Spotlight Sunday

Back Camera


Taylor Hallman


I live in the Bronx, NY.  I was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, mostly in Ocean City, a summer resort.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

During my adolescence I attempted to express myself, what I was feeling and the way I saw the world.  To me no one else saw or felt what I did.  I was mostly trying to understand my mother’s death.  I remember riding to the cemetery after the funeral service and seeing other children playing, joyful and carefree, while I was so isolated and alone. I couldn’t turn to  my father; he was too cold and distant.  But the written word offered solace.


Why do you write? 

So that other can see what I see.


What is your favorite genre or style to write in?:

Screenplays. But I’m falling in love with the novel form.


Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 

Just one?  Never happen!

Pete Hamill for modern fiction.  Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald for crime noir.  Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven and Arthur C Clark for science fiction.  What strikes me about all of these writers is their clear vision of a world beyond the everyday and their ability to describe it and make it live.


What books have most influenced your life most? 

Tim O”Brien’s The Things They Carried.  It makes me weep just to think of it.

Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”   –  Hunter S. Thompson

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes, it’s that simple.  Don’t ever say “I wanna be a writer.”  Just write and you are a writer.

Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed? 

This was written as a May – November relationship was deteriorating.


A Trilogy of Poems for Her


This Heart

This heart does not know time.

It knows love

And pain.

It can hope.  It can wait.

This heart is willing to break

As that meant there was another

That cared, that loved.

Even if that other withdrew,

Left, abandoned, hurt.

Days are instants, but

Days can be forever too.

Months mean little.

Years are meaningless.

This heart knows not rules

No law or convention.

It doesn’t care what people say

This heart know not time.

Storm-Crossed Lovers

Sadly she felt their difference in years

And he suffered for it, for he cared deeply.

Their times together were bitter-sweet

Fraught with tension, laced with passion,

They found refuge in the sensual and more.

Her sensibilities as she clung to her rules,

For she couldn’t see things any other way,

Tore at their bond, though they danced close,

So close that passion raced, ragged and raw,

Through her breast, causing her heart to rage.

He could only wait out her struggle, their plight

Drawing from her only her very her best

And when she relented, they lay together

The stars clashed and thunder rolled.

And on some cosmic level they loved forever.

 A Farwell – But Not So Sad 

I knew this day was coming

It was written in the sand,

A most impermanent medium.

You are a fine woman,

One not to be denied

And to you I never lied.

You have your charms.

You have a way about you

That is not to be denied,

A style, a grace personified.

Despite the anger of the moment,

The fury of the tale as told.

It must be said that there was love,

Passion untold and sex unleashed

That would rival other lovers

Star crossed and damned forever.

You have a beauty driven by your past

Stirred by your pain, stamped by sins

Both committed and ordained.

I forgive you and of you I hope the same.

Do not judge me harshly

I sought the forbidden and was denied

Only your love!

I held your heart

Drove deep into your wetness

As if it were all the world could hold

And it was all in the end I asked.

And in your kindness and your love

You laid with me in darkness

And in love once again.

For these small kindnesses I thank you

And ask for forgive once again.


Please leave your feedback, comments and encouraging words. We want to uplift and engage with our Spotlight writers! If you like what you read , please share with your fellow writers!

Tuesdays with Tia

 This week’s poem was inspired by my recent experiences when designing Zealous Scripts and of course my past experiences with love. I really want to write a whole book with poems like these, it’s in the process. I hope you enjoy.

Codes II
<!DOCTYPE html>
< html>
< body>
< h1> I don’t know where this is Heading </h1>
  You’ve touched me tenderly through text.
words folding over me f l o w i n g
 through my interstellar veins
seared with syntax
my soul simply reacts
until you’ve left your
trademark on my soul
and my </p>
< /body>
< /html>
xo Tia

Writing Employment and Internship Opportunities! -ThinkCode NYC


Hello Writers! I’m bringing you another wonderful opportunity  to write, receive recognition, build your portfolio and skills courtesy of ThinkCode NYC!

Take the time to read and see why this opportunity is right for you!



ThinkCode is looking for a few talented writers interested in further developing their skill-set while also garnering real-world experience. During your stay with us, your work will be read by thousands, you will be building your own online portfolio, and you will receive gleaming endorsements and reference letters from our CEO.

Each of your writing submissions will be edited and annotated for your future reference. This feedback, coupled with our learning resources and knowledge-bases will teach you precisely how to write compelling content that succeeds online. Your articles will credit you by name, and you will also receive an author page on ThinkCode’s website—a link to an online portfolio you can use to facilitate your future employment endeavors.

An ideal candidate for this position is someone who is passionate about design, technology, the Internet, marketing and/or business—and is equally passionate about writing. If you are looking to get your foot in the door of the copywriting, content-creation, marketing and/or public relations field(s), this could be your start.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Presenting a list of fresh, relevant and current topics each week which align with the niche subjects you’ll be writing about: web, tech, marketing, design and business.
  • Researching, outlining and drafting a minimum of one article (300 word minimum) on one of the topics each week, and including any relevant media (i.e., videos and/or images) to include, if applicable.
  • Proofreading your work, ensuring there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Properly citing any sources you’ve used to facilitate the writing of your article.

Qualification Requirements:

  • Proficiency in the English language, and full knowledge of fundamental grammar rules.
  • A passion for the topics mentioned above.
  • Experience doing research-based writing.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word.

Apply now by following this link: 



Spotlight Sunday



Botch 01 - The Creators



 Maria Kouloubaritsi (MK) & Andreas Michaelides (AM)

Hometown/Location: Maroussi, Greece

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

AM: Well, as it turns out, in the roundabout way that life seems to prefer,the whole point with me is storytelling. From a very young age, my father read me Alexander Dumas and Jules Verne, my mother told me stories of her family from Asia Minor and a host of grandparents and uncles made this tapestry of tales all the richer (from both Asia Minor and Cyprus). Then came the books I read myself, as well as the comic books and Role Playing Games (RPGs) – yet all these sources did not have all the stories I would have wanted to read and so, somewhere along the way, I concluded that the only way to read these stories was to write them myself.

Do you recall how your interest in drawing originated?

MK: Ever since I was a little girl (actually, for as long as I can remember) I loved stories. For me, drawing was a way to tell those stories; and It came to me way more naturally than writing.

AM: Funny story here, since I cannot draw to save my own life; when I was around 11 or 12, I used to find a quiet spot during our vacation in the island of Chios and try to mimic the artwork inside my comic books. Then, one day, a friend came along and asked if he could join me. I said “Of course” and as soon as he picked up a pencil, it became painfully clear that there was a chasm between our innate skills. A few years later I gave up on the idea.

In what ways do you feel comic books are important to the world of creative writing?

MK: They are the combination of two incredible arts – the means to tell a story with the beauty of both words and pictures.

AM: Comic books take writing one step closer to its origins – oral storytelling. It may sound weird, but the two actually share the fundamental common element of creating a succession of images to immerse the reader / listener in. You know the popular saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Turns out, it can be the other way around, since there is absolutely nothing that can compare to the imagery created in the mind’s eye by fertile imagination. It’s a delicate balance and the maintaining of it helps both the writer and the artist to hone their skills and present what is inside their heads with the best possible clarity.

Who has influenced your art/drawing/illustrating the most and in what ways do you bring that to your work?

MK: Well, there are many but I remember – the first time I read a comic book and said to myself “I want to do this too”, was when I read Michael Turner’s Fathom. His art is always going to be inside my mind and heart.

AM: Though I cannot draw, having immersed myself in visual and gamer culture provides me with a guide for what I would like the combination of art and words to look like. I would say that for our comic book, Botch!, chief inspirations would be John Kovalic, Phil Foglio and Aaron Williams.

What books have most influenced your life most?

MK:The Hobbit was my first love. The Silmarillion, The Fionavar Tapestry, as well as the Dragonlance series had the most impact on me.

AM: I like to say that each decision creates forks in one’s path of life. Each time, you continue along one fork, while your other selves take other forks, in different universes. I have come to believe that perhaps the first, most important fork was created when I took The Hobbit in my 9-year-old hands. It was a Greek translation of 1978 from my father’s bookcase. The Andreas talking to you here read the book. In another universe, another Andreas looked a bit at the dragon on the cover and then left it alone. Along the way, I discovered my heroes in people such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, H.P. Lovecraft and Phil Brucato. Brucato was and still is one of the driving forces behind White Wolf’s RPG, Mage: The Ascension, a game that brought radical changes to my perception of storytelling.

Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?

MK: I can never remember quotes but I have this to share… Never be afraid to dream and make your dreams grand – they cost nothing and the keep the soul young.

AM: “Everything that happens to us, after its moment is past, is just a story – no more, no less”. Though I am not entirely sure, I might have made that one up.

Do you have any advice for other writers and artists?

MK: Never give up …EVER!

AM: It might sound tedious and it’s been said by greater men than I, but once more can’t hurt. Writing is a muscle, so you need to exercise it regularly without going to far, lest you damage it. You have your writer’s blocks and your burn-outs and it’s all part of the process. Don’t let it get you down. Also, make sure you always carry a pen and notebook. Inspiration and breakthroughs come at the most peculiar moments.

What have you taken away from collaborating with each other? In what ways do you feel art and writing interact with each other?

MK: None of this would have happened, had Andreas not been there in the first place… Apart from the technical stuff which he takes care of ALONE, he is also a great writer who inspires me and gives me courage, even though he forgets to save some for himself sometimes. I think we complement each other in knowledge and our way of thinking. We are very similar in the ways that are important and galaxies apart in the things we need to explore.

AM: I think Maria’s enthusiasm and friendship is getting the better of her when she talks about this project. ;) I will agree that, for any collaboration to be fruitful, things and people must click at a specific moment in time. It’s really hard to find someone who understands what’s in your head and can translate it into pictures – even harder to be willing to sweat over it in order to get the best possible result. Maria is such a person, although sometimes she worries too much, but that’s OK – I’m cold-blooded enough for the both of us. I think the most important thing is we’re on the same page and so when one stumbles, the other is there to pick them up.

Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed? 

MK: We were out one day, drinking coffee (well, Coca Cola for me, as always :P ) and we started talking… We agreed we needed to make a comic book centered around a theme we both like and know… “Well”, I said, “RPGs are the thing. You’ve been playing ever since you were 14 and I’ve been playing at least once a week for the past 8 years or so… I can’t believe we hadn’t thought about it before…!” We thought it was a good idea and we started off with much vigour.

AM: Yes, I think that sums it up. Maybe a week after, we meet again and she already has the character sketches, while I have started forming the rudiments of our plot and humour. Originally, I was taking notes during our RPG sessions, writing down funny lines from ourselves or our fellow players, then trying some associations to see where they would take us. Our approach ended up being a little different and I regret that couple of jokes won’t make it into the comic, such as when our friend Anthony (which sounds like Adònis in Greek) brought over doughnuts and we started calling him Adoughnuts. It doesn’t really translate into English (or, at the very least, it’s not that funny), but it brings a smirk to my face.

Work sample from BOTCH! #2: The Paladin – Part 2

Botch 01 - 00 - Cover

To read more from Maria and Andreas please visit:

Name: Maria Kouloubaritsi



Facebook: Kururu Alienfrog


Name: Andreas Michaelides


Facebook: Speed Grapher

WordPress: (my Greek blog) (my Japanese Visual Culture blog)


Book Links (detective story anthologies in which I have participated:–.aspx



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Back To School

Hello Friends!

It’s been a while since I have posted anything other than Spotlight Sunday related posts. The reason being one that I am sure you are all familiar with, it’s back to school season! I have been packing, unpacking, moving, driving, training , scheduling, reading , shopping and doing everything under the sun to prepare for my fourth year in college. Now I am back on Shippensburg University’s Campus, my home away from home, ready to start another school year and another year of writing.  Classes start on August 25th for me, which  is very exciting. I will be diving into 3 more English classes and 2 classes for the education part of my major. This So, now that I am settled I hope year I plan to be working with professors on campus , as well as The Reflector, our campus’ journal  editing team,  to bring some cool contests, giveaways and more creative writing prompts to Zealous Scripts. I hope you are all looking forward to more posts on the blog and get pumped up for great things to come!

Keep Writing Writers!

Spotlight Sunday



Shedlie P. Joseph (Montfort) 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti
 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 
It was in a riddle game with friends. We were to compose a text after solving the given riddle. From there, I was hooked.
 Why do you write? 
It is a passion! That’s what stops me from going crazy. I am an only child in a mono parental family. So when loneliness hits, I lose myself in words
What is your favorite genre or style to write in?: 
I am a Poet. It all depends on my emotions and source of inspiration.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 
Oh my! Whenever I have to answer that question, my brain freezes. I read a lot about everything and anything. I would take Paolo Coelho for now as his writing inspires me and forces me to look deeper into myself. In the Poetry side, Charles Beaudelaire is my favorite classic for I find so much of me, of my thoughts in his writings.
 What books have most influenced your life most? 
Again, I have a brain freeze. Give me some time and I might provide a list
 Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?: 
“People will forget what you say, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget the way you make them feel”. I have been running my life by that quote since I reached my 16th birthday. It is one of the things my family truly accentuate on.
Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Take the risk! You never know what your words can bring out. Don’t think you have nothing new to provide.

Dark Valleys

I am from a place
Where shapes and shadows
Hold a life of their-own
The sun shines at night
The moon is queen of the day
The fool is the one been followed
And the wise is set astray
Love is a farfetched notion
Only found in books and fairy tales
Harshness is the everyday potion
Drunken willingly
Out of despair
I am from a place
Where a word of kindness
Is like disease in one’s bones
Where one’s worth is hardly noticed
If not tarnished by wickedness
And made impure
No matter the stones moves
The mountains brought together
It is never nearly enough
For a tiny sand dust
May cause any given castle
To crumble to nothingness
I am from a place set apart
A world shying away
Simply letting the clock tic away
I am from a place
Where the heart is a pilgrim
Where home is a dream
Where “me” is nonexistent
Writing is the door, the lock, the key
To Read more from Shedlie..

Writing is the door, the lock, the key

Amazon ID – B0070MELBU

Amazon ID – B0070MELBU

Spotlight Sunday


Ana Iris Santos Batista

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My interest in writing actually started when I read your poems. I have always been good with languages but writing poetry or articles didn’t really come to me until then.

Why do you write?

I write because of what it does. When I write, I pretend that there’s this imaginary person that I’m reciting to. It’s like having my own therapist. Also, just like a song…every line in a poem can bring back a lot of sensations years later.

What is your favorite genre or style to write in?:

My favorite style to write is free verse. I like to write free verse because the words don’t need to rhyme and don’t necessarily have to make sense put together with other words. Free verse is kind of like the abstract form of the art of writing.

What books have most influenced your life most? 

I don’t read often these days but if I’m looking for a book to read…it’s usually by James Patterson. What I like about him is his imagery. Most famous and successful authors have this quality but there’s something about the words he uses that I love.

I wouldn’t say any book has influenced my life. Books are something that once I read, they’re gone for me. The reason I do that is because whether it is a work of fiction or non-fiction; a person can become obsessed with ideas and ideals that may sound beautiful but aren’t. I’m a dreamer, so taking a book too seriously is a clear possibility for me. Haha

Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?

Recently I found a quote that completely describes the way I usually fall in love. It’s now my favorite and it always seems to be in my mind. “I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice to other writers is to keep writing. There aren’t very many out there with the talent to wow with words. Use your super power.

Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed?

This was something I wrote when I was desperately trying to figure out if I was depressed or I had depression. In my mind there is a difference. To have depression would mean that something can be done about it. To be depressed would mean that sadness and agony is just who I am. The poem never tells you and neither will I.


What Am I

What am i? A blank canvas with no paint in sight Perhaps a pretty face? No, just a lonely sigh

I am a borrowed expression In a world of mimes

I’m bland… plain With an expensive label Worth more than me

What am i? Maybe a girl who thinks self preservation is overrated Or a woman of many faces within a single mask waiting for her last show

To Read more from Ana:



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Writing Opportunity!


Hello Friends,

I thought I’d pass a long a little something with you all.   Think Code ( ) is offering a writing opportunity as follows:

If you’re studying journalism or another writing-intensive subject and need real-world work experience, send an email with your CV/résumé/portfolio to and subject it “Writing Opportunity.” Your writing will be seen by 5,000+ people every time!

The company is reputable, and run by  delightful professional people. The directions are simple so I encourage you all to give it a try!

Keep writing writers!

Writing Prompt 12

“And that’s when I know it’s over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it’s the end.”
Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her


This prompt is an experiment in writing flashbacks. Describe a fond memory in the style of a flashback, you may use any point of view!

Here are some tips for writing flashbacks from
Stuart Horwitz  via
  1. The first rule of flashback is just that, when we flash back, we do so for a reason. And — get this — we reveal this reason to the reader. This reveal can be subtle, but readers need to be able to make some kind of connection to why we just went there or they will feel lost.
  2. We don’t leave the reading present for so long that readers loses their bearings upon our return. In other words, don’t fall in love with another time period and dally there, favoring it over the reading present. The reader will wonder if that is when your story really takes place, and perhaps everything else has been a flashforward, which gets confusing (see rule #5). Readers need exactly one reading present. However the narrative is framed, wherever it jumps around to, the reader’s expectation is that they will be returned to the reading present in which they feel most at home to find out what happened.
  3. We don’t flash back for too short a time, such as a few lines or a paragraph, which is really more like presenting a memory. It’s better to stay in the reading present in that case and recount the past events through a character’s thoughts. When we do flash back, it should be for an entire scene, with all the benefits that a scene brings: dynamic action, a change in the state of affairs, development of the theme. This doesn’t mean a flashback can be only one scene long; it can be longer provided readers aren’t lost upon their return (see rule #2).
  4. If you are going to use multiple timelines, present each timeline chronologically. Help a reader out: if we are flashing back from a throughline that takes place in 2002 to a throughline that takes place in 1993, at least have the events in 1993 take place sequentially: you know, June, 1993 in one flashback, July, 1993 in the next flashback, October 1993, etc. We need to feel the narrative driving forward at all times.
  5. Flashbacks work, but flash-forwards don’t usually work. Flashbacks work because they correspond with our psychology: when we have a problem, we think back to an earlier time when something else happened, then we figure something out about ourselves or our world (this is how therapy works, I think). Flash-forwards—jumping forward in narrative order—usually don’t work because the human psyche is not constructed that way. If someone asks about your past, you can discourse on it rather freely even though you might end up changing the subject. If someone asks about the future, all but the most reckless souls will admit they don’t know yet.