Saturday is for Sharing ~ Butterfly Thomas

 Post 180

Saturday is for Sharing

Good morning to our Readers

SCAN-a-BLOG

Author’s Interview with

Butterfly Thomas

by Lynda and Miss Opal

 

Lynda_ For our FIRST AUTHOR’s VISIT on the FIRST WEEK OF SPRING ~ 

Miss Opal and I  are so delighted to welcome  BUTTERFLY THOMAS  to our home on the ridge overlooking the spectacular Connoquenessing Creek, in The Village of Wurtemburg, in rural western Pennsylvania. Finally, SPRING ARRIVED here even though it is frosty cold today with a light blanket of fresh snow on the grass.

Listen for a few seconds, Butterfly, and you will hear the Red-Breasted Robin singing from the bare branches in the Ginkgo  tree as you came down the sidewalk.  She begins her song so early in the mornings that the sky is a soft rosy glow on the horizon. I imagine she is busy with nest-building right now, too.

 

Miss Opal_  Butterfly, we just love these pretty Spring mornings! The sun has been shining, in between the days of rain that we get at this time of year. But, I know you live in Virginia, so I think that Spring arrived there with a bit more sunshine than we have in PA.  I always think of the Cherry Blossoms that bloom in your area when it is still cold here.

I like to watch the world of nature from my window in our office. This is a very special day  for us when one of our fellow writers drops in for a little chat.   I want to know more about your name, Butterfly! Do you like it?  Tell us more about it, if you don’t mind.

 ~ Butterfly Thomas ~

~ A Virginia Author ~

Butterfly_  I thought  you would ask me about my name because this is my professional name. And, yes, I really like my name. I don’t use my given name for professional work. Instead, I chose to use the name  “Butterfly Thomas.” I have had the name Butterfly for half of my life now, as I just had a birthday on March 12.

Lynda_ I think your professional name is perfect for a woman with a birthday so close to the beginning of Spring.  It is a time of renewal and rebirth, and that is exactly what a butterfly signifies.

Butterfly_ When I was in high school, a series of events led to me becoming completely blind. I had retinal detachments, cataracts, glaucoma and a couple of unexplained hemorrhages. In my junior year, I accidently got hit in the eye which detached my retina for a final time and I was forever changed. 

 

Lynda_ How did all of this  trauma affect your life as a young girl? 

How did you deal with the rapid changes you plunged into at that time?

Butterfly_ Well, here is what happened!

One year later, I was still adjusting to blindness, but flourishing in my senior status. I was back on honor roll, no longer acting out, and mentoring the younger girls in my dorm (I attended the state school for the blind).

About mid-year, the superintendent told me that I would be presenting the farewell speech at graduation and suggested I do a poem. By this time, I was writing poems about everything from the nasty food in the cafeteria to nurse appreciation week. So, I thought about it for a while and began to write. I called the poem, “Butterfly,” and it was about my 3 years at this school. From year 1 to year 3 I had made several transformations from a vision impaired teenager who let her grades slip and got into fights, to a blind young adult honor roll student who was a role model for the other students.

Miss Opal_ Oh, I see how this could make such a difference for you because you really turned this around by giving hope and inspiration to your fellow graduates.

Butterfly_  Yes! Thereafter, I kept the name Butterfly as a nickname and it was an easy decision to use it as a pseudonym when I started publishing.  

Lynda_ Let me ask you a question that is a little bit off the beaten path, but I think it will be interesting to hear what you have to say about it. This is one of my favorite questions for my guests.

When it is 5 o’clock somewhere, where will you be and what will you be doing?

Butterfly_ I live in the city and I prefer the city because there are more options for paratransit and public transportation. On my job, I work as a counselor and advocate for my cities’ Center for Independent Living.I get off work at 4, so sometimes I am on the paratransit on my way home at 5.

However, if time is on my side, then at 5 I will be at home in my bed, snuggled up under the covers and reading my latest book download. Reading is my absolute favorite thing to do and after a long day at work I have to take at least an hour to decompress and get my thoughts together.

After the clock strikes 6, I have mentally prepared to spend time with my family and so I leave my comfy bed and my room and go out into the living room to engage with my loves.     

Lynda_  Can you please speak a little more about your job as a counselor. What is the best part of your day and why do you like it so much?

ButterflyThe best part of my job is in  powering people with disabilities by helping them become more independent whatever that may mean for them.

I have a Master’s degree and professional counseling and I’m currently under supervision gaining hours so I can sit for my licensure exam.

 

Lynda_  Since you were born in Germany, do you have memories of this country?  You know I was fortunate enough to live in Austria every summer during most of the years I was professor. I loved Germany and took my students there every year since we lived just across the border in Austria.

Butterfly_  I was very young when we lived there. But, I wish we could have stayed  in Germany long enough for me to make some memories>  I will go back some day. This is a promise I made to myself 😎

Lynda_ I believe you will since you feel so strongly about doing that. We just never know where life will take us but I have found that life has a way of taking us to where we intend to go – no matter how long it takes.

Lynda_ I was also thinking about how we have a creative place or space  where we go to do our work. My special work place is here in my home in this room just off of the kitchen. This is where Miss Opal and I do our work together.

Can you describe your creative work space?

Butterfly_ I didn’t really create my creative work space lol.

It is just there in my room. I don’t even sit on a chair or anything, I prefer to sit on my bed cross-legged with my laptop in front of me and my external keyboard in my lap. I will usually have Pandora playing music on my phone in the background and I am in the zone with everybody and everything shut out. My bedroom door stays shut during this process. I guess as an introvert, I must have that place that I can go to recharge from outside influences or just be comfortable and relaxed and my bedroom allows me to do that which is why it became my creative work space.    

 

Miss Opal_  I’m an introvert, too Butterfly.  But, I love to think about some of my first memories. I was rescued by Miss Lynda and her family, along with my mother and my 3 siblings one summer day in the woods in Ohio. We were alone and hungry, and we were sick. We really needed help. We all came  to Pennsylvania to live.  Our mother, Effie Pearl, died last year, but my sister, Miss Bessie lives with us.  Our 2 brothers went to live with some friends. We are now 6 years old and we have a good life. 

Well, that is my earliest memories, Butterfly. I am wondering, what are your early memories like?  What is your earliest memory, how old were you when this memory was saved in your mind?

when did you remember this?

Butterfly_ One of my earliest memories is of me and my family playing outside in the snow. I remember my dad tossed a snowball and it kind of fell on the inside of my glasses. I remember the super cold water dripping down my face as the snow melted against the heat of my skin. I let out a little eek sound from the shock of the cold because I was all snuggly and warm in my thick and heavy snowsuit. my siblings laughed and kind of just ran around picking up snow and tossing it. I was about 3 or 4 in this memory, but I don’t know when I solidified this memory in my mind. Also, on this same day, the memory flashes to my dad pulling a frozen snowball out of the freezer and putting it down my mom’s back, she screams because of the cold and playfully swats his hand. These 2 scenes are all I remember of this day, but it sure seemed like a fun day.    

Lynda_ I’ve always loved to travel. How about you? Do you enjoy going to new places or do you prefer to stay closer to home?

If I gave you a ticket to anywhere you would like to go, where would it be? I

Butterfly_ Lynda, I am really drawn  to this question. Since we  mentioned Germany a couple of minutes ago, it reminded me of how I used to think about this.  But, after reflecting on it, I can say I am changing somewhat.

The way I used to answer this question is by saying I would like to visit Germany because I was born there and my family moved back to the states when I was 2

So, it is true, I have no memories of the country, as I said.

But, there are pictures:  October fest and fun things like that.

But I can no longer see the pictures.

Though, I still do want to go back to Germany and experience everything that country has to offer, my real answer is that I want to go on a food tour.

I want to visit every interesting place and country and taste the lovely foods that signify each culture.

Lynda_  And, I believe you will, Butterfly.  I believe you will go many lovely places in your life and you will enjoy the culture, foods, and everything else that is so good about visiting new places.  And, when you do, please take a moment during your travels and send Miss Opal and me a post card. Will you? We will be watching the mail.  It has been delightful to have this morning with you. Thank you for this special day.

Butterfly_ Thank you Miss Opal and Ms Lynda for inviting me. I hope you both have a wonderful day. It was so nice to be here.

_

Find out MORE about Butterfly Thomas:

  Butterfly Thomas Book title: Head Held High

Social media link: http://www.twitter.com/butterflytnovel

Link to purchase: https://www.dldbooks.com/bthomas/

  • Official book blurb:

Shya’s dying mother tasked her with taking care of her younger brothers, and the girl is trying hard to do just that. But it doesn’t take long for the reader to learn that Shya is doing a lot more than being a loving, attentive sister and attending college. She’s also working as a high-end escort under her stepfather’s control. As the stepfather’s demands increase, Shya sees no choice but to kick up her plan to squirrel away enough money to win custody of her brothers. Little does she know that one brother is doggedly pursuing the escape of drugs, while the other is being bullied and hopes to escape everything — permanently. More tragedy ensues as Shya gets caught stealing from the wrong person. Can she save her family with bodies dropping all around her and a killer closing in? Will she lose everything for the pursuit of money? Can she keep her head held high in the face of so much adversity?    

_

This feature article on Saturday is for Sharing is a gift from Miss Opal

and Lynda McKinney Lambert. 

Are YOU a PUBLISHED AUTHOR?

Want to be OUR GUEST?  Click here to see how to be our guest

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright March 23, 2019. All rights reserved.

Saturday is for Sharing

is a 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 2 published books:

  ~ Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!

~ Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!

Thank you for visiting with us today.

 

Contact Lynda & Miss Opal at:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net

Your COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTIONS are always welcome.

 

READ MORE AUTHOR INTERVIEWS on Saturday is for Sharing Read it here!

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved. Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Please SHARE the HAPPINESS with your social media friends.

We only ask that you copy the entire article and

include our copyright notice with any publication of this article.

 

WE LOVE YOU FOR THAT!

My Interview Went MIA

Post #178

SelfIE -Interview

When things get lost in the shuffle ~

What do you do?

For example –

Last November, I was asked to respond to a list of questions for a virtual interview  on a blog.   After some months, the interview never appeared.

It turns out that my interview is floating around in Cyber Space – somewhere.

My interview went  MIA

I decided the lost interview would be a fun twist –

My responses to the questions that were sent to me are posted below.

This is the interview that went MIA

 

My Friday Favs – a Selfie!

 

Let’s call this a “Selfie”

which could be much like a “Self Portrait,” for I am an artist.

The Responses and Photos are my SELFIE.

 

Lets do it!

ME_ Thanks for inviting me to come over today. This is such a balmy March day, and it is a pleasure to visit with you. Let’s take our coffee and go into your beautiful living room. I love the light that is filtering through the window and your room looks so comfortable. I see you love plants!  There is nothing like being surrounded with plants – I feel right at home for I am a collector of succulents, too.  In fact, my spectacular “Partridge Breasted Aloe,” is blooming right now in my Reading Room window.

Photo of Partridge Breasted Aloe, by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Q_ What part of the country do you live in?

 ME_I live in a small village in south-western Pennsylvania. The village is over 200 years old. It is called, The Village of Wurtemburg.” My ancestors settled this village in the mid-1700s, when they came from Germany. I have lived in my home in this village for fifty-one years in a century-old house that sits on a ledge overlooking the Connoquenessing Creek.

I envision my ancestors walking on the same paths that I walk on – I feel them. I am an overlay of my ancestors. As I walk through the woods, some days, I speak to them and I listen for their gentle responses. They inspire my writings.

Q_ What do you like best and least about living in western Pennsylvania?

ME_The connections I have to a long history in this area are meaningful to me. This is a rural area in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains and it is located about forty miles north of Pittsburgh. What I like most is the privacy and seclusion of my home. I am a rather solitary person who loves to have lots of time alone where I can create my art work or do my writing in a quiet setting. The woods all around this area inspire me. I love nature in all her variety of seasonal changes. My husband, Bob, and I, take walks in the woods several times a day with our 2 dogs. We appreciate the wild animals and birds that live here. We feed feral cats and provide shelter for the cats or any other wild animals that may come around.

I cannot think of anything that I don’t like about where I live. We think of this as our little piece of heaven on earth.

A View of the Connoquenessing creek from the First Bridge, in Wurtemburg, PA.

Photo by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

 

Q_Is your writing influenced in any way by where you live?

ME_ Without a doubt! My writing begins when I stand outside at night looking into the sky. It begins when I am walking in the rain along a path in the woods. It begins when I watch the seasons changing. I am moved by nature in every aspect that I see reflected in the land and people around me here in rural Pennsylvania. I love the vernacular speech I hear every day. This place is filled with memories   of local and regional history that is unique. I am deeply rooted in this place. I am a firm advocate of “Bloom where you re planted.”  While I have written extensively of other places in the world, this is the place I call “home.”

 

Q_ Can you describe your writing process for me? For example, do you have a certain time of day you find most productive? Or a special place where you find inspiration?

ME_I don’t know if it is apparent in my work or not, but I don’t sleep much. Much of my writing is done as I sit in a dark room with the blinds closed – during the night. I often get up at 2 or 3 a.m., come downstairs to my office, and turn on my computer. I wake up with ideas, at times. Once an idea comes into my mind, I feel like I have to grab onto and get it down on paper, before it goes away and never returns to me again. There is a sense of urgency about it.

Ideas come to me in a word or to, most of the time. It will be just a short phrase that appears like an image in my thoughts – and I grab a large black marker and write it on a sheet of paper. Later, I will put it into the computer and begin expanding on the idea.

 

Once I have the initial idea, I begin the research that is necessary for me to do. I will put down pages of research information. This will be the raw material from which I will begin to build a poem or an essay. I work only in poetry and creative non-fiction essay forms. I don’t care for fiction – seldom read it. It does not interest me much at all. I think there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from mythology, ancient stories, and history – as well as the present moment in our contemporary life.

 

I take strands of old and new, and begin literally to weave my tapestry.

Tapestry, woven wall piece by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

When I worked on my undergraduate BFA degree in Painting, I also worked on tapestries that were part of my final exhibition. I’ve always worked across disciplines in my art and writing.

My academic background and passion are in fine art (Painting and Fiber Art) and in literature. I write exactly the same way that I would create a painting or a work in fiber art. I work in layers. I lay down layer, upon layer – and the most important aspect of what I do is that I keep the piece open to change at any point in the creation of it. Change is very important to me. I work back and forth between creating and destroying – I put down, and I take away…and this is the process that continues throughout the work. These ways of working are why my writing is so different – I do not work in traditional ways.

 

Q_ What got you started writing?

ME_ Writing was an integral part of my academic experiences. I chose courses in a variety of disciplines that were labelled as “intensive writing courses.” I quickly learned that I was very good at writing because of my background in the Humanities.

My German art history professor spoke with me one day,

“You don’t write like an American student. Your writing is very European.”

So, with that comment, I realized this professor gave me insight into my writing style. What I did not know back then, was that I was working with the creative unconscious part of my brain – receiving information from  the Ancestors. I just knew my work came from “somewhere else,” and I had to turn my back on everything around me, and look into the work and respond to that.  I thought of my work process as prayer – I was engaged in praying non-verbally, my hands and my entire body.  In addition to this, I often dreamed and saw myself working in ways that were unknown to me. I was  actually tutored by dreams.  Many of my poems and art works ae Dreamscapes.

My style  was natural, and nothing I had learned or studied. I just knew that I wrote and thought differently than the students around me when I was in the university programs. I learned it was an asset and I embraced it. It was unique to me.

 

 Q_ Why do you write? I mean, if you could sum it up in a word or in a simple statement, what keeps you writing?

 ME_ I willingly step into the Mystery.

 

Q_ What genre is your favorite right now?

ME_ Always –  it is poetry.

Not the traditional rhyming, sing-song stuff of past generations, but the gutsy, tough, bold stuff of now. Rhymed poetry makes me shudder. It is usually so predictable that I can barely get through a poem that is written like this. Typically, a poet concentrates so much on the end rhymes, they lose sight of the mystery and magic of their idea. The poem becomes locked-in and stiff. I am a descendent of Whitman, and I am all about a modernist tradition of AMERICAN POETRY.

Q_ Who are your favorite writers?

 ME_ During my academic student years, while earning 3 degrees –

I focused o the work of these 4 poets:

John Donne – Walt Whitman – William Carlos Williams – Robert Bly –

 

During my teaching years, I came to love the work of:

Louise Glück – Yusef Komunyakaa – Dorrianne Laux – Rita Dove – Louise Erdrich – Ranier Maria Rilke – Kafka – Irene McKinney – C. S. Lewis – Gail Trembly

Q_ What color would you say best expresses your personality? Why?

ME_ I suppose the colour YELLOW must be important to me because my house interior has every shade of yellow you can imagine on the walls. Yellow is combined with rich shades of Turquoise, orange, terra-cotta- and delicate greens – my entire home is decorated in the colors of Puerto Rico. Bob and I went to PR every year in March for many years. We wanted to live in a home that made us feel happy the moment we stepped inside. No neutral colors in my life – none!

 

I do not embrace timidity in any area of my life!

 In my personal style, I wear red and purple a lot. I consider them both neutral colors – and I can put any other colour with them and it’s smashing! I am never without jewelry and lipstick. I make just about every piece of jewelry I wear, but I also love vintage jewelry.

 

In decorating, I am a Maximist. I like to be surrounded with art and rich colors and objects. I collect contemporary art and antiques. I don’t have a minimalist bone in my entire body or in my home. I like layers of beauty and objects in my surroundings.

 

Q_ What do you like to do on a rainy day like this?

 

ME_I love to knit. I started knitting when I was a child of about 8. I knew no one who knitted, and a lady in a local shop helped me get started when I purchased yarn and needles in her store. I knit clothing that I wear – wearable art.

PHOTO: My Library and Fiber Art Studio.

Notice my lovely cat, Miss Opal, on my poetry shelves.

My knitting projects surround me.

 

 

Q_ What’s your favorite part of going grocery shopping? What do you think that says about you?

 

ME_ I shop the perimeter of the store. I’m a vegetarian since my early 20s, so shopping for me is quick and easy. My food choices are very basic – vegetables and fruits, and some yogurt or cheeses usually.

What does it say about me? I hope it says that I truly love animals and respect their position on this earth – kindred spirits and creatures who are a creation of God.

 

 

Q_ Did you ever bring a stray animal home with you? What happened?

 

ME_ Strays are my specialty. I’ve picked up stray animals my entire life – beginning as a child.

Fortunately, my husband is like this too – so we are always looking out for and caring for animals.

We purchased 2 German Shepherds in our life together and all of the other pets have been ones we found or rescued. Because we live beside the woods, dogs and cats seem to be dropped off nearby. We take them all in and care for them – many of them over the 52 years of living in this place.

 

 

 

Q_ What is your favorite punctuation mark?

 

ME_ My favorite punctuation is the period that is inside the quotation mark. I get stressed when I see that a writer forgot to put a period inside of the quotation mark. If it is outside of the quotation mark, where it does not belong, it annoys me. I think of the quotation mark as hugging the period and keeping it warm in winter time. I guess this is a pet peeve of mine – when a period is displaced and lost out there past the quotation mark. It’s kind of like being lost in Cyber Space!

 

 

Q_ What role have children played in your life? How about in your writing?

-What is your favorite fairy tale/children’s story? Why?

Favorite myth is about Persephone and I have researched and written about this Greek myth quite a lot. I’ve done academic presentations on it, poems, and essays. I am fascinated with the ancient concept of FATE, FORTUNE, and the OLYMPIANS. I’ve never had the good fortune of visiting GREECE, but I love the old stories and legends of GREECE. When teaching, I lectured on Greek art and history – and its fascinating.  I love the big picture we get of our own work, today, when we understand the ancient past and how all of this has influenced everything we experience now.  I feel sorry for any student  in our culture, who is  not well-read in the Classics.  Their understanding  will be quite limited for they do not  understand their own past.  When my son came home from his first semester at Bard College, I was so delighted to see  that Classical texts were the center of his early education.  They are supremely important. 

Q_ Tell me about your family, please.

ME_ My husband and I had 3 biological daughters. We adopted 2 children, from Vietnam and Korea. All of the children are grown and most have children of their own.

We have 7 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren. It is obvious we like kids! Christmas time at our house is super joyful because they all come home for the holidays.   They play games around the dining room table all night long.

 

I don’t write about children and I don’t write for children.

 

 

Q_ Tell me a little more about your writing and where I can read your work?

ME_ Sure. I’d be glad to share that with you.

First, I’ll begin with where I am at this moment in my publishing life.

I have a new book at the editors right now.   I worked on this book for the past 2 years.

The book’s title is STAR SIGNS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS.

As the title indicates, it is a book of sixty poems.

 

The book is divided into 4 sections.

Each represents a different aspect of life: Sky, Legends & Metaphors, Earth, and Seasons.

The book’s title is the opening poem of the collection, “Star Signs.”

 

 

Second, I am currently working on a revision of my first book that was published in 2002. “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press.

I am updating and expanding the scope of this book of poems and journal entries.

It will have a new name as well and a new look.

This new book will be published in 2020, under the title, “Pilgrimage.”

 

 

Finally, my latest book that is available now on Amazon and other selling sites, is

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017.

This book contains 27 essays and 16 poems. It is organized as a trip through a year, from January through December. Each chapter is a month of the year, and opens with a poem for that season.

 

I am pleased to say that the book is being recorded by Perkins Library, and will be available later this year as an audio book through that library.

 The book will also be produced as an Audible option and available eventually on Amazon.

At this moment it can be purchased through a variety of book sellers. Check my short bio below for more links and information. Thanks for the INTERVIEW. In the spirit of the age, I loved the IDEA of the SELFIE Interview! I hope you did, too.

This essay is brought to you by the author, Lynda McKinney Lambert.

View Publications Page for updates on my stories and poems being published.

Walking by Inner Vision.

Lynda’s Author ‘s Page

This blog post is the property of Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS but be SURE to include the entire article with Copyright information in tact.

 

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We Love you for That!

 

I Am Soul – A Blog Tour

October 16, 2018

Welcome to SCAN

Hosted by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Post #136

Our Guest Author today is

Yecheilyah  Ysrayl 

Also known as EC…

EC, It is wonderful to have you here today as our Guest Author.

 

Bio.

Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 23 years-old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.

LET THE TRUTH BE

Like fire shut up in my bones,

sizzling on my tongue

and falling from my mouth,

Let it enter my throat like singing

and into my bones like oil.

Let me bathe in its humility

and cover myself in its wisdom.

Let the truth

be

born.

Fun Facts about Yecheilyah:

  • She loves to laugh, and her favorite comedy TV show is Blackish
  • She is originally from Chicago, IL
  • She’s been married to her husband 8 years, together for 11 years
  • She believes eggs makes everything better
  • She is a twin
  • She is addicted to reading and new notebooks
  • Her favorite desert is ice cream

I am Soul is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scribd and The Medu Bookstore at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta.

Universal Amazon Link

mybook.to/Yecheilyah

Universal Link to other Retailers

https://www.books2read.com/u/4Xoyp9

Greenbriar Mall

The Medu Bookstore

2841 Greenbriar Pkwy SW

Atlanta, GA 30331

Author Website: www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/

Blog: www.thepbsbog.com

Amazon Author Central: www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/literarykornerpublishing

Instagram: www.instagram.com/yecheilyah/

Twitter: twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCdquShfqCN6lIX8IDK9MnSg

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

________

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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.

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Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert

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