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

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



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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

IWSG Blog Hop: My Book's a Winner IMHO #IWSGbloghop #bookcontests

 

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

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 the awesome co-hosts for the May 4 posting of the IWSG Blog Hop--Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!

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May 4 question - It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?
First Place!!
I recently experienced a "high" time when my book was chosen as a finalist in a book contest. This was the first contest I had entered, so I was thrilled to be a finalist. Dreams of receiving a first place award floated through my mind. I could picture me slapping gold medallions with #1 emboldened on the foil sticker on every one of my books! Gorgeous and eye-catching, attendees at book signings and festivals, etc. would swarm my table to grab a copy of my award-winning memoir!

Then I calmed myself. I had to face reality and prepare to be disappointed in case the book did not place as a winner. Months and months later, I received the email from the contest. Good news! I had received an award (jumped into the air shouting "Yippee!!")--Honorable Mention--(weak smile.) 

Don't we all believe our books are worthy of receiving First Place? Heck, yeah! I took the advice of my seventh grade softball coach and shook off the disappointment and just kept going. But in the back of my mind, I could not get over my "fascinating, inspiring"--readers' descriptions--story only receiving Honorable Mention. Sadly, that's like receiving fourth place in the Olympics--no medals, no glory.

The company sent me some snazzy graphics with my book cover and a medallion pictured next to it. Plus I received promotions in their emails and newsletter for a couple of weeks. That made me happy. But,--

I took a peek at their page to see who actually received the other awards. Yes, there was one major super winner, but many first-place winners. Wait a minute...Lots of second-place winners, loads of third-place winners, and finally, everybody else in the Honorable Mention winners. What???

I counted the number of book covers in the honorable mention group--82!!! I wondered how those authors felt when they saw that. Or did everyone else understand this contest gave prizes to every entry?

I was gobsmacked with this realization. I had wrongly assumed the awards would be given to one book for each place in separate categories as presented by other contests. You know, you should never assume anything.

I called and asked a gentleman on the phone if everyone who enters gets an award. He confirmed my suspicion when he said, "Yes." I could feel him smiling at me. The perky tone of his voice indicated he thought everyone being a winner was a good thing! 

What a shattering experience! Everyone was a winner. I snorted with disdain, as if we were 4-5-year-old Pee Wee League baseball players where every kid gets a ribbon. But, maybe that is a good thing? What do you think?

I tried comforting my hurt feelings and not be a sore loser with the reminder that I did receive some nice graphics and some promotion for my $10. early bird entry fee. After pondering over the results, I soothed myself by hanging on to the realization that I didn't pay $20 to enter the contest anyway.

Even if I didn't get the prize I dreamed of, I gained much in this experience for future entries, if I decide to submit a book to another one. 

I firmly believe my book's a winner!
Image by bricketh on Pixabay

What book contests have you entered? 
Were you satisfied with the results? 
Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

****


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Have fun!


I

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Yeehaw: a New Western from Author Sandra Cox, Mateo's Blood Brother #newrelease #contemporarywestern #shapeshifter


Mateo’s Blood Brother by Sandra Cox

 

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


Today we are celebrating the release of Sandra Cox's sequel to Mateo's Law. The new contemporary Western, Mateo’s Blood Brother, is packed full of action, suspense and romance, exactly what Sandra is famous for in her previous Western novels.


While Sandra is my honorary cousin, I am hosting her today because she is a dang good writer. I would never "steer" you wrong, Pardner.  


I have enjoyed all of her Westerns. In fact, after reading her books, I remembered how much I loved westerns. When I was a kid and loved watching Rex Allen and Roy Rogers (not Dale Evans cause she was Roy’s girlfriend. I was so jealous.)

 

Sandra includes all the elements I loved in the old movies in this story including the tough, but lovable hero, a strong-minded, sassy gal, a villain, danger and a satisfying ending. The story is set in the contemporary West, and the star is a shape-shifting sheriff.

Behind the amicable façade is a man who’s tough and determined.
He’s Mateo’s Blood Brother.

Back of the Book:


They were friends, close as brothers. Then they weren’t.

Mateo and Jesse are cautiously working their way back to friendship when Jesse discovers the unthinkable. Delilah, the sultry shifter who’d had affairs with both men, is still alive. The tumble she took over a mountain ridge—a fall that nearly killed Mateo—should have finished her.

Now, there’s no choice but for the two men to work together to take down a she-devil straight from hell.  As the stakes escalate and the hunt becomes more intense, another wolf appears on the scene. Always where Jesse’s at. Always when he’s in trouble.  Jesse is divided between ending Delilah, a new love interest, discovering the identity of a certain brown wolf, and staying alive.


My Review of Mateo's Blood Brother


I look forward to the release of Sandra Cox's Western stories. She is a real storyteller. The sequel to Mateo's Law included everything needed to complete this page-turning Western, Mateo's Blood Brother. Ms. Cox nails the location with her word pictures of scenes in the story e.g. "The night black with menace, filled with the oily tang of hate and hunger." Oily tang--what a combination of the senses.  Mateo Grey, the sheriff, was depicted as a tough guy and a shape-shifting wolf. I must admit I didn't know if I'd like such a story--too unbelievable--but somehow, the author writes the characters so well, I easily went along with the idea. If you like romance, paranormal, danger, thrillers, humor and darkness, this book is for you. I highly recommend this quick read.

 

Mateo's Blood Brother by Sandra Cox
Sequel to Mateo's Law

Excerpt:

Just thinking about discovering his erstwhile lover still alive after a fall Jesse was certain killed her and seeing her in that awful half-transformation made his stomach curl. Beads of clammy sweat popped on his forehead. His stomach lurched and for a moment he thought he might hurl.

“And you’re just now telling me?” Mateo’s fists clenched.

“It’s not exactly something one blurts out to strangers.” It had taken him this long to come to grips with the fact that he hadn’t been hallucinating. He’d tried his best to convince himself he’d been imagining it. But breaking into a cold sweat every time he heard a wolf howl pretty much convinced him what he’d seen was real, no matter how impossible.

“We aren’t strangers. We’re blood brothers.” The words erupted from Mateo’s throat like a missile.

“Something you conveniently forgot for eighteen years.”

“Jesse, I—” For once the big, confident sheriff was at a loss for words. Regret limned his features and deepened those unusual amber eyes, so reminiscent of a wolf.

Jesse made a dismissive motion with his hand. He didn’t mind a little blood-letting from his erstwhile friend. The spirits knew he’d suffered enough over the years for the loss of that friendship. Still no need to belabor the point.

“She’s got to be stopped.” A tic pulsed in Mateo’s tight jaw.

“Stopped being a euphemism for killed.”

“Whatever you choose to call it, it comes down to the same thing in the end.”

“She was mine last.” He’d recently learned that Layla and Mateo had been lovers in the past. Another hard pill to swallow. “I’ll end her.”

“Not if I get to her first.”

For a moment, his human hackles rose. She’d been on his mountain, in his cabin and in his bed, all the while wreaking carnage on innocents. She was his responsibility. His job. His right. He leaned forward. His eyes narrowed and drilled into Mateo.

Mateo snarled.

The nerves quivering between Jesse’s tight muscles loosened and a grin flitted across his features. There was that growl again. How did the good people of Grizzly and the surrounding county not realize what their stalwart, unflappable sheriff was? Ah well, people saw what they wanted to and ignored everything else, especially whites.

Jesse leaned forward. “The question is, if the fall didn’t kill her, what will?”


Click here to order Mateo's Blood Brother: Sequel to Mateo's Law in eBook or Paperback formats.

Click here to order Mateo's Law.

 

Character Facts


Blair—Mateo’s fiancée :

 

Jesse and Blair both like to catch the Full Moon Band, that plays hard rock with a native twist, on Wednesday nights at the Blue Coyote.

 Blair loves to sing but unfortunately can’t carry a tune. She sings anyway.

 Blair loves her rusty truck Beulah, which most of her acquaintances consider a bucket of bolts.


Discover More About Sandra's Westerns on the Focused on StoryBlog:

Click the title of the book below to read her guest post.


Mateo's Law

Keeper Tyree

Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter


About Sandra:


Author Sandra Cox

Sandra writes All Things Western, is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

She spent a number of years in the Midwest chasing down good Southern BBQ. By the time she moved to North Carolina where Southern BBQ is practically a staple, she’d become a vegetarian.

Pineapple is a must-have on pizza, along with black olives and onions.

She loves pumpkin waffles. Pumpkin cream cheese, not so much.

 

You can find her at:

http://www.sandracoxwriter.com

http://www.cowboytrivia.com

https://sandracox.blogspot.com

http://www.twitter.com/Sandra_Cox.

 



Click here to keep up-to-date with JQ Rose on this blog.



Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Time Off but Not Really, New Book Release

 

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog!! Thank you for checking in today.

I don't want to disappoint you, but the bad news for you is that I am taking some time off this week, so there is no enlightening or entertaining blog post here today. The good news for you is, that you can find my blog post on my publisher's blog, Authors Insider Blog. 

Take some time to peruse the blog when you pop over to my article on storytelling. The bloggers on the site are all published with BWL Publishing. They don't write blogs to beat you over the head to buy their books. You will discover many interesting, brilliant subjects covered. You may enjoy learning facts about the era the authors write in or visiting their favorite places, meet new-to-you authors, or delight in discovering new insights about a subject and experience humorous posts that make you smile all day.

Click here to visit my post on BWL's Authors Insiders Blog and feel free to leave a comment.

The good news for me is I'm taking some time off and the bad news is I won't be here to greet you.

I'm looking forward to visiting with you next week when author Sandra Cox is my guest. Sandra shares facts about the book's characters in her new release, Mateo's Blood Brother. I enjoyed the first Western in the series, Mateo's Law. Looking forward to reading #2! 

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Writers are Business Owners Too #IWSGbloghop

 

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

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.

Thank you to our awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the IWSG Blog Hop- Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise - Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi!

****

I have not published an audiobook, but I am interested in reading the answers to this month's question about publishing and marketing them. I have considered narrating my memoir for an audiobook. But, I have no studio or equipment to do that. Nor any idea about marketing an audiobook. Any advice would be appreciated.

****

Gardener Ted and I were Mom and Pop business owners
operating a floral shop, a commercial greenhouse operation and a garden center

Last week's blog post, Celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day recognized local businesses. I mentioned writers are also business people and could be thought of as operating a small business in the writing industry.

The story of the  first year
we were in the flower business
Did you ever consider your book as a product, a commodity? I imagine you didn't write your first book thinking about selling it. Instead, the story or topic swirled in your brain until you just had to write it down. But because you had a message or a desire to touch people's hearts, you shared it with the public. 

  At the moment the book is published--indie or traditional--it becomes not just "heart work," but also hard work. In order to actually sell a book, you need to convert your mindset from the creative side of your personality to the practical reality of being a producer, a business owner.   Your responsibilities include editor, publisher (indie), marketer, speaker, and bookkeeper. I bet you can add another one in the comments below.

I never realized there were so many "jobs" associated with being a published author until my first novella was published. The good news is there are many tools/resources to help you learn about running this small business- books and online websites, writing groups, and authors who are willing to share their experiences such as the bloggers here at IWSG!

I have listed a some of my favorites below for marketing your books. Please add your favorite sites in the comments section. Thank you.



The Business of Short Stories 
by Shannon Lawrence

Shannon Lawrence helps readers with the business of writing short stories. Click here to read my blog post and my review of her informative book, The Business of Writing Short Stories.

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UPDATE: Quarterly delivery of the Rose Courier--Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall

Click the link below to receive the quarterly Rose Courier edition delivered to your inbox.
Filled with photos, updates, freebies, new book releases and more! Thank you.

In order to find more time for writing and playing, I will not publish the Rose Courier every month. Instead, the edition will be delivered quarterly to your inbox. 
If you have not subscribed to the Courier, yet...

Click Here to receive your first letter the second week in April. 
Thank you!!
The first day of spring





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...

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