Books, Interviews, My Thoughts, Nonfiction, Photography/Visual Art, Poetry

Interview with Writer, Blogger, and Author JoAnne Macco #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Good Morning, and welcome to another writer and or blogger interview. I’m excited to share with you an interview with a newly published author, JoAnne Macco. I think you’ll love her blog and her book as much as I do.

As per usual, this interview will also be featured on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a blog for writers and lovers of writing, of all kinds. It’s a blogger and writer’s community so make sure you stop by there after reading this interview on my site. You can also submit writing of your own on the site such as poetry and short fiction through the Contact Page.

JoAnne’s blog site is JoAnne of the Forest: Anything is Possible with Faith, Hope, and Perseverance. 


JoAnne Silvia Picture
Credit: JoAnne Macco

1. JoAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself? 

On WordPress, I’m best known as JoAnna of the Forest and I live in North Carolina on the east coast of the U.S.

In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.

My long-term goals are to continue to develop my storytelling skills, to write a novel based on my parents, and to travel more. As a military kid, my family moved around a great deal.

I longed to settle in one place, so I’ve stayed near the Carolina coast for most of my adult life. It’s comfortable here, most of the year, although summers can become hot and humid. It helps that my little urban cottage is 15 minutes from the ocean and surrounded by trees that provide a lot of shade.


2. When Did you Begin Writing and Blogging? For What Reason and What Does Writing Mean To You? 

I wrote poems and songs in high school and I’ve journaled, off and on, for most of my life. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, which is probably why I wrote more when I approached menopause as a single mom with a 13-year-old daughter.

Writing helped me find perspective and meaning during those rollercoaster years. When I wrote my book in 2012, someone told me I needed to blog as well. Blogging has broadened my world tremendously, and I’m thankful to be part of this supportive community on WordPress. I believe that when we all share our experience, thoughts, and feelings, we discover that we have more in common than we might have realized.


“In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, “Anything is Possible,” and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.” – JoAnne Macco


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write and Blog? Why Is Writing Significant to You? 

I’ve learned a lot in my 60 years of life and I’m still learning a ton. I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings. It helps me explore what I want to understand better about myself and the world.


4. Do You Have Particular Writing and/or Blogging Habits? What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing? 

Since I’m a night owl, my natural tendency is to write more in the afternoon and evening. But when I was working on my book, I found I had to write in the morning to keep from being distracted and staying up too late.

I’d force myself write in the morning for at least two hours before looking at any social media or email. Then, after checking those, I’d return to writing a couple of more hours in the afternoon.

I loved those long stretches of working on my book and becoming absorbed in the process. I look forward to doing that again with my next book. For now, I’m writing most of my blog posts at night.


“I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings.” – JoAnne Macco 


5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with Your Blog and Outside of Your Blog?

On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal stories about overcoming challenges and also about meaningful coincidences.

I want to engage readers about relationship issues and personal growth topics that come up a lot in Trust the Timing, my book on Amazon.com. Outside of blogging, I’m beginning to research and collect material for future books I want to write.


6. Have You Published Your First Book? Do You Plan To Publish More in the Future?

I’ve just published my first book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again which is told from the alternating perspectives of two high school sweethearts. It became available on Amazon.com in July 2017.

As well, I’m planning to write and publish at least two more books, one about Doodle, the problem step-dog (who makes an appearance in my first book). Also, I’m writing a novel based on the lives of my extraordinary parents. At some time, I would also like to publish a book of poetry.


“On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal, stories about overcoming challenges and about meaningful coincidences.’ – JoAnne Macco


Trust the Timing: A Memoir of Finding Love Again

by

JoAnne Macco

(Available for Purchase one Amazon.com)

*****

Book Cover JoAnne Macco Amazon.com
Credit: JoAnne Macco (Amazon.com)

*****


7. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Did You Self-Publish or Go Through and Agent or Publishing Company? 

When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream-ofaconsciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.

I try to draft a chapter or a blog post without editing as if I’m talking to a friend. Then I’ll go back and edit the chapter or post later. Although, I don’t know if I’d want to write an another entire book like that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s better if I write before I peruse social media. I have to keep reminding myself of that!

Moreover, after considerable research and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to self-publish with Create Space for my memoir. I enjoyed the control this provided me. I think my next book maybe done with a small publishing company.


“When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream of consciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.” – JoAnne Macco


8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres? 

In college, I took journalism and technical writing and my previous career required a lot of factual reporting and clinical notes. As a result when I began writing my book I had a strong nonfiction framework. Also, I’ve enjoyed learning more about creative nonfiction over the past five years, working on my memoir.

Moreover, I’ve always been talented at making up stories in my head and I look forward to writing more fiction. However, my reading habits lean toward inspirational nonfiction, by authors like Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert, with an occasional sci-fi novel thrown in for fun.


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers Starting Out? 

I think I started writing and blogging, being too serious. Maybe it was my journalism and technical writing background? I thought I knew how to write, but creative writing is a whole different process than what I had been used to writing. To begin, I took online classes and engaged with supportive critique groups. 

Moreover, I learned that it’s vital to be conscientious and caring, when you’re writing, but not to forget to have fun. Also, it’s a good idea not to make your blog posts too long. About ‘five hundred’ words are plenty for a post (unless of course, you’re doing an interview). As well, I’ve learned to use photograps in every blog post I publish. 

My creative writing experience outside of blogging is primarily with my memoir. What I’ve learned from it is to write from your heart and not to be afraid to delve into those feelings if you’re in an emotionally stable place. It can be difficult and you’ll need to take breaks. Also, I’m sure writing fiction can bring up emotional baggage too. If you’re not ready for that, write for fun. Write poetry to yourself or write in a journal.

You can also keep a notebook handy for ideas that pop-up in your head so you can jot them down and allow these ideas to flow and transform into some kind writing later on.


“I’m sure writing fiction can bring up baggage, too. If you’re not ready for that yet, just write for fun. Write poetry to yourself. Keep a journal. Keep a notebook handy for ideas that” – JoAnne Macco


Writing Notebook Thought Catalogue UnSplash
Credit: Thought Catalogue via UnSplash

10. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share About Yourself or Your Writing? 

In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.


11. Just for Fun. What Are Your Top Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Enjoy About Them? 

It’s so difficult to name only three! I could easily name 10 favorites or more! But here it goes:

  • Sacred Touches –  Natalie Scarberry always has something to comfort or inspire me with vibrant colors and natural delights.
  • SmileCalm Home – David’s gentle, loving wisdom comes through in each post and makes me smile deep down in my heart.
  • Behind the White CoatBehind the White Coat is written by a smart doctor with a big heart. Her posts can be informative, entertaining, hilarious or heartbreaking. Her honesty makes me feel like I am not alone.

“In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.” – JoAnne Macco 


Jo Anne Silvia Book Cover 2
Credit: Provided by JoAnne Macco

12. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Blog Writing. 

“If We Lose Electricity” 

By

JoAnne Macco

*****

JoAnne Macco
Credit: JoAnne Macco – http://www.joanneoftheforest.wordpress.com

*****

If we lose electricity

in the storm,

We will still have power.

We have the power

To check on our neighbors,

To ask for help,

To move to higher ground.

The power to tell stories,

To laugh,

To sing lullabies.

The power to write a poem,

To mend what’s torn,

To read by candlelight.

The power to hope and pray,

To reminisce,

To hold hands in the dark.

The power to clear a path,

To rise from ash,

 and rebuild.

_____________________________

When we say we’ve lost power, it minimizes the power we still have. If we lose electricity, let’s say we lost electricity. We still have power, at least over our thoughts, words, and actions.

I send prayers for safety and comfort to all those in the path of the storm.

13. Here are Some More Blog Links to JoAnne’s Writing:


Thank you so much to JoAnne for her patience with this interview. I loved learning about her writing and her background as a writer. I also think it’s neat how she is, particularly, a nonfiction writer. I also loved her quote about being a Christian writer who doesn’t, necessarily, do Christian writing.

If you’re a blogger or writer, or someone who blogs about a cause, please feel to contact me if you would like to be interviewed. My contact page is HERE. See you when I see you :).


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction, My Thoughts, Novel - First Draft -"How Was Last Night For You.", Relationship, Short Stories And Serial Stories, Writing

14. How Was Last Night For You: A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery


Chapter 13 can be read here.

Chapter 14:  A Conversation with Nina’s Mother and Nina’s Recovery

While Nina slept, John called Nina’s Mother Heather Avlon. Heather was worried about Nina, but she tried to be polite talking to John on the phone.

“Oh, you’re Nina’s friend John Eric. Was she with you when she received her concussion? I heard about that storm on the News. They said it only took place near the Sirene downtown. I can come and take care of Nina in the morning John. I’ll let you get back to your life, you must have work Monday.” Heather said.

John cleared his throat. “Actually Ms. Avlon I will be staying close to Nina while she heals. If you can spell me off around 9:00 am I could use some sleep. I’ll be back around 5:00 pm. You should know, Nina is special to me and as long as she is okay with it, I’m  going to have her stay with at my house while she heals.”

“And who are you mister?” Asked Heather warily. “Nina didn’t tell me you are her boyfriend. She told me you guys were only dating right now.”

“Well I am her boyfriend. It’s only been over a week I know but it’s been an amazing experience.I want her to come stay with me. I need to keep her safe. I have this crazy ex who’s after me and I’d feel better if Nina was where I could keep an eye on her. I own my own company so it’s no problem for me to work from home.”

” I don’t know John. She’s barely mentioned you before. And I don’t know  I want my daughter involved with your ex if she is not well. Nina will have to decide as long as the concussion hasn’t effects her decision making skills.”

“I promise I’ll take good care of Nina. I have a housekeeper and she cooks and cleans. Nina won’t have to worry about any of that. She can be comfortable at my place while she recovers. And she’ll be safe…”

” Okay John. We will see in a few days.”

” Thank you Ms. Avlon.”

” Truthfully John , I own a salon and I can’t leave work long. So many of my estheticians and hair dressers have the flu currently. All at the same time so I’m a bit understaffed.”

“Sorry to hear that. You’re okay coming in the day tomorrow?”

” Yes, it will be okay for Sunday. I hope your ex doesn’t cause to many problems John. Nina deserves the best. My girl, she’s a sweetheart. Don’t take advantage of her. She sees the best in everyone and sometimes she doesn’t see a problem until it’s too late.” Heather warned John. ” I hope your not a problem in her life John.”

“I will give Nina nothing less then my absolute best. I care for her a great deal, even though we’ve only been together a short time. Nina’s my girl too.” John assured Heather.


 

John sat by Nina’s bed and watched her sleep the rest of the night. Sometime later he fell asleep. He remembered the nurses taking Nina to receive her CT and an X-Ray in the early morning. Doctor Kenner told him as suspected, Nina’s concussion was minor. The head wound looked worse then it was.

John felt uneasy with life right now. Not only was he worried about the usual terrible events which always occurred his life, but he was frightened about what Tia was going to do to Nina and him. Nina would be in the hospital a few days and then John would take her home while Nina recovered. Both to ensure Nina didn’t have a worse concussion than Doctor Kenner thought and because John was the best defense Nina had against Tia.

John wasn’t sure if Tia meant she wanted John to love her or whether she wanted to stab him in the heart. He deduced Tia literally wanted Nina’s heart out of her chest. What a crazy Bitch. How could Tia have ever been the girl he loved as a young man. When would she strike? How was John supposed to protect Nina from not only the horrid events that occurred in his life and the powers of a wrathful Sea Witch?

For now, John watched Nina sleep. She was entrancing and beautiful as she slept. Even though John new Nina wouldn’t agree him. He was glad the concussion hadn’t been worse. John’s Nina was a strong girl — one of the many reasons he was attracted to her so deeply. If any woman could survive John’s curse and a witch such as Tia, it would be Nina.

John stroked Nina’s cheek gently when she began to mutter in her sleep. He hoped she wasn’t having nightmares.


 

Two days later with Heather’s permission, John brought Nina home with him to his house on the beach of Sirene Lake. He asked Heather to gather more clothes, toiletries, and items Nina had asked for. John asked Rianne who Nina’s boss was at work and looked up his number on Nina’s phone. Nina’s boss in marketing was understanding and wished her a speedy recovery. Later, Wilus’  marketing department sent an arrangement of Gerber Daisies for Nina. There was some forms Nina would have to fill out for short-term disability. John also filled a prescription for Nina for Tylenol 3.

He knew  Nina was strong but she appeared so fragile to him as he helped her in the door. Despite insisting she was feeling fine, Nina was dizzy and still felt a bit nauseous. She rested in John’s bed

—–

After three weeks, Nina had her boss at Wilus, send her some work so she could start catching up in order to return to work soon. Nina had become bored and restless even though Nina and John constantly shared ideas, talked about things they had in common, and shared their personal likes. They talked about the things couples talk about when they are first together. Favourite colours, movies, books, their friends, and John learned about Nina’s family.

Heather Avlon had raised Nina a single mother, and opened up her own salon in Adare. Neither Nina nor Heather had heard from Nina’s Dad in years. He was a lawyer on Wall Street. The last time they had seen him was when Nina was about six-years-old. John already wasn’t a fan of Nina’s Dad.

Some of the time John had to do work from his office and have meetings through conference calls. Nina grew sick of watching movies and social networking with old friends. Rianne came to visit her some nights and John was relieved Rianne’s arm was healing well. John felt guilty about the injury. Four weeks passed and Nina began to insist that she needed to return home and get organized to return to work. She was feeling better.

John and Nina had been close the entire time Nina was on sick-leave. John was always watching Nina as he did business by her, ate with her, watched a movie, or played video games with her. They went for walks and Nina came with him to the gym after healing for four weeks. Nina insisted she needed to workout again and that she was putting on weight. John disagreed but she came with him so he didn’t felt sure nothing bad would happen to her. His usual feelings of awful events occurring had been absent lately and so had the events themselves. Doctor Kenner said the wound on Nina’s head had healed well and since Nina felt no concussion symptoms he declared her healthy.

When Nina was first at his home healing, John had to leave her at times to run an important errand or handle the odd emergency at Mergers. Jasper and Jordan had been helping him with his work load. He left Nina home with the housekeeper or Rianne. When he left Nina, it was always in the back of John’s mind that Tia could show up at his front door. John knew the situation with Tia had to be resolved eventually. He dreaded when that day came.


 

Three months passed and Nina was back to work full time and living in her condo downtown sporadically. John and Nina were back and fourth at each other’s homes for several days at a time.

John was driving himself crazy thinking about Tia and what plans she had. Nothing terrible  had happened since Nina’s concussion. John had told his younger brother Jordan about Tia’s return. Jasper had somehow been able to communicate the entire Grimm fairy tale to Rianne (what Nina had not told her.) Rianne had had a lot of questions for Nina and John when she and Jasper came over for supper to Nina’s one Friday night.


 

Watching TV with John the next afternoon,  Nina decide they should all go out for dinner and dancing the following Saturday, including Jordan and his latest girl.

“Please let’s go out John?” Nina begged. “It’s been so long since I’ve danced and Rianne’s arm is better too. I haven’t even had a chance to talk with your brother Jordan since the fundraiser.I think he might have a lot of juicy details on you,” Nina half joked with John.

“I think we could all use a night on the town.” Nina proclaimed. ” Not to mention we all need to figure out this situation with Tia. She hasn’t shown her face in months. But she must be up to something. She doesn’t have you, your heart, or mine.”

” I feel like it’s love with you . . .I know it’s going to be John. Well it probably is already,” Nina admitted blushing. “But will it be enough to break Tia’s spell? Does the curse mean you have to sacrifice your life? You can’t die on me.”

John sighed and kissed Nina’s bared shoulder. He was worried about his curse and Tia’s plans enough for the both of them. He also knew he needed the help of family and friends to solve this dilemma. His Dad was a professor in folklore he wondered if he might be able to help John and Nina with the crux of the curse.

The problem was it takes time to fall in love with someone. John was absolutely sure by this point Nina was the one who would break through his curse.  He felt for her the way he did about no other woman ever, not even Tia. Nina was his light in a world which was often dark and depraved. John was afraid of the sacrifice his curse meant —  John’s life. John grimaced. He would give it if meant keeping Nina alive and well. He couldn’t imagine life without her after three months of dating her.

“Yeah. Let’s go out next Saturday if you want Nina, of course.” John said mildly.” You check with Rianne and Jasper and I’ll talk to Jordan tomorrow at work. I’m the best brother to talk to anyways, your missing nothing with my younger sibling,” John told Nina about Jordan. “I have no more secrets to hide from you.”

Nina smiled and snuggled into John. John played nervously with the silver chain around his neck.” I don’t know about Tia, Nina.” He pushed his hands through his own hair.” It’s been weeks since something awful has happened around me. You dropped and shattered my wine glasses and wasted a good bottle of wine, but I don’t think it counts compared to what usually happens around me.”

” I guess we’ll see this week and next Saturday. I haven’t felt as if any terrible event was going to occur. That’s a new feeling. Oddly, it worries me. But I haven’t had another nightmare about Tia either. Life has been the best I can remember it being.”John admitted, “I’m afraid for it to end.” Nina combed his hair back in place with her fingers and kissed the top of John’s head in agreement.

John felt Nina relax again under his arm and against his side on the couch as they watched Vancouver play hockey against Phoenix. After the second period ended, Nina lifted her head and kissed John’s lips softly.

“I’m going to bed John, to take a shower first. Are you going to join me when the games finished?” Nina whispered silkily in John’s ear.

She smiled seductively at John as she brushed passed him on her way to his bedroom. Nina must be the girl for him, John thought. She was sexy in her sweatpants and his favourite soft T-shirt. He wondered for a moment why woman had such an inclination for wearing their boyfriend’s clothes. He had wanted to wear his cherished T-shirt today but then John thought about Nina wearing no bra under his thin shirt and his perspective on the subject had changed.

He heard the shower running and thought about Nina taking off her clothes. John’s breathing increased. He saw Vancouver was still in the lead. Five minutes to go and they held a healthy four-point lead. John prayed to God, Vancouver did not suddenly, start losing because he stopped watching. He rushed to join Nina, hockey forgotten.

John pulled off his clothes and joined Nina in the double shower. He pressed her against him feeling her slick soft curves. He growled and began touching Nina anywhere h could reach. John had stayed away from Nina while she was healing the first four weeks before they had started having sex again. John had been trying to be gentle with Nina ever since. John was still afraid (despite the fact Doctor Kenner assured Nina she was well) he might hurt Nina’s head wound, all to Nina’s frustration.

John’s desire for Nina was stronger then his desire to be careful of her head that night. John was fierce and passionate as he loved Nina in the shower and in his bed; Nina was overjoyed. The rush of the maddening attraction between John and Nina was as powerful as ever. When John was almost asleep, he inched his leg over Nina’s leg. The tiny movement and touch of his skin on Nina’s petal soft skin, gave John comfort.

Please Read Chapter 15 here.


 

©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Health, My Thoughts, Relationship

Navigating Anew – It’s Okay


Ever since I left hospital, I have felt as if I’m navigating completely new territory that I have no experience with. I don’t know if what is affecting me is the new medication I’m on or a lack of the old ones I went off. So, my health and getting through each day has become a challenge. 

Each day it is extremely difficult to get out of bed and start my day. The best description I can come up with is that there is this giant wall and I have to climb over it inch by inch to reach a point in the morning when I feel okay. It is difficult to get out of bed, shower, and do my hair and makeup. I sleep to 11:00 am almost and that is too long, but it takes me to 1:00 pm to feel somewhat myself. But still everything feels so much harder to do. Maybe I’m overmedicated I don’t know. But struggling through each day is difficult. I try to remember to take things day by day and not to worry.

But my stomach always feels upset and I’m getting aching muscles as side effects. Not to mention I learned from my dentist since about a year after I started taking medication (became ill) the enamel on my teeth has rapidly been decaying until I have none left on my lower teeth and we don’t know the exact cause. I have always taken care of my teeth well. I only ever had one cavity so this is disappointing and troublesome on top of the rest of my health problems. 

Still, I have tried to plan things and go out and do things despite feeling not so up to it. This week it was just my weekly blood test and the dentist but atleast I walked a bit around downtown and the weather was a beautiful twenty-three degrees celsius. Next week I will have my blood test and my Uncle’s funeral. I will hopefully see my friend on Wednesday night for a couple hours and then on Friday I am getting my nails done at The Beauty Lounge. I hope I can do everything I need to do. 

I have to find sometime this week to go to the Shoppers near our house to pick up some parcels, get medication, and some other things. Either tomorrow or Saturday I will do that. And sometime I need to see A. We saw Jurassic World on the weekend. It was very good. I really liked the storyline and of course the newest genetically modified (for modern time) dinosaurs. It did justice to the original Jurassic Park too, one of my favourite movies as a child. 

I’m looking forward to feeling better and doing more things. I would like to do some catch up on some beauty blogs, do some work on my novel, and read some books so I can tell you about some of those. Things will be fine I just have some kinks to work out. In medicine, nothing is ever as good as it seems. So of course, a drug that makes me sleep is going to have some consequences for my energy in the day. But things will get better, I’m positive that I can with my doctors help find solutions. Thanks, for reading.  

 

My Thoughts, Writing

Life Changing Events


What’s a life changing event to you? When did it happen? Was it a big event or kind of small? Life changing events are all around us. They force us to change direction and pick another way. They effect us so subtlety we never even knew that they happened.

I feel like I’m heading into some life changing events and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. All I know are they are changes that presented themselves to me and I have made a choice for better or worse. They could be painful changes. They could be great changes. They could be changes I don’t feel all that much. But either way I know I’m moving into that unknown space. An area I have scarce been before. I’m hoping their self affirming changes. I’m hoping they’re confidence boosters. I’m hoping my change from the normal doesn’t get me into to much trouble. But I also agree with the statement ” if you’re not happy with your life, change something.” So I am changing something. I’m headed of into the distant future into the ” silver waters of the estuary.” I could sink or swim. I could get hurt. I could survive a changed woman and be alright or fantastic.

But a little plot twist in life was just what the doctor ordered. A little sideline to the hum drum of this everyday life of being tired. But it gets better, there are several plot twists about. And all one can hope is that all these twists work themselves out in the end for a better tomorrow.