Saturday is for Sharing
February 23, 2019
Good morning to our Readers
Author’s Interview with
Lynda and Miss Opal
We are so delighted to welcome a fellow writer and author
~ Jo Elizabeth Pinto ~
Jo Elizabeth Pinto ~
LYNDA_ WELCOME To RIVER ROAD STUDIO, IN THE RURAL VILLAGE OF Wurtemburg.
Early this morning. Lynda & Miss Opal watched from the kitchen window as Jo Elizabeth Pinto walked down the long sidewalk and stepped up onto the wraparound porch of their century-old home in The Village of Wurtemburg, in rural western Pennsylvania.
Jo arrived after a long trip from her home in Colorado. Miss Opal, the curious feline writing assistant to Lynda, was at the door, waiting to greet our long-expected guest.
Lynda_ Good Morning, Jo. As you see, my assistant, Miss Opal, is here to welcome you. She is such a help and comfort to us and we also have her sister-cat, Miss Bessie. But that isn’t all. As you can see, the 2 dogs, who just greeted you as you came into the kitchen, are Miss Dixie Tulip and Miss Mitchell. The little brown Doxi-mix is our Miss Dixie Tulip, and Miss Mitchell is the taller one with brindle spots. Miss Mitchell is the one who barked at you from the window. She gets very excited for she is a terrier.
Before you arrived this morning, we were wondering if you have a favorite animal in your life? Do you have a bird, or a favorite wild animal that is really an important part of your life? Sometimes, we know that people have a totem animal or other sort of special creature. And, if you do, when did you become aware of that?
Jo_At age eight, I began attending a camp for people with disabilities in the Colorado mountains. There were hummingbirds everywhere, hovering and sipping nectar from the flowers and hanging feeders. I loved hearing their high-pitched calls and rapidly beating wings.
Some years later, I was a young woman at the same camp. I m happy to say that the man who would become my first husband showed me a tiny nest of hummingbird eggs, no bigger than miniature jellybeans. I once freed a hummingbird trapped on a high window ledge. Before I released the exquisite creature, I relished for a moment the touch of its soft feathers and slender beak against my fingertips, its delicate feet on my palm, its vibrating heartbeat in my cupped hands.
Lynda_ Did those earlier encounters with the tiny birds give you a better or deeper understanding of nature?
Jo_ I eventually researched hummingbirds on the Internet. I was awestruck by the way the virtually weightless little birds fly nearly 450 miles, or up to twenty hours against the wind, over the Gulf of Mexico without stopping to rest, to reach their wintering grounds. I started to feel a deep kinship with the hummingbird. Both of us may seem fragile to the world, but we are amazingly strong and free. I got a tattoo of a hummingbird with flowers on each shoulder. I love my tattoos; I can cover them most of the time and show them off when I choose to.
Lynda_ Well, I have to say, I also have 2 tattoos. They are both images of a griffin. I have always been interested in Greek Mythology and the creatures I’ve read about in those ancient writings. Sometimes, they come into my poems, too.
Miss Opal_ When we talk about animals, I have to admit that I like to watch birds from our windows, Jo. I am really very shy, so I am contented just to see them from a distance. I would not want to touch one of them, as you did with the little hummingbird.
Are you shy, too, Jo? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I like all people, but, I am a little bit shy around them sometimes. My sister, Bessie, always hides from people.
Lynda_ What makes you think you belong to a certain group of people?
Jo_ I’m definitely an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t love people, and it doesn’t mean I’m shy around them. Neither is true, although I do prefer small groups and intimate settings to large crowds. I’ve never been afraid of public speaking, and I enjoy good conversation and an active social life. Still, I draw my energy from taking some time to myself every day. If I don’t get a bit of solitude at least several times a week, I feel overwhelmed and out-of-sorts. Introverts and extroverts may both care equally about people. But introverts refuel by taking time alone, while extroverts recharge by seeking interactions with others.
Lynda_ What do you think about your name? Do you use your own name for your professional work?
Jo_ Most of my family calls me Jo Elizabeth, which I’ve always loved. Friends usually shorten my name to Jo for convenience. That exasperates me a little, but I’ve gotten used to it. When I published my novel, I decided to use my initials, J. E., because I wrote the book from the point of view of a teenage male protagonist. Jo Elizabeth sounds like the name of a young woman in a romance novel, not a scrappy teenager from the projects.
Lynda_ Before you have to leave, would you tell us about your AWARD-WINNING book?
Miss Opal_ Can you tell us about how you began to write that book?
Jo_ My novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness”, began as a short story assignment for a high school English class. I fell in love with the hard-pressed, loyal, smart-mouthed teenagers who became as real as my own friends while I wrote about them. I couldn’t quite put the story out of my mind even after I tucked the assignment away in a scrapbook and moved on with my life.
I never forgot those characters. In my twenties, in order to learn how to use a word processor, I dragged out that old short story and typed it into my first computer—a DOS machine with 5-inch floppy disks and no Internet. The writing needed a lot of work, but the characters still captivated me. I added to the story, changed and deleted weak parts and moved paragraphs and chapters around. I picked the project up and laid it down many times over the next twenty-some years as life happened. In June of 2015, I finally published my book.
Lynda_ Please, j:ust give us one page from that book – we want to hear more!
“Would you like to know why I came here today?”
I nodded. “You were the last person I expected to see.”
“I saw your suicide attempt in the paper when I was glancing through the police reports. I spotted a lot of potential behind your smart mouth when you came through my chambers, and it would have been a terrible shame if you’d bled to death on the floor of an isolation room at a state detention center. You deserve more out of life than that.”
“You sound like my folks.” I picked up the picture and traced my finger over the smiling faces. “They told me over pizza once that I was going to do great things some day.”
“You can’t let them down.” The judge read Daisy’s note again. “You have your life ahead of you. Live it for me and the rest who believed in you. Daisy was a smart girl.”
“Yeah, she was.” I glanced around the dreary little room. “I guess she wouldn’t be too impressed with how far I’ve come.”
“Are you ready to do something about it?”
I stood up and washed the blood and tears off my face. It looked like whether I wanted it or not, I had a life to live–for the people who had believed in me.
The judge pushed to his feet and strode toward the door. “That’s a good start. Now we better find you some real clothes. That outfit you’re wearing doesn’t leave much to the imagination.”
Reflection – About the Book
Jo_ I chose this excerpt from Chapter 8 of my novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness,” because it takes place at a pivotal moment where mentoring makes a crucial difference in the life of the protagonist. The overarching theme of the book is that all of us, wherever we are, have the potential to reach out to others in big and small ways that can change the world one person at a time.
Lynda_ When you say, “All’s well,” what do you really mean?
Jo_ “All’s well” refers to an abiding peace that runs deeper than the situation at hand, a contentment not based on anything happening in the outside world or ruled by passing emotions or temporary doubts. I’ve pretty much gotten to the point in my journey where I’m comfortable in my own skin and satisfied with my place in the world. It takes a lot to shake my faith. I don’t have to be happy with everything that occurs each moment to be pleased with life overall.
Lynda_ Please give our readers some additional information for your book.
Maybe you can share a couple of internet Links?
Jo_ “The Bright Side of Darkness” Is my award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
Jo_ I want to invite your readers to please visit my author page on Facebook:
Lynda_ Where can we find your book for sale, jo?
Jo_ Yes. Thanks for asking. Please find the paperback edition of my novel at Barnes & Noble online here: Read it here!
Lynda_ Could our readers find your book on GOODREADS?
Jo_ Anyone can see my Goodreads blog, “Looking on the Bright Side,” here: Read it.
And the final one I can share is this one:
To read my guest posts about parenting in the dark, please click here:
To read my guest posts on a variety of topics, please click here:
Lynda_ Thank you, Jo, for coming to visit us today. I am glad we had a nice break in the wintry weather so that your trip was enjoyable. I know you have a number of other places you will be visiting on the East Coast on this book tour you are doing and we are so happy you fit in a bit of time with all of us.
Miss Opal_ Yes, Jo, we all say to you, “All’s Well!”
About the Book
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About Lynda McKinney Lambert
This Special Feature interview is courtesy of Pennsylvania author, Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright: February 23, 2019.. All rights reserved.
Saturday is for Sharing is a Special Feature Article, 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:
Her first book is: Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press, 2002.
Her second book is: Walking by Inner vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017.
Lynda’s 3rd book: Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – 60 poems.
Her FIRST CHAPBOOK – first snow – 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.
Both new books are now available for publication.
Thank you for visiting with us today. Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert
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