Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mark Hunter, A Unique and Humourous Writer I Admire

I would like to introduce to you, a unique, and wonderfully humourous writer.  His name is Mark Hunter, and he will be my guest blogger for today.  Rather than do interview questions, I like just having the writers, themselves, take over the guest post to say all they want to say.  And it is my pleasure, to have Mark hunter, here, today.  Here’s what he wants to tell you all:

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to know there was such a thing as words.  Fiction in the genres of fantasy, young adult, science fiction, romance, humor, action/adventure, and some that defied pigeonholing.  Newspaper articles, public information releases, features, and for over twenty years a humor column.
And yet, I almost failed English my sophomore year of high school … because of poetry.
My sophomore English teacher was a young lady early in her career, who took it into her head that we all needed to appreciate poetry. (My junior English teacher was the daughter of famous science fiction writer E.E. “Doc” Smith, but that’s another story.)
I didn’t appreciate poetry. In fact, I wanted nothing to do with it. When she assigned a major poetry project for the year, I groaned inwardly and did what I do best when faced with unwanted jobs: procrastinated.
The result was a few quick and dirty rhymes in no particular poetry form jotted down just before the due date, including an overly cute rhyming apology for not getting it all done. I squeaked by that year with a C minus, and that only because I turned in several short stories for extra credit – the same short stories I was writing in the back row, when I should have been listening to the teacher.
Since then, as my gracious blog tour host April will tell you, I’ve come to appreciate poetry. I even took a stab at it myself, and if I do say so myself I’m not terrible. Not great, but still … it’s an improvement compared to bending over a notebook at three a.m. before the due date, desperately trying to rhyme something with “orange”.
Poetry requires a great deal of effort for me, and the result tends to be simplistic (I assume. What do I know from good poetry?). Since it’s both more time consuming and harder than prose, I don’t mess with it often. But April is the poet laureate of my writing friends, so when she offered to host a guest blog for me, I figured the least I could do was take a shot at it. So here is … something. I’ll figure it out as I go along.

The writing life! It seems so great
that many never hesitate
to try it out, by hook or crook,
‘cause “Anyone can write a book!”

They picture lives of leisure ease;
of doing anything they please.
A life of celebrating cashed checks
with pipes and wine, black turtlenecks.

That writer’s image everyone knows
From surely accurate TV shows.
So they sit down, these wannabes,
thinking it will be a breeze.

And there they sit, with sudden thought
that now they must invent a plot,
and characters, something to sell,
and what the heck is “show, don’t tell?”

Their mind is blank, their cupboard bare;
their writing dream becomes nightmare.
Are prologues bad? What’s info dump?
Will sex scenes get a good sales bump?

And if, somehow, the writer copes,
and types “the end” on their great hopes,
what happens then? Does that mean this
will magically land on the best-sell list?

An agent hunt or a publisher search?
A self-publish path to best-seller’s perch?
They want me to write an outline now?
A thousand pages to synopsis – how?

A year to publish – no advance!
Publicity is left to chance,
and after all the work, this sin:
My life’s work in a remainder bin.

Maybe it’s not what they say it is,
this supposedly glamorous writing biz.
If regular, easy pay’s for you …
There’s always Wal-Mart, or drive-through.

Mark Hunter’s first novel, Storm Chaser, was published in June, 2011 by Whiskey Creek Press. WCP also published his collection of short stories based on the same characters, Storm Chaser Shorts, in June, 2012. Mark also appears in My Funny Valentine, a humor collection by various writers and artists.
In addition to his full time job as a Noble County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher, Mark is a newspaper writer whose humor column is carried in three local newspapers; a 30 year veteran volunteer firefighter; and a volunteer writer for a few local non-profits. When asked if there’s any stress in his life he laughs hysterically.
Mark can be reached through his website,, where you can also order print and e-book copies of his works.  Below are pictures of Mark Hunter, and of his book covers of his books he has written.

Mark, thank you for posting, here, today.  By the way, I loved your poem.  Just awesome of poem.  It was an honour to have you here, today.  Thank you.
April Morone

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Blogger, today: Shelly Arkon

Hello, again, all.  Hope all is well for everyone.  Today, I want to introduce to you another wonderful writer that I admire whose works are wonderful.  Her name is Shelly Arkon.  And she is a guest blogger for today, here.  And rather than do interview questions which can sometimes only limit the information readers can read in these blogs, you will be able to read a blog piece, completely by her below this introduction point.  Take it away, Shelly:

Don’t Take Anything Personally
Shelly Arkon

April, thank you for having me today. I’m so glad to have been invited here to share a little wisdom.
The line in the title, ‘don’t take anything personally’ comes from the book, The Four Agreements, by Miguel Ruiz. I love this book. When my life goes upside down and peeps are grating me the wrong way, I pick it up and read. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it. It’s all marked up, and dissected with colorful, too. You could say, I’ve gotten a lot out of it.
The entire book makes total sense to me. Especially, the don’t-take-anything-personally-part.
A couple weeks ago I went through a series of events. First, I attended my writer’s group mini conference. The speaker of the day was a book editor from one of our local papers. When it was time for questions and answers, one of the questions was “do you read and review Indie authors”. The answer was not positive and neither was the excuse.
Secondly, I thought it would be a cool idea if I attended a local reading festival and promoted my up and coming book, Secondhand Shoes. Well, I read the application’s rhetoric and found it insulting since I’ve decided to go Indie.
 I couldn’t consider being a featured artist at the event per the application. Needless to say, I vented on my blog, The Life of a Novice Writer. You can find my rant here:
I was pretty upset, but I’ve cooled my heels since. And I’ve taken the time to go through, The Four Agreements, again. Its amazing how every time I read this I glean out some cool stuff like I’ve never read it before. The following passage is really cool, man. Totally rad.
“One fear or doubt planted in our minds can create an endless drama of events. One word is like a spell, and humans use the word like black magicians, thoughtlessly putting spells on each other.” Pg 28
This passage tells me to believe in myself and not let the negative take root. Don’t believe in other peep’s negative words. Don’t let someone else’s poor choice of words bring me down. I mean…I need to get some thick skin growing, my book will be out soon. And there will be reviews. Good and bad, I have no doubt.
It also tells me, we as Indies should stand up and hold our heads high. We’re unique for going against the grain. We are artists who have not bought into being putty in the hands of controlling corporate publishers. We are writerly artists with voices to be heard and stories to be told. We have nothing to be ashamed of even if our works of art were considered non-marketable by the upper crust. It was an opinion. That’s all. And you know what they say about opinions. Everyone has one like a butt-hole.
And if anyone from the hierarchy of publishing insults an author for going Indie, it only means that they’re insecure with the current events surrounding them. These control freaks…well, can’t control what’s going on around them. Bookstores are closing. People are turning to e-readers to get their books. And many Indies are making significant sums of money that the corporate world will never be able to touch.
So, my friends, don’t take it personally. Be a proud Indie.
And again, thank you, April for letting me write my mind.

Shelly’s Bio
When Shelly isn’t doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking, chasing grandkids, listening daughter drama (five of them), or lopping heads of hair at the salon, she’s writing beside her two fur-peeps, Sir Poops and Hair Ball, while her hubby is flipping through TV channels. Her debut novel, Secondhand Shoes, will be out soon. She’s also the keeper of another blog Secondhand Shoes, A Novel, 


Shelly, you are very welcome.  Any time.  Thank you for posting, here.  It was definitely an honour to have you, here, today.  And to all Indie authors, keep up the great work.  :)  I truly mean that.
April Morone

Monday, June 25, 2012

Reintroducing a Writer I Admire

 Hello, all.  I am writing to you, once again, to let you know about another writer I admire.  Her name is Cassandra Dale Jones.  She writers from the heart and writes poems that are moving, that are unique, and that are wonderful.  One of her poems that I found to be a favourite of mine, is her poem, "By Your Side," which I am posting, below:

"By Your Side" (by Cassandra Dale Jones)

Growing up,
you were always there.
To make me smile,
to show me you care.

When I was hurt,
when I'd cried.
You held me close,
by your side.

When you were near,
I'd laugh and play.
You made me feel safe,
in every way.

I miss you,
I always will.
I love you,
you're with me still.

In Heaven,
you're watching me.
In my heart,
you'll always be.
If you like her poems, look for more of her poems in the poetry group to which we both belong, called 'Poetry Corner' that is on the online website, 'Writer's Digest.'
April Morone

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"The Naken Poet" Poem by Jerry Chalk

 Wonderful Poet: Jerry Chalk

I want to showcase the writing of a poet whose writings, I admire.  That poet goes by the name on poetry groups as Jerry Chalk.  I came across his poetry when he came into my poetry group I'd created, called 'Poetry Corner' and he then posted his poetry.  He gave me his permission to post his poetry on my writing blogs.  His wonderful poetry is below.  This particular poem is one of my favourites that he's written and then shared.

The Naked Poet...I'm sure with anyone who is a poet at heart has felt this way a time or two.
Should I write you a poem that everyone already knows?
And use those familiar words like crimson, or porcelain or ember glows,
Should I write a stereotypical poem and paint a happy world, with the wonders of nature,
Reaching out to touch your senses from a single sheet of wasted paper,
Just so you might smile and agree and feel so warm and fuzzy
Because the grass is alive and the leaves are green, (especially in the spring)
But sometimes I see that the trees and the sky and the stars are not shining,
People aren't always happy go lucky
And poetry isn't always cheerful and touching,
The sky's are just as violent as an abusive father,
Roses are red like the blood of martyrs,
Violets are black and blue bruises on the bodies of those who dare,
To indulge in the truth of what it feels like to be human and scared,
To be angry or melancholy, to feel pain and the relief from pain,
To remember that pain and avoid those same mistakes.
But perhaps without the witty anecdotes and perfect fake plastic plants,
This is not a poem after all but more of a colorful rant,
Be that as it may I will woefully resign my interpretations out of respect,
And let genuine honesty reign down from those dark clouds of distress,
Pouring out of the eyes the tears are metaphors for emotions to circumspect,
And I shall guard this with my soul...
While todays rich and happy rappers, clowns and Gestures
Joyfully murder poetry with love and sex and money and treasure,
And so I die in these lines as well because the public has no interest in reality,
Unless it comes on TV, is spoken from a celebrity
No one wants to see the true body of life's naked poetry.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cassandra Jones' poem, "Refuse To Cry"

I want to highlight a poem by a poet who writes straight from the heart and soul and who also helps advocate with her poems against domestic violence, plus who encourages others in domestic violence situations to remain strong. This poem is wonderful and truly can help to encourage to others, I think. The poem is titled "Refuse to Cry" and is by Cassandra Jones. It is below:

Refuse To Cry

I am stronger,

than you think.

You thought,

I would just sink.

Into a lonely,

sea of despair.

Lost and scared,

with no one to care.

Guess you don't,

really know me.

Unlike you,

I can see.

The strength,

I have inside.

The tears,

I won't let slide.

In the past,

I wouldn't try.

You'd anticipate,

that I would cry.

I won't give,

into your drama.

In the end,

you'll be hit with karma.

You won't drag me,

to your level.

My life won't

be disheveled.

You don't get,

the benefit of the doubt.

You found,

your way out.

Thanks to you,

I don't have to try.

Now that you're gone,

I refuse to cry.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Showcasing a poem by a writer I admire

As those of you who have been following my blog know, I have been writing about writers I admire. And today, I just had to post not about a writer I admire this time, but to post a poem by a writer I Admire with whom I'd done a guest blog and about whom I'd already written within this blog. The poem is titled "Revengeful Panther," and it's by a writer I admire named Lena Winfrey Seder. Her poem is amasing, as is its title that is perfectly fitting with the subject of the poem, plus it expresses as though from the eyes of an abusive person, in affect, making this poem a wonderful tool in helping raise awareness about domestic abuse and about how an abusive person can think and be. This poem is below:


The black panther awaits deep in the dark forest.

Watching quietly to catch prey that is too bold,

He hates his disgraceful acts, but can find no rest.

Life’s experiences have made him old.

He skillfully sharpens his claws, his best defense.

Striking out at the world in desired revenge.

Around his ice-cold heart remains a barbed-wire fence.

Frightening others with mean looks that make them cringe,

Teeth grinding and heart aching from flames as he waits.

What or who does he wait for? He doesn’t even know.

He tries to avoid others’ jagged traps and baits.

Playing this chess game and escaping Cupid’s bow,

Afraid of love, he only thinks of survival.

The smiling mask he wears hides his salty tears.

He received scars before from a former rival.

Pain, never forgotten, carried through all the years.

Revenge, his bitter-sweet passion, stabs like a knife.

When will he forgive to start a happy new life?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guest Blogger: Lena Winfrey Seder

Hello, everyone. My name is April Morone, and this is the blog where I write about and introduce the writers I admire. And I will be having some of them guest blog in this section to showcase and tell a little more about them. One of the writers I admire who I am having as a guest on my blog, today, is Lena Winfrey Seder. She is a fellow author and a dear friend who I think is a kindred spirit. I did an interview with her to post, here. My interview with her is below:

1.) Tell everyone a little bit about you, about who you are, about what led you to write, and about what inspires you to write.

I am originally from a small town in Bluefield, Virginia. I am descended from Irish, German, Scottish and British roots. I have a brother and a half-sister who are older than me. I did my BA at Bluefield College and went on to achieve my MA in English Literature at VA Tech University. I traveled and lived around many places in the world, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. I have a background in drama and music as well; I achieved a minor in music and used to study voice and piano. Growing up I also played the clarinet. For a brief period, I took dance as well. Currently, I am interested in Tae Kwondo, and I hold a purple belt. And I just started playing chess and love it! My sons encouraged me to play since they take chess lessons and do tournaments.

I was so wrapped up in music and acting that it is a wonder that I explored my writing talents. I used to look at writing as just a hobby while growing up and it was a means of expressing myself, especially in poetry. As a teen I used to write song lyrics. Then, when I switched over to Literature as a study, I became more fascinated with stories and the written parts of plays. I was taking creative writing in high school and in college, so this sparked my interest as well. Though my earliest short story that I recall is when I was about eight years old about a princess. I even illustrated it! I started writing more when my dear friend passed away at the age of 16; she was a writer, too and we had a series going on between us where almost daily we would come up with humorous stories and create characters from the people around us. After her death, I started writing more on my own and expressing my grief.

Finally, one day, I realized that I actually was a writer and why not just make it a career because I enjoyed it so much, and because I found writing to flow out of me so easily. I realized it really was a gift. So, then I seriously started writing short stories and did some journalism, too for a local newspaper as well as for various newspapers while living abroad.

I have been working on novels and screenplays. I wrote both fiction and non-fiction, and I do not like being boxed into one character or genre. I want to write what I’m interested in when I’m inspired.

Sometimes, I get inspired due to a cause in the news. Sometimes there is just a need that I see that needs to be met. And sometimes it is just purely the act of creation. I still use my writing to expression my emotions and my thoughts. Also, I enjoy playing with words and literary devices; I love to create for the act of creating something beautiful. It depends on mood and inspiration. Writing to me is like the air I breathe and the water I drink; I cannot survive without it.

2.) I noticed that you like to help advocate for everyone. To what inspired to do so, and to do via your writing, as well?

Indeed, I’m interested in many issues. I like to help people and do a lot of volunteer work. While living in West Africa, I helped my children’s school and did a lot of fundraising and PTA work as well as marketing. I taught classes to some of the women there about child development and education. I’m also interested in fighting against domestic violence (for children and women). I have come to realize that abuse is rampant world-wide and can happen anywhere in any culture and any religion. It needs to be addressed and is a serious issue. I also like to inspire people and help them build their self-esteem; I grew up as a terribly shy, brainy person but I was able in high school to start pushing myself out of my shell. It is not easy, and people need this kind of encouragement. And I really have a million ideas to help society; I really would like to see the world a better and more cooperative place for everyone. Why can’t we all just learn to get along? This is one of the things I’m trying to do is to promote dialogue, understanding, communication and cooperation among various groups of people. One are one race– the human race– and we need to work together to help all of humanity.

In my writing it will come out in the form of essays, articles or even in storylines. I recently started a series of short stories about my experiences in West Africa that take a look at some of the conditions there and some tragic events that occur to some of the characters, partly based on reality.

3.) Wow! That is truly awesome and wonderful about to what has inspired you to write. And when you write, your advocating and expressions about these things come out, well, well-said, and beautifully, including in your poetry. I have read your wonderful poems. But, I’ve also noticed that you also write books that aren’t of poetry. Please tell everyone more about the types of writing and books you write, as well as to where your book can be found.

Thanks, April. I’m so glad you like my poetry. I do plan on a collection of poems one day.

I published last Spring, “The Metamorphosis of a Muslim” which is about my spiritual journey to Islam and my world travels. I make it like a simple conversation over coffee. I tried to keep it simple, yet inspiring. I give my take on countries I’ve been in and my hope for world peace in the future. It can be found at: or Though available on Amazon and other places, it is better to get it from the publisher.

I am working on two non-fiction novels at the moment; one is about culture. I am working on a fictional novel that dives into the psychology of an abused woman, and I hope to get back to this one soon.

I also have two screenplays in the works. I have already written the first part of one. And I have a ton of projects in mind for the future. I keep getting bombarded with ideas, so I write down the idea or the outline and then I place it in my Idea Folder so I can come back to it later.

It is still my dream to go into film. I would really like to write and produce a film (possibly direct it, too). I enjoyed a course I took recently at Full Sail University (audited) about “Producing Independent Film”. It was an inspiring course was magnificent instructors! It takes time (and money) but one day I hope to achieve this goal.
Also, I’m one who likes variety, so in my literary pursuits I’m trying to create new types of characters and to cross-cultural bridges. I wrote all kinds of stories that combine unusual twists. I like to push the bar and to be different.

4.) O.k., enough of my part in this guest blog. Please write a blog post within this blog post to add anything you wish to add.

Now, that is not so easy. I don’t want to talk so much about myself, so I want to mention a very important topic: “Friendship”.

Friendship is vital, and it is rare to find a great friendship. The real test of friendship is when you are in need, you find them there ready to help or to encourage you. You find they really are concerned for you. I think society has grow apart, unfortunately, because we just don’t find sisterhood (or brotherhood) and friendship to be on the priority list anymore. This is a shame! I really would like to see people become kinder again and really value each other as special human beings. I would like to see people cooperating and promoting peace and love. I want to see more people involved in helping others and doing more volunteer work. Friends can be miles or even countries apart, but they understand each other and that can never fade away. I have a favorite quote about friendship:

“A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it. Keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

My friends are all valuable to me and special. And friendship should be about kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, loyalty and sacrifice. April is a kind, sweet friend who inspires, and I hope that I do the same for her. Good friends are rare, and that makes them a treasure!

Lena sent me via e-mail, a little more about her and about her book than is in this interview, herein, for me to add into this blog post. This information is in her own wording as she had worded and sent it to me via e-mail, below:

Lena Winfrey Seder

Writer, Editor, Lecturer, Educator

MA degree from VA Tech University in English Lit

Taught various grades from KG up to university levels both in the US and abroad

Writer of non-fiction, fiction, poetry and screenplays

Published: “The Metamorphosis of a Muslim” in May 2011 from IIPH publishers.

Married with 4 children: 3 boys and 1 girl

Hobbies: learning languages, reading, writing, tae kwondo (and playing chess, which I recently learned)

Dreams: get into producing films one day and publishing more books, esp fiction

Goals: promote peace and understanding among all peoples as well as inspiring others

Volunteer: help in my children’s school with hospitality and reading


Favorite books: I read a variety of fiction, non-fiction, educational, management. I love Harry Potter books, everything by Ernest Hemingway, Lord of the Rings, “The Face” by Dean Koontz and Norma Beishir’s “Chasing the Wind” as well as Mark Hunter’s “Storm Chaser”. I like mysteries and sci-fiction like “Dune”. I like to read variety according to my mood. Enjoy reading biographies, too (esp liked “Katherine Graham” and “Marilyn Monroe” as they were insightful). Recently I have discovered some powerful poems by friend April Morone in “From the Heart” that struck a chord in me.

Favorite films: “Braveheart’, “Gladiator”, “The Last Samurai”, “Avatar”, “His Girl Friday” (love Cary Grant), “The Da Vinci Code” (so intriguing and suspenseful), “The Message” (about the life of Prophet Muhammad; it was moving). I like a variety of films as well (Star Wars and Indiana Jones) and then on the serious side I like “The King’s Speech” (it was an amazing story)! And then I like marial art films like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Tony Jaa, Jean Claude Van Damm.

Music: everything: classical (Mozart, Beethoven), 1980′s (esp) like Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, Whitney Houston, Journey. And Islamic music like Maher Zain and Sami Yusef. And I like some of the new things I hear on the radio from time to time. It depends on the music and lyrics. Again, I like variety.

Favorite quotes:

“A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it. Keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindess blow the rest away.” (Arab Proverb)

“This is the true joy in life– that being used for a prupose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.”…”I want to be used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live.”…”Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold upu for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations” (George Bernard Shaw)

Current Projects: 2 non-fiction books in the works; one dealing with culture and a fictional novel that digs into psychology as well as gathering together a collection of poetry and 2 screenplays that have been started. And guiding my kids to be the best they can be.