Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Book Cover Reveal: Your Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories


Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog! This is an exciting day for me. I am pleased to announce the release of my journal for those who want to share memories from their life with family and friends. Check out the cover below!
Your Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories
by J.Q. Rose
My passion for writing life stories began when a member of one of my writers' groups, Mary Zuwerink, brought in the diary of her great, great grandfather. He was a minister in England. This diary contained his everyday, ordinary days in his life in London in the early 1800s. Ordinary then, perhaps, but to us in this contemporary society, his reflections and stories were extraordinary.

Offering an opportunity to folks who want to tell their everyday stories as guides to people in the future, I offered workshops on writing life stories. But in this book, I cover audio and video storytelling, as well as writing, because not everyone is a writer. 

The idea of writing life experiences is an obstacle to sharing them. Another obstacle is trying to figure out what to write about. The book offers many ways to jog those memories which lead to more stories. 

When I led group workshops, the best part for me was listening to the tales the participants shared. Folks who never wrote actually created many touching and memorable pieces that brought tears and laughter. Since reading the book alone and telling your stories and not sharing them is not much fun, I created a facebook group for sharing as well as spotlighting resources, tips, and news.

I may be premature in announcing the book because I just had it accepted by KDP Publishing. It won't be live for a few days, but as you can imagine, I am bursting with the good news. Especially after jumping through all the hoops to get it published. But that's another blog post for the future.

I'm looking forward to getting a proof copy. I probably won't find any errors in it. wink wink

This quote by J.D. Salinger certainly applies to me and this book.

Quote by J.D. Salinger
Thanks so much for your support of the Focused on Story blog and for your continued participation. I am anxious to update you on the journey this journal will take.

Do you have a book in you that is screaming to get out? Do you have stories from your life you want to share with family and friends? Have you written a memoir or life story? Please leave a comment below and tell us all about it! Thank you.
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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Veterans Day: Honoring Women in the Military Service


Veterans Day Honoring Veterans
of the U.S. Military Services
(Post originally published at the Girls Succeed Blog)
On Veterans Day, November 11, we honor veterans who served in the U.S. Military. This date also marks the end of World War I when the armistice with Germany was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Women have been a part of the U.S. Military since the American Revolutionary War when we fought for independence from England. Winning that war established the United States of America. 

Take a look at this amazing history of women in the military. The full history is on the Women in Military Service for America Memorial site.

Highlights in the History of Military Women



American Revolution (1775-1783): Women serve on the battlefield as nurses, water bearers, cooks, laundresses and saboteurs.
War of 1812: Mary Marshall and Mary Allen nurse aboard Commodore Stephen Decatur's ship United States.
Mexican War (1846-1848): Elizabeth Newcom enlists in Company D of the Missouri Volunteer Infantry as Bill Newcom. She marches 600 miles from Missouri to winter camp at Pueblo, Colorado, before she is discovered to be a woman and discharged.
Civil War (1861-1865): Women provide casualty care and nursing to Union and Confederate troops at field hospitals and on the Union Hospital Ship Red Rover. Women soldiers on both sides disguise themselves as men in order to serve. In 1865, Dr. Mary Walker receives the Medal of Honor. She is the only woman to receive the nation's highest military honor.

More Recent History
1987: The Navy assigns its first woman Force Master Chief and Independent Duty Corpsman to serve at sea.
The first enlisted woman is assigned as Officer-In-Charge aboard a Coast Guard vessel.
1988: NASA selects its first Navy woman as an astronaut.
The Coast Guard's "Chief Warrant Officer to Lieutenant" program promotes its first woman.
Marine women are again assigned as embassy guards.
1989: 770 women deploy to Panama in Operation Just Cause. Two women command Army companies in the operation and three women Army pilots are nominated for Air Medals. Two receive the Air Medal with "V" device for participation in a combat mission.
For the first time in history, the US Military Academy (West Point) names a woman as its Brigade Commander and First Captain.
NASA selects its first Army woman as an astronaut.
The Navy assigns its first woman as Command Master Chief at sea.
A woman is the first person trained for a new specialty, Coast Guard Flight Officer. These officers are responsible for tactical coordination of the drug interdiction efforts aboard Coast Guard aircraft.

War in the Persian Gulf (1990-1991): Some 40,000 American military women are deployed during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Two Army women are taken prisoner by the Iraqis.
1991: The Navy assigns the first women to command a Naval Station and an aviation squadron.
The first Navy woman assumes command of a ship.
The Air Force Reserve selects its first woman senior enlisted advisor.
Congress repeals laws banning women from flying in combat.
For the first time in history, a woman is named Brigade Commander at the Naval Academy.
1992: The first active-duty woman Coast Guard officer is promoted to captain (O-6).
r
1993: Congress repeals the law banning women from duty on combat ships. Women deploy with the USS Fox.
The first woman Naval aviator serves with a combat squadron.
The first woman assumes command of a Naval base.
The Marine Corps opens pilot positions to women.
The Army names a woman "Drill Sergeant of the Year" for the first time in the 24-year history of this competition.
The Army assigned its first woman combat pilot.
The Air Force assigns the first woman to command an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) unit.
The first woman service secretary in the history of the armed forces is appointed.
The first woman in any reserve component is promoted to major general.
The Air Force assigns the first woman to command an air refueling unit.
The Coast Guard promotes the first active-duty woman to master chief.
The Coast Guard assigns the first woman as Chief Judge.

1994: The USS Eisenhower is the first carrier to have permanent women crew members. Sixty-three women are initially assigned.
The first woman assumes command of a Naval Air Station.
The first woman, an Air Force major, copilots the space shuttle.
The Air Force Reserve gets its first woman fighter pilot.
1995: An Air Force lieutenant colonel becomes the first woman space shuttle pilot.
The first African-American woman, an Air Force officer, is promoted to major general.
The first female Marine pilot pins on Naval flight wings.
1996: The first women in the history of the armed forces are promoted to the three-star rank.
For the first time a woman fires Tomahawk cruise missiles from a warship in a combat zone.
The first woman commands the Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
The first woman commands an operational flying wing.
1997: The Army promotes its first woman to lieutenant general.
The Army assigns the first woman and the first non-doctor to command an Army hospital.
The first woman in history is appointed as a state adjutant general.

1998: For the first time, a woman fighter pilot delivers a payload of missiles and laser-guided bombs in combat. She is in the first wave of US strikes against Iraq in Operation Desert Fox.
The Air National Guard promotes the first woman to major general.
1999: The Air Force promotes its first woman to lieutenant general.
For the first time, a woman, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, commands the space shuttle.
The first women graduate from the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.
The first woman and first African-American commands the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps (NOAA).
The first African-American woman is selected to command a Navy ship.
2000: The Air Force promotes the first woman pilot to brigadier general.
The first Coast Guard women, an active-duty officer and a reservist, are promoted to flag officer rank.
Navy women are among the victims and heroes when the USS Cole is attacked by a suicide bomber in Yemen.
The first woman commands a Navy warship at sea. The vessel is assigned to the sensitive Persian Gulf.
The Army National Guard promotes the first woman to major general.

2001: The Army promotes the first woman to brigadier general in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. She is also the first Asian-Pacific-American woman promoted to brigadier general.
An Air National Guard security force woman becomes the first woman to complete the counter-sniper course, the only military sniper program open to women.
The US Army Women's Museum opens at Ft. Lee, Virginia.
Terrorists highjack four commercial aircraft, crash two into the World Trade Center, one into a field in Pennsylvania and one into the Pentagon. In the attack at the Pentagon, 125 people were killed on the ground and 59 passengers lose their lives; ten active duty, reserve and retired servicewomen are among the casualties. Servicewomen are activated and deployed in support of the war on terrorism.
2002: An enlisted woman Marine is killed in an aircraft crash in Pakistan, the first woman to die in Operation Enduring Freedom, part of the Global War on Terror.
The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is issued a new charter narrowing its focus to issues pertaining to military families, recruitment, readiness and retention. A retired Marine three-star general is appointed chairman of the new, downsized advisory committee.
For the first time in its history, the Army National Guard promotes an African-American woman to the rank of brigadier general.
For the first time in US history, a woman becomes the top enlisted advisor
in any of the military components. She is sworn in as the Command Sergeant
Major of the US Army Reserve.
2003: The first Native American servicewoman is killed in battle.  She was one of three women who became prisoners of war during the first days of the war in Iraq.
The first woman in US Air Force history takes command of a fighter squadron.
2005: The first woman in history is awarded the Silver Star for combat action. She is one of 14 women in US history to receive the medal.
An Air Force woman becomes the Air Force Academy’s Commandant of Cadets, the No. 2 position at the nation’s service academies. She is the first woman in the history of any of the academies to be appointed to this position.
The first woman in US Air Force history joins the prestigious USAF Air  Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds.” She was also the first woman on any US military high-performance jet team. 
2006: The Coast Guard appoints the first woman Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, making her the first woman in history to serve as a deputy service chief in any of the US Armed Forces.
The Marine Corps assigns the first woman Marine in history to command a Recruit
Depot.
2007: The first woman in US Naval history takes command of a fighter squadron.
The last woman veteran of World War I dies, a former yeoman (F).
2008: For the first time in US military history, a woman is promoted to the
rank of four-star general. She is promoted by the US Army.

More blog posts on women in the military at the Girls Succeed Blog:


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

IWSG Blog Hop: Something Dark Today, the Darknet and Incognito Window



IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every month.
Happy November!!
Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop! 

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 to join.
Question for November 6

November 6 Question 

What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

The strangest thing I ever googled was the Darknet. In 2013, not many people were aware of the existence of the Darknet.

 Wikipedia describes the following uses of the Darknet
"Darknets, in general, may be used for various reasons, such as:
Deadly Undertaking
Romantic Suspense
with a touch of the paranormal

I read an article about the secret web. I didn't believe it because it sounded like something in a spy novel, not in real life. But, sure enough, this amazing concept was a reality. I found it to be an excellent way to ......Oh, sorry I can't tell you since it would be a spoiler in my romantic suspense novel, Deadly Undertaking. (See how I wove this shameless plug into the IWSG blog post?)

In 2020 we have a window named "incognito," so browsing will remain secret and no one knows who is using it for searches. Doesn't that sound so James Bondish? 

And yet, the incognito window is something to use while browsing for keywords for your latest book or to update your older books. Keywords will pop up from everywhere not based on your browsing history. The search will reveal words beyond your personal interests. It isn't the Darknet, but I do feel like a secret agent when snooping in the incognito mode, and it feels great! 
Secret Agent
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors
from Pixabay 


<Looking around to see if someone is watching over my shoulder> Shhh...I'll tell you how to find the incognito window if you promise not to snitch on me. Click on the 3 stacked dots on the right of your Google search bar. You can choose the incognito window from the drop-down menu to go underground. Now, remember to keep it under your hat, kiddo. <wink>

Have you heard of the Darknet? (I won't ask if you are using it.) Have you used the incognito window? In the comment section below, please enlighten us with your experience using the incognito window--unless you want it to remain a secret! 

Click here to read another blog about the Darknet on the Focused on Story Blog.

Click here to visit the IWSG Blog Hop participants.
Thanks for stopping!
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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween Storytime Blog Hop: The Undertaker's Daughter

Storytime Blog Hop
Halloween
BOO! and welcome to the Storytime Blog Hop! This quarterly edition theme is, what else but Halloween? Talented authors share short fiction stories from 500-1000 words for your entertainment. You're invited to hop around the especially, creepy, scary cyberspace today to read fascinating stories based on the optional theme of Halloween. The list of participants is located at the bottom of the page. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!
I apologize if I am breaking the rules today by sharing a story I shared 5 years ago on this blog. But it is so perfect for Halloween, I couldn't resist. This piece has a place in my heart because it was the impetus to spark my mystery novel, Deadly Undertaking. 

Deadly Undertaking
Paranormal Mystery
The book's setting is a funeral home because I am the daughter of an undertaker. And I have two brothers who are funeral directors. When I wrote this story for a fun blog post years ago, I had no idea I would have a published mystery from the idea. 

Anyway, it's Halloween, a time for fun, silly costumes, and candy! You'll have to decide if the tale I'm spinning is a trick or a treat. Take a break and have fun with this. You'll get to know me better after learning about my "growing up" years.
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TheUndertaker’s Daughter
By J Q Rose
I always thought of horror writers as eccentric, peculiar people. But my perception changed when a horror story sprang from my own mind. You can imagine my surprise when my mystery/horror tale Sunshine Boulevard was accepted and published in 2011. That made ME a published author of horror stories.

Right away, I must tell you I am not an eccentric, peculiar person. I’m just a regular woman who is a wife, mother, grandmother. I like eating a burger at McDonald's, shopping at Walmart, and reading mystery novels. But, perhaps some would think my childhood was different. You see, my father was an embalmer and funeral director. I was reared in a funeral home.

It was not unusual to have a dead body laid out in a casket several days in a row in our living room which converted to the funeral chapel. In fact, sometimes we’d have more than one body in our home. The embalming room was in the back of the house, and yes, I wore lots of perfume and soap to cover the pungent odor of formaldehyde on my clothes and hair
Casket
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 
We had knee caps for ashtrays in the private area of our home…not in the public area because that may upset some folks. But Dad was a heavy smoker, so he appreciated having the convenience of an ashtray nearby at all times.

In our kitchen, boxes of ashes of the departed sat in the pantry shelves next to the canned green beans and corn. Some families squabbled over who was going to pay the funeral expenses for their dearly departed, so they never showed up to claim the ashes for fear of being left with the debt.  In one case the family of Ida Mayberry never claimed their sweet aunt. So Aunt Ida took up residence in the cupboard next to the baked beans.
Can of baked beans
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 
Life as an undertaker’s daughter did not seem to be any big deal. My friends, well, most of them, were happy to come over and play hide and seek in the casket room or to swipe flowers out of the funeral arrangements to put in our hair for dress up.

My girlfriends did get upset when one of the spirits who regularly hung out in the funeral home flew by. The whoosh of air was the only indicator of their presence. Yes, I lost a couple of friends that way because they were scared to death…well, not literally. They just were creeped out especially when one of the spirits would knock over the Barbie dollhouse or send the collection of Barbies swirling around the room.

Needless to say, I enjoyed going to my friend’s house. It was a treat to open their pantry door to get a can of pineapple and not see the boxed ashes of poor Aunt Ida. I could never shake the sadness I felt for her because noone cared enough to bury her ashes or at least sprinkle them on their garden.

So, yes, some may believe it was an unusual childhood compared to the experiences of others. But I felt loved, secure, and safe at all times. And that’s what counts for a kid.

The growing up years certainly shape the adult one becomes. I don’t know if this is the reason I can write a horror story or not, but I can assure you I am a normal, well-rounded person, not eccentric or peculiar at all. In fact, I got rid of the knee cap ashtrays just last week. I do have Aunt Ida in the cupboard. Her family never claimed her and I have grown attached to her company.
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So do you believe what you read? I must confess most of it is made up. And of course, Deadly Undertaking is fiction, but I did have my funeral director brothers help me with the story. So, it's loosely based on the real funeral business. The keyword here is loosely.!
# # #

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Click here or on the JQ Rose Courier graphic at the top of the sidebar to have your copy of the JQ Rose Courier delivered to your inbox. You'll find out about new releases, giveaways, contests with prizes and what JQ is up to.
Thanks!
# # #
If you're not scared to death, please hop on over to the participants in the Storytime Blog Hop. The list is below.
PODCAST: General Link: Alone In A Room With Invisible People
  1. Family Time by Bonnie Burns
  2. The Exception by Vanessa Wells
  3. Number 99 by Juneta Key
  4. Edda’s Second Chance by Katharina Gerlach
  5. Very Thin Line by Rebecca Anne Dillon
  6. Henry Moves House by Nic Steven
  7. For The Ghost The Bell Tolls by James Husum
  8. Never Alone by Melanie Drake
  9. The Neighbor by Meghan Collins
  10. Storytime Blog Hop by Raven O'Fiernan
  11. Loney Lucy by Bill Bush
  12. The Traveler by Barbara Lund
  13. Evening by Karen Lynn
  14. Man Of Your Dreams by Gina Fabio
  15. The Undertaker's Daughter by J. Q. Rose
  16. The Road by Elizabeth McCleary
  17. Storytime Blog Hop by C. T. Bridges
  18. Storytime Blog Hop by Warp World Books

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

In the Spotlight: Nan Sanders Pokerwinski's Mango Rash, A Memoir

Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta
by Nan Sanders Pokerwinski
Memoir
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. I have anticipated this day for a l-o-n-g time. My friend and talented writer, Nan Sanders Pokerwinski's memoir, Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta, released today! 

We have been critique buddies for years. I was privileged to read her drafts of this book and brainstormed with her along the way. Now to see the actual book and turn its pages means it's time for a celebration! 

So put on your best flowered shirt, place a flower in your hair, a fragrant lei made of frangipani flowers around your neck and grab a bottle of orange Fanta. Feel the sun on your face and the gentle breezes ruffle your hair. Get in the tropical mood because Nan's book takes you away to the beautiful island of Samoa.
Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta
by Nan Sanders Pokerwinski
Memoir
MANGO RASH: 
COMING OF AGE IN THE LAND OF FRANGIPANI AND FANTA
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski

BACK OF THE BOOK:

Moving to a South Pacific island from small-town Oklahoma, sixteen-year-old Nancy Sanders trades cruising Main Street in search of tater tots for strolling sandy shores with islanders who serenade sharks and feast on sea worms. With a dash of teenage sass, MANGO RASH chronicles Nancy's search for adventure—and identity—in two alien worlds: the tricky terrain of 1960's adolescence and the remote and rapidly-changing U.S. territory of American Samoa. In spite of palm trees and ocean breezes, island life is not one big beach party, Nancy finds when she clashes with her parents over forbidden boys, discovers double standards in the expat community, and cowers through a hurricane.

Like Nancy, readers of this unforgettable memoir will fall in love with Samoa's lava-rimmed beaches, frangipani-laced air, and open-hearted people, who face adversity with grace. And just as Nancy does when her own health crisis thrusts her into a very different kind of unfamiliar territory, readers will draw strength from fa'a Samoa: the Samoan Way. In language as lush as the island landscape, MANGO RASH enchants, entertains, and, ultimately, inspires with its message about embracing and learning from other cultures.
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Mango Rash Buy Links:



Beach
Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay 
 MY REVIEW: Escape to the island of American Samoa and be swept away by its beauty and its story.  In her new release, Mango Rash, author Nan Pokerwinski takes readers along with her to this tropical place using her lyrical language, unique metaphors and warm and witty storytelling. In the 1960s, Nan's father signed up the whole family for the two-year commitment to work as a medical doctor at the island's hospital. 

Nan, at 16, worried about being an "outsider" in this unknown way-of-life". Yet, being tired of the hum-drum life in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she looked forward to something different and interesting. She hadn't planned to fall in love with the island, its people, the culture, and a boy. 

At the same time she was growing and changing, the Samoan culture was transforming due to the influence of America in their land. The comparison of Nan's struggles with adolescence against the backdrop of a changing Samoan culture fascinated me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the memories of the era so well recorded in this true memoir. I bonded with Nan when she referred to the times with songs like the Girl from Ipanema, the music of the Beach Boys, Tangee lipstick, Dippity Do. They were a flashback to my teen years, and I relished in the nostalgia. 

I recommend this book for readers of memoirs and those who love the '60's and anyone who enjoys a story filled with warmth, humor, snarkiness, deep emotion and sass.

ABOUT NAN:
Author Nan Sanders Pokerwinski

Nan Sanders Pokerwinski is a former science writer for the Detroit Free Press and the University of Michigan, whose award-winning work (under the byline Nancy Ross-Flanigan) has appeared in numerous other magazines, newspapers, and online publications. 

Click here to visit Nan's blog, Heartwood, which focuses on creativity, connection, and contentment.

When she's not writing, Nan takes photographs, makes collages, and wanders the woods around the West Michigan home she shares with her husband Ray Pokerwinski.


***

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Thanks!