor and it’s where you love to go when you’re off.” Melanie said squeezing Carter’s hands tighter.

“You’re not Canadian. It’s beautiful but I know for you, it’s not home.”

“Perhaps, you’re my new home?” Carter said gazing in Melanie’s sad green eyes.

“Don’t lie to my like that, Carter.” She chastised, “If you say something like that you have to mean it. If we were to maintain our relationship, you’ d have to see me more than every once in a while. Can you do that with your work and family?”

Carter was frustrated and unhappy. “No I can’t. I can’t make promises to you right now. There’s too much of the world I wan’t to see still. I can’t see myself settling down for years and if I did . . .No not in your beautiful Canada.” A tear escaped Carter’s milk-chocolate eyes; he was embarrassed.

Melanie was outright crying now.

Carter took her in his arms and held her. After a while her cries turned to sniffles. She turned her face up to him and he kissed her for what he knew would be the last time. He drew the kiss out, knowing he would need to remember it for a lifetime.

“You have to go soon. You have to get through customs before your flight leaves.” Melanie remarked he voice hoarse.

“I know,” Carter said depressed.”This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done Mel.If it’s meant to work out, maybe one day it will?”

Melanie smiled. “No more promises you can’t keep. I’ll miss you Carter, so much.”

She had such strength; Carter always admired Melanie’s strength of character.

He stared back at his beautiful Mel as she waved to him and he walked away. Her auburn hair was braided and her beautiful green eyes full of unshed tears.

Carter somehow knew, he’d never see Mel again. They might chat over Facebook or he might see her pictures on Instagram. But he doubted in person, they’d ever meet.

He’d never forget his last image of her, attempting to smile while hiding her sadness. Carter waved to Mel and tried to look forward to his next photo shoot in Copenhagen.


Taylor Swift -“Come Back Be Here.”


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Boudoir Photography and A Little Self – Confidence


www.media.photobucket.com
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Why would anyone do Boudoir Photography? Isn’t that more like for your boyfriend or husband? Isn’t it embarrassing posing around in sexy lingerie, especially if you haven’t got the perfect body?
I think those are all questions people like me asked ourselves before checking out Boudoir Photography. Although, I’m sure some places aren’t the classiest about the whole affaire many photographers are and strive for elegant photos of you in your sexy best. Think of a 1950’s bedroom and the luxurious lingerie women wore back then or think of the simple underrated sexiness of slumming it around the house in your boyfriends comfiest jersey and your underwear, except either way you look gorgeous because your hair and makeup have been coiffed voluminously and your cat eyes done perfectly by professionals. Some places even have all women staff to make you  more comfortable and to make you feel more comfortable in your own skin.

And who gets boudoir photography? Women of all shapes and sizes in all kinds of classy outfits. Usually you get to pick about 3 to 4 outfits for an hour or so session. If your like me that was no problem, in fact, it was hard to cut down my choices. I chose a couple bra and panty sets, a couple of corsets, and a silk negligee. I had matching shoes and jewelry for most of my outfits. But actually, the particular photographer I chose had jewelry, shoes, and other outfits to choose from should I change my mind or want to use anything she had brought, from a few participating stores.

The shoot I went to took place in a classy hotel, but many photographers have their own studios for you to choose from. After changing into my first outfit, I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how to pose and I felt a little self conscious about my weight but my worries were soon obliterated. The photographer knew exactly how I should pose and move in the most attractive manner. We used props like a blanket, the bed, the chair, a mirror, and the curtains. And she was constantly showing me how the pictures looked even before she went and subjected them to some photo retouching. I felt great looking at those photos, very self-confident about myself and my body.

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Many women go to get Boudoir Photography for their husbands or boyfriends. Although, my boyfriend would like the photos, the real reason I went had nothing to do with him. I was doing this for me. I wanted to be able to say to myself in 50 years look this how I looked when I was young, not to bad eh? I didn’t even want my boyfriend to see the photos at first but they turned out so well that I had to show him and he approved of the classy boudoir photographs my the photographer had taken.

It was an hour and a half session the first time I went so it was long time and we took a lot of pictures in various poses. Later, I was mailed a CD with the best of the photograph’s on the CD and I had 2 photo books made. One photography book I made for me and one for my boyfriend. All in all though it was a confidence booster for me and helped me feel a lot better about a body that had seen about 25 lbs of weight increase in 4 years due to medication and the inability to stay fit. I felt like a sexy bombshell and I knew that if I looked this great under my clothes then with my clothes on I would feel even better.

So, here I am 2 years later, after that fun and renewing experience. I have put on another 12 lbs due to medication and I don’t feel so good about my body. My boyfriend always tells me he loves what he sees but I have decided to try Boudoir Photography again for myself to see how I really look at this stage in my life, almost 30-years-old. I am a bit nervous to see what I will see but I know that I will feel good about what I see after and that the photographer will make look good even if I’m a little chubby now. I have chosen my outfits and I am excited to go, to have my hair and makeup done again and to prove to myself that I am just beautiful as I was 2-years before.

I know I can’t go and get Boudoir Photography every time I gain a little weight. But a place I was planning on going for it had a groupon for a good price and I have heard fantastic things about the company. So I am excited to look sexy under the camera again reaffirm what I already know, I look good skin deep and otherwise.