Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Author Pat Conroy, a Master of Storytelling

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose. 

Every day this month I'm posting a new word for all you Word Nerds during the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Join me as we journey through the alphabet!!

~ vestigial~
adjective: vestigial
    forming a very small remnant of something that was once much larger or more noticeable.
"he felt a vestigial flicker of anger from last night"

(of an organ or part of the body) degenerate, rudimentary, or atrophied, having become functionless in the course of evolution.
"the vestigial wings of kiwis are entirely hidden"

I was familiar with the noun form of this word, vestige. defines vestige as  “a trace of something that is disappearing or no longer exists”.
"the last vestiges of colonialism"

Storyteller Pat Conroy introduced me to vestigial in his excellent memoir, The Water is Wide. the story based on his work as a teacher on Daufuskie IslandSouth Carolina. (named Yamacraw Island in the book.) 

Conroy's living quarters was an old house inhabited with all kinds of pests. In this scene, he is awakened when he feels something on his foot.

"The room was black as pitch, silent, with the vestigial odor of mildew left from days of noninhabitation.” 

When he turned on the lamp, he watched “the rat move like bald-tailed lightning across the room and out the door.” The whole scene made me shudder and I felt his fear when he wrote: “I had shared my pillow with the animal I feared most.” Powerful, electric writing.
If you’re interested in reading memoirs, a fan of Pat Conroy or just want to enjoy a good read, I would recommend this book.

This A to Z Challenge, while writing about words that fascinate me or played a part in my life experience, has introduced me to new words as different forms of the word. Kind of perk in the research.
I’m a life-long learner. Are you too? We’ll never know it all, and that’s probably “a good thing,” as my friend Elaine would say. Thanks for visiting today.

Check out more bloggers posting in this challenge by clicking the MASTER LIST link below.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Loving Unconditionally

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose. 
Are you a word lover? If so, you're here at the right place. All this month I'll be revealing words that fascinate me using the letters of the alphabet for prompts. Join in and leave your favorite, fascinating words in a comment below. Thank you. 

 not limited by conditions; absolute :
an unconditional promise.
 Mathematics. absolute,

Absolute defines my idea of unconditional

free from imperfection; complete; perfect:
absolute liberty..
not mixed or adulterated; pure:
absolute alcohol.
complete; outright:
an absolute lie; an absolute denial.
free from restriction or limitation; not limited in any way:
absolute command; absolute freedom.
unrestrained or unlimited by a constitution, counterbalancing group, etc., in the exercise of governmental power, especially when arbitrary or despotic:
an absolute monarch.
viewed independently; not comparative or relative; ultimate; intrinsic:
absolute knowledge.
positive; certain:
absolute in opinion; absolute evidence.

Unconditional is used in so many instances, but it always means unlimited. When I first thought of using this word, I thought about the unconditional love a parent has for a child. No matter what that child has done—lied, stolen, cheated, or perhaps even murdered, the parents will still love that child. That doesn’t mean a parent affirms the child’s actions, but the mother and father will always carry their child in their hearts and look out for the welfare of the child.

Much like the love of God is unconditional, it is difficult to comprehend unconditional love. Like one minister always said, "God loves you and there's nothing you can do about it."

"Unconditional Love is not the case of being blinded by love but rather the resolution that nothing is more important than love." 
– Talidari

According to an article at WikiHow, “Unconditional love is the action, the choice to strive for the well-being of another. The feeling you derive from acting with love is your reward, the return you “get” from your own action.”
Click here for the entire article on unconditional love.

Do you love someone unconditionally? Books and stories often include a hero/heroine who loves someone unconditionally. Can you think of one? Leave your comment below. I'd love to read your suggestions. Leave your blog address so I can visit your A to Z posts. Thanks.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Dungeons and Dragons Players Know This Word

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose. 
Are you a Word Nerd? If so, you're here at the right place. All this month I'll be revealing words that fascinate me using the letters of the alphabet as prompts.

a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves
a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes, Merriam Webster Dictionary

You may be familiar with this word if you play Dungeons and Dragons. In that game “the troglodyte is a fictional race of primitive reptilian humanoids in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game.” Wikipedia definition.
Courtesy of Pixabay
While you may find it surprising that I don’t play D &D, (I’ll pause to wait while you laugh at that statement) I actually found the word in Matthew Peters novel, Killing John the Baptist. In his suspenseful thriller it appeared in dialogue during a light-hearted moment in the story between Jessica and Branson discussing how well they knew each other. She said, “I now know you’ve seen The Sound of Music. You’re not a complete troglodyte.”

I immediately highlighted the word in my Kindle to look up the definition. Are you familiar with the word?

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: A SUPER Word

Hello and welcome to the A to Z April  Blogging Challenge on the Focused on Story Blog. This post is probably my most favorite one of all the posts for this challenge using the alphabet as prompts.

S is for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I can hardly say it/spell it without singing the word. Are you familiar with this nonsense word? Read on to find out more!

A fictitious word introduced in the Disney movie, Mary Poppins. Thought to be a nonsense word, but it contains elements of real Greek and Latin roots,

super: above, over, extreme
cali: beauty
fragilistic: delicate
expiali: to atone, to make amends
docious: educable, able to learn
Urban Dictionary

Talk about breaking down a word to spell it and pronounce it in Orthography. This is an amazing word during an amazing time in my life. In my first year as a third grade teacher, the songs from Disney’s movie Mary Poppins were included in the 3rd grade music book. The kids loved, loved, loved singing this word (and of course, I challenged them to learn how to spell it, just for fun. (Probably a “bonus” word on a spelling test.) Joy seemed to take over the classroom the minute I began the introduction on the piano. I mean who can say, and especially sing, this word without grinning?

Now sit back and sing-along with this video from Youtube with Julie Andrews and Dick VanDyke and friends singing.
 Mary Poppins (1964)  

YouTube Video--Disney's "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" - Video and Lyrics

Have you ever heard of this word? Have you seen Mary Poppins or read the book? A new version of the movie will be coming out December 25, 2018. I can’t wait to see it! How about you? Please leave a comment below to let me know. Thanks.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Hacking Your Computer with Ransomware

Hello and welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge--the special event for the whole month of April on the Focused on Story blog. I'm enjoying posting every day along with my hundreds of other fellow bloggers who are using the letters of the alphabet as prompts for each post. Today is letter R. Please visit more R posts by clicking the Master List of bloggers participating in this event at the end of this article.

Today, I am at my publisher's blog, BWL Publishing, with spring photos to help those of us who are still enduring wintry weather even if it is April 20! Click here to join me to experience a taste of spring if only through pictures. Thank you.

Malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom 
to access encrypted files,
Merriam Webster Dictionary

Malware is software designed to interfere 
with a computer's normal functioning
. Merriam Webster Dictionary

With ransomware, a hacker slips into a system, then puts encryption controls in place that locks users out. The hackers then demand money to "unlock" the data.—Elizabeth Millard

Ransomware is malware on steroids. According to a news report on abcNews, hackers use this powerful software to hold 9-1-1 centers and hospitals hostage. They are considered easy targets because they have to get their computers back up because lives depend on their service. These attacks are increasing in huge numbers within the last two years.

Small businesses and large, think Home Depot, cannot escape being victim to these thieves. Security technicians solve one problem, but genius hackers come up with a different way to get around the new security. I wish these criminals would use their brilliance for good instead of bad. Think how they could help society instead of causing so much misery.
Laptop computer
Ransomware savaged our laptop computer a few years ago, demanding us to purchase $300.00 in gift cards and send the hackers the codes for cashing them. (Nowadays many hackers require payment through Bitcoin, a digital method.). If we sent the code, they would unlock the computer. I have my doubts that would have happened. Fortunately, we were able to unlock the screen with the help of the computer company. They talked us through it.

Read this warning from –“Ransomware viruses are often introduced via email in an attachment that appears to be legitimate, like an invoice or e-fax. Sometimes a link will appear in the email urging the recipient to click. After the victim clicks on the attachment or link they are directed to a malicious website that infects their computer. The malware encrypts files on local drives, backup drives and any other computers on the network. A victim remains unaware until the ability to access data is noticed and messages surface demanding payment for a decryption key.

“Ransomware may also cleverly disguise itself as an urgent popup on a browser advising of a virus, system security risk that needs to be addressed immediately. The addition of the user's IP address and the logo of local law enforcement or the FBI gives the warning an air of authenticity. Other times, the warning tells the user that illegal activity or viewing sordid websites caused the machine to be infected."
Click here to read the entire article at Lenovo.

Many people screen their phone calls and don’t answer unless they recognize the phone number/person. Likewise, I think we need to be aware we should never click on emails from an unknown source or click on pop-ups. Use caution. Hackers may be hitting businesses, but they are also always on the prowl for an unsuspecting victim.

Have you or a friend/family experienced being hacked by ransomware intruders?  

Facebook users believe their files have been hacked when friends receive a message to be friends when they already are friends. Click here to learn what it is and what to do about it in an article on this blog.  

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Blogging From A to Z Challenge: The Most Overlooked Letter in the Alphabet, Q

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose. We have arrived at my favorite letter of the alphabet--Q. (Please note my pen name. Q is for my maiden name.) Q is an overlooked letter. Maybe because it's so Quirky. It's rather plain, but not as plain as O. 

I have a Question for you. There’s Only One Letter That’s Not in Any U.S. State Name. Can You Guess It? I won't keep you in suspense. It's Q according to the Reader's Digest article. Click here to read it. 

Believe me, Q is the most neglected letter of the alphabet. Because my family name started with Q, it was difficult to find a Q on monogrammed products such as towels, mugs, napkins, and even a cut-out Q to hang on the wall. Look for yourself when you're picking up your A, B, C, D, etc gifts for friends. I hope you don't know anyone whose name begins with Q!!
Q--The Overlooked Letter in the Alphabet.
(Brita prominent tuft of hair, esp one brushed up above the forehead,

If you’ve been reading my challenge posts, you’ve seen I've “lifted” a few words from British romance author, Helena Fairfax. Quiff is another word from her feel-good read, Felicity at the Cross Hotel. (You may have figured out it’s one of my favorite reads now.)
Elvis Presley's hairstyle with a quiff.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
According to the Urban Dictionary, some of the celebrities who have worn quiffs are Elvis Presley, Travolta in 'Grease', Chris Isaak. 

Evidently, the meaning I used here is in the British dictionary. To my surprise, and the American Heritage Dictionary defined quiff as a promiscuous woman. The term originated in the 1920’s

Are you familiar with this word? What is your Q blog post today?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: This Word is not a Beautiful Word

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. Deep into the blogging challenge now, I must apologize to my followers. When I signed up for this challenge, I didn't think about how my followers would be receiving an email EVERY DAY from the site to let them know a new blog post was up. I'm sure one day a week is plenty. Just let me say, followers will be receiving one post a week after April 30. Hang in there with me. I DO appreciate your time and support.

Now I must take the opportunity for a shameless promotion and request new readers or regular readers to sign up to follow this blog if you're interested in info on writing, publishing, marketing, and reading!! Thank you!

Pronounced puhl-kri-tood
physical beauty; comeliness.

I know. I know. Pulchritude is NOT a word that makes one think of beauty. I mean, really, it’s an ugly-sounding word. Maybe that’s why I fell in love with it? This word was an eye-opener for me. The first time I heard it, the disbelief of its meaning grabbed my attention and fueled my curiosity about words. How many more odd words are there like this? How many “50 cent” words could I discover?  This was the first word that fascinated me, but I don't know exactly when I heard or read the word.. I was hooked on being a Word Nerd after this.

Mark Twain's quote
Do you remember the first word that hooked you into being a Word Nerd? Was it a word or a whole story or book? Or perhaps a person you admired was a Word Nerd? Please leave your comment below and let us know your experience. Thank you.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: It's Just Spelling

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. We are blogging through the alphabet this month. I'm writing about words that fascinate me. If you're a Word Nerd, you're in the right place.

The conventional spelling system of a language, the Oxford Dictionary

In the eighth grade a new subject, Orthography, was introduced to our class. We felt pretty special knowing we were the first class to have it. Come to find out, it was a fancy name for spelling which we’d had since first grade! We must have had some forward-thinking educators in our school in order to allow us to have the new books. My school was small, only 42 in our graduating class. And yet, our teachers kept up with the new methods of teaching. Very proud and thankful for them.

Orthography--a fancy name for spelling

I was fascinated with the words in this small orange book. I believe this is the subject that shaped me into a Word Nerd. I never put this together until I began this challenge.

Not only did we learn the spelling, punctuation, capitalization of words, we also studied root words and the changes in the meanings when adding prefixes and suffixes.           

Prefixes like anti-. bi-, dis-, pre-, are added to the beginnings of a root word. Suffixes like –ing,-ed, and –s are added to the end of the word. Breaking an unfamiliar word down into the root word and discovering the add-ons to it helps determine its meaning.

Do you remember bragging about how you could spell antidisestablishmentarianism when you were a kid? What a great example of breaking the word down to the root word to understand its meaning. anti- + disestablishment + -arian + -ism. Just in case you could spell it, but didn’t have the slightest idea of its meaning, the definition is “opposition to the belief that there should no longer be an official church in a country.”

I bet you thought you had learned to spell the longest word in the English language. I was deflated to learn it is not the longest word. According to Wikipedia, the longest word is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, a word that “refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano; medically, it is the same as silicosis.”

Did you have Orthography as a subject when you were in school? Do you have a teacher who helped shape you into a writer? Please share his/her name and how he/she influenced you?

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Being a Nerd Ain't So Bad

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. We're discussing words that have caught my attention using the alphabet as prompts. Today it's N, and one of my favorite words.

a person considered to be socially awkward, boring, unstylish, etc.;
an intelligent but single-minded person 
obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit:
a computer nerd.

When I kicked-off this challenge, I invited Word Nerds to join me. I wondered if being called a nerd would be offensive since the history of the word,nerd, was derogatory. Of course, I didn’t mean to insult anyone. 

I feel pretty comfortable being a Word Nerd myself. But the most important reason I chose nerd for this challenge was because my 17-year-old grandson and his friends are proud to be “nerds.” When I was growing up, it was a derogatory term. In recent years, the meaning of nerd has been reclaimed and redefined and now to be identified as a member of a group of nerds is something to be proud of.

If I Ran the Zoo (Classic Seuss) by [Dr. Seuss]Dr. Seuss used nerd in his Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, If I Ran the Zoo He named a fictional creature a Nerd. The blurb for the book confirms this. From amazon, "Gerald McGrew imagines the myriad of animals he’d have in his very own zoo, and the adventures he’ll have to go on in order to gather them all. Featuring everything from a lion with ten feet to a Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill, this is a classic Seussian crowd-pleaser. In fact, one of Gerald’s creatures has even become a part of the language: the Nerd!"
 Nerd became a popular the’70’s when the sit-com, Happy Days, used it in the series.

I think being obsessed with words is a good thing, don’t you? 
How do you feel about being a Word Nerd? 
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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Many Definitions for One Word

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. We are midway through this blogging challenge using the letters of the alphabet as prompts. Be sure to hop around to the other 100's of bloggers by clicking the MASTER LIST link at the end of this blog post.

a servile follower or subordinate of a person in power;
a favored or highly regarded person;
minor official;
Printing--a 7-point type
Adjective--dainty; elegant; trim; pretty,

With the popularity of the movie, Despicable Me, minion became a household word. I had never heard the word until the movie released. The minion character makes me smile whenever I see one. What an inventive mind came up with the story, the Word Nerd who named the character a minion and creative artist who brought it all to the colorful screen.

Minion characters via GIPHY

I was surprised to discover there are so many other definitions for a minion. A favored person or highly regarded person didn’t fit my idea of a minion. A synonym for this definition is idol e.g. "His great charity to the poor renders him the minion of the people." —Jonas Hanway

Rather than try to explain about the minion font used in printing, click here for the article about the origin and use of minion typeface.

After digging around to find examples of minion as an adjective, I discovered the word is obsolete in this definition.

Have you seen the movie, Despicable Me? Did you like it? Were you familiar with all the definitions for minion? 
# # #

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