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, January 21, 2019

Cover Reveal of NEW THESAURUS! And some free education!

This is a special edition of my blog. I'm helping Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi promote the latest book in their thesaurus series. 



***
Have you ever held onto a secret you've been dying to share, and then finally...you can? For the last few weeks I've been helping Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers keep a BIG secret...what the next book in their thesaurus series will be. It might seem strange to not tell one's readers what book you're planning to release...unless you happen to write books on Show, Don't Tell like Angela and Becca do! They couldn't resist the opportunity to show, not tell, by waiting for the cover reveal. They even created a *REDACTED* cover for it, which you might have seen floating around.

We're revealing the cover at long last!

*drum roll*
The next book in the descriptive thesaurus series is The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition! It's been 7 years since the original Emotion Thesaurus hit the shelves. Many writers have credited this unusual book with transforming their writing. This guide is packed with helpful lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 different emotions, which makes it easier for writers to convey what characters feel. Since 2012, many have asked the authors if they would add more emotions, so that's what Angela & Becca have done. This new edition has added 55 more emotions, bringing the total to 130. There are other new additions to the book and in fact, it's almost doubled in size! I recommend checking out the full list of emotions (and some sample entries) HERE.
And more good news: this book is available for preorder! You can find it on AmazonKobo, and Indiebound.

One last thing: go grab some free education!

Angela & Becca are giving away a free webinar recording of one of their popular workshops on Emotion, so head over if this is an area of struggle for you. It might really help!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG - Books - 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:  Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

This month's question is: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

(Personally I'm glad the question isn't about goals and resolutions.)

Favorite question: Where/how did you get your idea? Those are stories in themselves and I'm always glad to share them.

Least Favorite question: Can you tell me how to publish/write/edit, etc.? My answer is always the same. I direct the person to IWSG, and to other writerly sites, and tell them that writing, to be good, is very hard work. 
***

Books Read in 2018
I read 31 of my usual 40 books in 2018 the reason being that quite a few of them were quite long and since I'm a slow reader they took longer to get through. I like going over my list and seeing what I read. Last year it included many books in the historical fiction and non-fiction genre.

Lost in Shagri-La - Michael Zuckoff - nonfic
The Royal Physician's Visit - Per Olov Enquist - historical fic
Some Very Messy Medieval Magic - C. Lee McKenzie - MG fantasy
Two Old Women - Velma Willis - Native American myth
Secrets of the Savanna - Mark and Delia Owens - nonfic
The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan - fic
Hunger - Donna Jo Napoli - MG historical fic
The Inquisitor's Tale - Adam Gidwitsz - MG fantasy
The Wright Brothers - David McCullough - nonfic
Forty Years a Slave, Three Yeas in the White House - Elizabeth Hobbs Kechley - bio
Watership Down - Richard Adams - fic
Lilack Girls - Martha Hall Kelly - historical fic
The Green Song - Doris T. Plenn - MG
The Cow-Tail Switch and Other West African Stories - Harold Courlander - MG
News of the World - Paulette Jiles - historica fic - excellent
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell - scifi
Children of God - Mary Doria Russell - scifi
Caliban's Shore - Stephen Taylor - nonfic
Sing Down the Moon - Scott O'Dell - MG - historical fic
Water Buffalo Summer - Huyhn Quang Nhuong - MG bio
Dragon of the Lost Sea - Laurence Yep - MG
Sand Dollar Summer - Kimberly K. Jones - MG
Grass - Sheri S. Tepper - scifi
The Gate to Women's Country - Sheri S. Tepper - scifi
Freud's Mistress - Karen Mack - historical fic
The Queen's Captive - Barbara Kyle - historical fic
Diggers - Terry Pratchette - MG
The Chilbury Ladies Choir - Jennifer Ryan - fic with a little history thrown in
The House with Chicken Legs - Sophia Anderson - MG
The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast - Samantha M. Clark - MG
Blended - Sharon M. Draper - MG
***
Being Thankful
I'm thankful it's a new year and that there are more books to read and,
that I get to wear these cool socks my sweetie gave me for Christmas.



What are you thankful for? What's your favorite/least favorite question people ask you about your writing? Read any of the books I've read?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG, Christmas, 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:  J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!



This month's question is: What are five objects would we'd find in your writing space? 
Just five? 
1. Do books count as one? Because I have lots of books in my writing space. Children's books, various kinds of thesauruses (thesuari?), history books, books on Tibet, books on myths and fairy tales... books, books, books.
2. Lap top.
3. Paper: which would include post-it notes, loose leaf, spirals and three ring binders.
4. Pens and pencils.
5. Various quotes on post-it notes like: "All religions are the same and all of them are good for those who believe in them." 14th Dalai Lama  
"As long as space abides and as long as the world abides, so long may I abide, destroying the suffering of the world." Shantideva  
"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." Kahlil Gibran  
"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." Anon  
"One word frees us of all the wight and pain of life: That word is Love." Sophocles

***

I missed last month entirely. (Thanks for reminding me Margaret!) Apparently I was doing something very important (which I can't remember) and lost track of time and space.

***

Christmas is coming, so I thought I'd throw out a Christmas memory. 

Every year my sister Erva and I looked forward to the arrival of a very special tome: the Sears Wish Book. Most all of our presents came from the catalog. There were no Wal-Marts or K-Marts, no malls or stores where my parents could go shopping for things we might want. Sears was the ideal solution. They sold just about anything and shipped just about anywhere.

Erva and I would pour over the pages. We'd ooh and aah and sigh and giggle and dream and wish. Santa must have been listening most of the time because somehow those things we'd paused over the longest, or circled with a pencil, or out right asked for, miraculously appeared on Christmas Day.

We got our first Barbie dolls around 1957 or 58. Mom sewed each of our dolls separate wardrobes. All the dresses were made on a treadle sewing machine, either during the day while we were at school or at night after we were asleep.







One time I got a wonderful two-story aluminum doll house that looked very similar to this one.

When I was nine I saw a beautiful doll in the Wish Book. She was a bride doll with a gorgeous white dress and veil. I wanted her so badly.... This was during the era of our aluminum tree which, by the way, we put lights on.

And here I am on Christmas day, in my favorite dress, with the red net petticoat, a little Bolero jacket, my white patent leather shoes, and my doll.

You know, I hardly ever played with her. I was just too much of a tomboy.

Merry Christmas!!
Just






Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful I remembered to show up for IWSG!

What are you thankful for?  Did any of you every get a toy you desperately wanted only to never play with it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG, A Random Thought, Six Impossible Things, 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:  Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken

This month's question is: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?


This is a good question for me as I haven't written a thing since Irma/Maria hit the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in September of last year. So, to answer that question, in this case, writing hasn't helped me get through it. When I was younger, oh so much younger than today, my angst filled self wrote a lot more.

But there's good news. Inspired by the theme for the next Insecure Writers Anthology Contest, I've actually turned on my computer, opened a blank page, and written almost 2000 words. I have all of next month to fill out the story, polish and submit. It won't matter to me if I get included, what matters is that I've had a fresh, new idea, and am developing it.

As I'm not longer going to be post Hurricane Updates (unless something important needs to be said) I'm going to haul a few things out of my closet.

A Random Thought
A quote from Sophocles who, it appears, did quite a bit in innovating playwriting.
Sophocles pushkin
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.
***
ImageChef.comIt was the White Queen, from Through the Looking Glass, who said to Alice: "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." 

When life gets you down, think of or believe, six impossible things before breakfast. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. If you are aren't smiling by the sixth thing, think of six more. Keep thinking of impossible things until you smile, or until you understand that life itself is impossible. Yet here we are.


Here, for your entertainment, are Six Impossible Things. You can believe them or not as you wish.


1. Being carried away by a swarm of butterflies.

2. Living inside a giant Sequoya.
3. Having tea with Lao Tzu.
4. Discovering the Lost Continent of Mu.
5. Flying with Superman.
6. Being awarded the Nobel for Literature.


Being Thankful
American Snout
Today I'm thankful for the nice rain we've had, the cooler temperatures, and the swarms of mostly snout butterflies that these conditions have produced.

What are you thankful for? Have any impossible things to share? Has writing helped you through rough times?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG, Hurricane Update, 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:  Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!


This month's question is:What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?
I went the self-publishing route because the older I get the harder it becomes to have the patience to go the traditional route. 

Hurricane Update - One Year Later
Unless there is something news-worthy, this will be my last hurricane update post. 

My sister has a new stove! She christened it by making a "proper stove top pot of coffee." 

Tomorrow, the 6th, marks one year since St. John, St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands were blasted to smithereens by the worst hurricane in living memory. I remember clearly being on the phone with my sister at the height of the storm. She was hunkered down in a bathroom when she told me in her calm, steady voice, "We lost the porch roof." I was on the National Hurricane Center site trying to figure out where the eye was and how much longer she was going to have endure the howling wind. Together we figured out they had gone through a calm probably a portion of the eye and were now experiencing the back half of the winds, the worst winds. Another 2 or 3 hours we figured...

I won't go into the anxiety I felt or show pictures. You can see plenty of them HERE.

Suffice to say, you just can't put good people down. For my sister and me our main concern was for our tenants and rental property on St. John. Overnight our income disappeared. Our anchor renter, a restaurant called Morgan's Mango, had suffered a devastating kitchen fire in 2015. Our tenants, Carlos and Maria, with help from my sister and me, were able to rebuild the kitchen and get back up and running. Then Irma hit.

For a while is was questionable if they'd be able to rebuild, particularly since their home had also been destroyed by the storm.

Before and after Irma
That's when Kenny Chesney, and his Love for Love City Foundation, stepped in, giving the money needed to rebuild the restaurant.
Kenny loves eating at Morgan's Mango and he may love Carlos and Maria almost as much as my sister and me.
Here he is hugging Carlos not long after the storm.

Without Kenny's help I'm not sure where we'd be.
Carlos and Maria hanging the new sign.

Morgan's Mango today.



Among the few things to survive both the fire and the hurricanes were these 2 platinum records that Kenny had given to Carols and Maria sometime before the fire. 
They have been ensconced, warps and all, in this collage.
Morgan's Mango is back up and running. And though rents still aren't back to what they were before the storm, we believe in the silver lining, and we thank Kenny Chesney for his hard work and generosity.

In other news: 

Former President Clinton has visited St. John twice this year to see how things are progressing. He, along with Expedia and Michael Bloomberg, have announced solar projects for both St. John and St. Thomas. Story HERE.


The death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria now stands at 2,975 which far exceeds that of Hurricane Katrina at 1,833. Story HERE. This, of course, has not been a leading news story.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for my sister Erva, my husband Stan, Kenny Chesney, and the people of the Virgin Islands. Live long and prosper.

What are you thankful for? What publishing path are you considering or have taken?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG, Hurricane Update, 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: Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!


This month's question is: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? 
Don't expect to get rich. Although making some money is a nice reward, be realistic knowing that your books are among many millions and that it's hard to make your voice heard amid the thundering hordes. Therefore I would advise being content with knowing that at least you got yourself published, that you are out there, that SOMEone, SOMEwhere will read you story and enjoy it. 
***
Hurricane Update - Eleven Months Out
Meanwhile... Here are a few stats about the state of tourism. On St. Thomas there are approximately 954 rooms available compared to about 3,000 before the storms. On St. Croix, there are about 990 compared to 1200 before the storms. The big hotels are still not opened and most won't be until the fall of next year. Before the storms 848,411 cruise ship passengers visited St. Thomas compared to 637,597 since the storms. Visitors to St. Croix have gone up, 24,743 pre-storm, 48,836 post.

Book Drive for the School Libraries
I got this lovely form letter from the Office of Senator Janelle K. Sarauw, thanking me for the books I sent and encouraging me to send more and to ask others to do the same. So that's what I'm going to do. Please consider sending new or gently used books for grades K through 12 via media mail (it's cheap!) to:

Janelle K. Sarauw
Legislature of the Virgin Islands
PO Box 1690
Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, USVI  00804

A BIG THANKS to those of you who have sent books.


Songs for the Saints
I've never promoted "famous" people, but in this case I'm making an exception.

Kenny Chesney's new album Songs for the Saints is now available HERE on Amazon. All proceeds from the sale of the album go towards the continued recovery of the US and British Virgin Islands.

He's really done a lot for the islands. He was among the first people to help bring in supplies and evacuate people. He donated musical instruments to the St. John School of the Arts (which lost all of theirs) and told the kids if they learned to play them he'd fly them and teachers up to the states to see one of his concerts, which he did recently. Since the storms he's flown out and re-homed over 1000 dogs that were stranded or abandoned. His Love for Love City Foundation has helped many, many people including, without his knowing it, my sister and me.

Here's a video where he explains how he came to write the songs.


A look back.
It's hard to believe but, a year ago this month (just a month before the storms) I was visiting the islands. Here we are, a few of my classmates and me at a mini-reunion. None of us knew that just a few weeks later our lives would change. And yet, everyone survived, life goes on, and rebuilding is underway.
Seated L to R: Me, Seba, Judy.
Standing L to R: David, Maurice, Margaret, Ronnie, LeRoy
Note adult beverages on the table... :)

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for resiliency and the people who help make that resiliency a little easier.
Where there is hope there is movement forward.

What are you thankful for? Any publishing pitfalls you'd warn writers about? Please send books to my beautiful islands. And if you like Kenny Chesney's music, buy his album.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG, Hurricane Update, 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.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Nicki Elson, Juneta Key,Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne!

This month's question is: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)? I'd like to say I have some ultimate goals. But I don't...

Hurricane Update - Ten Months Out
Things are about the same for my sister. This is her lovely kind-sized mahogany four-poster bed. It now sports a tarp for a canopy to keep water off when the ceiling overhead drips during a rain. Obviously the dogs are comfortable. In the corner you can see the hand pump on a sink for pumping water out of the 40,000 gallon cistern. 

Other News
"The U. S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have been placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places." Story HERE  The islands are now included with places like Mt. Vernon and Rt. 66. The history of the islands (I'm talking European involvement) is older than most of the United States, starting with Columbus. The oldest building on St. Thomas is Fort Christian, built in 1671. It survived the storms, but so many didn't and are in desperate need of repair.


Outside the fort




Inside the fort

The living or drawing room


All the furniture is native mahogany and dates from Danish times.

The dining room



 The bedroom


"The Hole" where they put prisoners in isolation. Close the door and there's no light. 

Here's a report on the fiscal and economic conditions in the islands since the hurricanes.

The reality of the situation can sometimes be very harsh and hard to bear. A person died for want of a blood transfusion because the hospital was out and has no way to storing it for any length of time. 

That said, St. John is getting into the swing of things for the 4th of July Celebration! It's a double holiday, as on the 3rd of July, 1848 the slaves won their emancipation, but the news didn't reach St. John until the 4th. St. John is proud to celebrate both American Independence and Emancipation.
Pictures were taken by Rahda Speer of the Food Fair that kicked of the week-long celebration. 



Also, the book drive to fill the school libraries is coming along. Here's a Facebook post from Harold De Frieze.
"My amazing mother Anna De Frieze started working with Senator Janelle K. Sarauwon on the book drive she had going. She just finished getting 27 pallets of books ready for shipment down! You both inspire me to do good things!"


Thanks to all who have sent books. If YOU would like to help fill the school libraries, send new or gently used books to: 
The Office of Senator Janelle K. Sarauw at:
Legislature of the Virgin Islands Capital Building
Charlotte Amalie P.O. Box 1690 St. Thomas USVI 00804
The cheapest way to send boooks is through Media mail (up to 70lbs) with USPS.
***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful to have traveled another revolution around the sun. 
Always nice to have another birthday, which was on the 28th of June.
My birthday bouquet from my sweet Hubby.
***
Happy 4th of July, everyone!
What are you thankful for? Any ultimate writing goals? Got plans for the 4th?