‘Rewind Interview’ of Blogger, Poet, Writer, & Author Rosema Gonzales #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to almost September and a look back at some of past interviews in my ‘Rewind Interviews.’ On my own blog and on the Go Dog Go Cafe, a writer’s community! I anyone wants to be a regular member of the Cafe as a Barista once a week or even every two weeks, please let us know. Also, you can submit questions about this or your own writing to the Contact Page. 

I’m excited to share with you a ‘Rewind Interview‘ of my good friend, talented writer, wonderful person, and wise woman: Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .


Rosema
Rosema Gonzales

1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?

I am my blog’s nameA Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.

I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a news writer someday; a bonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?

When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write book reviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPress courseWriting 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.

When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom who is my favorite author. I love all the novels I have that Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)

When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eating cheesecake! 😀


2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?

Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to three-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.


“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales


3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?

For me, writing is like breathing with wordsNo one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry arefor me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding the bus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music alsoinspire and motivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂


4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when  I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darkness of night that inspiresmore creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.


“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales


5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?

If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called:  Word-High July has been my focus#WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipino words as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibited laughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.


Note: Rosema has done just that and published her first book on Amazon.com, earlier in the summer. It’s called Between My Bleeding Lines by R.C. Gonzales and is available as a Kindle ebook and in Paperback!


Between These Bleeding Lines 

by

R.C Gonzales

*****

Between My Bleeding Lines Poetry
Credit: Rosema Gonzales

Below is also n example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge last year


Pleasant Compnanion


6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?

All my written works are published on WordPress only for the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book. 

Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.

(See above Rosema self-published her poetry book!)


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come across someone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.


“I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales


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

I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂

When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-AdultMystery, ThrillersContemporary LiteratureHistorical FictionPoetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realistic fiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Res has been joking about putting a death toll counterin my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many people follow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other people reading your writing; write for no one but yourself.

Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprintseach author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.

Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lesson I’m still trying to learn.


 

Carlie Jean UnSplash Tea
Credit: Carli Jeen via UnSplash

 


“[Y]ou cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.” – Rosema Gonzales 


10. Do You Have Anything About Yourself You’d Like to Share With Fellow Writers? 

Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straight news, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.

As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and loving writers in the blogging community on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, and interactive writing community.


11. Any Advice for Other Writers or Bloggers Starting Out? 

Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correct grammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.

I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writersHigh praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writers know how their work affects youhow you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.

Writers should be the first to realize completely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change livesI’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.


“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales


11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:

“Writer’s Note”

by

Rosema Gonzales

*****

Guilia Bertelli UnSplash - Notes Rosema
Credit: Giulia Bertelli via Unsplash

*****

No one,
nothing,
can take
my words
away
from me.

Break me,
confine me,
curse me,
abandon me,
my lines will bleed more
surely.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.


12. Here are some more Blog Posts from Rosema: 


Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing them with your heart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about your favourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.


“Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!” – A.E. 


Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blogA Reading WriterMany thanks for reading along. If you would like to be interviewed as a blogger, poet, writer, or blogger or a cause,  please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Interview with Christine Ray: Writer, Blogger, Poet, and Barista from the Go Dog Go Cafe #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to another Tuesday edition of my interviews series. Today I have another new interview for you, a talented writer, poet and a Go Do Go Cafe  Barista, Christine Ray. 

I hope you love her blog I have found it fascinating. You can check out some of Christine’s wonderful writing on the topics of Poetry, Erotica, Spoken Word,  and for you newbies out there, B & R Advice for New Bloggers.

Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.


Christine Ray
Credit: Christine Ray

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Christine? 

My name is Christine Ray and I’m from Havertown, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia). I blog at Brave and Reckless. I feel as if sometimes I should call myself the ‘accidental blogger!’ I came to the WordPress blog site to do one piece of writing called: What Every Woman Knows. The piece is based on rape culture, sexual harassment, and sexual trauma and is, sadly, more relevant now more than ever.

Writing that one post literally changed my whole life. I rediscovered that I loved writing. I also love to write poetry and I’m thrilled to be part of an active writing community. My blogging goals include continuing to grow and strengthen Secret First Draft, the Go Dog Go Café and Blood Into Ink, all projects that are very near and dear to my heart.


2. Do You Have Any Particular Blogging Goals or Things You Want to Accomplish? 

My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit.  When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.

The idea was that I develop discipline and prioritize my writing. I am involved with a lot of other collaborative blogs. And sometimes my own personal writing keeps moving further down the priority list than it should be moving.

Additionally, I’m registered for a course about writing child and young adult literature in the Fall that I’m really excited about.  The thought of a low-residency program to earn a Masters in Fine Arts has crossed my mind a time or two (or maybe ten!!).


“My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit.  When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.” – Christine Ray


3. When Did You Begin Writing or Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You? 

I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I began writing but I was definitely scrawling short stories into dog-eared notebooks in middle school. As well, I started writing poetry as a teenager.  I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and my senior yearbook.

Nevertheless, I have taken long breaks from writing when life has become busy but it has always been something I come back to when I’m in transition. I turned fifty-years-old in 2016 which was a major life reassessment period for me. Writing became a primary method for me to work through my feelings. 

Finding my voice again as a writer has been really powerful, though to be honest, I think other people took me seriously as a writer long before I did.  There were most definitely several months where I transitioned from when I thought about myself as a middle-aged woman (who happened to write), to identifying myself as a writer and a poet, being who I am today.

Writing has become, and honest, always has been an essential part of my identity. As well, began my blog: Brave and Reckless on October 8, 2016.


4. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing? Why is it Significant for you to Continue Writing and Blogging? 

I find inspiration everywhere. Music is a big part of my writing process and song lyrics frequently inspire my work but I’ve also been inspired by movies (Paterson is amazing); TV (you’d be amazed how much poetry there is in American Gods); beer menus, conversations with other people, and currently, a collaboration with Aurora Phoenix inspires and motivates me. The collaboration began in the comments section in one of my blog posts.

This sounds silly when I say it out loud, but when I started this particular blog in October, I had no idea that I had anything to say! The vast majority of my writing is inspired by exactly what is going on in my emotional life, in the moment. Sometimes I approach writing about those things obliquely, but often what you see is a direct reflection of my experiences during the day.

One of the most transformative experiences of blogging for me was realizing my writing resonates with other people. Every time someone writes to me and tells me that I captured exactly what they were feeling, but couldn’t articulate it, is an incentive for me to keep up with my writing.  

Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing.  Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself. 


“Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing.  Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.” – Christine Ray 


Rawpixel.com UnSplash
Credit: Rawpixel.com via UnSplash

5. Do you have any Particular Writing or Blogging Habits? What do you Enjoy Most About Writing? Is there a Time of Day you Prefer to Write?

I have a busy life and have discovered that the only way to fit writing and blogging into my life is to awake at 4:00 a.m. From 4:00 a.m to 6: 00 a.m. I write, I answer blog related comments and emails, I record ‘Spoken Word’ versions of my writing, and see to editorial duties.

As well, I have been known to write whole pieces in the Google Docs app on my phone during my commute on the bus or train. I also eat lunch at my desk, at work, and try to catch up on reading other people’s blogs.  At times, I’m still awake at 10:00 p.m. doing blog related activities and tending to my own writing. I must admit that I’m tired right now. However,  I expect things to calm down a bit over the upcoming summer months.


6. Can you Tell us About your Most Current Writing Projects on your Blog or Outside of it? 

In addition to writing and publishing daily, I’ve been running various writing challenges on my blog.  This week I challenged readers to write about a life experience using ten objects and will be publishing my favorites on my ‘Brave and Reckless’ blog. I’ve already committed to two Writing Prompt Challenges and have my third occurring now using the prompt: “I Am More Than Breath and Bones.”

I do publish some of my work, the pieces I call “the softer side of Christine”—on Poetry Corner. I’m also happily involved as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Café.  It’s been fun to put the site together and to work with a  lovely cadre of writers, some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are new to me. The Cafe has a wonderful community vibe and brings out the best in writers.

My most recent project was launching Blood Into Ink  (with a group of writers from WordPress and off of it).’Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths. 

It is open to men and women and already features some pretty fierce writing.  I am proud of this project and hope that it encourages many writers to tell their stories and aids them in receiving the support and respect they deserve for their stories of survival and dealing with them after the fact.

Also, I’m working on a project called Whisper and the Roar, a feminist literary collective site. I am still an author for Whisper and the Roar. All of the writers on this site are feminist but the content is not overtly feminist. I piece I wrote for this particular site is called “Ode to a Black Eye.” Such as many of my pieces, this post is autobiographical (my childhood friend Wendy had the black eye and we finally talked about the incident when we reconnected on Facebook.


Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.” – Christine Ray


7. Have you Published any Writing or Poetry outside of your Blog? If not do you plan to in the Future? 

I recently had a couple of pieces of poetry published in Felan Magazine which has lit a fire under me to publish more writing into print. Felan centers its issues around a particular feeling so it was easy to pull my best pieces about Anger (Issue 10) and Love (Issue 11). 


8. Can you Briefly Describe to us Your Writing Process? Are there Certain Genres of Writing and Reading You Prefer? 

The vast majority of my writing happens on my PC in the early morning hours with music playing in the background. Some of my work happens on my phone on the train.  Some it is sprawled into notebooks until I have time to type it up. I’ve been known to write a poem or two during long and dull meetings at work (hopefully none of my co-workers are reading this).

Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy! I’m obsessed with Jane Austen (I’ve got a Jane Austen quote as a tattoo) and I’ve read the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times.  I love psychological British mysteries,  Young Adult literature, as well as, science fiction, and fantasy. All in all, I’m a serious book nerd!


“Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy!” – Christine Ray


Nicole Jones UnSplash
Credit: Nicole Jones via UnSplash

9. Do you have any Wisdom for Other Bloggers and Writers?

Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!

Also, don’t obsess about numbers. Fifteen extremely engaged followers are more rewarding than two-hundred disengaged writers. Be brave and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s writing. I have picked up a lot of followers this way. Most vitally, I have made excellent friends by commenting on the writing/blogs of other people. 

In addition, I recommend subscribing and responding to the Daily Post. I want everyone who writes and/or blog to know that their voice matters and their truths matter too. Don’t worry about your audience, worry about what you need to say.

There are twelve million people on WordPress—your people (your followers) are out there. You may need to look for them, but there is someone out there who wants to read what you have to say.


10. Is there Anything Else you Want to Share, something you think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself? 

One crazy thing that happened to me in May is that one of my pieces was chosen for featuring as WordPress Discover blog called: Brave and Reckless Advice for New Bloggers – Part One.  I went from 164 views on May 1st to 2,439 views on May 2nd. It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time!

Things have calmed down a little but I spent three days replying to all the comments I received! I still don’t know how the WordPress editors found me or that piece. However, I try to use my newfound readership for good and give lots of other really good writers exposure on Brave and Reckless (I feel like I should be quoting Spiderman or something here)!


“Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!” – Christine Ray


11. For fun, do you Have Any Especially Favorite Bloggers that you Love to Follow? 

There are so many blogs that I love! My big writing crushes are:

  • The Feathered Sleep — Candice Louisa Daquin’s writing is elegant, exquisite, and emotionally resonant.
  • A Journal for Damned Lovers — Nicholas is gritty and dark and never glamorizes life, love or himself.  He takes you on journeys into the human psyche that you didn’t even know you wanted to go one. He appeals to my darkness and I want to grow up and write like SK someday!
  • The Lithium Chronicles –Nicole Lyons and the other poets she highlights on her site are badass warriors! There is an electricity to Nicole’s work, a buzz that gets under my skin, and into my blood. Some of her writing is similar to what could be pulled from own diaries.
  • Additionally, all of the writers at the collectives I work with are amazing and deserving of a read.

12. Can You Please Share with us a few of Your Favorite Pieces from your Blogging? 

Poet’s Love Song

by

Christine Ray

*****

Christine Ray = MM photo
Credit: From Christine’s Ray’s Blog ‘Brave and Reckless” for this post.

*****

I see you

Yes, you poet

You who lives

Behind the misty veil

Dwelling in the border

Between this world

And a hundred other

Shadow worlds

*****

see you

*****

see those ink-stained

Fingers

That hold your pen

Like a lover

That fly across the keyboard

In a torrent

Before stopping, hesitating

Waiting

For the flow of words to resume

*****

see the permanent rings

Countless cups of coffee

Have left on your writing table

The chip in your favorite mug

I see the frayed fabric

On your cuffs

Of your favorite writing shirt

The fabric worn thin at your elbows

*****

see those mesmerizing eyes

That seem to simultaneously

Be looking through me

Straight into my soul

While studying the cosmos

And gazing inward

All at the same time

see the contradictions you are

Your eyes are haunting

Full of knowing

Full of pain

Full of longing

*****

see the dark smudges

Under your otherworldly eyes

Reminders that poets

Are night dwellers

Insomniacs

Who haunt the still hours

Who understand the depth

The texture of darkness

Who can capture the qualities

The acoustics of silence

*****

see the way

That words spill out of

Your sensuous mouth

Like pearls, like diamonds

Beautiful treasures

Embedded with your tears

Your sweat, your blood

*****

Yes poet

see you

You who makes me fall

In love with language

Over and over

Whose words

Stab me in the heart

Punch me in the gut

Jangle my nerves

Bathe me in your radiance

Soothe my weary soul

Take me on a journey

I didn’t even know

I wanted to go on

*****

And you are beautiful

*****

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved



Thank you so much to Christine Ray for being so detailed and open sharing her writing and poetry with us on my blog and on the Go Do Go Cafe. If you would like to be featured as a writer, blogger, or person who is blogging/writing about a cause please reach out to me through my contact page. Next week`s interview will be a ‘Rewind Interview,’ a blogger I’ve interviewed in the past.


©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 Rosema Gonzales


Welcome to September and the third month of my bi-weekly interview series. I’m excited to share with you an interview of my good friend, talented writer, wonderful person, and wise woman: Rosema Gonzales from the Philippines. You can explore her blog at the following link: A Reading Writer .


Rosema
Rosema Gonzales

1. Rosema, Please Share With Us Some Things About Yourself?

I am my blog’s name: A Reading Writer. I read and write and in-between, eat cake and/or drink coffee.

I currently work for a small Public Relations firm as a Public Relations Associate and also a Public Relations Writer. I have a degree in journalism and I dream of becoming a news writer someday; a bonafide journalist. Although, I feel this goal could be a bit impossible, realistically speaking, but who knows?

When I’m not working, I’m blogging and writing. My blog, A Reading Writer , is my fortress and it has changed my writing-self dramatically. I used to only write book reviews and thoughts on books I was reading (wanted to read). Now, I write both poetry and fiction. I never thought I could write poetry or fiction until I joined the WordPress course: Writing 101, last year. Writing 101 changed my perspective on my writing abilities.

When I’m not writing or blogging, I have a thirst for reading. Mitch Albom is my  favorite author. I love all the novels I have, which Mitch Albom wrote, but it would take too long to name them all :D)

When I am not reading I am drinking a cuppa of dark coffee and wishing I could be eating cheesecake! 😀


2. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?

Technically, my first post was published on August 28, 2014, close to two-years-ago now. My first post was only the beginning of my ‘existence’ as a blogger. My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.


“My ‘real’ more than existing as a blogger, began when I joined Writing 101 in September 2015. For me, this course offered by WordPress, somehow signaled the ‘rebirth’ of my A Reading Writer blog.” – Rosema Gonzales


3. What Does Your Writing and Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write and Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation?

For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are for me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere. I had a writing piece which was inspired by a garbage truck once. Seriously! But the majority of my poetry and fiction are written while I’m riding the bus. I think my brain churns more when I’m commuting. Reading and music also inspire and motivate me, and have recently given birth to some unpublished poems, too. 🙂


4. Do You Find There Is A Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Hmmm. As I said before, I usually write on a bus so it’s either early morning or at night when  I write. Although, I think there is something about the silence and darkness of night that inspires more creative pieces as compared to when it’s daytime.


“For me, writing is like breathing with words. No one can survive without breathing; that’s how vital writing and poetry are form me. My motivation and inspiration can come from anywhere.” – Rosema Gonzales


5. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects or Any Hopeful Writing Projects?

If hosting a writing challenge is a project then, I would say my most recent project called:  Word-High July has been my focus. #WordHighJuly featured thirty beautiful Filipino words as word prompts. Many poets and bloggers have written impeccable pieces inspired by these Filipino words such as halakhak, a noun which means loud uninhibited laughter, or kaulayai, a noun which means a pleasant and intimate companion. In terms of future projects, I’m dreaming of publishing my own poetry book in the future.


Below is an example of an image and word prompt used in Rosema’s #WordHighJuly writing challenge:


Pleasant Compnanion


6. Have You Published Any Of Your Writing Or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing In The Future? Can You Briefly Describe Your Publishing and Writing Process?

All my written works are published on WordPress only for the moment. It’s part of my future plan to publish them soon maybe on my own, because scouting for a publisher is a tough task. I’m still building up the courage to finally, begin writing my own book. 

Because I’m not even one step towards publishing my work beyond my blog, I think I’m not a good writer or blogger to describe the process of publishing my writing. HOWEVER, I have great blogging friends who have successfully published their books and I’m sure they will willingly help people who like me, will eventually need tips on the entire publishing process. I have been reading some online material about self-publishing. So, I have gathered a ton of information there.


7. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly. There are times for instance, when I am just walking and I come across someone who I don’t know and a poem is born! It’s an unpredictable process so I always have my phone handy because it’s my stockroom for poetry and fiction.


” I have an erratic writing process. I write anywhere and anytime, because story ideas sprout unexpectedly.” – Rosema Gonzales


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

I prefer reading in bed. I’m a certified librocubicularist. 🙂

When it comes to reading genres, I love Young-Adult, Mystery, Thrillers, Contemporary Literature, Historical Fiction, Poetry, and Faith related books.When it comes to writing, my most chosen genre is Romance; love, and more so, unrequited love. I also write realistic fiction and about tragedy. My blog friend Mel, of In Media Res has been joking about putting a death toll counter in my blog. HAHA. I’m close to considering it !


9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

First, I must say write for yourself not for anyone else. It is blissful to have many people follow and read your work, but it is unusual to have many followers and readers as a writer or blogger starting out. So, do not be discouraged by a lack of other people reading your writing; write for no one but yourself.

Second, I you cannot compare yourself to other writers. Other writers maybe talented but you are talented in your own way as well. Such as fingerprints, each author has their own individual perspective and niche in the writing world. So, be yourself; find your own voice and style, then improve on it.

Lastly, I believe you should always be the first person who believes in your characters, in your poems, in in all your writing. This advice, I often give myself, and is a lesson I’m still trying to learn.


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

Honestly, I’ve only just found my true writer-self. I think, this year is the first, I’ve finally embraced creative writing. My focus before this year, was on writing straight news, real-life nonfiction, becoming a genuine journalist. Now, I am loving what I’ve been discovering about myself through creative writing.

As well, it would not be possible for me to have had such personal growth through writing, if I did not have a great bunch of supportive and loving writers in the blogging community on WordPress. I would like to highlight the need for a friendly, honest, and interactive writing community.

Bloggers and writers (online and in general), need to be kind enough to read the work of the writers who read your own posts. Let’s be supportive enough to correct grammar mistakes or provide tips on how a writer can improve on his or her work. Leave thoughtful comments on other bloggers and writers posts.

I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote. What’s important is to let writers know how their work affects you, how you feel about their work.This is helpful, to all writers.

Writers should be the first to realize completely, the power of their words. I hope we can agree to use words to create an encouraging community. Let’s not underestimate the power of our comments. Comments on a writer’s work can change lives; I’m proof and I can testify to the truth of comments changing my own life and writing.


“I know life happens and we do not always have a lot of time. But if we have the time and make the time, we need to somehow harness the power of our words to encourage our fellow writers. High praises are not always needed, you can also give constructive criticism or disagree with what another writer wrote.” – Rosema Gonzales


11. Please Share With Us Some Pieces Of Your Fiction And Poetry:

“Writer’s Note”

No one,
nothing,
can take
my words
away
from me.

Break me,
confine me,
curse me,
abandon me,
my lines will bleed more
surely.

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.


I would also like to share my first-ever fictional piece from Writing 101:


Thanks so much Rosema for filling out interview questions and writing them with your heart. It always comes through in your work, fiction, poetry, or talking about your favourite books. I’m encouraged you will make wonderful strides in creative writing and in your career aspirations.

Dreams are always possible, sometimes we only have to believe they can be a possibility!

Once again, here is the link to Rosema’s blog: A Reading Writer.


Many thanks for reading along in this bi-weekly interview series. If you would like to be interviewed and share about yourself and your writing aspirations, please let me know. You can reach-out to me through my Contact Page.


 

 

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.