Post #128 – September 15, 2018
Series of Guest Authors – #11
Miss Opal & Lynda
Welcome YOU to
Saturday is for Sharing
Photo: TheAuthor holds a collection
of 3 published books
Shelley, I know you are a cat lover so Miss Opal and I are really delighted to speak with you today about your book publications and your life as an author.
You nearly always talk about your cats in phone conversations and interviews. We like that!
It is a hot day here in Western Pennsylvania but the cats, Miss Opal and her sister-cat ,Miss Bessie, are enjoying the air conditioning. The 2 dogs are napping in their beds.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through the National Federation of the Blind Writer’s Division over the past several years. NFB was one of the first contacts I had with writers who have sight loss and I was happy to find the organization at that time. I remain a member, and look forward to the publications you produce. I’m always happy to submit work to this magazine.
Our readers should know that you are the editor of
Slate & Style, a literary magazine.
It is published throughout the year by the Writer’s Division.
I’d also like to let our readers know that they can enter their writings to the magazine. They do not have to be disabled or blind to send in their work.
Q_ I have a question for you, since you are so busy with the magazine and your own writing…what do you do to relax? When it is 5 O’Clock “somewhere, what will you be doing?
Shelley_ Laughing! I might be at home in the recliner with a cat on my lap – or a book – or both.
I might have a documentary film from Netflix or my TV app playing in the background and I might be asleep.
I might be at the church practicing the organ. I play for 2 churches!
Or I might be playing my piano.
In my literary life, I could be working on a draft of one of my novels. My latest novel is Forgiving Sky, due for release in 2018.
I am currently working on the draft before I submit it to my hand-picked editing team.
In addition to this, I am also working on a book of poetry called Christ Crush.
I may be working on that one. If I’m not doing any of those things I might be entertaining company, or cooking hamburgers, spaghetti, or some other wonderful concoction.
Sometimes I never know where I’ll be.
My only requirement is wherever I am it’s cool, and I mean below seventy degrees.
Q_ What could you never live without? What would happen if this would go away?
Shelley_ In 2003 I went to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi to help the city rebuild after Katrina.
We helped to plant a Calvary Chapel there and our job specifically was to cook for the people who were rebuilding their own houses. Some of the people went to help those who were cleaning up their property after the August 27 damage. Over lunch, one of the men who was rebuilding his house asked that question. They asked what we couldn’t live without and I thought about that between lunch and dinner. When I told them that I couldn’t live without friends some of the team members were surprised. One of the gentlemen there who was rebuilding his house said he thought I might say I couldn’t live without a toilet or a toothbrush. But, all through history our bodies have made due with what we have or don’t have. We can always find ways to meet basic needs.
One of our basic needs is friendship as human beings. I don’t need many friends, but a few good friends go a long way toward helping me live my life in a satisfactory way. What would happen if friends went away? Well, I think what might happen is that I might curl up and shrivel away like leaves and plants on a very hot day.
Q_ You are person who is so curious about so many aspects of life, Shelley. What would you like to know more about?
Shelley_ You asked, “What would I like to know more about? EVERYTHIING!
I am am information junky.
Reading and watching documentary films feeds my need for information. I also read widely: I try to catch podcasts.
Because I am blind, I wonder if my brain doesn’t have that kind of input if a desire is created by the parts of the brain that requires stimulus. I don’t limit myself to knowing about certain things because the way my brain works I sometimes become passionate about something, and then move on to other things.
This is the wonderful part of being a writer. Sometimes, I might have a conversation with someone, or read a book that piques my interest on another subject. I will go find a book on the subject that fascinates me. For instance, I might get interested in some local subject, then I design a story around it and I can ask people about their jobs. I usually will say this is for helping me with my book.
I’ve recently settled in a small Texas town where the economy is bolstered by an air force base. People I know here have either retired from the Air Force, work for it, or live on base. We all know someone here who either lives on the base or works for the Air Force. It is interesting that the novel I am working on right now, Forgiving Sky, has an aircraft mechanic as the main character. I started this novel before I moved here, but it wasn’t till I moved here and had more time to devote to the book that I met people who I could ask about their job as an aircraft mechanic.
The same thing happened to me with train engineers. My first novel Trespasser is about a railroad engineer. I had ocasion to be interested in trains and so I was able to talk to railroad workers and some of them helped me with scenes in my first novel. Sometimes I’ll pick up a book on a subject I know nothing about just to peak my curiosity. I never know what I might be interested in next.
Q_ When is the last time you had FIRE in your eyes? What happened to light your fire?
Shelley_ When I first moved to Texas I had not yet made connections and so I spent my first 4th of July at home. At that time I decided I would go online and find a recording of
I was a music major in college and was familiar with the piece but had never really listened to it. The recording I found was stunning.
I spent three hours listening. The one choral piece that got me really tuned into was
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the World.
This recording was done on a large scale and the sheer power of the vocals grabbed my attention. The whole experience made me investigate Jesus Christ’s claims again, things I had already come to terms with in my younger years. This music really grabbed my attention and I spent the next six months just rereading the Bible and deciding to read as many fictional accounts of the life of Jesus as I could. Some of the fictional accounts were very good. Some of them were ok. I know this helped me write my third book – Angel Hug – which surrounds Jesus prayer in Gethsemane. I still have the fire in my eyes three years after arriving here. I remember those months and their impact on me. I think that night really set the course for my time in Texas.
Comment from Lynda:
I can fully relate to this experience. I had such a personal encounter with Jesus when I was 30 years old, after reading Dietrich Bonhoffer. Just one line, staying in my thoughts. I was changed from that time forward. Thank you for sharing this, Shelley. It brought me back to my own life-history.
Q_ What do you have your eye on for the future?
Shelley_ Currrently, my future includes releasing my fourth book, Forgiving Sky in 2018. If not 2018 then in January 2019.
I’m working on the final draft at this time. I always have a plan for my future and sometimes what happens is better than what I plan. I’d like to buy a house. I’d like to go to Germany. I am taking advantage of the time given me right now to finish reading books that I’ve always wanted to read and to work on several more ideas for novels. I spent many years at a job that gave me lots of experience but which for me was not fulfilling. Writing books is fulfilling. So, I’d like to finish the ones I’ve started and see where we go from here. I figure that as soon as I finish enough of them I can take them anywhere and offer them for sale. They’re for sale now, but I mean that I can offer them and perhaps move out of state or get busy again. I am blessed with lots of writing time now. My future is to work on my music and also finish writing the novels, something I’ve known I would do for many years. Now is the time.
Q_ What, in your mind, is your most notable achievement or accomplishment to date?
Shelley_ I look at my life and compare it to others I know and I say I haven’t done enough.
Yet, when I sit down and look at mine,
I say ___wow ___I’ve done some amazing things.
I’m not sure which is my most notable.
______I’ve founded an aviation club at California State University, Fullerton.
I received a call from someone who came across it when he was looking for places to advertise his helicopter sight seeing tours. We met for lunch and talked about his company. This call was received ten years after I started the club. But hey I’m in the records!
_____I’ve written four books_____
Trespasser – about a railroad engineer’s search for happiness,
Brave Pilot – about a man who must avert a looming tragedy between two families.
Angel Hug – inspired by Christ’s agony in Gethsemane.
Christ Crush – my first book of poetry.
And my forthcoming publication: Forgiving Sky.
Soon I will be able to hold five books in my hand. I am my own publishing company, it seems. I have a music degree and that took a lot of work. I’ve been to Mississippi to help after Katrina.
I’ve been in the pilot’s seat of a small airplane.
I’ve talked to the prosecuting attorney for Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. That was a big one for me because I wanted to interview him for an oral history project. He did not grant the interview, but I got to talk to him.
I just recently uploaded a video to Youtube. I know that is a regular occurrence for some. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and was able to upload it by using VoiceOver on my Apple iPhone.
I’ve been to Washington DC twice, once as a high school senior and once to speak with our local representative about the National Defense Authorization Act.
I’ve moved across country twice. That’s a pretty regular occurrence for people who live here. I’ve had a pretty full life and I’m sure it’s not over.
UPDATE: July 25, 2020
Book Review of Shelley Alongi’s book Christ Crush: Poems & a Story.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my life and work with you. I
F you would like more information or to be kept up-to-date on new releases, contact me at:
Shelley J. Alongi
The names of my books are
- Trespasser, released in 2015.
- Brave Pilot, released in 2017.
- Angel Hug, released 2018.
The first three published books can be purchased in electronic or paperback format.
Trespasser is also available in hard cover. Here are the links where you can purchase the books.
Trespasser, paperback, released 2015
Trespasser, hard cover, released 2015
Brave Pilot paperback, 2017
Angel Hug, paperback 2018
For electronic copies of these books you can visit
You can also see my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.shelley.alongi
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Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright: September, 2018. All rights reserved.
Saturday is for Sharing
is a weekly series coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner. Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg.
Lynda is the author of 4 books:
Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!
Lynda has just completed her 3rd book
Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – not yet published.
AND… her FIRST CHAPBOOK
first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme – Not yet published.
Both new books are now available for publication.
Currently Lynda is working on her next book, a Memoir.
Thank you for visiting with us today.
Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert
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