Tuesday, November 29, 2022

New Release: Marsha West's Vulnerable: A Second Chance Romantic Suspense, a Gift from JQ #newrelease #gift


Vulnerable by Marsha R. West
Romantic suspense

Hello and Welcome to Focused on Story! 

I am thrilled to spotlight my friend and talented author, Marsha R. West this week. Her romantic suspense novel, Vulnerable, her 10th book, will be released on December 1. What a wonderful way to kick off the month of December.

Congratulations, Marsha!! I have read every book in the Second Chance series and enjoyed every heroine in each book who takes a chance falling in love again. 

BACK OF THE BOOK--Vulnerable by Marsha R. West

Interior designer, and junior college professor Maddy Crain fights for the strength to stand on her own after the tragic death of her husband two years ago in a car wreck. Being the target of sexual harassment on campus forces her to seek help.

Former LA homicide detective and now security expert, David Bourland, works to protect his clients, but he guards his heart after seeing his wife gunned down. Maddy's vulnerability and independence demand all his skills as he vows to keep her safe.

Will the harasser's obsession turn deadly? Will David's fear of falling for someone who might die violently and Maddy's determination to stand on her own prevent them from admitting their love for each other?

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I love the trailer for Vulnerable created by Jody Tyvek. The heart-pounding musical background and story sure made me curious about the book. Looking forward to reading it!

Pre-order Now
You can pre-order the book now and it will be delivered to you on release day, December 1. 
Click here to pre-order from B & N, Apple and KOBO.

The paperback book will be available from amazon beginning December 1.


Click the links to connect online with Marsha:

Marsha's Newsletter:  MRW Press LLC (list-manage.com)


The holiday edition of The Rose Courier will be delivered on December 2. It's not too late to sign up!
I have a gift for you inside the letter in appreciation of your support of my writing. Talk about being thankful. I am thankful for having readers who enjoy reading my books--mystery, memoir and nonfiction.

The Rose Courier

Stay up-to-date with J.Q. Rose. Subscribe to the Rose Courier 
filled with articles, freebies, photos and fun! 
Click here to get your copy of the Holiday edition

Click here to be notified when a new article is posted on this blog.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Celebrate Thanksgiving Every Day, Excerpt from Arranging a Dream


Happy Thanksgiving--Give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a special time of year for all of us. It's a reminder to be "in the attitude of gratitude." I wish we could remember to be thankful for the little things and the big things every day. 

Your Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories

For the past couple of years, I have been creating a book to help folks write their spiritual autobiographies. I recognize spirituality as believing in something bigger than me and finding my purpose in life. My spiritual connection is through Jesus, so my book is written for those who follow Jesus. 

If you have followed the Focused on Story blog, you know I call myself a life storytelling evangelist. That is my life purpose now--to encourage and help those who have their story inside them and want to write or video the story of their life experiences. I published a book to help spark memories and suggest ways to begin writing their life stories. After penning that book, You Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories, ideas for writing a spiritual biography swirled in my brain. What a gift for a family and future generations and also an important life review for the author.

But, the process has become complicated because I cannot nail down where this book fits in the publishing world. Will it be a devotional, a journal, or a workbook? I am thinking the book is actually a devotional journal if there is such a publication. 

I have topics with a Bible verse and writing prompts that will spark memories for the reader to make notes, draw or write the story on the page. 

In fact, yesterday GRATITUDE popped up on my list of topics to work on that day. A timely topic for this week. Here is the verse I chose to accompany the topic. 

GRATITUDE--I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing, laughing and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God. Psalm 9:1 The Message

I am doing just that with a thankful heart this week, and I plan to do it every day of the year!

Have you ever heard of a "devotional journal?" Please leave a comment below. Thank you for visiting.

Below is a short excerpt from my memoir, Arranging a Dream, about our first Thanksgiving in our new home in 1976.

Ted and I with Sara in 1976--Does Anyone remember those "stylish" collars?

Thanksgiving 1976 was a peculiar one for my hubby, GT, our 2-year-old daughter, Sara and me. We had moved from Central Illinois to a town in West Michigan in December 1975 to purchase a floral shop and greenhouse business. We had no family or friends to share our Thanksgiving dinner with. The day was sad until I began remembering all the things we were thankful for in our situation. 

During dark times, it is hard to realize we have big and small things for which we can be grateful. I learned to stop and realize how much I have and then my heart warms with those thoughts. 

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Here's an excerpt from my memoir about that first Thanksgiving in our small apartment over the shop where we began our dream of operating a floral and greenhouse business.

Chapter 26--Autumn's Lights is located near the end of the book, so I deleted some lines that contained "spoilers."

Hattie is the previous shop owner.

Fairview Floral, our shop and greenhouses in 1976. The apartment was over the shop.

I looked forward to Thanksgiving Day, a non-holiday for florists since, like Easter, folks spent their dollars on a turkey and all the fixings, not flowers. I relaxed during this beautiful time of year taking time to give thanks for my family, our new life in Fremont and for the opportunity to grow our business.

I was thankful for returning customers like Galloping George who picked up a rose, babies’ breath and greens for the lady friend of the week and Frenchy who owned the tavern in Holton. He faithfully ordered funeral flowers for his patrons who passed. The Hesperia funeral home called us for family flowers. Friends from church ordered flowers when it was their turn to provide flowers in the sanctuary. And yes, many of Hattie’s customers stayed with us.

I thanked God for Sara Elizabeth and cherished my role as a mother. She turned two-years-old in November. How different mothering a toddler compared to a baby. She had developed her good-natured personality with her likes and dislikes. She toddled around the shop and greenhouse, charming customers, and she loved accompanying Daddy on deliveries. And I should say, Daddy loved her company.

We were alone to celebrate turkey day because we had to prepare for the long Christmas holiday ahead instead of making a trip to Illinois to be with our families. Having Ted and Sara with me was enough. Ted prepared the festive bird and I did my best to add delicious side dishes like sweet potatoes, canned jellied cranberry sauce, which he loves, corn and pumpkin pie that I had learned to make in high school home-economics class.

We sat at our dining room table graced with a floral centerpiece of fresh fall-colored flowers and lighted by the hanging lamp Ted had gifted me. Expressing out loud what we are thankful for has become a family tradition for us. For me, choosing just one was difficult.

As we held hands and said grace, my body relaxed with contentment remembering the blessings we had received through that year. Squeezing Sara’s and Ted’s hands with that extra touch of love completed my thanksgiving prayer.

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I am thankful to Jude Pittman at Books We Love Publishing for publishing my memoir. The book has given me the opportunity to encourage readers to go for their dreams. And, I have enjoyed having a platform to "preach" about writing life stories. I have had three successful presentations at libraries. The workshops allowed me to focus on speaking to groups. Many thanks to those libraries!

Helping participants shake a lot of memories loose so they have lots of stories to tell is pure joy for me, then guiding them into actually sitting down and recording their stories either by writing or by video is exciting. Plus some who were on the fence about writing their stories were inspired to decide to write their legacy for their family and future generations. 

Having the story about our first year in business has fulfilled a dream I had too. I wanted my kids and grandkids to know who we are and where they come from. But most of all I want them to realize their dreams can come true. They can wade into the future with their dreams knowing that we did exactly that and found success.

I am also thankful to you for your support and encouragement throughout these years of writing.

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

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 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 this couple’s inspiring story, filled with the joy and triumphs and the obstacles and failures experienced as they travel along the turbulent path of turning dreams into reality.

Click here to order the paperback and/or hardcover book from amazon.

Click here to order from your favorite online bookseller.

To those who celebrate the holiday, 
I wish you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving in the USA!
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The Rose Courier

Stay up-to-date with the Rose Courier delivered quarterly to your inbox. Filled with articles, freebies, photos and fun! 
Click here to get your copy of the Holiday edition after Thanksgiving with a special surprise for all subscribers. It's not too late to sign up, so do it now.

Click here to be notified when a new article is posted on this blog.


About J.Q. Rose:

Whether the story is fiction or non-fiction, J.Q. Rose is “focused on story.”  She offers readers chills, giggles and quirky characters woven within the pages of

Author JQ Rose

her mystery novels. Her published mysteries are Deadly Undertaking, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard and Dangerous Sanctuary released by Books We Love Publishing. Using her experience as a journalist, she provides entertainment and information with articles featured in books, magazines, newspapers, and online magazines. 

J.Q. combined her work in freelancing articles and her storytelling skills to pen her memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, the story of the ups and downs she and her husband experienced in their first year of establishing a floral business.

 Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband spend winters in Florida and summers up north with their two daughters, two sons-in-law,  four grandsons, one granddaughter, two grand dogs, four grand cats, and one great-grand bearded dragon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Two New Releases: Jacqui Murray's Pre-historic Novel, Natural Selection and Susan Bernhardt's Cozy Mystery ,The Neighborhood #cozymystery #newrelease #prehistoricfiction

Two New Book Releases!

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog! 

Meeting authors all over the country and the globe was an unexpected perk after publishing my first book. What a joy to meet my writerly friends via the Internet. We are "cyber pals" like "pen pals" in another era, making friends online rather than meeting in person. Oh how I wish I could meet everyone in person, but I'm happy keeping in touch through email, DM, ZOOM, etc.

The next perk--I discovered how generous and kind authors are to each other. Rather than being competitive, writers share information about the publishing industry and writing tips. 

This week, I am thrilled to have two of my author friends as guests and share their brand-new releases. Please welcome these fantastic storytellers, Jacqui Murray and Susan Bernhardt, to the Focused on Story Blog! (I can hear the applause now.)

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Jacqui just released Natural Selection, Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity Trilogy. Be sure to watch the heart-pounding book trailer for this book below.

Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray
#3 in the Dawn of Humanity Trilogy

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Jacqui, Please tell us about your latest release, Natural Selection.

Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray
Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity Trilogy
"A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears."

Thank you, Janet, for hosting me this week.

This novel is the conclusion to Lucy's journey. She and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former tribe members captured by the enemy. Lucy's tribe includes a mix of species--a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

Available in print or digital at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW


Click the links below to discover more about Jacqui's books from her previous visits to Focused on Story.

Click here for her book, Law of Nature.

Click here to read about the who, what, where, when and why in Jacqui's book, The Quest for Home in the Crossroads Trilogy.

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About Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray

Jacqui is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. The trilogies in Man vs Nature are The Dawn of Humanity and The Crossroads Trilogy.

Not only does Jacqui write these amazing trilogies in the prehistoric fiction genre, but she is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to the United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

 Click the links below to connect online with Jacqui

Amazon Author Page






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The Neighborhood by Susan Bernhardt
#6 in The Kay Driscoll Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery

Thank you, Janet, for helping me get the word out about the newest book in the Kay Driscoll Mystery Series.

A new City Planner and his "Stepford wife" move into Kay Driscoll's neighborhood. The city of Sudbury Falls has a planning committee headed by this newly hired city planner intent on building a dam in the Sudbury River. The purpose, to create a lake for waterfront property featuring high-priced, luxury condominiums that the locals could never afford.

An uproar arises among the citizens who are passionate about the natural beauty of the Sudbury River. A newly formed Sudbury River Protection Society attracts Kay Driscoll and her friends with their “Save the River” movement.

When a murder occurs in the neighborhood, the unexpected happens. Chief Kirk asks Kay for her help in investigating the crime. What is up his sleeve? In the meantime Elizabeth's ex-husband shows up at her book signing after a five-year absence, Deirdre has a community feng shui-inspired May Day celebration at Planetary Herbals, and Janey goes on her first date.

Welcome back to Kay's world.

Click here to download the eBook or order the paperback copy of The Neighborhood.


Susan's town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of her Kay Driscoll novels. Like Kay Driscoll in her cozy mysteries,

Cozy Mystery Author Susan Bernhardt
Susan is a retired nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. She also writes the Irina Curtius mysteries. She lives with her husband, William, and has two sons, Peter and David.

An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. and the Wisconsin Writers Association.

Her published works include: 

A Manhattan Murder Mystery (An Irina Curtius Mystery), 

Dress to Kill (An Irina Curtius Mystery Book 2), 

The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1), 

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2)

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3), 

Paradise Can Be Murder (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 4), 

Murder Misunderstood (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 5)

When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.
Click here to discover all of Susan's books on her Amazon Author Page.
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Thank you, Jacqui and Susan, for stopping by and meeting my readers. Wishing you great success with your new releases!
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The Rose Courier

Stay up-to-date with the Rose Courier delivered quarterly to your inbox. Filled with articles, freebies, photos and fun! 
Click here to get your copy of the Holiday edition coming soon with a special surprise to all subscribers. Shhhh---I'm not telling.

Click here to be notified when a new article is posted on this blog.
Thank you!


Click the book cover below to take you directly to the book's amazon page. Using this link will allow you to purchase the book and give the author a boost in exposure. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Celebrate National Life Writing Month with Author Judy Sheer Watters #lifewritingmonth #memoir #writingtips


Memoirs and More Guest

Hello and Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog!

Because November is National Life Writing Month, I thought I would re-share this post by my friend and memoir author, Judy Sheer Watters.
Judy is an author, freelance writer, editor, and life storytelling teacher. She offers valuable tips for you who are thinking about, beginning, in the middle of, or finishing up a story about your life. She has published three memoirs and teaches the art of memoir, so her tips are tried and true. You can apply many of her tips to writing fiction and non-fiction books, as well.

Judy also has writing prompts and author interviews on her Youtube channel. I was excited to be her guest for an interview about my memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir.
 Click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay

Welcome, Judy! We want to know more about writing a memoir. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks, Janet, for inviting me to your blog.

Write a Memoir
Image by Darkmoon_Art from Pixabay

So You Want to Write a Memoir? by Judy Sheer Watters

So you want to write a memoir? Why not? How I wish I had known my paternal grandmother. I would have loved to hear her stories of escaping Russia and the Bolshevik Revolution. Those stories were lost forever when she came through Ellis Island and died after giving birth to my father. Many of Daddy’s experiences in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York City are also lost to me and to the generations that follow me.

The first question we need to consider in writing our memoir is what will we write? Usually, a memoir covers only a small segment of a person's life. The focus could be on early school days and how different family members helped to develop your own character. Perhaps it covers the long-term care you gave to a loved one and how you coped with letting go at his/her death. It might reveal the turmoil in a troubled marriage or with problem children and lessons learned by both you and your spouse as your bond strengthened and healed.

The next question goes hand-in-hand with your first question. What is your purpose for writing your memoir? Several people who I have worked with have the burning desire to finish their written memoir to give as gifts to their family. Their hope is that many generations to come will read their story and know some of the family struggles and joys. On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps you dream of being the next New York Times bestseller with your memoir of how you pulled yourself out of a devastating pit of despair and lived to tell it all. Your end goal will determine your voice. If it's written for your family alone, you might use a more familiar tone than if you are writing for the outside world.


 The Road Home by Judy Sheer Waters
A city boy from a New York City orphanage, well-versed in the school of hard knocks,
meets a country girl who thinks she wants a life of travel and excitement.

What format will you write your story in? In my first memoir, The Road Home: The Legacy that was, is and is to Come, I used life lessons. Each chapter's story ended with a moral—something I learned through that experience. Alma Wakefield wrote her memoir, Amanda Grace, of her Downs Syndrome daughter, using character traits her daughter taught her through the years. One chapter she titled "Patience" and another, “Acceptance.” Sheri Hunt wrote her memoir The Oldest Sin in the Book as a self-help book. Through her own pain of food addiction, she writes about how she found the source of her healing. In my third memoir, Panning for Gold in Our Golden Years, I wrote short stories of how my mom met the aging process head-on every step of the way. Then I offered writing prompts for the reader to tell of their own experience in giving up the car keys or accepting a walker or wheelchair.

Panning for Gold in Our Golden Years

Now that you know what you will write and how you will format your story, you are ready to outline your book. Some writers prefer to just wing it. They start writing and let the pen take them through their story. I actually did this until I got so confused, I had to stop and organize my stories. So here's my old-fashioned suggestion. Get 3 X 5 cards and write a short one to two-sentence synopsis of each chapter or just give that story a title. For instance, one chapter in my own book involved my older sister knocking out my brother’s two front teeth. I wrote “Life is Painful at Times.” Under that, I wrote “Virginia knocks out Rodney's teeth.” After I had finished thirty cards, I organized my cards in a logical storyline and started again. I understand the Scrivener software program does the same thing, but I have not tried this yet. I'm still of the old school.

Now that you know your purpose for writing, what you will write, the format in which you write your story, and you have outlined your book, you are ready to write. It's at this time that your marketing begins, but that's for another post.

Get those stories written down for the generations to come, and be sure to enjoy the process.

 And as I tell my writing students: Get your BIC (butt in chair) and start writing, now.

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Stop in and subscribe to Judy's YouTube channel where she features Author interviews of ordinary people who had a story to share with the world. She also brings short writing prompts to get your creative juices going so you can write your own stories for the generations to come. 

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Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay

About Judy:

Author Judy Sheer Watters

All life can be counted as joyful; just some days are more joyful than others. And it’s all those days, the joyful and the not-so-joyful, that make life worth living. And when you put all those days together, a pattern of life lessons emerges that ultimately becomes your legacy.
Judy Watters’ love and focus on memoir stems from the realization that her children would never know the richness of their grandparents’ lives or her childhood farm unless she put it into writing. Judy’s expertise comes from many years of studying the craft of memoir writing. She works closely with others to teach the art of memoir and to help new authors leave the gift of legacy for their families. As Judy sees it, “Everyone has a legacy to leave for their generations to come. Leaving your written legacy and the life lessons learned allows your future generations to realize they are not alone in this journey we call life.”

A retired English teacher and secondary principal, Judy is the author of three memoirs and more than 30 low-content books (puzzles, activity, journals, and logbooks). She is a freelance writer and editor and the founder of Hill Country Christian Writers and Hill Country Legacy Writers. Judy and her husband reside in Spring Branch, Texas. Along with their three grown children, one daughter-in-law, the most gorgeous granddaughter, two grandcats, and a one-eyed rescue dog named Lacey. They continue to create a rich legacy of their own.

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Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay

Click the links below to connect with Judy online:

If you have any questions, contact her at: sheermemoirs@gmail.com

Judy's Facebook page at Judy Sheer Watters, Author

Judy's YouTube channel 

Judy's website 

Judy Sheer Watters Author Central page  

Book trailer for The Road Home

Click the book title to purchase your copy of The Road Home by Judy Sheer Waters

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The Rose Courier

Stay up-to-date with the Rose Courier delivered quarterly to your inbox. Filled with articles, freebies, photos and fun! Click here to get your copy of the Holiday edition.

Click here to be notified when a new article is posted on this blog.
Thank you!







New Release: Marsha West's Vulnerable: A Second Chance Romantic Suspense, a Gift from JQ #newrelease #gift

  Vulnerable by Marsha R. West Romantic suspense Hello and Welcome to Focused on Story!  I am thrilled to spotlight my friend and talented a...

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