Tag Archives: books

Wednesday Writer – Val Portelli

I have missed my blog. I am hoping to spend more time during the autumn and winter nights ahead working on new posts. Of all the regular features I have built into my website, it’s The WEDNESDAY WRITER Series that I loved the most. Every Wednesday I was publishing an interview with a brilliant WordPress blogger. It’s been a great honour to be able to feature so many great bloggers.

Well last weekend, I had some time to chill and catch up on some of the posts I had in my drafts folder. The one I really wanted to concentrate on was an interview with the fabulous Val Portelli, writer and creator of the website Voinks.

Val sent me her answers to the WEDNESDAY WRITER interview questions ages ago, just as I was taking a break from my blog because work was exhausting and I needed to spend some time catching up with family after the Pandemic lockdowns. So this post is long overdue!

HI VAL. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?
I’ll start with black coffee, no sugar, please, but if we’re still chatting later this evening, a whisky and lemonade would be nice. No ice. Thanks.

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE.
I’ve actually got two blogs. The main one was originally under the pen name ‘Voinks’ which I used for my books, but I changed it recently to ‘Val’s Tales,’ to tie in with my audio project.

The other one has been rather neglected, but ‘Quirky Unicorn Books’ was set up as the publishing site for my own books, and to showcase the works of other Indie authors.

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?  
When my first book was published in 2013, my niece insisted I needed a social media presence so I set up a Facebook account, and then a blog. Initially it was intended as a site to shout ‘Buy my books’ but morphed into a place to post my short stories. From there it became somewhere to discuss writing and the joys and tribulations of being an author, and ended up as a mish-mash of whatever grabs my attention.

This is the latest of at least six books that Val has published and are available on Amazon and other sites:


WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?
I have absolutely no idea. 😀

I’m sure there’s a way to find the stats, but since WordPress changed everything to blocks, I find it much more difficult to navigate. It’s not helped by the fact that since the changeover it’s developed a glitch which suddenly decides I’m not authorised to post. There’s no apparent reason, and half an hour later the gremlins will let me carry on again. Every response is valued but if I did find which was the most popular, I’d probably be quite surprised.

I looked over your posts Val, and based on “likes” alone, this one seemed to be the most popular post so far:

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?
Reading other people’s blogs, and receiving lovely comments on my own.

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?
Chocolate…

Val, I am going to slide your whisky and lemonade over along with the chocolates.

…a party table full of nibbles waiting to be shared….

…in fact anything except eggs, (unless they’re the Easter variety.)

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
I love all flowers with perhaps a particular fondness for roses, carnations and lilies.


Sunflowers make me smile and wild flowers or tiny rockery plants are delightful, even cyber flowers are lovely.
I saw on one of your other interviews the reason for this question, and have a feeling the shop you mentioned might be fairly close to where I live. Now my interest is piqued to know if I’m right.

I live in South London Val – and I work around fifteen minutes from where I live. Sometimes I have to go to other branches of our pharmacy chain when they are short-staffed. Whichever route I go, I get to pass my favourite florists, and they always make me smile.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

It would depend on my mood. Late night music might be ‘Tomorrow is a long time’ by Elvis, one of his less well-known ones but thought-provoking lyrics.

I love Rock and Roll, and it might be a cliché but Happy by Pharrell Williams always starts me smiling.


DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?
It’s good to have a plan but life can throw curve balls to completely change the destination.
This was brought home to me about nine years ago after a freak accident, so for now I’m content to follow the yellow brick road and see where I end up.

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?
There are so many interesting people in blogland, and even if you never meet them, strong, supportive relationships can be built. Storytelling is universal, whatever your life style, culture, age group, ethnicity or background.

As Spike Milligan so aptly said ‘Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu’. When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.’ I guess my message could be summed up by ‘Read, respond, smile and share.’

Thanks, Jacob. I’ve really enjoyed being your guest and answering your unusual questions.

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Thank you Val! I loved your answers to the interview questions. Sorry you had to wait so long for me to get back to my blog. It’s been such a privilege to feature you.

http://www.Voinks.Wordpress.com

https://author.to/ValPortelli

http://www.facebook.com/ValsTales/

http://www.goodreads.com/wwwgoodreadscomVal_Portelli

https://www.instagram.com/vals_tales

Wednesday Writer – Paula Harmon

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?

During the day, a nice cup of tea – strong with milk but no sugar. In the evening a nice cold glass of Chardonnay.

I like your taste Paula!

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE?

It’s Paula Harmon and my site is https://paulaharmon.com

…and as well as her brilliant site, you can also read more of Paula’s writing in The Caster & Fleet Mysteries:

WHEN DID YOU START BLOGGING?

December 2015

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I wanted somewhere that I could post short bits of writing. They were mostly short stories or flash fiction to begin with.

After a while, I started to add random thoughts and since I’ve started publishing books and got to know other authors, I write about the writing process and also do author interviews from time to time. I wanted a place where I suppose I could share a little of myself with people who might be feeling the same way whether funny or sad or serious.

WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?

Apart from the tab which lists the books I’ve written, the most visited post is ‘Everything At Once‘ which is about my son’s ADHD….

….closely followed by ‘Lost Sometimes‘ which is a piece of prose written last year (see below)…

Lost, Found, Lost And Found, Searching

…and ‘Whatever is in your heart, becomes your words…‘ which is about bullying.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?

I love it when stories or random thoughts resonate with other people. When they comment to say they recognise the situation or feeling or that it gave them reassurance that they’re not alone, it makes me hope that I’ve helped in some way. It’s good that I can add helplines if applicable.

Fatigued, Young, Laptop, Beautiful

And then if I write something hopefully humorous – usually poking fun at myself – it’s great when someone says it made them laugh. It is also really cathartic.

Like most people I found the impact of Covid 19 very hard to cope with and for me, lockdown came just after my mother had nearly died and was recovering and just before I found myself facing a serious illness of my own which came completely out of the blue. Being able to write down all the tangled emotions and work on turning them into prose rather than simply self-pity helped straighten them out in my head to a great extent. ‘Lost Sometimes’ is one of those pieces. 

Writing, Writer, Notes, Pen, Notebook

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?

Good question! Any sort of food with good friends is wonderful and one of those things I’ve been missing during lockdown. I can never be sure which cuisine I like best because it’ll depend on the weather or my mood but I do like a little spice.

Last night we had lamb tagine but today, we’re going to have pork slow cooked in cider, finished off with cream and served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

I collect cookbooks including ones from different eras as I like to work out what characters in my books might have eaten. Last summer I (successfully) cooked some Roman recipes from a translation of a cookbook by Apicius with some help from the Tavola Mediterranea website. 

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Freesias or oriental lilies please! Pretty and fragrant.

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

No because it depends on my mood and what’s going on generally. But in general, I love the positivity and hope of ‘One Day like this’ by Elbow:

‘Put Your Records On’ by Corinne Bailey Rae:

‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac (especially sung by Eva Cassidy):

Great list of songs – I love all of them!

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?

Life is full of the unexpected and it’s easy to make plans and have them fall apart as happened for most of us in the last year. I want to be able to write more books and enjoy time with my friends and family, but I’m trying to keep learning how to go with the flow and enjoy each precious moment for its own sake. (I’d also like to sort the attic out, but I’m beginning to think that’ll never happen. I swear the stuff up there multiplies on its own.)

Our attic has the same problem with stuff that multiplies – it could be another mystery for Caper & Fleet Paula!

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?

That it’s all right to be you. That when things go wrong or you feel lost or broken, it doesn’t need to be like that forever and that it’s ok to ask for help. That joy and humour and love can be found in unexpected places. That everyone can find release in creativity like children do – without worrying about the end result. That it’s never too late to follow your dreams and maybe in fact the time when you can follow them was always going to be the right time after all.

_____________

It’s been such a joy to get to know you better Paula! Thank you so much for answering the interview questions and being such an amazing WEDNESDAY WRITER!

https://paulaharmon.com

viewauthor.at/PHAuthorpage 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/paulaharmonwrites

https://www.goodreads.com/paula_harmon

https://www.instagram.com/paulasharmon/

Paula Harmon writes chiefly (but not only) historical mystery books. She was born in North London to parents of English, Scottish and Irish descent. Perhaps feeling the need to add a Welsh connection, her father relocated the family every two years from country town to country town moving slowly westwards until they settled in South Wales when Paula was eight. She later graduated from Chichester University before making her home in Gloucestershire and then Dorset where she has lived since 2005. She is a civil servant, married with two adult children. Paula has several writing projects underway and wonders where the housework fairies are, because the house is a mess and she can’t think why.

Wednesday Writer – Kayla E. Green

Today, it is my privilege to welcome the awesomely talented writer and poet Kayla E. Green to the interview seat.

HI KAYLA, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE CONDUCTING THIS INTERVIEW WITH YOU?

Hi Jacob, thank you so much for having me! I’m not a big drinker, so I’ll take a glass of milk, please. 🙂

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR BLOGGING NAME AND THE NAME OF YOUR SITE PLEASE.

My site is The Unicorn Writer, and my blogging name is @theunicornwriter93 – which is also my Instagram handle.

I love unicorns, and a former co-worker actually nicknamed me “Unicorn” because of my positive, bubbly nature. I decided the name was fitting and used it for my author platform and blog. 

WHEN DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I started my blog in October of 2019. 

WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I  wanted a space to explore my writing and love of reading as well as to share some of my poetry.

Over time, the blog evolved. I now focus on book reviews, author interviews, bookish shop features, and some self-promotion of my books. 

WHICH IS THE MOST POPULAR POST ON YOUR SITE?

There are two blog posts currently tied as most popular: My first shared poem entitled “Purpose” and my interview with Indie author Sydney Hawthorn. My bookish shop features on Nerdy Book Box and Under the Sea Crochet are close behind in terms of popularity.

Readers that enjoy my poems like “Purpose” can read my entire collection, Metamorphosis, which is now available on Amazon. 

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BLOGGING?

I enjoy the interactions I have with others. Was it not for my blog, I would not have met some awesome people, like you, Jacob. I also would not have been able to interact with some of my favorite authors including M. H. Elrich and Maggie Platt

FOOD THAT MAKES YOU SMILE?

If I have had a really bad day, my husband will sometimes stop and get me a crispy buttermilk chicken sandwich from McDonald’s – it always makes me smile. Ba da ba ba ba I’m lovin’ it! 

IF I WAS GOING TO SEND YOU FLOWERS AS A THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME INTERVIEW, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Sunflowers are my absolute favorite! 

DO YOU HAVE A SONG? ONE THAT FITS YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR LIFE?

In high school I was tasked with picking and playing a song for my Teacher Cadet class that encompassed my personality. I picked the Star Wars theme song as I am nerdy, quirky, and awesome 😀

Though I am still a self-proclaimed nerd, I would have to say the song Evidence by Josh Baldwin has really been my “theme” for 2021 – I am blessed, and I am actively trying to appreciate God’s goodness more so everyday. 

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IN LIFE?

I am currently under contract with Ambassador International to publish my first novella. My current WIP (writing in progress) is one I have been working on for years – The Goodness of Unicorns – and it is my dream to have it published as well.

I would love to be a career author, but I have to wait and see what God’s plan is for me in the long-run! I do know that it is something I will work for every day moving forward. 

WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WANT YOUR BLOG TO TELL THE WORLD?

I want my blog to connect both readers and writers in the name of good books. I want aspiring authors to feel like they can accomplish their writing goals and I want them to listen to the story God writes on their hearts.

Thank you so much, Jacob, for taking the time to interview me! I have had so much fun. 🙂

***

It was an absolute pleasure to interview you Kayla. I loved the energy and positivity that came across in your answers. It is so fantastic that you have been able to forge links with other writers. I wish you every success in your writing journey! It sounds real exciting!

And forgive me but I have to say the McDonald’s crispy buttermilk chicken sandwich is exactly what would bring a huge smile to my face too!

Our Voyage

Life has it’s challenges, but it also has it’s wonders. I read a comment on WordPress from one blogger to another. She said life is like a voyage. Sometimes we face storms and we might almost shipwrecked by them. We might have to drop our anchor and cling on with everything we have.

After the storm, we may have to shelter in a safe harbour for a while and try to repair some of the damage. But eventually we will be strong enough to head out to sea again, and unfurl our sails.

I found that metaphor real powerful. Thanks for being an inspiration Mel. I bought your book. Looking forward to reading it.