Monday, July 29, 2013

What Stirs Inspiration and This Week's Events

Authors at previous author talk, L to R Kelly Tinkham, me, W.S. Gager, Joselyn Vaughn

I am enlisting your help today. My critique group is presenting a talk on "what stirs inspiration" this week at the Artsplace in downtown Fremont, Michigan. (Hey, you're invited at 6:30 pm if you are anywhere in West Michigan.) I struggled over the weekend with figuring out a five minute "talk" on inspiration. I think I have it in my brain and am planning to make notes for the talk. But before I finalize it, I would like to know what stirs your inspiration?? 

I know authors who swear they have a Muse who sits on their desk with them and inspires them to write their stories. In fact the title of my publisher includes the muse, MuseItUp Publishing. So that means there HAS to be a muse, right?

For me, no. I have no muse but I do have many people who inspire me to write. Especially this crit group. We meet every Thursday at the Koffee Kuppe. Just talking about their stories and brainstorming together really gets the juices going. 

People inspire me. Ordinary people who become heroes in traumatic experiences such as earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, even robberies. They inspire me to be better to do more!

The female pastor I interviewed for Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women inspired me to write a mystery/sweet romance about a female pastor, Pastor Christine in Coda to Murder. Debates about having women as pastors and take a leadership role in churches always pop up, so I thought the controversial topic and the message of love and forgiveness in the book could inspire others to discover their own beliefs.

So tell me, do you have a Muse or do you daydream or are there people who inspire you to put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard? Please leave a comment and help a poor gal out. Thank you!!!

THIS WEEK:



THURSDAY, AUGUST 1--Yee-haw!! Author Marsha R. West shares her pastime--theatre. She and her daughter have a special mission when they attend theatre productions. Besides the entertainment, they have a worthy purpose for attending the musicals. 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 1--Author talk at the Artsplace, downtown Fremont, Michigan, 6:30 pm. Questions from the audience encouraged.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hobby Hoedown: Stuart West's Passion for Bad Movies


Welcome YA author Stuart West to Hobby Hoedown. His hobby is finding and actually watching over-the-top bad movies. Have you ever met anyone else with this hobby? Me either. 

Howdy-do, JQ, and thanks for having me on your hobby hoedown!

Yee-haw, Stuart. Happy to have you as my guest. Congratulations on your new release in your series, Tex and the Gangs of Suburbia, available July 26. I have to admit this is one of the most unusual hobbies, so far, that has graced the pages of the J.Q. Rose blog! Tell us all about it!

I’m author Stuart R. West and I have a confession to make. Several weeks ago, Erin Albert shared her passion for running. I aim to take you back inside, plant you firmly on the couch, and draw the shades tight. Things are about to get lazy. And ugly. For you see, my passion (my wife calls it a sickness) is a true love for bad genre movies.
Wait! Before you go back outdoors running, let me explain! I’ve always loved films, dating back to when I was a child. While my friends were playing outside every Sunday, I’d hunker inside, searching the three channels available (I know, right?) for that rare piece of cinematic oddity. It was a tough life, but someone had to do it.
When the advent of videotape happened, celestial chords opened above. Now I could see the elusive treasures I’d read about for years. Finally! But it wasn’t enough. Like the worst sort of addict, I needed more. I needed films that would truly expand my mind, full of hidden treasures and strange context.
Then something terrible happened. Two words: Adam Sandler. Most of my peers found his comedies riotous. I couldn’t stand his films, never saw anything funny about them or any of the comedies made in the past thirty years or so. Film comedies were dead to me.
I mourned until one Sunday afternoon in 1993. Looking through the dusty racks of the local Mom and Pop video store (anyone remember those?), I came across a ginormous, oversized video box with the alluring title, “The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!” With shaking hands, I brought this strange, enticing video grail to the counter. The woman eyeballed me, grimaced, and rang me up.
Placing the videotape into the player, I settled back, not knowing what to expect. I hadn’t laughed so hard since the days of watching the Marx Brothers as a child. Pitched at a level of hysteria higher than the worst sixties soap opera, the sordid horror tale unfolded before my unbelieving eyes. A werewolf family curse! Cruel mother figures! Hunchbacks with pet rats! Family betrayals! Cheap cardboard sets! Dialogue to make you cringe! Comedic Nirvana!
I soon sought out the other works of “auteur” Andy Milligan. And trust me. For the novice bad movie buff, Milligan makes Ed Wood look like Orson Welles. Themes developed. There were always hateful mother figures and hunchbacks. And even though Milligan’s budgets never soared past a couple hundred bucks, he insisted on making costume melodrama/horror films. But it was his universe. A true vision from a warped mind. Are his movies good? No, not in the least. Are they funnier than modern day comedies? Believe it.
Next, I discovered other crazy low-budget directors. I couldn’t believe the outlandish plots or foot fetishes of Doris Wishman (who’d plant a camera on a lamp while actors spewed dire dialogue). How about the cheap, ridiculous tales of the “Godfather of Gore,” H.G. Lewis?  The surprisingly psychologically-sound films of low budget erotica king, Joe Sarno. Then there’s the small, but much valued output of filmmaker/star Renee Harmon, whose accent was nearly as strange and indecipherable as her outlandish horror plots. So many treasures to discover.
The golden age for these films is roughly the sixties through the early ‘80’s. There’s no pleasure to be had in the Sy-Fy Channel’s newest piece of dreck of the week, “Shocktopus Versus Croconado.”  Nope, stick to the “classics.” Otherwise, how would I have ever discovered the world’s most hilarious film, “Winterbeast (wherein the hero’s facial hair actually changes within the same scene!).” Trust me, seek it out. I give it “five amazeballs.”
There you have it. My obsession, hobby, sickness, what have you. Have I gained anything valuable by watching so many bad films? Yes. I’ve learned how not to write bad dialogue (although some may disagree). But more importantly, laughter’s good medicine for the soul.

ABOUT STUART WEST:  
After working as a graphic and production artist for the last 23 years, the company for which I labored shuttered its doors in July of 2010, finally allowing me the time and mental energy to tackle something I'm passionate about.   Um, that would be writing.
I'm married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates that I now prepare dinner for her). And my daughter just turned twenty-one! (Uh-oh.)

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I’ve written a YA paranormal, suspense, murder mystery, comedic romance series all dealing with topical teen issues. Tex,The Witch Boy was released in January, 2013. 

The second, Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia is out on July 26th

Tex And The God Squad , the final book is due in December, 2013. Many more books to come.


BLOG
TWITTER: @StuartRWest

TEX, THE WITCH BOY Trailer





Monday, July 22, 2013

Camping Trip to Shipshewana, Indiana and What's Coming UP

Beautiful flower-filled wagon at the Essen Haus shops in Middlebury, IN
Happy Monday Morning! What a delight to finally have some relief from the HOT weather. Talk about hot. We were in Shipshewana, Indiana last week camping in the campground next to the enormous flea market there. Yes, the campground is just an alley way away from this 900 booth monstrosity of a market. Makes it convenient to take a break from the crowd and shopping and enjoy all those delicious bakery goods at our camper with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee.

It was truly too hot to stay at the flea market which is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week from May until mid October. We were there right at 8 a.m. and left at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday...too hot to stay any longer. Also a shortened visit on Wednesday morning. We came back at 9:15 a.m. Evidently the vendors were too hot on Tuesday so most of them weren't even open on Wednesday.

I thought I would share a few of the photos from the summer trip. This area in Indiana is famous for its Amish influence from farms to food to hand-crafted items. We enjoy just driving through the country and seeing the Amish farmsteads, the folks and the precious children dressed in their Amish attire, and the old-fashioned ways of farming with horses and wagons and old machinery. 

If you are into quilting, you need to experience ALL the quilt shops in the area. Fantastic works of art for you to purchase as well as a variety of fabrics to make your own keepsake pieces.


 Yoder is an Amish name and there are a LOT of Yoder stores. We especially enjoy shopping at the hardware and clothing store located in the Yoder Department Store in downtown Shipshewana. (The Air Conditioning in the store was a big draw too!)


 I wish I could drive you through the rich farmland, but these pictures will have to suffice until you can go yourself.



I get a kick out of seeing the children.

This horse and buggy are passing a phone booth. Yes, the little white structure houses a telephone shared by the neighbors. The Amish church does not believe in being connected to the outside world (hence, no electricity from the power company) so phones are not allowed in homes. Residents told me the young people are now carrying cell phones.

Traveling through the area, we had to be careful of buggy traffic.
See the cute kids looking at us from the back of their vehicle?

Wheatfield put up in shocks.

It was interesting to watch the farmers rake their hay fields with the horse pulling the rake
and to see the shocks of wheat put up this way. 
We had a good time in Indiana. We visited with friends who live in the area and ate too many bakery goods, ice cream, cheese, and bread. If you want to escape into the past, go to Shipshewana!

We were grateful for our air-conditioned truck and camper as we traversed the roads between Michigan and Indiana. Can you imagine driving across the entire United States in 1909 in the hot summer time with no air, no radio, no fast food, and only 152 miles of paved road in the 3800 mile trip? Alice Ramsey was the first woman to do it. Read about her summer road trip on the Girls Succeed blog.


Join us on Thursday when Author Stuart West shares his passion for Bad Movies. That should be interesting!! Yee-haw!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hobby Hoedown Explores Back Roads with Author Penny Estelle


Multi-genre author Penny Estelle stops in today with some photos of one of her back road explorations, a hobby she and her husband enjoy. She is also celebrating the release of her third book in the Wickware Sagas, Flash to the Past.


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Hi everybody.  I want to thank JQ for letting me visit with her on her blog today.  What a great idea to find out the different hobbies people are into.

My husband and I have been retired for four years now.  We live in a very rural area.  When I feel restless, anxious, or just plain old bored, I like to pack an ice chest, grab the GPS and the gun, get the dog in the car, and head out to the unknown. 



We have an old Suzuki Samuri, that has been beat to death on these excursions.  We have been all over Arizona, from ghost towns to old mines. 

No, I don't believe this is Penny's car!


Our latest trip was to the ghost town of  Signal, home of the McCracken Mine.


What I understand is it was established in 1877 and was, at one point, a booming town of 800 citizens, until finally petering out 1932.  


Apparently there were problems getting freight to and from the town and shop keepers had to order six months in advance.  Some of us just aren’t that organized!



I write both kids stories and for the adults.  I would love it if you would stop by anytime to check out my stories or just to say “Hi”.  My books and I can be found at:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5820078.Penny_Estelle

Take a peek at Penny's latest book releasing tomorrow, Friday, July 19!


Flash to the Past

Historical fiction/time travel
 Can snooty, seventh grader Kristy Sawyer’s day get any worse?  It’s a Monday at Langdon Middle School and first thing in the morning Kristy is sent to see Principal DeWitt. His long, drawn out lecture makes her late for Miss Wickware’s history class. But the worst is when she finds out she is being partnered with nerdy Larry Peables to do an oral report on some historical Molly Picture, or Pincher, or Pitcher. And the report is due tomorrow!

Her plan to bat her eyes and flirt with the little nerd, sure that he will jump at the chance to do whatever she wants, blows up in her face when he flat refuses to do the research.  Her day takes a drastic turn for the worse when she and Larry find themselves in 1778, Trenton, New Jersey.  During their trip back in time, Kristy and Larry come face to face with the British, George Washington, become involved in the Battle of Manmouth, and of course, meet their oral report subject, the famous Molly Pitcher.

She has only Larry to help her figure out why they are there and how are they going to get home.

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Flash to the Past is Book 3 of the Wickware Sagas, and if I can say this outloud, my favorite story.  If all goes well, it will be released tomorrow – July 19! 

There will be five stories all together.  Please visit my author page at MuseItUp Publishing and you can check out all three stories, so far.









Sunday, July 14, 2013

Five Star Review for Girls Succeed!



5.0 out of 5 stars Read, Learn, Be Inspired and Go for It! July 8, 2013
By Sarah M
Format:Kindle Edition

One of the most oft repeated advice of personal coaches, and I believe it to be excellent advice, is for one to surround oneself with individuals who radiate positive energy and a can do attitude; the kind of people who attain their sought after goals and who by doing so encourage and inspire others to pursue their passions and their dreams. In "Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women", J. Q. Rose facilitates an introduction to fifteen incredible women whose stories and achievements in a myriad of fields that include horse training, medicine, writing, athleticism, entrepreneurship, to name a few, are inspirational and motivating. If you are a young girl (or not so young) dreaming about a career in field you are passionate about and if you seek to infuse your life with an optimistic proactive vitality, add the ladies of J.Q. Rose's book to your circle of friends. A highly recommended well worth investment for girls and women of any age.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hobby Hoedown Features Viola Ryan's Paintings



Big Yee-haw welcome to Author Viola Ryan. My eyes were bedazzled when Viola sent her photos of the paintings she is sharing with us today, as well as two paintings her daughters created. There's a lot of talent in that family! Viola explains how she became interested in painting. If you're a writer, I think you'll completely understand her reasoning.

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Thanks for having me again, JQ. I love getting a chance to chat with new people.

I used to write Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction. That’s how I learned to write and how I realized I was a writer. One of the cardinal sins in fan fiction, the one people will blast you most for isn’t grammar mistakes. It’s creating what is known as a Mary Sue. That is basically the author inserting herself into the story. It warps the story because the canon characters around her often act out of character in order to elevate the Mary Sue. The author can’t let anything bad happen to the Mary Sue and conflict is key to any story.



When I started writing The Mark of Abel, I wanted to avoid this, so I made my character an artist. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, so I figured she was different from me and I wouldn’t turn her into a Mary Sue. I love art, so I could handle her talking about art. Then came the scenes where she actually painted. Painting is a key plot point in the book. I needed to learn how to describe the act of painting.



I decided I needed to take a painting class. It didn’t matter if I was horrible at it. I just needed to learn the language, so I could write the scene. I found a class on acrylic landscape painting. The class was a lot of fun. All I needed to do was bring a blank canvas. The instructor provided the rest and walked us step-by-step through each painting.

Not only did I love it, but I was pretty good at it. I have an eye for color and there are few straight lines in nature. My favorite part was mixing the colors on the canvas to paint the sky. I took the class for over a year before I attempted doing a painting outside of class. I had learned various techniques and applied them to my own original creation.



My husband is in the Coast Guard and we travel around a lot. Finding a friend I feel truly close to is difficult. When we lived in Delaware, I found such a remarkable woman. I call her Super Mom. She had previously only lived in California and Texas. She’d never seen a real fall before and the colors amazed her. Her husband is in the Air Force and I wanted her to be able to take fall wherever she went. That painting was the first one I did outside of class. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it to her.


My daughters have inherited my love of art. I took my oldest daughter (at age 13) to the painting class with me. I taught my youngest the way I learned, by going step by step. Their paintings proudly hang in their rooms.


The two photos above were painted by her talented daughters, Jessie and Meghan

When I finally wrote the scene, people ask me how long I’ve been painting. Recently I made another friend a New England fall scene to take with her to Washington State.

You can find all of my other paintings at http://www.violaryan.com/my-paintings.html

If you want to read the scenes I wrote thanks to my hobby, check out The Mark of Abel.



Is a frustrated artist Lucifer’s ticket back to heaven or will falling for her reawaken the compassion that got him expelled?

Lucifer is fed up with humanity. He created hell to deter evil, but man’s inhumanity is only escalating. He just wants to return home to heaven, but ever since that little problem in the Garden of Eden, the Pearly Gates remain firmly shut to him. It doesn’t help that he’s the first vampire, an abomination in God’s sight.

Fortunately, two thousand years ago Lucifer’s estranged brother, Jesus, gave him a prophecy. To fulfill it, all Lucifer has to do is find the right artist, study her artwork and the path back to heaven will be revealed. The artist even bears a symbol so he knows who she is. Too bad she is murdered every time he finds her.

Janie’s a frustrated artist and college art teacher who wants two things—a guy she can show her paintings to and a night without nightmares. Each nightmare plagues her until she paints it. She doesn’t realize these paintings are key to unlocking her destiny, one that could redeem the original fallen angel.

Buy Links:






About Viola Ryan:

A very good friend of Viola Ryan in high school said, “You don’t think outside the box. You blow the thing up.” Sometimes boxes need exploding. That’s why she’s here. She has a whole bag of C4 and isn’t afraid to use it. She’s blessed with people who treasure her eccentricities or at least put up with them.

Sometimes the box can be a cozy place. Without some sort of stability, her two daughters’ and her life would be unmanageable. That stability comes from her husband. He’s the rock holding her family together.

On the flip side, his career is anything but stable. He’s a Chief Marine Safety Technician in the US Coast Guard. They’ve lived from Kittery, Maine to Yorktown, Virginia. Fortunately, the moves have all been on the east coast. Then again, the Coast Guard tends to guard the coast.

Her oldest daughter (16) was born on Cape Cod, not far from Plymouth. Massachusetts. Her youngest (12) was born in Yorktown, Virginia, down the road from Williamsburg. Viola jokes they’re doing the colonial America tour.

Social Media Links:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/violaryan


Monday, July 8, 2013

Getting Kids to Read and Week's Events



Future readers? Will there be any? Not if my experience with my grandsons this summer is a glimpse of the future. They are not interested in reading books. I say, what? I purchased some of their favorite series at a garage sale this spring and was so excited to only pay fifty cents for more books in a series I know they enjoyed reading during the school year. Of course, I picked up a few more I thought they would like too. Can't resist book bargains.

Usually after lunch when the boys are at my house, we have a "quiet time." (I dropped using nap time when they were over 2 years old.) Quiet time is just what it says, a time to be quiet and relax with a book...!! No, they want to be quiet and relax with their video games on the laptop or tablet or my Kindle Fire. They DO NOT want to read. 

Why?

I can understand if they have learning problems that makes it hard for the boys to read and understand a story. Do they think Grandma is a softie and will let them spend all day on video games? Definitely not allowed at their homes.

My boys don't even want to make the trip to the air-conditioned library anymore to choose books. They are so resistant to reading I decided to write this blog on the topic. That's how worried I am about the future of reading books. 

I know the world is changing and in twenty years, there may not be a need for reading? What? Can you fathom a world without story books? Many readers are having trouble accepting electronic books, let alone no books! What can ever replace the joy of sitting in a comfy chair or lying on the couch or hammock, quietly, all alone, spending time lost in the pages of a printed book or clicking through the screens of an e-book?

I believe I am more conscious of children's books after writing a book for tween girls, Girls Succeed. My Girls Succeed blog is written for MG and YA readers, so I try to read books for that age level and share my thoughts on them for parents and kids. I also have an interest in books for boys because I have four boys between the ages of 8 and 13.

Do you have suggestions for getting kids to read? No, I refuse to pay them to read!!! Are you having trouble getting your kids to read? What can we do to encourage young people to read? Any advice would be appeciated.

Looking forward to a fun week as a guest on Lisa Orchard's blog. We swap blogs today! Hobby Hoedown continues on Thursday.

MONDAY:
Today I am a guest at YA author Lisa Orchard's blog. Come on over. We are discussing how unique each person is and to appreciate the gifts and talents that noone else has.



I review Lisa's first book in her Super Spies series, The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killers at my Girls Succeed blog. I love blog swaps!




THURSDAY:

Ya'all come back on Thursday when author Viola Ryan shares her hobby, painting landscapes. Watch for some beautiful images.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July Wishes


Wishing you all a fantastic Fourth of July!

Be safe and don't eat too many hot dogs!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Friends Along the Path to Publishing


When I began writing this blog, I wanted to take you, dear reader, along the path I experienced as a newbie writer in the publishing industry, so let me update you. I began this writing journey with just my laptop and me. I am still at my laptop, but my world has grown to encompass a crowd of people I met through this writing adventure.  I never imagined the support and goodwill from so many strangers who are now friends to me.


My first publishing experience was with the newspaper where I was given a chance to contribute “people centered” stories. I have maintained a camaraderie with that office. 
Through my feature articles in magazines and newspapers, I met a great group of editors who supported me. Crazy enough, I still have friends from the years when I was a contributing editor for an ezine which sold out. Those writer friends still maintain a loop so we can check up on each other once in awhile.
A fantastic group of fun-loving, articulate, intelligent writers make up my writers circle where we meet together at the local library and Koffee Kuppe. Many are now published authors, including me, mainly because of this fantastic group of people who I call “friends.”

MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore

My first published e-book was released by MuseItUp Publishing in 2011. My MuseItUp brothers and sisters are supportive of each other offering opportunities for promotion on their blogs, advice on the loop, information, and warm chocolate chip cyber cookies for all those who sign up with the Muse. They make me laugh, think, smile, and just be proud to be an author!



My horizons are broader and the writing world is a lot friendlier and not such a scary place. If you are an aspiring writer, you can expand your world too. Just keep writing. You can do it!