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.

September Quotes to Remember Part 2 #quotes #pinterest 


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Thanks for reading! 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Elven Healer


Thank you to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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A Mixed Bag

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Their enemies were close, Kaleen could smell them. They reeked of blood and the putrid stench of those who had not bathed; the gremlin’s mission was death to all elves.

Kaleen knew the elves were strong. Hardened warriors, both men and women. Kaleen was a significant force in the war because she had healing magic; few elves possessed healing powers.

Though many elven warriors lay at death doors, Kaleen held her hands tight against their wounds, chanting magic incantations her Grandmother once taught her, and healing them. Kaleen also knew which plants would aid her own healing.

At the moment, she was trying to escape the gremlins with a young dying healer named Liam. The enemy had snuck up on Liam as he slept. Kaleen had half-carried him to a part of the woods where the aloe vera plants thrived. 

Kaleen cut a leaf of an aloe vera plant, allowing its juice to drip into Liam’s deep wound. She chanted using every bit of her magic. Later, she awoke, thinking, she must have passed-out. Healing a healer was difficult and used a great amount of energy. 

She was caught of guard as she arose. Liam was gone and two gremlins sneered, glaring at Kaleen. She drew her enchanted sword, releasing fire globes from her free hand, powerful magic not to heal, but to kill.

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Echoes of My Neighbourhood: Around the House


Thank you to Jacqueline of A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales for hosting the Echoes of My Neighbourhood Prompt.

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Today, it’s pictures outside, around my house. Spring hasn’t come about, it’s too early still. And the snow hasn’t stayed (yet). So nature appeares bare. But it’s sunny and not too cold. A cool wind blows, but only a light jacket needed in March is amazing. I’m looking forward to when spring comes at last. My Mom did tell me the tulips were starting to come up at her work. Cheers all! Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy your Guinness and your “green beer.” Seems to me we need more ‘green’ this time of year! 

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Our Kitchen Window. We have a shelf where we put most of our plants. We always joke with my Mom that. she has a ‘black thumb’ but, her orchids atleast, have bloomed several times.
 
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Part of the Back Yard. The little arch is beautiful when green leaves cover it from vines in the summer months.
 
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When we moved into this house, my Dad and one brother, did a great deal of work putting in brick/stone flowerbeds and a patio. Again, they. are much nicer when flowers bloom and plants are green.

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A Birch tree in the upper yard. It drops so many leaves in fall.
 
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Front of our Bungalow. Dad painted the siding a grey-green when we moved in to modenize it. The trees infront of our house have grown awful big!
 
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Another part of the front yard, looking off down the sidewalk.
 
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Speaking of sidewalks, one of my favourite poems is by a poet named Shell Silverstein. My elementary school teachers, used to read us his poetry. My favourite poem by Shell Silverstein is called “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”

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Where the Sidewalk Ends – Shell Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

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Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

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Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

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(Poem provided by Lady Lee Manila).

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©Mandibelle16.All Rights Reserved.

Literary Lion: One Must Never Go Into the Woods Alone


Jadea’s Grandfather had believed the woods to be a magical place full of herbs, cures for illnesses, and food to eat. Jadea had loved going into the forest with her Grandfather and learning about what kinds of plants were good to use and which plants were poisonous. She had disliked hunting for animals.

Grandmother had never minded that Jadea had went into the woods with her Grandfather saying even the bears were afraid of him. Grandfather was a mystical man and he brought protection with him through magic wherever he went. But one day Grandfather had disappeared as twilight had began to fade and the dark had crept in like a lion looking for his prey.

Jadea had yelled and screamed for her Grandfather but all she could find was his white staff. Jadea had hung onto it for dear life as she had run out of the woods through branches that seemed to rip at her hair and roots that tripped up her feet. She could feel something chasing her so she hurried, holding out the staff in front of her as if it were some talismane. It was the last thing she would have of her grandfather’s and it protected her from the beast that chased her. When she finally reached home and ran into the house she cried and told her Grandmother what had happened. Her Grandmother told her to never go into the woods again.

“Jadea listen to me” said Grandmother, “You must never go into the woods alone, ever. It’s not safe now little girl,”

“But Grandfather showed me everything. I know what’s good and bad about the forest” protested Jadea but Grandmother shook her head.

” Never go there Jadea. Promise me.” so Jadea swore to her Grandmother that she would never go into the woods again although it pained her to do so.

But one day years later, having long moved away from the cottage her grandparents had lived in by the forest, Jadea remembered the night her Grandfather disappeared into the woods. It was daylight and Jadea had a mind to go into the forest and explore. She was pleased to remember which plants and herbs were good and she gathered them as she went but it wasn’t long before Jadea realized she was not alone.

Every step Jadea took something dogged her foot steps and then as Jadea rested from picking out herbs something terrifying came towards her. She could not identify it it was invisible but it sat down beside her and bound her feet and hands. Then hands made of air cut off the breath from her lungs and Jadea knew no more but as she was asphyxiated she recalled her Grandmother’s words: ‘ Never Go into the Woods Alone.’

Word Count:460

Thanks to I Smith Words for hosting!

Story in the woods