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.

Blogger Recognition Award #awards #amwriting


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Thanks to Sascha Darlington for nominating me for this award. I think we both have only recently began following each other and I’m pretty obsessed with her short stories about Clare, Damien, and Dominic already. She writes them according to whatever the prompt is that day for each story. It’s a complicated love triangle for Clare. 

Check-out this recent piece here. I garuntee you’ll want to go back and read up on what happened before.  

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THE RULES FOR THE BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD

For all the nominees for this award, here are the rules, if you choose to accept:
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1. Write a post to show your award.

2. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

3. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

4.Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.

5. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to them

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WHY I STARTED BLOGGING:

Well I’ve explained before, but not sure where. I was sick in 2008 to 2009. After a brief psychotic episode I had a depressive episode. I never had a psychosis again but the depressive episode meant I developed difficulties reading and writing (cognitive skills were impaired). I had to build both skills back up.

 I’m an English Major from back in 2007. I wrote well and wanted my talent back. I started the blog to improve my writing, editing, and reading skills and to write about my ongoing mental illness — depression with severe fatigue. 

I have worked so much on my writing, especially writing more creatively. I took writing courses online from WordPress and from certain extension programs at several universities. I have done years of Flashfiction and started writing poetry about a year or two after first blogging. Poetry is something I’ve wrote since I was small. I started learning and practicing different forms of poetry (sonnets, Tankas, Cinquins, Laurenells etc.) and doing not only free verse (which comes fluidly for me) but metered and rhymed poetry on my blog.

In January last year I began focusing even more on fiction and poetry so I could submit my work to different literary websites, magazines, and do guest blog posts; I continue doing this. I finished the first draft of a novel which took years to get past chapter four and now I haven’t had time to work on the second draft of late past chapter seven. 

I also occasionally blog nonfiction about movies, books, music, current events, beauty, fashion, or maybe a certain experience or memory. My blog has evolved a lot over almost five-years. My writing is much improved and I’m so grateful that as well as being able to write well, I read well too. I read books on writing, romance, adventure, fantasy, and the enjoyable books published by my Blogger friends along with reading many blogs whenever I’m able. 

Blogs are fluid things and they become whatever you’re focusing on at a certain time or place in your life. That’s my opinion 😉.
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MY ADVICE TO NEW BLOGGERS:

When you start blogging, pick a theme that looks professional (easy to read from and visually pleasing) and ensure you complete putting together your blog as much as you’re able including contact page, about you, and any social media links, so your content will be automatically shared to Twitter for instance. You can put links to other social networking sites on the sidebars of your blog such as a directly to your writer/blogger Facebook Page or Instagram page on your blog. 

My most hated thing to do on a blog is to have to search all over for a ‘Follow Me’ button. Put that at the top of your page and the bottom. You want people to follow you even on a whim so make it easy for them to do this. Also, when you’ve started posting, make sure we can see your other posts which are relatable or recent on the bottom of your blog or side – somewhere. If I like a blog, I want to read more. Also, pop-ups are annoying and unneccesary. 

As for writing, don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself and in your writing. Honesty and authenticity shows through and is attractive to readers who seek to relate. Edit well but remember you can always edit more after you post –happens to me all the time. 

Cutting your word count and doing Flashfiction is a great way to learn how to edit well and make each sentence count. Do prompts and challenges and write everyday, even if you don’t post on your blog. Keep your anonymity if you like, but I have found with blogging, through writing more personal pieces, you can help many people through their challenges in life with your own.

Make it a habit to follow and read other bloggers. WordPress is an awesome community and it helps everyone and their writing to comment on their pieces and in return make friends and gain followers. You can even reblog posts you love or Press them as a new post, share them via social networking, email, or print them out. Allow your readers to have these options as well, when they read your blog. 

Also, be kind in your comments. Concustructive criticism is helpful for many but it doesn’t always come across as positive. So be careful how and when you use it and with whom. 

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BLOGS I NOMINATE:

If you want it the Award is yours! 


Award: Epically Awesome Award #amwriting


Thank you to Paul of wwwpalfitness for nominating me for this award. I don’t do awards often but I keep getting brand new visitors to my blog from Paul’s nomination post. So, I should probably do the award. Thank you Paul it was very kind of you.

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Rules:

Display the Award in your post, mention your nominator, link back to them, answer 5 questions and nominate 5-10 people.

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Questions: 


1. What made you choose WP as your blogging platform?

I chose WordPress as a blogging platform because a friend on Facebook used WordPress and I read her blogs all the time, and enjoyed her blog’s appearance and content. I had dabbled with some other blogger sites before, but I like that the WordPress site had many themes to pick from and appeared professional. Learning to use it was also fool proof. My second choice of a blog site would be Tumblr but the Tumblr blog site is a bit simplistic. I do link my blog to Tumblr. My user name is: Mandibelle16 

2. Introduce yourself and tell us about your blog?

My name is Amanda or Mandi, whatever you wish to call me on here. I’ve been blogging for about four-years now. You can read about me on my About The Author Page here or on the right side of my blog I have another short About Me section from my Gravatar Profile. I’m from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and I began my blog to improve my writing skills and share and use my blog as a platform for a mental illness I was dealing with, and am still dealing with. 

These days, I’m more interested in writing creative fiction, poetry, and a few nonfiction pieces. I finished my first draft for my novel, last week. It’s a paranormal romance called How Was Last Night For You. Yesterday, I made sure from chapter 1 on, you can link to the next chapter at the bottom of each chapter. 

I also write a lot of flash fiction and I have been experimenting and learning new poetry forms this year. Additionally, I did NaPoWriMo in April, #Maydays prompts in May, as well as I’m finishing another round of Writing 101.

3. Are you a once in a while blogger or a daily one? I have become a daily blogger since I first started taking WordPress writing and blogging courses. Those courses helped me to develop my writing and to write something at least once a day. Usually, I think I post three times a day, but every once in a while I skip a day to work on other writing. You have to plan your writing schedule, it’s vital to being a blogger. I might be missing blogging days as I get into editing my novel in second draft.

4. Do you wish to publish and if so, what type of book? Yes, I wish to publish my novel. On my own through Amazon or with a Publisher I’m not sure yet. I’m collecting information and researching this right now. I think the novel will eventually be a series of three books all of the paranormal romance genre. 

5. What is your favorite thing to do besides write? I like to be doing something with a friend or relative. Having drinks, sharing a bottle of wine, coffee, lunch, meeting at a Pub, doing some activity such as seeing a play, or going to the spa myself on a Groupon every once in a while is fun as well.

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Nominees: 

1. Sandra of What Sandra Thinks

2. Rosema of A Reading Writer

3. Rosie of Hook Up Culture.

4. Mark of Colouring Outside The Lines

5. Eric of My Sword and Shield

6. JoyRoses of Nuggets of Gold

7. NJ of NJ Says

8. Emily of Poet Girl Em

9. Kat of Like Mercury Colliding

10. Maria of Doodles and Scribbles.

11. Christopher of CLCouch123

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Please Note: I don’t know which bloggers do blog awards and which don’t. So if you’ve the time and want to do the award, by all means do. If you don’t have time, there is no pressure, you don’t have to do the award. But please know I love all of your writing 🙂 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Do Clothes Make The Woman?


Prompt: How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

  It has always been important to me to have clothes that make me look good ever since I was a little girl. When we were poorer and did not have so much money I hated that I had to wear second hand clothing from some other little girl but I knew we were poor so I didn’t complain much about it. I have had to buy my own clothes since about grade eight and I did not have much money to buy clothes until I was in university. Before that, Christmas or my Birthday was a grand affair because I got to go shopping and buy whatever I liked at the stores I liked. But I still always bought only clothes on sale to stretch my funds.

Luckily in highschool, we wore uniforms but there was always one day a month where we got to wear street clothes so it was a big deal to have a new outfit every month. I had a bit of money so most often I was able to scrape enough money together to buy a new shirt at least. In university, I wore what I wanted and mostly had the money to shop a bit and buy what I liked every so often. Luckily, my tastes ran to Gap, Jacob, and Hollister and those stores had sales very often. So usually, I could always find a shirt or two and occasionally I would buy an item from Lululemon since wearing yoga clothes to school from Lululemon was a big deal. 

  

 My style now runs more to what I like to wear. Every couple months I can get an outfit I like and I can buy it from where I would like to which is usually Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Lululemon, or Victoria Secret. I enjoy shopping but I also learned from over shopping about 3 years back, that too much shopping can get you into debt (along with other things). I have a budget of what I can spend on clothes or even makeup and I stick to those budgets.

I think you can tell that appearance is quiet important to me but you have to wear what suits you and looks good on you. I am almost 30-years-old and I’m a couple sizes bigger then what I was in university and I can’t wear the tight bar tops and short skirts I use to on a night out. I can’t wear tummy revealing tops tops to school and I would rather people see me as professional or at least well put together. I would always care about this because my mother taught me to but also because I am sick and can’t work I look a lot more approachable, intelligent, and with it if I dress nice. This does not mean I will always be able to shop at Anthropologie but wherever I can shop I will shop to look nice.

  I feel better if I am dressed nice as if I have my armour on to face the world. I feel more confident, and more like myself. I feel ready to face the day and take on the tasks I need to get done. Even if I am just going to a doctors appointment I dress up and don’t wear yoga pants. This makes me feel I am on the same level with my physician and that he or she knows I mean business and can comprehend well what they are saying because I am educated and have insight into what they are saying to me. Do clothes make the woman? No, the woman makes the clothes and they help her present herself in life.

Lena Dunham – Should Young Starlets be Bashful About their Success and Entering the Corporate World


Happy January 2013, to start the year a couple more articles I have written for Flurt. An article on Lena Dunham, her new self help book proposal, and whether she should be bashful about her fame. Also, an article I have written on my personal perspective and things to do while entering a job in the corporate world. I am no longer their but perhaps, my experience in years gone by will aid other people.

Lena Dunham

http://www.flurtsite.com/2012/12/lena-dunhams-self-help-book/

Entering the Corporate World

http://www.flurtsite.com/2013/01/the-beginning-of-your-corporate-journey/

Thanks for reading!