Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Pilgrims Said Thank You! Happy Thanksgiving!


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

Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 23 in the USA. The First Thanksgiving was in 1621 when the Pilgrims invited the Wampanoag people to a feast to celebrate the harvest with them. The Pilgrims and their guests came together to enjoy the bounty of their hard work, but most important of all they wanted to express their gratitude and to thank God for the good things in their lives.
The Pilgrims said Thank You!
The idea of a day of Thanksgiving boggles the mind when we realize the trauma and turmoil the Pilgrims went through that first year struggling to develop a colony in the New World. Remember these Pilgrims attempted to make the voyage across the ocean three times in the Mayflower and the Speedwell sailing vessels. 

Making the final decision the Speedwell was unfit for the ocean voyage, they turned back after 300 miles on the ocean and a wasted month and a half on that trip. They unloaded the cargo from the Speedwell and loaded it onto the crowded Mayflower. Many of the passengers left the adventure too tired or sick to start out again.


The Mast of a Sailing Ship
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

On September 6, 1620, 102 souls set sail from England. They endured hunger, sickness, death, and frightening storms on an open sea. They couldn't land where they had planned because of strong storms battering them. Rather than sail down the Hudson River to build their homes, they sighted the shores of Cape Cod on November 9. After exploring the area,  they decided to make Plymouth their home. Imagine trying to build a colony in that cold weather. Only half of the Pilgrims survived the winter. 

Wonders of wonders, after all this suffering and loss, they gave us the greatest gift, Thanksgiving! The Pilgrims gave thanks for their blessings on that autumn day in 1621. Their First Thanksgiving is the lesson for understanding that even with so many problems and sadness, it is still possible to say "thank you" no matter the circumstances.

In these difficult times throughout the world, we often dwell on all the bad things that are happening. Problems swirl around us every day making it difficult to take time to reflect and find something good to be thankful for. But sometimes the smallest things are actually the biggest things.


How about
  • a child's smile
  • a hearty laugh at a friend's silly joke
  •  a sunny day
  • a warm cup of coffee or cocoa after coming in from the cold weather
  • a hug?
* * *
Books We Love Insider Blog

To learn what was on the table for the First Thanksgiving, click here to read my blog post at the Books We Love Insiders Blog.

Wishing YOU and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What's Your Choice? Outliner and/or Seat-of-the-Pants Writer?, A Gift for You, Save 25%

Gardener Ted and I heading for the beach!!

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog by J.Q. Rose!
As you can see from the photo above, I'm a bit giddy and silly. I have a good reason. I finished the manuscript for Terror on Sunshine Boulevard and sent it in to the editors at BWL Publishing. 

That doesn't mean the story is finished. The editor will return her suggestions/comments on the ms all red-marked in the Tracker program. So I will have even more editing to do before the final story will be ready for release. But having the story written is the first big hurdle. 

Soon I'll be ready to tackle another story. I usually outline the story first, but I'm open to changing elements to help me get to a satisfying ending. How about you? 

I'm sharing this previously posted article on the J.Q. Rose blog for you to consider how you begin your stories. I look forward to your comments.


Outliner or Pantser???


What's Your Choice? Outliner and/or Seat of the Pants Writer? by J.Q. Rose
When you begin your story or novel, do you use an outline to guide your writing or do you just begin and let the ideas/characters/plot take you in the direction of the story? Letting the words flow along with no pre-planning means you are writing by the seat-of-your-pants thus earning the title of a “pantser.”  We have lots of discussions at The Writers Chatroom among the newcomers and regular attendees as to the best method of writing a story or novel. Click here to join us at The Writers Chatroom . 
  • Wednesday evening chats  from 8-10 pm ET,  
  • guest authors on Sunday nights at 7 pm ET. 
In an article by Robert Campbell, Outlining,  in Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America, this mystery writer admits he never used an outline. He preferred William Faulkner’s method of setting his characters on the road and “walk beside them, listening to what they have to say.” Campbell admits writing without an outline causes him to start down paths that lead to dead ends, but he discovers a lot about a character spending time on pages upon pages that he may have to discard. However, he feels that at least, he exercised the writing muscles.
Later in his writing Campbell discovered outlining using his “word processor” or even hand writing a simple outline. He also makes up documents before starting the story such as Chronology, Cast of Characters, Address Book, Timeline of History, Notebook and Agenda which “sketches the goals, desires and probable actions of each principal character as I move through the body of the book.” He builds on each of these documents as the work-in-progress (WIP) evolves.  Campbell cautions that at no time is anything engraved in stone. He remains flexible with each chapter.
I have tried the pantser and not so strict outline process and discovered just like Campbell, my many paths lead to dead ends. I really don't like cutting a bunch of scenes or re-writing to fit that once-brilliant idea into the story when it really isn't necessary. 
Quote by Nora Roberts
It really makes no difference whether you need a map, guidelines, outline or just an idea to freely write a story. The important thing is to write. Don’t be paralyzed by constructing an outline, then never writing the story. With no outline, you may write paragraphs, pages, scenes, chapters, etc that will need to be cut for the final draft. But many authors incorporate those leftover pages into another future story or save them to share with readers on your blog to give them an extra treat to the behind-the-scenes editing you did to produce the finished product.
Pleeeeeezzzz…just write! It’s in you. What a shame if you don’t let the story inside you out on the page.
***

A GIFT FOR YOU
A Gift for You
If you are editing now or will be in the future, I would like to share a valuable cheatsheet developed by my first editor, Karen McGrath. She titled it Villain Words because eliminating these words will eliminate passive voice writing. 

Please click here to link to the J.Q. Rose Author Page and like my page. I'll send you the sheet via Messenger. Thank you.
If you prefer, send me an email to let me know you liked my page and I'll email the sheet to you.

If you have already liked my author page, leave a comment below and I'll email the sheet. 

My email address is jqrose02(at)gmail (dot)com


BIG NEWS

My publisher, BWL Publishing is offering 25% off my mysteries when using the coupon for Smashwords. The sales price with the coupon is $2.24. Grab them for yourself or your friends! All formats are available. If you have a kindle, order the mobi file.


Click on the titles below to go to the Smashwords Sales Page. 

Also available for $2.99 at other major online booksellers. Thank you!


   Dangerous Sanctuary                                             Deadly Undertaking


      Coupon Code KW65J                                           Coupon code AS94U

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thank a Vet, Report on Using Grammarly Writing Aid, A Gift for You

Veterans Day is November 11. 
Take a moment to thank a vet for his/her service to our country.
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. I'm J.Q. Rose.

I've spent most of the last three weeks on editing my manuscript for Terror on Sunshine Boulevard, due to be released this winter by BWL Publishing. 

I'm a spelling and grammar perfectionist. I told you I gave up being a perfectionist when I was twelve-years-old. However, striving for perfection in all of my writing projects is something I will not give up. I believe it is rude not to offer the best writing and cleanest script possible to readers. This attention to detail should also extend to those who are critiquing a piece of writing.

Imagine having your own proofreader and grammar checker at your beck and call. You can if you sign up with Grammarly. I am experimenting with the free version to see if I could get even more help in achieving the goal of delivering a perfect piece of writing to readers. Here are some good and bad points I discovered using Grammarly.

GRAMMARLY
Pros
  • Grammarly finds errors as I write this blog, emails, and Facebook status
  • Fixing errors is easy. The misspelled word is highlighted in red. Just click on the error to correct it.
  • Each week a report on Productivity, Vocabulary, and Activity (and a fun badge award) arrives in my inbox.       
Second week achievement award from Grammarly
Cons
  • When I'm on a writing tangent, the red lines under my errors are distracting.
  • For me, I have to stop and take time to fix them.
  • The constant tease of errors missed because I don't have the paid program irks me. It is a way to upsell to the premium program.
  • I have not exported a document with a large word count....yet. I think I will export short documents first because all those red lines noting errors may be overwhelming!
After signing up with Grammarly, I learned there are many programs like this one. Amanda Shofner explains the six automatic writing aids in her excellent article at the Writer's Life site sorting their functions into three categories. She spotlights Grammarly, ProWritingAid, After the Deadline, AuthorCrit, Hemingway App, and WordRake.
Click here to read Ms. Shofner's informative article.

Have you used any of these writing aids? Tell us about your experience in a comment below. Thank you.

A GIFT FOR YOU
If you are editing now or will be in the future, I would like to share a valuable cheatsheet developed by my first editor, Karen McGrath. She titled it Villain Words because eliminating these words will eliminate passive voice writing. 

Please click here to link to the J.Q. Rose Author Page and like my page. I'll send you the sheet via Messenger. Thank you.
 
If you prefer, send me an email to let me know you liked my page and I'll email the sheet to you.

If you have already liked my author page, leave a comment below and I'll email the sheet. 

My email address is jqrose02(at)gmail (dot)com


BIG NEWS

My publisher, BWL Publishing is offering 25% off my mysteries when using the coupon for Smashwords. The sales price with the coupon is $2.24...Grab them for yourself or your friends! All formats are available. If you have a kindle, order the mobi file.


Click on the titles below to go to the Smashwords Sales Page. 


   Dangerous Sanctuary                                             Deadly Undertaking

      Coupon Code KW65J                                           Coupon code AS94U

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

IWSG Blog Hop: History of My NaNo Experience by J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. 
Time for the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group(IWSG) blog hop! 

Internet Writers Support Group Blog Hop
First Wednesday of every month.
What is IWSG? Founder of the  Insecure Writer’s Support Group and author Alex J Cavanaugh 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. I hope you'll take some time to visit the diverse list of bloggers.


IWSG Question for the Month
Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?
When I first heard the term, NaNo, I thought it was a word comedian Robin Williams coined in his 70's TV show, "Mork and Mindy." It wasn't. Mork always said, "Nanu, nanu." 

NaNo actually is the shortened term for the National Novel Writing Month challenge held every November. Writers all over the world try to write a 50,000 word novel in just that one month. Some make it and some don't. 


There's no shame in not achieving the goal of 50,000 words because a writer is a winner when actually sitting down and writing!
Time to Write!!

Yes, I took on the challenge 7 years ago. I wrote my story which turned out to be only 20,000 words. I wrote the story and assumed I was done. I didn't know then, I could have started another story and another story because the word count is what winning is all about, not the completed novel. If a person writes 50,000 words, she wins! Nano doesn't care if it's 50,000 words that go together and make sense. There is no oversight on quality of storytelling.  We can understand, the first draft is the worst draft...
"You need to start somewhere." Anne Lamott

I received a contract from MuseItUp Publishing for my project, revised many many times after Nano. BWL Publishing is republishing this story, but as a longer project, at least doubled in size, due to be released this winter. I had so much fun re-visiting the story and expanding the characters and situations in the latest version. (Oh yes, you'll be hearing more about this project in updates.)

BWL Publishing

I haven't done NaNo recently. I found re-vising the project is time-consuming. Let's face it, writing all those words under a deadline makes one write a lot of "stuff." If I ever do it again, I'll have a lot of the story and characters and setting decided before starting the writing. Hopefully that will eliminate chasing the story down the rabbit trails.

Please leave a comment below comparing your experience with mine. I'd love to hear about it. Thanks!!

Click here for information on joining in on NaNo. Hurry cause it starts November 1!!

Thank you to the awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG--Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton,MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Storytime Blog Hop: The Witch of Wall Street by J.Q. Rose





Storytime blog hop
Storytime Blog Hop for October!
Logo Credit: Katharina Gerlach
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
Welcome to the Focused on Story blog by J.Q. Rose 
and to the quarterly Storytime Blog Hop!
Storytime Blog Hop
Logo designed by Juneta Key

Today, creative, talented writers share short stories to make you happy, sad, surprised, angry and all the other emotions a writer can wring out of you.
Please take some time to escape from reality by visiting writers in this fun blog hop. Just click on the links at the end of the page to take you to the participating bloggers.

You're invited to leave a comment and to share your reading experience with friends.



πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ
October thoughts involve not only fall colors and crunchy apples, but also Halloween tricks or treats. Today, I have no-calorie treats for you--
πŸŽƒ a short Halloween story, 

πŸŽƒ my favorite Halloween poem, 

πŸŽƒ and my romantic suspense novel, 
Deadly Undertaking at 25% off. 
BOO!

πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ
The Witch of Wall Street by J.Q. Rose
The Witch of Wall Street by J.Q. Rose
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Harry noted the black, stiletto heels adorning long legs that disappeared under a tight, black pencil skirt. A black leather belt cinched her small waist drawing the sweater tightly over voluptuous breasts. When he made it to her face, the green eyes flashed in his direction. The smile on his face morphed into a laugh when he spotted the small witch’s cap perched on her long black hair. When she crossed the room to the table by the window, an eerie silence blanketed the room. Every eye in the hotel bar watched as if she were an apparition.
Harry leaned in toward his business partners at the table and asked, “Who is that goddess?" 
“I have no idea.” George shook his head. Harry was old enough to be a grandfather, but it never stopped him from hitting on young women.
“Adam, you’re a New Yorker. Do you know her?”
Adam swiveled back to face Harry. “You don’t want to be messing around with her. That’s Venus Devine. She’s known as the Witch of Wall Street. You don’t want to trifle with her. She can cast a spell on you that will ruin your life.” Adam pointed his finger at Harry. “Trust me. Stick with your hot babes from LA.”
“Interesting. Intriguing.” Harry rested his cigar on the ashtray, stood up, and smoothing his tie across his paunch, he said. “I’m going to ask her to join us.”
“Wait.” Adam reached to grab Harry’s arm, but Harry shook him off and marched to the woman’s table.
“Hello,” he said as he approached the table. “Looks like you’re ready to celebrate Halloween. Where’s your broom?” Harry produced his charming smile, the one he used to win over unsuspecting prey. “I’m Harry Hurtz.”
She offered her hand. “I know who you are Mr. Hurtz,” she said. Instead of shaking it, he bent over and gently kissed the back of her hand. 
“Oh, I see. A real gentleman.” Her dazzling smile engaged all of his senses. The softness of her hand, the floral fragrance of her body, the low velvety voice bewitched him.
“Ms. Devine, if you’re not meeting anyone, would you care to join us at our table for a drink?”
“I have a few minutes before my driver comes to pick me up to take me to a Halloween party. I’d enjoy sharing your company for one drink.” She punctuated her timetable by holding her index finger in the air. She gathered her bag and slipped out of the chair. Harry offered her his arm and escorted the gorgeous woman to his table where his partners sat.
“He did it again. What is it about Harry that charms the ladies?” George rested his elbows on the table and laced his fingers together.
Adam slicked back his hair with his hands and wet his lips. “Oh come on. You know it ain’t his looks. It’s his money and powerful contacts.” He smirked. “That’s what I like about hangin’ out with the old guy. Plenty of pretty girls.” 
They both stood as Harry pulled out the chair for her, grabbed his chair and sat close to her. As he made the introductions, his grey eyes gazed into hers.
After the third drink and lots of fun and flirting, Venus said to the men, “I’m going to a Halloween party.” She fondled the pendant hanging from a thick gold chain around her neck. “Let’s take our little party here and move it to where the action is.”
The men grinned at each other, then Harry said, “Well, I know I can accompany you, but these guys have other plans, don’t you, boys?” Harry raised his eyebrows and shot them a threatening look.
George said, “Oh, look at the time. My wife’s been waiting to go to dinner with me. Sorry, I can’t go, but you two enjoy the revelry.”
“Adam, too bad you and your buddies already planned a Halloween party, eh?”
“Oh, yeah. Guess I’d better run. I’m in charge of, um, something. You guys have a good time.” Both men said their goodbyes and disappeared into the crowded hotel lobby.
“Well, looks like it’s just you and me. Shall we notify your driver we’re ready,” Harry asked.
After texting the driver, Harry escorted Venus through the elegant lobby arm in arm. Harry puffed up his chest and stood taller enjoying the attention and whispers their combination aroused.  A black, sleek Rolls Royce pulled up to the door. The driver got out of the car and opened the back door curbside for the couple to enter the vehicle.
The car pulled out into the bustling streets of the city and disappeared in traffic. One hour later, the Rolls pulled up in front of the hotel. The driver got out of the car and opened the back door curbside. A fat toad with grey eyes hopped out of the vehicle and up on the curb.

“Happy Halloween.” the driver said as he slammed the car door and drove away.
The End

Happy Halloween from J.Q. Rose
photo by Pixabay

πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ
FOR MORE HALLOWEEN FUN
πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ

Especially for Halloween, another treat. My mystery, Deadly Undertaking, is now 25% off at Smashwords.
Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose
Click here to download this ebook for $2.24
Use the code AS94U at checkout 

πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ

Thanks so much for stopping in. Please visit the following bloggers for even more Halloween treats!

Till Death Us, by Fanni SΓΌtΕ‘ 
The Cloud, by Karen Lynn
Data Corruption, by Barbara Lund 
Wish Granted, by Kami Bataya 
The Witch of Wall Street, by J. Q. Rose 
#StorytimeBloghop Grim Reapers on a Field Trip#FlashFiction #SFF, byJ Lenni Dorner 
Unwelcome Vistors, by Bill Bush 
A Writer's Morning, by Katharina Gerlach 
Unverified, by Erica Damon 
Tito's to the Max, by Chris Makowski 
The Boon, by Juneta Key
Recommended Reading, @ Raven O'Fiernan 
Sanctuary, by Elizabeth McCleary

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6 Editing-My-Novel Steps by J.Q. Rose, 25% Off Sale


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

Mark Twain Quote
I am slogging through the manuscript for Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. Yes, editing. Finding the right words, like Mark Twain said, makes a difference in your story. It is grueling work. When I read a word and it stops me in my editing zone, then it's the wrong word. I have find the right word, but how? 

The steps I go through to find the "right" word.
  • I roll around a lot of words in my head, 
  • I hit shift/f7 to bring up a "dictionary" of sorts in my Word program, 
  • then I go to thesaurus.com for help 
  • if nothing else works, I BOLD and italicize it to return to it when the right word pops into my brain.
6 Editing-My-Novel Steps by J.Q. Rose

Here are the steps I go through when editing (and I must admit I don't have a set number of edits.) Some writers write the first draft, edit for content, edit it for grammar and spellings, final edit for formatting = 4 read-throughs.

1. First draft--I do not edit as I write, or try not to. If you edit as you write, you will never reach the end of the story. Just get down the bones. I admit I do have to correct misspelled words. I am OCD about spelling. I write chronologically. I don't do the big scenes then try and string them together. Tried that once. Never again.
2. I write each chapter and save it in a separate file. I edit each chapter (more than once) before I add it to the manuscript file. Here I add flesh to the bones and clean up awkward sentences and try to slash unnecessary words or redundant information. I have a list of words I overuse, and in the ms I use the Find program in Word to find and replace them.
3. I write the scenes on sticky notes and place them in order according to the ms like a story board. Here's where I can delete or move scenes if I think it improves the flow of the story.
4. I read through the entire ms to check the timeline, sequence, and the characters' actions and descriptions.
5. I put it away and don't touch it for a couple of weeks. Then I send the ms to my kindle and convert it to an ebook. I read it on my kindle and highlight typos, nonsensical sentences, blue eyes to brown eyes, and all the stuff that really sticks out when reading the ms in this format. Sometimes I use the text to speech to "listen" to the story too. Then I find the highlighted notes in the ms and correct them.
6. Finally, I check formatting and make sure Chapter 3 follows Chapter 2, etc. and delete extra pages that sometimes end up in the ms after all the editing.
πŸ“—πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“•
I'm sure if you have a novel-writing program like Scrivener, some of this work is done for you. But I don't have Scrivener. Do you? Do you use it?

I have a wonderful writers group who reads my chapters and helps me brainstorm and also look for "problems" in the story whether in content or proof-reading. Fresh eyes really, really help. 

By the final read-through, I am comfortable to send it out to beta readers for feedback. And when I get that back, it's back to editing, adding, taking away, etc. You know what I mean.

I'd appreciate hearing from you on your steps for editing. Always eager to learn new methods. Leave a comment below.
Kindle for editing
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Click here or my blog post on using the kindle for editing
πŸ“—πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“•
Grammarly
I am experimenting with Grammarly.com, an online program to correct errors in documents. I have it on my FB and email, so when I use these pages errors are highlighted right away. I like that.I haven't tried putting a whole ms into the program...yet. 

I only have the free version. The premium version offers more information such as finding passive sentences, but so far I haven't been curious enough to pay for the service.
πŸ“—πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“•

BIG NEWS

My publisher, BWL Publishing is offering 25% off my mysteries when using the coupon for Smashwords. The sales price with the coupon is $2.24...Grab them for yourself or your friends! All formats are available. If you have a kindle, order the mobi file.

Click on the titles below to go to the Smashwords Sales Page. 


   Dangerous Sanctuary                              Deadly Undertaking

         Coupon Code KW65J                                                        Coupon code--AS94U