Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Summer Solstice Celebration at an English Stone Circle

 


Castlerigg Stone Circle, England

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog published on the day of Summer Sostice 2022!

A few years ago, we were in England. We happened to be at the Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District. I bet you have never heard of this stone circle, but you have probably heard of Stonehenge Circle. I was surprised to learn there are 1,303 stone circles in Britain, Ireland and Brittany. 

According to Wikipeidia, "Since the late 20th century,
many of these monuments were adopted as "sacred sites" by adherents of 
contemporary pagan religions." 


These believers were gathered at Castlerigg for ceremonies and rituals during Solstice. We found the celebrants camping along the road and the edges of the stone circle site. What a party!

When we visited the day before the Solstice, the area was quiet with an eerie feeling when I walked about the stones. Some of these circles date back to 3000 B.C.-900 B.C. Knowing I was strolling through the same area and touching stones touched by ancient peoples gave me goose bumps.

Awe and wonder. That is what I experienced. How could these boulders be moved and placed in such a circle? Scholars have differing opinions on why the people constructed these stone circles. Some believe the stone circles may have been spaces honoring their ancestors, Other archaeologists have suggested the area was devoted to deities.

Sheep grazed near the circle adding to my feeling of gratitude
for the opportunity to experience such a place.

Wishing you peace and a sense of gratitude on this day and in future days.

****

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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Celebrating Our Wedding Anniversary and the Secrets for a Long-Lasting Marriage

 

Celebrating Our Anniversary!

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

Yes, we are celebrating 52 years of marriage on June 14! Whew. But we're not having much of a celebration. Both of our daughters are on separate vacations this week with their families. During the day, I am helping serve a luncheon for retired teachers and that evening I have to be at the library to serve refreshments for a speaker's presentation on shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. So romantic, do you agree??

52 years ago

Fifty-two years is a long marriage. Funny how fast life has gone since the day we decided to get married. We met on a blind date in 1963, the summer before our junior year in high school. 

My mom loved him from the moment she pulled back the curtain from the window and peeked out at the young man who was stepping up the stairs to our front porch. She turned back to me, her eyes twinkling, and whispered, "He's cute!"

I opened the front door, smiling as bright as I could while trying to keep the butterflies in my tummy in check. He stood tall and fidgeted a bit as his dark brown eyes caught mine. I had to agree with Mom. He was a cutie.

We had a great time at the Illinois State Fair with his older sister and her date and Freddie, who arranged the blind date, and his girlfriend. However, his sister's 1947 Chevy broke down in Springfield, IL as we started the hour's drive back to Atlanta, my hometown. Instead of getting home by midnight as my parents requested, we arrived at 3 a.m. Yes, we did find a phone to call home to let everyone know we were going to be late.

Prom
We went steady through our junior year, broke up, got back together, broke up after graduation so he could go to the Air Force, and I could experience college life. We got back together, broke up, and so it goes. Can you blame me when I told him to either marry me or get out of my life? By that time, I was teaching third grade in Galesburg, IL. We were parked in a grassy area near the lake and in a deeply serious discussion about our future together when we heard branches rustling and voices in the bushes just behind the car. We twisted around to look through the car's back window to discover where the noise came from. As we swept our eyes over the green area, two little boys raced out of the woods and down the road. We laughed so hard at them eavesdropping on us that the intense discussion faded from our thoughts. We knew we loved each other and wanted to spend our lives together.

Since that big realization and decision to marry, we have been on many adventures together! I think we were mature enough to make a lifetime commitment to each other. No, it has not been all rainbows and lollipops for fifty-two years. Marriage is a lot of work and a lot of compromise.

Fun together

I wrote about one of the turning points/adventures in our lives--the purchase of a flower shop and greenhouse operation in Fremont, Michigan. We had disagreements and sorrow. But we had joy and happiness too. Through it all, we supported each other and actually grew closer, becoming a strong team to meet any problem and conquer it.

Our grandson is getting married in June 2023. If he ever asks what is the secret to having a long-lasting marriage, I would first tell him to love each other and respect each other.    Communicate with her and listen to each other. (I must admit even after all this time, we still have breakdowns in communication.) When you commit to each other during the wedding ceremony, always keep in mind that commitment to be true to each other.

June is the month for brides. Are you a June bride? What advice would you give to a young couple about marriage?

Thank you for stopping in today and celebrating with me! I appreciate your support!



Arranging a Dream--the eBook
is available from all major online booksellers.
The paperback and hardcover books are available at amazon
and bn.com


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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

And the Pastor Wins!! by J.Q. Rose #MFRWHooks

 

Book Hooks--excerpts from novels

   Book Hooks Blog Hop #MFRWHooks

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. 

Today we're joining the Book Hooks Blog Hop sponsored by 

the Marketing For Romance Writers Group. 

Each participating blogger shares an excerpt from their book. Today I am featuring one of my favorite romantic mysteries, Dangerous Sanctuary.

Dangerous Sanctuary by J. Q. Rose
Romantic Suspense

Back of the Book: 

Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer. 

 Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

 Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?


Excerpt: Dangerous Sanctuary

Previously, Detective Stephens picked up Christine Hobbs to help the police calm down a young man who was holding his grandfather hostage. Christine knew Grandfather Jenkins and his grandson because Mr. Jenkins was a member of the church. Instead of staying behind the safety of the car cruiser to try and calm the young man, Christine walked up the sidewalk toward the grandfather's house, putting her life in jeopardy.

****

Detective Stephens and Christine watched as the policeman shoved the young man into the back seat of the police car. 

“May I talk to Jason?” 

“Maybe later, Hobbs. We have to book him. I’ll call you if he wants to see you,” Stephens said. 

“I’ll go to the hospital. You’ll call Mr. Jenkins’ daughter, right? Tell her I’ll meet her there?” 

Stephens nodded. “Yeah, we’ll send a policeman over there to escort her to the hospital if she wants to check on her father or go to the jail to visit her son.” 

In a gruff voice, he said, “I’ll take you back to the church. Get in the car.” 

“Thank you.” She made her way to the black Ford, distinctly aware Detective Stephens was upset.

 In the car, he started up the engine, then turned to Christine. His face was as red as a Michigan apple. “Well, that was some dumb thing you did today. Do you realize you jeopardized the old man’s life? That kid was so hopped up on drugs we didn’t know what he’d do. The boy could’ve come at you with his knife or even a concealed gun. You don’t get what a dangerous position you were in. If you’d gotten hurt or killed, I could’ve been booted out of the department.” 

“Oh, so you’re upset because I could have lost your job for you? Is that it?” Christine turned away from him and faced forward, glaring through the windshield. She’d used her instincts to try and save the boy and his grandfather and approaching the house had worked to get him to the door. Of course, she hadn’t thought too far ahead about the consequences if it hadn’t worked. 

Cole jammed the car into gear and streaked onto the roadway. She refused to look at the detective. “Then why did you even bother to come after me? I thought you wanted me to help calm the boy down and get him away from his grandfather.” 

Stephens ignored her. Deep silence filled the car, and only the songs of the birds on this sunny morning broke it during the drive back to the church. Stephens stopped the vehicle at the side doors of the church. He placed his hand on the door handle and turned to face her. 

In a controlled and deliberate tone, he said, “Thank you. I put you in danger, and it won’t happen again. It was poor judgment on my part.” 

“Actually, Detective, I’m glad you did come to get me. I acted on an impulse because I didn’t want Roger or Jason hurt. I understand and appreciate your concern.” 

Cole looked away and fidgeted with the steering wheel. “Well, don’t ever try anything like that again. Next time no one may be backing you up. Okay?” His voice softened and his brown eyes penetrated her heart. 

“Oh, Detective, God willing I won’t be in such a situation ever again.” 

She smiled, opened the car door, and swung her lean legs out to stand on the asphalt parking lot pavement. “Thanks for the ride.” She slammed the door shut and took the church steps two at a time.

****

Click here to download the book from your favorite online bookseller.

Paperback and hardcover available at amazon

****

Click here to visit bloggers participating in the #MFRWhooks  Blog Hop. 

Have fun!! 


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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

I Could Not Finish the Story Until---by J. Q. Rose #IWSGbloghop

 

Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop
#IWSGbloghop
Happy IWSG Blog Hop Day!
Happy June!

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. To find out more, click this link:  Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The purpose of the group 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. 
Click here to sign-up and/or to visit the bloggers this week.

Thank you to our awesome co-hosts for the June 1 posting of the IWSG--SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

June 1 question - When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If you have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?
When I was penning my romantic suspense novel, Deadly Undertaking, I could not, absolutely could not, finish the story. I gave up but saved all I had written to a file and didn't look at it all summer. But, during that season, my thoughts questioned why I couldn't keep writing. 

That summer, I wrote many short stories completely alien to what I usually write. Yes, some of them had really mean characters and dark tones, reflecting how I was feeling about my writing, I guess. Creating those stories loosened up my brain and allowed my imagination to grow. That's the only explanation I have for the uptick in writing so many short stories.

After so many months away from the novel, I opened the saved file and read the story. There was the answer to my difficulty. The background of the story which takes place in a funeral home was based on my real life when I was a kid. My dad was an undertaker and both of my brothers were funeral directors.  I grew up in that business, so I thought I could use them as resources for the ins and outs (and underground) of the funeral business. Remember that old adage of "write what you know?"

I included tidbits from my life e.g. how I used to dust the caskets in the casket room, set up seating for the funerals, and hauled flowers to the cemetery in the story. The character was too much like the actual me. I could not put myself in the role the main character had to perform because I would never do what she had to experience. When I separated myself from the character, I continued writing and finished the story!!

So, this is a long-winded way of telling you to put away the project that is causing you angst and begin a new one. Work on that one or two or three, then return to the story to view it from your present perspective. I bet you'll figure out some workarounds to break through what stopped you from writing and finishing. If not, put those pages away, but save them. You have plenty of other stories swirling in your head. Then try later. You may discover part of the story can be used in an entirely new way in your next project.

 If you have a similar experience with your writing, please leave a comment below or just say hi. 
Thank you.

****
Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose
A handsome detective, a shadow man, and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.
Romantic suspense, paranormal

If my sharing the behind-the-scenes information spiked your curiosity about Dangerous Sanctuary, please click here to download the eBook from your favorite online bookseller.  
Click here to download the paperback 

Click  Insecure Writer’s Support Group to visit more bloggers in the IWSG Blog Hop! Have fun!



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Thank you for visiting!!






Tuesday, May 24, 2022

FREE Collection of Short Stories to Entertain You This Memorial Day Weekend by J.Q. Rose #FREEebook #funread #holidayweekend

FREE 5 Quirky Short Stories

I have put together a FREE collection of five quirky stories. Today is my birthday, so I am giving YOU a gift. Sit back and relax, giggle or gasp for a few minutes during the US Memorial Day Weekend!

Please download these approximately 1000-word stories which were originally published on this blog for the Storytime Blog Hop.

I've had a lot of fun re-visiting and revising them for you. 

Click here to download the file.

Since this collection is not available online, you can't write a review at an online bookseller. However, if you read one or all of the stories, please leave a comment below about the collection or about an individual story. Thanking you in advance.
###


Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend from J.Q. Rose!


Books by J.Q. Rose
Click here to learn about each one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

And Now for the Rest of the Story, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir #memoir #motherhood #flowershop

 

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog.

BWL Publishing released my memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir in January 2021. Now there is more to the story.

What is the story? 

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir
by J.Q. Rose

From the back of the book:

In 1975, budding entrepreneurs Ted and Janet purchase a floral shop and greenhouses where they plan to grow their dream. Leaving friends and family behind in Illinois and losing the security of two paychecks, they transplant themselves, their one-year-old daughter, and all their belongings to Fremont, Michigan, where they know no one. 

Will the retiring business owners nurture Ted and Janet as they struggle to develop a blooming business, or will they desert the inexperienced young couple to wither and die in their new environment?

 Most of all, can Ted and Janet grow together as they cultivate a loving marriage, juggle parenting with work and root a thriving business?

Follow Ted and Janet's inspiring story, filled with the joy,and triumphs and the obstacles and failures experienced by these blossoming entrepreneurs as they travel the turbulent path of turning dreams into reality.

A snapshot of the flower shop on the first day we saw it in July 1975

Yes, we purchased the shop and greenhouse operation and lived out our dream to be entrepreneurs. It was a risky chance, but we were young and innocent enough not to know what we faced in the world of business. 

I remember how thrilled I was when we decided to become shop owners. I remember how frightened I was to move away from Central Illinois where we had a team of supporters in our family and friends. The small town in West Michigan was filled with strangers. We knew nothing about the retiring owners. We had to trust and pray they were good people.

Sara, Easter 1976 
16 months old
The most upsetting time for me was, after nursing my baby girl for nearly a year, I would have to give her up to a daycare worker who I did not know in order for me to work full time at the shop. 

Leaving her all day was the most difficult decision I ever made in my life! But let me assure you, she grew up to be a wonderful woman, the mother of two boys, active in her community and church, and operating two businesses. FYI--She gained a sister in 1978 who is also a fun-loving woman, the mother of two boys and a girl, active in her community and a city clerk performing her duties for her city as well as for the state's city clerk association.

SPOILER AHEAD: 

We purchased the shop and opened for business, on January 2, 1976, and sold the business on March 1, 1995. 

In 1982, we purchased property about two blocks from the original chalet building and erected three greenhouses, each 50' x 150', for a garden center. In 1986, we opened our new flower shop and garden center which was attached to the greenhouses. 

The floral shop, garden center and greenhouses in one location
1988

Imagining the building was one thing, but planning and building it were another. Dreaming of it was thrilling. Building it was frustrating when we couldn't get the builders to show up and get it done as quickly as we wanted to! But decorating the interior and ordering inventory, moving in...all those things and more were exciting and scary all at once. Figuring out how the design room should be set up, managing the shelving for the shop and garden center, decisions on how to create  welcoming, but efficient spaces were just a few of the responsibilities. 

We celebrated our new facilities with the community with a grand opening in November 1986. That day and the excitement of our customers and visitors still swirls in my memory as one of the best days at the flower shop.

Now, the rest of the story:

The owners who originally purchased the shop in 1995 are still in business, however, they sold the shop and property to Aldis grocery store last month. Aldis will bring in the wrecking ball soon to knock down that building pictured above and clean up all the reminders that the shop ever existed. I'm a bit melancholy about that, even if I haven't been working in the shop for 27 years.

I am glad I have wonderful memories of the times and photos of that era of my life  because there is no longer any physical evidence of those times. The original chalet building was knocked down several years ago. Only a grassy lot with a  For Sale sign remains where the old shop was located. 

But I have the memoir that leaves our legacy stories for our family and friends and future generations to read and learn how we worked hard to make our dream of owning a floral business and greenhouse operation come true.

****

Your Words, Your Life Story
My message to you is to consider jotting down memories for your family. Or record them using your phone. Your story could be an important piece to encourage others.

To help you spark your memories, check out my eBook and Paperback with lined pages for journaling about telling your life stories, Your Words, Your Life Story.

Click the links below to download or order the paperback.

UNIVERSAL LINK FOR EBOOK 

AMAZON LINK PAPERBACK JOURNAL  


ARRANGING A DREAM: A MEMOIR

Janet and Gardener Ted

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir

Click the links below to download or order the paperback or hardcover

UNIVERSAL eBOOK LINK  

PAPERBACK at Amazon

also available in hardcover

 


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Spring Fever Has Hit Me #springfever

 

Spring has Sprung. Forsythia and flowering trees are gorgeous!

Hello from Michigan! Hope you had a great US Mother's Day. 

Spring has sprung here. So I have spring fever this week and am taking blog time to work on other projects, not necessarily writerly projects.

You may know BWL Publishing released my memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir in January 2021. Next week, I will reveal the rest of the story. Please stop in to discover what has happened to the flower shop. Truly crushing news.

Tulip Time

Love the flowering trees in Michigan landscapes

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Summer Solstice Celebration at an English Stone Circle

  Castlerigg Stone Circle, England Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog published on the day of Summer Sostice 2022! A few years a...

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