Interview: Tabatha Shipley

Today, we’re featuring an interview with a writer who’s also a mother and an elementary school teacher: Tabatha Shipley!

 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you write.
I write fiction, usually for a younger audience. As a teacher I became aware of a lack of interesting material in a younger age range that exposed kids to third person point of view. I set out to write something different for that audience. 

 

How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a pen! Writing is my outlet for stress.

In this capacity though, about a year of serious focus on honing my craft and writing for a wider audience.

 

What are you currently working on?

My first dive into fiction for general adult readers! I’m excited and yet equally frightened by what kinds of thriller my mind is capable of producing.

 

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or extrovert?

Introvert, but I hide it really well when I have to.

 

What do you love best about being a teacher?

That moment when a kid just GETS it. You see their eyes light up and realize they just learned the power of knowledge. There is nothing else in the world like that feeling. It is the drug that all good teachers are completely addicted to.

 

What is your favorite book?  Why?

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

First because JK Rowling is the Queen of writing and I just want to immerse myself in her life and her brilliance.

But there are a lot of books for that. I picked this one specifically because it shows that all people have that hidden side. Your hero has something dark inside him as much as your perceived bad guy has some deep passions within him. 

 

Have any additional comments or advice for our readers/writers?

Find a story that begs to be told and tell it. It is that simple and that difficult. 

 

 

 

Thank you, Tabatha, for sharing your passion and insight with us!  You can find her at her blog, Developing Our Wings

 

Writerly News

being-writerly

 

Hard to believe that we’re heading down the final stretch of 2016.   The holidays are just around the corner.

Yikes.

Speaking of holidays…have you noticed that several stores have put out their Christmas decorations already???

Let the craziness begin.

I’m glancing at my remaining writerly agenda for the rest of the year, and it looks to be a busy one.

Awesome.

I learned that two of my poems will be published in a literary zine; and a nonfiction piece with another zine.  My novella, Tomorrow Falls (part one), is currently being published with Piker Press in weekly installments.  I’m working with various places as a contributor/interviewer/poetry consultant.

In November I plan to participate in National Novel Writing Month to write the second part for Tomorrow Falls.

Whew.

What about you?  How’s the rest of the year looks for you?

Your Creativity and Parenthood (Poll)

 

When your children arrive, the best you can hope for is that they break open everything about you. Your mind floods with oxygen. Your heart becomes a room with wide-open windows.”-unknown

Spilled Raisins and Paper Shreddings by Amy Bovaird

amy-bovaird

 

*Today I love to introduce to you a very special lady-Amy Bovaird, best-selling author of Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith.   She’s here to talk to us about her struggles and challenges with a progressive disease, and how she uses her faith and humor to persevere.

 

I was delighted when Carrie asked me to write a guest post for her blog back in the spring of this year. But first I was traveling and then I was working frantically to finish my new book, Cane Confessions, The Lighter Side to Mobility. It wasn’t until now that I had time to write the post. I’m grateful for Carrie’s flexibility and to have the opportunity today to share my story.

As someone losing her vision and hearing, I face many obstacles each day. The only constant is that I will continue to lose more vision and hearing. The variables change at different intervals of this disease I suffer: what I now know to be Usher Syndrome, the leading cause of deaf blindness in the world.

There are three types of Usher Syndrome: A, B and C. The first begins with hearing loss early in life, the second type is adolescence and the third, the type I have is discovered later and is characterized by a late onset of progressing hearing loss.

Vision loss is a challenge; hearing loss is a completely different challenge. Neither is like being born deaf or blind. Thus, the progressiveness of Usher is the biggest hurdle of all. One never quite adjusts because the losses are ongoing.

Probably my biggest struggle came about eight years ago when I faced using a white cane. To me and many others losing their vision, using a cane shouted “I am blind,” louder than any word. For some reason, being blind is viewed typically as a weakness or deficit by both society and the person who faces the cane.

I overcame the obstacles attached to using a white cane through my faith. Strangely enough, God used a completely blind mobility instructor to help me overcome my fears and to bring “blindness” into perspective. It’s only as negative or restrictive as the person facing it, permits it to be. This wowed me!

Now, it’s not what others think about me that challenges me. As a child of God, I believe have great value and that God has a plan for my life. If I hold to this truth, that becomes my constant and the changing visual and hearing perspectives are manageable. Instead of being overwhelmed with the frustrations I face every day, I look for the humor in these situations.

Once I dropped a box of raisins and no matter how many times I bent over to pick them up, I would turn back to the floor and see yet another raisin or two I missed. By the fifth time, it seemed I had gotten them all (but I found another a week later that I missed). That same day, I knocked over my paper shredder. I groaned as I bent to sweep the shred into a dust pan. Again, no matter how many times I tried to sweep them all up, I still found stray pieces outside my line of vision. It’s teaching me patience. These spilled raisins and paper shreddings represent my everyday difficulties, whatever they may actually be. It could be not seeing the top of a trash can, or like today, not seeing the recycle bin at the local grocery store though it was nearby. Humor and patience help me face up to the everyday vision hurdles.

Losing my hearing takes even more patience. With moderate to severe hearing loss, I am easily frustrated and have cried a few times. I hate to keep admitting when I can’t hear a person, especially after three or four attempts. One of the ways I cope is to pretend I’ve heard. But sometimes that gets me into hot water! God is working on my heart to bring about more honest communication and to let my pride go.

We all experience aggravation but ultimately, we choose how to cope with them. What has helped me in recent years is looking at positive role models of those who live with Usher Syndrome or Retinitis Pigmentosa (ongoing vision loss). I also journal and talk to others. I try to live a life of gratitude and appreciation for the acts of kindness others show me. Humor and it. Laughter helps me keep to continue picking up the spilled raison and paper shreddings each day. Most importantly, I’m learning to trust God’s plan for me, even when I can’t see or hear what’s coming around the bend.

 

Bio

As an international traveler and teacher, Amy was diagnosed several years ago with a dual disability—progressive vision and hearing loss due to Usher Syndrome—but continues to enjoy running, hiking and traveling. Amy is an accomplished public speaker on a variety of topics based on her life experiences and also volunteers with local and national animal rescue organizations. She has written two books: Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith (© 2014) and Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility, to be released in November 2016. She blogs about the challenges she faces as she loses more vision and hearing, shares the lessons God reveals to her through her difficulties and manages to find humor around almost every corner.

Links:

Website Facebook Page Amazon Audible

Writing: How Do You Keep the Readers Coming Back For More? (Poll)

reading-more

 

How do you keep your readers coming back for more?   Is it the main protagonist/antagonist?  Or perhaps it’s the thrilling storytelling?  Better yet, maybe it’s a combination of interesting characters and edge-of-your-seat story line.  So…in your experience, what have you noticed readers enjoy most about the stories you write?

Hmm?

By voting (you’ll have to let me know that you voted) or commenting, you’ll have an opportunity to either guest blog or be interviewed here (your choice!).

 

The Price of Not Writing

(Essay first appeared in the Why We Write section of 1888 Center web site on July 11, 2016.)

the price of not writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do writers write? Fundamentally it’s pretty much the same. We write because we must; because this is who we are. I could say the same for me, but I prefer to look at this from a slightly different perspective: what would happen if I didn’t write? 

I’ve done it before. This “hiatus” lasted for nearly ten years and I felt the consequences of my writing inaction.

Misery. Pure, pure misery.

There was also hate there. And anger. At what? At myself. At life. At various people.

During this period, I dealt with a lot of losses. My vision and hearing due to a progressive disease. The death of my first husband at the age of 25. A miscarriage. Nearly losing my second husband to Pericarditis. Job loss due to restructuring. My father to an aggressive lung disease.

You know, life.

It’s something we all experience. We get up each morning. We breathe. We eat (except for those who live solely by coffee). We go about our daily duties. And for those of us who can, we sleep.

Day in. Day out.

As humans, we’re survivors. I mean look at the history of mankind. It’s a miracle that we even exist!

So, that’s what I did. I strived to survive. Only it wasn’t enough. Anxiety and depression slipped into my life. I felt I was slowly losing myself. Heck, I wanted to lose myself! I mean why did I keep fighting to live? At some point in our existence, we all die.

Right?

Something was missing. A piece of me was missing. I just couldn’t figure it out.

My second husband, Jay, presented me with a gift for no special occasion. It was out of love he gave me this precious item, and because he knew me better than I did.

A journal.

A beautiful leather-bound book full of white pages.

Blank pages.

I instinctively knew what I had to do. I took a pen and painstakingly filled each page with words. As Hemingway so eloquently said years ago, I bled on those pages.

I’d found the missing piece of myself.

My writing soul.

So, whenever I’m asked, why do I write?

I write because the price is too high NOT to.

Writer, Who’s Your Inspiration?

 

lessons

Exploring Nonfiction

darkwoods

 

 

I’ve been writing (somewhat) regularly since 2007; so that’s about nine years now.  Most of this time I focused on fiction (of supernatural or apocalyptic nature) while occasionally dabbling in poetry or essays.   While fiction is still my first love, I find that I am being pulled more and more towards writing nonfiction.

Wait a minute.  Hold the phone.

What exactly is nonfiction?

Here’s my favorite word: research.

Nonfiction (according to Dictionary.com): is “the branch of literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality.”

Some examples are:

academic paper, autobiography, biography, book report, creative nonfiction, diary, dictionary, encyclopedia, essay, handbook, journal and memoir.

I looked at a few of these examples a bit further.

Essay (Dictionary.com) is “a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.”

This would include: “literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.” (Wikipedia)

Essay can take on other creative forms:  film essay or photographic essay.

Memoir Versus Autobiography: are very similar to one another in that they give intimate details of one’s life.  What are the differences?

Autobiography focuses more on chronological events, and deals mostly with facts and reality.  Memoir, on the other hand, is less obsessed with facts and more about emotional truth.  It generally has a subject of focus rather than detailing all the chronological events of one’s life.

What if I don’t want to deal completely in the nonfiction and yet don’t want it to be all imaginary either.  What other options would I have?

Semi-fiction is “fiction implementing a great deal of nonfiction such as a fictional description based on a true story.” (Wikipedia)

One example of semi-fiction would be an autobiographical novel which is a form of novel that merges elements of fiction with autobiography.

At the age of forty-five, I am finding it increasingly difficult NOT to write about my life experiences.  Some of them however are still painful to me today, or I am afraid of hurting loved ones, so I tend to stay away from anything truly autobiographical in nature.   Yet I don’t want my work to be based entirely on facts or reality either.  I want to explore the emotional truth of my life experiences so memoir and essay are attractive to me.

The only way to honestly find out is by writing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing and the Five Senses

five senses

 

 

These are questions I have posed in today’s Thursday Talk Shop over at We PAW Bloggers on Facebook.

They’re serious ones.  Thought-provoking.

Dare to continue?

If you lost one (or more) of your five senses, would this affect you as a writer (or as a poet or blogger)?  How so?

The loss of which sense(s) would you consider to be the most detrimental to you?

Could losing this sense make you a better writer (or poet or blogger)?  Or, worse?

Lets try an experiment.

The sense you deemed as essential NOT to lose…vision-blindfold yourself; hearing-wear earmuffs or plugs; smell-place a tape over both nostrils; sensation-wear thick clothing on your body (or anything that would dull the sensation); taste-nothing goes in your mouthenvision yourself without this particular sense.  Would you be able to write or blog WITHOUT this ability?  Would something be missing from your stories, poems, or articles?  What ways would you be able to compensate for this loss?

Now, find an artist, or any person of interest who is missing this sense…how did he or she overcome this “disability” and succeeded in spite of it?

 

“There are two kinds of ‘disabled’ persons: Those who dwell on what they have lost and those who concentrate on what they have left.” -Thomas Szasz

Usher Awareness: Own the Equinox

ushequx

 

 

In honor of Usher Syndrome Awareness Day on September 17th, I’m walking at least one mile a day for 25 days. I’ll then join my USH family around the world for the final 1.2 miles in this mile-a-thon.

If you can’t make a donation at this point, help me reach my goal by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter!

Or, even better, send an e-mail to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to my page!

Thanks so much for your generosity!

Help me own the Equinox. Together, we can make Usher syndrome history. #USHEQX
If you wish to follow my journey, please visit my page for updates.

Genre Placement (Poll)

I need your feedback on a story I’m currently working on.  The first novella is done and live on Juke Pop Serials.  I’m struggling with which genre to place it in.  The story is called Tomorrow Falls.

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Meet and Greet: 8/27/16

This sounds like fun as well as a great opportunity to meet other bloggers, writers, and readers! Care to join in?

DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

Fun Friday (Share Your Link Day)

stories are gifts

 

Hey-you made it!  It’s Friday!  Time for a little fun🙂

Have you ever thought of what your motto and mantra are as a writer?   These are great to have for those days when nothing seems clear-cut, and you feel like you’re wandering around in perpetual circles.

In case you may have forgotten, we’ll clarify exactly what these mean.  On to the dictionary shall we?

Motto: “a sentence, phrase, or word expressing the spirit or purpose of a person (in this case, writer).”

Mantra: “an often repeated word, formula, or phrase, often a truism: If I hear theless is more’ mantra one more time, I’ll scream.”

Okay, I’ll start off.

My motto is:

agony maya angelou

 

 

 

 

 

 

This pretty much sums up my purpose in being a writer: to get this all-consuming gnawing out of me.  Only thing, this gnawing encompasses so many different things which means this may take me a lifetime to extract.  Truly agonizing (at least for me it is).

 

My mantra is:

You must write the book that you feel is missing from your bookshelf.”-Elizabeth Gilbert

There are many versions of this type of statement.  If you don’t see the story you want to read, write it!

 

Now, it’s your turn.   Write a post about what  your motto and mantra are and share the link to the post in the comment section below.  I will then come and visit!

Don’t Be Anxious To Be Rejected by C Hope Clark

c hope clark

 

Hello everyone!  I have a very special guest here today to talk to us about something we all struggle with as writers.  Please welcome C Hope Clark, author of two mystery series & editor for FundsforWriters!

 

I get these whims to literally cook up something remarkably different. Like a pot roast that adds cola, or a Christmas cookie with real lavender flowers in the icing. I even tried spaghetti cooked in a Bundt pan, with the sauce afterwards filling the hole and drizzled all over the top. It looked weird and tasted okay, but the jokes about it continued from my sister for years.

Truth is, I’m a darn good cook now. My sister hasn’t tasted much of my cooking in a decade or two, but my family and neighbors have come to appreciate what my kitchen produces, especially since much of it comes fresh from a garden, the chicken coop, and years of trial and error.

One thing I have learned, however, is that I don’t want to try out a new recipe for a special event (or test it on my sister). I could be remembered for the potential fiasco instead of my prowess.

The same goes for releasing your writing to the cold, cruel world. In our excitement to become published and start that portfolio of our accomplishments, we forget what can happen if the release crashes and burns. I baked that spaghetti dish probably thirty years ago, but my sister reminded me of it just last week. I also self-published a plain, basic little book in 2001 that I wish I never had. In spite of my attempts to forget those mistakes, they continue to pop up from time to time.

All too often we are remembered for our mistakes instead of our accomplishments. It’s a nasty reality, but oh so true.

A friend in one of my writing groups just sent her last chapter through the online group for critique. It took her months to submit, receive feedback, and edit. I watched her work just blossom over that time period as she found her footing and her voice. After the last chapter, I asked her if she was ready to send it through the group again.

The disappointment rang clear. She’d hoped to start contacting agents. I suggested she think twice about that choice. In sending the book back through for critique again, not only would the other writers look at it with a harsher eye in seeking more advanced ways to improve the work, but she would in the process grow phenomenally in her talent. Instead of analyzing basic storytelling, she and others could now study more intricacies of dialogue, voice, flow and syntax.

She was so primed to be published, and my response was this:

Don’t be anxious to be rejected.

She told me that sentence stopped her in her tracks. In querying too soon, she was indeed rushing into rejection. She was running into making a bad first impression on people she greatly needed to impress. She was attempting a new recipe in front of very important people, hoping they would like it . . . instead of practicing and rewriting long enough to know the recipe is a good one before laying it on the table.

 

BIO:

Hope Clark has written six novels in two series, with her latest being Echoes of Edisto, released August 2016, the third in the Edisto Island Mysteries. Mystery continues to excite her as both reader and writer, and she hopes to continue as both for years to come. Hope is also founder of FundsforWriters, chosen by Writer’s Digest Magazine for its 101 Best Websites for Writers.

http://www.chopeclark.com / http://www.fundsforwriters.com

 

echoes of edisto

 

A Writer’s Ultimate Dream (Poll)

 

 

*Coming this Monday, August 22nd!  A special guest post by C Hope Clark, Author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and Editor for FundsforWriters!  Be sure to stop by!


			

Writers and Fears

write what disturbs you

 

This is probably one of the most difficult part about being a writer.  Revealing your vulnerabilities and fears to others.   This is also a reason why most of us never truly reach our potential because of these fears.

I am one of them.

How do we break through the barriers that our fears place around us?

How???

What about you?  Are your fears holding you back?

If so, what are you going to do about them?

Dreams

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

Crossroads (A Matter of Perspective)

crossroad4

 

As a writer, what does this poem say to you?

 

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

 

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Is There An Untold Story In You?

m angelou untold story

*The following is an excerpt from the discussion topic that took place yesterday.  I felt compelled to share here as I feel that there may be some of you struggling with this very issue.

 

Hello everyone! Welcome to THURSDAY TALK SHOP! Today we’re going to have a very serious discussion. Everyone belongs to this group because we are bloggers. The subjects we blog about are broad though. Events, ideas, cultures, art; you name it and you just might find it here in this group. Most of us are blogging about what matter to us. About things that deeply move us; shake us to our cores. For some of us, there is an untold story buried beneath our passions and desires. A story so dark. Disturbing. Painful. Sad. So (you insert a word here) that we’ve been unable to share. While you are able to share all your other experiences and thoughts and feelings, you’ve yet been able to let out the one thing that you kept buried so deep within…

Focus on these words from Maya. Do you want to continue carrying this untold story within you? If not, share with us (however vague or specific you want to be) in one word or one sentence this untold story that is just trying to free itself from within you. If you can’t do it publicly then how about journaling privately? You’ll be amazed as to how freeing this feels once you’re able to liberate this untold story. If you decided to journal about it, just let us know by one word- Journaled.

Any thoughts? Anything you’d like to add to this discussion?

As a Writer: To Specialize or Not

frustrated

 

Why is my blog titled “a writer and her adolescent muse?”

The title represents where I am as a writer.  Even though I’ve been writing on and off since I was eleven years old (in serious mode for the last nine years), I still consider myself an apprentice to the craft as well as a novice.   I am a published short story writer, poet, and essayist.  I enjoy writing stuff about zombies and various end-of-the-world scenarios.  I also find that I need to write about mental illnesses, disabilities and losses.  I am a sucker for all things romance (the clean kind), but have yet to write any true romance stories.  I’ve dabbled in screenwriting which came easy for me, and I found it very enjoyable and stimulating.   In the past three years, I have taken particular citizen journalist assignments which I found very exciting and enlightening.  I love blogging about all kinds of creative topics.  And lately, I’ve developed an obsession with Fanfiction.

Quite a variety, huh?

Variety is the spice of my life; however, I’m starting to wonder if I will ever specialize in a given form or niche; or will I end up being a sort of a “Jack of all trades and master of none” kind of writer?  As  I’m approaching mid-life, these thoughts are coming more often than not.  It’s down-right distracting.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

What do you think?  Should all writers specialize?  Or is it okay to have various writing experience and skills?