Tuesday, June 5, 2018

IWSG Blog Hop: Spring Projects and More!

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the June IWSG Blog Hop! June is one of my favorite months. How about you? 
IWSG Badge
IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.

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

Spring Projects Complete and Ready for a Break!

Let's admit it. It has been one heck of a spring in Michigan. Just look at these snowy shots of our garden and one flower bed. This was taken the day AFTER we arrived home from Florida in mid-April. Well, it's Michigan. 'Nuff said.


Our snowy garden

Flower bed


Not letting snow and cold winds deter my gardening hubby from gardening, 
he put up the greenhouse to house his precious baby plants.


Veggie plants protected by the greenhouse. He starts a LOT of plants in Florida.
The glory of gardening

While he waited for the sun to shine and the soil to warm, he gutted our bathroom.
New tub, new floor, cabinets removed. This was a huge job!


And he turned it into a lovely, 21st-century bathroom. 
I chose gray paint which is "in-style" nowadays and white vanity.

Needless to say, it has been an extremely busy spring for us. 
So, we have decided to take a break in June. 
That doesn't mean I'll take a break from writing, just from writing this blog. 
I can never stop the story ideas and plans for new books swirling in my head
Who knows what our next project might be? The possibilities are endless.
***

Congratulations to the winners of the prizes in my Birthday Grab Bag! 
Helen, Holly, Kris, Joselyn, and Linda.
Actually, you are ALL winners and I'm a winner too with the opportunity to meet you and entertain you through the Focused on Story blog and books.
Thank you!



The 5 W's guest author series will resume in July. 
On July 11, Ellen Jacobson, the Cynical Sailor, will share the 5 W's of her newly released, humorous mystery, Murder at the Marina.

Murder at the Marina (A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery Book 1) by [Jacobson, Ellen]
Click here to pre-order.

Chris Fey's newly released guide, 
Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication 
is now available. Packed with information for writers. 

Write With Fey - Chrys Fey
Click here to orderl

YOU have a glorious June 2018! 
I'll see you on the July 4 IWSG Blog Hop.





Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Five W's: Helena Fairfax and Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings, Giveaway

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog! Today we have British author Helena Fairfax as our guest to explain the Five W's in the new anthology, Miss  Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings. This anthology, filled with feel-good stories, is a collaboration of nine talented romance authors who live in the same region in England.
The Five W's Guest Author Series
I'm thrilled to find out the story behind this release and to let you know the authors are generously offering a paperback copy of the book to a lucky commenter.  Deadline for entry is Sunday, June 3, at 9 pm ET.

I am presently in the middle of the anthology and in awe of how unique each story is even when every one of them includes the quirky shop-keeper, Miss Moonshine. The settings of the story are the same, Haven Bridge, but the eras are different, yet each author takes care to keep Miss Moonshine the same, no matter what age. The stories are imaginative and entertaining. You may want to click the Amazon Buy Link now, instead of waiting to see if you win the FREE paperback.


Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings, by the Authors on the Edge
Anthology of romantic stories.


WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW
by Helena Fairfax
 Thank you, JQ, for inviting me to take part in your series!
My latest story, Beatrice Marches for Women, is part of an anthology of stories written by eight other authors and myself – all friends from the north of England, and all romance writers. Normally when we are writing our novels or short stories, we work on the 5Ws completely alone, but being part of an anthology means collaborating on ideas in a different way. Putting this collection together with a thoroughly professional bunch of writers and a lovely group of friends has been a real pleasure from start to finish, and a break from our solitary writing pursuits.
So in backwards order, HOW did we come up with the idea to put together an anthology?
As I mentioned, we all of us live in the north of England. We meet regularly for lunch in Hebden Bridge, which is a historic mill town on the border between the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. One day over lunch we got talking (we talk a LOT!) and we realised we all wrote different styles of romance. Then we got to thinking how much fun it would be to put a collection of our stories together. Since we meet on the border between two counties, we decided to call ourselves Authors on the Edge.
WHY put together an anthology?
Once you start writing professionally, sometimes the zest can go out of your writing. Maybe you have to meet a deadline, and so you’re burning the midnight oil at your keyboard. Maybe you are sending manuscripts off to magazines or agents, and you have to keep fielding rejection. Maybe you are on the fourth round of edits from your publisher, and you are sick of the sight of your own story. We thought putting an anthology together would be something we could do at our own pace, would allow us to be as creative as we wanted...and would above all be fun!
WHERE would the stories in the anthology be set?
That one is easy to answer. Hebden Bridge has always been our meeting place. It’s a beautiful and unusual old mill town, in a valley with rolling green hills around it, and full of historic old terraced houses, quirky shops, a canal lined with narroboats, and cafes. Haven Bridge became our fictionalised Hebden Bridge.
WHEN?
Now, this question posed a bit of a dilemma. Some of us write contemporary romance, some of us historical, and some of us flit between the two. After much conversation, we decided we should each choose the period that felt right for our own story, as long as the stories and characters were linked consistently through the anthology.
WHAT was I going to write about for my story?
For the past year, I’ve been researching into the lives of women in Halifax, which is another old mill town near Hebden Bridge, but much bigger. Researching the lives of the mill women has been an eye-opener. I decided to set my story in 1908, at the time of a real suffragette march in Hebden Bridge. My heroine is a young woman who wants to change her own life, but feels stifled by the time she’s living in. Then she meets....
WHO?
Miss Moonshine is the “Who?” of our collection. Dear Miss M has been the key to our anthology’s success so far, and she is the character who ties all of our stories together. Miss Moonshine owns a quirky shop on the High Street in Hebden Bridge. She’s an eccentric and she appears to have been in the town forever. In each of our stories, the heroine enters Miss Moonshine’s shop and finds the thing she most needs in life – even though sometimes she doesn’t realise there is anything missing.
Readers have really taken to our Miss Moonshine as she appears in each of our stories, and between the nine of us authors, we have started to think of her ourselves as a real character – someone whose shop we would love to walk into on the High Street in Hebden Bridge!
 
Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings by the Authors on the Edge
Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings by the Authors on the Edge is available in print and as an ebook on Amazon.

Back of the Book:
Sometimes what you need is right there waiting for you...
Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium has stood in the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge for as long as anyone can remember. With her ever-changing stock, Miss Moonshine has a rare gift for providing exactly what her customers need: a fire opal necklace that provides a glimpse of a different life; a novel whose phantom doodler casts a spell over the reader; a music box whose song links love affairs across the generations. One thing is for certain: after visiting Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, life is never the same again...
Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the happy-ever-after.
Authors on the Edge members are Mary Jayne Baker, Sophie Claire, Jacqui Cooper, Helena Fairfax, Kate Field, Melinda Hammond, Marie Laval, Helen Pollard, and Angela Wren.
Much cake was consumed by these authors in the making of this anthology.
About Helena:
Helena Fairfax is a British author who was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now which is just as well, since these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in the north of England, right next door to the windswept Yorkshire moors. Helena walks this romantic landscape every day with her rescue dog, finding it the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings. Subscribers to Helena's newsletter receive news of free stuff, competitions with prizes, gossip, and links to cool websites she's been looking at when she should have been writing.
Connect online with Helena:
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cR_m71 (all new subscribers receive a free novella)
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/helenafairfax/
Remember to leave a comment to win a digital file of  Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings. 

AND my birthday celebration continues through May 31. Prizes will be selected from the Birthday Grab Bag for lucky commenters. Find out more below. Thank you for stopping in!
Here's the Birthday Grab Bag loaded with gifts for you.

WHAT'S IN THE GRAB BAG?
📘COUPONS for mystery suspense eBook, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard
📙PAPERBACK COPY of Romantic suspense, Dangerous Sanctuary
📗FOR WRITERS--PDF COPY of Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: 
Helpful Tips on the Writing Process, Publishing and Marketing
📚PDF COPY-Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening
🍬🍫CHOCOLATE and CANDY

DEADLINE FOR ENTRY-11:59 PM MAY 31



3 WAYS TO ENTER to win one of these prizes: 


1. Leave your name below in the comments box
2. Like my Facebook page and FB message me or leave a comment
Click here for my FB J.Q. Rose author page.
3. Email me--jqrose02 at gmail dot com  

On June 1,  I'll grab a gift to send the winners via FB Messenger or email. 
Print books will be sent via snail mail US only.




Saturday, May 26, 2018

In Remembrance of Those Who Served, Giveaway


Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. We pay tribute during Memorial Day weekend to those who gave all to our country. Please, during this weekend that kicks off the unofficial beginning of summer, take time to remember those who served and the families and friends of these service men and women.



Nothing makes me happier than to give gifts, so add some joy to my life by signing up to grab a gift from the Birthday Grab Bag!


Let's Celebrate My Birthday Giveaway
May 23-31

Here's the Birthday Grab Bag loaded with gifts for you.

WHAT'S IN THE GRAB BAG?
📘COUPONS for mystery suspense eBook, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard
📙PAPERBACK COPY of Romantic suspense, Dangerous Sanctuary
📗FOR WRITERS--PDF COPY of Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: 
Helpful Tips on the Writing Process, Publishing and Marketing
📚PDF COPY-Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening
🍬🍫CHOCOLATE and CANDY
DEADLINE FOR ENTRY-11:59 PM MAY 31


3 WAYS TO ENTER to win one of these prizes: 
1. Leave your name below in the comments box
2. Like my Facebook page and FB message me or leave a comment
Click here for my FB J.Q. Rose author page.
3. Email me--jqrose02 at gmail dot com  

On June 1,  I'll grab a gift to send you via FB Messenger or email. 
Print books will be sent via snail mail US only.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Birthday Giveaway, Meet Mr. Tweeble's Dog Jingles #MFRWHooks

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog! 

Today we're celebrating my birthday week by giving away prizes! Nothing makes me happier than to give gifts, so add some joy to my life by signing up to grab a gift from the Birthday Grab Bag!



Let's Celebrate My Birthday Giveaway
May 23-31
Let's rock it today and enjoy the time together. 




YOUTUBE VIDEO-Kool and the Gang Celebrate Good Times--Come On!

Here's the Birthday Grab Bag loaded with gifts for you.

WHAT'S IN THE GRAB BAG?
📘COUPONS for mystery suspense eBook, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard
📙PAPERBACK COPY of Romantic suspense, Dangerous Sanctuary
📗FOR WRITERS--PDF COPY of Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing:
Helpful Tips on the Writing Process, Publishing and Marketing
📚PDF COPY-Quick Tips on Vegetable Gardening
🍬🍫CHOCOLATE and CANDY

DEADLINE FOR ENTRY-11:59 PM MAY 31


3 WAYS TO ENTER to win one of these prizes: 
1. Leave your name below in the comments box
2. Like my Facebook page and FB message me or leave a comment
Click here for my FB J.Q. Rose author page.
3. Email me--jqrose02 at gmail dot com  

On June 1,  I'll grab a gift to send you via FB Messenger or email. 
Print books will be sent via snail mail US only.
# # # #

Book Hooks Blog Hop 
#MFRWHooks

Today we're also joining in on the Book Hooks Blog Hop sponsored by the MFRW Authors Blog. Each participating blogger shares an excerpt from their book. I'm sharing from my latest mystery/horror book, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. (One of the eBooks stashed in the Birthday Grab Bag.)
Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed? Investigating mysterious murders? These are not the usual calls in a Florida retirement community for volunteer first responder Jim Hart.

EXCERPT: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

Mr. Tweeble woke up with a start when his dog Jingles began barking loud enough to wake him even if he wasn’t wearing his hearing aids.

“Jingles! Jingles! Hush up, will you? It’s three o’clock in the morning. You’re going to wake the neighborhood with your barking.”

He remembered Jingles barking and whining like that when he drove his electric scooter near George McConnell’s house that afternoon. He had finally picked up the feisty terrier and put him on his lap to join the other curiosity seekers near the house. The dog jumped off and raced the other way until he was brought up short on his leash and howled until his master turned the cart around and left the area.

Jingles’ pitiful yowling broke into Mr. Tweeble’s memory.

Fearing his dog was sick, Mr. Tweeble rolled himself out of bed, fumbled putting on his glasses, and shuffled into the kitchen. Using the night light in the hood vent over the old stove to see the dog, he discovered the animal scampering back and forth near the back door.

“Jingles, come ‘ere, boy. Are you sick?” Mr. Tweeble picked him up and gently held the dog close to his chest. He switched on the ceiling light and studied the precious face he dearly loved. He checked Jingles’ brown ears and his brown and white furry body for any injuries and then cradled him to his rotund belly.

“It’s all right, little guy. Come on. Come on to bed with me. You must want to go out to chase a rabbit, eh?” As he slowly shuffled his way back to his bedroom with the dog, he wondered what was wrong. Mr. Tweeble made a mental note to check behind the couch for an “accident” in the morning.

He lay down on the rumpled bed and enfolded the trembling dog in his arms. Suddenly Jingles wriggled free and sprang up barking non-stop. He leaped from the bed and raced out of the room. A flash of searing yellow light filled the room blinding Mr. Tweeble, and the smell of his own scorched flesh burned his nostrils.
# # # #
BACK OF THE BOOK:  Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed? Investigating mysterious murders Not the usual calls for first responder Jim Hart. He expects slip and fall accidents or low blood pressure emergencies in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge Senior Community and Golf Resort. The ghastly crime scenes turn the winter time fun into a terrifying season of death and mystery when the authorities cannot track down the predator responsible.

Jim and his wife Gloria could escape the horror and grief by returning to their northern home, but concern for their friends and residents keep them in Florida. With the entire community in a dither over the deaths, the Harts participate in the normal winter activities of golfing, dancing, and pool parties with their friends to distract them from the sadness and loss.

Can Jim and Gloria work with the authorities to discover who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard and stop the increasing body count?

CLICK THE BUY LINK to purchase Terror on Sunshine Boulevard at major online booksellers.

REMINDER--You can win this book in my Birthday Giveaway, so leave a comment below, FB message me or send an email to enter!! Thank you.

Click below to participate in the Book Hooks Blog Hop. Enjoy meeting authors and reading excerpts from their books!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Five W's: Janet Lane Walters' Romance, the Leo-Aquarius Connection, Giveaway



Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog! 
The 5 W's in Storytelling
Today I am thrilled to have multi-talented, multi-published author Janet Lane Walters here to discuss the who, what, where, when and why of her latest release from BWL Publishing, The Leo-Aquarius Connection. 

Janet will be giving away a print copy to a lucky commenter. Please leave a comment below before Sunday, May 20, 9 pm ET. Thanks so much, Janet, for your generous offer.
The Leo-Aquarius Connection (Opposites in Love Book 5)
The Leo-Aquarius Connection by Janet Lane Walters
Romance

BACK OF THE BOOK:
The nurses stare as he exits the elevator on the Pediatric Unit. “Enter the handsome doctor.” Those are Doctor Caleb Winstone’s words as he steps off the elevator. Though he’s embarrassed, this Leo doctor rolls with the punches. 

He’s returned home to join an older doctor in the practice. Before long he learns the new nurse manager of the unit is a woman he knows. Of all the women in the world, she is the last one he wants to see. How can he manage to work daily with her? Before the day ends, he discovers his mother has decided who he should marry and the woman is quite willing. Not for him.

Suzanna Rollins is an Aquarian and now the guardian of her half-brother who was badly injured in a car accident. She takes the position as nurse manager of the Pediatric unit for several reasons. One is the move from the city re-unites her with college friends, the Grantley Gang. The other is for the excellent Rehab Center. On the day of her arrival, she encounters Caleb. What is he doing here and why? Can she work with the man she fell in and out of love with the night he offered her less than marriage?

Caleb’s interest in helping her half-brother gives them more together time than they imagined.


Click here to find the digital booksellers for The Leo-Aquarius Connection.

# # #
The Five W's and How in the Leo-Aquarius Connection by Janet Lane Walters

So let me tell you a bit about the characters of The Leo – Aquarian Connection. This story is the fifth of a six book series and revolved around the lives of the members of the Grantley Gang and their friendship since they were in college studying to become nurses.
WHO – These are just the main characters but there are appearances by other of the characters in the four previous books in the series.
Suzanna Rollins has worked hard to become a nurse practitioner in Pediatrics. The offer of the nurse manager’s position at Eastlake General Hospital is a dream come true. She will be reunited with her friends from college – The Grantley Gang. She also has found a good place for her younger brother Jon, the only surviving member of her family. Jon was badly injured in an auto accident that killed the rest of the family including her mother and step-father. Suzanna is an Aquarian. For her education, family and friends are important. She fell in love once but that love shattered when the man in question offered not marriage but a place as his mistress. She has no desire for marriage.
Caleb Winstone is a pediatrician and a Leo. He is returning to his hometown to join an older pediatrician’s practice. His family, especially his mother, is unhappy with him. No Winstone man has ever chosen a career in other than business and finance. He also became a champion swimmer when he should have played football. He has another difference. Winstone men marry for money and have mistresses for love. He really doesn’t want either. But, months ago, he dated Suzanna and asked her to become his mistress. Her reaction was unlike anything he had expected and he still feels the slap like a phantom stroke against his cheek. Problem is he has finally realized he loves her but he isn’t sure he can do much of anything.
Several other characters are of importance.
Jon Rollins is Suzanna’s younger brother who was badly injured in the car accident that killed his parents and young brother and sister. He becomes the new connection between Suzanna and Caleb.
Regina Bishop is the opposing factor in the book. With the help of Caleb’s mother, she tries to trick him into marriage.
WHAT:
For me, the what has something to do with what the conflict is but more what each character wants when the book starts. The want undergoes changes as the characters change and their goals may change.
When the book opens, Suzanna wants to do a great job in her new position as the nurse manager of the Pediatric Unit. She also wants to see her brother’s health improve so that he can walk and live a normal life. What she does not want is to deal with Caleb Winstone but knows she must since he is a doctor on staff of her unit. She wants to deal with him only on a professional level.
When the book begins, Caleb wants Suzanna but knows he blew what could have been months ago. He knows she won’t admit there is sexual tension between them. He decides to use her brother to get to him but instead finds Jon is like a younger brother and the boy’s rapidly adeptness at swimming gives Caleb a second goal. The goals of his mother run counter to his own and he has a goal to find a way to thwart her.
WHERE:
The story takes place in Eastlake, an imaginary town in Pennsylvania north of Pittsburgh. This is either a small city or a very large town. Much of the action takes place in several locations, the Rehab Center located near the hospital, the Pediatric Unit of the hospital, the house that Lauren, the heroine of book two of the series bought, the stone mansion belonging to Caleb’s parents and a number of other places such as the Hot Doggery, Frank’s Place and The Pirate’s Cove as seen in the other stories of the series. Using places seen in other books is both easy and hard and one has to refresh their memories when doing this. It’s really nice to have comfortable places though.
WHEN:
The story is contemporary. The time of year is December and continues into January. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are part of the story. Snow is in the air and on the ground.
WHY:
I wrote the story with an aim of nearing the end of the Opposites in Love series. Now there is one more of the six friends to come. I also wrote this story because a new doctor who learned I was a romance author, pulled the exam room curtain open and announced, “Enter the handsome doctor.” What else could I do but put this in a story? I also wrote this as one of my Astrological stories. Also wanted to get Christmas into a story. I enjoyed the journey. Now on to the last story in the series.
HOW:
I know people think the how is the end of the book but for me, How is the roadmap I follow from the beginning to the end. This consists of a number of scenes. Each action calls for a reaction.
The opening scene of this book doesn’t show a meet between the hero and the heroine. It shows him arriving at the hospital and making his announcement. During the scene, he learns Suzanna is to become the new nurse manager. How is he going to act and react?
The meet is an important scene in the book and brings the hero and heroine together. Always an interesting scene to write. I’ll just be general here about scenes.
From the beginning, I needed to have scenes of interaction between the pair and to show some changes, maybe some good and some not so good. These scenes show sometimes one and sometimes all three of the purposes of a scene. To show character development, to show the story progressing and to create the setting for the stories.
Other important scenes are the Black Moment – this is when one or more of the characters gives up all hope.
From here, I progress to the Conclusion and since this is a romance, everyone knows what will happen. Only the how remains hidden.
ABOUT JANET:
Janet Lane Walters is celebrating her fiftieth year as a published author. She began with short stories and poems. She turned to novels when the short story market dwindled and an editor returned a manuscript with this comment. “This sounds like the synopsis for a novel." She has been married to a psychiatrist for sixty years and who refuses to treat her obsession with writing. She has four children, the youngest of them is an adopted biracial girl. There are seven grandchildren, four biracial and three Chinese. Her family is eclectic just like her writing since she can’t stay with a genre for more than a book or two at a time in the same area.
Find Janet online at these places:
Twitter  
Click here to find her multitude of books--romance, fantasy, suspense, medical

Thank you, Janet, for sharing the Five W's and How with us. 
Readers, be sure to leave a comment to win a print copy of Janet's book.

Coming Up on the Focused on Story Blog

JQ Celebrates her May birthday with giveaways and prizes for you.

May 23 - 31--JANET'S BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!! You're invited to Janet's birthday celebration, but YOU get the GIFT! I love giving gifts to folks, so come on back to win prizes from May 23-31st. Looking forward to blowing out the birthday candles on the cake with you. Oh, and there are a LOT of candles this year. 
The Five W's

May 30 - British author Helena Fairfax joins us as she shares the Five W's of a multi-author newly released anthology. Giveaway!! 



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Reflections on the Blogging from A To Z Challenge by J.Q. Rose, Coming Up in May

2018 #AtoZchallenge participation badge
A to Z Challenge Badge
Designed by Jeremy Hawkins (graphics) @ Hollywood Nuts
Thank you, Jeremy!
Hello and Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Today I'm reflecting on my participation in the A to Z Blogging Challenge during the month of April. In case you are a new visitor, let me get you up to speed about the theme and what I had planned for the blog posts. Then, I'll evaluate the experience I shared with over 600 bloggers!

MY THEME FOR THE MONTH
If you're a Word Nerd, then you'll like my theme for April because I share words that caught my attention (wraith), words that fascinate me (bedizened), words that roll off my tongue (catawampus), words that make a sound (zizz), and words I encountered during my life experience (pulchritude). Many of the words are new-to-me (xenogogy). My vocabulary expanded and perhaps yours did too.

Now, Word Nerds, let me tell you about the hills and valleys and bumps in the road as I journeyed through the month. 


REFLECTIONS ON THE BLOGGING FROM A TO Z APRIL CHALLENGE 
by J.Q. Rose
2018 A to Z #atozchallenge blog schedule
Calendar for A to Z Blogging Challenge
GOALS

Write 26 blog posts in one month—I did accomplish this! I’ve wanted to participate in A to Z ever since I learned about it probably five years ago. But I hesitated to join because we travel in mid-April, so getting Internet access on the road is difficult.Before we left home, I wrote and pre-scheduled my blog posts through the travel time and finished up the remaining posts when I arrived home. Please indulge me as I bask in the reality that I pulled off this challenge. Thanks.

Be entertaining and informative—In other words, don’t bore readers to death. I did warn visitors my blog theme was aimed at Word Nerds. I tried to make learning new words fun for readers and hoped they picked up interesting and probably trivial information that may win them a prize in a word game. From comments I received, the Word Nerds enjoyed the posts.

Increase traffic to my site—According to my Google Analytics information, my traffic increased 90% in April. I noticed a drop-off when we were traveling because I couldn’t promote the event. Now the challenge is to retain all those new users!

Connect with people—I was pleased with the variety of bloggers' themes and the wrters were talented and creative. I had a turnover of new visitors, so maybe I wasn’t as entertaining and informative as I thought. But my regular visitors came back often, and I appreciated them taking time to visit. 

PERKS

Learned a lot of new words and new meanings through research—I broadened my vocabulary by participating in this challenge (and I hope my readers did too). I started collecting the words at least a year before the challenge started. As I wrote the blog posts, I did research on each word and found new meanings and uses and variations of the words. How many of these words will I ever use in a conversation or in my writing? I doubt very few. But hey, it was fun for this Word Nerd.

Meeting new people was a goal and I certainly did meet lots of  interesting folks on the adventure.

SURPRISES

Comments—I wish I had more visitors leave comments so I could connect with them. But I understand. Leaving a comment takes up valuable time. When someone left a comment, I would have appreciated links back to the visitor’s blog so I could return the favor. Very few left a link for me. Perhaps they felt it was too promotional? I don’t feel that way at all. In fact, one of the reasons for my joining the event was to connect with readers and increase exposure to my blog.

Confusion—Even though the admins of the event gave precise instructions, I had to actually write the blogs and post them before I was comfortable with the procedures. I never discovered if I was in the list of daily blogs or even on the master list. I started going through the main list to find my site, but I quit since I felt I was wasting time looking. I trusted the sign-up procedure.

Overwhelming amount of bloggers. Too many to visit actually. Instead of one group of authors or one group of health coaches or one group of educators, all bloggers were on the Master List. The admin explained how to filter info in the Google Doc, but I never felt like I had time to figure it out.

Time needed. I knew I would spend lots of time writing and researching each post, but I was amazed at how much more time I spent on promotion and logistics. The number of words and hours I spent on this project would have probably netted at least four chapters in my WIP. But I don’t feel it was time wasted. I really enjoyed writing and researching words and expanding my world by meeting new folks I woul,d've never met if I hadn’t jumped into this wacky challenge.

THANK YOU

Thank you to the administrators and founders of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Thank you to the vast number of bloggers who I joined for the journey. And thank you to those who visited the Focused on Story Blog. Come back so we can keep the momentum going!

Happy Mother's Day USA to all those Moms and those who have a special child in their lives.

COMING UP IN MAY ON THE FOCUSED ON STORY BLOG
The 5 W's Guest Author Event continues!

The Five W's Event Returns with Guest Authors and prizes. Meet new-to-you authors, favorite authors, win prizes and discover great reads!

May 16--Multi-genre author, Janet Lane Walters
May 30--Romance author, Helena Fairfax

May 23-31--My Birthday Celebration Giveaway!

# # #

Thank you for visiting!
Be sure to return every Wednesday for more fun, discussions, 
and information on writing, publishing, marketing, and reading!