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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Friday, April 13, 2018

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Purple Prose

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Every day this month I'm blogging 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!!

a lover of words,
Another name for a logophile is Word Nerd. Do you agree? This whole month  Focused on Story is for logophiles. In the beginning of this challenge, I explained my theme—I’ll share words that have caught my attention, words that fascinate me, words that roll off the tongue, words that make a sound (crackle), and words that have been in my vocabulary for one reason or another which I will explain. Many of the words are new-to-me. Hopefully, by including them in this survey of words, my vocabulary will expand and perhaps, yours will too.
 I came across logophile in an article by K.M. Weiland on her website, Helping Writers Become Authors. She called herself a logophile and addressed Fellow Logophiles. She cautioned against using purple prose in our writing. She defines purple prose as “an elaborate, gauche costume that, more often than not, simply covers up a lack of depth in the story itself.”
Because we love words, sometimes we are carried away with "elegant" words and forget to use words to match our voice. She calls a story “overblown” when trying to impress readers with our vocabulary.
Stories do not exist to showcase words. Rather, words exist to tell stories.” K.M. Weiland

It is my hope, when you learn a new word this month on this blog, when you use it in your article or story, it will be appropriate and not sound pretentious.

Click here to read the entire article. I’m a subscriber to her blog because she is so clear with her tips on improving writing. 
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Are you a Word Nerd? If so, why? Please leave a comment below. I love meeting readers.

Let's get together on Facebook. Like my author page and I'll like you back! Click here to visit the J.Q. Rose author page. Thank you.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Blogging From A to Z Challenge: Teachers and Learners

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog and the April month-long challenge of using the alphabet as prompts for writing a daily blog post. I realize there are so many places you could visit on the Internet, I appreciate you taking time to stop here. 
Today we tackle the letter K.
 a sense mediated by receptors located in muscles, tendons, and joints and stimulated by bodily movements and tensions; also sensory experience derived from this sense, Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The adjective form of this word, kinesthetic, is listed in as one of the most difficult words to pronounce in English. Lucky for us, Emma pronounces it. Here’s the correct pronunciation of kinesthetic

How to Pronounce Kinesthetic Youtube

Describing the meaning is almost as difficult as saying the word. I came across this word in college when majoring in elementary education. Kinesthetic learners are tactile learners. They need to touch and manipulate objects and to move around instead of learning while sitting at a desk. There's nothing wrong with a kinesthetic learner, he/she learns, but in a different way.

For instance, using miniature marshmallows to learn multiplication and division works well. Ex: 3 x 5 = 15. The child counts out 3 groups of 5 marshmallows, then counts the total. And then, he eats them when the lesson is over!! Teacher too…. Clapping out sounds or syllables in words helps to reinforce a lesson on syllables. And taking time for physical activity, instead of sitting for prolonged times, helps a learner focus.

Do you know a child who is a kinesthetic learner? How does he/she learn best?
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Emmasaying jokes that this is the hardest word in the English language to say! A lot of truth to it. What do you think?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Blogging From A to Z Challenge: Going On and On and On and On and....

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose. Are you a word lover? You're here at the right place. All this month I'll be revealing words that fascinate me. 

a prolonged lamentation or complaint; 
 a cautionary or angry harangue, Merriam Webster Dictionary

Jeremiad is derived from Jeremiah, a Jewish prophet who is known for his lamentations on the hardships endured by a prophet with an unpopular message. He carried on and on about Hebrews and accusing them of false worship and injustice. He also complained about the king and his selfishness and materialism. In the Bible’s Old Testament in the book of Jeremiah, he lamented about the hardships endured by a prophet with an unpopular message. Poor Jeremiah.

Nowadays, English speakers use the term "Jeremiah" to describe a pessimistic person and "jeremiad" for the way these Jeremiahs carry on. Merriam Webster Dictionary

I bet you have heard jeremiads from friends and family on today’s hot topics. How do you respectfully handle someone who goes on and on and on? Please leave a comment below and help us all out with this problem.
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Promotional Opportunity at Focused on Story 
We kicked off a new guest author series, The Five W's in Story, in March. I've suspended this event during this April Challenge because I like to allow my guest 6 days of exposure on this blog to reach the largest audience possible. I value the time the guest takes to put together the blog post and their books, so I want to allow readers as much time as possible to meet the person and his/her work.
The 5 W's Guest Author Event
So what are the 5 W's? 
One of the basics when learning to be a writer is to listen to a lecture on the Five W's and the H. The 5 W's, who, what, where, when. and why are the essence of a story.  Since we are focused on story at this blog, we need to realize just how important working out the 5 W's can be in creating a great story for readers.

You'll find this series with my guests informative and entertaining and not a stuffy lecture in a dusty, old classroom with a professor palavering on and on and on. No jeremiads here!

Click here to visit the first in the series by historical romance author Rosemary Morris. Her blog post is an overview of the 5 W's in her romance stories. Then enjoy reading all of the guests' blog posts every Wednesday in March. Return in May to meet more authors and discover their books and the 5 W's in their stories.

If you are a traditional or self-published author of mysteries, romance, and/or suspense, please contact me to be a guest this summer. Email me at jqrose0 at gmail dot com. Thank you!