Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.
1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?
I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.
One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore calledThe Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.
2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?
I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.
My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life.My husband and I have been married just over five years. Markis an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.
Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.
On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.
Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto
3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.
My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.
When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.
I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.
Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).
“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere:a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.
As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.
“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.
My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!
8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?
I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.
Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.
“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto
9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?
My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.
The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.
If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.
If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.
I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?
I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.
My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.
I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy inspirational pieces as well.Both of these kinds of writing have their place.
“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto
12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?
I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.
I’ve also started aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.
13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?
I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running calledBelle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.
14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:
Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”
More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:
Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times. I try to live my life as described in “The Choice”and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.
Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blogone more time: Steps Times Two.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page.See you in two-weeks!
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.
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.
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.
Words deserted her as fire shot across the sky. She welcomed sunrise casting brilliant light into the dawn, while purple-tinged clouds of white still held wisps of night’s inky black guise.
Beautiful sunrises were evocative for her and could easily bring forth a memory. They had the power to make her eyes hunger and delight, to forget her words. A sunrise’s influence kept her caught in a distinct moment of enjoyment, while at the same time, lost in thought.
The rising sun also inspired prayers of thankfulness. It was a raw moment in nature, primordial to her being. No matter what she was experiencing in life, the sunrise momentarily healed her. Sunlight glazing across the dawn sky mended her body, alleviated her suffering.
Above all she thought, the hope a sunrise brought was vital. Each day it rose, she was graced with another day to do better and be better. To her, this sense of hope was most profound. It was why she cried, tasting the salt of her tears, as the sun finished it’s ascent.
Welcome to another bi-weekly interview. I’m excited to share with you today a writer and blogger by the name Simon Farnell from the blog: Planet Simon. Ensure you check-out his site. He is an avid and imaginative science-fiction and fantasy fan who writes superbly. I enjoy his Titan Mystery Serial and his thoughtful and interesting articles on the The Solar System.
1. Hi Simon, Please Tell Us About Yourself:
My name is Simon Farnell and I come from the UK. I’ve lived here all of my life and I’ve rarely been away. The only time I’ve been away from the UK is for work. I’m a nearly forty-two-year -old man who grew up with a great imagination and a poor understanding of math.
Nevertheless, I became an engineer and started working with electronics, soldering, wiring, and fixing things. After many years some crazy person thought I should design electronics and through much blood, sweat, and tears, I still am.
I have always loved the outdoors and I have an avid sense of adventure in the natural world outside my back door. I’ve climbed numerous mountains, sailed around on the sea, and canoed to different places. This sense of exploration and discovery shows in my tastes of reading, films, music, and writing.
I’ve always loved Star Wars from when I was young and I love the science-fiction and fantasy genres. Through the years my love for these genres has shown especially in my taste in music. I listen to wonderful tracks that take me on great adventures.
One day I realized I have a vivid imagination and that maybe I should write some of my thoughts down. That’s how it began.
2. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging?
I started blogging in 2012 when a friend I was working with suggested should write and share my thoughts as “I have something to say.” I didn’t blog much at first but I had a few ideas which I posted. Looking back on some of these first posts, I see some of it was terrible. I struggled working with WordPress and almost gave up on my blog until I figured out how to use the WordPress platform and discovered its power.
When my mother died in 2014, I discovered I had all these emotions inside me and while I didn’t pour them into my blog, I found writing to be an escape for me, a kind of therapy. I believe it’s still helping me find the real me inside myself.
“When my mother died in 2014, I discovered I had all these emotions inside me and while I didn’t pour them into my blog, I found writing to be an escape for me, a kind of therapy. I believe it’s still helping me find the real me inside myself.” – Simon Farnell
3. What Does Writing and Poetry Mean To You and Why Do You Write?
I write because I feel I need to write. I have stories I want to tell, worlds to discover, and feelings to pour out. When we read a story it’s someone’s story or imagination in written form and poetry feelings in written form. While I didn’t start my blog to write poetry, I have written some pieces which are my feeling painted by my fingersinto words.
4. Where Do You Find Your Own Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer Writing?
A large part of my inspiration is from music. I’ve always loved movie themes and music soundtracks without words. I’ve discovered the likes of Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachinewhich take me to places only my mind can go.
I like to write anytime, but the evening is easier; however, even that is difficult at the moment – so I write any time I can.
“I write because I feel I need to write. I have stories I want to tell, worlds to discover, and feelings to pour out. When we read a story it’s someone’s story or imagination in written form and poetry feelings in written form.” – Simon Farnell
6. What Are Your Current Writing Projects or Do You Have Any Future Projects Planned?
A. For my blog I’ve been writing a serial story called theTitan Mystery– the title is crap and I’m going to re-work it later. The series is about a huge ship that bends time. It traps another ship and its crew in a time bubble and the story is of how the crew escapes.
C. I’ve also been posting a series about conspiracy theories which have come to life and I study them to test their viability. It’s amazing how many mysteries there are out there and scary ones too.
Apart from these serials, I have two books that I have started and I am slowly working through them. I’m not saying anything about them yet, but I’m hoping future posts will have information and updates on the books. Lets say, they should be pretty amazing.
My writing process is to write what comes to mind or what I feel. I like to write more than I like to edit and I think this shows. My viewpoint is, spending time editing is time wasted which could be spent writing or something else. I know that when I write my book(s) that will have to change and I will have to edit.
8. What Are Your Preferred Genres of Reading And Writing? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
I like to read and write science-fiction and fantasy stories, this way I can let my mind go anywhere and anytime. I believe writers and bloggers should write themselves first. I know that if you want to sell you need to have a product. But make sure you write for you most of all.
“My writing process is to write what comes to mind or what I feel. I like to write more than I like to edit and I think this shows. My viewpoint is, spending time editing is time wasted which could be spent writing or something else.” – Simon Farnell
9. Do You Have Any More Pieces of Writing You’d Like To Share With Us?
This is more poetic piece that I wrote recently based on thoughts and feeling I was having at the time:
Thank you Simon for answering the interview questions and sharing with us your fascinating science-fiction writing, fantasy writing, and thoughts on the world. If you would like to be apart of my bi-weekly interview series, please reach out to me on myContact Page on Mandibelle16.
Sally and Georgia were at the local museum. The museum had an exhibit on colour psychology that both girls found fascinating.
They paused at a large diamond-like structure made of hard plastic magenta. “What’s this?” Both girls said.
“It looks as if it could be a pensive from Harry Potter,” Georgia said. “The sides of the diamond could open up and you could dip your head in.”
Sally rolled her eyes, “I don’t think that has anything to do with colour psychology. I read that Magenta is made of both red and violet. It has the ‘passion, power, and energy of red [but is] restrained by [violet’s] introspection and quiet energy.’ ”
“Interesting,” Georgie said reading the same plaque. ” Magenta is a colour concerned with ‘change and transformation. [It releases] old emotional patterns [which] prevent personal and spiritual development. [Magenta] aids [people] moving forward.'”
“Do you honestly think that’s true?” Sally asked.
“Well it is true people are drawn to certain colours for specific reasons. Sometimes it’s preference, other times colours help fulfill an emotional need for peace or something more colourful and bold,” Georgia remarked.
A preteen boy passed by the women gazing at the diamond. “Why the hell is there a pink diamond here? Who cares about colours anyways,” he said to his Mom who gave him a reproving look.
The women peered at the boy. “It’s Magenta,” Sally said. “Not pink, pink has no purple or blue in it; it’s a tint.”
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.