VCS golf photoI have long admired Victoria C. Slotto‘s writing, so I’m delighted to spotlight her today.

Between the Storms
by Victoria C. Slotto

Petals float like paper boats
in swollen rain gutters.
A dove retires to a low-
hanging branch, restrains
her mournful cry and waits.
Ripples dance across the pond,
stir up a pair of egrets.

In the distance, clouds converge
upon the mountain,
mumble to one another.
Their striated predecessors,
ripped apart by wind,
scurry across the valley.

Who are you? Tell us something about yourself.

I used to answer this question with nouns that were based on doing: a nurse, a wife, a former nun, someone who worked with death and dying many years, a kidney transplant survivor, a novelist and poet. I suppose now I should add a senior citizen to the mix. But that doesn’t work so well anymore. And so I revert to verbs: I seek, I create, I learn, I love, I struggle, I question (a lot) I worry (too much) and I seek some more.

I believe you’re retired. How do you spend your free time? What is your writing routine?

Free time? That’s a myth for those of us who chose to stay active. I began writing the day after I retired. My position as Community Educator with a small local hospice was eliminated as part of a downsizing effort. I came home and told my husband I wanted to write. He told me to go for it.

I used to have a fairly structured writing routine but in more recent years I write when I can for as long as I can. My aging body doesn’t like long computer sessions anymore and much of my time is spent with my blog.

I have a large sketch book that I use to write poetry by hand, then edit when I put it on the computer. I carry paper and pencil with me when I walk the dogs and quite often that’s when ideas come my way. I doubt if I have another novel in me, simply because of the pain situation, but you never know.

Golf is what I do to try to stay flexible. I’m awful. Today I lost 5 balls in the water (it was really windy and there are 12 water hazards here—that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) The dogs take up a lot of time, too. They keep me walking.

Tell us about your publications and what you have coming in the future.

winter-is-past_darker-dropshadowMy first novel, published by Lucky Bat Books, is “Winter is Past.” It’s a story of love, loss, friendship and, above all hope.Target audience—women of all ages.

I self-published an article on Kindle Singles this summer entitled“Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia.” That’s based on my experience working with dementia patients and then with my own mother. It’s a summary of simple steps we took to help her remain independent in her own home for as long as possible. Target audience—persons with early stage dementia as well as their loved ones.

I learned so much about technology that I decided to self-publish my first poetry collection: “Jacaranda Rain: Collected Poems, 2012Target audience: poets and poetry lovers, of course.

Both books are available in Kindle format and in print copy on Create Space. Amazon.com, search word: slotto

I have completed a second novel, “The Sin of His Father” about a young man who learns on his mother’s deathbed that he was conceived in rape. He must face his fears and find redemption through forgiveness. I plan on self-publishing both of these. I’m too old to go through the tedious routine of trying to find a publisher in this market. All I need now is a good editor and the time to do.

What have you found to be the hardest part of the publishing process?

That’s a simple one for me: marketing. My background in no way prepared me for self-promotion. And spending precious time on anything other than writing or blogging, my family and daily life makes me recoil. I just turned 70. I don’t want to waste time on social media like Twitter and Facebook and all the other tools out there. I guess I just need to resign myself that my writing isn’t going to make money, so I write and publish for the sheer joy of it. I do resolve to do more, but I never seem to find time. I guess my attitude is my greatest enemy here.And financial resources to find someone to do it for me.

If you had life to do all over again, what would you change?Victoria1

While I don’t regret my life choices, living has given me a differing perspective on things. Now, I would go for a MFA rather than nursing, which was chosen for me by the religious order I entered (at a too young age). I would pursue my love of writing and art. At the same time I could never “dis” where life took me. Working in a hospice environment (with the elderly and, later, with AIDS patients) was a sacred experience. Life is just a series of “what if’s.” So, I apply that to my fiction writing as well as poetry. Much of my poetry is fiction. But, of course, my reality is mixed up in it, too.

Would you share a poem with us to close?

I’ll choose an old poem that was first published in a literary magazine, before I began blogging. Hopefully it will be new to most readers:

by Victoria C. Slotto

Naked tree branches
snag pendulous raindrops
that hang like old breasts.

 I study the cosmos
etched in a water-bud.
Scurrilous clouds frown.
Finches tiptoe,
stretch out carmine-hooded bills.
Thirst destroys the universe.

You can learn more about Victoria at her website and blog. If you have any questions for Victoria, please ask in the comments below.