Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Five W's in Dr. Bob Rich's Hit and Run, Win a FREE eBook, FREE Book Edit Contest

The 5 W's of Stories
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. We continue with the guest author series, The 5 W's--who, what, where, when and why. I'm thrilled to have Australian author Dr. Bob Rich visiting this week. He shares about his latest release, Hit and Run. (I must add, as per usual, Bob is not following the rules.)

At the end of the blog post, be sure to check out all the prizes Bob is generously offering. 

Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

My Review of Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

I was privileged to receive an advance copy of Bob's book, so I thought I'd share the review with you.

Hit And Run by Dr. Bob Rich demonstrates how the world would be a much better place if we could stop the “endless cycle of hate begets hate, vengeance leads to vengeance, and violence feeds on itself.” The premise of the story of 84-year-old Sylvia Kryz helping a troubled 14-year-old boy, Charlie, is a call-out to readers to consider if “love can turn hate into love.” She spearheads a movement to help the boy who intentionally ran over elementary age school children and the crossing guard and killed them, narrowly missing Sylvia, and then drove off.
What a heinous act! Who in the world could ever forgive this malicious behavior? Who could defend Charlie’s wanton destruction of lives?
Sylvia could. Accepting there are people in this world like Sylvia was difficult for me. She took his side once she learned about Charlie’s upbringing and understood the motive for his behavior. I especially enjoyed the paranormal visits to Sylvia by Charlie. Suspend your disbelief and accept it because those scenes really make the story sparkle. The author included a lot of detail in the book about the legal steps needed to defend Charlie and about Sylvia’s family to deepen the reader’s bond with Sylvia. As I read, I questioned if this book was based on a true story. Could there be real people like Sylvia?  Sylvia’s actions inspire readers. But did her heroic efforts prove that love is greater than hate? Not telling. Grab this novel and hang on for an emotional roller-coaster ride through the pages.

The 5 W's in Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

Janet, thank you for the honor of featuring me on your blog. Usually, I find it impossible to fit into other people’s rules, but yours is so sensible that even I can do it. Only, I am mixing up the order.


I’ve recently finished my next book. It’s non-fiction: From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide. One of the chapters is on how to help a loved one who is tortured by depression. Here is a short extract:
When members of my family suffered from some devastating event, all I could do was to give them a loving hug, be there for them, let them tell me anything without judgment or advice, let them say nothing if that was what they needed to do at the time.
Not only could I not do therapy with relatives or even friends, it actually would have been unethical for me to do so. That is termed a “dual relationship,” and is a no-no for a reason. You’re sure to share the emotions of people you care for. You cannot lead someone out of an emotion by joining in.
Here is an example of how I achieved “professional distance” when needed.
I once had a “victim of crime” client: a blind old gentleman whom a bunch of teenagers bashed up. They also hurt his old seeing-eye dog. I visited him at home. When I left, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to work with him, because my sense of outrage got in the way of the professional relationship. So, that evening I started what I thought would become a short story in which a far worse criminal teenager would get just retribution. This is the standard technique of “displacing emotion.” I invented two people: a fourteen year old boy who murdered six little kids and a woman. The second character was an old lady, Sylvia, who was the witness. Only, Sylvia then took charge, and the story became one of the power of compassion. It grew into a novel, Hit and Run, which many of my fans have considered as my best. 


The book is a private journal Sylvia decided to keep, of her nine months of contact with the multiple murderer, whose birth certificate named him as Chuck (because his mother had chucked up all through pregnancy). Sylvia insisted on calling him Charlie, because she refused to join into abuse-by-name.
So, it’s a detailed record, kept by an old lady. If I’d written it, it would be quite different in many ways. For example, in her youth, she was firmly trained never to say or write obscenities. Charlie, and everyone from his background, used them with abandon. So, while I’d have let them rip on the page, she felt the need to partly blank them out, as in “f--” Please excuse her for this. I remember reading Angela’s Ashes, which is a great book, but has not a single quotation mark to indicate conversation. This grated for a few pages, then I got used to it.
She also drank lots of tea, which I don’t particularly like. However, her baking was delicious.
Sylvia was an artist, with eidetic imagery, both for vision and sound. That’s highly unusual, but does happen. Her drawings of Charlie enabled the police to catch him. Her memory for words ensured that her record of the many emergencies and challenges they went through was accurate.


I live in Australia, and Sylvia graced this country with her life for almost 85 years.
Australia’s two largest cities are Sydney and Melbourne. Somehow, from the details I got from her journal, I’d best describe the location as Sydbourne. It’s clearly on the eastern seaboard, in a moderate climate with no worse than cold and rain in winter, but she hasn’t given me any further details.
But then, this story is about people, who are much the same everywhere. If Sylvia could turn hate, anger, despair and hopelessness into Love in Sydbourne, you can do the same wherever you live.


That’s easy, because two documents within the book are dated. It was in 2014 and 2015.

But what happened?

See? I couldn’t keep with your requirements after all.
Chuck hated everyone, except for his little brother, Tommy. If he could have, he’d have blown up the planet. So, he decided on suicide, by killing as many people as possible. He planned out several possible actions. As the first, he stole an old car, and used it to drive over six little kids and the crossing guard. He missed old Sylvia by inches.
That night, mysteriously, he, his image, his representation, appeared in front of her. All he wanted was to kill her, too, but was unable to move. Despite his fury, foul language and aggressiveness, she treated him with respect, and reacted to him in the way she did to everyone: with empathy and decency.
This contact kept repeating, but it was somehow in his control. She used his love for Tommy as a lever in starting him on the way to positive change.
There was a memorial service for the murder victims. When someone stated a wish for vengeance, she was outraged enough to get up on stage.

I thought of the hell Charlie had lived in, the horrible conditions that had twisted him and sent him over the edge. I knew I had to say something. I struggled to my feet. I walked forward, unsteady because my stick still lay on the floor by my chair. Instantly, Vlad was by my side, and helped me up the steps. I'd never used a microphone before, but had often seen others do it. I simply spoke.
“I was there, within inches of being killed myself, but God has spared me for a purpose, and now I know what that purpose is.
"Mr McRae, you and your wife have suffered a terrible tragedy. Nothing can fill the hole in your lives. And yet, I heard not one word of hate and vengeance in what you said. Why did Chuck Debnall steal a car in order to find someone, anyone, to kill? What drove him to this crazy, cruel act?
"He was hurting, filled with hate. In his fourteen years, he'd known nothing but cruelty, abuse, violence. His very name is an abusive joke against him. So, he struck back in vengeance. Like Catholics and Protestants for hundreds of years in Ireland, like Arabs and Jews in the Middle East, he wanted to repay hurt with hurt. To him, the enemy was all humanity, so he didn't care who his victims would be.
"Mr McRae, Charles has a little brother, only six years old. He speaks with a foul mouth like... a drunken sailor. He can be violent, because it's the only way he's ever seen. In his short life, he has experienced a long succession of drunken, drug-taking men who spent time with his mother, and they're his only model. But inside, he's a sweet little child, like your Katie was. Suppose you were to take him into your hearts? Then he'd have a chance to grow up into a man like you, instead of following the only path he's seen so far--the path of hate and violence that's turned his older brother into a murderer.
"Hate begets hate, vengeance only leads to vengeance, violence feeds on itself. Only love can stop the endless cycle. Only love can turn hate into love.
"Charles has done a terrible thing. He has hurt us. Should we therefore hate him, and wish him harm? Then we act from the same motives that twisted his young soul. Maybe, maybe, we as a community can do something to teach him a better way, a way of decency and kindness and respect. Maybe we can do this for others of his kind.
"The Reverend said, '"Vengeance is mine," said the Lord.' But Jesus said, 'Love thine enemies.' I think that's a better guide."

I won’t tell you more about the story, except that I’ve been told it’s a page-turner. Yes, Sylvia managed to reform Charlie. Yes, she recruited the grieving community to become his support team. Incidentally, both these are based on research. There are many real-life examples of “violent no-hopers” turning into decent people, and of survivors of criminal actions ending up motivated to help lead criminals to a better way of seeing the world. At the end of the book, I very briefly discuss some of this evidence. 

You can read my short story, Armour-coating Our Kids with a similar theme. Click here to read the story on Bob's blog.

Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich

Buy Links

About Bob

Dr. Bob Rich has retired so far from five different occupations. Of those remaining, the most important is being a Professional Grandfather. He has beloved genetically related grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but also many hundreds of others, all over the planet. Any person under 25 qualifies. They only need to apply.
Dr. Bob Rich

Many do so by sending him an anguished email. His words often make a difference, and some of these contacts last for years.
Because he passionately cares for the welfare of young people, he is a committed environmental and humanitarian campaigner. We live in an insane global culture that encourages and rewards the worst in human nature: greed, aggression, territoriality, fear and hate of “the other,” short-term thinking. 
Everything he has done since the 1970s is aimed at moving culture toward encouraging and rewarding the best in human nature: empathy, compassion, cooperation.
We are now in the 6th extinction event in Earth’s history. When we unravel the web of life, we also fall through the hole. So, live simply, so you may simply live.
If this message resonates with you, click here to visit Bob's blog.

Look around, and if you like what you read, click the Follow button.

Enter for a chance to win! 

1. Bob says, "I am happy to give a free copy of any of my books to each of three commenters, randomly chosen. Winners can pick the book they want at Bob's Writing." Leave a comment below for a chance to win one of Bob's books. Deadline to enter is11:59 pm. ET, Wednesday, August 15.

2. Bob is generously offering a FREE edit of your book. Click here for details on how to enter this contest at his blog.

Thanks so much, Bob, for being my guest and for the opportunity to gift a book to three commenters!

Coming Up!!
The 5 W's of Story Guest Authors Event
Thrilled to have more guest authors this month and beyond sharing the Five W's of their stories! Come back and discover authors and great reads to wind up the summer. And You may win a book too!!


22Diane Burton

 5          IWSG Blog Hop
12           C. Lee Mackenzie

Follow this Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

IWSG: Be Practical When Publishing Your Book

IWSG Badge
IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.

Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop!

What is the Insecure Writer's Support Group?

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. 

Alex explains the group's purpose is "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!" You're invited to become a member of this supportive group.

The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page

Aug. 1 question 
What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid 
on their publication journey?
When your manuscript (ms) is ready to publish, be realistic about how much you can spend to get your book in the hands of a reader. Authors have to be practical. You will take longer to pay for expenses when selling a 99 cent eBook versus selling one for $4.99 because you have to sell a LOT of 99 cent books to earn the cash. The folks at CreateSpace, a POD company, told me to expect to pay at least $400 to get a print book ready. You may have to hire a content editor, a proofreader, a formatter, and/or a book cover designer. Depending on your own skills (or your talented friends), you may get by cheaper. 

I've heard writers say they spent $3000. to get their book published. That may be okay if the expense results in a best-selling book and you have an extra $3000 in your pocket, but foolish if you don't. 

A traditional publisher will never ask you for money to publish your work. They make money by selling books. A vanity publisher is in the business to make money by signing you up to sell you services. Be aware of the difference and don't get caught up in their promises. Be practical!!
# # #
The 5 W's of Story Guest Authors Event
Thrilled to have more guest authors this month and beyond sharing the Five W's of their stories! Come back and discover authors and great reads to wind up the summer. And You may win a book too!!

15 Dr. Bob Rich
22 Diane Burton

12           C. Lee Mackenzie

Follow this Blog

 by Email

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Storytime Blog Hop: Another Time by J.Q. Rose

Welcome to the Focused on Story blog by J.Q. Rose 
and to the quarterly Storytime Blog Hop!

Huge thank you to Juneta Key, the organizer of the event.
Click below to find bloggers participating in the blog hop and click on the link to read their stories. So many creative, talented, imaginative folks in this hop. Enjoy!! 
Please leave a comment and share. Thank you.

Storytime Blog Hop
Founded 2015 by students of “How To Think Sideways: 
Career Survival School for Writer’s,” 
a writing course created by writer and teacher Holly Lisle

Storytime Blog Hop
Logo designed by Juneta Key
Sundial by [Cox, Sandra]
Sundial by Sandra Cox
 Time travel romance

Today I'm flexing my writing muscles and trying something new. I'm sharing a time travel story with you. I've discovered I'm fascinated when reading time travel stories. 
1. I wonder if there really is another realm of time coinciding with the world we live in and 
2. I love seeing how an author goes about creating the "portal" that takes the characters into another time and world, and 
3. how she leads the reader into the different worlds. 

After attempting to write this time travel, I can tell you transitioning from one time to another and making a reader realize what is happening is difficult. 

I recently read Sandra Cox' time travel, Sundial. The way she crafted the book made it easy to follow and so convincing.

Another Time by J.Q. Rose

Rachel choked on her hot tea when she glanced out the large window of the English Guest House and spotted a tall, young man dressed in a World War I vintage uniform. Trying to stop the cough spasms, she covered her mouth, but kept her gaze on him. He flipped his peaked cap off his head and waved it at her.
            She squinted through the glass into the fading evening light, then jumped away from the window. Kenneth!  
The English Guest House (Bracken House Hall, 2018) across the road from the Moors
Yorkshire County, England
            “No, no, no, not again.” She changed out of her pajamas into her jeans and tee shirt lying on the bed and finger-combed her long black hair as she searched for her sandals. She would just tell him to go away and leave her alone.
            She and Kenneth had a long history together. A very long history. They had fallen in love in every life she had lived clear back in the time when she was Cleopatra and he was her body guard. During the US War of Independence, she was a nurse on the battlefield tending his wounds. As Duchess Charlotte, married to the Duke of Sussex, she couldn’t resist Kenneth in a uniform then either.
            But today, in 2018, she was not going to make the same mistake. Each time they fell in love, he left her. She couldn’t live through the turmoil and the loss of his leaving again, no matter what his excuse. Well, perhaps she could accept the fact he was killed in World War II as a viable one.
World War I Soldier
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay
            She slid her feet into her sandals and scurried back to the window. Pulling the heavy curtains wide open, she leaned on the sill and checked to see if he was still waiting across the street for her. This time she noticed a throng of people near him strolling the fairgrounds on the English moors. The scene looked just like the black and white photos from the 1914 Yorkshire fair displayed on the hallway walls of the Guest House.
  When he spotted her looking out the window again, that irresistible tilted smile lighted up his boyish face. She stepped back from the window as she struggled with the feelings inside her. Her heart ached to be with him. To touch him, love him again. She jerked the curtains closed and turned her back to the window. No, she could not see him again. She would not see him again.
“Ohhh, Kenneth. Why do you do this to me?” With clenched fists, she shouted into the empty room. Rachel whirled around and yanked the curtains open again.
Without pondering another moment about the consequences, she raced out the door forgetting her cell phone and glasses on the desk and practically flew down the hall to the wooden double doors that would open out to Kenneth.
Rachel slammed against the locked doors as hard as her heart was slamming inside her chest. Frantic to get out to him she pushed again until her befuddled mind realized she had to slide the bolt away to open it.
When she stepped across the door jam, the electrified air charged her body. She shut her eyes, feeling the tingling sensation course through her. Opening them wide, she stopped and noticed bent old people, women in long skirts and beautiful hats, and gentlemen in suits swirling around him. Kids in their Sunday best dodged in and out of the fair-goers as they strolled through the grounds laughing and visiting the tents of the vendors. The smell of delicious fair food with the underlying scent of horses wafted through the air.
Music from a calliope added to the festive scene exactly as pictured in the old photos.
Watching the activity, she paused to consider her choices again. She could go ahead and meet with Kenneth or turn around and return to the 21st century just a few steps away through the wooden doors behind her. Did she really want to have her heart broken again by this man? No, but maybe this time would be different. Yes, she nodded her head, this time it would be different.
Rachel raced across the road and threw herself into Kenneth’s waiting arms and clung to him, breathing in his fresh scent of soap and cigar-smoked wool tunic. Encircled in his embrace, the fabric scratched against her cheek when she wriggled against his chest.  The throng of fair-goers bumped into them, but nothing could make her stop holding him, her one true love through all the ages.
When Kenneth released her, she stepped back and studied his blazing blue eyes and his sandy-blonde hair in its usual tousled state. She moved back in his arms and planted a deep kiss on his lips. The heat surge sizzled through her body when he returned the kiss with passion.
            Her eyes searched his as all the noise and people were forgotten. She stepped away. Leaning toward him, she asked, “Are you going to continue to chase me through all my lifetimes? It’s 2018 in my world.”
His eyes sparkled. “Yes, I will never stop looking for you. How could I be so lucky to find you again? But this time, this time will be for always. Nothing will separate us again.”
“How do you know that? Every lifetime we’ve loved each other truly. And then, we lose each other. I don’t think I can take losing you again.” She dropped her arms to her sides, a frown disturbing her fine features.
“No, no, don’t say that.” He lightly cupped her chin in his hand. “You’re here now. Don’t leave. Let’s take these moments and cherish them. Don’t even think about whatever happens next. Let’s just live right now!”
Rachel’s eyes darkened as she stood as unyielding as the MSU football's defensive linemen. “I am not living for right now. I want to plan for my future. You aren’t in it because I can’t count on you to be my life-partner through all these crazy lives.”
Kenneth shuffled back from her, a weak smile on his face. “You’re kidding aren’t you? You can’t mean that.”
“I never want to see you again in whatever time we may meet.” She slashed her arms across her body. “Do you understand me?”
“But, but---,” he stammered.
Rachel spun away and headed through the doors back into the 21st century. Feeling free and happy, she was ready to face the future, or the past, whichever life adventure came first.

Do you think Rachel made the right decision? Why?

Book Bargains through July 31
Mysteries on Sale

TOSB on Sale
Smashwords is having a site-wide sale during July. My mysteries from BWL Publishing are on sale for $1.50. Click on the title to take you to the book page. Click here to take a peek


Girls Succeed!
Inspiring Girls to make their dream jobs come true
On Sale for 99 cents
My non-fiction interactive eBook is on sale too for only 99 cents. This book is
filled with inspiring stories to empower girls to work toward achieving their dream careers.
Available at these digital sellers:

Girls Succeed

Thanks for stopping in today. 

Now it's "time" for you to hop over to read stories from more bloggers participating in the blog hop.

Click on the titles below.
Team Building Exercise, by Samantha Bryant 
Beginning Again, by Karen Lynn 
Under The Bridge, by Katharina Gerlach 
Black and White, by Bill Bush 
Summer Siren, by Elizabeth McCleary 
The Birch Tree, by Juneta Key 
The Zoning Zone, by Vanessa Wells 
Secrets, by Elizabeth Winfield

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The 5 W’s of Story—Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women by J.Q. Rose

Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Five W's in Story event. Mid-way through the summer season, I want to thank the guest authors who have shared the Five W's of their stories. Each one has been unique in how they approached the topic. 

I look forward to hosting Dr. Bob Rich and Diane Burton in August and to more authors in the lineup this summer. If you would like to talk about the Five W's in your book, please contact me to set up a time. We can extend the event into the fall months if there is enough interest. Thanks.

The 5 W's in Story
I like the idea of sharing the Five W's in a story so much, I decided to jump in today and take a turn at explaining the five W’s in my non-fiction book for girls, Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women. 

The 5 W’s of Story—Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women by J.Q. Rose

Girls Succeed!
Inspiring and empowering girls to achieve success in their dream careers
Girls Succeed! is an eBook filled with stories of women who, just like the readers, had dreams as little girls to embrace their passion and make it their career. The girls will be inspired by meeting the women and how they overcame obstacles in order to achieve their dream careers.

Unique to this eBook is the section about the women’s education and their resumes. Resources are listed to find out more about each profession through books and magazines. Links to websites and videos make the stories about the careers come alive for readers.

Fifteen successful women profiled in Girls Succeed
I was honored to interview fifteen successful women who trusted me to tell their stories in the book. I appreciate their generosity in sharing their stories so girls can see how important it is to believe they can actually make their dream career a reality.

 The stories include women who have discovered cures to stamp out disease, made people laugh, earned Olympic gold medals, and experienced seeing the country from the cab of an 18-wheeler truck. 

They all have some things in common.  First, they are passionate about the work they are doing. Second, they had people who influenced the decisions they made and helped them achieve their dreams. Third, they worked hard to be the best.

Dream Big
Painting by Julie Ann McKevitt

The stories come from all over the United States from Arizona to Pennsylvania, from Michigan to Florida.

The women are contemporary women and contributing to today’s society including trailblazers in their professions.

When I worked several seasons at a girls residence camp in Michigan, I met outstanding young women who were counselors at the camp and smart, energetic campers full of potential to do great things with their lives. I wanted them to know women who achieved success in their chosen professions. These role models can inspire and empower girls to reach for and work toward achieving their dreams.

You can achieve your dreams.
I was driven to put together this book, but I didn’t know too many women who were outstanding in their professions. So how did I start? I made a spreadsheet in 2008 of all the careers I wanted to cover in the book. Then I began my research. I made up a letterhead and wrote letters to each person telling them about my dream to write a book that would inspire girls and I requested an interview. I had a lot of rejections, but amazingly I had women who were excited to share their stories hoping they would inspire girls. (I’ve had adults review the book and they told me the stories inspired them too!)

Email was not as popular then as now, so all of the communication was done through snail mail. I also set up a time for a live interview via phone.

This was an exciting time for me and I value every minute spent getting to know these kind and giving women. Meet the ladies in the video below. 

Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women
Below is the list of successful women in the project and their careers.

Chapter 1--Horse Trainer/Competitive Dressage Rider, Pati Pierucci
True Love
Chapter 2--Bike Racer, Mackenzie Woodring
Speeding Around the Track
Chapter 3--Children’s Book Author and Illustrator, Jane Stroschin
Practice, Practice, Practice
Chapter 4--Medical Doctor, Cate Bradley
Role Models Rock
Chapter 5--Chef, Sue Chef
Cooking Up a Career
Chapter 6--Technology Expert, Diana Stoneberg
Keep Your Sense of Humor
Chapter 7--Christian Minister, Laurie Haller
Serving God
Chapter 8--Horticulturalist, Sharon Loving
Thank You Very Mulch
Chapter 9--Medical Scientist, Juanita Merchant
Confidence Counts
Chapter 10-Olympic Gold Medalist in Women’s Ice Hockey, Angela Ruggiero
Showing the Boys
Chapter 11-Semi-Truck Driver, Barbara Totten
Freedom of the Road
Chapter 12-Teacher/Coach/Athletic Director, Barbara “Chili” Chiles
Aim Higher
Chapter 13-Social Worker, Lenair Correll           
Overcoming Obstacles
Chapter 14-Entrepreneur/Product Developer, Veronica Bosgraaf
Find the Path to Success
Chapter 15-Professional Clown, Brenda Marshall
A Big Red Nose

Reader’s Guide

The Reader's Guide can be used as a companion to the ebook to encourage discussion on themes in the book and to have fun creating projects to further understanding themes of Passion, Persistence, Trailblazers, Feeling Different,  Be the Best You Can Be, Overcoming Obstacles 
Girls Succeed! Now on sale for 99 cents
Girls Succeed! including the Reader's Guide,
is now on sale for 99 cents at your favorite digital bookseller!