Saturday is for Sharing – Shelley Alongi

Post #128 – September 15, 2018

Saturday is

for Sharing

Series of Guest Authors – #11

Miss Opal & Lynda

Welcome YOU to

Saturday is for Sharing 

_____

Shelley Alongi 

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

Handel’s Messiah.

  • 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.

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

Queenofbells@outlook.com

The names of my books are

  1. Trespasser, released in 2015.
  2. Brave Pilot, released in 2017.
  3. 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

http://www.lulu.com/shop/shelley-alongi/trespasser/paperback/product-22657384.html

Trespasser, hard cover, released 2015

http://www.lulu.com/shop/shelley-alongi/trespasser/hardcover/product-22410531.html

Brave Pilot paperback, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Brave-Pilot-Shelley-J-Alongi/dp/1974398730/ref=sr_1_12? s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517024969&sr=1-12&keywords=Brave+Pilot

Angel Hug, paperback 2018

https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Hug-Shelley-J-Alongi/dp/1985243156/ref=sr_1_3? s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522514916&sr=1-3&keywords=Angel+Hug

For electronic copies of these books you can visit

Brave Pilot

https://www.books2read.com/u/47kBPE

Angel Hug

https://www.books2read.com/u/31MooW

Trespasser

https://www.books2read.com/u/bWKLkW

You can also see my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.shelley.alongi

________

Dear Readers of SCAN,

Your support of our Featured Guest Authors is  appreciated.

Here’s how YOU can spread the HAPPINESS:

Please  share this article with your friends on Social Media and by Re-Blogging

OR – you can copy and paste the entire blog articler into your own FB page or blog.

You can purchase our featured book: Gift Giving Season is closing in on us already!

Thanks again for your support of the Authors who are featured on Saturday is for Sharing.

________________

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

Your COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTIONS are always welcome.

PLEASE SHARE by Re-Blogging this article on Social Media  I only require that you copy/past the entire blog post including our Copyright and blog information.

If you are a published AUTHOR or an actively exhibiting ARTIST – Miss Opal and Lynda  want YOUR STORY for our “Saturday is for Sharing” blog features. We spotlight one outstanding author or artist a week.

Right now, we are scheduling into the month of November.

E-mail us today: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

Saturday is for Sharing – Amy Bovaird –

Post #122 – Aug. 25, 2018

Saturday is for Sharing

Series of Guest Authors – #8

Miss Opal & Lynda

Welcome YOU to

Saturday is for Sharing 

_____

Meet Amy Bovaird

Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss

 

 

  

Hi Amy,   I am so pleased to present your books and hear your thoughts today on SCAN.

Your life-long love of travel and your humorous adventures abroad,  teaching English as a Second Language, seem to be  the backbone of  your writing.  No matter what the story is about, we get an excellent view of the world as you experienced it.  You bring us along wherever you are, in your writing. I’ve been reading your stories for a number of years.

Recently, I listened to the Spring/Summer issue of “Magnets & Ladders Literary Magazine.” This magazine was  recorded on digital cassette by the Perkins Library. I really enjoyed hearing your essay, “The Sweet Breath of Africa,” which won an Honorable Mention for non-fiction.  This story is about an African nurse  who took care of you while you were alone, in a foreign country,  in a hospital. It is a beautiful  and sensitive story. I have listened to it twice because it is so compelling. You are a natural storyteller, Amy.   Read this story here:  https://www.magnetsandladders.org/#the-sweet-breath-of-africa-memoir-nonfiction-)honorable-mentionwzxhzdk47by-amy-bovaird

Q_ What do you think about your name and do you use a pen name for your books?

Amy_ There is so much to a name, and over the years, I have learned not only to appreciate but also to cherish mine. My three siblings are named after other respected family members, but my mother said she chose my name simply because she liked it. That is so sweet, all by itself. As I traveled overseas to teach, having a small three-letter name like ‘Amy’ fit just right. My last name—French in origin—posed problems so my overseas students called me “Miss Amy.” This made me feel close to them; it facilitated stronger relationships and forged cultural ties.

In one class, which focused on teaching strategies for TOEFL, a college-entrance exam needed for non-native students to enter western universities, we came across the word, “amicable.” My Indonesian student said, “This is you, my teacher.” His observation filled my heart with gratitude. At some point, I heard the term, “Bon ami,” French for ‘good friend. and added that on to the lovely nuances of my name. It also has roots in Spanish, “amistad,” which means “friendship,” and “amor,” which means love. That described me well as I loved to make new friends. Later, I learned my name meant “beloved.” At that time, my walk with Christ was deepening, so my given name became even more meaningful.

I think it’s amazing how God ensures we have the tools we need to succeed in our careers—and that certainly includes the name we go by. I went by it as a teacher and I also use it as a writer.

Q_What have you done recently that really made you feel good about yourself?

Amy_ In the 90s I had the most wonderful job ever—teaching specialized English terms (think map reading, tanks, helicopters, etc.) to international military personnel at the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base. I even helped set up language programs overseas. I left my job to marry an Egyptian Captain and teach in a civilian women’s college in the Middle East. I could never duplicate the unique teaching environment I had at Lackland.

About three weeks ago, one of my former colleagues and I met up in San Antonio and reunited with past co-workers. It was a whirlwind of excitement, beginning with an unexpected stop at the base from the airport and two full days of meeting up with memorable colleagues. It was also the best thing I could ever do for myself – to reconnect with the bold, daring teacher and intrepid traveler I once was in the days before the huge drop in my vision. It was good to remember I was still that person.

Q_ Are you a “Mountain,” “Valley,” or “Beach” person?

 Amy__I am definitely a mountain gal. Give me a backpack and I’ll climb high! I have a couple of humorous anecdotes in my second book, Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side of Mobility, about climbing mountains in Scotland and Japan. You can probably guess the challenges of climbing the Scottish mountain named Goatfell! There’s something about the high altitude that goes hand-n-hand with adventure.

 

Q_ What is your most notable achievement or accomplishment to date?

Amy_  I am  quite proud of my second book launch. I collaborated with the Sight Center of Northwest Pennsylvania to unveil Cane Confessions. We found a great location to hold the launch, a large senior center in our area. We put our heads together to create a strong line-up of speakers for our program.

The CEO of the Sight Center was our emcee. She introduced each speaker for the event. Other speakers included the director of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services. This organization provides counseling, training aids, rehab and orientation and mobility to those who are blind or have low vision. Another speaker was on the Board of Directors for the Sight Center but also represented Pennwriters, a state-wide group of writing professionals of which I am a member. It also included the head of the Lions Club (of which I belong), followed by a leader dog (guide) trainer with her leader puppy. The keynote speaker was a laser eye surgeon, who I asked to speak on gene therapy. I also spoke and read a humorous passage from my book. The line-up ended with my pastor, who prayed for the outreach of my memoir, and also for the food.

While we served cake and punch, and I signed books,

we had a fabulous new group perform some original music,

including one song they wrote specifically tor the launch.  One of the group members was from Pennwriters.

We even had someone to take the money for the books, so I only had to focus on signing and connecting with those who came to purchase them.

I don’t think any of us expected such an incredible, comprehensive program to unfold without a hitch! We were thrilled! Unfortunately, although we sent out a slick press release to the media, they failed to show up. What a shame as my launch showcased so many facets of assistance available to the visually impaired community. We certainly put up a united front. It is still one of my fondest memories.

 

Q_ Tell us more about how you began to write books. 

Amy_ The first professional paid writing job I fell into was a ghostwriter job. I wrote a memoir my client termed as “the greatest love story ever told.” It was an upbeat story of my client and his wife (the love of his life) as they dealt with her ovarian cancer. I was so proud of it when I finished it.

That prepared me to write my own memoirs. I have written two books about mobility (using a white cane), which includes elements of fear, faith, humor and adventure. (I am currently working on my third and final mobility book. I plan to finish the series by December of this year).

Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss

is the memoir I want to share with you today.  This new book combines my faith and experiences in a devotional format. It consists of forty-five devotions where God met my needs at desperate points of loss during my time in the Middle East. The first section focuses on loss in childbearing. The second section focuses on getting through divorce. The final section focuses on coping with the discovery of my father’s stage-four cancer while I was in the Middle East.

Writing these devotions helped me better understand how God carried me through my heartbreak. My devotions reminded me how God had ministered to me in the past, which, in turn, helped me recall who was in control of my life. Certainly not me. I was deeply grieving over the loss of my mother, who was eighty-seven. One day she was fine; the next, she suffered a massive stroke. You think you’ll be prepared when an elderly parent passes away but few of us truly are. The loss of a loved one causes grief no matter what the age of the one you love or of the bereaved.

The greater purpose in writing this memoir was to reach out to others facing similar losses. When I go to speak, not everyone can relate to challenges of my sight loss. However, many can relate to losing a child or a parent. Additionally, one out of every two marriages end in divorce nowadays. There is a great need to know God will remain firmly at our side in those frightening moments when we face our biggest fears, failures and disappointments. All devotionals show testimony and mine does the same, only thematically.

 

If I could pick a page that would sum up of the message of my devotional book it might be found in this devotion.

LOVE TRANSCENDS TOUCH

 “‘I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow,’ declared the Lord.”
–Jeremiah 31:13, NIV


When Noor died, everything happened quickly. Nadir completed the legalities for her birth and death at the same time. I received no birth certificate or inked footprints to remember her. Nobody brought Noor to my bedside, so I could hold her and say goodbye. Nadir carried her shrouded body away. He placed her directly into a gravesite somewhere in a Dubai cemetery I would never see. Losing a baby in utero devastated me. It left me without even a photograph—as if conceiving her never happened. My second twin’s heart beat together with mine. I nurtured and sang to her, fought and prayed for her. After I delivered Noor, the nurses whisked her away to an incubator. Most of the time, my emergencies kept me from going to her. Except for One. Special. Moment. I reached through the incubator holes to stroke tiny legs—my first touch. One time to last forever.

My lack of input and involvement in the burial left gaping wounds. I cradled a single Polaroid the doctor snapped of Noor shortly after birth. Nadir hid the photo. He believed it unhealthy and wanted me to move forward. But I had no closure.

That summer, I wept for the missing rituals and mementoes that typically accompany motherhood. To fill that gap, God gave me a beautiful song about love being deeper than touch. The lyrics slowly filled the void, like rays of hope seeping through a heavy black cloud.

The words seemed penned for my twins and me. When I listened to that song, I thought about how beautiful it was to have those hearts beating inside me for even a short time. I believe one day I’ll have that privilege again.

 

Heavenly Father, thank you for scripting special words to heal our unique pain.

 _____________________

 

Contact information:

Name: Amy L. Bovaird

Book Title: Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss

Email: mailto:amybovairdauthor@gmail.com

Website: https://amybovaird.com/

Book Description: https://amybovaird.com/seeking-solace/

Blog: https://amybovaird.com/blog/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/amybovairdauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amy_Bovaird

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ls28BO

*Book is available in regular, large print, ebook and audio.

Audio is available at Audible.com, iTunes, Amazon and my website.

_______________________

Dear Readers of SCAN,

Your support of our Featured Guest Authors is  appreciated.

Here’s how YOU can spread the HAPPINESS:

Please  share this article with your friends on Social Media and by Re-Blogging.

You can purchase this book: Gift Giving Season is closing in on us already!

Thanks again for your support of the Authors who are featured on Saturday is for Sharing.

________________

Saturday is for Sharing

is brought to you by

Pennsylvania author, Lynda McKinney Lambert and her feline writing partner, Miss Opal.

SCAN is owned by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

View Publications Page for updates on my stories and poems.

Walking by Inner Vision.

Lynda’s Author ‘s Page

Saturday is for Sharing is Lynda’s property. You have permission to SHARE this blog post with your FRIENDS on FaceBook.

Copyright: August 25,, 2018. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Please share with your Friends on FaceBook and SHARE to your blog. Please Re-Blog this article and spread the HAPPINESS.

I only ask that you re-post the entire article with the copyright information attached.

Leave Miss  Opal and Lynda some comments and let us know what you liked about this feature story today.

 

SHARE Good Thoughts

and Happiness

EVERY day!