Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alternatives, Help, Being Thankful

Alternatives is a recurring post in which I give synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.

Today's word is: - Get codes for Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and more

I haven't done one of these in a while, and I've skipped ahead in my long list of over used words to one I've been using a lot lately. What with my up and coming cover release in August and book release in October, I've asked for a lot of FAVORS from people, for which I'm deeply grateful! AND I'm still need of PLUGS. I could use a few more cover revelers and I definitely need more reviewers. My book, The Bowl and the Stone is a middle and not long, 25K or so. 
Depending on how you use it, this list may come in handy for finding another way to say the same thing.

advice, abet, abetment, accommodate, advance/advancement, advocate, aid, alleviate, ameliorate, amend, assist/assistance, attend (to)/attendance/attention, avail

back/backstop/ back up, backing, bail out, ballyhoo, balm, be of assistance, be of use,, befriend, benefaction, benefit/beneficence, better, bolster, boost, bootstrap, buck up, buttress

care/care for, champion, charity, cheer, comfort, contribute, cooperate/cooperation, corrective, counsel, cure

deliver, do a favor, do a service, do one’s part, doctor

ease, embolden, encourage/encouragement, endorse, expedite

facilitate/facilitation, favor, forward/forwarding, foster, further/furtherance/furthering

give a leg up, give care, give/lend a hand, go to bat for, go with, guide/guidance

hand, hand holding, hasten, heal, hearten, helping hand, hype

improve, intercede


launch, leg up, lend a hand, lift

maintain/maintenance, meliorate, mentor/mentoring, minister to, mitigate, mollify

nourishment, nurture/nurturance/nurturing

oblige, open doors

palliate/palliation, patronage/patronize, philanthropy, plug, promote/promotion, prop up, push

rally round, reinforce, relief, relieve, remedy, rescue, restore, revive, root for

sanction, save, second, see (to)/see through, serve/service, sponsor/sponsorship, stand by
stand one a good stead, stick up for, stimulate, stump for, subserve, succor, support, sustain/sustenance

take under one’s wing, treat

upgrade, uphold, use, utility

And here, for your listening enjoyment is a 1968 cover of Help by Deep Purple. It's a version I rather like. Slowed down and psychedelic.

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for YOU, my fellow BLOGGERS! 
Without your love I'd be nowhere at all. (Thank you Bob Dylan)
What are you thankful for? Is help a word you over use? Got a favorite replacement? Can you LEND A HAND with a cover reveal or review? 

Monday, July 11, 2016

TMI: 26 Things About Me Blogfest

Today's post is rather a cheat, but I couldn't resist.
The 26 Things About Me (TMI!) Blogfest, was invented by Doglady Debbie D. Sign up before July 13 and joy the fun!

A-Age: I'm as old as these hills, or getting pretty darn close!
B- Biggest fear: Dying alone
C- Current time: 11:33 AM
D- Drink you last had: Mango Aloe Vera King

E- Every day starts with: A cup of tea or coffee and the local newspaper which I turn almost imediately to the puzzles - suduko, crossword etc - and the comics.
F- Favourite Song: All my favorite songs are my favorite songs!

G- Ghosts, are they real? I'd probably be lying if I said no.
H- Hometown: Virgin Islands

I -In love with: my hubby and life
J- Jealous of? Nothing. I learned long, long ago jealousy is a waste of time, and kills love
K- Killed someone?: Thank God, no.
L- Last time you cried?: About a week ago, missing a best friend who has moved away, feeling sorry for myself

M- Middle name: I'd have to kill you if I told you which would negate K.
N- Number of siblings: 1 older sister whom I dearly love
O- One wish: World peace
P- Person you last called? My sister
Q- Question you’re always asked: (In regards to my name, Bish) How do you spell that? What did you say?

R- Reason to smile: Being alive
S- Sounds that annoy you: Maybe snoring, but I just nudge him and it stops
T- Time you woke up: Around 6 AM
U- Underwear colour: Blue (definitely TMI!)
V- Vacation destination: Scotland

W- Worst habit: Procrastination, picking my nails and cuticles
X- X-Rays you’ve had: Too many to count
Y- Your favorite food: Lobster, chocolate, Puerto Rican beans and rice... too many to name

Z- Zodiac sign: Cancer
And now, a word from the sponsor.
If you would like to help reveal the cover for my book, The Bowl and the Stone, sign up below. I'm looking to spread the love out through the month of August. There's a place to put in a date that works for YOU! Thanks to everyone who signed up on my other form!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Posting the first Wednesday of every month, The Insecure Writer's Support Group, is  the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate. To change things up a bit, every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Let's give our co-hosts  a warm welcome! 
Yolanda Renee, 
Tyrean Martinson, 
Madeline Mora-Summonte, 
LK Hill, 
Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott! 

This month's question is:
What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

I love this idea! After all, how many inspiring quotes can a person share? Oh they'll probably continue to show up, but a shared question binds us even closer together as a family, as a group.

Aside from my mother, who was first person to recognize I might have authorial leanings and was always encouraging, I have to say that the best thing anyone has said about my writing came from Clara Gillow Clark, who was my instructor when I took the novel writing course through the Institute of Children's Literature.

Her final letter to me pretty much blew me away.

"The emotional story is powerful. ...There are so many poignant moments that touch the soul. You’ve captured something special in this story, Bish, something that resonates and feels right and good and true even as it breaks the heart and heals it at the same time. What also struck me again and again is how finely and carefully and thoughtfully crafted each part of the story is developed, revealed, and satisfied. I love the way you handle time and connect all time in a way that affirms and uplifts the reader. Spiritually, it was truly refreshing

Once again, I need to gush about your story, Bish! Your book, A Piece of the Sky, is a powerful and resonating story that has life changing qualities. I can’t tell you how much I hope to see this book in print."

Of course, it isn't in print yet, but after THE BOWL AND THE STONE is published, my next task will revising, editing and finishing A PIECE OF THE SKY. And, it'll be a big one as it's a young adult novel that doesn't take place anywhere near the Caribbean and took years to research. However, Clara's words give me the courage to move forward with the project.

You can find Clara's books, HERE.
Her Goodreads page is HERE.
She is also on Facebook
And Twitter: @ClaraGillow

So, taking a deep breath here. If you feel inclined to help me out with The Bowl and The Stone, fill out this long complicated form! I'll be reposting it periodically in the coming months. A big THANKS each and everyone of you who has been so very supportive and generous with your time and help.

So, what's the bestest, nicest thing someone has said about your writing? Have you been inspired to start or finish a project because of someone's pat on the back?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Question of the Month, Jack London

Happy 240th Birthday to the 
United States of America! 

I've joined this monthly bloghop because answering the questions is one way to expand one's mind and to let my Random Followers get to know me a little better. Hosted by Michael D'Agostino at A Life Examined ,  the question this month is: 

What was the first book (or book series) you really fell in love with?
This question has such deep meaning for me that my post today will be devoted to it.  It's all about Jack London.

Classics Illustrated 091 The Call of the Wild (1951) 1

I was first introduced to Jack London through a Classics Illustrated of Call of the Wild. I was probably 8 or 9 years old. For the first time I cried at the end of a story. I believe it was then I discovered the power of the written word. 
Jack London Studying
Studying at Heinold's 
First and Last Chance,
Oakland, California, 1886
Jack London age 9 - cropJack London was one of the first authors whose books I actually looked for in the library and stores. I loved the adventure and the far away places he took me. As a teen I read collections of his short stories, The Sea Wolf, Burning Daylight, Smoke Bellew, Martin Eden, and The Cruise of the Snark, to name a few.
Jack London young

He was accused of plagiarism, drunkenness, and womanizing. But he was none of these things. Who he was was someone who lived the stories he wrote.

 As a teen he pirated oysters, sailed the Pacific and hoboed around the U. S. At 19, after a short stint in jail, he returned home to finish high school because he realized an education was important. He went to college but couldn’t finish because he didn’t have enough money. At 21 he went up to the Yukon during the gold rush. He got sick with scurvy, lost his front teeth, and the disease left scars on his face. But it was these northern adventures that made him the author he became.

J London writing 1905
Writing on a rock in the woods.
He was a Socialist, an advocate of women’s suffrage (he created some of the strongest, most independent, and well-educated female characters in American fiction) and was against cruelty to animals.

Jack and Charmian at Waikiki 1916
With is wife Charmain, in Hawaii. 
One of my favorite quotes of his is, “You can’t wait for inspiration you have to go after it with a club.” I think it says something about him as a writer. Perhaps writing or ideas didn’t come easily for him  or maybe he “knew” he didn’t have long to live and that he had to attack his stories, capture and subdue them, and get them down on paper as soon as possible.

Jack London with daughters Bess (left) and Joan (right)
With his daughters.
Jack London died of renal failure at the age of 40 on November 22, 1916. Stop and think, isn't it amazing that he wrote and published over 50 volumes of novels, short stories, political essays and even a few plays, in just eleven years?

Below are the last two paragraphs of Call of the Wild.
Buck mourns the loss of his human friend, and yet is gloriously free and happy. The music of the words still sings in my ears and still makes me cry.

“In the summers there is one visitor, however, to that valley, of which the Yeehats do not know. It is a great, gloriously coated wolf, like, and yet unlike, all other wolves. He crosses alone from the smiling timber land and comes down into an open space among the trees. Here a yellow stream flows from rotted moose-hide sacks and sinks into the ground, with long grasses growing through it and vegetable mold overrunning it and hiding its yellow from the sun; and here he muses for a time, howling once, long and mournfully, ere he departs.

“But he is not always alone. When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack.”
Jack London's Work-Room
His writing space.
Can you remember the first book that strongly touched your emotions? Are you familiar with Jack London? Read any of his books? If you have, which is your favorite?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Of Bicycles and Carriage Bells

Island Idylls: Stories of growing up in the Virgin Islands.

Tomorrow is my birthday so I thought I'd share a story about a birthday present I got when I was about 9 years old.

My sister, Erva, had gotten a brand new Reighley bicycle for her birthday or Christmas so of course I wanted one. On the morning of my birthday my father presented me with a bike he proudly declared he had built from the wrecks of three other bikes. It was clean and painted and looked like new. It even had a basket, which Erva's didn't, and handlebar breaks. But I was terribly disappointed, it wasn't NEW, as in bought at a store. Of course now I realize that bike was very special, my father had taken a great deal of time to MAKE it for me. How precious is that?

Anyway... at that time on St. John, 1959, bicycles had to be inspected and licensed at the police station. Once inspection was passed and a small fee paid, you got a real metal license plate (small) that hung off the back of the seat or was attached to a bracket on the rear fender.

Dad decided I needed to be responsible for getting it licensed, even though I have a vague recollection of Mom thinking I might not be old enough to handle this important task. He won, and off I went, riding my bike to the police station, which was just a few blocks away from our Mobil gas station/garage in Cruz Bay.

One of requirements - besides good breaks - for passing inspection was that there had to be a bell to warn people to get out of the way or to let vehicles know you were in their near proximity. Dad, being Dad, decided to attach a model T-Ford carriage bell in my basket. I could easily reach over the handlebars press down the plunger and a loud BING-BONG could clearly be heard, even above the noise of a Jeep!

When I got to the police station and proudly presented my bike for inspection, Captain Jergens, a tall slender black man with class and dignity, said, "Dis bell ain't de right kind. It mus' be a bell on the handlebar, one you push wid your tumb."

My bike had failed inspection. I was devastated and rode back to garage in tears. When I explained what had happen Dad became indignant. We loaded me and my bike in the jeep and drove to the police station where Dad explained to Captain Jergens that he wanted his daughter's bell to be heard. A weak bbrring-bbrring was not not his idea of a bell, "But this," he said, pressing down the plunger, BING-BONG, "will be let people know she's there."

Inspection was approved, I got my license, and me and my bike rode happily around Cruz Bay.


Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that I've had another year on this wonderful planet. 
Here's to being hopeful that I'll have another one!
What are you thankful for? Did you ever have a parent make you a present for Christmas or your birthday? How old were you when you learned to ride a bike? Have you ever heard of licensing bicycles?

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Love That Disturbs by Medeia Sharif, Being Thankful

I'm pleased to say I've read a number of Medeia Sharif's books. Her stories have given me a glimpse into Muslim families and their lives. What I have discovered is that they are no more different than any other family. Families that are Christian, Jewish, or agnostic (put any label on family that you want) also battle alcoholism, drug addiction, peer pressure, or a host of other issues.

Medeia simply tells these stores from a Muslim point of view, a point of view that in this day and age is strongly needed and, by this reader, appreciated.

Now, in her latest novel, A LOVE THAT DISTURBS, she is tackling another difficult issue, one I am sure that has touched many families.

Evernight Teen, June 17, 2016
Purchase from Amazon (merchant sites will be updated on the author's site)

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for
Our house doesn't face west, so we don't see too many. But occasionally we're out and about at the right time of day and get so see some pretty nice colors. I don't have any pictures of these expansive Texas sunsets, but I do have some from the Virgin Islands.
For your viewing enjoyment, here are a few.

What are you thankful for? Have you read any of Medeia's books? Do you have any on your TBR list? Sunsets or sunrises: do you have a preference? 

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's the Angela and Becca Show!

By now I bet most writers who cruise these blogs know about the thesaurus series written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. If you haven't heard of them and their books or their sites Writers Helping Writers or One Stop for Writers you may look to see if you're living under rock.

Angela has been of tremendous personal help to me, being a mentor and friend, so I'm always happy to help spread the word about the latest endeavors these inspirational ladies are launching. Today it's all about the newest additions to the Thesaurus family.

Take it away ladies!


As we storytellers sit before the keyboard to craft our magic, we're usually laser-focused on the two titans of fiction: plot and character. Yet, there's a third element that impacts almost every aspect of the tale, one we really need to home in on as well: the setting.

The setting is so much more than a painted backdrop, more than a stage for our characters to tromp across during the scene. Used to its full advantage, the setting can characterize the story's cast, supply mood, steer the plot, provide challenges and conflict, trigger emotions, help us deliver those necessary snippets of backstory...and that's just scratching the surface. So the question is this: how do we unleash the full power of the setting within our stories?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00067]Well, there's some good news on that front. Two new books have released this week that may change the description game for writers. The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to City Spaces and The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces look at the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds a character might experience within 225 different contemporary settings. And this is only the start of what these books offer writers.

 In fact, swing by and check out this hidden entry from the Rural Setting Thesaurus: Ancient Ruins.
And there's one more thing you might want to know more about....

Becca and Angela, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, are celebrating their double release with a fun event going on from June 13-20th called ROCK THE VAULT.

At the heart of the Writers Helping Writers site is a tremendous vault, and these two ladies have been hoarding prizes of epic writerly proportions.

A safe full of prizes, ripe for the taking...if the writing community can work together to unlock it, of course.

Ready to do your part? Stop by Writers Helping Writers to find out more!