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.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

IWSG, Thoughts, Being Thankful

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.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!

This month's question is: Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."

Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

I don't know. I've written in many different forms and genres and for many different age groups. So I guess the answer is that I've simply written "my truth."
***
Thoughts
I blew past June and July. They slipped away without my noticing. Sometimes I think I'm just being lazy. Other times I think I don't care anymore. Then there are times when I'm just not inspired, my mind is a blank and I wonder how others can find so much to say, and have so many things to write about, or so many wonderful newsy things to announce. Me? I'm feeling somewhat drained.

I have questions that can't be answered.

How did we (and I mean all of humanity around the world) let things go so wrong/bad? Why are some people so very angry and hostile? When and how did some of us appear to have lost our ability to be civil and kind and compassionate to each other despite our particular beliefs or philosophies of life? How did we become so polarized? When did we loose the ability to compromise? When did we loose the ability to debate our differences calmly, logically, and with civility and without resorting to name-calling, blaming, and threatening? Is it that we have always been this way but that we were hiding our deep-seated "true" beliefs/feelings behind a thin veneer of  denial and lies? When did we loose trust in science, which seems illogical to me as it permeates our lives from the electricity in our homes to the hand-held computers we carry around, from medical advancements to space exploration, from the study of sub-atomic particles to the cars we drive? On and on and on. I went to a private parochial school, my sister to a Catholic school. Both of us were taught religion and science, side by side. Studying science did not teach me to loose faith in God. Studying the Bible did not teach me that science is false. What it taught me is that they are not incompatible, that it isn't one or the other and can't be both. To say that they are incompatible is almost like saying that because I speak and write only English that all other languages are wrong/false. I am confused and disheartened.

For my own sanity, I search for up-lifting, inspiration, positive quotes and memes to post on Facebook. I post them for me, to remind myself of the kind of person, the kind of human, I want to be. I leave you with a few. My heart is sore, but I will ever strive to be kind and to be compassionate. 









Being Thankful
Today I am thankful I got to see comet Neowise. 
Comet Neowise over Joshua Tree National Park

(Not my photo) Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) captured over Joshua Tree National Park, California on July 21st, 2020 at 05:03 UTC
Despite my moaning and feeling sorry for myself I am continually awed by the beauty of nature and the universe which lets me know there is something much bigger than myself out there. Our little island planet home is all we have and in the grand scheme of things, is an insignificant dust mote. Let us remember that as we go forth into our daily lives. How we treat this planet, which gives us life, is a direct reflection on how we treat each other. Let us remember that no matter how "different" we may think we are from each other, we all cry and laugh in the same language.
Namaste. Go With Peace. 

What are you thankful for? Are you questioning yourself? Your belief system? Others? And what about this month's question, have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Monday, July 20, 2020

New Resource & Giveaway Alert: The Occupation Thesaurus Writing Guide Is Here!

Hi everyone! Today I have something fun to share...a special chance to win some help with your writing bills. Awesome, right?

Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I'm part of their street team. I'm handing the blog over to them today so they can tell you a bit about their Writer's Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!


Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there's another detail that can tie your character's arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the "get to know the character" curve for readers?

It's true. Your character's occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.



Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles, or helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven't thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character's personality, interests, and skills. It's okay, you aren't alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here's one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)

GIVEAWAY ALERT: THE WRITER'S SHOWCASE

To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer's Showcase. Stop by to enter!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles For Your Characters



Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past.

What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right?

To access this list, GO HERE. 

Happy writing to all!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IWSG, Bad Fairy by Elaine Kaye, Book Tour, Giveaway

I APOLOGIZE to Chrys Fey and her mother, Elaine Kaye. This was supposed to have been posted today but for some reason it was still on draft. My excuse is, it's been a hard week for me from last Wednesday to today. Suffice it to say, we had a bad storm and lost two trees. Then there's the political and social unrest. Then there's going back to work when I don't really want to, but have to. I haven't even check my emails.

Anyway... Here she is, Elaine Kaye! 
This sounds like a charming story.




I'm pleased to introduce Chrys Fey's mother, Elaine Kaye, who is debuting her first middle grade novel...

BAD FAIRY
Series: A Bad Fairy Adventure (Book One)
Author: Elaine Kaye
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Fantasy Middle Grade
Length: 66 pages
Age Range: 8-12

Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn't like rules, and it's just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her.

Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse?

BUY LINKS:


What do fairy houses look like?
Fairy houses are usually made out of sticks, pinecone scales, or tree bark. For chairs, they use uncapped acorns, mushrooms, and stones. They can also make furniture, such as sofas, out of sticks. Their beds are hammocks made out of silky spiderwebs. They have a lot of the same furniture we have. Even kitchen tables and desks.

For light, when it gets dark, fairies put fireflies in cages. But don’t worry, when the fairies go to bed, they set the fireflies free. In fact, fairies and fireflies are good friends.

They use walnut shells for bowls and smaller shells for cups. Sycamore seeds (aka helicopter seeds) are often turned into spoons by fairies. Leaves are, of course, used for a lot, including clothes and napkins. Grass and straw can be made into rugs, too.
Fairies pretty much utilize anything in nature. Nothing is ever wasted.


In Bad Fairy, Nutter Mills is the factory where fairy clothes and furniture are made with spiderwebs and thistledown, the fluffy-like material that protects the tops of thistles.


(This is me, Bish. I've spotted these fairy houses made of stones. Some people may misidentify them as cairns, but those of us who believe in fairies know better.)


Here is an excerpt that describes Thistle Greenbud’s bedroom.

EXCERPT:
My room is the color of deep pink with a red hammock-bed covered with a maroon, fluffy blanket. Dried pink, red, and purple flowers hang upside down, decorating the walls. Next to my bed is a nightstand, and my desk is by the window. I gaze out that window more than I do my homework. Ssh, don’t tell.

I open my closet and stare at the options. Raspberry red, cherry red, pomegranate red? Or maybe something pink. Strawberry pink, watermelon pink, peach pink? Next to my shirts and dresses hang black skirts, shorts, and pants. I choose a currant-red shirt and a black skirt.

Soon, I am out the door, cruising up to the tree tops. A gentle breeze makes it easier to do loop-de-loops, crazy eights, and somersaults. Not to brag but I am the best at flying tricks. I’m doing a somersault when something whizzes past my ear.

What in Fairy Land was that?

I don’t remember seeing bees. It couldn’t have been a fly because they live closer to the ground. Flies and bees are good friends with fairies. Gnats and fleas are another story, but I’m too high for those bugs to bother me.

I start flying again.

Whoosh.

Something pelts me in my ear.

I freeze midair, with my hands on my hips, and glare at my surroundings. I strain my pointy ears. Laughter. Someone is laughing at me!



GIVEAWAY:

3 Signed Paperback Picture Books –
Pea Soup Disaster, Doctor Mom, The Missing Alphabet




Eligibility: International

Number of Winners: One

Giveaway Ends: July 1, 2020 12:00am Eastern Standard Time


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup DisasterBad Fairy is her middle grade debut and the first of A Bad Fairy Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

IWSG, IWSG Anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost, Being Thankful

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.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

This month's question is: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?
When
When I need help getting into the zone I putter in my writing area. I clean up my desk, go through notes and keep or discard and/or straighten and dust books. Generally I work to make my work space neat. It seems to help me get inspired.
***

I'm excited to announce that
Voyagers: The Third Ghost is OUT!!

People have asked why I decided to try my hand at writing a story for this anthology. Here's my answer. 

When I saw what the theme for this anthology was going to be and that it was for middle graders, I knew immediately the story I wanted to tell.

Because my family has lived between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for over hundred years and because I was raised in the VI, most of my stories have a strong Caribbean flavor. For research purposes I have a small collection of books about the islands. One of those books, by Isidor Paiewonsky, is Eyewitness Accounts of Slavery in the Danish West Indies also Graphic Tales of Other Slave Happenings on Ships and Plantations. It was in this book that I read excerpts from the journal of a twelve-year-old boy named Jacques B. Romaigne who journeyed from France, to Africa, to the island of Guadeloupe on a slave ship.
Jacques' story haunted me for years. He lingered behind a near opaque curtain which he pulled aside from time to time, casting ghostly shadows across my mind, reminding me he was still there and that he wanted his story told. Finally I gave in and wrote, “The Blind Ship.” I tried peddling it around to various children’s magazines, but no one was interested. I knew my writing wasn’t the problem so my guess is that it was too dark and serious. Whatever the reason, his story has languished in my files for a good 15 years, yet in all that time, Jacques has never left me.
I had to lengthen the original story from 1000 words (which is the max most children's magazines want) to 3000 or better. That was challenge and it took me a week. But he crept back onto the page and whispered things in my ear. Now, at last, he has come out of from behind the curtains, and his story can be told.

Blurb
The journal of a twelve-year-old boy reveals the horrors of a slave ship, and when its cargo and crew go blind from a highly contagious eye disease, the situation only gets worse.

***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for, what else? The Newly Released Anthology!

What are you thankful for? Got any rituals to get into the zone? Have you ordered your copy of Voyagers: The Third Ghost? Purchase links below. Hint, hint.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Beverly Stowe McClure - Book Tour



I’m delighted to be participating in author Beverly Stowe McClure’s Blog Tour today for her latest release, GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The author is offering a tour-wide giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL
by Beverly Stowe McClure
* Paperback: 214 pages
* Publisher: Freedom Fox Press
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1939844665
* ISBN-13: 978-1939844668

Gabe Montana is clumsy. He's overweight, and he's dyslexic. Worse yet, the bullies make his fifteen-year-old life even more miserable-so miserable he wants to die.

Charley, his guardian angel, says no to that idea and comes up with a different plan. He'll give Gabe self-confidence so he can solve his problems, not run away from them. But Gabe wonders why the angel doesn't just help with the bullies. What's with this self-confidence stuff?

Can Charley help Gabe stand on his own two feet? Will Gabe give up hope life can improve for him? Or will he finally listen to the angel's advice?

GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL is available at the following sites:
AMAZON PAPERBACK
AMAZON KINDLE
BARNES AND NOBLE PAPERBACK
BARNES AND NOBLE NOOK BOOK
KOBO

Excerpt from Gabe's Guardian Angel

“Stop!” Miss Blaire called, her voice amazingly strong for a small woman. When the boys slid to a halt but didn’t turn to face her, she added, “Get back here, this instant! I want to talk to you.” The way she snapped out each word left no doubt they’d better do what she said, and they obeyed without further hesitation. Gabe stood still, head ducked, ashamed of the way he looked with his bruises and cuts and how he’d let the boys trick him. To add to his troubles, a teacher now saw him in this pitiful condition. Can the day get any worse? he wondered.

Miss Blaire glanced from Gabe to Mick to Bud and back to Gabe, her arms crossed over her chest. She did not comment on his injuries but simply said, “What happened here?”

He sighed. Great! What do I do, now? Tell the truth? Lie? Either way, I’m in trouble.

“When he offered no explanation, she turned her attention to Bud. “Do you have anything to say?”

He shook his head. “No, ma’am.”

Her forehead wrinkled, she focused on Mick. “How about you?”

“Yes, ma’am, I think Gabe had an accident,” he said, a hint of worry in his voice. “We didn’t see what happened, but he may need help.”

Whoa! What an actor, Gabe thought. He said every word with a straight face. I should have smacked him one and suffered the consequences. Think, brain, think how to explain.

“Um, you see, Miss Blaire.” He chewed on his thumbnail. “I’m clumsy sometimes. I don’t know how I did it, but I tripped over my own feet.” He touched his nose. “A bloody nose is no big deal. I’ve had lots of those.” He swiped at his face with his shirttail. “Anybody have a tissue?” he said, trying to sound funny.

No one laughed.”

***



For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Most of the time, you’ll find Award-Winning Author Beverly Stowe McClure at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. When she’s not writing, she’s snapping pictures of wildlife, flowers, and clouds.

She’s affectionately known as the “Bug Lady.” She’s not telling why. To relax she plays the piano. Her fur babies don’t appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories.

Beverly is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church.


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Author Beverly Stowe McClure is giving away one print copy of GABE’S GUARDIAN ANGEL to a lucky US winner.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Beverly on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you think Guardian Angels come in all shapes and sizes?

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/019b32f8347/

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Yolanda Renee, Book Tour

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renee’s MURDER, JUST BECAUSE Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering an awesome tour-wide international giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

MURDER, JUST BECAUSE
by Yolanda  Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Yolanda Renee
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mysteries
◊ Paperback: 291 pages
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ ISBN-10: 0985820632
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0985820633
◊ Contains explicit sex & graphic violence


You can find her book on Amazon and Smashwords.

"While this book does contain explicit sexual language and graphic violence, it could easily be taken from the daily headlines. The content is plausible and realistic as we look at the world around us. The events in the book are not overly done but give a pragmatic look at the terrifying actions killers can and sometimes do take."

Excerpt:

It was a matter of beginner’s luck, but rookie detective Steven Quaid’s career and reputation as an elite investigator skyrocketed when he captured one of the most sadistic serial killers in Alaskan history: Stowy Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. But that was ten years ago.

And now…Jenkins is back. Escaped from prison and on the move, his bloodlust is stronger than ever, and his methods of torture are even more horrifying than before. As his bloody rampage continues and the number of mutilated bodies mounts, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s ability to catch the killer again. The detective’s reputation is on the line, and he’s going to need a lot more than luck, because this time, Jenkins is driven by more than the thrill of a random kill.

This time, it’s more personal. He’s out for revenge…and his ultimate target is Quaid. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins starts picking off the people in Quaid’s life…slowly, gradually tightening his circle of corpses and drawing ever closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. Can Quaid do the impossible again? Can he outmaneuver the killer, or has the detective's luck finally run out?

Author Yolanda Renee
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her in her own words.

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influences my writing.
Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

For more on Yolanda and her writing, you can connect with her here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest    


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, and a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.


Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?


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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG, How Things Are, Being Thankful

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.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

This month's question is: 
The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

It is the worst of times and the best of times. It is a supremely strange, surreal, and scary time. (Note my cleaver use of alliteration, humor must be maintained.)

I had a long dreary post detailing my angst but I figured we are all pretty much feeling the same thing so why belabor the point? It's also very easy to get bogged down in the quagmire, get sucked into the quick sand, get swirled around in the whirl pool and become depressed.

Therefore, I am choosing to share up-lifting quotes and pictures.


Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.
Lois Lowry
Oak Tree at 176 Nile Street, Nelson

I've only written four songs in my whole life, but I've written those four songs a million times.
Bob Dylan

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the the overcoming of it.
Helen Keller

Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.
Maya Angalou
Rainbow on Rara Lake

What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we do?
Nietzsche


What is the purpose of anger and hate? Does it bring you joy? Does it bring you happiness and contentment? Does it bring you love? If the answer is no, then why give anger and hate safe harbor in your heart when, like a category 5 hurricane, it will destroy the harbor and your heart as well?
Bish Denham
Pillar Point Harbor

Here's a little humor. I wrote new words to the song 
Loco-Motion. It's a brand new dance called...

The Hunker Down.

Everybody’s doing a brand new dance, yea
(Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)
I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance, yea
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)

My little baby sister can do it with me
It’s easier than catching this new disease
So come on, come on, do the hunker-down with me.

You gotta buy TP, now
      Come on, baby
Snatch a pack, jump back
      Well I think you’ve got the knack

Now that you can do it share it on your phone, yea
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)
A snatch and grab motion and a dash for home, yea
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, now)

Do it nice and easy, now and don’t lose control
A little bit of rhythm and a whole lot of soul
So come on, come on, do the Hunker-down with me

Move around the floor in the Hunker-down
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down, yea)
Do it bumping elbows (stay six feet away) now
      (Come on baby and do the Hunker-down)

There’s never been a dance that’s so easy to do,
It’ll make you happy when you’re feeling blue
So, come on, come on do the Hunker-down with me


Being Thankful
***
Despite everything going on, I have plenty for which to be thankful.
My family and friends in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are well. We have enough food.
We have shelter, water, electricity.
And, it is spring.

I will leave you with these pictures which remind me that no matter what, life will continue.
Blue iris

Claret cactus


First spring bouquet, 
bluebonnets and columbines

***
What are you thankful for? Have a favorite inspirational, uplifting quote?