Interview With Ian Kelly


Goodmorning and welcome to my biweekly interview series. Today I have the honor of sharing with you the writing and blog of Ian Kelly. He’s a talented guy who has recently published a book of short stories. You can find Ian’s blog here: Ian Kelly Writing.


interview-ian
Credit: Ian Kelly

 

1. Hi Ian, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

Hi. My name is Iain Kelly and I’m from Glasgow in ScotlandI have lived here all my life and it’s where I write my blog from. My blog is called: Iain Kelly Writing.

Telling about yourself is always the most difficult question to answer, so I’ll keep it simple! I work as an editor of television programs for BBC Scotland. I’m married with two-year-old twins who take up most of my time. After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.


2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

I first started my blog six years ago and spent a year doing film and book reviews. I neglected it for a couple of years and then took a fiction writing course online. When I had finished that I had a few short pieces that I liked and decided to share them on my blog. From there I have kept writing new short stories and flash fiction.


“After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.” – Ian Kelly


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

When I was much younger I wrote stories. I have always enjoyed coming up with characters, letting my imagination wander with them and see what stories resulted. I used to play football (soccer) and would write stories about fictional football teams and players. As often happens, life gets in the way of dreams. 

I went to university and studied English Literature, Film, and Television. My career took me down the path of television. Eventually, I’ve found the writing bug again. Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.


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

I tend to write fiction based on real life, or perhaps a fictional future world rooted in reality. I don’t tend to write fantasy or science-fiction specifically. My inspiration comes from the world around us. It could be something happening in the news, events, politics, but also from looking at everyday people, the struggles and/or laughter they share with each other. My motivation may come from wanting to try and comment on events that are occuring. Writing is a way to turn frustration into something creative or to attempt to cope with a situation in life.


“Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.” – Ian Kelly


5. Is There a Time of Day You Prefer to Write?

My time available to write depends on my work schedule and my children. When the kids have gone to bed in the evening I try to fit some time writing in. Or if the twins go for a nap during the day sometimes I have a chance to write. The main thing is that I have to find the opportunities to write when I can!


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing/Blogging Projects? Any Hopeful Projects for the Future?

At the moment I am working on my first novel-length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft. I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.

After the first draft is finished I will re-write and edit. I’m aiming to have a finished novel by the end of the year and then decide what I want to do with it –- if it’s worth sending to a publishing company or self-publishing the novel.

Alongside that, I will continue writing short pieces for my blog. It helps to take a break from a long novel and focus the mind on something different every so often, before going back to the main project.


“At the moment I am working on my first novel length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft. I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.” – Ian Kelly


7. Can You Tell Us About Your Recently Published Book? 

At the start of this year, I self-published a collection of my short stories from my blog in a book called Collected Sketches. I decided to do this at the end of 2016. I realized I had a lot of stories, some with similar themes and dealing with similar issues, that I thought were quite good and worth collecting together as a compendium.

The other benefit of publishing theses stories was that it gave me a chance to try self-publishing out for myself which I hadn’t done or considered doing before. I’m pleased with how my book turned out. It’s available to a global audience through on Amazon: HERE, which is an amazing thing to happen to my writing. You can find out about Collected Sketches by Ian Kelly on my blog or through Kindle on  Amazon.com


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Credit: Amazon.com – ‘Collected Sketches’ by Ian Kelly

Buy it HERE

 


8. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process that You Went Through To Publish? 

I used Createspace online to self-publish. After looking around at a few online resources I went for this one mainly because it was free to do, and also it allowed me to do everything myself. Other sites offered help in editing and formatting and design, but at a cost.

If you’re confident to do these things yourself then Createspace is excellent. With the novel I am currently writing, I plan to try the traditional route of sending it to agents and publishers. But it is good to know that if all else fails I can self-publish and still have my novel out there into the world. Here is the link to Createspace HERE.


9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I think I’m still figuring my writing process out as I go through this novel. Most writers advise that the best thing to do is write the first draft as it comes to you. Whatever happens, keep writing! So I’m following that advice.

I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form, freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing. Doing flash fiction short stories is great practice for that.


“I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.” – Ian Kelly


10. Do You Have Certain Genres You Prefer to Write or To Read Books In?

I tend to stick to everyday drama or real world stories. But I also love to read and write spy stories, war fiction, and crime fiction. I might occasionally try other things too.

I spend a lot of time reading. Favorite authors would be John Le Carre, Martin Cruz Smith, Agatha Christie, James Ellroy, Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Ian Fleming, and Terry Pratchett –- to name a few. I also like to try and go back and read the classics every so often such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and I love Alexandre Dumas and The Three Musketeer novels. I think that comes from my days as a student of English Literature. 


11. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers? Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like To Follow?

Just keep writing and getting your work out there into the world for people to read. Ninty-Nine Percent of people will be kind to you and give constructive criticism and feedback. If you love doing it, keep doing it. And read lots too.

 I follow loads of great fiction writers out there so rather than trying to pick from them I will pick three alternatives:

  • One for writing prompts is a relatively new flash fiction challenge called ‘What Pegman Saw’ which uses Google Maps as a prompt each week to give a location to inspire stories. It’s a great idea and means I learn a lot about various places around the world, as well as writing stories.
  • I don’t really do film reviews anymore, but one of the best blogs that I follow for all things film-related, including reviews is The Snooty Ushers at which one of my friends from University days contributes to. Great reviews and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
  • Finally, Joanne Kelly Art and Design. I am biased but my wife Joanne has her own blog. She is a graphic designer and artist and has started creating works both by hand and on computer software. Some great stuff, so I hope people will check it out.

14. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From Your Blog? 

Flash Fiction, I have always liked this one, to sum up being a writer:

 

“The Writer’s Spiral”

By Ian Kelly

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Credit: Joy Pixley

***

Mark met Bob from Accounting at the bottom of the stairs.

‘Another Monday morning,’ said Bob, as they began the trudge up to the office. Mark grunted in reply. Bob began every Monday with the same conversation.

‘Don’t you ever feel like we’re hamsters in a wheel, going round and round and getting nowhere?’ Bob continued. ‘There must be something more exciting in life than this.’

As Mark prepared to answer, the lights went out. Out of the window, they saw bright orange beams cut through the air. Aircraft buzzed around them, firing at one another. Buildings exploded as aircraft and missiles crashed into them. The sky darkened as a large spaceship loomed over the city. Mark ducked as a piece of debris crashed through the glass next to them. It caught Bob and sent him plummeting to the ground below.

***

The writer paused and read back what he had just typed. It all spiraled out of control too quickly. He sighed and pressed Ctrl+A and Delete. The cursor on the blank screen blinked at him. He started again.

***

Mark arrived at work at the same time as Bob from Accounting…


Here Are Some Of Ian’s Longer Pieces he wrote and favorited:


Thank you so much, Ian, for wanting to be interviewed I enjoyed your answers and you seem to have a solid idea of what you’re doing as a writer and how to achieve your set goals. Best of luck with the novel and future endeavours. 

If you would like to be interviewed please reach out to me on my contact page. I would love to tell your story as a writer or if you blog for a cause, I can also interview on that as well. See you in two weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Writing Prompt: Poem – Blank Verse – “Atlantis In Popular Culture” #poetry #amwriting #history #legend 


Thanks to Oloriel of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s prompt. First we are to go to Wikipedia and go to the ‘Random Article’ Button, his is our title. Second we are to HERE and find a randomly generated picture. 

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Credit: http://writingexercises.co.uk/random-images.php

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Ring the bells ring them, sound organ pipes too, 

Atlantis sinks to obscurity

Earth trembles, calls with a tune sung, 

Ring the bells; last time you’ll hear them out loud. 

Artistic endeavour, artisan’s craft, 

Carved pipes; hear the organ it booms last. 

Earthquakes, rocks tumble, falling into time. 

A void in the earth barely felt until now. 

Modern humans are obsessed by her,

A lost city never found; for it’s day —

Full of vision, construction, art, thought. 

City that felt it was the greatest, 

The gods thought otherwise; earth swallowed, 

City Atlantis whole, taking everyone. 

Down to earth’s depths, in it’s belly kept, 

Here lies Atlantis hidden, there wasn’t —

Much difference between ‘us’ now and them.

Or hundreds of cities –past, present;

Civilization thousands of years old, 

It isn’t that the the ocean and land, 

Just ended a city; it’s the people

Inside who forget about decency.  

Treating each other terribly and —

No thought for tomorrow, hearts so, 

Cold, stone rigid; they sink themselves down, 

Into the water until they’re nothing

Nothing but a dream, not even memory, 

Just something modern people wonder of, 

Forgetting lessons as Atlantis did. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Music Prompt: Poem – Joseph’s Star – ” Timeless Love” #amwriting #poetry #music 


Thank you to Sanaarizvi of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s music prompt, “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. 

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“A Thousand Years” – Christina Perri 

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=32xAgiUFMLI

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Credit: Fine Art America: Couple Kissing by Giuseppe Cristiano

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Scared, 

Falling is,

Never easily —

Done; it’s aggravating ’cause, 

I’m helplessly facing, 

My soul’s connection for —

A thousand,

Years. 

—–

I, 

See before —

Me; you’re standing close,

Darling, don’t be afraid ’cause, 

I’m not letting go, loved you —

For a thousand years,

Always for, 

More.

—–

With,

Each breath I —

Take, every hour meant, 

Was closer to you; our time —

Drawing near; ending my fears;

A thousand,

Tears. 

—-

Please, 

Don’t be scared, 

Everyday I knew you were coming. 

Time neared, stepping closer to —

Loving you starting, 

Thousands of, 

Years.

—–

Time’s

Frivolious.

Because forever, 

We’ll love for a thousand years;

Love you milenias more,

Our love is timeless, 

Together, time —

Stops.

—–

Knew, 

Believed the —

Day would arrive I’d —

Find you eventually, we’ve —

Thousands of years being us;

Life to share, to keep —

Our future, 

Warm.

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Three Line Tales: On Waffles #quotes #waffles #3LineTales


Thanks to Sonya of Only 100 Words for hosting #3LineTales.

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Credit: Roman Kraft via UnSplash

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1. “Poetry is a mystic, sensuous mathematics of fire, smoke-stacks, waffles, pansies, people, and purple sunsets.” – Carl Sandburg

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2. “Way, way back in the day, like in the 1990s, if you wanted to tell everyone you ate waffles for breakfast, you couldn’t just go on the Internet and tweet it out; there was only one way to do it — you had to go outside and scream at the top of your lungs, ‘I ate waffles for breakfast!’ That’s why so many people ended up in institutions; they seemed crazy, but when you think about it, they were just ahead of their time.” – Ellen Degeneres

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3. ” He gave her a look that you could have poured on a waffle.” – Ring Lardner Jr. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview with LeeAnn – Animal Enthusiast


Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing Lee Ann from the blogAnimals Are Feeling Beings Too. As LeeAnn’s blog focus is more on helping animals through her blog, the focus of this interview will be slightly different than past interviews.


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Credit: LeeAnn – http://www.animalsarefeelingbeingstoo.com

1. LeeAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself and Your Blog? 

I have always been a quiet, deep-thinking, and observational person.Through deep-thinking and my tendency to observe, I noticed a lot of aspects about animals. Watching them, and paying attention to them, I fell in love with them.

As I am a quiet person, I feel I tend to get lost in the crowd much of the time. I noticed a similar thing often occurred with animals; they were getting lost in the crowd too when people didn’t pay attention and take care of them. Intrinsically, I felt their worth, their needs,  and I noticed the way some of them were not treated nicely. My passion for helping animals was born.


2. When Did You Begin Blogging ? What Does Writing and Blogging Mean to You?

I had taken classes for Web Design in 2013 and one of the assignments was to create a blog. My blog was my current blog: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too and I wrote on it occasionally over the next few years. However, in August 2016 I started blogging regularly. I have had different experiences with writing throughout my life.

Back in elementary school I first fell in love with poetry and writing (and my poetry teacher J). Since then, I have written several poems over the years, but only for my family and friends for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and other special events. Currently, some of my responsibilities at work include writing newsletters and social media posts.

Blogging means everything to me because of what I write about. I adore animals and feel passionate about helping them. I have been trying to figure out my entire life how to utilize my love for animals. When the assignment came up in my course to create a blog, my teacher told me she thought I should continue with my ‘helping animal’ themed blog.

I guess you could say a light bulb went off in my head. It took me a few years to apply myself, consistently blogging. But I think I had troubles because I was burnt out from being on a computer all day between work and school. I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.


”  I write because I want to help animals by spreading the word about animals who are abused, the worth of animals, and our responsibility to care for them.” – LeeAnn


3. Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer To Write?

Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there harming animals and not enough laws to protect the animals. This is where my inspiration and motivation comes from. I want to make a difference and ensure fewer animals are harmed. I also feel a lot of people are unaware of how much animal abuse exists and how few laws there are to protect animals (pets).I am hoping to bring light to these issues on my blog.

I am more alert and ‘fresh’ in the late morning after I have some coffee; however, because I have a full-time job, a lot of my writing and blog posts are done in the evening after work.


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Credit: http://www.animalsarefeelingbeingstoo.com – LeeAnne’s Cat Cino

4. Do You Have Any Current Pet-Related Writing Projects or Hopeful Ones? Are You Planning on Publishing Anything Related to Animals?

My blog is my current and ongoing project. I am only six months into regular blogging, so I am still new at blogging. I am working hard at ‘getting my writing out there’ on animal issues. My hope is to grow my traffic, not for my sake, but for the sake of animals and to make a difference.

So far, I’ve not published anything other than blog posts. I have considered writing a children’s book on empathy towards animals someday. I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc.) I may also turn some of my blog posts into a book someday.


” I believe since children are our future, teaching them to be considerate towards animals could make a huge difference on the way animals in the in years to come will be treated by their owners (etc).” – LeeAnn


5. What Is Your Writing Process Like When Focusing on Animals?

As I mentioned, there is so much animal abuse going on, so there is not a lack of topics to write about. If I see a story on the web about an animal that was abused, I start thinking and the writing process for a post begins.

For example, after going to the Renaissance Festival I noticed an elephant chained to a contraption which only allowed him to move around in a circle giving people rides. I started thinking and when I was home, I wrote about this event and how awful it was for the poor elephant to be so confined and probably abused.


6. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Bloggers or on Advice on How People Can Help Animals in Need?

I am not a  ‘professional’ writer, but as another blogger said: “If you’re writing on a blog, you are a writer.” Writing and blogging are skills I and other writers improve on with time. I am still learning and growing as I learn more about blogging, particularly for my significant cause. As well on my blog’s About Page I wrote this about how people can aid animals:


“Supporting animal organizations is . . . one way I help animals . . . I write about a wide variety of topics and types of animals, and I usually share links so you can check out the organization/topic being discussed.

There are many ways we can all help animals. Donating items to shelters, writing letters, signing petitions, volunteering time at an animal organization, sharing my posts to spread the word, and much more.” – LeeAnn


7. Do You Have Anything Else You’d Like To Share With Readers on Helping Animals, Yourself, or Blogging?

I am attempting to give my blog real purpose (a means to an end) that my writing and blogging actually result in animals at risk or already being harmed, not being hurt anymore. I also want people to know  I do have a large variety of posts on my blog.

Some of the posts I write include Pet Tales, Vegetarian Recipes, Pet Care Tips, and Serious Topics such as Animal Abuse Issues. I also use pictures from other bloggers and Facebook Page followers. I post them in my posts called ‘Tuesday Tales.’


8. Do You Have Any Favorite Bloggers You Follow?

I enjoy different kinds of blogs, but I think my favorite blogs are when someone writes about their pet(s). I think it’s fun to see all those adorable pet photos and learn about various animals and their personalities. Oddly enough, I do not necessarily like to follow blogs that are about ‘animal activism.’ I applaud them but I find these blogs usually too graphic for me to handle.


9. Please Share With Us Some of Your Animal Related Blog Posts:

The post below was written when a young follower of mine contacted me to let me know she was inspired by my blog. She wrote a poem called “Animals Are Feeling beings Too” which she published on her blog.


Hoping to Make an Impact

By LeeAnn

November 17, 2016

I have been blogging (well…serious blogging) for a few months now. I have played around with my blog, changing & adding things like the “Tuesday Tales” where I share animal stories and “Sunday Pause (Paws)” where I encourage everyone to kick back & relax. On my “Vegetarian Challenge” page I try to add recipes every now & then. There hasn’t been an actual challenge yet, but maybe in the future. Also, I have been adding my favorite cruelty-free products to the “Links” page, adding some pictures of my cat, Cino and “Pet Care Tips.”

I will continue to add to these pages and keep a variety on my blog. But one thing that will not change is where my heart is, and that is helping the fight against animal cruelty.

This means some of my posts will not be so uplifting or fun. If I were to only do “happy” posts I wouldn’t be spreading the word about animal cruelty and therefore I wouldn’t be helping animals.

do-somethingYouTube

Something I saw on Facebook (or somewhere) not so long ago was this sentence, “The reason I dedicate myself to helping animals so much is because there are already so many people who dedicate their lives to hurting them.” Sadly, a true statement!

There are a lot of people who tell me they can’t stand to read or see anything about animal abuse because it bothers them too much. It bothers me A LOT too, but I can not turn my back on them. I want to encourage others not to either.

I recently have received a few great compliments from fellow bloggers about my blog. This makes me feel so warm & fuzzy. I also received a message from a young follower, named Leona, that said me and my blog inspire her, and that she wrote a poem and named it “Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.” I was overjoyed by this! It makes me think maybe I AM making an impact out there for the good of animals!

I-am-important-to-animalsQuotesgram

Please read the magnificent poem here written by 12-year-old Leona.

Great job Leona! Keep writing and spreading the word about animals! Thank you for the awesome poem and sharing it with me!


9. Here Are Some Additional Posts By LeeAnn:

The following three posts are on serious topics that were my most  ‘Liked’  and ‘Shared. They have extremely important messages within them. 

The post below is one of my most ‘Liked’ posts from my ‘Tuesday Tales’ page where I share pet stories from the web and from other bloggers and Facebook followers.

Lastly, this post below is an adorable pet photo compilation from other bloggers and Facebook followers from over the holidays.


Thanks to LeeAnn for the lovely interview and sharing her passion for taking care of and helping animals at home and ones who are in need. Best of luck to her in her blog and spreading the word about animal empathy and the proper way to treat your pets and animals in general. Here is a Link To LeeAnn’s blog one last time: Animals Are Feeling Beings Too.


If you would like to share your blogging or writing in my biweekly interview series, please reach out to me through my contact page on my blog. I will see you in two weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Saturday Mix Flash Fiction: Someday Love #amwriting #flashfiction #nonfiction 


Thanks to Lorraine from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s prompt on love

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Love is all you need? Whoever said that perhaps was in the first stages of love.They hadn’t seen the nitty gritty yet, what separates those we love and those who truly love us from those who are but memories or experiences in our lives. To be honest with you, I’ve realized what I’ve felt of being ‘in’ love was so short it was hardly there. But I know what it was because I know what love’s not. It hurts thinking back to that time even though it was barely real. 

I was also with a guy much longer and the love I tried to convince myself I felt, didn’t exist. In a sense I’m glad it wasn’t authentic because love is painful. It doesn’t mean because you’re in love with someone everything’s suddenly perfect. Love in relationships is a ton of work combined with trust which takes time to build. It’s a given your other half will do stupid and thoughtless things at times and so will you. Whatever the relationship, we’re all human and make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are huge and hurtful. 

But in the spaces in-between are these perfect moments of sometimes physical but always heartfelt gestures of love, fleeting but memorable; these are the moments lovers live for. Love is being unselfish and it’s difficult for any human to consider someone else before themselves all the time. It would seem to me we need so much more than only love. But I know lasting love is possible because I know my Lord who says: “We love, because her first loved us.” With those words in my life, I feel this whole ‘true love’ thing might be a possibility someday. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Notable Quotes February Part One #quotes #pinterest


Well, January has passed already. For me, it feels like it’s still right after Christmas. However, I won’t complain when the winter flies by fast — the sooner it flies by, the warmer it will be in Alberta. 

But this too depends on several little ground hogs tomorrow, all who we do not really know if they’ve seen their shadow. So we’ll see, as for now some quotes to make you think. Cheers! 

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5. 

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7. 

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8. 

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9. 

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11. 

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13. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Photo Challenge: Poem – Blitz – “Returning” #amwriting #poetry 


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s photo challenge. 

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Credit: Mario Gervals

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Aurora-borealis paints the sky

Hues of light to charm

Charm the cold from old man winter’s grasp

Charm the sky hovering, colours delightful still

Still as the snow when it stops

Still as the young man in the living room

Room in a home where he’s troubled 

Room of the television — loud sports

Sports of the freezing weather

Sports loved best

Best loved is hockey

Best loved he watches, engrained 

Engrained in the screen

Engrained in the game 

Game on and he misses his wife as she drives away

Game of his wife searching for time

Time ended when she him left 

Time is new for her; he doesn’t care now

Now she moves on 

Now she is but thrilled

Thrilled, yet in a storm she drives

Thrilled to have escaped without another fight 

Fights always happen

Fights which got worse, never stopped

Stopped when she rethought her life

Stopped when she said, “I’m gone” 

Gone while the new sliver of a TV loudly plays

Gone, he knows it it, feels depressed

Depressed at the mess of his life

Depressed, slight lines etched into his face

Face with red eyes

Face with mouth stifling sobs

Sobs because she’s gone for good

Sobs because she gazed at him appalled

Appalled because he always yelled

Appalled because he’s why ‘they’re finished

Finished forever, she’s free

Finished, but she’s not safe in such a blizzarding storm

Storm outside flinging snow in his face

Storm outside, her car didn’t make it far

Far off and tired the look in her eyes

Far off but tears streaming ’cause she’s stuck 

Stuck in the bank of snow 

Stuck in her life, no escape

Escape life here, without him?

Escape yet, she’s glad, for her, he came 

Came, so she takes him back; he understands now

Came, so they return to times where they showed

Showed love, affection where no distance divides 

Now acts of love, little things, change the future

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview With Michele Vecchitto


Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview with Michele Vecchitto. 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.


miichelle-interview-4
Credit: Michele Vicchetto

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 called The 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. Mark is 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


michele-interview-1
Credit: Michele 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


michelle-interview-3
Credit: Michele Vecchtto

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


michelle-interview-5
Credit: 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 a Facebook page and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitter has 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 called Belle 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:

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


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 blog one 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!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Interview With Jade M. Wong


Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. I hope you all had an amazing holiday and I would like to start the New Year off right with an interview from the sweet and gifted Jade M. Wong. Her blog is called: Jade M. Wong – Writer At Heart. Fangirl by DNA. Struggling Human Until Further Notice.


jade-m-wong
Jade M. Wong

1. Jade, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

I’m a New York City girl named Jade M. Wong. In short, I’m a writer in my heart, a fan-girl by DNA, and a struggling human until further notice. I’m often up until 4:00 am at night battling inconvenient words and fantastical stories. If  I were a gazillionaire, I wouldn’t buy a mansion, but a cozy apartment in every city I love. In the meantime, I make do with cozy corners across the internet-sphere.


2. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging and What Does It Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

I’ve been writing and blogging on and off for as long as I can remember. But life has a way of kicking my butt. It’s only this year that I’ve finally been writing and blogging regularly. I’d like to think that ‘life’ and I are now reluctant dance partners and not bitter enemies.

I write because its a way to put myself onto the the page with words. This helps me when I’m trying to revise my writing. I learn where in a particular piece, I am writing badly and where I am writing well. This is a kind of therapy for me and medicine for whatever I’m dealing with in life at the moment.


“I’m often up until 4:00 am at night battling inconvenient words and fantastical stories.” – Jade M.Wong


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There a Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Figuratively speaking, I have a muse. She’s a little fairy with thin arms, tiny hands, a sarcastic sense of humor, and a brilliant mind. She’s been with me as long as I can remember, always sending me bits of inspiration at inconvenient times. As a result, I find inspiration in every moment of every day. Not writing, well, it’s simply unthinkable.

My favorite time to write is after the sun sets, when the world is asleep except for me and my muse, and I don’t have to worry about what tomorrow brings.


4. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects? Can You Tell Us A Little About Them?

I’m currently working on a collection of poetry, as well as playing around with a novel idea (or two). I’ve noticed, the more I write, the more excited my muse becomes and the more ideas flow into my mind. Uncanny how this works, isn’t it?

My published works include a short story titled: Glow In The Dark Stars, which can be seen in The Ghouls’ Review, along with anything I may publish in the future.


:Figuratively speaking, I have a muse. She’s a little fairy with thin arms, tiny hands, a sarcastic sense of humor, and a brilliant mind. She’s been with me as long as I can remember . . .” – Jade M. Wong


5. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Have Gone Through To Publish Your Writing? What Is Your Writing Process Like?

*Disclaimer: I am definitely not an expert in the world of publishing.*When it comes to publishing, I’ve found it most important to follow the guidelines for each individual magazine I submit to, and to keep my fingers crossed.

My writing process is one part on-the-go and one part wrapped up under my covers like a burrito. During the day as I’m commuting, I write a lot on my phone. When I get home at night, I grab my laptop, get comfortable on my bed with a cup of tea, and write until my muse falls asleep. 


6. Do You Have a Preference For Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?

My favorite genres to write and read are fantasy, romantic-comedy, young adult fiction, and cozy mysteries, but I’m always willing to try new genres. For example, I recently fell in love with a memoir, Lucky by Alice Sebold, despite the fact my whole life up until then, I tended to steer away from nonfiction.


“When I get home at night, I grab my laptop, get comfortable on my bed with a cup of tea, and write until my muse falls asleep.” – Jade M. Wong


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http://www.pinterest.com

7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice to Give to Other Writers?

The advice I have to pass along comes originally from a writers more successful than myself. Who better to learn from, right?

J.K. Rowling, the author of the iconic Harry Potter series says: “Sometimes, you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there.”

Many of us dream of having long days filled with nothing but writing. Perhaps one day, our dreams can be a reality. Right now, however, most of us have jobs we need to pay the bills but we also realize words don’t write themselves. Sometimes, the best time for a writer to write is in the small seconds we have between responsibilities.


8. Is There Anything Else You Want To Share With Us, Pertinent to Your Writing or Yourself?

To everyone trying to be writers, artists, doctors, or architects (etc.) I hope we never give up trying to achieve our dreams.

To everyone trying to change the world, one moment of bravery at a time, I hope we remember love will always trump hate. The world will always needs dreamers as much as it needs doers.

To everyone trying to be themselves, I hope we remember that we are always worth it.


“Many of us dream of having long days filled with nothing but writing. Perhaps one day, our dreams can be a reality. Right now, however, most of us have jobs we need to pay the bills but we also realize words don’t write themselves. Sometimes, the best time for a writer to write is in the small seconds we have between responsibilities.” – Jade M. Won


9. Please Share With Us Your Top Three Favorite Blogs?

In no particular order:

  1. Cooking With A Wallflower – This is a cooking blog, hosted by a lady named Andrea. I love her recipes and all her wallflower finds!
  2. Terrible Minds – This is the blog of Chuck Wendig. He’s a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He blogs about everything from writing to pop culture, and he always makes me laugh. He also uses a lot of swear words and other not-safe-for-kids language, so that may deter you, but I hope it doesn’t.
  3. I’ve also ‘met’ several bloggers on WordPress whom I consider friends, even if I have yet to meet any of them. Their blogs are my favorites, because they are so dear to me. A few of them include: A Reading Writer, Doodles and Scribbles, and Melinda Kucsera, but there are many others!

10. Please Share With Us Some Writing From Your Blog Which You Most Love:

orchid
Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

[Poetry] Everything To Lose

By Jade M. Wong

What was it like to love him?
To answer that question, you need to ask me another,
What was it like to know him?
The man I knew was not known to any other.
He was shy and he was kind,
And he struggled relentlessly with a broken mind.
He showed the world a face that was empty
And he saved his shattered soul for me.
Loving him was loving those pieces
It was taking his soul and smoothing out the creases
It was loving a man so in tune with my needs
He’d rather my heart be whole while his own bleeds.
Why did you love him if it was so hard?
Hard? Loving him was easy, as easy as breathing,
As easy as letting the light in, healing,
Because loving him was embracing both the light and the dark,
It flowed like a stream and like hot fire, it sparked.
Why did you love him?
I loved him because I loved myself
Because I deserved a love like nothing else
I loved him because I had the right to choose
And together with him, we had everything to lose.

© Jade M. Wong 2016


10. Here Are Some Additional Works By Jade You Can Read:

  • A Single Teardrop –  By Jade M. Wong – If you’re a lover of rain…or secret stories.
  • Between The Lines – By Jade M. Wong – If you ever need to know, you are not alone.
  • Stuck – By Jade M. Wong – If you’ve ever felt trapped.

Thank you to Jade for agreeing to be interviewed and answering the interview questions with such personality and care. Jade is an amazing writer and here is her blog link again, in case you’ve missed it: Jade M. Wong


Every two-weeks I feature a writer and/or blogger interview. Some writers are published, some are only starting out, some are only in high school and some are more mature adults. Whoever you are or wherever you are in life, I would love to interview you and feature you on my biweekly blog series. If you’re interested in this please send me a message on my Contact Page. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.