Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hobby Hoedown J.Q.Rose's Hobby-- Photography and Projects

Yee-haw! It's my turn to share my hobby with you today--Photography! When I planned this Hobby Hoedown event I thought we would be on vacation so I didn't want to invite a guest, then desert them. No vacation this week, but still happy to share this hobby with you. 

I enjoy taking pictures of my family, friends, flowers, and nature. Well, you'll see what I mean. I have taken a couple of photography classes, but I take photos for fun so I'm not too serious.

I can spend hours playing with them in a program to crop, brighten, use special effects, etc. I use Picasa. It's free to download and a Google product so I can easily share photos on my gmail account and make web albums (but I don't.) There are so many possibilities with Picasa. 

I took a class on Adobe Photoshop, but the version we learned is not the version I have downloaded on my laptop, so I haven't taken the time to figure it out.. If I did, I'd spend even MORE time playing with the photos.

I add my photos to my blogs and website. That way there's no worry about copyright usage since I own the photos. And I can use my photos for greeting cards, signs, and even recipe books which I make using The Print Shop 22.

The Alaska Journal on this blog is filled with photos from our trip last summer. You can imagine how many photos I collected on this trip. It was hard to narrow down four or five for the blog post for the five part journal. Click Alaska Journal to see the posts and pictures. 

If you have time, take a peek at some of the latest photos I've taken this spring/summer. (Note..there are no pics of my grandkids! LOL)

Flowering trees burst with blooms this spring.

Wild violets

Arboretum Park--my favorite place to stroll
Sunset near Sarasota, FL

I never tire of taking photos of regal palm trees, Florida

Yes, roses. Gotta have roses on the J.Q. ROSE blog!

Giant purple globes are Aliums in our front planter. Members of the onion family.

Peonies--that's why we bought this house. Loads of bushes here!
 Please check back on Thursday, July 11, for the next Hobby Hoedown with Viola Ryan's landscapes!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Recipe: My Favorite Strawberry Pie

Strawberries from our garden.

Strawberries are in season in Michigan! Yummy....What a fabulous burst of flavor in your mouth. Don't gobble them down, but allow the berry to stay in your mouth long enough to savor the delightful taste.

My friend, Trude, gave me the following recipe for Strawberry Pie. It is so easy and so tasty. This is the season for the best-tasting strawberries. We also enjoy strawberries in February in Florida, so I make quite a few pies then too. If you make it, let me know how you liked Trude's Strawberry Pie.
Trude's Strawberry Pie
Recipe for a 9" pie

Place about 1 pint of strawberries whole, not cut up, in a 9" pie shell.

Stir together in a pan--1 3 oz box jello, 1 cup sugar, and 3 T. cornstarch.

Add 1 1/2 cups water to the mixture and cook till thickened--It will start to boil and get clear. Stir constantly. This takes awhile, so be patient.

Pour mixture over strawberries. Refrigerate after one hour.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream or both!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hobby Hoedown: Author Erin Albert and Running

Hi Erin, Welcome to the Hobby Hoedown. I think readers will understand why you feel so passionate about your hobby, running. Please share with us how you found this hobby.

Hello, JQ!  Thank you so much for having me on Hobby Hoedown to talk about my passion/hobby—running! 

As a child, I played many sports.  My poor mother ran from practice to practice during the week and game to game on the weekend.  At the age of 14, I developed a chronic knee problem.  The pain became so bad I eventually had to stop playing all sports.  I walked around with huge knee braces and crutches for several months.  My dream of becoming the next Mia Hamm died. 

A few years ago, my friends and I were hanging out and talking about our dreams.  Most of our dreams appeared quite unattainable, but one friend said she wanted to become a runner.  We all jumped on the bandwagon, encouraging her to pursue and fulfill this reachable goal.  Another friend mentioned the Couch to 5k program, so I Googled it when I got home.  The website claimed even people with bad knees and asthma (both of which I have) could successfully complete Couch to 5k.  I sent the link to the runner dream friend and told her I would do the program with her.  She wrote back saying the timing didn’t work out for her.  Curious about the program, I decided to give it a go myself.

After my first day of training, I told my soul sister, Dawn, about my experience.  Neither my knees nor asthma gave me trouble.   Encouraged (she also suffers from knee trouble and asthma), she agreed to do the program with me and became my running partner.  We followed the Couch to 5k plan for the full nine week course.  My knees and lungs grew stronger.  After years of sitting on the sidelines, I could finally run again, and I loved it!

Let me show you a pretty picture of us before
I show you ones where we are all sweaty!  LOL!

To celebrate my birthday, which coincided with the completion of the program, Dawn and I entered our first 5k.  We went on to enter more and loved the experience of training and preparing for races.  One day, we turned to one another and said, “If we can be runners, anyone can!”   We advertised a free Couch to 5k class through a local website, unsure whether or not we would get interest.  On the first day of class, twenty-five people showed up.  We love sharing the joy of running with others and now offer Couch to 5k classes every spring and fall.  Seeing our students transform into full-on runners brings us immeasurable joy. 

Finishing one of our 5ks / Excited for our students completing their first 5k

After running several 5ks, Dawn and I decided to try for a 10k then a half marathon, but unfortunately, Dawn developed terrible heel pain.  She went to the doctor and discovered she had plantar fasciitis.  Like the true sole sister she is, Dawn encouraged me to continue training while she worked toward recovery.  I ran my first half marathon in April of 2012.  Dawn, who had to attend a family function and couldn’t be with me, cheered for me via text the whole race.  Her support carried me to the finish line.  I now offer 10k and half marathon training classes in addition to the 5k classes Dawn and I teach.


                                      My 13.1 sticker on my car and one of my ½ marathon finisher’s medals

If you are interested in running—for fun, for exercise, for stress relief, etc—I highly encourage you to give the Couch to 5k program a try.  There are apps for the phone to make training easier.  Also, find a running partner or running group.  Accountability helps keep you on the path to success. 

Running can be a blast with the right people and the right costumes!

Couch to 5k app information (includes 10k and ½ marathon apps too):

Thanks again for having me on your blog, JQ!   I hope your readers will be inspired to give running a try!  J  If you want to know more about me and my upcoming young adult epic high fantasy, The Prophecy, you can like me on FB (Erin Albert Books), follow me on Twitter (@ErinAlbertBooks), or subscribe to my blog ( 

About Erin

Erin Albert is a stay-at-home mother and fitness trainer.  Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word.  She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the "Grammar Police."  In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing.  Her favorite place to be is at home with her wonderful husband, energetic children, and easygoing tabby cat.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Relax and Re-charge Your Creativity, This Week's Events Including Hobby Hoedown with Erin Albert

Last week it was our privilege to take our five grandkids camping at the White River Campground near Montague, MI. The picture above was taken at Brown's Pond near the campground. Those are three of my fishermen. (Please note there were not many fish in this pond. One boy caught three small speckled trout and that was it!)

Pool time..thank goodness it was heated. But that really doesn't make a difference to kids, does it? The pool temps hovered between 79 and 81 degrees F. 

Time away from the keyboard and the Internet certainly recharges the creativity and energizes the soul. Even if you can't take a trip, take some time to get away from the "everyday" and plan something different from your usual day. You'll be amazed at how uplifting it can be.

This week is full of new people and places.

MONDAY-- I'l be a guest at author Tara Chevrestt's blog, Book Babe. She writes strong heroines in her stories and so do I, so I introduce her reader to Pastor Christine in my mystery, Coda to Murder.

WEDNESDAY--Sally Franklin Christie grills me on her blog, Life is a Story--Tell It Big.

My FIRST live author event will be on Wednesday evening, 6:30 pm at the Newaygo Area District Library, Newaygo, Michigan. I'm appearing with three other authors and we are talking about the Road to Publishing. Join us if you are in the area. Refreshments too.


Author Erin Albert will be visiting the J Q Rose blog on Thursday. Her passion is running. Be sure to check back to discover how she got into her hobby.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hobby Hoedown Author and US Army Veteran Stan Hampton, Sr.


Welcome Military Fiction Author and US Army Veteran Stan Hampton, Sr. to the Hobby Hoedown this week. I really don't understand why Stan is here since he maintains he has no hobbies. What do you think? Is he a crafty hobbyist or a crafty writer?? Please enjoy the essay on his non-hobby and thank him for his service to our country.

Building a 3-Dimensional Training Aid by Stan Hampton Sr.

            First, I should say that I do not have a hobby. Everything I do is related in one form or another to the arts of writing or photography.
            That being said, when I was a kid I loved to build plastic scale models—the USS Arizona battleship, a British Spitfire fighter, the PT boat PT-109, and so on and so on. It was fun building them, seeing the kits take shape, and once completed, set them aside to admire.
            Or play with—hey, I was a kid, not even a teenager yet.
            Sometimes I tossed firecrackers at a tank and watched the bright puffs of smoke and clouds of dust that shrouded it like real enemy shellfire. Or I would take a ship down to the nearby river, launch it, and shoot at it with my BB rifle. The pellets striking the water with resulting “mini-fountains” looked like enemy shells splashing around the ship. I watched the ship settle lower in the water until it disappeared, though sometimes it turned “turtle” and went down.
            While I walked back to the farmhouse I thought of ways to come up with a plausible explanation for my grandparents as to why the ship “broke” and I needed money to build another one.
            Hey, I was kid, not even a teenager yet.
            Now, at the tender age of 58 almost 59 in a little over a week—definitely not a teenager—I am building plastic models again. Nothing wrong with that—people spend their money on far worse things.
            But again, it is not a hobby.

Beginning work on the German Tiger Tank
            Most of my writing career I have focused on short stories. Now I find myself transitioning to novellas. That is a lot more story to write. And when my stories focus on something like a World War II German Tiger tank, or a US Navy PT-boat, well, these two are important stories to me. One is newly created while the other is rewriting a short story into a novella.

Model of Tiger Tank
            I have plenty of books and magazines—I call them research material and they are tax deductible as a business expense—and I can watch videos on YouTube or buy DVDs for reference. But all of those are 2-dimensional references.

            For certain stories I want a 3-dimensional training aid, as we called such things in the Army. With a 3-dimensional model I can view the Tiger tank or PT boat at all angles, whether eye level, above, head on or from the rear. I can turn the models and see how the sunlight and shadows play across the surface. Painting the models is of no real interest to me. I can see the color schemes in any 2-dimensional reference that I have. But to have a 3-dimensional training aid that I can study at any angle and describe what I see, that is what is important.

PT boat
            I will not build a model for every novella, only for certain ones. For example, one novella will be about a B-17 veteran and his grandson. That will require a model as well as an accompanying scale model of a German fighter such as an ME-109 or FW-190. Another novella will take place aboard a Fletcher class destroyer during the Okinawa campaign of World War II; the kamikaze attacks were brutal fights between men who wanted to live and men who wanted to die for their country. And then, I will need an HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant helicopter—I have always been in awe of the Jolly Green crews who flew into Laos and North Vietnam to rescue shot down pilots, all the while knowing that the enemy was probably waiting for them with heavy anti-aircraft weapons.
            So, I do not have a hobby. But, I admit there is satisfaction in opening a plastic scale model box and assembling the pieces into a whole that contributes to the writing imagination.
            Have a great day!
            PS: I did a little painting on the German tank and the PT boat. I believe I will stick with painting artist models instead.

Mainstream Military Fiction


Sergeant Jerry Stanton is a young soldier serving in the War in Iraq. He is a gunner on a gun truck nicknamed “Lucky Bear,” one of those tireless workhorses that escort supply convoys from camps in Kuwait to destinations scattered throughout the war-torn country. In the early morning hours before a scheduled mission, a dust storm howls across his camp and threatens to bring convoy operations to a halt. Worse, the camp receives word that a gunner from his company was killed by an IED while on a convoy mission. Unlike most soldiers, Jerry doesn’t carry a lucky charm, but upon receiving news of the death of the gunner, he begins to mull over/ponder the merit/virtue of a good luck charm—only, what would work for him? Perhaps mail call will provide the answer.


Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing


SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grand
Stan in Southern Iraq
children, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is a serving member of the Army National Guard with the rank of staff sergeant, with prior service in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007); he has recently been told that he must retire from the Army National Guard on 1 July 2013. 

His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. 

Second-career goals include becoming a painter and studying for a degree in photography and anthropology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology. After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

FIND STAN ONLINE Author Page UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vegetable Garden, Week Ahead, Hobby Hoedown with Stan Hampton

Our vegetable garden is growing by leaps and bounds in this beautiful weather we are having in West Michigan.Take a peek at this lovely lettuce. We have Romaine, Red Derby, Buttercrunch Bibb, and several bronze leafed Romaine varieties. Throw it all in a bowl and the colors pop.No boring green iceberg lettuce here. Needless to say the taste is fantastic. 
Gardening tip--place straw around the plants to keep the lettuce clean.

Strawberries are blooming. When we left last Tuesday for a week of camping with the grandkids, we just had these del;icate white blossoms. Returned this morning and discovered gorgeous red berries ripe for the picking tomorrow. Can you see the strawberry shortcake now? Mmmm...can't wait.

We've had onions, radishes, and rhubarb this spring also. We are so spoiled. I cannot take credit for any of the garden. My DH is a devoted, dedicated gardener. His dream was to garden twelve months out of the year. He has finally accomplished it during retirement. He has a huge garden in the summer up north and a small raised bed garden in the winter in Florida. Fresh lettuce almost year round!! (I hope you don't notice my nose twitching like a bunny rabbit after eating all these delicious greens.)

I am planning on making my own salad dressings this summer. Do you have a dressing recipe you could share with me (and all the readers?) Please leave it in the comment section or email me directly with it at jqrose02 at gmail dot com. Thank you!!


Come back on Thursday and every Thursday to discover pastimes of authors you know and love and new authors' books to include in your library.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hobby Hoedown: Knitting with Author Helena Fairfax and Giveaway

Welcome author Helena Fairfax. I'm thrilled to have Helena here today since she is a busy gal hopping around cyberspace letting everyone know about her new release last month, a very romantic story, The Silk Romance from MuseItUp Publishing. Watch for more information about it at the end of her article.

Be sure to leave a comment to enter the drawing for a copy of The Silk Romance.

Helena's adorable knitting is spotlighted today at the Hobby Hoedown. Adorable, you ask? Yes, indeed! Take a peek at her pastime.

Helena Fairfax:  All About Knitting, Biscuits, and the Royal Family
Hi Jan, and thanks so much for having me on your blog.  Am loving the idea of a group of hobbyists getting
In case your readers don’t know me, my name’s Helena Fairfax.  I’m a British romance author, and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England.
A couple of years ago the wedding of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton took place with great ceremony here in the UK.  Although most of us British have a high regard for the work of our Royal Family, on the other hand, we do like to take the mickey out of them a little as well.  (Translation: make fun, in a light-hearted way.)
Here’s an example.  This is a photo of a biscuit tin my niece gave me at the time of their engagement.  (Translation: biscuits = cookies.)

Did you ever see anything more kitsch?  If you look closely, you will see a royal crest on the tin.  This means that McVitie’s, the biscuit manufacturers, are suppliers to the Queen.  I wonder if Her Majesty has the same tin in her kitchen?  Somehow I doubt it!  But as you can guess, the tin now takes pride of place on my kitchen dresser.
And for Mother’s Day in 2011 I received the most fabulous present from my daughters.  This tremendous book! Knit Your Own Royal Wedding!  

I love knitting, and I was so excited!  The book was printed before the actual wedding, so of course the authors could only try to guess at what everyone would be wearing on the day. For example, Prince William wore his red Irish Guards uniform, and not the grey uniform of the RAF which is seen on the cover of the book.  But all in all the book’s authors made a really good guess at the clothes the family would be wearing.  I was very impressed.
And they also produced the best book trailer ever.
So, I spent a lot of the summer of 2011 knitting my own royal wedding. (I amended the patterns slightly so that the figures wore the correct clothes.)  And here are the photos to prove it.  My figures are even posing beside my friend’s Royal Albert tea service.

The final picture shows the whole balcony scene

I was taught to knit by my mother, who is Irish. My mother was a needlework teacher.  She and my Irish grandmother were both beautiful needlewomen, and highly skilled. 

Although I’m not as clever with the sewing needle, I did inherit my mother’s love of textiles, and this has had an influence on my novel, The Silk Romance, which is set in a silk-weaving mill in Lyon, France.

Here is the blurb:  Jean-Luc Olivier is a devastatingly handsome racing-driver with the world before him.  Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London.  The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future.  She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London.   One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.
Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she reckons without Jean-Luc.  He is determined to find out why she left him, and intrigued to discover the real Sophie.  He engineers a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.
Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow.  But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness.  Jean-Luc has secrets of his own.  Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choicestay in this glamorous world with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos and my knitted royal family.  If you have, please visit me on my blog sometime:  Or you can visit me here on my Facebook page.  I love to meet new people!

The Silk Romance is available in the MuseItUp bookstore, or from Amazon and other major e-tailers.

I’d love to give a free copy away - please just leave me a comment for a chance to win!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jan.  I’ve absolutely loved being here, and showing off my eccentric English hobby.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Discover Fantasy Author Sarah-Jane Lehoux and Win an E-book Set

Please welcome Sarah-Jane Lehoux to the J.Q. Rose blog. Sarah-Jane has been hopping around cyberspace on her blog tour for the Sevy Series. Check her website for the schedule.

Find out more about the books in the Sevy Series following her article.

Leave a comment to win the entire Sevy Series!!

Writing 101 Meets Psychology 101 by Sarah-Jane Lehoux

One of my biggest pet peeves in books, tv, and movies is when the writers obviously know little about human psychology. Say, for instance, a character dies. Happens quite a lot, wouldn’t you agree? But what some stories fail to properly follow up on is the aftermath of that death. Next chapter, next episode, and said dead character is barely mentioned, let alone mourned. The whole story suffers as readers/viewers need to be emotionally invested, and why should they be when the characters themselves aren’t?

I believe it’s a writer’s duty to educate themselves in human psychology—or more generally, what makes people do what they do, act how they act, be who they are. At a very basic level, writers should familiarize themselves with MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS. Wiki it, if you’ve never heard of it. Basically, it ranks various needs, from things like food and shelter, to safety and self-esteem. And it also explains the consequences of having one or more of these needs denied, taken away, or left unfulfilled.

So say a character’s parents are killed. This is a HUGE event! It shouldn’t be glossed over. Even if the character isn’t consciously aware of it, this traumatic event should impact almost every facet of their lives.
Sevy, the main character in The Sevy Series (obviously!) has dealt with a lot of loss in her life. While I was creating her, I did a lot of research into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. These conditions have symptoms that I weaved into her behavior, both when she is alone and when she is interacting with other characters. And while reader reaction to her has been mixed (from loving her to hating her), one thing is for sure: she is memorable. She lingers in the reader’s mind long after they put down the book.

And isn’t that the whole point of story-telling? 

Blurb for Thief:
Happily Ever After Doesn't Come Without a Price
In the crumbling city of Eloria, there are two indisputable facts. First, everyone has a dream. Secret, seemingly unattainable, altogether irresistible, it is the kind of dream that aches and, at times, burns. For most, it will forever remain a teasing enigma, but there are those for whom dreams grow into obsession. Which brings us to the second indisputable fact: everyone has a price. Protestations of morality have little meaning when confronted with the all-consuming passion of the soul. Better judgment is pushed aside for the chance to obtain the unobtainable. The only question remaining is just how much a person is willing to sacrifice in order to get what they want.

Sevy has always been a quick study in the wicked ways of Eloria. Since childhood, she has eked out a living for herself with the help of her sticky fingers and her indomitable spirit. She has no qualms about taking what she desires, and when the unrequited love of her life is mysteriously murdered, Sevy will stop at nothing to get him back. Elvish black magic, necromancy and demonic pacts are of little consequence if it means she can once again have her beloved at her side. But is she willing to murder her only friend to get the job done? Is there a line that even this selfish, self-proclaimed bitch is not prepared to cross?

Blurb for Shades of War:
There is More Than One Road to Redemption
Sometimes the past can't be forgotten. Sometimes the truth refuses to be buried. And sometimes the dead won't stay dead.
It began as a simple request: Journey to the Northern Jungles and bring a wayward son back to the safety of his farm and family before the racial tension that is building between humans and dark elves erupts into civil war. But life is never simple for Sevy, and she soon finds herself entangled in a bloody battle of good versus evil, love versus hate.
Old friends and enemies reunite, familial bonds are broken, and loyalty is tested. And in the midst of the steamy, sultry jungles, the ghosts of a serial killer's victims come out to play. Sevy, as petulant and irascible as ever, must overcome her personal demons in order to expose a madman and bring peace back to the kingdom. But just how much of her sanity must she sacrifice to help her friends? And how can she save anyone when she can't even save her own soul?

Blurb for Masquerade:
Never Trust a Liar, especially when they're telling the truth.
Starting over isn’t easy, especially when the world isn’t ready for you to change. Sevy, thief turned assassin turned mercenary, isn’t having any fun adjusting to a normal, law-abiding life. Luckily for her, an old partner in crime arrives with an irresistible proposition: a getaway to a tropical island, an adventure of a lifetime, and an amazing friendship ready to blossom into an even more amazing romance.
Things are looking up for Sevy. That is, until a pack of maniacal fairies with a taste for human flesh arrive on the scene.
Now she must unravel a web of magical intrigue hidden behind the outwardly idyllic atmosphere of the islands of Belakarta. Nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Trapped under the spell of a handsome and mysterious stranger, Sevy must fight fairies and tricksters to regain her freedom.
Or spend an eternity as a sorcerer’s plaything.

Author Bio:
Sarah-Jane Lehoux has always had a passion for storytelling. From grade school tales of cannibalistic ghosts, to teenaged conversations with God, to her rebellion against adulthood with fantasy kingdoms and fairy magic, she has attempted to share her love of the quirky and unconventional with her readers.
She currently resides in Southern Ontario with her husband and her horde of Machiavellian cats. In addition to her own writing, Sarah-Jane works as an editor and freelance cover artist.

BUY LINKS for the series: